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posted by martyb on Saturday July 15, @03:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the Stockholm-Syndrome dept.

I saw an story in Slate about stagnant wages in an economy that is growing otherwise:

There's a disturbance in the force of the U.S. economy. An airline canceled flights because it couldn't find enough pilots to steer them. Despite high demand, homebuilders in Colorado are throttling back activity because they can't find the workers to erect frames. Farmers in Alabama are fretting that crops may rot in the ground for a lack of workers to bring in the harvest.

[...] There are a whopping 5.7 million job openings (well over twice the level of eight years ago). Meanwhile, baby boomers are aging out of the workforce at a rapid clip and Mexicans, many of whom crossed the border to work, have been leaving the U.S. for years. The demand for workers is high.

Given these conditions, wages should be rising sharply. But look at this chart from the Atlanta Federal Reserve: They haven't been, and they're not. … Last week, the New York Times featured a Columbus, Ohio, cleaning company owner mystified that he couldn't find applicants for his $9.25-per-hour jobs ("I sometimes wish there was actually a higher unemployment rate," he actually said) and a Nebraska roofer who couldn't figure out why nobody applied for the $17-an-hour jobs she was offering. "The pay is fair," she said.

Actually, if not a single person applies for your job, the pay probably isn't fair. But that's where America remains stubbornly stuck: Employers won't pay enough, and workers either won't or can't demand more. There are likely a lot of reasons, but the biggest, or least most fixable, may be psychological: From an economic perspective, both sides of the hiring market should have the power to increase overall wages in the current climate—but they aren't.

[...] There could be a skills gap in which the workers out there simply don't have the training necessary to fill the open jobs. Or it could be that, as Binyamin Appelbaum of the New York Times ventured on Twitter, that "a lot of American businesses have lost the muscle memory of how to compete for workers." That is to say, they have literally forgotten the words to use, and the tools to deploy, when workers aren't lining up in droves to fill their positions.

I also found this in the Daily Caller. It discusses the shortage of H2B workers this year. Most folks here know about H1B workers... H2B is program for low skill seasonal workers which has seen rule changes and cuts this year.

Businesses in Bar Harbor, Maine are turning to locals to make up for a shortage of foreign guest workers that normally fill summer jobs in the bustling seaside resort town.
Because the H-2B visa program has already reached its annual quota, Bar Harbor's hotels, restaurants and shops can't bring in any more foreign workers for the rest of the busy summer tourist season.

[...] The shortage is so acute that companies are sweetening incentives for local workers. Searchfield says some businesses are offering flexible schedules that might appeal to older workers who might be interested in working only a day or two each week. And other companies have gone so far as to offer higher wages to entice locals.

Imagine that.


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  • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Saturday July 15, @03:44PM (9 children)

    by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 15, @03:44PM (#539558) Homepage Journal

    If you offer raises/higher pay now while, normally you would have in the past, when the boom is over, you still have to pay those wages or harass people to quit (illegal, in Canada at least) or fire them and pay severance (at least in Canada).

    If you pay higher wages, will your profit increase that much? Is it easier/more profitable just to keep working status quo?

    --
    --- I wish i had a cig for every sig i've ever had: i'd have cancer and wouldn't you feel bad for looking here. ---
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:49PM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:49PM (#539603)

      This is the US, in pretty much the whole country you can fire people at any time for virtually any reason. There's a small list of reasons that you can't use for firing people, but other than that, you don't even need a reason at all.

      Sure, your unemployment insurance might go up a bit if you fire people, but other than that, it's not that big of a deal in most cases. You hire the people needed to do the job and you fire them if there's no longer enough demand for it.

      If they can't find people to do the job for what they're offering, they're supposed to offer more money until that's either no longer the case, or they can't afford to offer more. In which case, they just scale back a bit.

      The problem more than anything else is that most employers are cheap as fuck and anything above free is taking away from their absurd profits.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @06:31PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @06:31PM (#539619)

        Yup, I had a boss who had a gambling and drinking problem. I never saw the books, but the book keepers were always a bit shocked. Gotta love when your hard work is treated to job insecurity and lack of raises. Employers by and large are incredibly selfish and view any employee benefit as whiny entitlement. Or they guiltily just say the company can't take it, otherwise known as "I don't want to give you any of the nice pie, like those scraps!"

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @08:11PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @08:11PM (#539638)

          ...and just plain assholes.

          ...and, in so many cases, when they say "job", they're NOT talking about fulltime employment; they're talking about "The Gig Economy".

          Regarding the cleaning company mention in TFS, for those who don't like giving NYT pagehits, I read about that in another place:

          Jobs You Can't Afford to Take [counterpunch.org]

          He is looking to add two or three part-time workers to his 20-member staff.
          [...]
          1) Thompson is looking for multiple part-timers, rather than full-time. Sounds like someone doesn't want to pay benefits like Obamacare, Workman's Comp and unemployment.
          [...]
          that's $12,987 [Annual Gross Income for his hires]
          [...]
          2) The job is being a janitor--cleaning offices after hours. So it's very likely that his workers don't even get 20 hours. A lot of these places have people working Monday through Friday, three to four hours a night.
          [...]
          3) Needless to say, these hours mean forget about seeing a spouse who works--or your kids. But, more importantly, the schedule Thompson requires means that employees can't take any other job.
          [...]
          4) Did I say five-page job application? Why yes, I did. Among other things, it warns you that if you don't "provide legible, complete and accurate answers to all application and interview questions", you won't be hired.

          (Question: Why does he require an educational history--including "Major / Subjects studied"--in order to hire a fucking janitor?)

          5) The application requires giving consent to do a full background check and a pre-employment drug screen. Since the job sends people into the offices of companies that might have cash--and certainly have valuables--this is necessary for bonding and insurance. But it also tells the applicant the following things:

          * Even if we decide to hire you, you won't start for at least 10 days (that's how long background screens and drug tests normally take to process).

          * You will have to drive to the lab where you're going to be screened. You might (depending on the background service) have to drive to their office for photographs, fingerprints--and sometimes lie detector tests or DNA screens.

          * The five page personal history, employment history and educational history are a complete waste of time. We're going to get the information from somebody else--and if there are any discrepancies between what you wrote and what it says, we'll assume you are lying, not that the service screwed up.

          6) There's going to be a lot of driving--all of it unpaid. Responsibility #12 requires you to "be able to use very reliable transportation to report to specified work locations when scheduled or with little notice."

          Translation: He doesn't have vans to take people to jobs (meaning you just have to figure out a way to get to company HQ). You have to go wherever he schedules you on your own. The company is in Columbus, but you might be working anywhere in Franklin County--or maybe in Delaware, Fairfield, Licking, Madison, Pickaway or Union County.

          You have to cover your car payment, insurance, fuel and repairs out of that $8,417.50 (before taxes) per year. Even the New York Times article admits this is ridiculous; it quotes a VP at Manpower (a temp service that treats people only a tad better than a sweatshop) as saying "You can't have a car on $10 an hour."

          Thompson is offering $9.25.

