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Anti-work: Not Safe For Work, or is Work Not Safe For Us?

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    Space CoyoteSpace Coyote Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I can't imagine how much of a pain it must be to pay rent AND tax AND rates if you want to retire. How can spending an hour travelling to dispose of rubbish once every two weeks be considered a massive drain on time?

    As for apathy, eh. Like I said, its so programmed in that people work their entire lives, get forcably retired and then want to go back to work. I doubt me writing letter sis going to achieve anything because unless you're free from work, not a lot of people are going to support dealing with their own garbage. Now if you had a 3-4 day weekend? You might get somewhere.

    You don't have to pay rent and tax and rates if you earn a low enough amount and live in a tent or a camper van, exploring the world and seeing what humanity has to offer.

    An hour spent every fortnight to deal with rubbish is a massive drain on time compared to the minute it takes to leave your bins out.

    You could have a 3-4 day weekend if you were willing to work part time and deal with the consequences of that decision.

    You can choose to be free, but you haven't and that is your problem, not a systemic one.

    Me? I work a 4 day week. I don't understand, why are you so pro-work?

    So why don't you do something?

    I'm not pro-work per se, but I understand that for some of my needs (and wants) to be fulfilled, I will have to work to fulfil them.

    Space Coyote on
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    DarkWarriorDarkWarrior __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2010
    I can't imagine how much of a pain it must be to pay rent AND tax AND rates if you want to retire. How can spending an hour travelling to dispose of rubbish once every two weeks be considered a massive drain on time?

    As for apathy, eh. Like I said, its so programmed in that people work their entire lives, get forcably retired and then want to go back to work. I doubt me writing letter sis going to achieve anything because unless you're free from work, not a lot of people are going to support dealing with their own garbage. Now if you had a 3-4 day weekend? You might get somewhere.

    You don't have to pay rent and tax and rates if you earn a low enough amount and live in a tent or a camper van, exploring the world and seeing what humanity has to offer.

    An hour spent every fortnight to deal with rubbish is a massive drain on time compared to the minute it takes to leave your bins out.

    You could have a 3-4 day weekend if you were willing to work part time and deal with the consequences of that decision.

    You can choose to be free, but you haven't and that is your problem, not a systemic one.

    Me? I work a 4 day week. I don't understand, why are you so pro-work?

    So why don't you do something?

    I'm not pro-work per se, but I understand that for some of my needs (and wants) to be fulfilled, I will have to work to fulfil them.

    I do, do things, I run a website, I draw, I write, I program, I go to the movies. I never said I dont do things but if I had more time I'd do more and I'm sure others would if they weren't being drained of their life in a pointless job.

    DarkWarrior on
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    Space CoyoteSpace Coyote Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Sorry, I meant "do something" in regards to your local council.

    Space Coyote on
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    DarkWarriorDarkWarrior __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2010
    Sorry, I meant "do something" in regards to your local council.

    Oh that, like I said it'd require changes in various areas not just tax, I dont think an hour every 2 weeks is a lot IF you don't have to work or work very little if it meant an extra £500 in my back pocket for the year, means a nice holiday.

    Honestly I just wish tech would make a big advance or aliens would visit. Teleporters and Replicators would IMO create a near utopia (apart from the Republicans complaining about how it helps foreigners with their non-existant money).

    DarkWarrior on
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    Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Honestly I just wish tech would make a big advance or aliens would visit. Teleporters and Replicators would IMO create a near utopia (apart from the Republicans complaining about how it helps foreigners with their non-existant money).

    Did you read that huge post I quoted a bit up the page?

    Similar idea but less dependence on a deus ex machina.

    Unfortunately, same chance of happening.

    Edit: Er, last page, I guess.

    Raiden333 on
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    DarkWarriorDarkWarrior __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2010
    Raiden333 wrote: »
    Honestly I just wish tech would make a big advance or aliens would visit. Teleporters and Replicators would IMO create a near utopia (apart from the Republicans complaining about how it helps foreigners with their non-existant money).

    Did you read that huge post I quoted a bit up the page?

    Similar idea but less dependence on a deus ex machina.

    Unfortunately, same chance of happening.

    I did read it. I think automated machinery and even robots are very real and probably evenw ithin our lifetime.

    Replicators/Transporters would probably be possible but not for a huge amount of time and without a massive scientific discovery.

    DarkWarrior on
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    Grid SystemGrid System Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    Working fewer hours would be ideal, but until that can happen I'd be happy working more flexible hours.
    I don't know if this has come up already, but presumably this includes moving away from assigning 9-5 as the time when the majority of people are at work. That's something I've never understood the rationale for. I guess it grants us some certainty that services will be available within that window, but it comes at the cost of requiring that a significant proportion of people who would use those services be at work at that time (or take time off work to make use of whatever service they need). Even if we stick to eight hours a day, five days a week, why not allow for greater flexibility of start and end times? Let the morning people come in at 7:00 and the night-owls at 11:00.

    Grid System on
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    CommunistCowCommunistCow Abstract Metal ThingyRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I haven't had a lot of time to look for case studies on the subject. This is the only thing I've run across thus far that seems somewhat pertinent. It is a case study of a small number of engineers and how much time is spent in a day on work activities, social, and interactions with other co-workers.

