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[P]
White-Collar Sweatshop

By Philipp in MLP
Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 01:53:39 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

We already discussed here earlier that despite all the technological progress, the number of hours Americans work does not decrease. Today's cover story in Salon Magazine reviews a book called White-Collar Sweatshop that provides some reasons why this is happening: In short, the fruits of this progress are not shared by the vast majority of people.


According Fraser, even middle class white-collar workers are under increased pressure to make ends meet. Consider these statistics:
  • In the years between 1988 and 1998, Fraser writes, the middle 20 percent of American families saw only a $780 increase in annual income, while the richest 5 percent enjoyed a $50,760 surge.
  • Between 1989 and 1997, entry-level wages for male college graduates actually declined by 6.5 percent. Women graduates watched their paychecks fall by 7.4 percent.

Ordinary employees seem to be powerless against the cost-cutting pressures of corporations. All this happens even during the recent economic boom, so there is reason to worry about how things will turn out with the coming recession.

For now high tech workers seem to be insulated from this trend, since they are in high demand. Are you worried?

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Poll
What can be done?
o Political action 15%
o Joining unions 25%
o Nothing; it's hopeless 15%
o I don't care, IT workers are in demand and always will be 12%
o I don't care; I will be part of the top 5% 31%

Votes: 83
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o earlier
o cover story
o White-Coll ar Sweatshop
o Also by Philipp


Display: Sort:
White-Collar Sweatshop | 79 comments (75 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Statistics (4.14 / 7) (#1)
by Delirium on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 05:25:58 AM EST

I'm afraid I'm a bit skeptical of these statistics. Are there any other sources with data on these sorts of things? I'm a bit uncertain what the quoted "decreases in entry-level wages" represent - unquestionably actual nominal (dollar amount) wages have increased significantly since 1989, so the quoted figures must be somehow adjusted in order to show a decrease. Inflation-adjusted is acceptable of course, but I'm skeptical that a mere inflation adjustment would lead to figures such as "decrease of 6.5 percent," when all other information I've seen indicates that real income in the United States went up overall (fairly significantly) during the 1990s.

I'm not an economist so I'm not fully qualified to analyze all this information, but something seems slightly fishy when people complain about salaries for college graduates and yet all the data I've seen shows that average entry-level salaries for 4-year-college graduates in the US range from $30k-$50k, depending on the field.

2nd (2.75 / 4) (#2)
by duxup on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 05:39:32 AM EST

In my opinion the numbers are suspect from my personal experience. I'm also wary of statistics in general, you can make them say anything, and rarely do people explain how they're gathered.

[ Parent ]
Sure (4.00 / 3) (#5)
by aphrael on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 06:26:14 AM EST

but as far as reliability goes, whose statistics would you trust more than the census bureau?

[ Parent ]
Census numbers (4.25 / 4) (#3)
by Philipp on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 05:42:35 AM EST

I got the numbers from the Salon article. There are also official census numbers here.

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'
[ Parent ]
Ah, thanks (3.50 / 2) (#4)
by Delirium on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 05:43:54 AM EST

Well yeah, I understood they were from the Salon article, I was just unclear as to how Salon's writer compiled his data. Thanks for the link to the census data, I'll take a look when I have some more free time.

[ Parent ]
Salon Editor (4.25 / 4) (#6)
by wiredog on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 08:22:22 AM EST

David Talbot will be on the Live Online section of the Washington Post today (Thursday) at 1:15 PM EST

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
Phage

Too bad? (1.84 / 13) (#7)
by maketo on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 08:28:13 AM EST

I am not sure if we are to feel sorry for the average American? To me, people have more than enough. 10% of the world population uses 90% of the world resources. The rich western bastards buy ivory, go on safari's shooting wild animals, your average bored western tourist goes to see everything everywhere putting the pressure on the locals to change the habitat, I think people have way too much money in any case. There is also way too many people. Nowadays, even remotest and wildest places on the planet are full of morons with cameras and guns in their hands and that ticks me off. How does this relate to your story? In my mind it does - tell me something, is a new car really a necessity? Does earning more make you happier? Does shopping untill dropping feed your ego? Do you really have to travel en mass to a game reserve in Africa to see a lion anface?
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
im an average american (4.00 / 4) (#8)
by unstable on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 09:07:02 AM EST

I have never bought ivory... never went on a safari, I rarely travel and if i do its inside the US (or canada) the only thing I realy have going for me is a new car... which I bough because my old one died and I needed something dependible to get to work. so thank you for stereotyping me with your way out of propotioned veiws of "us americans" I sure do like being told I'm a spoiled rich bastard by someone who probably has never been to amaerica.



Reverend Unstable
all praise the almighty Bob
and be filled with slack

[ Parent ]
Hmmm (1.80 / 5) (#12)
by maketo on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 09:32:07 AM EST

I have been to America. I also do not need to be Einstein to know that the west comprises a smaller part of overall population only to exploit most of planet's resources, all in the name of a better and more quality life. Now, if it boils down to you, me or the next door individual is your to judge but the general consequences of the corporate aggressive capitalism are there and the bad thing is that they destroy everything we have (I dont care about much more than that). It is up to you, as an average American who only got a new car and never travelled, to write to your congressman and press for abolition of ivory trade and poaching, preservation of wildlife. Bush is going to drill Alaska, he will invest billions in the military, we will all buy new low-emission cars but the fact remains: it is not the poor people that drove zillions of cars to polute the planet's atmosphere, it is not the 100 $ earning african that will buy the ivory and it is not the skinny hungered poor man that will shoot the elephant or the lion just because they have nothing better to do - it is your walthy tourist that is bored with urban life and wants to try something new. Capitalism means harvesting the planet in many cases and eventually the planet will run out of things to harvest. Then me, you (who has never done anything to harm the environment) and the rich jackass who shot an elephant for pleasure - we will all end in the same boat. Now, I am not afraid of the end - I am just enraged at the wrong focus of many people.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
[ Parent ]
HEY! (2.50 / 4) (#22)
by error 404 on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 10:08:53 AM EST

Don't blame Bush on us! We didn't vote for him, in case you missed the election coverage. At best, a half-million more of us voted for someone else and he won on a historical quirk of the compromise between representing States and individuals. But there is a distinct possibility that, without the unconstitutional actions of some blatantly partisan "Justices", he'd be back in Texas now.

We tend to be relatively mellow about these things - as long as it doesn't happen again in the next 25 years or so, we probably won't revolt. Which is good, because the people who win revolutions are usualy even worse than the ex-govornor of Texas.

Don't give me crap about an illegal de-facto head of state as if he represented anything but inbred oil-poisoned Texas aristocracy. I don't say Canadians are goofy-looking gits with big ears and no relationship skills, and Prince Charles is closer to being their King than mr bush is to being a real President.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Same old argument (none / 0) (#38)
by meadows_p on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 11:39:53 AM EST

I thought the people of the USA had constitutional rights to overthrow an oppressive/illegal government?

[ Parent ]
get your facts straight! (3.00 / 1) (#60)
by StackyMcRacky on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 05:46:57 PM EST

it is not the poor people that drove zillions of cars to polute the planet's atmosphere

if the friggin poor would buy new cars that were friendlier to the atmosphere instead of driving crappy old broken-down ones, we'd all be better off!!!!!



[ Parent ]
Oh, for crying out loud... (4.00 / 1) (#32)
by trhurler on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 11:01:06 AM EST

The average American never leaves the US, never owns any ivory, and doesn't have the money to "shop til he drops." He probably doesn't own a gun(only about 30-40% do,) he probably has more debt than you can imagine, his education was a lousy government-sponsored clusterfuck, and he's lucky if he can pay his bills month to month. His car is used and unreliable, which is too damned bad, because he needs it to get to work, whether he likes it or not. Now, this isn't to say his life is really all that hard - it isn't - but the way you talk has NO relationship to reality, and I thought you should know.

