The problem in those countries is taxes and social contributions. You need to make 10 in order to bring home 5, that kills work, completely. Now the basic income, so basically we want the State to manage even more of the economy. If past experience would prove this effective, then OK, but it just proves the opposite!
Let me do some back of the envelope calculations for you. In Europe we pay around 40% of income tax. On top we pay at least another 8% for pension, which we will never see, and another 8-10% for health insurance, which is not great at all. On top of that, companies have another 30-40% of cost, _on top_ of the bruto salary of an employee in taxes and similar to pay to the state. Bottom line: more than half of your cost to the company goes to the government.
It's just incredibly bad. If you have a 10% unemployment the most effective way to help people is to bring that down to, say, a 3%. That will help most definitely. But for that to happen you need to bring down the cost of labor, which is just too high.
And don't let me start with pension. Europe is basically starving an entire generation, you don't see it now, you will see in 30 years when the young of today will start to go into retirement age. There will be no money to pay a real pension to everybody. You know how much you need to have a very comfortable pension? At a 6% rate, about 500 euro a month for 40 years. That's it, that's all you need. Right now we are paying close to this amount for a public pension, will we see that money? Absolutely not.
Bottom line: they have to fix the economy. That's the only long term solution and the only way to bring people out of unemployment and poverty.
> If past experience would prove this effective, then OK, but it just proves the opposite!
Can you cite some examples? I'm interested, because I seem to read a lot about how experiments with basic income actually tend to work out very well. (It certainly does in Alaska, although that isn't much money, as well as other examples cited in this thread.)
> Europe we pay around 40% of income tax. On top we pay at least another 8% for pension, which we will never see, and another 8-10% for health insurance, which is not great at all. On top of that, companies have another 30-40% of cost, _on top_ of the bruto salary of an employee in taxes and similar to pay to the state.
I don't know how much you earn, or where you work in Europe, but I have never paid this much. Income tax and social security (including NHS contributions, so all my health insurance) in the UK was never more than 30% of my salary. It's about the same for me in Germany right now, if anything a little lower.
Maybe you're in a really wealthy income bracket, though, in which case -- congratulations?
UK is not Europe, in fact you pay less taxes and you actually do get a pension since it's tied to a low taxation fund that belongs to you.
Germany is about 45% once you go over the 45-50k bruto, which is not much if you ask me (rent tends to be 35-40% of your income). Also, note in Germany the company has another 30-40% cost on top of your bruto (they pay the other half of your pension and health insurance, for instance). Don't look just at what you get, but at your overall cost for the company.
Past experience? After World War II public spending has been trending up everywhere (also in US, but more in Europe). What did we get in Europe? Slow growth, huge public debt, 3+ times the unemployment they have in USA, should I continue? The thing is: government is just really, really, bad in any kind of productive spending. Government should take care of the ones in need* and should make clear rules for everybody, that's it, everything else is waste (and we have seen it).
*And let's be clear here: this doesn't mean public housing in the city center. This means giving enough to keep your dignity, which means you need to accept to leave far from the city. Just that people "in need" should be actual people in need, not some privileged class (like in Denmark students get money to study, those are NOT people in need)
If you are in the UK, 50k a year (above average but honestly, if even remotely close to London, not that much) will bring you a tax bill of around 38% (19k) if you consider employee NHS contributions ( data from http://www.listentotaxman.com/50000? ). So you are already at 38% and you have council tax (probably another 2k or more a year) plus VAT (21% or something?) on stuff you buy. I don't remember other taxes I paid while in the UK but these were the big ones. It isn't hard to get to the end of the year and see that you(+ employer) paid around 50-60% in taxes.
I live in Portugal, and if I consider VAT+income tax+social security contributions (self employed so I pay both parts or approx. 33% in social security) and ignoring other extra taxes (property, road tax, etc) 62% or so of the money I earn goes to the government (this was for 2014, my accountant did the math). I could probably get this lower with some creative accounting I guess.
Yes. That was the point of the grandfather post. That on top of that you even have employers contributions. If you add all of that you will get a value that often reaches 50-60%. I've given the example of myself, since I'm self-employed I pay everything, my tax rate is around 60%.
Ah, if you can still edit it then you might want to change "employee" to "employer" then.
In which case your effective tax rate is ~35% rather than 38%, 36325 / 55780.
My council tax is under £1200/year (and that's for the house, so we should only count half of that for me and half for my wife) and VAT is 20% on some but not all items. Pension contributions bring the tax rate down too, so it gets a bit hard to compare.
The thing with a tax for basic income (as opposed to other taxes) is that the money doesn't go to the government, it goes directly to the people. The government cannot decide how this money is spent, so it's not a "fat government" thing.
And what is this "past experience" you refer to? If you are referring to communism, this is in some sense the very opposite of an unconditional basic income - unconditional means the government cannot tell you what to do (nor can employers, as long as you don't want to own a car, have a nice home, etc.). Yes, "fix the economy". But how? Basic income is actually a proposal how to fix it, I think.