          7) If the travel isn't bad enough, Thompson adds two other onerous requirements for people struggling to survive:

          * "Must have an active personal phone number at all times." Meaning, he wants to be able to call you at any time and tell you "Don't go there--go here." So that's $20 a month for cell service.

          * "Direct deposit of paycheck is required." Many unskilled labor services--face it, Mr. Thompson, that's what this is--pay in cash or check--often on a daily basis. Also, 30% of low-income workers don't have bank accounts--they can't afford the fees.

          I'm guessing Thompson is just clueless. His employment application is a PDF; he wants applicants--who almost certainly have access to the internet only on their phone (if at all) to download and print it, then either fax, email, or mail it back.

          8) But wait, there's more. Rule #8 says "wear appropriate uniform and personal protective equipment". He doesn't say who pays for the clothing--when the employer doesn't say, it usually means the employee.

          Rule #10 says workers have to "Attend and participate in meetings or training as requested by the Team Lead, Supervisor, or President." You might think this time would be paid. You would be wrong. In 2014, the "Dread Pirate" Robert Court ruled that employers don't have to pay you for time they require.

          Oh, and the job requires using "equipment such as wearing a 12 lbs. backpack vacuum, upright vacuum, floor machines, carpet extractors, or autoscrubber, etc." and lifting 50 pounds.

          Thompson wonders why nobody shows up. I certainly don't.

          -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Saturday July 15, @09:42PM

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 15, @09:42PM (#539661) Journal

            "(Question: Why does he require an educational history--including "Major / Subjects studied"--in order to hire a fucking janitor?)"

            Maybe the same reason that larger employers require some very specific education? So they can reject any application they don't like. For instance, "nationality". If you're not an Indian H*b then you're fucked. In this specific case, the employer may be a racist, and he's going to use lack of education to block any black males, especially if they use ghetto-speak gangsta-talk. There are jobs that do require some specific levels of education, sure, but there really aren't that many of them. Janitor services are most certainly not one of those jobs.

            --
            This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
          • (Score: 4, Interesting) by kaszz on Sunday July 16, @12:14AM

            by kaszz (4211) on Sunday July 16, @12:14AM (#539703) Journal

            If you pay someone more than X per year, you have to pay 12 987 US$/year in addition for Obamacare?

            Anyway, this seems to be the costs as outline by OriginalOwner:
              * Time for five-page job application.
              * Time for meetings or training.
              * Travel (by car?) for interview and drug screening.
              * Little notice = other activities can't be planned.
              * Car loans, insurance, fuel and repairs.
              * Cell service 20 US$/month.
              * Bank account fees.
              * Maintenance for a desktop PC + printer to deal with PDF retrieval and return.
              * Personal protective equipment.
              * Heavy equipment carrying risks for future backpain and thus medical cost and sickleave.

            I don't know what the specific costs would be. But it sounds darn expensive to work. Normal business is done to make a profit and not charity. So what they are looking for really is a charity to help their profit making business. They are not even looking for slaves because such people can't take on debt etc.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Saturday July 15, @09:32PM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 15, @09:32PM (#539659) Journal

        You don't "fire" people without reason, normally. Yeah, it happens from time to time, but generally, not for the reasons you state.

        When I was in construction, I was routinely ROF'd - that is, laid off due to "Reduction of Force". Generally speaking, when the rainy season hit, a lot of construction workers were laid off. And, generally speaking, when business picked back up, those same workers were put back to work on another new job. Construction workers usually try to get into a job that is likely to continue through the rainy season. In home construction, that means erecting a half dozen shells during the spring and summer months, so as to have the empty shells to work in during the rain.

        Other industries have their own idiot-synchrosies, but there is no need to "fire" people to get rid of them when business is slow.

        All of that said - yes, many states have adopted that "At will" work clause. Both employer and employee enter into a business relationship "at will". When there is no longer a will to work together, either can leave the relationship, without any need to give a reason. Of course, that works to the employer's advantage, and almost always to the employees detriment.

        --
        This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
      • (Score: 2) by driverless on Sunday July 16, @10:05AM

        by driverless (4770) on Sunday July 16, @10:05AM (#539859)

        Mexicans, many of whom crossed the border to work, have been leaving the U.S. for years.

        What, the groundskeepers and cleaners and builders and maintenance people are leaving? Quick, we need to stop them! Build a wall! We need to build a great wall on the SOUTHERN BORDER, and much more! Stop illegal emigration!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @07:24PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @07:24PM (#539633)

      harass people to quit

      Why would you need to do that? Just do normal layoff because there isn't work.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @07:53PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @07:53PM (#539637)

      I can't say how much house framing goes on during the winter (I would bet not much), and the second part talks specifically about seasonal work..

  • (Score: -1, Insightful) by Ethanol-fueled on Saturday July 15, @03:44PM (4 children)

    by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 15, @03:44PM (#539559) Homepage Journal

    This is by far the biggest load of horseshit I've read.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @03:48PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @03:48PM (#539561)

      Coming from you that means this article is actually the most insightful one to cross SN in a while.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @08:18PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @08:18PM (#539639)

        Wages will not go up only if supply is not constricting. But apparently that article is roses and lollipops.

        One of the first things you learn in macro economics is that labor also has a supply/demand curve. If wages are not going up then the supply is sufficient to do things. If you want people to work for you, you will raise your wages. If you do not need them then you keep them at the current level or lower it. Which one are we seeing?

        • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Sunday July 16, @12:18AM (1 child)

          by kaszz (4211) on Sunday July 16, @12:18AM (#539705) Journal

          So when you notice that salaries has not moved upwards then you know that the employer whining is false in regards to supply. Unless the job market is exempt from the demand-vs-supply mechanics?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @01:07AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @01:07AM (#539724)

            It's more complex than that.

            Part of this comes down to behavioural economics, in addition to straightforward beancounting.

            Hiring doesn't occur in a vacuum. I could probably fill a construction firm's ranks easily, if I offered $250K/year plus a $50K signing bonus. The problem is that the odds of my then showing a profit are essentially nil. Simply declaring, for example (not a random example, I actually heard this proposed) that all farm workers everywhere should get a base pay rate of $60K/year, doesn't mean that jobs will suddenly materialise at those prices.

            This is what you might call the price elasticity of labour supply and demand. Janitorial contracts are extremely competitive (leaving aside the mob corruption in the field) so simply declaring that janitors should be paid, oh, let's say $20/hour at a minimum, with some minimum hour count and so on and so forth, means that the compliant services will fold - or if they all comply, employers will find ways to ditch them, such as telling employees to empty their own damn trash - thus reducing overall job count anyway.

            On the other hand, downward pressure on wages is very difficult to translate into actual wage cuts, as opposed to extended unemployment, or reduced job mobility, because of psychological factors.

            This is a brief overview of why you can have unemployed people refusing to take jobs at the offered wages, while prospective employers refuse to raise wages. Where the government does get involved, such as the recent brouhaha about Seattle's wage rises, you'll find (more or less what the infamous totally-not-peer-reviewed-but-still-apparently-correct study found) that small employers without a buffer hired fewer people or left the area, on average, while employers with a sufficient external buffer essentially subsidised their burdened branches with the profits of elsewhere. Surprise, surprise.