Get a damned job for a year or three, spend a few months in the US maybe, and THEN come back whining. I'm sick of hearing you go on about the US when your experience of it is obviously some school-sponsored two-week trip or some similar dumbass thing, and I'm sick of hearing you go on about the real world when you've obviously never actually lived in it. Mommy, daddy, and school are apparently all you've ever known, but you sure do pretend to know everything about everything, don't you?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Ignorance is a bliss? (1.00 / 1) (#36)
by maketo on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 11:24:05 AM EST

Hey guy, it was not a school-sponsored trip, I went on my own to see United States with my own eyes. Besides, if you read my post carefully, which you didnt, you would see a reference to westerners as in all rich western countries that have the buying power and that constitute a consumer-oriented society. As for your story above, please, you make it sound like I should go to Africa and live the good life since in America its all hardship. The way you put it, Americans should be pittied for their misfortune of being corporate-run. You must be a dumfsck to write what you wrote. The facts remain (and you try to null them for me since I have a "school" picture of the western society, although I lived both in the east and in the west - did you?): the west consumes most of the worlds resources. Compared to the poor nations of the world, westerners have the money to buy/drive cars, they consume most of the electricity, they buy the ivory, they sponsor slaughtering of wildlife for their own pleasure, either through skin and ivory trade or through direct safaris, they travel everywhere to see the "poor people" survive, "learn new cultures" simply because they are bored of their own or they "need to escape". How many habitats even here in North America have been destroyed because your next door extremely poor American with the old car needed to go to the mountains to ski? How many a cougar and bear has been killed because "we wanted to go hiking in the wilderness and imagine, a cougar attacked us"? How many places in Mexico are full of drunken nasty tourists running around spilling their dollars everywhere and poluting once peaceful beaches and habitats? How many "tourists" go every day to South american rain-forests to "see the Amazon"? What is their business there? It is not your average poor guy earning 100$ per year that does this, it is your average middle-class and high-class naighbour that needs to surpise his little wife and children with a "never-forget-me" trip to a "remote" destionation for an adrenalin-rush, all in effort to make their pittiful TV-run, corporate mollested little souls feel happy, once the shopping pleasure has been tasted and turned boring. You explain this and I will rest in peace. Tell me, did the CFC polution result from the 3 fridges or deodorants in, say, Kenya or from millions in the west? Did the car polution result from the 10 cars in, say, Nigeria, or millions in the west? Are the poor people responsible for the global warming? Or is it the rich countries that consume, consume, consume? Just because you drive an old car and try to make it to work does not mean that you should deny yourself the right to ACTION. If everyone wrote a letter to their elected representative about these issues, I am sure things could have been done in time (or had a bigger chance of being done). While you are trying to save your pittiful existance in your old car (I am already crying for you), habitats are being destroyed, animals are perishing and nature is being spoiled. Now in your little world this might not count, but in mine it sure does. Thus my original posting that I simply dont fees sorry because "the earnings after graduation fell 7 percent".
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
[ Parent ]
So then... (4.50 / 2) (#41)
by trhurler on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 11:48:24 AM EST

Let me get this straight. We consume most of "the resources," by which you actually mean "the resources consumed," since most existing resources aren't actually being consumed by anyone. This is because we have a mature industrial civilization. We're working to bring that to anyone who wants it, because this benefits us, and in the long run, they're better off too as it happens. But YOU are pissed off because we did it first. Sorry, buddy, but I just don't have any pity. The "underdeveloped regions" of the world, such as Africa, have more resources and more people than the US and Europe combined; the reason they aren't doing better is primarily that they're so tied to their backwards tribal bullshit cultures that they can't move much past the hunter-gatherer-craftsman level of civilization without outside help. We give them the help, and you bitch. Asia is rapidly modernizing, and with that comes market reforms, human rights improvements, and so on. But hey, we had nothing to do with that, right? All we do is buy their TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF GOODS, giving them a way to make money. Africa is less successful, because they're in the midst of a bunch of petty civil wars, but that will end eventually, and they will then succeed. This is the way of things. It is a GOOD way of things. It controls population growth, it raises standards of living for EVERYONE, and it leads to technologies to control pollution and other nasty side effects of civilization.

But hey, isn't it SO much more fun to whine about how unfair it is that some of the world got its act together while the rest wasted time, as though those who moved ahead are responsible for the inaction of the rest? (No matter what you say, the majority of Africa and Asia is or was backwards because of self-imposed constraints, rather than any outside influence. In the time Africans have wasted since the end of colonialism, the US went from being a two-bit agricultural wannabe to the most powerful country in the world - with less resources and less people. Think about that.)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
boy you are ignorant (1.00 / 1) (#43)
by maketo on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 11:58:44 AM EST

Another demonstration of your american-ego-centric stance. I hope you enjoy your civilization. If they ever taught you in school, which I doubt from what I can read, Africa and many other places were colonized and enslaved for most of their existance. They are still torn by this and there are still stakes at play for the big-brothers, ex-colonists. This posting of yours was amazing. Turning everything into a desolate lifeless place where everything will be well-developed concrete with nice shops and tourist-attractions is your vision of the future? Nice, nice. I suppose you are also onec of those that think "the nature is there to harvest for our own needs"? Well, to me you are one of hordes of ignorant petty self-centered souls that prove a failed educational and family system, out of touch with nature. If in all your good faith you can talk only of the "we did it first, you are dumb" theory I can only sit here and hope you never leave your house, your workplace and your car/highway. You seem to conveniently forget that people in Africa, even in your homeland, America were doing good before western hand came in! If it were up to Indians who lived in United states, they would still be hunting and there would be abundance of habitat and nature (instead colonists slaughtered them and their primary food source). If left alone, the Africans would have had their tribal lives and (petty, as you put it) wars and would have lived in synchrony with the nature. You are a selfish moron, my friend and I sincerely pitty you. <EOD>
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
[ Parent ]
Yeah, I'm a real dumbass (5.00 / 1) (#50)
by trhurler on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 12:57:30 PM EST

I hope you enjoy your civilization.
I do. Do you enjoy whining about it?
Africa and many other places were colonized and enslaved for most of their existance.
That's interesting, considering that colonialism didn't even start until several hundred years after the middle ages, which is to say after most of human history. Most of their existence, eh? One would be tempted to say "bullshit," but that's just not very nice, I suppose. Notice that the US was a collection of British colonies from day one. Colonialism isn't the problem in Africa. Civil and other wars and tribalism are the problem in Africa.
Turning everything into a desolate lifeless place where everything will be well-developed concrete with nice shops and tourist-attractions is your vision of the future?
No. The US isn't like that. Perhaps you don't know what you're talking about, as per usual. Sure, places like that exist in the US, but the vast majority of the US is wilderness, farms, and so on. However, I admit, I like city life. Apparently other people do too, because cities have existed since the dawn of recorded history, in many cultures, including those of Africa and other places you glorify.
You seem to conveniently forget that people in Africa, even in your homeland, America were doing good before western hand came in!
You just got done telling me they spent most of their existence as colonies. Would you mind making some sense out of your own views before expecting me to decipher them?
If it were up to Indians who lived in United states, they would still be hunting and there would be abundance of habitat and nature
And they'd still think 50 years old was REALLY old, and they'd still be living without any comfort at all. Glorifying tribal culture is all well and good when you don't have to actually LIVE it. It is a far different thing to spend your entire life in privation and suffering than to glamorize it from a distance. By the way, they had a nonzero population growth rate, so their tribal wandering ways would not have lasted anyway. Their ways were only workable given that there were relatively very few of them spread across an entire continent. Without the benefit of western style civilization, their population would have been controlled the same way a deer population is - if it grows too large, it starves until it isn't so big anymore. I suppose that's your idea of "in tune with nature."
You are a selfish moron, my friend and I sincerely pitty you.
Oh, I'm selfish, but if I was a moron, I'd be flipping burgers instead of bits. In any case, I don't need your pity. My life is immensely more enjoyable than yours is liable to ever be, seeing as you appear to be carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
What a load... (5.00 / 1) (#57)
by beergut on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 03:06:10 PM EST

I went on my own to see United States with my own eyes.