    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.77.9799&rep=rep1&type=pdf

    CommunistCow on
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    ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    Also, I wonder what the economic effects of a 30/32-hour work week would be. Would inflation slow down? Would we get there by cutting the fat from our business processes, thereby reducing overhead? Would that reduction in cost be passed along to consumers, or would the money saved just line the pockets of executives and bankers?

    Is it possible to affect a shorter work week while simultaneously reducing the costs of goods and services, so people aren't dramatically impacted by the reduction in earning power?

    And if we did so, would that help reverse the two-income trap?

    Inflation would indeed slow down. It would, in fact, slow down a lot. You are right in noticing that people would be impacted by the reduction in incomes, but if we pushed down the cost of goods and services instead (via Nixon-style price controls, for instance), all that would happen is a massive drop in business revenue and ensuing layoffs. Which would immediately bring a corresponding drop in national demand, further reducing revenue, causing yet more layoffs, etc.

    Which is pretty much a recipe for depression, right there. Deflationary spirals are not a good thing (this is a very Keynesian analysis but please trust me when I say that more right-wing arguments do not improve the conclusions).

    The argument for reducing the workweek extends only insofar as employment increases, so that the national total amount of work done remains roughly constant (technology permitting), thereby maintaining income earned (and therefore aggregate demand) at the same level. This is why I quoted this two pages ago:
    ronya wrote: »
    "The full employment policy by means of investment is only one particular application of an intellectual theorem. You can produce the result as well by consuming more or working less. Personally I regard the investment policy as first aid... Less work is the ultimate solution."

    - J. M. Keynes

    Saturday moved from being a work day to a weekend day primarily by the demand shock of the Great Depression. We'll see when Friday joins it.

    The work week shrunk because of the silly amount of unemployment during the GD; after a period of adjustment, businesses had their remaining employees to do less work (via cutting the workweek) and then employed more people to compensate (the reason for this elaborate dance being that remaining employees have rigid high real wages, whilst the new employees could be paid less).

    A few quick remaining points:

    - there's often non-intuitively little fat to cut from business processes; it's rather similar to the problem of cutting government waste: it exists, and it is wasteful, but what is spent deliberately and relatively efficiently simply overshadows it in size by whole orders of magnitude.

    - the reduction in labor cost would be easily matched by the reduction in revenue earned from selling the stuff said labor produces.

    ronya on
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    The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    Working fewer hours would be ideal, but until that can happen I'd be happy working more flexible hours.
    I don't know if this has come up already, but presumably this includes moving away from assigning 9-5 as the time when the majority of people are at work. That's something I've never understood the rationale for. I guess it grants us some certainty that services will be available within that window, but it comes at the cost of requiring that a significant proportion of people who would use those services be at work at that time (or take time off work to make use of whatever service they need). Even if we stick to eight hours a day, five days a week, why not allow for greater flexibility of start and end times? Let the morning people come in at 7:00 and the night-owls at 11:00.

    That actually has been done in one of the Nordic countries, as I recall, and they've been trialling similar stuff at my workplace. It does wonders for traffic flow, if nothing else.

    The Cat on
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    NocturneNocturne Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I enjoy working 2nd shift because I can run errands and do things before going into work.

    It would suck having to use a vacation day every time I wanted to visit the doctor.

    In short, yes, most jobs would work perfectly fine with staggered hours, and I'm sure there would be many benefits.

    Nocturne on
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    ElJeffeElJeffe Not actually a mod. Roaming the streets, waving his gun around.Moderator, ClubPA Mod Emeritus
    edited March 2010
    Nocturne wrote: »
    I enjoy working 2nd shift because I can run errands and do things before going into work.

    It would suck having to use a vacation day every time I wanted to visit the doctor.

    In short, yes, most jobs would work perfectly fine with staggered hours, and I'm sure there would be many benefits.

    There would be benefits as long as you retained a core of hours during which everyone was still there. But a whole lot of jobs require that you have frequent or constant contact with other employees (or other businesses), so too much staggering would kind of screw that up. But staggering the workday such that people could come in between 7-9, and leave between 4-6, for example? That would probably be aces.

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    CommunistCowCommunistCow Abstract Metal ThingyRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    ...and more
    Cutting hours may actually raise per-hour productivity. France, home of the 35-hour week, creates more GDP per work hour than the United States ($37 versus $34, as of 2003). Norway spanks us too ($39), and Norwegians work 26% fewer hours a year than Americans. It's a myth of modern hypercapitalism that an overworked, sleep-deprived, stressed-out workforce is a necessity. Studies have consistently shown that longer workweeks increase productivity only in the very short term. In a recent survey by Salary.com, workers copped to wasting about 20% of the average day Web surfing and gossiping. Sound familiar?

    http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/125/all-in-a-days-work.html

    CommunistCow on
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    NocturneNocturne Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Nocturne wrote: »
    I enjoy working 2nd shift because I can run errands and do things before going into work.

    It would suck having to use a vacation day every time I wanted to visit the doctor.