            The real lesson is what Margeret Thatcher said, lo these many years ago: "If you try to buck the market, the market will buck you." She was right then, she's right now, and all the people who sniffle and say: "But THIS time we can buck the market!" are just making examples of themselves for the rest of the world.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @03:52PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @03:52PM (#539563)

    companies have gone so far as to offer higher wages

    Is this serious?

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by lgsoynews on Saturday July 15, @04:00PM

      by lgsoynews (1235) on Saturday July 15, @04:00PM (#539570)

      This sentence made me jump as well.

      I think it summarizes very well the underlying attitude problem!

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Saturday July 15, @06:17PM

      by krishnoid (1156) on Saturday July 15, @06:17PM (#539614)

      No kidding. I think my heart stopped for a few beats. At least US medical care will still pay somebody well enough to put me into bankruptcy for that.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Thexalon on Saturday July 15, @03:55PM (2 children)

    by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 15, @03:55PM (#539565) Homepage

    All the problems described above are solvable by a sufficiently determined employer. The trouble is, they aren't sufficiently determined enough, and can't think past the next quarter, so they don't try some of the obvious things to try:
    1. Relocation: Recruit from places other than where the job is and pay for people to move there. There are places in the US with lots of worker shortages, but also places in the US with ridiculously high unemployment. If you are recruiting just in your immediate area, you'll have a harder time finding someone than if you offer a real chance for people in inner-city Detroit. Pay for them to move, and possibly give them some sort of voucher program to go back to where they came from periodically to visit so they don't lose their social contacts there.

    2. Training programs: If you can't find someone with the skills you need, find someone who's reasonably smart and hard-working and train them with the skills you need. That solution will take longer than hiring somebody who already knows everything you think you want them to know, and be more pricey in the short term, but you will probably gain a very loyal employee in the process. In other words, recruit someone plugging away at a McDonald's, put them through a training program that pays them the same as McD's, and after they're done they get to be a skilled tradesman making 2-3 times what they made at McD's. What do you think that guy's going to think about your company?

    3. Telecommuting: If the job doesn't need somebody physically there, why not let them work from somewhere else? That solves your relocation problem, and also allows people who are currently unable to work to do some work (e.g. someone staying home caring for an aging parent).

    4. Part-time and/or flex-time: Maybe somebody who can't work full time (e.g. child care responsibilities) can still put in useful hours for you. I've noticed that many recruiters for salaried positions would rather have nobody than pay somebody half of the salary for 25 hours per week.

    5. Check your prejudices: Are you excluding people from your potential hiring pool because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or anything else that doesn't affect their ability to do the job? Yeah, you need to stop that, and see if that changes who's available to hire.

    --
    If you act on pie in the sky, you're likely to get pie in the face.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @08:26PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @08:26PM (#539642)

      Everything you mention here applies to white collar work. None of the job openings are white collar. Try to pay attention. The push to fill post secondary education institutions has bred an attitude that makes people think they don't have to do labor to earn money. "I'm too good to sweat. I got a degree." Idiots.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Thexalon on Saturday July 15, @08:58PM

        by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 15, @08:58PM (#539649) Homepage

        Everything you mention here applies to white collar work. None of the job openings are white collar.

        What makes you think that relocation and training programs apply only to white-collar people? Who says you couldn't recruit somebody who is relatively unskilled from inner-city Detroit to be a roofer in Arizona if you really needed roofers in Arizona?

        And before you think it can't be done, I just spent most of the day dealing with a company that regularly recruits people from all over the place and trains them to install gutters. Not glamorous work, but it pays better than a crappy fast food or retail job.

        --
        If you act on pie in the sky, you're likely to get pie in the face.
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @03:56PM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @03:56PM (#539566)

    > There are a whopping 5.7 million job openings

    It is called "Fake Jobs". These have impossible to meet requirements, employers absolutely refuse to train, and all so they can tell Trump they need more cheap-ass retarded Indians.

    That, and collecting e-mail addresses for spamming from job sites.

    > Columbus, Ohio, cleaning company owner mystified that he couldn't find applicants for his $9.25-per-hour jobs

    Chances are they used one of the common job sites that won't even let an applicant continue submission unless they swear up and down under penalty of death that they have over 9000 years of experience in some unimportant shit.

    Try reading some actual paper resumes instead of looking at some database designed by outsourced Indians to create work for outsourced Indians.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by looorg on Saturday July 15, @04:20PM (1 child)

      by looorg (578) on Saturday July 15, @04:20PM (#539572)

      I would say that you are onto something, I don't know really why I do it but even when I have a job I keep looking or subscribing for services to list similar or new jobs -- it's nice to know what it out there even tho I don't really want to change job. But I have noticed a pattern of Company X looking for someone and then a day or hours later a bunch of Recruitment Firms will also look for the same thing and from the description you can deduce that it's for Company X they are trying to fill a slot. That doesn't mean there are say 5 jobs available, there is still only 1 but there might be five companies that look for it and advertise for it. Massively inflating the amount of available jobs.

      Overall I would say the main reason that they can't find applicants to fill the positions is that they are suffering from some kind of Goldilocks-syndrome, they want unrealistic things or just the right thing instead of picking something that is fairly close and then offer training. Sometimes reading the adverts is like reading a small child's letter to Santa. They want it all, everything and now and there is no compromise.

      There also seems to be a growing market for just "interviewing" people, checking out what is available. Even tho they have no plans to actually hire anyone. From my own experience these are the companies that really want you to come to an interview but they are not really interested in spending any kind of resources finding candidates.

      If they can't find cleaning staff for $9.25 or a carpenter for $17 then there probably are not any unemployed cleaners or carpenters in the area. All the cleaners or carpenters around are making more, or have some other perk that they won't give up. At the same time they might not be able to increase the wage more cause they can't charge more for the service they provide. They can't build a roof, a frame or clean a floor and losing money by doing it. So if they can't push the staff cost onto the customer then they are kind of stuck. Still the positions mentioned doesn't seem like positions that would require a lot of on-the-job training, the carpenter job more then the cleaning job tho.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Saturday July 15, @09:07PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday July 15, @09:07PM (#539654)

        There are plenty of "wish spots" open... company I worked for wanted to hire away a top level engineer from the competition, so they opened an attractive spot for him to advance to in the company... policy forbade saying who the spot was open for, so they let internal qualified candidates "compete" for the position, but, mysteriously, it was never filled - because the person it was created for didn't want to move.

        During the 2003 recession, I applied to a series of four positions that were advertised and interviewing, but not actually intending to hire anyone from the interview pool - they were just required by policy to advertise and interview before hiring from within.

    • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Saturday July 15, @04:42PM (4 children)

      Horse shit. Not remotely all of those jobs are even possible to outsource.

      --
      Socialist: Someone who wants everything that you have. Except your job.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @04:51PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @04:51PM (#539576)

        No, it's cow shit. They will still try to bring in their Indian buddies locally. Seen that first hand.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:42PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:42PM (#539599)
          To pick vegetables in Alabama and shingle roofs in Ohio? No way.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:46PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:46PM (#539602)

            Mexicans, Mexicans.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @07:03PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @07:03PM (#539624)

        Every job can be outsourced to immigrants, that is the American Way! Don't ignore the long history of tradition.