Did you, perchance, open your eyes while you were here? Or, did you come here with already-formed suppositions and only look for evidence to support those?

...you make it sound like I should go to Africa and live the good life since in America its all hardship.

Isn't that what you're advocating? A return to tribalism, petty wars, petty tin-horn dictatorships who starve their people so they can rob them? A return to slash-and-burn agriculture for all of us, so that we can finish stripping the land of its ability to sustain us and the rest of life on Earth, and so that it can become completely uninhabitable (witness: the Sahara desert, once a lush jungle, is now an enormous sand dune - all this before "western hands" got involved)?

Since you seem to find virtue in struggle, why not live a virtuous life? Go to Africa, work to better the people there, and make a difference! No? Hypocrite.

The way you put it, Americans should be pittied for their misfortune of being corporate-run.

I don't think he meant that at all. In fact, I agree with you here. That we have abdicated our personal responsibility for that which is more comfortable, easier, and requiring of less thought and principle, is the greatest source of our iminent downfall as a nation and as a civilization. We are not "hungry" any more, and we are paying the toll for our sloth.

the west consumes most of the worlds resources.

As trhurler points out in another post, the west consumes most of the resources that are being consumed - because we have the technology, infrastructure, and stable political climate that fosters such consumption. I don't look for this to change any time soon, and I would hate to see it change. Consider this: do you find environmentalist movements among the poor and starving in such places as Rwanda? Most of these people are too busy trying to survive to give a single shit about the "environment". It is the rich, western countries who take the time to try to protect and preserve the natural world. Do you see natives in South America making moves to preserve their own habitats, or do they sell out to those who would log the jungle into a wasteland? Did you realize that, currently, there are more trees on the North American continent than were here when Columbus arrived in 1492?

Compared to the poor nations of the world, westerners have the money to buy/drive cars,

Are cars available in any kind of quantity in, say, The Congo? They could be, but for the constant civil wars and strife. How about South Africa? Yes, there are more cars there, but exorbitant taxation and nationalization of businesses provide a distinct disincentive for manufacturers to try to sell their wares there. Businesses exist to make money. If the cost of doing business in a given place is too high, you can bet that business will not be done there.

they consume most of the electricity,

Again - is electricity widely available in Africa and Asia? Why not? Isn't it free? Oh, wait... there's that whole "infrastructure" thing again. Here's a hint: "infrastructure" costs "money" to build. Nobody is likely to build "infrastructure" in a place where there is no "money" to be made. If, say, Enron were to venture to Africa and build up an infrastructure, who's to say that the tin-horns that run those countries won't simply nationalize the transmission and generation facilities?

I believe you have a distinct problem here in that you don't seem to realize just why things don't happen in places where people regularly steal from other people. Do you think there is likely to be an influx of farmers who are willing to invest in the latest and most efficient means of producing food into a place like Zimbabwe, when the government regularly swipes land from residents and gives it to "veterans" (read: armed thugs) who have no idea how to produce food at all, and who, if they decide to do so, do so by the least efficient, most destructive means?

they buy the ivory, they sponsor slaughtering of wildlife for their own pleasure, either through skin and ivory trade or through direct safaris,

They outlaw the sale and import of ivory, sponsor the protection of wildlife refuges and game preserves, whether by direct donation, or by imposing trade and economic sanctions on governments who refuse to protect their natural places...

they travel everywhere to see the "poor people" survive, "learn new cultures" simply because they are bored of their own or they "need to escape".

First, Western civilizations are too insulated from the rest of the world. Then, when westerners attempt to open their eyes and see how the rest of the world lives, they are castigated by you and others like you.

You, sir, are the worst kind of hypocrite - a stupid one, too damned involved in some warm, fuzzy, touchy-feely, namby-pamby political bullshit to be able to step back, observe rationally, and see what is actually happening in the world.

How many habitats even here in North America have been destroyed because your next door extremely poor American with the old car needed to go to the mountains to ski?

How many habitats even here in North America have been preserved because your next door extremely poor American with the old car wanted a nice place to go and visit and "return to nature"?

How many a cougar and bear has been killed because "we wanted to go hiking in the wilderness and imagine, a cougar attacked us"?

"Better a bear in the orchard than an Orchard in the bear." Now, imagine if Americans and other westerners were as evil and destructive as you say - would there be any wilderness left? Any bears and cougars?

Do you seriously think that the case would be any different in, say, Africa if a tribe wanted to inhabit a nice place on the plain near a good water resource? Do you think that these people, who "live in harmony with nature", would not take steps to defend themselves and their children against wild animals? Please explain to me how you expect people to do this little thing called "surviving" without doing a little thing called "defending themselves". Oh, it's okay if a lion eats little N!zap - it's in his nature. Tra la la.

How many places in Mexico are full of drunken nasty tourists running around spilling their dollars everywhere and poluting once peaceful beaches and habitats?

How many places in Mexico are full of drunken nasty natives running around spilling their pesos everywhere and polluting once peaceful beaches and habitats? Oh, wait... they can't, because they're dirt-poor. But, doesn't that mean they can't invest in the technology to clean up those now-soiled beaches and habitats? Hmm... hadn't thought of that.

How many "tourists" go every day to South american rain-forests to "see the Amazon"? What is their business there?

Have you ever stopped to consider, even for a moment, that parts of the Amazon jungle exist because of the influx of Western tourist dollars? Their business there? Maybe it's to witness for themselves the destruction being wrought on the jungle by the people there, so they can go back home and witness to others, and maybe try to slow or halt the destruction? Maybe it's a knowledge-gathering tour, to determine if some plant or another has a good, medicinal attribute? Why is it that people like you are so opposed to learning?

It is not your average poor guy earning 100$ per year that does this

You're right. It's the average poor guy earning $100 per year that slashes, burns, and destroys the jungle to feed his family! How dare Westerners go there to look at the jungle, while the natives are so busy destroying it?! The nerve of those rich, capitalist swine!

Tell me, did the CFC polution result from the 3 fridges or deodorants in, say, Kenya or from millions in the west? Did the car polution result from the 10 cars in, say, Nigeria, or millions in the west?

Could you be any more insulting to people from those places? Kenya and Nigeria aren't the greatest places in the world, in some respects, but there are certainly more than three refrigerators and ten cars there. The city of Nairobi, alone, probably accounts for more than 20,000 of both such devices.

Oh - here's another clue. It's the Western countries (you know, all us rich white people) who are self-imposing restrictions on CFCs and other pollutants so that we can, ourselves, live in a better world. No such restrictions, self-imposed or otherwise, happen in places like Africa. Did you know that millions die of malaria each year in Africa, and we in the west are about to outright ban the cheapest and most effective chemical that can combat that disease, so that people in those places cannot effectively protect themselves or their progeny against the ravages of that disease? Did you know that we, in the West, used that chemical for years without any non-reversible (by discontinuing its use, once the problem had abated) effects? And now, we're not going to allow the people in Africa to guide their own destinies and protect themselves against this disease?

Doesn't that just make you all warm and fuzzy inside?

Are the poor people responsible for the global warming?

In many cases, yes! Do you know how many acres of jungle are slashed and burned each year by locals so that they can grow crops, because they are too poor, too ignorant, or otherwise restricted (by you green weenies, no less) to improve their agricultural methods?

Do you know that, in Africa, there are no controls on the emissions of CFCs, hydrocarbons, NOx, radiation, or other pollutants? Do you know that Western countries, though we "consume, consume, consume," actually cause less pollution, per-capita and by GNP and GDP, than other, less-advanced countries?

