Sunday, November 13, 2011

Peter Thiel on Higher Education Bubble. Aptitude Tests for Employers Instead of College Degrees?



In this WSJ video, Peter Thiel, founder of Clarium Capital and The Thiel Foundation, explains why young Americans need to be encouraged to take on more risk to spur innovation and why the cost of a U.S. education is hindering that.

HT: Sprewell

Related: Craig Newmark points to a 2009 George Will article that might help explain why we have a higher education bubble:

"In 1964, there were more than 2,000 personnel tests available to employers. But already an Illinois state official had ruled that a standard ability test used by Motorola was illegal because it was unfair to "disadvantaged groups."

A heavy burden of proof was placed on employers, including that of proving that any test that produced a "disparate impact" detrimental to certain minorities was a "business necessity" for various particular jobs.

Small wonder, then, that many employers, fearing endless litigation about multiple uncertainties, threw up their hands and, to avoid legal liability, threw out intelligence and aptitude tests for potential employees. Instead, they began requiring college degrees as indices of applicants' satisfactory intelligence and diligence. This is, of course, just one reason college attendance increased from 5.8 million in 1970 to 17.5 million in 2005."

MP: Peter Thiel describes higher education as a "giant selection mechanism" and estimates that only 10% of the value of a college degree comes from actual learning, and 50% of the value comes from selection (getting into a selective university) and 40% comes from signalling (graduating from a selective college becomes known to employers).  If employers could use intelligence tests instead of college degrees as measures of aptitude, it might be a lot more efficient and more cost-effective than the current practice of using very expensive four-year college degrees that add very little in terms of educational value (at least according to Thiel).    

36 Comments:

At 11/13/2011 11:27 AM, Blogger AIG said...

Again, we confuse ourselves by grouping all higher education as "college". That is about as meaningful as grouping all professions as "jobs". A degree in education is not going to deliver the same level of "education" as a degree in engineering.

Second, he is absolutely right that the majority of the value of a college degree comes in its selection value. But this is not separate from "educational value". it, in fact, selects people based on the educational value they have acquired; its a 4-5 year test on how well you have learned and can apply your knowledge. If not, then what is the selection criteria based on? Education!!

I really doubt that there are any aptitude tests out there that can replicate this selection process. And if there were, it would costs thousands of dollars for an employer to administer. What the employer simply does, is transfer the costs and risks of hiring new people onto the new employees and the universities. And that, is a beneficial thing.

Third, almost all employers out there have aptitude tests, still. Its simply not true that they don't. The more technical the field, the more likely that there will be aptitude tests. However, these aptitude tests are simply gates an applicant must go through. They are not meant to replace your resume (and they can't)

Fourth, back when there were 2000 aptitude tests available, the jobs also required far fewer skills and knowledge. It becomes increasingly harder to "test" skill and knowledge, as the skill and knowledge that you need to possess becomes increasingly larger. Certainly not as a single point test. So its pretty irrelevant what aptitude tests existed in the past; the vast majority of them were likely for laborers in manufacturing.

 
At 11/13/2011 11:29 AM, Blogger AIG said...

I understand this fascination and hate some people on the "right" or "libertarians" have towards "college" (as they call it, but shouldn't). After all, there is heavy gov involvement, and if gov is involved...the thing itself must be bad?? But that can't be true. Higher education is becoming more important because knowledge is becoming more valuable. The market demands it, because the market demands it. Getting the gov out of it would have a significant impact...but it is important to recognize WHERE this impact will be. It is likely to be in the value-less degrees which exist because of gov subsidizing...and not in a lot of others. Its like assuming that if the gov stopped subsidizing corn, there would be no more corn.

Now if the argument was framed in terms of waste and efficiency in higher education, then it would be a valid argument. But to attack "college" as "useless"? Where's your...EVIDENCE?

 
At 11/13/2011 11:32 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Is having a diploma from a university still a credible statement of accomplishment and more importantly can give one some acquired skill sets that can be applied to future employment?

A couple of years ago Professor Mark introduced us to Khan Academy and other online sites to bolster one's education...

Maybe between Thiel's Breakout Labs and sites like Khan Academy we could have a new generation of well rounded entrepreneurs...

 
At 11/13/2011 12:19 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

A stronger work ethic is needed:

What it takes to be great
October 19 2006

Scientific experts are producing remarkably consistent findings across a wide array of fields...talent doesn't mean intelligence, motivation or personality traits.