        It all boils down to cost, and employers by and large don't want to pay their employees more. It is also driven by the big Save Marts that make it impossible for smaller shops to charge higher rates. Race to the bottom by "efficiency", no one planned for the social cost of making human jobs worth less and less.

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Saturday July 15, @06:21PM

      by krishnoid (1156) on Saturday July 15, @06:21PM (#539615)

      and all so they can tell Trump they need more cheap-ass retarded Indians.

      "Are you sure you want Indians? I've got a great relationship, a tremendous relationship with a lot of Chinese. They do good work, my whole clothing line is made by them. This tie? Check it out, see, nice workmanship. And you can't beat them for the price. Yuuge savings when I started getting my workers from Chiii" -- wait for it -- "na."

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by lgsoynews on Saturday July 15, @03:58PM (21 children)

    by lgsoynews (1235) on Saturday July 15, @03:58PM (#539569)

    Baby-boomers massive retirement waves have been predicted a long time ago, I learned about it in high-school in the 80s.

    But the real issue is certainly the race to the bottom that so many companies are pushing. Combine the lack of fair wages, no raises (diminishing buying power) with treating the workers like shit, add the movement toward the "gig" economy (which is mostly another way to abuse workers) and you get a nasty work environment. And it's not limited to the least qualified jobs either.

    Of course, consumers & by extension companies are all guilty of this race to the bottom (always cheaper!).

    I work in -big- computer projects, and despite working on super sensitive projects (the crown jewels) in telecom companies, they still manage to replace their competent workers with cheap beginners who CANNOT handle the complexities involved. I leave the disastrous results to your imagination. (I'm french, but I know that this trend goes everywhere.)

    In the end, for some people, it's starting to be difficult to find a job that brings enough money to be worth it. Example: a friend of mine went to work for an hotel in some islands last year, it was super hard work (she called it slavery). She only stayed 2 months (temporary help for the rush season), but the money she brought back was barely enough to cover the cost of the babysitter for her -much younger- sister for the same period... For her, to justify working -especially hard work like this one-, she needs to earn enough to cover the expenses plus a healthy sum, or she's better off babysitting herself (obviously).

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Geezer on Saturday July 15, @04:45PM (20 children)

      by Geezer (511) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 15, @04:45PM (#539575)

      Retired (disabled) boomer EE here.

      I advised my son to skip e-school (a BSEE takes like, what? 50 years to pay off debt now?) and just go military. High probability of survival in rear echelons, nice benefits, and guaranteed retirement.

      Smart kids who can't pay cash for college should say fuck the banks and the race-to-bottom employment market and go Navy or Chair Force for the tech training and easy life.

      --
      Scruting the inscrutable for over 50 years.
      • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:05PM (10 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:05PM (#539581)

        Doctors practicing statistical medicine.

        Disabled is such a trigger word these days.

        • (Score: 5, Touché) by Geezer on Saturday July 15, @07:09PM (9 children)

          by Geezer (511) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 15, @07:09PM (#539626)

          Stage 4 cancer isn't a statistic, fuckwit. Worms like you make me wish it was contagious.

          --
          Scruting the inscrutable for over 50 years.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @08:23PM (4 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @08:23PM (#539641)

            they did not say cancer anywhere in their post. where did you get that?

          • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @09:34PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @09:34PM (#539660)

            That's why I invoked the practicing of statistical medicine. Just because your case may or may not be legitimate, does not imply that disabled is not a trigger word.

            An estimated 48.9 million people, or 19.4% of the non-institutionalized civilians, have a disability. An estimated 24.1 million people have a severe disability. An estimated 34.2 million people, or 17.5%, have a functional limitation.
            NSIP - Basic Facts: People with Disabilities
            www.serviceandinclusion.org/index.php?page=basic

          • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @09:43PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @09:43PM (#539663)

            Such hostility. Unfortunately for you, cancer is contagious, spreads through DNA. So you can teach your offspring how to collect disability benefits so that they can be covered under Medicare when they are diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, just like you.

            Now that is a +5 touche comment.

            • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by Geezer on Saturday July 15, @11:01PM

              by Geezer (511) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 15, @11:01PM (#539680)

              Here's a +10: I fucked your mom 9 months before your birthday while your dad was in prison. Have a nice cancer. :)

              --
              Scruting the inscrutable for over 50 years.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:00PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:00PM (#539679)

            It is interesting that AC cited disability as a 'trigger' word in a condescending manner, and yet was triggered by it.

      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday July 15, @09:11PM (2 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday July 15, @09:11PM (#539656)

        The armed services are a good deal, until the Chair Force puts you on active patrol where the flak is flying.

        Risk / benefit - it's an equation that plays out in investment, career choice, and just about everything else of significance in life - go for the lowest quotient you can tolerate.

        I couldn't tolerate saying "yes, Sir!" to f-ing washout idiots who are looking for payback of all the abuse visited on their sorry asses on the way to their miserable inductee training posts. Other than that, the military would have been a good deal for me, too.

        • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Sunday July 16, @12:38AM (1 child)

          by kaszz (4211) on Sunday July 16, @12:38AM (#539710) Journal

          Do something to get discharged after getting college paid by the military?

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Sunday July 16, @03:53AM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday July 16, @03:53AM (#539783)

            Do something to get discharged after getting college paid by the military?

            Do you think this is an unusually clever idea, something so unique that the armed services hasn't encountered a recruit yet who tried it? They've had your number for 200+ years, son, and if you think this is a good idea, they've figured out a way to convince you that it is more painful this way than to do what they want you to do... not that a recruiter will tell you any traps like that exist, but they most assuredly do.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @03:09AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @03:09AM (#539761)

        Former Navy enliayed. cs grad now. I can believe you told your kid to be enlisted instead of finding a cheap state school. Jesus Christ you're an idiot.

        Survivability? Some places have over 50% other than honorable discharge rate. Motherfuckers get mental problems just being denied comforts like sleep in favor of stupid chores.

        My time in the Navy made computer science look like a walk in the park
        Pay for his college you cheap faggot

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday July 16, @07:34PM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 16, @07:34PM (#539983) Journal

        LOL - "Chair Force". Easy life, huh? Well, I have to admit that a lot of the Navy has an easy life. The fleet, not so much.

        --
        This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
      • (Score: 1) by i286NiNJA on Monday July 17, @06:46PM (3 children)

        by i286NiNJA (2768) on Monday July 17, @06:46PM (#540471)

        The most advanced technical training available to your kid as a new guy in the military will be laughably sloppy and the attrition rates in their programs are insanely high. I'm sure he'll thank you when he finally gets done with 6 years of painting, cutting grass with scissors, and sweeping sand... and only comes out of it deaf, with bad knees, and arthritic hands. Thankfully he enjoyed the safety afforded to "rear echelon" military

        Once he returns to the civilian world he will discover that most of the jobs available to him are high-paid helpdesk positions mostly related to his security clearance. He will work underneath an officer, former officer, or degreed civilian for most of his life.. they will sneer down their noses at him every day even as his pay creeps up, 70k, 80k, 120k!!! Going into his soul crushing job.. until one day he has medical bills, or a crazy spouse, or decides to smoke a joint and loses his security clearance.