    In short, yes, most jobs would work perfectly fine with staggered hours, and I'm sure there would be many benefits.

    There would be benefits as long as you retained a core of hours during which everyone was still there. But a whole lot of jobs require that you have frequent or constant contact with other employees (or other businesses), so too much staggering would kind of screw that up. But staggering the workday such that people could come in between 7-9, and leave between 4-6, for example? That would probably be aces.

    Yeah, I didn't mean a "whenever you want, as long as it's 8 hours policy." More like that, only you could probably even stretch it to more than 2 hour difference. Depends entirely on the job and staffing I suppose. That would probably be relieved by the fact that you don't have places being rushed as badly during the lunch hour or right before/after the workday.

    Nocturne on
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    Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User regular
    edited April 2023
    -

    Andrew_Jay on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Nocturne wrote: »
    I enjoy working 2nd shift because I can run errands and do things before going into work.

    It would suck having to use a vacation day every time I wanted to visit the doctor.

    In short, yes, most jobs would work perfectly fine with staggered hours, and I'm sure there would be many benefits.

    There would be benefits as long as you retained a core of hours during which everyone was still there. But a whole lot of jobs require that you have frequent or constant contact with other employees (or other businesses), so too much staggering would kind of screw that up. But staggering the workday such that people could come in between 7-9, and leave between 4-6, for example? That would probably be aces.

    You can't really get away from that anyway, at least in a lot of businesses/offices. I already work in an office that deals with people from Hawaii off to the East Coast, which spans what...five time zones? Six?

    There are already entire offices full of people in Asia (and I don't just mean call centers in India) who work odd night-time schedules to "sync" with financial markets in New York.

    Really you don't necessarily need more than a few hours in the mid-day region where the bulk of businesses are open, and the bulk of workers are there.

    We're lucky, though, because we get to actually choose our individual schedules from about a three-hour window (starting as early as 5 or so and as late as 8, nine-hour days, every other Friday off).

    mcdermott on
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    Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    Working fewer hours would be ideal, but until that can happen I'd be happy working more flexible hours.
    I don't know if this has come up already, but presumably this includes moving away from assigning 9-5 as the time when the majority of people are at work. That's something I've never understood the rationale for. I guess it grants us some certainty that services will be available within that window, but it comes at the cost of requiring that a significant proportion of people who would use those services be at work at that time (or take time off work to make use of whatever service they need). Even if we stick to eight hours a day, five days a week, why not allow for greater flexibility of start and end times? Let the morning people come in at 7:00 and the night-owls at 11:00.
    I'd agree with this. I think having everyone work 9-5 (usually 9-6 or 8-5, really) creates sort of an arms race. All the workers are forced to do their errands after they finish work, so a lot of stores start staying open an hour later to cater to them. But them all the people in those stores need to do THEIR errands some time, so you need another group of stores open 1 MORE hour, and it just keeps going.

    Pi-r8 on
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    TalleyrandTalleyrand Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I'm not really sure where to start and I'm never good at being concise so I'm just going to throw a few things out there to add to the debate.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox
    In economics, the Jevons paradox (sometimes called the Jevons effect) is the proposition that technological progress that increases the efficiency with which a resource is used, tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource. It is historically called the Jevons Paradox as it ran counter to popular intuition. However, the situation is well understood in modern economics. In addition to reducing the amount needed for a given use, improved efficiency lowers the relative cost of using a resource – which increases demand and speeds economic growth, further increasing demand. Overall resource use increases or decreases depending on which effect predominates.

    I mention this because labor is a resource. We work longer and harder because competition is a necessary component of capitalism. The only way I can see around this paradox is the hope that having a workplace where people aren't overworked, enjoy their work, and have flexible work schedules means that that business is more likely to attract more qualified and intelligent workers and is therefor going to be more inefficient without having to stack on more hours.

    I think it was Freud who said that "The best therapy is work and love."

    Talleyrand on
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    electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    The Cat wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Working fewer hours would be ideal, but until that can happen I'd be happy working more flexible hours.
    I don't know if this has come up already, but presumably this includes moving away from assigning 9-5 as the time when the majority of people are at work. That's something I've never understood the rationale for. I guess it grants us some certainty that services will be available within that window, but it comes at the cost of requiring that a significant proportion of people who would use those services be at work at that time (or take time off work to make use of whatever service they need). Even if we stick to eight hours a day, five days a week, why not allow for greater flexibility of start and end times? Let the morning people come in at 7:00 and the night-owls at 11:00.

    That actually has been done in one of the Nordic countries, as I recall, and they've been trialling similar stuff at my workplace. It does wonders for traffic flow, if nothing else.

    I am surprised the NSW government hasn't advocated this to deal with the fact that Sydney's transport system is pretty much doomed to running over-capacity. Of course I'm a Ph D so I do it anyway - mid-day is a great time to come in, late evening a great time to leave since I avoid most of the major disruptions.

    Man transitioning to an actual job is going to suck.

    electricitylikesme on
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    CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    While I am fully in the camp of the work week being longer than it needs to be for the most part, I don't think framing the issue as "abolition of work" or "anti-work" is a productive way to present those ideas. Sure, it is a snappy, attention getting line. But I think it also leads to instant dismissal of whatever valid points may be being made with accusations of sloth or laziness.

