Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.

LQD: Krugman finds an elephant in the room

by Metatone Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 05:40:23 AM EST

With two recent diaries, Krugman confronts the fact that the patterns that seem correlated with past enrichment of society are breaking down:

Falling Demand for Brains? - NYTimes.com

As I recall, I was the only contributor who obeyed instructions; everyone else was too concerned about loss of dignity. Anyway, I decided to write the piece around a conceit: that information technology would end up reducing, not increasing, the demand for highly educated workers, because a lot of what highly educated workers do could actually be replaced by sophisticated information processing -- indeed, replaced more easily than a lot of manual labor. Here's the piece: I still think it's a fun read.

So here's the question: is it starting to happen?

Today's Times has an interesting and, if you think about it, fairly scary report about how software is replacing the teams of lawyers who used to do document research. And then there's Watson, of course, who -- which? -- can beat almost everyone except my Congressman at Jeopardy.

...

In my mind this raises several questions. One is whether emphasizing education -- even aside from the fact that the big rise in inequality has taken place among the highly educated -- is, in effect, fighting the last war. Another is how we have a decent society if and when even highly educated workers can't command a middle-class income.

front-paged by afew


Autor! Autor! - NYTimes.com

A further note on brains and jobs: the story I told in my whimsical magazine piece bears a clear family resemblance to the influential analysis of Autor, Levy, and Murnane a few years later, which argued that the crucial difference in terms of possible replacement of humans by machines was one of routine versus non-routine, rather than white-collar versus blue-collar, and that computerization was if anything likely to increase demand for some "low-skill" occupations and reduce demand for some traditionally well-paying white-collar jobs:

<snip>

...

In the 80s, the higher the skill required for an occupation, the bigger the employment gains. In the 90s, there was "hollowing out", with the middle-skill occupations losing relative to both ends. And most recently, the hollowing seems to have spread further up the scale.

This is real, and it calls some of our favorite platitudes into question.

(My emphasis.)

I've tried not to copy whole blog posts, so it may be clearer if you read the links.

The key concern is that the popular theories which link our economic system to widespread wealth (as opposed to a slide towards a feudal system) relie on an employment structure that rewards a middle class. Now even a relative mainstreamer like Krugman is noticing the breakdown...

The question: is technological change hollowing out the middle-class?

We know that much of the current impoverishment is based in politics... but are there reasons to believe that technology has skewed the system?

Display:
No, this is nonsense. Financialisation has hollowed out the middle class by:

  1. Offshoring skilled jobs to hothouse economies where engineers cost far less than the they do in developed economies
  2. Creating marketing (bullshit) economies where technical innovation is worth far less than persuasive ability
  3. Destroying viable and productive companies in M&A feeding frenzies
  4. Sucking some of the remaining technical talent into the orbit of the speculators, where it spends its time gaming the markets instead of doing something useful and entertaining.
  5. Creating markets dominated by huge and stupid corporate oligopolies

That's the technical white collar middle class. The non-technical middle class have been affected in various ways - a few good, many bad. But it would take an entire diary to explore what's been happening to authors, musicians, academics, lawyers, and the rest, because the changes are very dependent on profession.

But the executive summary is that financialisation has had a downward effect on salaries for all but those working closely with the speculators and with board-level executives.

You can't blame technology for this, because these changes are a direct result of market-think, not of a sudden miraculous availability of clever machines that are stealing our women jobs.

The reality is that the machines still aren't all that clever. Look at Google Translate - it's at least ten (twenty?) years away from being a viable non-comedic auto-translator.

Watson may be impressive, but although it's being touted as a replacement for medical diagnosis, expert medical systems have been around for a while, and they've never replaced the real thing.

In fact there continues to be unquenchable demand for professional legal, medical and accountancy service, precisely because they can't be automated.

The menial white collar workers are having a harder time of it, but new jobs - digital design, branding, web management, marketing and SEO - have replaced some of the older white collar jobs.

The difference is that these jobs need more education and intelligence than the old clerk/temp/secretary jobs, but they don't necessarily pay more, and job security is infinitely worse.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Mar 6th, 2011 at 07:46:34 PM EST
What Krugman may be figuring out is that, at some point, you cannot continue to assume that the economy is some self-directing, autonomous entity and that the political and the economic ARE NOT separate, never have been but that "Mainstream Economists" have been systematically mis-educated to believe that they are because this better serves the interests of those for whom most economist work, i.e. the very wealthy. He has trouble getting a grip on this precisely because he fits so well into a system that does not allow the necessary tools to be used to understand the situation.

In order to properly understand the current problems Krugman would have to learn and use intellectual tools that would put him beyond the pale of the "Mainstream". He would have to embrace heretical views and, gasp, turn "heterodox"! As a Nobel Memorial medalist he must have tenure, which grants some protection. He may have the independent wealth, the "fuck you money", to do what ever he wants - or not. He may or may not be emotionally capable of assuming the role of an outsider at his relatively mature age.

After all, if a General Practitioner M.D. can be inadequately replaced with a marginally functioning medical "expert system" the insular, circular self referential nature of current "Mainstream Economics" could be just as well. Innovation is not wanted, so why bother with human beings. The fact that NCE works poorly is a feature, not a bug. But at least "Mainstream Economics" is the current state religion and there should continue to be a demand for new clergy coming out of the top universities.

It is good to see that Krugman is starting to have nightmares and even better to see that he is remembering some of them.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Mar 6th, 2011 at 09:51:04 PM EST
More and more young people are discovering this to be true, although so far it's only after they've graduated. This blocked mobility is one of the primary reasons that Americans 30ish and under are so deeply alienated from the current neoliberal ideologies, why they've been one of the most reliable participants in the Wisconsin protests, and the most progressive age group in the country.

It's unclear if young adults just coming out of high school - or their parents - have caught on to the decreasing value of college. For the young folks, college is still a better alternative than trying to find a dead-end job, and with intense social pressure to go to college or be labeled a "failure," we've not yet seen an alternative method of training or educating young adults emerge. Would be worth exploring though.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Mar 6th, 2011 at 11:01:57 PM EST
What I've seen in the IT industry is that "certification" is replacing degree status. A graduate from a two year technical school who has a pile of appropriate certs is worth more than a fresh college graduate.