While you are trying to save your pittiful existance in your old car (I am already crying for you), habitats are being destroyed, animals are perishing and nature is being spoiled.

And while you piss and moan and do nothing to prevent this destruction, habitats are being saved, animals are being given a new lease on life, and nature is being preserved and cherished by people who actually do something. These people are, empirically, strictly Westerners!

Now in your little world this might not count, but in mine it sure does.

In my world, reality plays a big role in my perception. In your world, apparently, it does not.


i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

oh, ok (none / 0) (#64)
by maketo on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 08:55:48 PM EST

Oh, ok. So let my litle brain work for a while and try to understand what you said: 1. West is good because Nairobi's 120,000 fridges and cars poluted the planet with CFCs. It wasnt the 20,000,000+ cities in the western hemysphere, coal plants to produce power "on-demand" (for uneducated, that means "when you turn on the light, there is enough energy for it to light up, always"), airplanes, deodorants widely used in underdeveloped places etc. Ok, got that one!
2. West is also good because, imagine, they self-imposed a CFC polution ban on the world and, ofcourse, on themselves, because for the last 80 years, the Africans and underdeveloped have been driving all the cars and it is the africans and the underdeveloped that, in fact, made the global warming happen and depleted the world oil reserves.
3. West is good because all the tourists flock to "remote desrinations" and infact keep them from being shutdown and exploited by littering, shooting animals, taking pictures and generally poluting the area with their presence. It is the ignorant "remote destination" peoples that should learn how to save the habitats, not the innocent tourists who are, as westerners, out ouf touch with other cultures and they "just wanted to help".
4. It is the white people that are good running the conservation programmes in Africa because it is the inhabitants of these areas that kill thousands of elephants for food, ivory (which they use for tools, ya know) and they also wear 20,000 dollar fur coats made of disappearing leopard skins. Hmmm. Let me take this further, if I may. Please stay with me.
5. It is the white people that brought the continents and all species happyness by being in tune with the nature. So, when we try to "survive" the harsh hiking and skiing conditions of the Rockies and a dumb stupid cougar or bear appears in a habitat that's not his own any more (!) so we shoot it, it is the poor animals fault because "he should have known better where to walk his ass". But let me take it further.
6. It is the Indians that slaughtered themselves because they could not bear to live without electricity anymore, they begged the white men and indeed, the white men came on white horses and gave them what they wanted - urban asphalt jungles with CFCs, diseases, crime, TV, all warped abuses and cases you can hear of etc.
7. Now, the underdeveloped are askig for it too, and sure, we will be there to help out. Since they have lived in beautiful conditions for the past 300 years, we decided to help even more and colonize them. After en masse exploitation we gave them "independence" . Ofcourse, in the shambles of new democracies we left corpses of wildlife slaughtered en masse to satisfy the passions of high-positioned wealthy benefactors of life in the west. Now, we come back to run sanctuaries and reserves and when someone points the finger we say "hey, we are running the reserves. It is not we who killed off everything, it is not we who are the market for the ivory, it is not we who consume and travel, it is you!"

As for the pittiful young fool as I am, I should get a job and try paying bills for once and wake up. It is a dog-eat-dog outhere and I am next on the menu. This is a message all of the children should see. They should be taught in school that "we are a great country, the most-technologically advanced etc." and we are putting a ban on CFCs, on ivory-trade and everything else we did for the past 200 years with our western brethren overseas because it didnt count - it is the guy in Kenia now driving an old car that is actually topping the full cup of polution!
And hey, while at it, can you please kidnap a baboon or two from the savanna and bring it to the west so we can try some experiments on him/her and see if we can find a better pill to loose weight. At the same time, we will put a ban on ivory trade on paper and pressure the Govt. or two of that little poor country in Africa into fighting their poachers who bribe $10/month-paid-ranger for a lion or tiger kill or to kill the elephant for its ivory tusks, because, didnt you know, it is the poachers who went crazy and decided to kill animals, it is not the big-wealthy market outhere in demand.....

I am sorry for being such a hypocrite and so naive ... :(((
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
[ Parent ]
Amusing... (none / 0) (#78)
by beergut on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 07:26:04 PM EST

Oh, ok. So let my litle brain work for a while and try to understand what you said

I know it'll be tough. You'll actually have to think instead of feel for once.

Let's play a little thought game here:

I said:

... but there are certainly more than three refrigerators and ten cars there. The city of Nairobi, alone, probably accounts for more than 20,000 of both such devices.
...
It's the Western countries ... who are self-imposing restrictions on CFCs and other pollutants ... No such restrictions, self-imposed or otherwise, happen in places like Africa.

You said:

1. West is good because Nairobi's 120,000 fridges and cars poluted the planet with CFCs. It wasnt the 20,000,000+ cities in the western hemysphere, coal plants to produce power "on-demand" (for uneducated, that means "when you turn on the light, there is enough energy for it to light up, always"), airplanes, deodorants widely used in underdeveloped places etc. Ok, got that one!

2. West is also good because, imagine, they self-imposed a CFC polution ban on the world and, ofcourse, on themselves, because for the last 80 years, the Africans and underdeveloped have been driving all the cars and it is the africans and the underdeveloped that, in fact, made the global warming happen and depleted the world oil reserves.

Now, please show me how these two statements are related. What I said was true, and what you said was hogwash. I'll even help you to support your argument rationally (but then I'll probably knock the wind out of your sails).

I'll agree with you that the West uses a lot of coal (which pollutes far too much, and is not terribly economical, anyway) to produce power. That is bad. A far better solution would be for the rest of the Western nations to mimic the French, and set up a system of nuclear breeder reactors.

I'll agree with you that the majority of air travel is probably done by Westerners. Why is that bad? Would you rather nobody travelled anywhere? Why? Would the world be better if we just all stayed in our own cubby-holes and shut the hell up? Okay. If we, say, in the U.S., were to do that, we'd get along alright. Our prices for some things would be higher, but all in all, we'd be self-sufficient. Would Uganda survive without our shipments of grain, tourist dollars, foreign aid, and other goods?

From my experience, the U.S. uses (now CFC-free, voluntarily) deodorants (though I cannot say the same for many Europeans I've met). I dare you to tell me that that is a bad thing. I, for one, would rather not stink.

Additionally, the U.S. has probably the highest concentration on the planet of refrigeration devices (which are now CFC-free, voluntarily). I rather like that fact, as it keeps me comfortable and keeps my food from spoiling. That we have switched to Freon R-134, which is supposedly Ozone-safe, voluntarily takes a bit of the wind out of your sails. Sure, there are legacy systems out there still using the older refrigerants (especially Freon R-12), but those are slowly being replaced or converted, as time and economics dictate.

The U.S. (except for those backwards-ass dumbshits in California) has power on demand. Why is that bad? It makes life more convenient for us, and wouldn't be so polluting if we would set up a rational energy policy and stopped using coal to fire our power plants. I'm with you partially on this point, but we see it from different angles. It just so happens that mine is well thought-out, and yours is purely reactionary with no thought given to the causes and possible solutions.

Did you ever stop to think that it is people like you who made nuclear power a no-no, and that it is because of people like you, who do not think before they blather, that we still use coal and pollute the air? I thought not.

I said:

Have you ever stopped to consider ... that parts of the Amazon jungle exist because of the influx of Western tourist dollars?

You said:

3. West is good because all the tourists flock to "remote desrinations" and infact keep them from being shutdown and exploited by littering, shooting animals, taking pictures and generally poluting the area with their presence. It is the ignorant "remote destination" peoples that should learn how to save the habitats, not the innocent tourists who are, as westerners, out ouf touch with other cultures and they "just wanted to help".

What I fail to see is how people, by their presence, can pollute an area. Zebras fart and release "greenhouse gases". Do you hold such animosity for them?