While of course basic income is not a replacement for healthcare, the health spending cost reduction under such scheme is an interesting topic. A country could probably save a lot on psychiatric hospitals. It's not rare that a person attempts suicide (or looks like they're going to attempt it) because they're poor and in debt, barely holding to a low-paying job; they get put on an observation (during which they'll probably lose their job), stuffed with medication and then thrown back to society at large. The hospitalization itself can cost more than the debt the patient has is worth.
I think such cases are making benefits of BI hard to estimate - because it could eliminate some percentage of costs across so many different aspects of public spending that it's getting hard to keep track of them all.
Basic income is not going to prevent people from taking on unsustainable debts.
Arguably it's less likely to do so than a conventional bureaucratic, means-tested system, since (i) such systems usually directly subsidise things people tend to get into debt for (housing, education/training, and medical care) and have a more flexible, living-costs-related approach to the size of the subsidies on offer and (ii) predatory lenders can chase the indebted far more aggressively when armed with the knowledge their target has a cash income of at least $xx per month and therefore could easily make the payments if they stopped paying for their house, food and health insurance...
except for the public pension that is a shameful tool invented to satisfy one generation of privileged people, I disagree with you.
The problem is not the % of income tax. tax is fine if the system works. take a simple example in many european countries education is free. in USA even in a community college, going beyond two year studies will cost you 10K$ per child, then if you do not have a good company insurance it will cost you an arm to insure your family. id rather pay tax to subvention education.
the only problem is that salaries are not going up since the early 00s, tuition costs are going up, consumer goods prices are going up, accomodation price are so crazyly high (especially in cities where there are lot of jobs) that you won't get a house before 30-40 years of debt. Hell people even thought their greatchildren will work two days a week and earn more than them but the sad truth is that the payroll of a qualified worked in today's world will buy you less than a blue collar in the old days. this is the great failure we experiencing right now, tax just did the right thing, they went up, like everything else but our salary.
This is the only thing to fix in the world right now. a company shouldn't make 400K$ profit per employee.
For the first time in many years I found myself in a big group of friends in a new city. Good social life is something I always thought I was missing and now I have it. I realized, though, that my problems are still there. Maybe I had put too many hopes into this, but I am rather disappointed. In fact, lately I came to appreciate again solitude and my alone times. I still think friends should be a top priority in life, but now I also think you need to reserve time to do stuff on your own, it gives you the chance to always try out new things.
Sure, it's always a question of balance - I enjoy spending time with my friends, but I need frequent and long breaks, which sometimes leads to confusion and misunderstandings ("Why would stay in alone tonight?"). Maybe it's an introvert thing but I'm often surprised when I see people that need other people around them constantly and rate time spent alone as wasted.
I couldn't put my finger on the phenomena until I read that comic one day: . It's about energy generation and expenditure - extroverts gather their energy from human interaction, introverts have to expend it on those social moments.
I keep sending this picture to people who know me personally and are surprised I consider myself introverted - after all, how someone who is seen publicly speaking so often and finds it easy to make friends can possibly be introverted? The answer is simple: I like people, but spending too much time with them exhausts me, and I need to "waste time alone" to recharge.
Yeah I can completely relate to this and have attributed it to being introverted as well. I am extremely social when I do attend social events, often being the most talkative if it's a group of 4 or less, but need to recharge alone the day after whereas my friends will continue to want be around each other. They often accuse me of being horrible at communication and making the effort to hang out with them, but to me, it's a simple matter of needing to be alone for a period of time, which I assume they are not familiar with as they all seem on the extrovert side of the spectrum. Sure, it's important for me to override that sense of wanting to be alone to catch up with friends and be a better communicator/friend, but it is in no way natural for me.
I'm the same way, and I've heard that repeated a few times now.
I have to wonder though, does anyone actually "recharge" when they're with a group of people or do they just have a higher tolerance for spending time with others before they need to be alone?
If you can't tell, I don't really buy the introvert/extrovert distinction and I haven't seen any evidence that anyone can spend unlimited amounts of time with others without recharging alone. From my own experience it seems like there's a continuum from "needs lots of alone time" to "doesn't need all that much alone time".
If you read through the comments here, there are people that go crazy when alone, and people which go crazy when in groups. It's kinda like saying you don't buy gravity. Sure, we don't fully understand all of the details, but to say the dichotomy doesn't exist isn't logical.
Well sometimes I go crazy when I'm alone, and other times I go crazy when I'm with a group. The reason I don't buy the dichotomy is that if these two things can be true for the same person, is there any value in making the distinction? They seem to describe moods (that some people have more often than others) rather than personalities.
> I have to wonder though, does anyone actually "recharge" when they're with a group of people or do they just have a higher tolerance for spending time with others before they need to be alone?
In American and Australian societies, extraverts outnumber introverts 10 to 1. Growing up a fairly severe introvert as an American had me labeled as that weird loner outcast from a young age. Always spending time with other people is the norm. Spending a lot of time alone is seen as weird and antisocial. I've known kids whose parents have sent them to shrinks and medicated them because of such "antisocial behavior" as sitting in their room for days on end reading books.
In cities, most people literally don't have 10 minutes of alone time. I certainly didn't and it drove me to the brink of insanity after a number of years. Outside of cities, most people have families and also have little time alone.