In my view, this is in large part because of the cheapening of the college curriculum. At one point, the assumption was that if you had a degree in computer science, you knew quite a bit about computer science. Now, the first thing you have to do when you enter industry is prove it by getting a CISSP cert.

by asdf on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 09:17:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In most cases, the IT industry doesn't want or need someone with a background in computer science. They want a mechanic, not an engineer.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 09:51:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Again, I think this is tied to the economic outlook, and not what education provides.

You had to be there in the 90s when professors such as myself marveled when their 20 year old students got out with $60k offers in the tech industry. What skills did they have? I teach literature. My student knew how to write and research well. We had two generations of students literally falling into shit (as we say in the states, that's a good thing). Economic times change, and then of course college isn't a "value." Almost nothing is these days.

by Upstate NY on Wed Mar 9th, 2011 at 10:25:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Krugman's now pulled these threads together as a column. However, his remedies sound rather vague, at best:

Degrees and Dollars - NYTimes.com

Yes, we need to fix American education. In particular, the inequalities Americans face at the starting line -- bright children from poor families are less likely to finish college than much less able children of the affluent -- aren't just an outrage; they represent a huge waste of the nation's human potential.

But there are things education can't do. In particular, the notion that putting more kids through college can restore the middle-class society we used to have is wishful thinking. It's no longer true that having a college degree guarantees that you'll get a good job, and it's becoming less true with each passing decade.

So if we want a society of broadly shared prosperity, education isn't the answer -- we'll have to go about building that society directly. We need to restore the bargaining power that labor has lost over the last 30 years, so that ordinary workers as well as superstars have the power to bargain for good wages. We need to guarantee the essentials, above all health care, to every citizen.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 05:13:11 AM EST
Vague, but actually revolutionary in the current ideological context:
So if we want a society of broadly shared prosperity, education isn't the answer -- we'll have to go about building that society directly. We need to restore the bargaining power that labor has lost over the last 30 years, so that ordinary workers as well as superstars have the power to bargain for good wages. We need to guarantee the essentials, above all health care, to every citizen.
No, that's not vague.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 06:14:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And dead wrong. Dead, dead, wrong.

We need to guarantee the essentials, above all health care, to every human.

Fixed it.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 06:46:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not bad, but a remedy? No. The middle class is as bad abuser of asset price inflation as any banker oligarch.
by kjr63 on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 10:05:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One could say that I abused the asset price inflation by buying low and selling high, cashing out, moving to a low real estate price area and living on the difference. But I did not have any part of creating the bubble. When I bought, Memorial Day, '99, friends had told me real estate was going to keep going up, but I didn't know it would. I just needed the tax shelter the mortgage interest deduction provided. I sold in November, '05 because my work had dried up and I didn't know how bad it would get. I had been amazed with the rate of increase, did not see how it could continue, but, having sat out much of the bull market in stocks during the '90s, had become inured to the failure of rational analysis of "the markets".

Blaming those who were playing by other people's rules is just blame shifting. Even those who cashed out the appreciation of their homes to buy goodies were largely, if unwisely, responding to official encouragements and inducements to do just that. Blame first the bankers and those who served them, including the politicians. Blame the "think tanks" who indoctrinated generations of US citizens to believe Randian nonsense and buy into deregulation and roll back of taxes on the rich. Then blame the citizens who were unable to see through this self serving propaganda.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 10:47:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, people have to live somewhere and so they are forced to play the game. And it is the only way for common people to get their (at least some) share from the pie.
But would you have voted in '04 somebody who would have promised to deflate the house prices? No one i know would.
by kjr63 on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 05:08:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would have voted for anyone who promised to investigate the boiler room operations and the way appraisals were being made, had there been anyone making those promises in 2004. But there weren't any. It was clear to me by 2004 that real estate prices were unsustainable and I was concerned that I might be caught in a collapse and find it hard to sell. And that was when I was still working full time and before I had the time to spent three years studying economics and finance on my own, with the help of ET.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 08:36:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I found it vague in that the question of what kind of jobs people can engage in to generate prosperity - or conversely, how to prevent work relocalization (or what do we want to call it? "hot jobs"?) is not addressed.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 02:18:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - LQD: Krugman finds an elephant in the room

The question: is technological change hollowing out the middle-class?

We know that much of the current impoverishment is based in politics... but are there reasons to believe that technology has skewed the system?

Might it be that technological (and political) change tends to hollow out whichever class appears to be gaining economic power?

The white-collar middle class now being hollowed out is the one that Galbraith presented in The New Industrial State as having captured the levers of economic power through the "Technostructure".

Could it be argued that the white collar middle class was extracting rent from its position in the system and therefore it made sense for technology to develop in order to replace it?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 05:30:55 AM EST
Makes sense to who? Technology does not replace people who are in power (or we would have nonsense-spewing automata to replace many CEOs).

I would say that a step is missing: white-collar middle class has now largely lost the levers of economic power, and thus are no longer in control. Not being in control allows for those that are in control to order technology developed to undermine the white-collar middle class position to demand rent. In favor of course of demanding rent to those now in control. Looking at statistics the new group in control is the upper class.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 10:24:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Makes sense to those making the decisions.

The missing link here is the story of how the Technostructure was overthrown by an interlocking directorate of MBA holders.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 10:26:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A swedish kind of death:
Technology does not replace people who are in power (or we would have nonsense-spewing automata to replace many CEOs).
Now that CEOs are in a position to extract rent (like they weren't 40-50 years ago) maybe that's next in line.

Another example is how the rise of "modern finance" made most stockpicking active fund managers obsolete. The rent they were extracting was eaten by technology. Of course, that only gave rise to a new generation of rent-seekers, but the nature of the rent is different.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 10:30:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Outside of bank trading floors, investment managers make their money from sales-talk, reputation and networking, not from having the best possible returns.