It's an innate ability to do some specific activity especially well.

"The evidence we have surveyed ... does not support the [notion that] excelling is a consequence of possessing innate gifts."

In virtually every field of endeavor, most people learn quickly at first, then more slowly and then stop developing completely. Yet a few do improve for years and even decades, and go on to greatness.

The first major conclusion is that nobody is great without work...There's no evidence of high-level performance without experience or practice.

The most accomplished people need around ten years of hard work before becoming world-class, a pattern so well established researchers call it the ten-year rule.

So greatness isn't handed to anyone; it requires a lot of hard work. Yet that isn't enough, since many people work hard for decades without approaching greatness or even getting significantly better. What's missing?

The best people in any field are those who devote the most hours to what the researchers call "deliberate practice." It's activity that's explicitly intended to improve performance, that reaches for objectives just beyond one's level of competence, provides feedback on results and involves high levels of repetition.

For most people, work is hard enough without pushing even harder. Those extra steps are so difficult and painful they almost never get done...If great performance were easy, it wouldn't be rare.

 
At 11/13/2011 12:25 PM, Blogger Jim said...

I've been saying for years that I could easily hire a competent high school graduate who in less than 4 years would perform most white collar jobs better than a university graduate. First, there are prerequisites:

1. Outgoing; must be able to interact. If you can not speak up, you can not contribute. I am not sure university grads are '4 years' ahead on this one.
2. Computer literate, including word processing and spreadsheets. Most university grads still use both as glorified typewriters, so the degree is useless.
3. Demonstrable discipline. I would prefer if they held a part time job in high school.

Having hired 100s of people over the years, the largest signal of a degree is that you had the discipline to stick it out. What it does not prove is that you can speak or write clearly, or that you are dependable or ethical.

An 18 year old with some intelligence can learn the practical necessities of white collar jobs; logistics, marketing, finance, programming, even law, etc. that most firms need. And, it is on the job training particular to the firm, provides an income, avoids debt and hastens maturity since they interact with adults all day.

If I have a choice between a university grad who has never had more than a part-time job, and a community college student who worked their way through school, I now choose the community college student almost every time.

The university grad (who is probably 24!) is typically emotionally immature, wants too much money for their worth, and due to insularity of both middle class upbringing and education lacks all manner of worldly common sense.

The whole concept that 25 years of schooling should produce say, a well rounded journalist or programmer, without benefit of real fundamental work and apprenticeship, must be rethought. It is an expensive Ivory Tower long on personally biased theory and short on practical relevance, even while it robs economies of workers.

 
At 11/13/2011 12:45 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

When I went into grad econ, I recall thinking it would be harder than undergrad econ, and therefore would be good for me.

I never believed in going into an easy grad program, which some in grad econ did when they were failing, and no matter how difficult it became, because it would've been a waste of time and money.

 
At 11/13/2011 12:49 PM, Blogger The King said...

A major understated component of the housing crisis is the sizable student loans graduates have going into their first "position." These loans hinder demand for starter homes & "slows" trade-up activity. For the most part higher education has been sold on the notion of higher lifetime earnings. Many of these education loan burdens more than offset the difference in lifetime earnings. Starting a position & then matriculating makes bunch more sense; experienced students have better focus &, often, employer help.

 
At 11/13/2011 1:18 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Testing for aptitude, personality and integrity is still common. Testing for intelligence, or cognitive ability, is legally trickly.

I hire people (small business) and don't rely on testing, but rather on candidate reputation and experience, as well as my personal intuition. Experience includes accomplishment and failure. Some of the best hires are those that have failed(legally) in a job, school or business!

 
At 11/13/2011 2:28 PM, Blogger AIG said...

It is astounding to me how pro-market people can put forth such assumptions. Furthermore it is astounding to me how people who either proclaim themselves as "Austrian" or at the very least likely to be more analytical of the "macro" level view, can take make such overreaching aggregations and...absurd...generalizations.

Case in point; "I can take a high school person, and in 4 years get them to do most white collar jobs...all they need is discipline, computer skills and outgoing"!

Well, here's the problem. Most jobs that require a 4 year degree, and have as their requirement only the ability to be outgoing, to be on time, and to know computer skills...pay around 25-30K. They are...already...compensated low in the market. So if you assumption is that after 4 YEARS of training someone, you can get the same results as 4 years of a poor college education, for a basic elementary "white collar" job, then yes. You're right.