        From there he will will get to enjoy being helpdesk maybe even helpdesk manager!! For the rest of his life. Now with no clearance jobs available to him his pay will tap out at even less than he made at his first real job :(

        Or you could encourage him to go to a community college that has a transfer agreement with a reasonably priced state college (They exist if you bother to do some comparison shopping) and pay for it all with FASFA and grants. Mentioning that you're dying of cancer on his grant requests will quickly move him to the top of the candidate list)

        He will probably graduate with somewhere between 0 and 10k of debt. Certainly a small price to pay for avoiding the possibility of getting stuck with 50, 60, or 100 hour workweeks for months or years.

        THIS IS MILITARY LIFE:
        Imagine that you have a job as an electrical technician (NOT ENGINEER) with a strict dress code and bosses who takes credit for all your work and can abuse you with near impunity. Now imagine that at the end of every work day you put in a few hours a week as your part time position as a school janitor. Except your janitor boss is in a sexless marriage with a hippo who sits at home every day whittling away his hard earned money on cheesy poofs and ultra-premium cable packages so the only happiness in his life is when he inspects your work by cramming a q-tip into small cracks and crevices so he can wave it in your face and call you an idiot and a loser.

        Imagine this is your life and it happens every day.. each week you are promised a weekend or maybe just a sunday. Either by your own mistakes or at the whim of any of your 10 bosses your weekend and ability to take vacation will disappear in favor of extra cleaning or extra training. There is no way off this treadmill each new day comes and the only way to stop it might be to jump off the roof or admit to a doctor you're slowly going insane and get branded with a scarlet letter for the rest of your life.

        Then there is the ever looming specter of a NJP. Every month you'll see some friend or acquaintance of yours getting separated from the military. Superstars, shitbags, and everyone in between will be axed. Of course they'll axe slightly more shitbags but with a little bad luck anyone's career can be terminated at any time. It helps keep everyone terrified and on their toes to know that everything they've worked for their entire lives could go down the shitter by lunchtime if they irritate the wrong person or even if one of their own friends needs to throw someone under the bus to save their own skin.

        I have a feeling you've kind of made your mind up. Sending your kid off to the military with no idea what it actually means might be a good way to tie up a whole lot of loose ends before you die. Go ahead and look at some veterans groups on facebook. Go ahead and post a resume as a recently discharged IT3 vs a recently gradated tech major. Check out different markets and the differences in corporate culture between the military offers and the BSEE or BCSC guy.
        Google "Nobody respects my tech degree" vs "nobody respects my military experience" and compare the sorts of complaints you hear folks making.

        I knew a guy who went in the airforce and because he knew COBOL they made him an enlisted developer and he worked on MULTICS. Awesome! He turned that into an amazing career and got to work on so many cool things. I promise you nothing like that exists anymore, the best you might get in the military is some satcom stuff or one of their laughably terrible diploma-mill quality infosec programs... either one would require an extended commitment and you're still going to be a janitor.

        • (Score: 2) by Geezer on Tuesday July 18, @04:31PM (2 children)

          by Geezer (511) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 18, @04:31PM (#541002)

          Being a veteran myself, my experience was considerably different.

          --
          Scruting the inscrutable for over 50 years.
          • (Score: 1) by i286NiNJA on Thursday July 20, @04:44PM (1 child)

            by i286NiNJA (2768) on Thursday July 20, @04:44PM (#541971)

            Maybe things are worse now. Or maybe you got lucky and got one of those mythical good commands that everyone told me I should re-enlist for. Electronics training in the military is composed of NIDA electronics trainers and a powerpoint-like slides. It's a total joke you could do the same thing at home for under $200. If you think that trash is good enough to build a career off of just oh wow.

            It was my experience that the computer folks in the military were almost all idiots (They talked about MCSE like it was the mark of a god). Like I said I knew a guy who got to work on multics in his early 20s as an enlisted airman.. a fantastic opportunity. He's probably your age. I promise you nothing like that exists anymore any work like that is now done by officers or contractors.

            At least have your kid go through college and THEN go in the military so they can pay him more and pay off all his student loans and treat him with respect. What the fuck is the point in going in enlisted so they can jerk you around for 4 years and pay you shit for it. Every year congress reduces the GI bill benefits just a little more... the sooner your kid goes to college the less they can rip him off. There is literally no point in going in enlisted unless you're too stupid to graduate college unless you're there strictly to blow shit up. All of the technical MOS jobs are a complete fucking waste of time when compared to college+commission the "better" ones like nuclear electronics technician are actually much harder than most STEM degrees and have sky high suicide rates that start in school and continue in the fleet. Why? Then you get out and your "good training" and days awake working on a nuclear reactor count for nothing unless you're going to work in a nuclear power plant... the 2nd option being some random clearance job and then you find after that you find despite being much harder nobody seems to respect your experience more than a STEM degree.

            Here in seattle I see guys with coding bootcamps or community college certificates who are starting out at 50k... sure rent is expensive here but the cheap studios are still nicer than the barracks or do you think a nightly symphony of fapping will help him build character? Sitting there in the dark listening to 50 guys beat off while all his college buddies are somewhere drinking beer and banging sorority girls.. jeesh.

            • (Score: 3, Informative) by Geezer on Thursday July 20, @08:07PM

              by Geezer (511) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 20, @08:07PM (#542042)

              I was in the nuclear propulsion program, which I leveraged into a civilian nuclear test engineer gig at Mare Island. Yeah, lots of guys "nuked out" and I spent my whole tour floating around in a gray dumpster, but it was worth it. And I never, ever had any college debt, nor have I ever flipped a burger except on my own patio.

              There are no perfect choices, just choices.

              --
              Scruting the inscrutable for over 50 years.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @04:17PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @04:17PM (#539571)

    Corollary: American Jobless can't Get A Job because Current Salary is $0 and they can't Get A Raise.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by The Mighty Buzzard on Saturday July 15, @04:39PM (2 children)

    So, NCommander, why can't we get a raise around here?

    --
    Socialist: Someone who wants everything that you have. Except your job.
    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:04PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:04PM (#539580)

      Have you tried stealing? There's (Approximately:) $193.90 in the till you could nick.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:34PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:34PM (#539594)

      THIS!!! Give them, say, 33.7% raise.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:01PM (19 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:01PM (#539579)

    I'm an american Software Engineer. I've been getting 10-15% raises every year for ~4 years now (since I started working full time), and I'm surrounded by people in similar situations.

    Also, since 1978, CEO raisises in the US have outpaced worker's raises by 90x. (Source: http://www.epi.org/publication/ceo-pay-has-grown-90-times-faster-than-typical-worker-pay-since-1978/ [epi.org] )

    So when I see an article saying Americans are not getting raises, I call BS. Americans are getting raises, but a small wealthy portion are getting the vast majority of them, and a few upper middle class people (like me) are getting the rest.