That's a difficult process to fake.

Madoff is the poster-criminal for this. His returns were impossible, most people knew or suspected they were impossible - but his real talent was in creating a huge and ever-expanding feeder network, and in blustering his way out of possible investigation.

Trading ability was never the issue.

This might seem like an exception, but I suspect it really isn't.

So - as in politics and economics - you have a class who aren't rentiers because of wealth or talent, but simply because they can bullshit more persuasively than anyone else can.

The entire "investment" industry is based on testosterone-fuelled bluster ricocheting off hysterical rumour, not on rational efficiency.

It may be a while before that process can be replaced by silicon.

High speed trading means you now have machines trying to bullshit each other - which is progress of a sort, I suppose.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 10:57:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
High-speed trading is just one of the gizmos snake oil salesmen use to lure their eager prey.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 11:01:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
The entire "investment" industry is based on testosterone-fuelled bluster ricocheting off hysterical rumour, not on rational efficiency.
And on the existence of a sufficiently large pool of wealthy people who have nothing better to do with their money than chase "returns". This feeds a fierce competition for the management fee income that can be skimmed off these moneys.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 11:04:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Might it be that technological (and political) change tends to hollow out whichever class appears to be gaining economic power?

That change has hollowed out all classes below the class that is driving the change better seems to fit what I have seen over the last half century.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 10:49:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The white-collar middle class now being hollowed out is the one that Galbraith presented in The New Industrial State as having captured the levers of economic power through the "Technostructure".

My sense is that Galbraith was postulating an almost utopian means of putting the societal controls in the hands of those who would exercise it in the interests of the whole society, rather like an H.G. Wells novel where aviators, etc. save the world. Such a process may have been under way, but the libertarians, funded by the reactionary rich, systematically subverted the whole process starting in the 60s and utopia turned into dystopia. With Reagan's election the dystopian project was well under way, but not yet in full bloom. That took until G.W. Bush took office in 2000.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 08:47:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
rather like an H.G. Wells novel where aviators, etc. save the world

Are you referring to a particular novel here or is it a generalised comparision? I quite like H.G. Wells, in particular the ones without happy endings (in effect the ones that did not become movies).

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 8th, 2011 at 02:19:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, there is a particular novel where the plot involves aviators saving the world. I have long loved H.G. Wells and, as part of a graduate seminar on early 20th Cent. Britain I wrote a paper on Wells, the Fabian Society and British Socialism.  As part of my research I read his autobiography and all of his novels that were in the University of Arizona library in 1964, IIRCC.  Many of his novels constituted fictive explorations of possible ways to change the world for the better. But he was never really successful in his own estimation and one of his last works was Mind at the End of its Tether, in 1945.

I could not identify the novel to which I referred in the Wiki bibliography of Wells. I may have identified it in my old seminar paper, if and when I find it again.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 8th, 2011 at 06:30:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If something was deliberately done, one has to look to agents acting with deliberation.

And when we look, we find them. The Koch brothers are, after all, sons of daddy Koch, one of the sources of funding for the John Birch society, an exampler of the people that Ike was describing in his letter to his brother:

This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon "moderation" in government. Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas.5 Their number is negligible and they are stupid.

However, while being few in number, they had substantial funds to devote to building the foundations of a movement to make such outlandish notions the mainstream. They funded "think tanks" which started out as counter-planning institutes and now, with planning moved up to more elite levels, act as propaganda mills.

And of course, with a core of funding able to be dedicated to recruiting and building a cadre of politicians, the politicians then did what politicians do, went out to find where the votes were available who would be willing to vote for them in spite of spouting this outlandish economic nonsense.

And then in 1968, the US hit peak oil, soon after the Texas Railway Commission raised the quota on the big Texas oilfields to 100%, with oil pricing power moved outside of the US. Critically, this implied that there was no longer stable oil prices in nominal term, with returns driven by maintaining strong demand. That removed the oil industry from the ranks of capital intensive, low labour-share of cost industries that supported the Democratic party in pursuit of high levels of economic activity, and placed them behind the Republican party and the pursuit of a larger share of any given flow of corporate income for profits rather than labor.

That ensured an increase in funding for a movement that had already built the seeds of its own infrastructure ~ which is to say, the seeds of development strategy can be used for malign purposes as well a positive ones, so we had best focus on using it for positive ones.

Part of the policy regime of "Reaganomics" was to remove the government from playing a leading role in determining what technological paths would be pursued, which meant that this decision was dominated by the large multinational corporations and by the government planning apparatus of the neo-mercantalist nations.

The idea that "technology hollows out" is a category mistake: rather, those agents in a position to do so pursue technologies that they see as serving their interests, and the hollowing out is either an intended or unintended consequence of the technological choices that they made.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Mar 12th, 2011 at 07:02:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Krugman:
As I recall, I was the only contributor who obeyed instructions; everyone else was too concerned about loss of dignity. Anyway, I decided to write the piece around a conceit: that information technology would end up reducing, not increasing, the demand for highly educated workers, because a lot of what highly educated workers do could actually be replaced by sophisticated information processing -- indeed, replaced more easily than a lot of manual labor. Here's the piece: I still think it's a fun read.
Note the date:Getting Ahead - White Collars Turn Blue - NYTimes.com
Getting Ahead White Collars Turn Blue By Paul Krugman Published: September 29, 1996
It's not like Krugman is discovering the elephant now.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 05:35:47 AM EST
Krugman's punchline in 1996 was great:

Getting Ahead - White Collars Turn Blue - NYTimes.com

How, then, could creativity be made to pay? The answer was already becoming apparent a century ago: creations must make money indirectly by promoting sales of something else. Just as auto makers used to sponsor grand prix racers to spice up the image of their cars, computer manufacturers now sponsor hotshot software designers to build brand recognition for their hardware. The same is true for individuals. The royalties that the Four Sopranos earn from their recordings are surprisingly small; the recordings mainly serve as advertisements for their concerts. The fans attend these concerts not to appreciate the music (they can do that far better at home), but for the experience of seeing their idols in person. In short, instead of becoming a knowledge economy we became a celebrity economy.