    Corvus on
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    ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    I'm not really sure where to start and I'm never good at being concise so I'm just going to throw a few things out there to add to the debate.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox
    In economics, the Jevons paradox (sometimes called the Jevons effect) is the proposition that technological progress that increases the efficiency with which a resource is used, tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource. It is historically called the Jevons Paradox as it ran counter to popular intuition. However, the situation is well understood in modern economics. In addition to reducing the amount needed for a given use, improved efficiency lowers the relative cost of using a resource – which increases demand and speeds economic growth, further increasing demand. Overall resource use increases or decreases depending on which effect predominates.

    I mention this because labor is a resource. We work longer and harder because competition is a necessary component of capitalism. The only way I can see around this paradox is the hope that having a workplace where people aren't overworked, enjoy their work, and have flexible work schedules means that that business is more likely to attract more qualified and intelligent workers and is therefor going to be more inefficient without having to stack on more hours.

    I think it was Freud who said that "The best therapy is work and love."

    You may be obfuscating the mechanism here. You don't have to invoke the Jevons paradox to explain this. It is intuitively obvious that (short of Laffer Curve hilarity) paying people more can induce them to work more. If labor becomes more productive, it becomes cheaper relative to capital in order to produce the same amount of stuff; so businesses attempt to employ more of it (Jevons) instead of relying on old capital. But to attract such people, they offer more pay (wages = marginal labor productivity), and thereby induce more work.

    Jevons applies, yes, but it's less spooky-sounding when it's phrased as "more pay for more work".

    ronya on
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    The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2010
    The Cat wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Working fewer hours would be ideal, but until that can happen I'd be happy working more flexible hours.
    I don't know if this has come up already, but presumably this includes moving away from assigning 9-5 as the time when the majority of people are at work. That's something I've never understood the rationale for. I guess it grants us some certainty that services will be available within that window, but it comes at the cost of requiring that a significant proportion of people who would use those services be at work at that time (or take time off work to make use of whatever service they need). Even if we stick to eight hours a day, five days a week, why not allow for greater flexibility of start and end times? Let the morning people come in at 7:00 and the night-owls at 11:00.

    That actually has been done in one of the Nordic countries, as I recall, and they've been trialling similar stuff at my workplace. It does wonders for traffic flow, if nothing else.

    I am surprised the NSW government hasn't advocated this to deal with the fact that Sydney's transport system is pretty much doomed to running over-capacity. Of course I'm a Ph D so I do it anyway - mid-day is a great time to come in, late evening a great time to leave since I avoid most of the major disruptions.

    Man transitioning to an actual job is going to suck.

    yeah srs, do whatever you have to do to live reasonably close to work. It makes a tremendous difference.

    I actually really like the sound of the working hours in places like Italy and Spain, where lunch is so long you're almost working two short shifts a day. Allows time for a proper recharge, and you can get chores done etc. I'd love to be able to go to the gym at like 1pm instead of 6, too.

    The Cat on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I work in a creative field. As a result, I'm constantly thinking about my job because hey, I love my job. Sure there are some things I need to be at the office for at a specific time, but I really wish I had more flexibility in the hours I don't need to be there. God, I just wish more people checked their work e-mail from home. I work on the weekends which means 2/5ths of my work week doesn't mesh with, well, anyone.

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    MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Corvus wrote: »
    While I am fully in the camp of the work week being longer than it needs to be for the most part, I don't think framing the issue as "abolition of work" or "anti-work" is a productive way to present those ideas. Sure, it is a snappy, attention getting line. But I think it also leads to instant dismissal of whatever valid points may be being made with accusations of sloth or laziness.

    Did you just read the first post and skip six pages to post that?

    MKR on
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    TalleyrandTalleyrand Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    ronya wrote: »
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    I'm not really sure where to start and I'm never good at being concise so I'm just going to throw a few things out there to add to the debate.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox
    In economics, the Jevons paradox (sometimes called the Jevons effect) is the proposition that technological progress that increases the efficiency with which a resource is used, tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource. It is historically called the Jevons Paradox as it ran counter to popular intuition. However, the situation is well understood in modern economics. In addition to reducing the amount needed for a given use, improved efficiency lowers the relative cost of using a resource – which increases demand and speeds economic growth, further increasing demand. Overall resource use increases or decreases depending on which effect predominates.

    I mention this because labor is a resource. We work longer and harder because competition is a necessary component of capitalism. The only way I can see around this paradox is the hope that having a workplace where people aren't overworked, enjoy their work, and have flexible work schedules means that that business is more likely to attract more qualified and intelligent workers and is therefor going to be more inefficient without having to stack on more hours.

    I think it was Freud who said that "The best therapy is work and love."

    You may be obfuscating the mechanism here. You don't have to invoke the Jevons paradox to explain this. It is intuitively obvious that (short of Laffer Curve hilarity) paying people more can induce them to work more. If labor becomes more productive, it becomes cheaper relative to capital in order to produce the same amount of stuff; so businesses attempt to employ more of it (Jevons) instead of relying on old capital. But to attract such people, they offer more pay (wages = marginal labor productivity), and thereby induce more work.