How does taking pictures pollute an area? This makes no sense to me, unless you believe that capturing an image of a place on film somehow steals part of the "soul" of that place. If that is your belief, well...

As to the littering aspect: you may have a point there. Is it at all significant? Probably not, but I'd be willing to cede that point to you.

As to westerners shooting animals and selling parts of them off as booty, I can say only "China imports tiger penises as aphrodesiacs, and has done so for millenia." Is China a Western culture? Hardly. Do Westerners kill the tigers? My magic eight-ball says, "Not Probable." (Though I'm sure you can point to a couple dumb white dudes in the bush, whacking tigers for their genitalia...).

And just how do you expect Western "remote desrination" people to learn how to save habitats when they cannot travel to see them? How do you expect someone to be inspired by the beauty of the Serengeti by seeing rectangular images on television and not having been there, breathing the air, and experiencing the place? Isn't the world view that you're espousing more isolationist, more confining, more ignorant, and just more backward in general than what actually happens when Westerners visit game preserves on vacation?

Hmm... did you know that the (not Western!) governments of such places as Kenya actually issue game permits for people to hunt, to control the animal populations so that herds of animals don't starve? Hey... isn't that better for all the animals? Or, would you, not thinking, rather see vast herds of starving animals, miserable and diseased?

I said:

They outlaw the sale and import of ivory, sponsor the protection of wildlife refuges and game preserves, whether by direct donation, or by imposing trade and economic sanctions on governments who refuse to protect their natural places...

You said:

4. It is the white people that are good running the conservation programmes in Africa because it is the inhabitants of these areas that kill thousands of elephants for food, ivory (which they use for tools, ya know) and they also wear 20,000 dollar fur coats made of disappearing leopard skins. Hmmm. Let me take this further, if I may. Please stay with me.

You're doing pretty well, other than this point: It is the non-white, non-Western governments of Africa and other places that run these game preserves and conservation areas.

Also, I don't think you'll see the inhabitants of such places wearing $20,000 leopard skin coats. Instead, some of them wear jackets and other clothes made of leopard skins, but they're probably not finely-crafted enough to demand $20,000.

Oh, that was sarcasm? You mean to say that Westerners wear such things? Funny - I've never seen one in person.

Oddly enough, you'll probably see more leopard skins on the backs of natives than you will on the backs of rich white women in the West.

I said:

Did you realize that, currently, there are more trees on the North American continent than were here when Columbus arrived in 1492?
...
"Better a bear in the orchard than an Orchard in the bear." Now, imagine if Americans and other westerners were as evil and destructive as you say - would there be any wilderness left? Any bears and cougars?
...
How many habitats even here in North America have been preserved because your next door extremely poor American with the old car wanted a nice place to go and visit and "return to nature"?

You said:

5. It is the white people that brought the continents and all species happyness by being in tune with the nature. So, when we try to "survive" the harsh hiking and skiing conditions of the Rockies and a dumb stupid cougar or bear appears in a habitat that's not his own any more (!) so we shoot it, it is the poor animals fault because "he should have known better where to walk his ass". But let me take it further.

Beside the fact that what you said has absolutely no relationship to what I said, what you said is just inane.

People take risks when they go hiking, especially in places inhabited by wild animals (which, by definition, makes those places their habitat). People defend themselves against wild animals when they go hiking. Would you rather they did not? What if your son went hiking, so that he could get in touch with nature, and enjoy and cherish its beauty, and was confronted by a bear? Would you propose that he just sit and let the bear maul and mutilate him?

I said:

Precisely nothing that relates to what follows, in any discernable way.

You said:

6. It is the Indians that slaughtered themselves because they could not bear to live without electricity anymore, they begged the white men and indeed, the white men came on white horses and gave them what they wanted - urban asphalt jungles with CFCs, diseases, crime, TV, all warped abuses and cases you can hear of etc.

FACT:The indiginous population of the American continents had a non-zero growth rate prior to the arrival of Columbus in 1492, and the subsequent arrival of other Europeans.

FACT:The indiginous population of the American continents used available resources to ease their lives. They used trees for dwellings, tools, and fires. They used animals for food, clothing, and shelter.

FACT:The indiginous population of the American continents made war on each other long before the arrival of Europeans.

FACT:The indiginous population of the American continents held slaves long before the arrival of Europeans.

Now, what was the point you were trying to make?

I will agree that Europeans did some truly shitty things to natives, and that immigrants and native-born people of European descent followed in the fine footsteps of their European ancestors. What was on display was truly barbaric. We will agree on this point.

But, to say that the native peoples of these (or any other - reference Africa) continents were shiny, happy people who danced in the sun for all their lives in total harmony with nature, never hurting a fly, is patently absurd.

You said:

7. Now, the underdeveloped are askig for it too, and sure, we will be there to help out.

I'll assume, then, that you would rather Westerners did not help underdeveloped places to advance.

You would rather see (estimated - not by me) 30,000 children per month go blind because they were not able to access rice genetically altered by Western scientists to provide beta-carotene.

You would rather see Africans starve to death because civil wars (between Africans) keep them from raising their own crops, and you would disallow Westerners from shipping grain to these places.

You would rather see millions of Africans and Indians (from India, no less) die from malaria and other such maladies each year than to allow them to fight it using Western technology.

Aren't you just a saint? So concerned. So concerned.

So misguided.

Since they have lived in beautiful conditions for the past 300 years, we decided to help even more and colonize them.

Westerners (specifically, Europeans) may have colonized these places 300 years ago, but I don't see many Western powers with colonies these days. Please point out at least one, that I may further ruminate on this.

After en masse exploitation we gave them "independence".

You seem to forget that many of these colonies fought and won their independence and, in forgetting this, you denigrate these places and people.

Ofcourse, in the shambles of new democracies we left corpses of wildlife slaughtered en masse to satisfy the passions of high-positioned wealthy benefactors of life in the west.

I think the problems in these places run much deeper than this. But, to each his own.

Now, we come back to run sanctuaries and reserves and when someone points the finger we say "hey, we are running the reserves. It is not we who killed off everything, it is not we who are the market for the ivory, it is not we who consume and travel, it is you!"

Again, you forget that it is the local, non-white, non-Western governments of such places that run these preserves. We encourage them to do so, because we care (or, at least some of us do) for the environment and want to preserve natural places.

Oh, and please, try to import ivory into the United States. Either the goods will be confiscated and destroyed, or sold by the government or an agency or affiliate thereof, with proceeds going to fund wildlife preserves in places like, say, Africa. You will probably serve (lots of) time in a jail for the attempt.

As for the pittiful young fool as I am, I should get a job and try paying bills for once and wake up.

That would be helpful. If you choose not to get a job, maybe you can still wake up and look around!

They [the children] should be taught in school that "we are a great country, the most-technologically advanced etc." and we are putting a ban on CFCs, on ivory-trade and everything else we did for the past 200 years with our western brethren overseas because it didnt count

Specifically, it is because we were ignorant, and now we are more enlightened. It is our advanced technology which may help to save more natural places, and restore those that have been damaged.

The children should be taught to be responsible, but to also look at facts rather than just going off on a misguided crusade that often does more harm than good! It's that whole "Think THEN Act" lesson all over again.

And hey, while at it, can you please kidnap a baboon or two from the savanna and bring it to the west so we can try some experiments on him/her and see if we can find a better pill to loose weight.

How about, instead, we breed them in captivity from a small (but sufficient) existing stock? That would seem to me to be far less destructive. Why has this not occurred to you?

...because, didnt you know, it is the poachers who went crazy and decided to kill animals, it is not the big-wealthy market outhere in demand.....

Yes, there is (unfortunately, disgustingly) a market for such goods. Do not, however, make the mistake of believing that all who desire such things are Westerners, and do not think that it is only Western markets that support such poaching. Empirical evidence dictates the opposite.