Luckily, the same technology that has made it possible to capitalize directly on knowledge has also created many more opportunities for celebrity. The 500-channel world is a place of many subcultures, each with its own heroes. Still, the celebrity economy has been hard on people -- especially for those with a scholarly bent. A century ago, it was actually possible to make a living as a more or less pure scholar. Now if you want to devote yourself to scholarship, there are only three choices. Like Charles Darwin, you can be born rich. Like Alfred Wallace, the less-fortunate co-discoverer of evolution, you can make your living doing something else and pursue research as a hobby. Or, like many 19th-century scientists, you can try to cash in on a scholarly reputation by going on the lecture circuit.

But celebrity, though more common, still does not come easily. That is why writing this article is such an opportunity. I actually don't mind my day job in the veterinary clinic, but I have always wanted to be a full-time economist; an article like this may be just what I need to make my dream come true.



So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 05:37:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
computer manufacturers now sponsor hotshot software designers to build brand recognition for their hardware.
Hey, was Apple's reinvention predictable in 1996?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 08:03:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course not. Just like the emergence of Dell from a horde of competitors was not predictable. One lucky Christmas quarter with the right product at the right price and you're off and running for a couple of years.

Right now, for example, who would want to bet on whether Microsoft, Apple, or the Linux/Google/Android gang will be dominant in ten years? (Or somebody else hitherto unknown...)

by asdf on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 09:21:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean Apple's business model, which is to sell you the herdware for twice of what it would otherwise cost, because of the cool stuff built around the hardware.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 09:28:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Herdware!  :-)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 10:52:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Typo! (Freudian)

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 10:55:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
asdf:
Right now, for example, who would want to bet on whether Microsoft, Apple, or the Linux/Google/Android gang will be dominant in ten years? (Or somebody else hitherto unknown...)

I bet the Linux/Google/Android gang.

Something else is unlikely now that Nokia has thrown in the towel on a cellphone-company developed system, so now it is the OS solutions. Microsofts main strenght is always and forever their dominance (it works with other Microsoft products...) and they appear hopelessly after and unable to use their advantage on desktops here. Nokia choosing Microsoft is largely seen in technical circuits as a shortsighted gambit to avoid imitating the others.

Apples model is based on controlling the totality and thus the brand. This gives them an edge in new products, but increasingly the network bonus (one system is compatible with itself and the users does not need to relearn) is going to be the dominant factor. Android is more flexible and backed by the economic strenght of Google will do to Apple what Microsoft did to Apple on the desktop market.

At least that is my bet.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 02:52:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe so, but did you see just in the past few days how they're finding malware in the Google apps store? And that Opera and Mozilla have just opened app stores? It's a free-for-all these days...
by asdf on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 07:55:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's still the gold rush.  Google also doesn't have iPod Touch and iPad competitors.  And a lot of their phones are little cheapy ones that technically run Android but are really just replacements for the old Nokia cheapy phones (and can't really do anything).

I think what you're going to wind up with in the end is Apple, Google and a large group of "Other" that will include HP, "Microkia" (which I'm looking forward to the most for comedic value), and RIM.

Google will likely be largest in volume, Apple will make the most money, and the others will putz along.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 08:21:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps a dominant one. They are pretty clever.
Bada

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 8th, 2011 at 11:02:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think Samsung is going anywhere with Bada.  Didn't they already put out the Wave?  And didn't it bomb?  The Galaxy Tab also seems to have tanked.

Their resources are spread between Android, Bada and WP7.  Even assuming away WP7, since Microsoft will probably focus on Nokia, they're still spread between Bada and Android, and it seems clear that Android phones are the better-selling ones.  Trying to support two completely different OSes hasn't worked very well in the cases I'm aware of (Palm jumps to mind).

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 8th, 2011 at 12:39:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Getting Ahead - White Collars Turn Blue - NYTimes.com
These, then, were the underlying misconceptions of late-20th-century futurists. Their flawed analysis led, in turn, to the five great economic trends that observers in 1996 should have expected but didn't.

Soaring Resource Prices

The Environment as Property

The Rebirth of the Big City

The Devaluation of Higher Education

The Celebrity Economy




So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 05:42:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Back then it was fun science fiction...

Now it's commentary, I think there's a change of mindset.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 07:44:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As richly rewarding demand can come only from narrowing small circles, would it be a wonder if that demand would become negative in aggregate? What else would power and wealth elites ultimately fear?

I have nothing to complain or take personally in this. But I only enjoy when there are more people around no less smart or curious. Now probably comes more austerity there as well. There is a lot of conditioning on intellectual gaps, edges and vices nowadays - presumably as always. Yet political concerns about education look terribly fake by now. Like with many other liberal or libertarian reforms, education gets only worse: more children are left behind at poorer schools, more youngsters get dubious college education for a lifetime rent. If you are a self-respecting middle-class winner with most of rat race problems rather solved, are you really interested in ghetto kids getting good reading and math skills? We can openly seek best schools and teachers for own children, but no one would not compete by poking chances of the others? The world today is different from the "Back to the Future" 1960s, when parents were only dropping by car their kids at a school gate and running from parent boards far away.

What happened in the last couple decades in all old and emerging societies can be called con artistry on a grand scale. They say con artists do not like neither smarter nor dumber people than themselves. They prefer well educated but somewhat relatively insecure types - those would grasp the presumed benefit and would heedlessly seek it. The 20th century produced unseen masses with good education - in the democratic West or in more repressed sides. All educated well enough for grand bubbles and competition. Now powers are concentrated securely enough for keeping people mute or despairing more directly.

by das monde on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 05:49:17 AM EST
I think your comment covers my sentiments.

das monde:

Yet political concerns about education look terribly fake by now. Like with many other liberal or libertarian reforms, education gets only worse: more children are left behind at poorer schools, more youngsters get dubious college education for a lifetime rent. If you are a self-respecting middle-class winner with most of rat race problems rather solved, are you really interested in ghetto kids getting good reading and math skills?