    This is not a net pay problem, its a distribution problem.

    As an interesting aside, the software industry seems to be really obsessed with hiring the very best, which results in a similar labor market to that of professional sports: everyone is always trying to hire more people, but almost all candidates are rejected, and the ones you give offers to often have many competing offers. When I realized I was making over 3x the income as our nations world cup champion women's soccer team's players, and 50% more than most of the players on my local men's team, but less than 5% of the stars, it really drove home the pay distribution in such fields: there are people in my office that are equally filthy rich. Competitive hiring means lots of open positions, but those are not positions that 99% of people have a chance at filling, and the businesses assume they won't be able to fill most of them, so its hard to actually consider them available jobs. It turns out the dream of being a successful software engineer is actually more financially lucrative around here than the dream of being a professional athlete for most sports.

    Also oddly the pay for a software engineer does not seem to correlate directly with value/skill. The percentage size of annual raise correlates with perceived skill/value. I don't get a raise to my actual value, instead I'm worth 15% raises every year (My current pay is not involved in my evaluation to decide if I get a raise!). I have no idea how that makes sense, but I'm pretty sure it requires a culture that does not discuss salary openly, since its completely unreasonable: maybe that's how the CTO's justify treating themselves in a similar unreasonable way? Anyway, I'm looking forward to getting far more money than I deserve out of this madness before it collapses, but what its doing to society disturbers me.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:10PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:10PM (#539583)

      As an interesting aside, the software industry seems to be really obsessed with hiring the very best, which results in a similar labor market to that of professional sports: everyone is always trying to hire more people, but almost all candidates are rejected, and the ones you give offers to often have many competing offers.

      The software industry has become so obsessed with celebrity that everyone needs a "big break" to become a "rockstar" before finding any work at all. That's the problem.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:26PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:26PM (#539589)

        Twenty-five years and my life is still
        Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
        For a destination
        I realized quickly when I knew I should
        That the industry was full of rockstar coder bros
        For whatever that means

        Relevant song lyrics. Twenty-five years ago, the song was about feminism. Now it applies to young men. As always, popularity matters, and moderation of this comment will depend entirely upon whether mods recognise the song.

        • (Score: 2) by SDRefugee on Saturday July 15, @09:00PM (1 child)

          by SDRefugee (4477) on Saturday July 15, @09:00PM (#539652)

          4 Non Blonds - Whats Up? oh wait.. I'm not a mod.... my bad..

          --
          America should be proud of Edward Snowden, the hero, whether they know it or not..
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @09:10PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @09:10PM (#539655)

            If a woman sings it, she's a feminist. If a man sings it, he's a loser.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by jmorris on Saturday July 15, @05:43PM

      by jmorris (4844) <reversethis-{gro.uaeb} {ta} {sirromj}> on Saturday July 15, @05:43PM (#539601)

      WTF are you even babbling about? Comparing a useful and in demand skill like yours to women's soccer in the USA? Nobody gives a crap about soccer in the USA in general and nobody in the world really cares about women's soccer. So of course those jobs don't pay well. Compare your pay to one of the popular "gangster ball" leagues where there is money, booze, drugs and women flowing in abundance from the massive TV contracts to the select few who can compete at the pro level.

      But bigger question, are you even American? No American would make the mistake of thinking soccer counts as a "Pro" sport in this country. We only have pretend pro leagues run by speculators hoping to make it a "thing" someday, probably on the theory of demographic replacement.

      But yea, your pay relates to expected returns from your work. The corporate world is malfunctioning in many places and starting to lose the ability to correctly value things though so weird things show up for a time... until the invisible pimp hand smacks another corporation to the bargain bin vultures. That is often just the Impossibility of SJW Convergence at work but other forces are at work against the corporation. Size used to matter, now it quickly becomes a liability. It is going to take another few decades to sort out a new optimal size.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:52PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:52PM (#539607)

      Meh. It was the same for me. It's not that you're so awesome, it's that you're getting underpaid. Once you hit parity you'll find that the raises suddenly dry up. It's both that the good ones can get paid more and they refuse to pay more than $X. They can't bring themselves to pay more, so instead my bonuses continue to grow. I suppose I can't complain about the total compensation, but clearly the intent is so they can roll back my pay at any time, I would rather they just keep up with inflation.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @08:28PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @08:28PM (#539643)

        This is it right here. I would regularly get 5-15% raises all the time. Then suddenly I was 'under performing' and got .1-.5 if I was lucky. Did I suddenly become a stupid shitbag? No. I was having smoke blown up my ass for them to justify their original fuckup. Inflation is a nice way to lower their overcompensation.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @09:42PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @09:42PM (#539662)

      As an interesting aside, the software industry seems to be really obsessed with hiring the very best

      Could've fooled me, since there are vast swaths of programmers who can't seem to program at all and constantly make utterly trivial errors that a preschooler should know to avoid. Is that what being the "very best" means?

      Another issue is that they're turning away good people simply because they don't have degrees, which just limits the talent pool even further.

    • (Score: 2) by Magic Oddball on Saturday July 15, @10:41PM

      by Magic Oddball (3847) on Saturday July 15, @10:41PM (#539672) Homepage Journal

      There's also another current facet within the software industry that you didn't include: workers that are 35+ years old are often considered expendable regardless of their experience, performance, or pay.

      --
      Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. —Twain
    • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Sunday July 16, @12:44AM (9 children)

      by kaszz (4211) on Sunday July 16, @12:44AM (#539713) Journal

      How do you secure your gains against that your earned dollars can be worthless when it collapses?

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday July 18, @02:11AM (8 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 18, @02:11AM (#540703) Journal

        How do you secure your gains against that your earned dollars can be worthless when it collapses?

        Invest in things that aren't dollars.

        • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Thursday July 20, @01:38AM (7 children)

          by kaszz (4211) on Thursday July 20, @01:38AM (#541741) Journal

          What things? if your capital is small as in most salaried jobs and you need to make it grow. Like stocks and dividends do?

          I have noticed that metals grow by money loosing value faster. But that doesn't seem like real growth anyway. If buying and selling shares in precious metals were possible it would be a little different. Property usually requires up front capital greater than salaried jobs admit for being a pure investment thing. And so on.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday July 20, @01:56AM (6 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 20, @01:56AM (#541751) Journal
            You mentioned three things right away, stocks, metals, and property. There's plenty more where that came from.
            • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Thursday July 20, @03:59AM (5 children)

              by kaszz (4211) on Thursday July 20, @03:59AM (#541794) Journal

              Metals and property is quite static in value increase. And stocks are bought and sold in a currency like US dollars.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday July 20, @08:49AM (4 children)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 20, @08:49AM (#541855) Journal

                Metals and property is quite static in value increase. And stocks are bought and sold in a currency like US dollars.

                None of the three are dollars themselves and limit harm from high levels of inflation, no matter what currency you originally purchased the investment with. Second, while metals and similar durable commodities tend to be quite static, the same is not true of property which can be improved, rented out, or merely increase in value due to other real estate growth in the location.

                • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Thursday July 20, @03:57PM (3 children)

                  by kaszz (4211) on Thursday July 20, @03:57PM (#541950) Journal

                  How do you get the proper value from stocks if say the value of the US dollar plummets hard?