But that is an absurd generalization. It does not apply in any way to what most college degrees, that matter, are focused on.

 
At 11/13/2011 2:28 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Second, on how it is astounding to me that pro-market people can make such assumptions. The great success of capitalism and the modern age has come about thanks to...specialization. There are people who specialize in such professions which most of us may consider "useless", but which perform an essential job in the functioning of the market. Educational institutions are such.

What MARKET role do educational institutions play? WHY does the employer benefit from educational institutions? WHY does the employee? WHY does the institution?

First, the employer gets to save tens of thousands of dollars for every new hire in selection costs and in training costs. The employer...SPECIALIZES...in what they do best, not in selecting and educating future employees. Somehow, to some of you, that has...no value?

Second, the educational institution gets to...SPECIALIZE...in doing what it does best; educating. It develops individuals who spend their whole lives in developing methods and systems of education. It develops people who send their lives conducting research, which then feeds into education.

WHY on earth would some of you people think, that specializing in education or research, would produce poorer results than than transferring those duties and costs to organizations that do NOT specialize in them? This is the opposite of what markets do.

Third, the employee, or student, benefits in...SPECIALIZING...themselves through these educational institutions. They do not rely on a employee to "educate" them, because that imposes significant costs to the employee, not least of which is becoming too focused on a firm or industry, as opposed to a discipline..

 
At 11/13/2011 2:29 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Everyone specializes in what THEY DO BEST. This reduces costs, both monetary and human, to all sides.

Now the reason why some of you just can't see this, is because you insist on...aggregating...things into "college" There are literally tens of thousands of higher education institutions in the US; counting all universities, community colleges and post-high school educations. There is tremendous competition in the field. There is tremendous variability in costs and in results. How can such things be aggregated into "college"...and all the jobs they produce as "white collar jobs"? Its absurd.

In short, the argument some on the right make against "college" is about as absurd as the argument OWS makes against Wall Street. Their argument against Wall Street is that "wall street doesn't produce anything of value. All they do is speculate!. All they do is trade with other people's money!"

Yes. And that is what they...SPECIALIZE...in. And that creates a tremendous value to the market, because it allows EFFICIENCIES IN COMMUNICATION. That is exactly what universities do. They allow for greater efficiencies in communicating knowledge to students, and communicating knowledge to future employers. It saves costs to both the student in acquiring this knowledge (it is absurdly ridiculous for some of you to assume that, if it takes 4 years to learn some engineering discipline in school, that YOU could do it in 1 year on your own! Ridiculous)...and for the employer it saves costs in selecting and weeding out new employees.

Universities perform a tremendous market function. The fact that there is a gov intrusion into this market, doesn't mean that higher education is useless. The gov intervenes in ways which reduce the efficiency of this market...but that's a separate issue.

 
At 11/13/2011 2:36 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Now here we are, and some of you are claiming that the same function that a specialized organization does today, can be performed...BETTER...by an organization that neither specializes in this, nor can it do it any cheaper. How does this make any sense? What efficiencies would be lost to an...engineering firm...if it now had to spend 30% of its budget and time training and administering tests and getting 50% of their hiring decisions wrong? What about a small firm? Or are they just going to be driven off the market by the larger firms which can handle this more easily? Oops...

Then some of you claim that a simple...test...is the equivalent of 4 years worth of tests. If it were indeed so, what kind of a format would such a "test" take? How much would it cost for an employer to administer it? What success rates would it have? How many tens of thousands does it cost an employer every time they get an employment decision...wrong?

Then, some of you furthermore claim that we should not differentiate between the gigantic variation in costs, results, specializations, efficiencies, etc etc of thousands of educational institutions. No...you say. Lets call them all "college", and pretend like they all offer the same product, in the same way.

Wow.

 
At 11/13/2011 3:28 PM, Blogger Jim said...

School debt would be much more manageable if students:
1. selected a degree program with more economic value (not "gender studies")
2. Went to a less expensive institution instead of a "brand name" college

The horror stories you hear about $250K debt with a gender studies degree from NYU are extreme. The average debt per student at graduation is less than $30K. You never hear about MIT grads being unable to pay their debts.

 
At 11/13/2011 3:44 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

"In 1964, there were more than 2,000 personnel tests available to employers. But already an Illinois state official had ruled that a standard ability test used by Motorola was illegal because it was unfair to "disadvantaged groups."