In a society where there is a breakdown between highly educated workers and jobs, the need to guarantee high quality schooling becomes moot. Thus, a breakdown of the education system in such a society becomes a feature, not just a symptom. It's just one more step from a meritocracy to an emerging neo-aristocracy.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 11:18:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
Now if you want to devote yourself to scholarship, there are only three choices. Like Charles Darwin, you can be born rich. Like Alfred Wallace, the less-fortunate co-discoverer of evolution, you can make your living doing something else and pursue research as a hobby. Or, like many 19th-century scientists, you can try to cash in on a scholarly reputation by going on the lecture circuit.
If Krugman is right about the future
[At the end of the 21st century] if you want to devote yourself to scholarship, there are only three choices. Like Charles Darwin, you can be born rich. Like Alfred Wallace, the less-fortunate co-discoverer of evolution, you can make your living doing something else and pursue research as a hobby. Or, like many 19th-century scientists, you can try to cash in on a scholarly reputation by going on the lecture circuit.
then the 20th century will have been a historical anomaly in the way it made possible to make a decent living out of intellectual pursuits without being rich, having a rich patron, doing it as a hobbyist or to fuel a celebrity career.

Or maybe the 20th century wasn't different at all and it's just that the particular mix of patrons we've been educated to view as natural were active, and in other time periods it was different as it will be in the future.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 11:59:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Post-war Netherlands was different from what was before.

On education, the patron was the government, with both stick and carrot. The stick for secondary education - it's still obligatory to go to school until age 18. The carrot by creating government hand-outs/subsidies to enter tertiary education, which was by and far a success, which has ended us in a white collar society.

Now I think of it, this actually contributed to the creation of another subculture, about which I had a discussion today: the masses without any degrees beyond secondary schooling (and some people don't even have these). They are principally cut off from social interaction through their educational barrier, and a lot of them are angry, and vent their anger by voting into power populist movements, that put policies in place to cut off access to tertiary funding for the less-endowed...

by Nomad on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 12:38:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am reminded of this: JK Galbraith and the culture wars
Thus a part of the country with a high rate of accommodation to the requirements of the planning system, i.e., a good educational system and a well-qualified working force, will attract industry and have a strong aspect of well-being. It will be the natural Canaan of the more energetic among those who were brn in less favoured communities. This for long explained the migration from the South, Southwest and border states to California, the upper Middle  West and the eastern seaboard. Many of these migrants were unqualified for employment in the planning system. They thus contributed heavily to welfare and unemployment rolls in the communities to which they moved. The nature of the opprobium to which they were subject is indicated by the appellations that sometimes still are applied to them--hillbillies, Okies, junglebunnies. It is not that they were and are poorer but that they were and are culturally deprived. It is such groups, not the working proletariat, that now react in resentment and violence to their subordination.

Politics also reflects the new division. In the United States suspicion or resentment is no longer directed at the capitalists or the merely rich. It is the intellectuals--the effete snobs--who are eyed with misgiving and alarm. This should surprise no one. Nor should it be a matter of surprise when semiliterate millionnaires turn up leading or financing the ignorant in struggle against the intellectually privileged and content. This further reflects the relevant class distinction in our time.

A further consequence of the new pattern of unemployment is that full employment, though it remains an important test of the success of the economic system, can be approached only against increasing resistance. For, as noted, while the unemployed are reduced in numbers, they come to consist more and more of those, primarily the uneducated, who are unemployable in the planning system. The counterpart of this resistant core is a growing number of vacancies for highly qualified workers and a strong bargaining position for those who are employed. This leads to the final source of instability in the planning system and to yet a further resort to the state. This [the control of the wage-price spiral] we now examine.

So, to what extent are we going to move towards a system where a good educational system and a well-qualified working force are not requirements?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 01:01:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:

So, to what extent are we going to move towards a system where a good educational system and a well-qualified working force are not requirements?

To the extent that the elite have a seperate system for quality goods and services. After all, no one wants to get their roof in the head, being operated by a barber or eat poison. But if the elite can import/have a small staff on hand, then the hoi polloi can eat poison and die.

On the other hand China and India will need a good educational system and a well-qualified working force.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 03:11:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JKG:
A further consequence of the new pattern of unemployment is that full employment, though it remains an important test of the success of the economic system, can be approached only against increasing resistance.

The difference is that Galbraith was concerned with full employment while today's "mainstream economists" see outsourcing as inevitable and necessary and the resulting un- and under employment as equally inevitable. This follows from their privileging economic activity over all other social activities and this will reliably destroy the society unless successfully opposed.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 09:00:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nomad:
They are principally cut off from social interaction through their educational barrier, and a lot of them are angry, and vent their anger by voting into power populist movements, that put policies in place to cut off access to tertiary funding for the less-endowed...
So it's a group that is able to perpetuate itself and expand by voting in people who ensure more people fall out of the tertiary educational system?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 01:03:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. Not that such is an intentional development, I think (I'd hope). For example the Wilders cohorts are all woo-ha about Evil Government and the Sanctimony of the Free Market Powers (not-withstanding the bits that would make them unpopular, then none of this applies). The Rutte-liberals are more of the same.

The Socialist Party, although riddled with populist sentiments, at least has the priorities for creating entry to tertiary education right, but doesn't address the issue of the diary, that is, educated people getting phased out of the workspace...

Intuitively, I'd say that barring entrance to higher education is much more of a threat to a stable, well-faring society than the other - but it will be, if educated workers are burdened by huge debts inherited by their education...

by Nomad on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 06:34:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sanctimony of the Free Market Powers aptly describes much of the realm of economics today.  :-)

Two Freudian typos in one diary!?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 09:04:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How is that a typo?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Mar 8th, 2011 at 12:52:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
sanctimony - definition of sanctimony by the Free Online ...
sanc·ti·mo·ny (s ngk t -m n ). n. Feigned piety or righteousness; hypocritical devoutness or high-mindedness. [Obsolete French sanctimonie, from Latin s ...
www.thefreedictionary.com/sanctimony - Cached - Similar

Sanctity would better fit what I presume to be the  intention.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 8th, 2011 at 11:21:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or sanctimony might have been used intentionally, hence the question mark.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 8th, 2011 at 11:24:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mmm I guess you're right and sanctity would have seemed to be more likely. But sanctimony made so much sense to me that I did not even think about it!