                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday July 20, @08:10PM (2 children)

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 20, @08:10PM (#542043) Journal

                    How do you get the proper value from stocks if say the value of the US dollar plummets hard?

                    Either price it in a stable currency or wait for the dollar to stabilize, possibly with the issuance of a new US currency. Same goes with the other investments mentioned.

                    • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Thursday July 20, @08:27PM (1 child)

                      by kaszz (4211) on Thursday July 20, @08:27PM (#542051) Journal

                      Stocks tend to be bought and sold from a stock account noted in one currency. And the provider is tied hard to the national currency. So getting anything sold in another currency is unlikely because you will have to jump through the currency for any transaction. And if there's a crisis maybe the account provider has shut down to leaving your investment in limbo.

                      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday July 20, @11:09PM

                        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 20, @11:09PM (#542097) Journal

                        Stocks tend to be bought and sold from a stock account noted in one currency. And the provider is tied hard to the national currency.

                        That would correspond to the case where I wait for the national currency to stabilize again. Moving the stock to a different broker who can handle other currencies would be the first option of the two I listed.

                        And if there's a crisis maybe the account provider has shut down to leaving your investment in limbo.

                        Something that bad will affect wealth in general, but you can still weather it by having the right of investments, such as real estate. And if you're speaking of a failure so complete that even land is lost, well, that's going to affect everyone, not just some hapless would-be middle class trying to save money.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by mcgrew on Saturday July 15, @05:42PM (11 children)

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday July 15, @05:42PM (#539600) Homepage Journal

    We let them kill the unions.

    --
    Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:52PM (8 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @05:52PM (#539606)

      We've all been raised on Google and Facebook to believe that one day we'd be billionaires and YouTube celebrities and rockstar coders. But we won't. We're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

      Fight! Fight!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @10:37PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @10:37PM (#539670)

        Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.

        In the world I see - you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. And when you look down, you'll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying strips of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighway.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:09PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:09PM (#539684)

          Sears Tower is Willis Tower now. There's a missed opportunity for a giant dick joke if only Fight Club had been made ten years later. Of course if Fight Club had been made ten years later, then Tyler's 1990s-era emo nihilist message would have fallen completely flat, because the men who he called the middle children of history got their great war in the War on Terror and they got their great depression in the Great Recession.

        • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Sunday July 16, @05:45PM

          by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 16, @05:45PM (#539948) Homepage

          Actually, that's not true: People are spending far less on discretionary expenses like clothes or restaurant meals than they did 20 years ago.

          --
          If you act on pie in the sky, you're likely to get pie in the face.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:03PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:03PM (#539681)

        I think it started on the participation awards in school.

        People used to get rewarded for achievement. Then someone cried. Now everyone can be a millionare if you just follow The Secret; Oprah advertised it right here on the facebooks.

      • (Score: 2) by Magic Oddball on Sunday July 16, @05:20AM (2 children)

        by Magic Oddball (3847) on Sunday July 16, @05:20AM (#539809) Homepage Journal

        We've all been raised on Google and Facebook

        Well, that might explain a lot...about Millennials, at least — it doesn't say a thing about people over 34 years old, which would include most Soylentils. I think the message most of us got was more along the lines of "if you go to a good college and work hard, you'll make a decent living."

        --
        Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. —Twain
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @11:34AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @11:34AM (#539870)

          For those over 35, most of them were raised by TV to think all they have to do is stand around being clever, then a quick commercial break or montage later, the dirty work is done and we can all relax. That's the problem I have with my employees. None of them want to actually do anything other than stand around being clever and wait for someone else to do the real work. As for raises... I made the mistake of entering the education market. My products have outstanding reviews and teachers absolutely love them. Kids respond to them. But I can't sell enough to pay myself more than most of my employees get. Same answer every time-- "it's not in the budget." You can't tell me we don't have enough kids, or that our education system is so good we don't need to improve. From my perspective, our biggest problem in this country is lack of respect for *effective* education that teaches creative thinking skills. Instead, we're training meat-robots who can't do anything without being told explicitly, in detail, what to do, how to do it and when to start, then follow up to make sure they keep doing it until it's finished and check that they did it right. I have this experience almost every day.

          And this is how our country will fall. What's the point of national defense? Why bother building the strongest castle in the land if we're only giving the keys over to a band of idiots? (See current president for example... He's not an idiot, he's a Russian pawn. It's the idiots who put him in charge.)

        • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Sunday July 16, @05:46PM

          by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 16, @05:46PM (#539949) Homepage

          I think the message most of us got was more along the lines of "if you go to a good college and work hard, you'll make a decent living."

          Yup, that was exactly the message drilled into kid's heads since at least the 1980's. And the trouble is that we now know that it isn't true.

          --
          If you act on pie in the sky, you're likely to get pie in the face.
    • (Score: 1, Informative) by jmorris on Saturday July 15, @05:58PM (1 child)

      by jmorris (4844) <reversethis-{gro.uaeb} {ta} {sirromj}> on Saturday July 15, @05:58PM (#539608)

      Good riddance. Unions died because workers realized two things about them:

      1. You were going to be a slave to the Communists or the Mob. Every union quickly becomes a plaything of one or both. There is no fix, they attract both like maggots to rotting meat so you can have all the 'reforms' you like and in a few years one or both will be right back feasting on the free resources of dues and political power.

      2. Unions improve material working conditions, but the cost quickly becomes apparent. The first is the work rules turn what used to be a livable job in to a drudgery of trying to accomplish anything useful while dodging the shop steward. The second is the unavoidable terminal state as union demands grow without bound, until the parasite kills the host employer. Yea, good job while it lasts... until it gets outsourced or the employer simply goes bankrupt. See Detroit and the whole Rust Belt.

      That is why the last union stronghold is the one FDR said should never be allowed to establish itself, government workers. I'll leave it to the student to figure out why government unions are a bad idea yet still persist.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @06:04PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @06:04PM (#539610)

        See Detroit and the whole Rust Belt.

        I can't wait for Silicon Valley to implode as Indian Technology companies cut off the looting heads of their worthless American managers and the American tech industry disappears just like the auto industry did.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by number6 on Saturday July 15, @06:38PM (13 children)

    by number6 (1831) on Saturday July 15, @06:38PM (#539620) Journal

    The issues and problems arising around us today are just the flotsam and jetsam of a bigger problem.
    Advancements in technology and science have rendered a large swath of the earths population unnecessary and dangerous for co-existence.
    We need to practice eugenics on a mass scale one day (soon?). Earth has limited resources. Taxing robots is not a solution to the population problem.
    To solve this problem you need to take on board a tyrannical mindset.

    The other day I bumped into a retired ecologist and we had a chat; he mentioned to me a famous rat experiment:
    A group of rats enclosed in a contained space were given an abundant food supply and perfect living conditions; they were allowed to breed and populate without restriction; the number of rats in the contained space became large and congested; more food was supplied to accomodate all the rats......but having food was not enough; when the population became too great the rats began to kill each other.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @06:43PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @06:43PM (#539621)

      Prove you're more civilized than a rat and kill yourself. Kill yourself now.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @07:34PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @07:34PM (#539636)

        You know what he's saying is something that many people believe. For instance even Bill Gates has regularly alluded to 'population management' as an important issue.