I am sorry for being such a hypocrite and so naive ... :(((

Merely ignorant. If you open your eyes, you may yet learn the truth, and then you can direct your passion to fighting the correct battle.


i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Nice trolling script (none / 0) (#63)
by br284 on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 08:12:34 PM EST

Where do I download it?

-Chris

[ Parent ]
Here (none / 0) (#65)
by maketo on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 08:57:06 PM EST

It is not a script, it is called "using a brain". Unfortunately, you cannot download that. :( But, hey, try checking Rosie O'Donnel, she has a tip or two for ya.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
[ Parent ]
My curiousity is picqued (none / 0) (#67)
by br284 on Fri Mar 02, 2001 at 12:29:27 AM EST

Ok, all attacks aside, let's be adults and if you would, answer a few questions for me.

1. You talk about how you are not from the United States and that you have visited it and saw it to be such a terrible place. I'm not too concerned with all that, but I am wondering where about did you visit from? Is the enigmatic maketo from Asia, Europe, or somewhere else? For my curiousity, let me know what country you were coming from before you were in the United States. I don't want a street address or anything, I just want to know what country you are from.

2. You have complained about the excesses of the typical American (I'm assuming you were targetting Americans), and how bad it is. While I heard you lament and could see how it might come about, I was wondering if you were given the supreme power in the world, what would you do to correct these percieved injustices? I would hope that you wouldn't be complaining about Western excess if you did not have some idea about how to correct it. Enlighten me.

-Chris

[ Parent ]
good questions (none / 0) (#68)
by maketo on Fri Mar 02, 2001 at 09:46:48 AM EST

Hello.

1. I did not talk about a visit to USA on my own, someone asked if I ever saw US and I said I did. One need not "see" and cannot "see" everything but that does not mean one cannot know things.

2. I am from former Yugoslavia and have been a student in Canada for the past three years.

3. If I were given the "supreme power" I would:

a) make any crime against animals (esp. wildlife) equal to the equivalent crime against humans. So, if a fat hollywood lady wants a leopard fur she goes to jail on basis of murder of first degree and so does the poacher. If a fat rich bastard goes to a safari and shoots a lion, he goes to jail too for murder, et cetera, et cetera.

b) control tourist visits to game reserves (only a limited, controlled number of people should be allowed to go there in one year). Same goes for all other places such as the rainforests etc.

c) rich countries whose citizens have exploited and destroyed the Earth's habitats must be responsible for it and must finance any program necessary to help a country with remaining endangered habitats to renew them.

d) all consuming must stop: cars must be discarded of. Moving accross continents can be done by ships, sailing etc. No planes, no cars, no motorcycles, no scooters, no snowmobiles.

I dont have anything against americans per se, I have everything against the rich countries and their ignorant citizaens who think the planet and its wildlife is here to harvest, humiliate in a zoo or visit on a nice safari and shoot/kill whenever we feel like it.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
[ Parent ]
Some clarification is needed. (none / 0) (#70)
by br284 on Fri Mar 02, 2001 at 12:46:07 PM EST

With respect to the following points, can you further clarify a few things for me?

1. Have you ever physically set foot in the United States or not?

3a. With respect to making crimes against animals equal to those with humans, would you be prepared to make that consistent across the board? Or are you just advocating that the crimes you listed be changed as such. For example, if I keep a pet dog, would that be considered slavery? And if I were to eat meat, would you consider that the same as cannibalism? Furthermore, do you advocate placing this position equally to all animals as you do humans? For instance, if a human killed a gazelle, it would be murder one. Could then a lion could be tried for murder when it ate a gazelle?

3b. What would constitute a game reserve? Or do you mean all natural places in general? Furthermore, are you suggesting that movement outside tightly held human areas be strictly controlled? For instance, someone should disallow anyone from visiting a place where no human had been before?

3c. What about the poor countries that are exploiting the Earth? Should they also be held fiscally responisble for renewing the habitats? If so, and seeing how the are poor, how do you propose that they raise capital to finance such a thing without further exploitation of the Earth?

3d. Are you talking about consumption or transportation?

And finally, you say that you are against ignorant citizens in these rich countries who do these terrible things. To be perfectly honest, I do see where you are coming from, but I am of a personal philosophy that puts mankind first. I am familiar with the works and writings of promienent men who have advocated such stances as you are proposing. (Peter Singer comes to mind.) However, I do not believe that these philosophies are correct nor do they realistically reflect reality in any sense. So, if I were you, I would be careful bandying about the use of a deroggatory term such as ignorant, when what may be the real cause of disagreement is a difference in philosophies. This is hardly ignorant.

I look forward to your clarifications.

-Chris

[ Parent ]
Answers (none / 0) (#71)
by maketo on Fri Mar 02, 2001 at 02:03:13 PM EST

1. Yes, I have been in USA physically

3a. Obviously, lion cannot be tried for killing an impala or a zebra. It is an animal and they should regulate each other's populations as mother Nature intended. Humans have a brain and consciousness which separates them from animals. Humans also have the power to wipe out Earth. Animals do not. Humans are affecting the planet in numerous ways, some for survival, some for pure pleasure. As such, humans have the responsibility towards the planet and all living creatures on it. A pet born in a breeder's cannel might be kept in house. A pet abandoned to SPCA because the owner didnt have the time should be kept in house. An animal that lived all its life in the wild should not be influenced in any way. If you eat meat for survival, such as cows or pigs born in captivity, by all means, eat the meat. But you have no business killing a deer if you can buy pork in the store. Pork is enogh for your survival. Deer is only killing for fun. Same goes for ivory trade (which by the way is illegal now but still happens enormously). Same goes for a lion shot on a safari. If you give me your email I will suggect you a book on people who exposed the ivory trade and what it really was while risking their lives accross the planet. Hopefully this will give you an insight.

3b. A game reserve should be any area where wildlife lives. If it lives in the Rockies around Banff or in British Columbia, then people have no business living or going there. This should not apply to Native people though.

3c. The poor countries exploiting the planet should be given enough money to get out of their crisis. A person in Tanzania has or had a 10 US$ per month salary. With the world demand in Rhino or Elephant ivory where say, 10 tonnes of ivory cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, it is no wonder that the locals will shoot their animals for sheer survival. If the markets in China and West are closed and there is no demand, or if there is a money influx into the poor countries then there will be no habitat destruction and killing wildlife en masse.

3d. I am talking about transportation and consumption. Choices we make every day about our lives are the ones that go into and shape the society. Obviously, these choices are, in turn, also influenced by the society they constitute. If I decide to live the American or Canadian pace, I will need a car. If I decide to live my own life and my own pace then I will bike or ride a horse or simply walk. Call it naive, it is possible. As for consumption, energy comes to mind. Machinery, plants, computers, banks, street lights, the consumption is enormous. Call me stupid or ignorant but I do believe Earth's resources are limited. In this case we either need a miracle to invent us a new energy resource we can call perpetuum mobile or we need to relocate to another planet/solar system. The way things are going, Mother Earth is dying and I, for one, do not want to see that happen.

As for shooting animals on safaris or hunting, tuna fishing that kills dolphins, I think you already know my point on that. Americans, westerners and human beings in general, grow up convinced that they are entitled to do whatever they please. They believe that the planet is here to support their existance. The question is - what if one day, the planet simply cannot do that anymore? However, being dumb, short-sighted creatures as humans are, they live a nice life and are engulfed in paying their bills and buying the new car (someone, I believ told me to grow up and get a job). They do not realize that their petty lives do not mean much compared to what is happenning to the habitat around. They do not realize that only if they are aware and if they, say, contribute a dollar a day, or even a month, to one or another conservation agency, they can make a difference. This also means reducing the convenience of their petty existance in exchange for synchrony with Nature. Many people make children and buy them things (turning them into little consumers) without being aware that what they are leaving their children is an ever increasing picture of a desolate world inhabited by hordes of humans. If you are a human-lover, you should recognize this. Yous hould teach your children to respect and protect the Nature.