A heavy burden of proof was placed on employers, including that of proving that any test that produced a "disparate impact" detrimental to certain minorities was a "business necessity" for various particular jobs.

Small wonder, then, that many employers, fearing endless litigation about multiple uncertainties, threw up their hands and, to avoid legal liability, threw out intelligence and aptitude tests for potential employees. Instead, they began requiring college degrees as indices of applicants' satisfactory intelligence and diligence. This is, of course, just one reason college attendance increased from 5.8 million in 1970 to 17.5 million in 2005."


It is a good argument. The progressives were driven by 'good intentions' and wound up creating a huge mess for the very people that they were supposedly helping.

 
At 11/13/2011 6:48 PM, Blogger kmg said...

Why should a corporation NOT outsource to India or China?

These are countries that don't force businesses to waste billions on feminism and other forms of AA.

 
At 11/13/2011 7:31 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

Or how about doing the correct thing and barring both? It's not like the businesses care about the aptitude of their foreign components. Why not decide to train our own citizens instead, after re-evaluating what is really required?



Maybe between Thiel's Breakout Labs and sites like Khan Academy we could have a new generation of well rounded entrepreneurs...

...while completely missing the point.

Trying to shove entrepreneurial qualities into everyone and everything is like trying to square the circle.




Why should a corporation NOT outsource to India or China?

Because they don't want to commit treason? That's what it is when someone decides to do such an activity - especially when people can't say they're doing it to anyone, including their own employees & customers. Destroying your own country is hardly a thing one should consider.

Offshoring has no place in the US, and that jurisdiction shall not limit the US in pursuing & prosecuting someone for it.


These are countries that don't force businesses to waste billions on feminism and other forms of AA.

The problem is that in exchange, you get something worse off. If you like their flavor of slavery, give up your US citizenship and live in the non-Westernized portions. Your survival time will be measured in days.

 
At 11/13/2011 9:21 PM, Blogger Bobby Caygeon said...

"outsourcing is treasonous"?

only a leftist ideologue could ever think this way.

step 1: ignore any logical argument.
step 2: appeal to emotion.
step 3: shut down argument with threats/attacks.

rinse and repeat.

 
At 11/13/2011 10:19 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Or how about doing the correct thing and barring both? It's not like the businesses care about the aptitude of their foreign components. Why not decide to train our own citizens instead, after re-evaluating what is really required?

You are free to train as many citizens as you want. Nobody is stopping you. If you can hire people in the US and can make stuff at a better price you will get rich. If you can't compete you will go bankrupt. So what is your problem? And what could be more 'right' than that?

Trying to shove entrepreneurial qualities into everyone and everything is like trying to square the circle.

It is the left and right that are trying to 'shove' qualities into others. Most free thinking people just want to be left alone. If you want change start minding your own business and change yourself first.

Because they don't want to commit treason?

Why is it treason to make goods as cheaply as possible so that as many people as possible can afford them? Why is it treason to provide good jobs to people who were very poor and welcome the opportunity to improve their lives?

That's what it is when someone decides to do such an activity - especially when people can't say they're doing it to anyone, including their own employees & customers.

Doing what to anyone? People should be able to invest their capital exactly where they choose and should provide the best goods at the best price for their customers.

Destroying your own country is hardly a thing one should consider.

This has nothing to do with destroying the country. The country is being destroyed by too much government that spends, taxes, and borrows far too much. When the actions of that government force people to look abroad it is the government that is the problem, not the people.

Offshoring has no place in the US, and that jurisdiction shall not limit the US in pursuing & prosecuting someone for it.

Without 'offshoring' the US would collapse and its currency would become worthless. A country that lacks capital, as the US does, needs all the help it can get. Even when that help comes from poorer countries abroad.

The problem is that in exchange, you get something worse off. If you like their flavor of slavery, give up your US citizenship and live in the non-Westernized portions. Your survival time will be measured in days.

You are free to do whatever you want with your citizenship. And you might actually trying to get out some time and look at the world. In many places people are far freer than they are in the US. Even a country like China does not fine or put its people in jail when the shower heads in their homes allow too much water to flow through them or their toilets flush too much water.

 
At 11/14/2011 7:15 AM, Blogger Don said...

"...and estimates that only 10% of the value of a college degree comes from actual learning,..."

But this is still an effective over-estimate. It is still rare for a given specific amount of learning to represent an actual economic value to a given specific employer.