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Mar 9th, 2011 at 11:13:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or should that be think of it?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Mar 9th, 2011 at 11:14:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If a higher education is no longer a ticket to a high income, then higher education cannot be expensive.

If it is, then only the wealthy and the geniuses who managed to be found deserving of sponsorship will get a higher education.

Our society is complex and is still going to need educated people. The average level of education is unlikely to drop much, if at all. It's just that educated people won't get sexy jobs, but that may not bother them much if they weren't expecting a sexy job and very few of their peers have a sexy job and if they do it's not because of their education.

Part of the problem is that universities have gotten into the business of vocational training which is a different function from providing education in critical thinking and all that. But that's a topic for another day.

In any case, if a graduate cannot expect a well-paying job, education cannot be expensive. If you can't make six figures from a law degree, then law schools will have to stop charging an arm and a leg for admission [incidentally, note how that NY Times story is filed under business, not education]. I mean, a law school needs a library. How can it be more expensive to study law than to study experimental physics, which needs a lab? But studying physics cannot be expensive either, because then you'd only have the wealthy and the sponsored doing it, and the wealthy don't send their children to study physics because it's actually hard if all you want is the degree. So maybe experimental physics education will disappear outside corporate-sponsored training, but somehow I doubt [wishfully think?] that's what's going to happen.

The fact is that, when people pay high prices for education these days they're not paying for the education. They're paying to get some of the school's name recognition to rub off to them. They're paying for the access to internships and job bourses at firms sponsoring the study programme, and they're paying for the networking and/or the access to a particular social milieu. Because those are the things that determine how well your future job will pay, not the quality of your education.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 8th, 2011 at 02:01:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The fact is that, when people pay high prices for education these days they're not paying for the education. They're paying to get some of the school's name recognition to rub off to them. They're paying for the access to internships and job bourses at firms sponsoring the study programme, and they're paying for the networking and/or the access to a particular social milieu.

Or they are paying because a chance to get that good internship and networking is the best available option. Meaning, there are no better options, or few options at all.

But as with all chance games, there will be winners and sore loosers. Just as diving into the real estate bubble was reasonable for quite a while, because of a chance (often more objective than subjective) to get to the comfortable rentier or creditor status while most of other people would have to scramble. There are still many comments about the gap between incomes with or without high education - but perhaps more spectacular is the distribution of income among the highly educated. You either get a place at a bank or a law firm, or you have to go stripping to pay off the study loan.

by das monde on Tue Mar 8th, 2011 at 07:28:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is in the time gap (as well as in the aforementioned random factor, creating winners and losers).
If its stops paying, it WILL have to become cheap. But that does not solve the problem of major debts incurred by people who graduated just as it stopped paying.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Mar 9th, 2011 at 11:13:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Institutions of higher learning have, effectively, priced themselves out of the market. The core of a college education can be provided much cheaper than what is currently on offer. They will just have to be primarily concerned with education, not secondarily, at best. What makes universities expensive is all the accouterments that follow from the proposition that everywhere there is a collection of PhD's that have the knowledge and ability to produce more  Masters and PhDs that they should do so and that every university must have all requisite facilities, regardless of the practical demand for new PhDs. We are at a point in the USA where every two year college can find PhDs to teach most of its courses.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 10th, 2011 at 10:07:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When I first got involved in "computerisation" projects, it was about replacing manual labour with mechanical labour and controlling those processes remotely from a terminal. Siemens process control systems because omnipresent. This eliminated perhaps 40% of the jobs in the business I was in.

Next phase was to replace routine white collar jobs - secretarial and clerical with computers.  This became possible with tools like Excel, Word, E-mail and the precursors for Outlook.  Our surveys of what secretaries actually did concluded that 30% of their time was in scheduling and rescheduling meetings, another 25% on routine typing, 15% of filing etc.  Installing PC productivity tools, networks, e-mail and scheduling software replaced perhaps 85% 0f those roles, and another 10% of the total business workforce.  50% to go.

Then came the SAP monster - it cost €100Millions to design and install.  All business processes had to be fundamentally re-engineered on a global scale.  No longer where we automating processes more or less as they had been done manually, we were replacing old ways of doing business with entirely new.  The process for buying a paper clip in Singapore was the same as subcontracting a marketing agency in London.  Even "innovation processes" were computerised and somewhat automated.  That got rid of droves of Accountants, engineers, designers, business analysts.  Middle management almost disappeared. Another 10% of total workforce gone.

It also made business processes place independent.  "shared service centres" for all procurement was centralised in Budapest. Operations Management in Dublin. ICT in London. Pensions admin in Scotland. Software development in India. Anothered 20% "off-shored".

In a world with an almost infinite supply of increasingly skilled labour, labour prices had to crash.  The finite constraints on business expansion where :

  1. Natural resources constraints and commodity prices

  2. Consumer demand.

In a world in which labour prices were crashing it was increasingly difficult to grow demand for premium products - except in Asia and the Middle East where - were incomes were soaring from previous poverty levels due to globalisation and natural resource shortages.  The new elites in previously impoverished societies lapped up the symbols of an affluent western lifestyle.

But that was just a transitional phase.  Now all that is left are IP ownership and "Brand Management" functions.  There is no reason why previously emergent markets can't develop their own, and they gradually are.  Europe's leadership is becoming increasingly unnecessary.  Even Europe's involvement is increasingly not required except as some sort of historical legacy. Neo-liberalism is doing what wars used to do. Facilitating the defeat of one civilisation by another.  Except that it is a now globalised elite who get to keep the spoils of war.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 06:22:26 AM EST
Facilitating the defeat of one civilisation by another

Which civilisation is defeating which in this scenario?