Westerners have a special responsibility in this regard. As I have repeatedly said, they are the major consumers or resources. They are also the ones mostly involved (and I believe they invented the term) "pleasure hunting" for hundreds of years. They are the ones who invented the car and trasportation means, the ones that came up with the industrial revolution and the ones who for the past decades mostly contributed to the environmental polution, simply because they had the means and the technology. In this respect, the West has the same responsibility to do whatever necessary to repatriate all damages to Nature.

I see you antropocentric views. And I dont mind them as long as you are conscious of the need to preserve the Nature. But I do honestly believe that people are simply not educated. When Harold buys Vivian a 5,000 dollar ivory statuette, Harold does not realize an elephant died because of that. When Joe turns on the light, Joe does not realize that coal is being burnt to provide that. Forest is being cut to make Jack's paper in history possible. Joanna from hollywood would like to have a leopard's fur on her neck? Do you call this survival? I do not. I call it exploitation. And I also strongly hope it is ignorance. If it is, it can be helped. If it is not, well, God help us....
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
[ Parent ]
More questions (none / 0) (#74)
by br284 on Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 01:42:24 AM EST

1. Where in the USA?

3a. So, if I understand your stance correctly, you would only apply the equal crimes mentioned in the previous post to animals that are in the wild. So, I can kill a domesticated pig for meat, and that's ok, but to kill a deer out in the wild is murder. Please correct me if I am wrong in my interpretation. As far as the book, please post the title in a comment so that I will not be the only one to benefit from your scholarship. BTW -- my e-mail is in the comment header. Just do the requisite spam decoding.

3b. Who constitutes a native person? While I am of mostly caucasian descent, I can trace my heritage back to the Cherokee tribe that was once native to Florida. In your scenario, would I be allowed to visit the Everglades, while others may not? Or despite my heritage, would I not count as a native person?

3c. I may just be a pessimist, but given that I believe that greed is a basic part of human nature, I do doubt that if you were to give the Africans money that they would stop slaughtering the elephants for their ivory. This is not a prediction made upon a singular observation of Africans, but rather people in general. When was the last time you met a person for whom enough was enough?

3d. While I definately agree with you that there are limited resources on Earth, I don't know if I share in your assessment that "Mother Earth is dying." While I do think that people (myself included) are for the most part wasteful and inconsiderate of the environment, there are ways that nature can take care of itself. For instance, in the American West, the rush to turn the Great Plains into the breadbasket of the world, people have tapped huge reserves of water to irrigate these fields. They have failed to notice that these resources are not unlimited, and in ten to fifteen years, the loss of groundwater in these areas will be felt acutely. To me this does not appear to be that man has the upper hand and that he is killing Mother Earth, but rather that nature is reacting to human activity in such a way that the humans will be forced to back off of their activities. Nature always finds a way, and to think that an single species such as man is able to completely destroy life on this planet is foolhardy. Man is dependent upon the wellbeing of other living things, and if the wellbeing is not respected, man will feel the results. Not immediately perhaps, but ultimately an effect will be felt, and he will be forced to change his activities to something more sustainable.

-Chris

[ Parent ]
!!MAKE MONEY FAST!! (You'll need it.) (3.75 / 4) (#9)
by eLuddite on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 09:07:30 AM EST

For now high tech workers seem to be insulated from this trend, since they are in high demand.

Working 60+ hour weeks is hardly insulation. Not unless you are referring to the idyllic vacation time between burnouts and/or fuckedcompanys.

---
God hates human rights.

Who works sixty hour weeks? (3.00 / 1) (#13)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 09:32:47 AM EST

I work forty hours per week, get paid vacation, get paid overtime if I choose to work overtime.

High tech workers are in demand because they are needed to downsize others out of their jobs. Until the majority of jobs that can be automated are automated and the automation works "good enough" high tech workers will continue to be in demand. If you need to work sixty hours of work to make enough money to beat inflation, you are in the wrong place. It's time for you to either move to a better position or location or improve your skills.

[ Parent ]

A lot of people do... (4.00 / 1) (#20)
by blixco on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 09:58:18 AM EST

...but not for poverty level wages. Five out of six highly skilled tech workers that I know (they work on everything from testing systems to chip design) work 70+ hours a week.

It's either the thrill of the position (the developers) or the lack of good alternatives (the IT folks) that keep them running at that pace. But, they do make between 28,000 and 110,000 a year....which is good, if the loss of personal time is worth it.
-------------------------------------------
The root of the problem has been isolated.
[ Parent ]

Re: Who works sixty hour weeks? (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by eLuddite on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 09:59:48 AM EST

If you need to work sixty hours of work to make enough money to beat inflation

No, I didnt say that. You missed the point which is that high tech jobs are, in fact, white collar sweat shops, just like the title of the article says.

If you're saying that you're removed from the stress and the workload associated with bringing a new techno doodad into a very crowded and competitive marketplace which measures a product's useful lifetime in months, well bully for you.

I make piles of money but I also live, eat and sleep on the job - pretty much the definition of a sweatshop and pretty much the norm in any every hi tech venture I've been involved with. I dont want to retire at 40 but I do want some semblance of life before I grow old.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

You seem to misunderstand what a sweatshop is (5.00 / 2) (#24)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 10:15:16 AM EST

Consider reading the dictionary. Sweatshops are factories or shops where employees work long hours for poor pay. Show me an IT worker working sixty and seventy hour work-weeks for subsistence level wages or worse in a company where that type of position is the norm instead of the exception and I'll agree with the moniker of white-collar sweatshops as applied to high-tech workers.

IT workers aren't working sixty and seventy hour work-weeks for low pay. They are doing it for pay that is well above the pay scale of the rest of the work-force at large.

[ Parent ]

Re: You seem to misunderstand what a sweatshop is (none / 0) (#26)
by eLuddite on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 10:24:09 AM EST

Yes, Lee, we're being well compensated for being run into the ground. We all choose to be workaholics because no one else will do the work we do if we dont. You win.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

To add to your definition (none / 0) (#27)
by theboz on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 10:27:12 AM EST

Sweatshops can also be dangerous places. Poisonous fumes, dangerous machinery, and lack of training can all make these jobs very dangerous for the poor people that work in sweatshops. In a lot of places when there is an accident they simply get rid of the dead person and continue as normal with no intervention made to fix things. While it can be life threatening to sit on your ass all day eating krispy kreme doughnuts and get clogged arteries, that is a personal choice rather than something you do to survive.

I just thought I'd add to lee_malatesta's definition. I agree that we are sometimes treated unfairly in the tech industry, but I also agree that the majority of people in all fields are treated unfairly as well. Plus, with a lot of jobs it is much worse than we could dream of living with.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Oferchrisakes (4.00 / 1) (#29)
by eLuddite on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 10:37:42 AM EST

WHITE COLLAR sweatshops, not slave labor camps, not garment industry sweatshops, WHITE COLLAR sweatshops. See, its a playful juxtaposition of antonyms to make a point. Pretty clever, huh?

Everyone would do the discussion a great service if they read the cited article

http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2001/03/01/sweatshop/index.html

instead of proving the totally unnecessary point that they know the dictionary meaning of a sweatshop. We all know we're not talking about real sweatshops. Why, I was just thinking that the very last time I worked in a real sweatshop, I had just been released from debtor's prison. (Dont bother looking it up; both are illegal.)

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

sweatshops (none / 0) (#28)
by westgeof on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 10:29:07 AM EST

Well, I don't know where you work, but over here the only time most of us work more than 40 hours a week is right before a major delivery, and only then if we're falling behind. Of course, there are a few who stay in the building forever, but it's completely out of choice.
Frankly, I wouldn't take a job that required more than 40 hours per week. With the high demand, at least in my area, for technical employees, there's plenty of places that are willing to treat us right.