That said, introvert/extrovert isn't an on/off switch. It's a spectrum. A sliding scale.
One thing with the beverages is that if you choose to not drink them, you will most likely be the weird one in most social situations. Especially if you cut on alcohol. I have nothing against drinks in general, but they should be an exception, not the rule. We should not drink beer or cola or any of this stuff on a daily or almost daily basis. Mainly because they introduce a truckload of useless calories that do no good to us and do not even fill our appetite.
Now, that's the logic, and it's a sound logic, go explain that to people every time you are drinking water in a pub and they go: "ehm, uh, you don't drink?". Which, by the way, if not explained properly can seem like you are a recovering alcoholic, if explained properly will make you sound like a food/diet nazy.
It depends on the social situations. In my experience (yay, anecdotes) you only need to assert your preferences once or twice (maybe less with soft drinks, maybe more with alcohol, depending on the situation and people involved).
Anyway. You shouldn't be surprised if people react incredulously when you're not just deviating from the social norm but opting out of entire categories. "I only drink water" is no different in that regard than "I'm a vegan" or "I only eat raw food". It's a perfectly fine preference, but you're going to be an exception and exceptions tend to stand out.
I'm German but don't like beer and feel rather dispassionate about football (or "soccer" to Americans). It used to take some explaining when I was younger (i.e. teens and early 20s) but at 30 I find that barely anyone cares about it -- simply because they've learned that they don't have to agree with everyone about everything to be friends.
: Except die-hard football fans who can't imagine anyone not at least enjoying the sport or uber-machos who think drinking beer is a requirement for being a man. But those traits tend to be obnoxious enough on their own.
Another anecdotal experience: zero of my friends drink soda at all. We're all in the US in our late 20s. It's definitely a cultural thing, because we're all different kinds of people with different diets, different weights, etc. No one is diabetic.
On the other hand, 100% of us drink alcohol, and so far the only people I've met who are my age, from the US, and don't drink are recovering alcoholics and people whom I've later discovered are extremely anxious and worried about the possibility of feeling "out of control" (which is a totally valid reason not to drink).
And they have a negative reaction because they have cognitive dissonance with what is presented to them. They're forced to either reject the alternate moral judgement and be hostile to it (in some sense, not directly), or accept it and change their behavior.
Even subjective "preferences" such as "I like soft-drinks" have logical consequences, or implicit decisions associated with them. I.e. "I am fine with hurting my long-term health because I enjoy the immediate rush of soft-drinks." Not every can live their lives in a completely evidence-based, logically-optimized way.
Hey, I am not German, but I live in Munich. I hear what you are saying, I am Italian, so try not caring about football there, it's tough - people accept it, but it makes small talk very difficult sometimes.
On alcohol and drinks in general, even at 30, I think people still care, especially the ones you meet for the first time. Simply put, not drinking alcohol may signal a bad past (alcoholism), or being a potential nut job (diet nazy or gym pumper on steroids). This is actually useful information in social interactions, so I do understand why it is so widely used. On the other end, being vegan is so much accepted and so common and fashionable right now that the signal you get out of it is rather poor, so it's used less to pre-select or to make quick judgments.
>On alcohol and drinks in general, even at 30, I think people still care, especially the ones you meet for the first time. Simply put, not drinking alcohol may signal a bad past (alcoholism), or being a potential nut job (diet nazy or gym pumper on steroids). This is actually useful information in social interactions, so I do understand why it is so widely used.
You say useful and understandable, I say shitty and judgmental.
I don't know - I'm italian as well and I never had any particular problems with not liking football. Although I may be somewhat of a special case, as I seem to associate with people who don't care particularly for the sport.
By the way, how are you finding life in Munich as an Italian? I've been thinking about moving after I complete my degree, so I'm quite interested to see what other people's experiences are in that regard.
Hey, fantastic and best experience so far in Munich and I have lived in other 6 different cities so far. Said that, Munich can feel a little bit dull sometimes, but if you get a good circle of friends you'll have a great time, especially if you are into outdoors. Feel free to shoot me an email if you have more questions.
>> Simply put, not drinking alcohol may signal a bad past (alcoholism), or being a potential nut job (diet nazy or gym pumper on steroids)
I'd sure appreciate it if you didn't spread that hateful FUD in this setting. There's quite a wide range between sedentary and 'gym pumper on steroids', please be respectful to those who choose to occupy a different place on that continuum than you.
i used to think the same way, but you'd be surprised how quickly people accept that you don't drink (soda or alcohol). and if you're continuously getting harassed for it it's a sign you should shed those people as quickly as sugar.
Agreed. It's a subconscious power test by members of a group. Once they decide that you are stronger than them then they will leave it alone - and respect you for sticking with your principles. If they don't then, yeah, the group is toxic.
I don't drink soda, and I've never had anyone comment.
Regarding alcohol: I kind of understand the skepticism about people who don't drink. Drinking usually puts you in a more honest, less controlled, and less guarded condition, which makes drinking with other people almost a trust exercise. Not drinking at a pub is kind of like bringing your sword into a gathering where everyone else agreed to leave theirs' at the door.