All that's happening is that the wealth that had concentrated in the West ™ is being spread out over the world. Turns out only the elite aren't affected since we've decided the best way to do this is a race to the bottom, not the top.

Fuck us then.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 06:42:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank S:
Neo-liberalism is doing what wars used to do. Facilitating the defeat of one civilisation by another.  Except that it is a now globalised elite who get to keep the spoils of war.

But, like Archimedes, they still need places to stand and are busily undermining those. How well will Monaco, The Bahamas, Panama, Hong Kong, etc. be able to protect them and their massively disproportionate wealth from those whom they have looted -- or even from those amongst whom they chose to live.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 09:11:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know, as long as they can reward a private guard handsomely... Pitchworks used to be a possible weapon for a revolution, much worse than a sword of course but with much greater numbers they would win in the end.

But they don't stand a chance agains automatic weapons.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Mar 8th, 2011 at 12:54:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Roman Empire did quickly degenerate into rule by Praetorian Guard and a succession of palace coups.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 8th, 2011 at 02:07:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pitchworks used to be a possible weapon for a revolution, much worse than a sword of course but with much greater numbers they would win in the end.

But they don't stand a chance agains automatic weapons.

Anybody with a sufficiently low priority on keeping all his limbs attached to the correct part of his body can cook up high explosives in his kitchen, using common household chemicals. Latin America, Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa all have enough Kalashnikovs on the open market to fight a serious shooting war and, short of prohibiting all trade with those places outright, the only way you can prevent large-scale smuggling is to open and manually inspect the contents of every container that lands in one of your harbours. If people really want to stage a revolution, weapons will not be the most serious constraint.

Sure, the ancien regime can retreat to a fortified bunker on the Bahamas. But it doesn't matter a hill of beans how loyal the Bahamian thugs are, or how heavily they are armed. The Bahamas don't hold these people's wealth.

The dirty little secret of moving wealth around is that it's hard. What's easy to move around is money, but money is only wealth as long as the central bank of the country you stole it from says that it is (and the police in the country you stole it from is prepared to make good on what their central bank says). They can take all their money to the Caribbean or some Gulf sheikdom, but they can only move their factories to a place that has a reasonably functioning industrial society. So if they want to keep the wealth to which they have grown accustomed, they will have to retain control of at least one major industrial state - which means the US1, the EU1, China, Japan, India or Russia. And keep it in a shape where it can at least pretend to sport a functioning industrial society.

- Jake

1Or one of their reasonably industrialised successor states, if they fall apart.

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 9th, 2011 at 05:24:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that your kids will not be kidnapped by your guards, bought off by someone else with enough money to buy them?

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 10th, 2011 at 04:49:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That always happens to others.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 10th, 2011 at 04:57:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not saying that rich people will feel totall safe. But that new weaponry can probably make it possible for a smaller minority of looters to retain power over a desperate crowd than used to be the case.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Mar 10th, 2011 at 12:29:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We've chosen to deploy the technology to facilitate the concentration of wealth and we've eschewed any real redistribution. These are the choices we've made with the tools we have available.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 06:45:21 AM EST
"We"?

I don't remember being asked.

Was anyone?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 06:49:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, yeah, there was no alternative, all the serious people did it, not really democracy, blah-de-blah-de-blah.

I didn't see us objecting when all the wealth was concentrating here.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 07:01:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And all those third world aid, fair trade, human rights and other organisations were just DFH wank, huh?

While you weren't objecting, there were plenty of people who were - and still are.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 08:34:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And all those third world aid, fair trade, human rights and other organisations were just DFH wank, huh?

And look how much they achieved. Look how seriously they were taken.
How many divisions, or seats, do they have, exactly?

While you weren't objecting, there were plenty of people who were - and still are.

Yeah, fuck you too.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 09:52:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This thread has crossed the heat/light threshold relatively quickly.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 10:00:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"you" could have voted for the Lib-Dems, back then. :)

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 10:00:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look what good that would have made...

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 10:06:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh, was Chuckie really likely to have been as bad as Cleggsy Bear?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 01:07:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have to grow the cake before sharing it, right?

A rising cake lifts all icings?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 07:01:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tom Friedman, is that you?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 01:08:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Policy has been to worsen the distributionary effects of globalisation (which do exist) rather than attempting to soften them.

This is the heart of TINA - inequality is inevitable, it's caused by globalisation, we need to "adapt" (by making it worse).

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 09:58:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what I said. You must be getting old.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 10:01:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Me too.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 10:03:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 10:07:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who is better off, a conventional "middle class" technical worker with a master's degree, a steady corporate job, a wife, a house, and a couple of cars? Or a single hipster with an associate's degree, a temporary tech job and a sideline in the music business, a cat, a small apartment, and a bicycle?
by asdf on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 09:26:41 AM EST
That's the 40-year old technical worker. The 25-year old technical graduate is looking at a temporary tech job.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 09:31:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Plus, the hipster is better off.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 09:31:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The technical worker obviously has the better job.  The hipster has the more fun life.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 01:20:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Drew J Jones:
The technical worker obviously has the better job.

And job security.

Drew J Jones:

The hipster has the more fun life.

And a growing ulcer from suppressed fear of temp jobs not coming forth and having to move back to his parents basement. But it will not show for a couple of more years.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 03:18:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While the 40 year old has clinically diagnosed depression due to boredom, bureaucracy, and daily managerial idiocy at work. And not enough vacation days to use the money he's making.

While the hipster goes to Brazil for Carnival.

by asdf on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 07:58:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the higher you have risen the further you have to fall in a real collapse which might not be as improbable as most would like to think.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 09:19:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I found it interesting you added the wife to the package of the corporate worker.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 8th, 2011 at 02:03:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wives requiring more stability than can be offered by part time employment? Besides, I included a cat for the other one...
by asdf on Tue Mar 8th, 2011 at 08:32:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I forgot proper wives don't work...