This can only be avoided if education is provided by employee firms, outsourcing the actual education to competitive
suppliers whose performance and value are judged by the employee firms paying the bills.

Regards, Don Lloyd

 
At 11/14/2011 7:36 AM, Blogger Ian Random said...

If testing were to become widespread again, companies wouldn't get high aptitude folks at a bargain like now. Both my brother and I excel at our jobs in IT, but despite multiple eye doctors we can only read a handful of pages at any one time. I do better than people with degrees even in CS at my job, but after many false starts I was unable to complete a bachelor's degree.

What's funny is isn't the whole disparate outcomes a case for dismantling the government school system by the judiciary. In essence it is just measuring how well the last year of school did.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griggs_v._Duke_Power_Co.

 
At 11/14/2011 1:22 PM, Blogger Rich B said...

Employers are also using referrals from current employees to find good candidates. Cash compensation for recommending a successful hire (after a 6 month probationary period) is the incentve. Having your reputation on the line keeps the process honest.

 
At 11/14/2011 9:09 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


Bobby Caygeon said...

Then explain why it is used in a very dishonest, if not criminal, manner?

Trying to red-bait this discussion isn't helping your point either.


You are free to train as many citizens as you want.

Apparently you are not aware of the H1-b fraud that has continued. One part of it is that the offshore company takes the minimally competent and passes them off as fully competent as a well-trained US citizen.




This has nothing to do with destroying the country. The country is being destroyed by too much government that spends, taxes, and borrows far too much. When the actions of that government force people to look abroad it is the government that is the problem, not the people.

Yet it is business that makes the final decision. The government does not make the specific order to go offshore.




Even a country like China does not fine or put its people in jail when the shower heads in their homes allow too much water to flow through them or their toilets flush too much water.

In exchange, you get a bit more than just H2O in your water, and lot more additives in your air. Even in the westernized areas.

 
At 11/14/2011 9:16 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


This can only be avoided if education is provided by employee firms, outsourcing the actual education to competitive
suppliers whose performance and value are judged by the employee firms paying the bills.

The problem is that such staffing firms can ill-afford to do the job properly. Direct hiring and training does the job with the most accuracy.

That, and staffing agencies & their clients consider the workers as second-class citizens by treatment of them as such. It shows a multiparty distrust in the person doing the work.

 
At 11/14/2011 9:57 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Apparently you are not aware of the H1-b fraud that has continued. One part of it is that the offshore company takes the minimally competent and passes them off as fully competent as a well-trained US citizen.

Apparently you still have no clue about economics. A minimally competent employee is not the key to success for companies. If better employees were available domestically and they could produce more output per unit of pay the companies that hire them would drive the others out of business. But we know that is not happening because companies still need foreign employees to fill jobs that American's can't do well at the market rate.

 
At 11/14/2011 9:59 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yet it is business that makes the final decision. The government does not make the specific order to go offshore.

You are not reading well. I pointed out that the problem is not companies but governments that print too much money, borrow too much, regulate too much, and spend too much. Companies have to go abroad because they cannot stay in business in the domestic environment thanks to the idiots in government.

 
At 11/15/2011 6:01 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


A minimally competent employee is not the key to success for companies. If better employees were available domestically and they could produce more output per unit of pay the companies that hire them would drive the others out of business. But we know that is not happening because companies still need foreign employees to fill jobs that American's can't do well at the market rate.

Better employees are available in the US, just that businesses commit fraud to avoid hiring them in good faith.

You're admitting that it's OK to commit fraud if it's a business going offshore. Why can't the business just simply hire US Citizens. Oh, wait - they're too free versus the captive folks in other countries.

 
At 11/15/2011 6:08 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


You are not reading well. I pointed out that the problem is not companies but governments that print too much money, borrow too much, regulate too much, and spend too much.

Trying to lump in the currency issue(to try to get agreement) isn't making your point any better.



Companies have to go abroad because they cannot stay in business in the domestic environment thanks to the idiots in government.

That is a lie. Said businesses have a natural contempt for US citizens and are willing to use fraud to enforce it.

 
At 11/15/2011 9:16 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

I suggest that you still don't know how clueless you are about economics and business. In business 'better' means that you have the skills to produce more for the same unit of pay. Businesses are always on the lookout for 'better' because that is how they stay ahead of the competition. The fact that they go abroad tells us all that we need to know about the productivity issues of domestic employees.