That's an excellent analogy. My wife doesn't drink, but we had some of my friends over for board games and some beers. By the end of the night she was quite annoyed and none of us could figure out why. She was annoyed that they were making jokes at my expense. She was mad that I was making jokes at their expense. She thought it was rude. Imagine being in a less trusted social situation than "wife and best friends", maybe a business meeting, where the client wasn't drinking but everyone else was. It's easy to see why there would be a social stigma against the one person who wasn't drinking, just like there would be a stigma against the one person who was if the shoe was on the other foot.
Anecdotally, I don't know anybody under the age of 30 that regularly drinks soft drinks anymore. They aren't terribly good and they are about the worst thing you can put into your body—a can of coke has more than 40gs of sugar.
Alcohol might be a tough one to kick. It's so intertwined with social life I don't see it going away anytime soon.
I live & work in an urban area with young people. Hardly any of us drink soft drinks. When I return home to visit my family (small midwestern town) everybody drinks soda all the time. Most shoppers have a couple of cases of soda in their shopping cart at the grocery. My parents and siblings have 2nd refrigerators loaded with soft drinks. Every meal out includes them.
I think it would be easy to think that soft drinks are going out of style if you're living in a tech bubble (like I probably am), but when you get outside of this circle you can see the massive amount of soft drinks that are still being consumed.
It depends on the amount of CocaCola in the can, and the formula for that particular distribution.
Eg. USA has a 12oz can with 39 grams of sugar. UK has a 330ml can with 35 grams of sugar. (They aren't required to provide more precise accounting and so that 35 or 39 are rounded figures). These are close to the same.
Of course, if one is using 'coke' generically, there are many that have more than 40 grams. A 12oz can of A&W root beer is at 46 grams, as is a 12oz Mountain Dew.
Yeah... back in the day, us kids would try to find the soda with the highest cane sugar content. Now, I try to find the lowest net carbs in everything I eat or drink. Arguing about 33g vs 40g in a soda does seem non-productive.
To expand upon this, typically, people at that age have learned moderation or are teetotalers due to choice or recovery. Not a lot of binge drinking woo-boys/girls in their mid to late 30s and beyond, and the exceptions to that rule are probably faced with some societal judgement. The alcoholics (more so the ones in denial) and the one-off regular drinkers that scoff at teetotalers are probably the only judgement giving ones.
I was probably getting close to alcoholism myself and felt touchy around people that didn't drink (well, only the ones that announced it every chance they got, but then it feels like a judgement not a statement). I drank every day basically (and not ONE beer either), but when I went to moderate myself it wasn't too difficult; now I drink less than a handful of times a month.
I have a colleague who completely avoids alcohol. No particular reason for it other than one day he decided to do it because his friend wanted to do it. His friend didn't keep it up, but he did for ~30 years now. I have nothing for or against alcohol and I like some drinks now and then (mostly avoid beers, just don't like the taste).
I have to respect this guy that he keeps it up so long, even though he has nothing to gain or lose from it. I would have figured at least one day, what the heck, it's not a big deal, not doing anything bad or anything. But he decided he won't drink, so he doesn't. Mad respect.
>go explain that to people every time you are drinking water in a pub
Why do you feel a need to explain it? I've never had any reaction at all with 'no thanks, I'm good'. You don't have to say 'I'm on a diet' 'I don't drink' 'that crap will kill you' or anything else. Just no thanks. If someone does ask about your water, say 'I'm taking it easy' or 'I'm good'. Or get a club soda and lime.
Another side of this, is that if you buy/drink sugary beverages a lot outside of those social situations, you're also likely to get criticized about this. Every other peer tries to remind how unhealthy coke is, how one can clean rust with it and so on. And this is not out of health concerns, but just the same case of social situation conformance stereotypes - one's expected to drink while partying, but don't they dare to do the same alone at home.
And when some people start bringing up Coke's supposed rust-cleaning properties, others start bringing up Snopes and other contrary evidence.
Right now, there's too much "health noise" surrounding sodas, because they make so much money and so many people like them. We can't get a good "health signal" to "health noise" ratio to tell if these have healthy and/or unhealthy outcomes when we drink them. And so many of us just avoid them.
Alcohol is a social lubricant which, yes, we shouldn't rely upon. But there are a great many things we should do that we don't - I don't see alcohol as a huge problem in that regard (unless, you know, it becomes a huge problem for you personally).
I also have friends who don't drink, including some when I was at university (a high time for most people's blood alcohol levels) - few people cared. Though my one suggestion to you is to drink something other than water, even if it's just club soda. Aside from anything else, getting something that costs money will likely make the pub staff friendlier.
My excuse, when I decide I need one is "I'm just not feeling like I want to drink today." If anyone tries to put the thumb screws on me (which only occasionally happens), I say "I've never folded in front of peer pressure before, it's unlikely I'm going to fold today. I don't feel like drinking today." Usually that's enough to get people to drop the subject. If they still continue to the point that I've had enough, I leave. If my friends can't respect my decisions without fighting me on it, I don't want to be around them. They'll have way more fun getting drunk without me anyway, so I'll leave them to it and see them another day when either I do feel like a drink or they don't feel the need to coerce me into drinking against my will.