    Jevons applies, yes, but it's less spooky-sounding when it's phrased as "more pay for more work".

    Ok but the fact remains that larger wages are generally used for conspicuous consumption and not much else. Of course that isn't necessarily always a terrible thing but couple that with the fact that the system isn't engineered so people can turn down higher wages so they can enjoy more hours off work and we have a system that is striving for more efficiency that not only doesn't translate to a higher standard of living for the population but can actually become detrimental to it. I haven't spent a single moment working in an office so I could be wrong on this but it seems like anyone who refuses a promotion and more responsibility is looked upon as "unmotivated" and as "not the kind of talent we want working here."

    I can't remember the exact term but many of our business are set up so people rise to their highest level of inefficiency. People get promoted until they are no longer doing as good a job as they were before. It entirely ignores the idea that there are niches within every system for each particular person. I don't think it's bad management so much as a natural by-product of a consumer and competition driven system.

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    ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Are you seriously asserting that there are more high-paying high-responsibility jobs than there are people who would prefer to take them on?

    e: also, I caution that cherrypicking the results of neoclassical economics - while always an entertaining exercise in finding contradictions - shouldn't be used to draw conclusions. It is too easy to find all the countervailing second-order effects whilst discounting all the first-order effects, which then renders any conclusions drawn void of any scientific meaning.

    ronya on
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    mythagomythago Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    Ok but the fact remains that larger wages are generally used for conspicuous consumption and not much else. Of course that isn't necessarily always a terrible thing but couple that with the fact that the system isn't engineered so people can turn down higher wages so they can enjoy more hours off work and we have a system that is striving for more efficiency that not only doesn't translate to a higher standard of living for the population but can actually become detrimental to it. I haven't spent a single moment working in an office so I could be wrong on this but it seems like anyone who refuses a promotion and more responsibility is looked upon as "unmotivated" and as "not the kind of talent we want working here."

    I can't remember the exact term but many of our business are set up so people rise to their highest level of inefficiency. People get promoted until they are no longer doing as good a job as they were before. It entirely ignores the idea that there are niches within every system for each particular person. I don't think it's bad management so much as a natural by-product of a consumer and competition driven system.

    Where do you get the idea that 'larger wages' are used only for conspicuous consumption? Seriously? Everybody is already getting paid exactly what they require for their needs?

    What you're thinking of in your second paragraph is the Peter Principle. It was semi-humorous when the book was written, and it's not so much about "a consumer and competition-driven system" as it is about the nature of hierarchical workplaces. When your reward for doing a good job is that you get promoted to a job with more responsibilities and a higher skill requirement, eventually - unless you're so good you could be CEO - you get promoted into a job you're not fully competent to do. At that point, they don't promote you anymore, thus you stay at a level where you're not fully competent.

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    Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    I haven't spent a single moment working in an office so I could be wrong on this but it seems like anyone who refuses a promotion and more responsibility is looked upon as "unmotivated" and as "not the kind of talent we want working here."
    That hasn't been my experience. If someone is good at their job and isn't interested in moving up in the corporate ladder, most employers are happy to leave them be. There are some exceptions, of course (such as big law firms that still have the "up or out" mentality), but most employers are happy to let a well-performing employee stay in their current position.

    In the US, there is quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to the money/lifestyle mix.

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    TalleyrandTalleyrand Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    ronya wrote: »
    Are you seriously asserting that there are more high-paying high-responsibility jobs than there are people who would prefer to take them on?

    e: also, I caution that cherrypicking the results of neoclassical economics - while always an entertaining exercise in finding contradictions - shouldn't be used to draw conclusions. It is too easy to find all the countervailing second-order effects whilst discounting all the first-order effects, which then renders any conclusions drawn void of any scientific meaning.

    Well I'm sure there are plenty of people that would be happy to do them but having higher wages and a more prestigious title doesn't really attribute to having a more satisfying lifestyle. I'd like to find a cite for this but I've heard plenty of times that if you're poor a little bit more wealth will bring a lot more happiness but if you're rich a lot more wealth will only bring a little more happiness. There may be people willing to do the job but I honestly think they're being misled. I understand that there are highly-motivated people out there who find satisfaction in their work and want to keep climbing the corporate ladder but I'm sure that motivation could be used to accomplish other things that can provide for a more stable or satisfying lifestyle. I don't want to simplify so much as "they should all be working on that novel instead of bringing in larger clients or whatever" but IMHO for the majority of people, life is really lived outside the work place.

    As for the last part, if you haven't realized it yet, I haven't had an extensive education of sociology and economics and so I'm just trying to cobble together an understanding of the issue with what things I have heard.
    mythago wrote:
    Where do you get the idea that 'larger wages' are used only for conspicuous consumption? Seriously? Everybody is already getting paid exactly what they require for their needs?