        His solution is certainly phrased in about as an abrasive way as he could possibly manage, but there are extremely humane ways of enforcing this - if it's a desirable goal. For instance, allow women to be paid $xx,xxx to have their reproductive capacity permanently removed. If they later decide they want children there would be nothing stopping them from adopting. Personally, I don't think population management is the problem or a solution, but attacking somebody because you find an idea distasteful isn't accomplishing anything.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @07:19PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @07:19PM (#539632)

      You're assuming a flat level of productivity or productive individuals. Things are proportional. The ratio you're interested in is the number of people necessary to produce all the goods and services for the rest of society. That ratio continues to plummet. But the important thing here is that it's a ratio. Our problems aren't suddenly solved by having fewer people. 300 million, 30 million, 30 million, even 300k. The problem is that there's only a need for a relatively small chunk of society to be working, but our entire economic system takes the necessity and inherent value of mass employment as an assumption.

      That rat experiment had so many confounding variables it was absurd. The experiment sample was packed in things the effective size of a shoe box with 0 stimulu, heavily inbred, and more. It was more of an experiment in torturing animals to the point of driving them insane. On Earth we have more than 16 billion acres of habitable (non mountainous, non oceanic) land. The rat experiment is in no way whatsoever relevant.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday July 16, @07:07AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 16, @07:07AM (#539829) Journal

        The problem is that there's only a need for a relatively small chunk of society to be working

        What is a "need"? In today's world, there is an enormous want for people to work.

        but our entire economic system takes the necessity and inherent value of mass employment as an assumption.

        What's wrong with the assumption?

      • (Score: 1) by Goghit on Sunday July 16, @06:08PM

        by Goghit (6530) on Sunday July 16, @06:08PM (#539955)

        True enough. The observation of the "beautiful ones" amuses me though. These were small subgroups in semi-private locations of the habitat that spent all their time grooming, eating, and sleeping, completely abandoning normal social behaviours like sex and caring for offspring. And then one of them was elected president...

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by RedBear on Saturday July 15, @10:40PM (3 children)

      by RedBear (1734) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 15, @10:40PM (#539671)

      We need to practice eugenics on a mass scale one day (soon?).
      To solve this problem you need to take on board a tyrannical mindset.
      when the population became too great the rats began to kill each other.

      Oh, look, a eugenicist. How original. Because the Nazis had such great ideas, I guess? They were real big on eugenics, and made a valiant effort to implement their ideas. Are we better off for it?

      In nature, all culling does is make the remaining population stronger, faster, smarter and more prolific. We keep trying to control various animal populations this way and it keeps backfiring spectacularly. So we double down and do it again, because we're idiots.

      News flash. People have been saying "There are too many people!" for hundreds of years. Maybe thousands. They've always been wrong. Meanwhile, back in reality, the population of most developed countries is declining, and humans have been massacring each other for tens of thousands of years, since before there were even a million total humans in existence. Our problems with coexistence do not originate from overpopulation. It's estimated that the Earth could support 40 billion people if we had proper food distribution. But the population is self-regulating. It's slowing down. I doubt we'll ever reach 10 billion, much less 12 billion. But even that would be perfectly sustainable with sufficient cooperation.

      There's a simple way to control population growth. In every country where women are given equality, education, access to contraception, and employment options, the population growth comes to a screeching halt. Instead of 15 kids it becomes 1.75 kids per woman. Voila, stable or slightly negative population growth.

      So no, sociopath, we don't need to practice eugenics. Except on people who think horrific crimes against humanity will somehow solve humanity's problems. What we do need to do is fight for womens' rights and access to education and employment all around the world. Step one toward that goal is making sure everyone on Earth has access to clean water and sanitation. This remains the most pressing issue for about half of humanity. If you actually want to do something about that, and thereby help curb global population growth far more effectively than any eugenics program, try visiting Water.org.

      Oh, and human beings are not rats, last time I checked. Although I'm not entirely sure if we're better or far, far worse. Never seen a rat that had grand dreams of being a mass rat exterminator.

      --
      ¯\_ʕ◔.◔ʔ_/¯ LOL. I dunno. I'm just a bear.
      ... Peace out. Got bear stuff to do. 彡ʕ⌐■.■ʔ
      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Sunday July 16, @12:58AM

        by kaszz (4211) on Sunday July 16, @12:58AM (#539718) Journal

        People will not make use of the nature responsibly and cooperation often breaks down into war. Which causes more pollution etc. While sustainable population levels may have misjudged in the past. It doesn't mean they are misjudged this time. And people wants to do more than just being alive.

      • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Sunday July 16, @05:11AM (1 child)

        by deimtee (3272) on Sunday July 16, @05:11AM (#539802)

        Oh, look, a eugenicist. How original. Because the Nazis had such great ideas, I guess? They were real big on eugenics, and made a valiant effort to implement their ideas. Are we better off for it?
        In nature, all culling does is make the remaining population stronger, faster, smarter and more prolific.

        You do realise that culling and eugenics are the same thing. Are you actually saying that eugenics is no good because it makes a population stronger, faster and smarter?
        There are plenty of ethical arguments against eugenics, but arguing it doesn't work is arguing against both history and science.

        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @09:35PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @09:35PM (#540038)

          You glossed over the "more prolific" bit. If you cull to alleviate overpopulation, but the survivors are more prolific, you'll soon have overpopulation again.

    • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Sunday July 16, @12:55AM

      by kaszz (4211) on Sunday July 16, @12:55AM (#539716) Journal

      People not only need food. They need space and self fulfillment.
      And open office landscapes is torture because there's no privacy.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday July 16, @08:03AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 16, @08:03AM (#539834) Journal

      Advancements in technology and science have rendered a large swath of the earths population unnecessary and dangerous for co-existence.

      Then why isn't it happening? I'll note this study [voxeu.org] which saw two thirds of the world getting paid 30% or more (adjusted for inflation) in 2008 than they were in 1988. Median income went up by more than 60% over that time period.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @11:41AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @11:41AM (#539871)

      Look up TED talks and a documentary by Hans Rosling. The population problem is slowly solving itself.
      Yes, it's going to get worse first, but not by too much, and then it will reverse.

      The problem is, we have an economic system that is dependent on ever increasing growth. Look at what happens to countries with a declining population, or even counties within the US with declining populations. Then consider this on a global scale. Either way, we're screwed unless something fundamental changes.

      And don't fall into the trap that your 3 minute musings are sufficient to understand and solve the problem...

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday July 16, @11:11PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 16, @11:11PM (#540074) Journal

        The problem is, we have an economic system that is dependent on ever increasing growth. Look at what happens to countries with a declining population, or even counties within the US with declining populations. Then consider this on a global scale. Either way, we're screwed unless something fundamental changes.

        Population growth != economic growth. You can get economic growth from increasing automation and greater longevity, for example. And countries with declining population are actually doing rather well.

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