I am not the type that moves around easily in social situations, so I try to remove things that put me on the spot. Said that, I still don't drink alcohol or sugary stuff, it's just annoying to explain why every time
I leave in Munich, Oktober Fest... a small beer here is 0.5L and you have biergartens everywhere. You definitely can push to go to restaurants or cafes, but the reality is just that many times you'll find yourself in an establishment that serves primarily alcohol.
You can go out only to sport, music, outdoor events. But then you'll hardly meet the same number of people and you'll restrict yourself to certain specific group where average is usually above 40.
I have moved to Coke Zero, which tastes just fine (although it somewhat depends on the country where you buy it). I don't think there is much wrong with that, so I don't quite understand why Coca-Cola doesn't promote it more instead of denying that sugar may be a problem.
They promote them to the people who like them, but lots of us just do not like the taste of any diet soda. Coke zero and others are better than traditional diet coke to me, but I've never got beyond the initial bad taste--I'd much rather drink water than them.
I've heard that you eventually get used to them or even prefer them, but I've never gotten to that point.
I don't like diet coke either, but think that Zero is completely different. Make sure you drink it when it's cold. My impression is that it also depends on the type of artificial sweetener used, which depends on local taste and regulation. I think it tastes good in Europe and most parts of Asia.
I drink primarily Zero, I switched to it at the same time I ditched sugar in favour of artificial sweeteners (I tried to drink tea without any sweetening but gave up after few weeks, I just can't stand it). It's wonderful where I live (Poland), and I grew to like it even more than plain Cola. I've also seen numerous attempts to promote Zero over the original flavour; one time they even gave away cans of Zero disguised as ordinary Coke to make a point (you had to remove the can from a cardboard overlay it was in to discover it's Zero). I don't know how successful were those campaigns though.
It's funny because I think Zero (and original) taste absolutely disgusting and make me feel sick within minutes of drinking them. But I do have a severe weakness for diet coke (aspartame). I've mostly eradicated diet coke over the last year and now I just drink water or black coffee. Water wasn't so hard a transition really, but developing a taste for black coffee took a few months of dedication.
There used to be Pepsi Edge that was half sugar and half splenda (probably high fructose corn syrup) but it was discontinued for some reason one year after introduction in 2005... there is now Pepsi Next but I think that it is 70% high fructose corn syrup
I agree with you about the general opinion.
However I do believe it is relevant to your first question which was why Coca Cola does not promote on it more, I don't think you want to advertise on doing something people dislike or think it's bad (be it true or not it does not matter at all).
On the other hand I think most people know drinking Cola is not good for your health.
I stopped drinking alcohol a while ago for several reasons, an increased exercise regimen being one of them (though not the most important one). Now when people "ask" I just say I'm an athlete (which has become more true since then), gets them off my back pretty quick.
Apparently being healthy is frowned upon for anyone who doesn't need it (semi-)professionally.
This is so true. I went to a University in the UK which is well known for sport, so I was friends with a few aspiring pro athletes. They were the only people I recall being given a 'pass' when it came to peer-pressuring people to drink. The UK, on the whole, has a really awful relationship with alcohol, especially among uni students.
you can pretend that you are a recovering alcoholic and that you are using your tremendous willpower to stay away from alcohol, even in a bar. People might applaud and respect you for it and leave you alone :p
The trouble with the no-soda rule is, at a restaurant at lunchtime you're pretty much down to water, tea and lemonade. You can get pretty sick of that. Especially if you don't drink caffeine (because of blood pressure issues) so its water or lemonade.
I've innovated - ask for lemonade cut with soda water. Fizzy lemonade!
What's wrong with seeming like you are a recovering alcoholic? Many people are, and if someone judges you for that, they're not a good person. Many people also don't want the excess calories, and if someone judges you for NOT joining them in drinking alcohol, again, they're not a good person.
Same goes if they think you're a food/diet nazi. Who cares? It's your body. They shouldn't be so judgmental of your life choices, especially something as personal as how you decide to fuel your body and stay alive. And if they are judging you, in my experience, it's usually because they're working through their own issues and would rather it not be pointed out how unhealthy their choices are, and they want you to join them in their maybe-not-so-great decisions.
The industry really should adapt. I've been drinking this "Pure Leaf" Peach sweetened tea that has almost half the calories of the Lemon tea, and I don't think has artificial sweeters. It tastes really good, I don't even notice it doesn't have the same amount of calories.
Right around when I got this, "Gold Peak" appeared in the supermarkets and that is so sweet it is sickening.
Companies are pure capitalistic enterprises that respond to market demand right? Right?
But there's a physiological "high" of getting the sugar fix in soda, which makes the brain desire it. It's nowhere near the strength of addiction produced by hard drugs. But it is still significant and I would guess it does impact sales.
Just like apps are designed to be "engaging", ie. trigger the brain patterns where it will desire to return to the app, sodas are very much the same.