    Was that a statement or a question? I'm not saying we should all be ascetics if that's what you're implying. I do believe that poverty in developed countries is a product of a bungled education and health-care system. It's hard to imagine that someone with a clean record, without any health problems, medical bills, or debt should be incapable of providing for themselves. So someone earning the lowest possible wages in the workforce should be able to provide for all their necessities. Most people, if given the chance like they should, wouldn't be working for minimum wage and so would have money to spend on some luxuries. Anything a pay grade or so higher than the ideal minimum wage is generally going to spend it all on conspicuous consumption. Or hoard it, which isn't much better. Or donate it but I doubt most people would be doing that.
    What you're thinking of in your second paragraph is the Peter Principle. It was semi-humorous when the book was written, and it's not so much about "a consumer and competition-driven system" as it is about the nature of hierarchical workplaces. When your reward for doing a good job is that you get promoted to a job with more responsibilities and a higher skill requirement, eventually - unless you're so good you could be CEO - you get promoted into a job you're not fully competent to do. At that point, they don't promote you anymore, thus you stay at a level where you're not fully competent.

    I tied it into competition and consumerism because a business will do it's best to promote people in the belief that they will get more or better work out of them and therefor be able to compete better and because they will use their desire for consumer goods to motivate them to take on the extra responsibilities. But thanks for explainer the basics better than I could.

    Talleyrand on
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    HounHoun Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    So someone earning the lowest possible wages in the workforce should be able to provide for all their necessities. Most people, if given the chance like the should, wouldn't be working for minimum wage and so would have money to spend on some luxuries.

    :lol:

    Wow, the disconnect from current reality...

    Houn on
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    Tiger BurningTiger Burning Dig if you will, the pictureRegistered User, SolidSaints Tube regular
    edited March 2010
    Houn wrote: »
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    So someone earning the lowest possible wages in the workforce should be able to provide for all their necessities. Most people, if given the chance like the should, wouldn't be working for minimum wage and so would have money to spend on some luxuries.

    :lol:

    Wow, the disconnect from current reality...

    It's not far off, actually. If necessities are limited to food, clothing and shelter, then an individual working full time at minimum wage can generally provide for themselves. Many people that can't provide for their own basic necessities are dealing with health or mental issues, including, often, substance abuse.

    Tiger Burning on
    Ain't no particular sign I'm more compatible with
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    LibrarianThorneLibrarianThorne Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    i support this philosophy of work as necessary evil, wholeheartedly

    I struggle between two poles.

    On the one hand, I understand why it's important to have a job that you love, that is meaningful to you.

    On the other hand, I'm not entirely certain that it's healthy to define yourself by your occupation. I cringe a little bit when the first question somebody asks me at a party is, "So what do you do for a living?" First off, I don't want to be identified by my job. Secondly, why do we use the word "living" when talking about an occupation? I don't live to work, I work to live (and I wish I didn't have to, at that).

    I think this all comes into finding your own way. I think a lot of people are either unwilling or unable to take the risks necessary to find a job that makes them happy. It took me 2 years out of college before I found a small start up company to work for, and I'm incredibly happy doing the work. I get to make games, test games, and work with friends on exciting projects. I'm basically doing what I was doing when I was unemployed, but I'm making substantially more doing it.

    However, I also know that there's tons of folks working for McDonald's and call centers that simply didn't have the opportunities I had (namely, a college education and more than enough money to make it through lean times). I've worked those jobs too, and every day was filled with about 6-8 hours of unremittant hatred for myself and the circumstances that had forced me into such unfulfilling work.

    I wish our society could enable people to work the hours they wanted without fear of losing home, or food, or other "basic" expenses. I think it'd create a much larger net good, but it would also decrease the amount of net money being made.

    LibrarianThorne on
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    ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    i support this philosophy of work as necessary evil, wholeheartedly

    I struggle between two poles.

    On the one hand, I understand why it's important to have a job that you love, that is meaningful to you.

    On the other hand, I'm not entirely certain that it's healthy to define yourself by your occupation. I cringe a little bit when the first question somebody asks me at a party is, "So what do you do for a living?" First off, I don't want to be identified by my job. Secondly, why do we use the word "living" when talking about an occupation? I don't live to work, I work to live (and I wish I didn't have to, at that).

    Fun trivia: the Chinese translation of "job" (in the sense of specializing in a given industry or trade) is 生意. Which, literally, means "life meaning". I'm not kidding.

    (like many other Chinese words, it doesn't mean the same as its constituent parts any more, but it's a good indicator of how the word came about)

    ronya on
    aRkpc.gif
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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Houn wrote: »
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    So someone earning the lowest possible wages in the workforce should be able to provide for all their necessities. Most people, if given the chance like the should, wouldn't be working for minimum wage and so would have money to spend on some luxuries.

    :lol:

    Wow, the disconnect from current reality...

    It's not far off, actually. If necessities are limited to food, clothing and shelter, then an individual working full time at minimum wage can generally provide for themselves. Many people that can't provide for their own basic necessities are dealing with health or mental issues, including, often, substance abuse.

    Or they need to provide for both themselves and their kids.