You're admitting that it's OK to commit fraud if it's a business going offshore.

Not at all. I am saying that employment is a voluntary transactions and it isn't the role of government to meddle with it. When they force compensation to a level at which the marginal cost of the employee is higher than the marginal output that employee does not get hired. Even an economic illiterate like you should be able to understand that simple statement.

Why can't the business just simply hire US Citizens.

Because they are too expensive for the level of productivity that they provide. It is not the total compensation that matters to a business but how much output is produced for that compensation. It seems that many American workers fail to measure up so employees go elsewhere.

Oh, wait - they're too free versus the captive folks in other countries.

You just lost me here. When an employee is hired from China or India for $185K per year he is no less free than the guy from Omaha who also gets $185K per year. Try sticking to the economic argument because your political tangents make it even worse for your muddled mind to see the big picture clearly.

 
At 11/15/2011 9:21 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Trying to lump in the currency issue(to try to get agreement) isn't making your point any better.

I am not trying to lump in anything. I am simply pointing out that the corporations can't continue to support the huge spending by government by paying more in taxes and wasting more and more resources trying to comply with the thousands of mostly arbitrary rules. You guys try to blame business because your Marxists teachers have always taught you to blame business or the 'rich'. But the problem is government, not the people or corporations. And the solution is very simple. Get rid of 90% of the things that governments do and let people look after their own interests without having the bureaucrats' hands in their pockets.

 
At 11/15/2011 9:24 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

That is a lie. Said businesses have a natural contempt for US citizens and are willing to use fraud to enforce it.

Natural contempt? I thought that in the US businesses were made up by a collection of investors and employees who acted as individuals. Do you mean to tell me that these individuals have contempt for their fellow citizens?

Stop with the Marxist nonsense and see things as they are. If you and your fellow citizens do not they are going to wind up exactly in the same way as all those who have chosen the dark path of Socialism/National-Socialism wound up. Bankrupt and hungry.

 
At 11/16/2011 8:49 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


Because they are too expensive for the level of productivity that they provide.

The problem is that they'll always be that way, given the insatiable requests of business in that regard. One place where US workers don't measure up is that that they don't have as many fraudulent qualifications or wish to lie about them. Another place is that US workers recognize a certain degree of freedom to make objections against arbitrary business influence.

You're asking the US citizen to not only lie to an employer, but to also act with absolute, slavish deference to business.



When an employee is hired from China or India for $185K per year he is no less free than the guy from Omaha who also gets $185K per year.

If you are referring to the non-resident worker situation, they are bound to their sponsor, their employer.



Do you mean to tell me that these individuals have contempt for their fellow citizens?

If you've been paying attention since the mid 1970's in the US, there has been a gradual contempt for those that do the job versus those that run the business.

It is shown by how workers are treated, the legal code being increasingly against them, working arrangements being made worse, increasing amounts of applicants per open job, and the lax enforcement of the regulations that do exist in their favor.


random red-baiting

Your various attempts to red-bait the discussion still do not advance your point.


The US has plenty of resources and plenty of ways to ensure that worse fates come before bankruptcy or hunger. The last thing that one should do is to allow other countries to destroy it from within.

 
At 11/16/2011 9:56 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The problem is that they'll always be that way, given the insatiable requests of business in that regard. One place where US workers don't measure up is that that they don't have as many fraudulent qualifications or wish to lie about them. Another place is that US workers recognize a certain degree of freedom to make objections against arbitrary business influence.

If you don't qualify for a job you have no right to that job. And lying does not help you keep a job because employers are not kind to incompetents.

You're asking the US citizen to not only lie to an employer, but to also act with absolute, slavish deference to business.

Not at all. I don't expect anyone to lie. I also don't expect employees to bow down to business but to get the best price that their skills can fetch in a competitive marketplace.

If you are referring to the non-resident worker situation, they are bound to their sponsor, their employer.

For the duration of the contract both sides are bound by the terms of that contract. But once a skilled individual has shown his/her value other employers can bid for the services being offered once the contract is over. What is wrong with that?

If you've been paying attention since the mid 1970's in the US, there has been a gradual contempt for those that do the job versus those that run the business.

Given the fact that most of the people who 'run' the business used to 'do the job' in earlier stages of their careers I doubt that there has been much of a difference. I certainly see no objective evidence of it. If anything, managers today are far more attentive to the needs and desires of employees than ever before.