Companies are pure capitalistic enterprises that respond to market demand right? Right
You can imagine if meth or other addictive drugs were legal thst they would be in our drinks (which is the exact history of Coke). Modern food engineering is about maximizing consumption, even at the detriment of those consuming.
>Now, that's the logic, and it's a sound logic, go explain that to people every time you are drinking water in a pub and they go: "ehm, uh, you don't drink?". Which, by the way, if not explained properly can seem like you are a recovering alcoholic
I find it amazing that people think asking why you don't drink is acceptable, no one stops drinking for fun.
I've had that reaction on occasion. More often lately, however, I get a look of shame and the response, "I wish I didn't drink". I suspect people probably do not need a whole lot more prompting than "have you really never regretted getting drunk?" to realize your choice is wise.
But then you have a different issue: no friends, because everyone wants to go to the pub. Being the guy who will only hang out with you if you agree to his demands is not, socially speaking, a winning strategy.
That strikes to me as a fair compromise: we'll go to a place I don't like. I won't make a single comment on it, and in fact I'll be cheerful and happy, but in return you won't ask me to do the thing I don't like.
"no friends, because everyone wants to go to the pub"
I went thru that back when I was young (once you have a herd of kids, you won't have time for adult socializing, so that kind of solves itself).
Anyway at least for an introverted young guy, I got way more than enough socializing at the gym (get drunk while lifting hundreds of pound weights, what could possibly go wrong LOL?) and hiking club (open container laws are enforced in our parks, maybe not all countries). I also met people at non-credit night classes while learning some carpentry, Japanese, cooking, religion, philosophy, history, whatever looked cool I'd sign up for ... I would imagine its much easier for young people now with online event organization for meetups and conferences and maker spaces.
I wonder how much people drink at maker spaces. I would imagine drunken table saw and metal working machine operators don't live very long. They seem to produce things and the injury rate seems low, so probably not very much.
Things get complicated if you're in one of those situations where friends work and socialize together. Super awkward, will never go back to that again. "Never cross the streams" - Ghostbusters
You got downvoted for some reason, but you still have a point.
If one doesn't fancy drinking and if situation allows for this (i.e. they have a voice while discussing where to gather, not just invited to pre-agreed place) - at least they should suggest their friends to gather somewhere else. Some place that's not about drinking.
That is, if the place is still a subject of discussion, "Aw, guys, you know I'm not fond of drinking - how about some other place? I know a good cafe nearby..." is certainly not awkward.
And, well, sometimes it's not a bad option to decline sometimes, too. Depends on a particular company.
I stopped drinking alcohol completely about 5 years ago. I was drinking a lot of pop everyday and couldn't figure out why I couldn't lose weight. I was still playing soccer four times a week and working out at the gym the other day. I had changed my diet pretty drastically and still no major weight loss.
Then I started cutting back on pop so as not to experience caffeine withdrawal. Within a few weeks, I was down to one can a day. After two months, I lost 10 pounds, almost all because I stopped drinking so much pop.
It's pretty amazing how many calories and sugar pop has and how negatively it affects your body.
I agree. I went to college with a housemate who didn't drink. You'd be surprised how few people cared/noticed that he did this. I think one of those things where if you're the one not drinking you think you stick out more than you do.
Unsweetened ice tea is a great flavorfull beverage with no calories and caffeine...
But people don't tend to say "Why don't you have a lighter?" when you say "Sorry, I don't." in the same way that they query why you don't want a drink. I endured this for years; it gets tedious after a while.
Lots of people care. I regularly go to a sports bar that features beers around the world. The guys in my group love to peruse the beer app that the bar sponsors. I order water and eat only the healthier items on the menu.
Despite their love of beer, I think that my health consciousness weighs on them... makes them feel a little guilty. Consequently, they make little comments about my lack of drinking. Harmless stuff, but my guess is that they're actually expressing disappointment in themselves.
I especially notice that when new people are with the group, the core members feel that they have to point out and explain that I only order water. So there's obviously some tension and discomfort there.
Personally I've become a big fan of tea. Hot and iced. In my opinion most teas don't require any sugar or require very little to offset a bit of bitterness. 9 times out of 10 I use no sugar at all. And that 1 time I do it's maybe half a teaspoon because the tea in question has a bit of bitterness or because I let it sit for too long.
Tea also has the added benefit that if you make it per glass it forces you to get away from the computer for a few minutes. Plus the aromas and flavors are, in my opinion, more numerous and pleasant than all the sugary drinks out there combined. Tends to be noticeably cheaper too :)
Seconded. If you live in a metropolitan area, you will likely have a Teavana or other chain/mom & pop tea store where you can go in and smell or try all of their varieties.
You'll easily find half a dozen different teas you like ranging from the classic black teas to exotic varieties that taste like supermarket sugar drinks (like strawberry lemonade - one of my favorites at teavana). The latter usually require less a 5g bump of sugar to bring them to the level of retail drinks.
What is interesting is that those volumes put Uber no where close to a monopoly player in the taxi/"car lifts" market. They are just 1 player and I think people use them because their app is cooler than calling a taxi by phone or razing your hand. I don't know, I wouldn't put money on them. Maybe their app, who knows, could be useful for taxis once uber goes away?