    Daedalus on
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    ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »
    Are you seriously asserting that there are more high-paying high-responsibility jobs than there are people who would prefer to take them on?

    e: also, I caution that cherrypicking the results of neoclassical economics - while always an entertaining exercise in finding contradictions - shouldn't be used to draw conclusions. It is too easy to find all the countervailing second-order effects whilst discounting all the first-order effects, which then renders any conclusions drawn void of any scientific meaning.

    Well I'm sure there are plenty of people that would be happy to do them but having higher wages and a more prestigious title doesn't really attribute to having a more satisfying lifestyle. I'd like to find a cite for this but I've heard plenty of times that if you're poor a little bit more wealth will bring a lot more happiness but if you're rich a lot more wealth will only bring a little more happiness. There may be people willing to do the job but I honestly think they're being misled. I understand that there are highly-motivated people out there who find satisfaction in their work and want to keep climbing the corporate ladder but I'm sure that motivation could be used to accomplish other things that can provide for a more stable or satisfying lifestyle. I don't want to simplify so much as "they should all be working on that novel instead of bringing in larger clients or whatever" but IMHO for the majority of people, life is really lived outside the work place.

    As for the last part, if you haven't realized it yet, I haven't had an extensive education of sociology and economics and so I'm just trying to cobble together an understanding of the issue with what things I have heard.

    ... It's like this. You've clearly been reading quite widely, but what you've been reading is meant to be interpreted in a certain academic context (that is, the neoclassical model), and you may have been interpreting the things you've read actually mean in entirely the wrong way.

    Take the bit which I colored orange - you're referring to diminishing marginal utility from income, which is broadly documented. But this is marginal utility, not total utility, and the neoclassical theory still holds that higher incomes indicate higher happiness. Yes, eventually we have a theoretical Laffer curve point at which increasing income still further encourages people to work less - they earn so much during their work time that they would rather take more time off in which to spend said time, hence explaining why surgeons and CEOs go golfing when their income could be so much higher - but this is hardly true for the vast majority of people. For the vast majority of people, you can't take the smaller second-order effect (diminishing utility from income) and ignore the very big first-order effect (the happiness that you can have by doing things that require money to be spent).

    Likewise for conspicuous consumption, which you mentioned earlier. Yes, it is a documented effect. But it is also a very small effect for the vast majority of people. If you buy a car, an element of it will be branding and status, but most of it would be its usefulness: as a car. And this remains true unless you happen to be the tiny minority shopping for designer cars.

    I emphasize that it is entirely possible to sidestep the neoclassical model entirely - it is, after all, fundamentally false and is primarily used as a framework to organize thinking - but what you're doing is picking certain elements of the model to make an argument and discarding the rest. It doesn't work like that. This is like arguing that people can fly due to the centrifugal force relative to the Earth's rotation. Well, yes, someone in orbit or beyond would indeed be flying, but this doesn't mean that people can fly.

    ronya on
    aRkpc.gif
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    TalleyrandTalleyrand Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Houn wrote: »
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    So someone earning the lowest possible wages in the workforce should be able to provide for all their necessities. Most people, if given the chance like the should, wouldn't be working for minimum wage and so would have money to spend on some luxuries.

    :lol:

    Wow, the disconnect from current reality...

    Should as in "in the ideal world it would be possible", not should as in "poor people have no excuse for not being self-reliant."

    I understand that raising a family is what usually puts a strain on most people's budgets. Most of those costs seem to come from health care and education which are increasing yearly by a substantial amount. I blame lack of regulation and government intervention.
    ronya wrote: »
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »
    Are you seriously asserting that there are more high-paying high-responsibility jobs than there are people who would prefer to take them on?

    e: also, I caution that cherrypicking the results of neoclassical economics - while always an entertaining exercise in finding contradictions - shouldn't be used to draw conclusions. It is too easy to find all the countervailing second-order effects whilst discounting all the first-order effects, which then renders any conclusions drawn void of any scientific meaning.

    Well I'm sure there are plenty of people that would be happy to do them but having higher wages and a more prestigious title doesn't really attribute to having a more satisfying lifestyle. I'd like to find a cite for this but I've heard plenty of times that if you're poor a little bit more wealth will bring a lot more happiness but if you're rich a lot more wealth will only bring a little more happiness. There may be people willing to do the job but I honestly think they're being misled. I understand that there are highly-motivated people out there who find satisfaction in their work and want to keep climbing the corporate ladder but I'm sure that motivation could be used to accomplish other things that can provide for a more stable or satisfying lifestyle. I don't want to simplify so much as "they should all be working on that novel instead of bringing in larger clients or whatever" but IMHO for the majority of people, life is really lived outside the work place.

    As for the last part, if you haven't realized it yet, I haven't had an extensive education of sociology and economics and so I'm just trying to cobble together an understanding of the issue with what things I have heard.

    ... It's like this. You've clearly been reading quite widely, but what you've been reading is meant to be interpreted in a certain academic context (that is, the neoclassical model), and you may have been interpreting the things you've read actually mean in entirely the wrong way.