Of course, if the courts tell me that I have to keep a drunk or alcoholic employed today even though I could have fired him thirty years ago I might be excused if I don't have the same level of respect to that employee than I would have for employees that I had before. But that is a subject for another posting.

It is shown by how workers are treated, the legal code being increasingly against them, working arrangements being made worse, increasing amounts of applicants per open job, and the lax enforcement of the regulations that do exist in their favor.

What nonsense. In the past you could be fired because you were gay, too fat, an alcoholic, drug user, etc. Today many of those reasons are not valid because the courts consider them disabilities. And the number of regulations that existed thirty years ago are dwarfed by the regulations today.

You see, that is one of the problems that employers have. In the past they could give a break to a reliable employee who did something out of character without worry about setting precedents that would protect incompetent employees. The manager who was forgiven his error thirty years ago cannot forgive the same error to an employee today because his legal department has made sure that the procedures to deal with the new regulations ensure swift and final action. As usual you are blaming companies for the structure that the government forces them to work under.

 
At 11/16/2011 9:56 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Your various attempts to red-bait the discussion still do not advance your point.

My point is sound. Yours is based on ignorance of economics, government regulations, and the structure under which businesses and their workers have to operate under.

The US has plenty of resources and plenty of ways to ensure that worse fates come before bankruptcy or hunger.

No it does not. The US banking system is technically insolvent. The US SS and Medicare programs are technically insolvent. Many of the states are insolvent. Most of the public pension plans are insolvent. The current level of spending cannot be supported by the current level of productive activity. There are simply too many parasites that get in the way of efficient economic activity and too many meddlers who have no idea about reality.

The last thing that one should do is to allow other countries to destroy it from within.

The last time I looked it was Congress and state legislatures that passed the laws that are forcing employers abroad. The last time I looked it was Congress that funded useless wars that the taxpayer could not afford. The last time I looked it was Congress that passed laws that allowed the building of massive Ponzi schemes in housing, the bond markets, and pension accounting. Trade with other nations is not harming the taxpayer. It is the domestic governments at all levels that are doing most of the harm.

 
At 11/17/2011 4:31 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


The manager who was forgiven his error thirty years ago cannot forgive the same error to an employee today because his legal department has made sure that the procedures to deal with the new regulations ensure swift and final action. As usual you are blaming companies for the structure that the government forces them to work under.

Yet at the same time, those regulations came about because enough businesses used that kind of error to get around the law. Blame the few bad apples for ruining it for the many good ones.



The last time I looked it was Congress and state legislatures that passed the laws that are forcing employers abroad.

The business made the final decision. Nothing stops the business from finding ways to stay in this country, instead of forsaking it.

I'm more aware of the regulations than you may think.

 
At 11/17/2011 4:38 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yet at the same time, those regulations came about because enough businesses used that kind of error to get around the law. Blame the few bad apples for ruining it for the many good ones.

You can't have it both ways.

The business made the final decision. Nothing stops the business from finding ways to stay in this country, instead of forsaking it.

Of course there is. It is called the market. In case you missed it the consumers call the shots with their spending decisions. Businesses that choose to be less efficient because they waste scarce resources complying with useless American regulations can't win contracts and still stay solvent. So they go abroad where they can lower costs and keep competitive.

I'm more aware of the regulations than you may think.

Yet you have no idea what they have led to. That says a great deal about your ability to analyze data effectively.

 
At 11/18/2011 1:22 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


You can't have it both ways.

How so?

The lack of regulation in one area was used against regulation in another. The business that used that lack of regulation, and the bureaucrat that responded to lack of regulation are the ones to blame. If there was no proverbial "bad-apple" business to prompt a bureaucrat to respond, there wouldn't be as many regulations as there are now.



Of course there is. It is called the market. In case you missed it the consumers call the shots with their spending decisions.

You're trying to erroneously include disjointed parties while using (normally) disarming language.



Businesses that choose to be less efficient because they waste scarce resources complying with useless American regulations can't win contracts and still stay solvent. So they go abroad where they can lower costs and keep competitive.

Regulations that disincentivise the forms of slavery practiced in Third World countries are not useless. Regulations that provide for clean air/water/ground for all are not useless (I'm not talking about the excessive regulations that come from Aspen-is-Mecca environmentalists). You are simply asking the US to give up freedoms at the altar of "competitiveness".

 

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