OK, this is going to be a bit off topic for HN, but let me give it a shot. I work in finance controlling, in a global manufacturing company. I am interested to see how numbers are crunched and analyzed in other companies, so I can offer some freelance consulting. I am especially interested in connecting all kind of data to actual P&L impacts, setting up efficient controls, better reports, training on financial/controlling/excel stuff (and I really like to teach). Also, I played a lot with python and web development, so if you are building any kind of financial system, I can help on the finance side but I get also the tech side. Anything around finance and financials of a company really, you can send me an email, I'll read it and if I get interested I'll see how we can work together.
One reason I stayed in finance is that the programming scene is very fragmented. Some people say everybody that can do a print "hi" gets a job, yet many job advertisements come with increasing requirements. Startups keep looking for the 0.1%, whatever that means, that tells me that there is, indeed, strong competition for candidates (and that I have a 99.9% chance of not getting any job in those startups). Finally, age does come into play, one thing is to go into this at 20, another is at 30 and even another a 40, etc.
There is a lot of survival bias. So far, I did not hear any salary higher than 50k euro from face to face talk in Germany (mine is higher, with no coding job). Thus, I am also not clear how real is to have one of those $100k+ salaries just doing "normal" coding (no managerial stuff). If that were possible and achievable even in a 3 years span, I'd definitely jump into it, but reality tells me it's not. At least out of the tech hubs (SV, etc.), but then the 0.1% thing kicks in, so you have a 99.9% chance of not getting any of those jobs, while you have plenty of opportunity to get a steady carrier just where you are.
And finally, programming will go through some kind of "commoditization", it's already happening. It might be good to "only" be coding today, but 10 years from now, older and with kids (so no possibility to work week ends anymore), this will probably not be enough and will move you more towards the unemployable zone.
> yet many job advertisements come with increasing requirements.
I think you shouldn't really take these at face value. If you can give any justification why you can cross off one or two of these, that should probably be enough to get you an interview.
> hus, I am also not clear how real is to have one of those $100k+ salaries just doing "normal" coding (no managerial stuff). If that were possible and achievable even in a 3 years span, I'd definitely jump into it, but reality tells me it's not.
I got one of those. No managerial stuff (though also not purely coding, also systems engineering. But a purely engineering job), right out of University, with a math degree and I wouldn't consider myself especially capable. I'd say it's definitely possible with a degree and a degree should be within the advertised three-year range if you are borderline competent (most people at my university aren't and they are still getting their degree).
To be fair: You have to take into account where you are going to work. A friend of mine is also getting around 50k in Hamburg, I am moving to switzerland for my job. There is a huge difference in pay based on location.
I definitely think that "just coding" isn't enough. Employers are looking for a degree for a reason, there are certain skills you will probably not learn when "just coding", like abstract thinking, algorithmic analysis and stuff like that. And you will find tons of people bitching at University about how that is totally irrelevant to a software job, so we shouldn't learn it. But you should.
All of that being said: I doubt you will make significantly more money than in the finance industry. From what I've heard, if you want to make real money, work for a bank. Finance vs. SWE is definitely a lifestyle-choice, not primarily a money one :)
China lacks innovation and innovation culture, for now. If they don't get that solved, they will not grow as much as they did during the last 40 years. They need to find ways to climb up the value added chain, innovation and know how would be the best way, but let's see how they play this out. They have a huge market though, so there is that.
I think the problem may be deeper. China certainly is innovative and technically adept, but they have a serious sex problem (one-child policy and demographics pun partially intended).
China isn't cool. Even the Chinese elite drive Western cars, watch Western entertainment, wear Western brands, and so on. Given that China's labor costs are nearly equal to American labor, if additive manufacturing strips away their manufacturing ecosystem advantage, there will be little reason to buy from China what can be cheaply made at home or elsewhere. China can make anything that anyone else in the world makes, but "Made in China" is the last thing people expect to see on a luxury product, unless it's accompanied by "Designed in California."
What do you mean by "even the elite drives western cars..." Obviously only the elite can buy these. And most Chinese people eat Chinese food, visit Chinese touristic places, read Chinese books, etc. There's only the western movies which could be said to really have no local equivalent.
It's not that China lacks brands, but that it lacks globally aspirational brands. Here's the problem in reverse: do non-Chinese aspire to buy Chinese-designed goods? It has even become increasingly unfashionable in China to wear knock-offs, making the demand for foreign luxury goods even greater. Of course only the elite can afford these items, but when the poor and middle class of today become the elites of tomorrow, what will be any different for them?
Democracy and corruption are very complex issues in China. Chinese in general aren't all that concerned about democracy, and the West has plenty of corruption, just in a different way. For example, American congressmen are hesitant to close expensive and unnecessary domestic bases because they mean jobs and votes for their home districts. Perhaps China could adopt an anti-corruption method pioneered by China's only female leader to have ever held the masculine title of emperor: Wu Zetian. She instituted a system of anonymous complaint boxes for local officials that went straight to Beijing. Although undemocratic, it helped stamp out corruption and improved the public's perception of fairness.