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 8th, 2011 at 08:38:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well in all fairness Miguel, I get the impression that many of the ones who do appreciate to live with someone who gives the idea of stability.

And I must confess to the crime. I knew I wanted (well, preferred quite a lot) to be with someone who did not need me for a comfortable living, so that there would be no question that she'd stay with me for the money.

As it is, she may have better career prospects than me in the long run (although still more junior at the moment), so maybe I'll end up the one staying home ;-)

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Mar 9th, 2011 at 11:16:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe the hipster has a live-in hipster girlfriend, or not...

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 9th, 2011 at 12:37:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you are having trouble writing it up, here is a great example of how not to do it: "Wireless and Empire" by Aitor Anduaga. The words look like English, the sentences and paragraphs have the required structure, but when you have finished reading a paragraph, you sit there and think "what the heck was that all about???" The author is Spanish, I think, but that's not the issue. The writing could be entered into that contest for bad writing.

If it makes you feel any better to know that someone who apparently is completely incapable of communicating in English has a bunch of awards and published books--in Enlgish. Frankly, I don't get it...

by asdf on Wed Mar 9th, 2011 at 10:09:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WTF?

Oxford University Press: Wireless and Empire: Aitor Anduaga

Although the product of a self-proclaimed consensus politics, the British Empire was always based on communications supremacy and the knowledge of the atmosphere. Using the metaphor of a thread of five pieces representing the categories science, industry, government, the military, and the education, this is the first book to study the relations between wireless and Empire throughout the interwar period. It is also the first to make full use of the abundant archive material and rich sources existing in Britain and the Dominions. The book examines the evolving connection between the development of imperial radio communications and atmospheric physics; the expansion and strength of the British radio industry and its relationship with the elucidation of the ionosphere; and the different extent to which Australia, Canada and New Zealand managed toemulate the British model of radio R&D in the interwar years. The book ends with a highly original and provocative epilogue: 'The realist interpretation of the atmosphere'.


So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 10th, 2011 at 04:05:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Badly written, but it isn't nonsensical - of course it helps to know that "wireless" is an archaic (British Empire days...) term for radio..
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Mar 10th, 2011 at 01:00:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ask Unka Sven "What's on the wireless?"
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 10th, 2011 at 01:20:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually it probably is nonsensical. The suggestion seems to be that there are profound political and philosophical insights to be gained from looking at how radio was developed and used.

There's likely some interesting history there, but Britain's empire was already crumbling during the interwar years, it had been sustained just fine with telegraphic technology in Victorian times - so the takeaway is "the realist interpretation of the atmosphere?"

Is there some other interpretation engineers use?

What makes this interesting is that it's an example of someone writing in the language of the humanities - metaphors, frames, relationships and implications - about a technical subject.

If you understand the technology and have some insight into the politics you're left with something that looks like a dead fish halfway up a mountain - it's worth looking at out of curiosity, but you're not quite sure how it got there, and you have even less of a clue whether it's significant or just plain random.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 10th, 2011 at 01:33:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
There's likely some interesting history there, but Britain's empire was already crumbling during the interwar years, it had been sustained just fine with telegraphic technology in Victorian times

It did not just sustain fine, it used its dominance in telegraphic matters in order to help its empire, both in competition with other empires and to dominate the subjects. An example of the first: France was not allowed to use British wires to communicate with its expedition at the Fashoda crises, meaning only the British Empire had accurate information about respective strenghts at Fashoda.

In light of that radio was probably a (smallish) threath to the Empire.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Mar 11th, 2011 at 02:27:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It IS an interesting subject. My complaint about the book is not the title (normal English usage) or even the thing about the realist model of the ionosphere (WTF?), but that when you try to read the damn thing, it is incomprehensible because the writing is so bad...
by asdf on Sat Mar 12th, 2011 at 09:56:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what book reviews are for. This review summarizes the contents in English, before adding
Although the topic addressed is extremely important, the source material rich and the argument full of potential, Wireless and Empire is, it must be said, often a frustrating read. A curiously stilted prose style and occasionally baroque phraseology make the narrative rather difficult to follow at times. Referencing is inconsistent and not always reliable. In these respects neither the author nor the reader has been well served by the publisher, who should surely have subedited the work before seeing it through to print.
I think the author is Basque, so that his first language might be as far from English as possible.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Mar 10th, 2011 at 04:18:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course not.  Commie. ;)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 9th, 2011 at 01:19:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, the golden 50's...

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 9th, 2011 at 05:52:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I would've imagined the corporate guy as being in his 40s, the hipster as in his 20s, so that explained away the wife for me.  Most of my urban hipster friends aren't married.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 9th, 2011 at 01:25:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is always distribution. Imagine a technical world where machines do all the work.. yes there would be no work to do... it will be a manah economy.

And a manah economy is not a problem, it has existed before, the gift economy develops or the rich-poor structure gets stuck until a revolution (which geenrates another revolution...)

Distribution is always the key.. moving to a gift economy is the only solution to a 30% elite 35% low wages 35% no work no income in the distant future of technological smart machinery .

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:38:05 AM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]

Top Diaries

Smudges

by Oui - Sep 23
9 comments

2034

by Frank Schnittger - Sep 10
5 comments

Faux Accompli

by Cat - Sep 14
14 comments

Civic Self Defense Resources

by gmoke - Sep 19
1 comment

Recent Diaries

Smudges

by Oui - Sep 23
9 comments

Civic Self Defense Resources

by gmoke - Sep 19
1 comment

Faux Accompli

by Cat - Sep 14
14 comments

2034

by Frank Schnittger - Sep 10
5 comments

The Focus Group

by THE Twank - Aug 31
10 comments

Labour grows up?

by Frank Schnittger - Aug 27
57 comments

Exhibit 1

by Cat - Aug 22
22 comments

EU Position Papers

by Cat - Aug 22
25 comments

PACER

by Cat - Aug 18
5 comments

More Diaries...