    Take the bit which I colored orange - you're referring to diminishing marginal utility from income, which is broadly documented. But this is marginal utility, not total utility, and the neoclassical theory still holds that higher incomes indicate higher happiness. Yes, eventually we have a theoretical Laffer curve point at which increasing income still further encourages people to work less - they earn so much during their work time that they would rather take more time off in which to spend said time, hence explaining why surgeons and CEOs go golfing when their income could be so much higher - but this is hardly true for the vast majority of people. For the vast majority of people, you can't take the smaller second-order effect (diminishing utility from income) and ignore the very big first-order effect (the happiness that you can have by doing things that require money to be spent).

    Likewise for conspicuous consumption, which you mentioned earlier. Yes, it is a documented effect. But it is also a very small effect for the vast majority of people. If you buy a car, an element of it will be branding and status, but most of it would be its usefulness: as a car. And this remains true unless you happen to be the tiny minority shopping for designer cars.

    I emphasize that it is entirely possible to sidestep the neoclassical model entirely - it is, after all, fundamentally false and is primarily used as a framework to organize thinking - but what you're doing is picking certain elements of the model to make an argument and discarding the rest. It doesn't work like that. This is like arguing that people can fly due to the centrifugal force relative to the Earth's rotation. Well, yes, someone in orbit or beyond would indeed be flying, but this doesn't mean that people can fly.

    I guess my question is how do we expand the benefits of that theoretical Laffer curve so people who aren't making as much find it worth their while to work less. I think the idea of conspicuous consumption applies to a lot more things than you're giving credit to. Not only is it worth our while to save money and therefor time by not buying designer sports cars. We also could save money by not buying the latest Apple gadgets, the latest HDTV or 3DTV or whatever, purebred pets, the newest gaming systems, diamond engagement rings, houses with lawns or brand new clothing, furniture and appliances. Just so you know where I'm coming from I'm perfectly fine with living in a trailer park, preparing most of my food and buying all my clothes second hand if it means I have to work less. Does it mean I'm lazy? Not if I spend all that extra time educating myself, working on art, helping my family (even extended family) and volunteering in my community. What I'm preaching here is a cultural shift as well as an economic one.

    Talleyrand on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    ShadowenShadowen Snores in the morning LoserdomRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    ronya wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    i support this philosophy of work as necessary evil, wholeheartedly

    I struggle between two poles.

    On the one hand, I understand why it's important to have a job that you love, that is meaningful to you.

    On the other hand, I'm not entirely certain that it's healthy to define yourself by your occupation. I cringe a little bit when the first question somebody asks me at a party is, "So what do you do for a living?" First off, I don't want to be identified by my job. Secondly, why do we use the word "living" when talking about an occupation? I don't live to work, I work to live (and I wish I didn't have to, at that).

    Fun trivia: the Chinese translation of "job" (in the sense of specializing in a given industry or trade) is 生意. Which, literally, means "life meaning". I'm not kidding.

    (like many other Chinese words, it doesn't mean the same as its constituent parts any more, but it's a good indicator of how the word came about)

    Of course, a more recent Chinese proverb is, "Find a job you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life."

    Shadowen on
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    DarkWarriorDarkWarrior __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2010
    Unless there was a massive change in society and money became worthless, or we have an apocalyptic event and T&A and water become valuable commodities, I don't think you'll ever find anything easier on the worker than the French 40 hour week.

    Now I do honestly believe there will come a day where we have machines that can do all manner of tasks, not just putting cars and other mass produced products together, i.e. construction work, farming, repairs, maintenance, etc. and at that point things would have to change because a lot of people would be put out of work and a welfare state would crumble. But on the other hand, if you add in a renewable, near infinite power source being developed then you can provide free/cheap electricity, powering these machines becomes less taxing and they can provide products and food at low or no cost. Best case scenario short of Star Trek style replicators and transporters.

    But thats a loooooooooooong time off unless a superior power source is cracked soon. Thats the closest we'll ever get to a work free or low work environment. Until then only the rich get to enjoy a long weekend.

    DarkWarrior on
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    JohannenJohannen Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I think the configuration of work days is horrendous and based on absolutely fuck all.

    9-5 usually in base hours (so 40 hours a week), with a 30 minute to 1 hour break, sometimes unpaid. I work 9.30 - 6.30 at the moment with a 1 hour unpaid break.

    How the goosepooh is this beneficial to anyone? If you're giving out a shit wage, how about rearrange the day so that you are not:
    1. Locking someone inside when it is lovely and sunny outside during the summer, meaning they go to work in the dark and leave when it's going dark sometimes.... this is a disgusting way to live.
    2. 9 - 5? Why? Why not 10 - 6? or something which means some of us are not getting up as the sun rises and feeling like crap. In Amsterdam in some jobs they have a later starting day on Monday where you finish at normal time or earlier, just to get you back into the week at a relaxed level.
    3. I also think the way managers and companies see job hierarchies and how people should be treated is evil and inhumane at a base level.

    There's more but I don't want to think about this too much.
    4.

    Johannen on
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Some of it has to do with where you are.

    My uncle moved from new york to san francisco, and for years he complained about having to shift his sleep schedule two hours forward. In new york it's apparently not that big a deal to come in around 10 and work your eight hours or whatever. But business starts when the east coast markets open, whether you're on the east coast or not.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    it was the smallest on the list but
    Pluto was a planet and I'll never forget
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