I think you are wrong on all points, being efficiently oppressed doesn't mean you aren't concerned about it and wouldn't want something better if it was available and you knew about it.
Your example of the American congressman might not be the most efficient use of resources but it is democratic, they are responding to their constituents needs.
The point about complaint boxes is laughable, it's like the companies I worked for with suggestion boxes that ignore every suggestion that doesn't match their world view. If every Catholic complained they couldn't practice their religion without government interference do you think it would make any difference?
Chinese in general are more concerned with the system working than it being democratic. They see Europe and America and view our democracy as dysfunction. Those complaint boxes did work, by the way. As a female emperor, not empress, Wu Zetian was under constant threat of coups and uprisings. That she managed to rule to a ripe old age is a prime example of her effectiveness. Then again, it wasn't all complaint boxes - she was rightly feared for her iron fist, like when she did away with one of her former courtesan rivals by having her appendages chopped off and the body thrown in a vat of wine so "she could finally have enough to drink."
I think it's good to sit and talk about performance and work every now and then, I don't think it's good to write things down and put them into a system for years. Also, I think it's horrible to have things like OLR where "leaders" sit and talk about you and how well you do (from below to above expectations). The thing is, most managers are bad, especially the middle ones, and their opinions about their reports tend to be bad and flawed. Managers get overly excited about extroverted people and the introverted struggle because they don't show "leadership skills". However, in many fields (i.e. mine in finance), you need a high % of introverted people because they are the ones that usually perform the work, while extroverted spend time socializing and "networking". This whole situation creates a continuous incentive to game the system - instead of doing your job, you spend time working out ways to game the reviews (there are many, the classic is when you are indispensable for some mission critical tasks). The result of this is that you will get politicians at the top, those that game better the system, instead than results.
It's not easy, but definitely performance reviews and OLRs are not the answer. I think 1:1's are a good idea, because they happen more frequently. As for feedback from others than your boss, I think it would make much more sense if that was on the whole team/department, rather than on single individuals (like in OLRs).
>, I don't think it's good to write things down and put them into a system for years.
Because of a litigious labor environment, companies and HR departments are forced to document appraisals and ratings and keep them archived.
Part of the reason Ellen Pao failed to convince a jury consisting of 50% women (6 women) was that KPCB had extensive historical documentation contradicting her claims. Even though they've won their case, it shouldn't surprise us if they keep even more documentation on employee evaluations. If companies followed your idea of not writing things down, they'd end up in a situation of "he said, she said". That's a weak defense in a lawsuit.
In theory, the employers & employees in America have what's called "at will" employment. Employers can fire for any reason (except for discrimination), and likewise, employees can also quit without giving notice.
That's the theory. The reality is different. If you want to fire a "protected class" employee for unacceptable job performance, the worker may try to retaliate and claim discrimination. The "at will" principle gets trumped by lawsuits.
The company's defense against protected class workers who think they are impervious to being terminated is to document everything.
"Her chief reservation with Pao's case lay in her performance reviews, Malone said. That was also the view of the two other jurors interviewed by Reuters"
For any who might be swayed by the argument that companies are forced into heavyweight performance review processes in order to protect themselves from the threat of litigation, I'll just add this countervailing consideration: there are a subset of developers (myself included) who consider such performance review systems to be a skunk tied around the neck of the company. I will not go near such companies with a ten-foot pole. I've just seen too many weird outcomes that go back to such processes, and they give off a bit of "big bureaucracy" smell.
The extrovert vs. introvert distinction explains a lot. I'm an introvert, and have always hated reviews, even when I know it's going to be a good review. The best review in my opinion is when I get no response at all -- that's when I know I've done my job, and it just worked. Extroverts seem to enjoy getting "feedback" even when it doesn't matter -- e.g., when there's no raise in it, and there's also no chance of being fired.
Unfortunately in most companies, compensation (even that which is nominally based on performance) is not based on performance, but rather on the market. An accurate comp-linked review would go something like: "we decided to give you a 1% raise this year b/c we think that is the minimum necessary to keep you in this job; also we used up our budget to hire this other person, and she needs 10% more than you're making to convince her to leave her other job."
Nice tone. But if you read my comment you realize I make a point of bad selection, that's where bad management comes from. Also, good managers end up being bad simply because they need to game a broken system to stay afloat. Mine is an opinion, though.
It's not as though the second statement is false. Even at Microsoft which has at least a little bit of a hiring bar I saw a ton of mediocrity along side the few generally very bright developers and managers.
No it's not. Devaluation != wealth. Say an economy produces only 2 lemons per year and they cost 1 euro, say you devaluate and now the cost 1.5 euro... how much wealth have you created? None, you are still producing only 2 lemons. The real problem in Europe is taxes, a very bad culture for entrepreneurship and, consequently, little to none venture capital. While we do have very competent people technically, we miss totally the business side of things. Italy is a great example of this, lots of stems, very poor business people and no to little venture capital. Then, when you do manage to actually produce something and sell it, you are killed pretty much from day 1 by taxes - more than half of your added value will go to the government.