As a child, I wanted to know everything. Now I miss my ignorance
[ Parent ]
Naah.. (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by OriginalGTT on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 09:51:04 AM EST

You only really need to save right now if you are some smarmy web or perl monkey. Honestly, noone is going to be firing their DB programmers or system admins. Unless the company is running into the ground, which is only happening with dotcoms, and then that was a risk you took by taking that job.

In other words, quit whining, life has never been better for real techies. I have job offers up the wazoo all over the country, even with this "upcoming recession" looming.

So what if we have a bunch of homeless flash programmers anyway? At least they will do less damage to my eyes and net connection.

---
I'm NOT on your level. Stay there, and I will stay up here where morals are high, and the air is sweet
--Psychologist
[ Parent ]

Re: Naah.. (none / 0) (#23)
by eLuddite on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 10:13:44 AM EST

First of all, who are you replying to? Not me, I can tell you that. Try to concentrate a little less on the space between the lines.

Second of all, someone _must_ be doing the work you disparage, so clearly someone _must_ be having a problem even if you dont.

In other words, quit whining

Please, dont make me accuse you of being the printer paper changer boy.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Missed my point completely... (none / 0) (#31)
by OriginalGTT on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 10:55:12 AM EST

And yet you call me the printer paper changer boy?

The problem is because of positions like these, that are created when companies have too much capital to throw around. My example of flash is there because flash is an unnecessary addition to any website, and is only a drain on resources. Having 5 web designers to every 1 salesman you have is also a waste. These positions are not needed. End of story. They will be the first to go.

On the other hand though, who is going to keep the accounting departmant going if you fire all your DBA's? What's going to happen in a system crash or you get hacked if you have no sysadmin? These are positions that are value-added and important to the company's day to day operations. Sorry, that's just the way it is. When you trim the fat, the most unimportant jobs go first.

---
I'm NOT on your level. Stay there, and I will stay up here where morals are high, and the air is sweet
--Psychologist
[ Parent ]

Re: Missed my point completely... (none / 0) (#35)
by eLuddite on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 11:19:06 AM EST

I didnt miss your point, I judged it trivially incorrect.

My example of flash is there because flash is an unnecessary addition to any website, and is only a drain on resources.

Why stop there? Websites are an unnecessary addition to the internet.

On the other hand though, who is going to keep the accounting departmant going if you fire all your DBA's?

What is this? Does your world view have no room for anything other than farmers, steelworkers and DBAs? Look, your opinion of manly work is not relevant but let me ask you something: do you think there would be much use for DBAs if the useless fluff in ad agencies didnt create demand beyond the immediate surroundings of Smallsville, USA? Point is, all the work you judge inconsequential is quite necessary and interdependent once you move beyond paper ledgers and HB pencils.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Hi I'd like to introduce you to my friend.... (none / 0) (#37)
by OriginalGTT on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 11:25:20 AM EST

His name is Joe Troll.

What are you talking about? We are talking about the high tech industry and what is important to it aren't we? When did this discussion involve farmers and steelworkers?

do you think there would be much use for DBAs if the useless fluff in ad agencies didnt create demand beyond the immediate surroundings of Smallsville, USA?

Umm, have you ever worked for a large corporation? Do you know how many Cobol programmers are currently pulling down large salaries? That's right, a lot. The reason is, they keep a very important aspect of the business running. They aren't the ones who are going to get fired when people realize you don't have to have a 12 MB front page on your website in order to attract customers.

I suggest you get a real job and learn about the industry before you spout off your pseudo-idealistic nonsense.

Good day.

---
I'm NOT on your level. Stay there, and I will stay up here where morals are high, and the air is sweet
--Psychologist
[ Parent ]

Re: Hi I'd like to introduce you to my friend (none / 0) (#39)
by eLuddite on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 11:40:10 AM EST

His name is Joe Troll.

Oh, save it for slashdot, will ya?

We are talking about the high tech industry and what is important to it aren't we?

I was, yes. You were talking about what's immediately in front of your nose. Big difference.

They aren't the ones who are going to get fired when people realize you don't have to have a 12 MB front page on your website in order to attract customers.

I presume you are referring to flash again for some strange reason. Whatever. The simple fact of the of matter is that your cobol monkeys doing data processing will have nothing to process if the poofters in advertising, design, marketing, law, sales, whatsofuckingever, dont bring in customers.

I suggest you get a real job and learn about the industry before you spout off your pseudo-idealistic nonsense.

Whatever you say. This discussion is over. Toner is running low.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Bwahaha. (none / 0) (#44)
by OriginalGTT on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 11:59:14 AM EST

The simple fact of the of matter is that your cobol monkeys doing data processing will have nothing to process if the poofters in advertising, design, marketing, law, sales, whatsofuckingever, dont bring in customers.

Your problem is that you can't seem to see the real point of this discussion. Last I checked, law, sales and whatsofuckingever are not technical positions. They are not tech jobs.

Oh, save it for slashdot, will ya?

No, because as a troll on slashdot you would never survive. You are nothing but a weekend flame warrior who throws weak illogical arguments back and forth while emitting little cries of "you suck" in between. If you are going to flame me, be original, be poignant, and ferchrissakes, be funny. If not you come off as the pathetic college student you are, who is too busy furiously masturbating in your dorm room as you chuckle over your latest "witty" reply on k5.

In other words, keep your mouth shut, you'll sound a lot more educated that way.

HTH

---
I'm NOT on your level. Stay there, and I will stay up here where morals are high, and the air is sweet
--Psychologist
[ Parent ]

Re: Bwahaha (none / 0) (#49)
by eLuddite on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 12:35:48 PM EST

Your problem is that you can't seem to see the real point of this discussion. Last I checked, law, sales and whatsofuckingever are not technical positions. They are not tech jobs.

The point of this discussion is white collar work.

[...]

I mean this in the most poignant, funny, original, flamey way possible: read the article.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

This is vulgar.. (4.33 / 12) (#10)
by ignatiusst on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 09:18:57 AM EST

Comparing the "plight" of white-collar workers to the dehumanizing life of a real sweat shop is vulgar. The author of this article should be ashamed to resort to this level of trolling to get his/her story read, and just because that shock-rag Salon wrote it first doesn't make it right...

I keep trying and trying to feel sorry for the middle-class white collar worker who has charged his/her way deep into debt, but you know what? I could care less what happens to him/her. They don't starve, they don't go without medicine, hell - they don't even walk to work. At worst, they will have to move out of their 3000 sq.ft. house to something more modest and sell the BMW for a Honda Civic... Almost makes you want to cry for them, doesn't it?

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift

With all due respect... (3.50 / 6) (#16)
by Cheerio Boy on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 09:50:11 AM EST

Bite me.

I've worked hard all my life to get the things that I have. Nothing was handed to me on a silver platter and several times I've found myself close to burning out because I have had no time for myself or family. Working like this has at this point almost cost me my marriage. Currently my wife and I live with my mother in her home causing quite a bit of stress. And while some of this was caused by mistakes previously in my life I spend far too much time working for other people and getting little out of it.

Your comments, while perhaps true from your point of view, are far too sterotypical in nature. We don't all own SUVs. We don't all own the latest toys. We don't all live in 3000+ square foot houses.

Quite a few of us do have credit card debt as you mentioned. Some of the time this is unavoidable. I personally have credit card debts because in poorer times I had good enough credit to get a card and had to use that card to pay for things to help support my family. Like repairs to my beat-up vehicle, food, insurance. Sometime even having that credit card does not help - my daughter for instance was born without insurance. We're still paying that bill off.

I suggest you go out to the US if you aren't already there (I don't know if you're an American or not) and walk around and talk to people. Most people you'll find will be hanging on but only by the grace of whatever diety they happen to believe in. They have the same type of problems mentioned here. They have the same needs and wants as everyone else and I feel it more than a little offensive for you to cover all of them with your blanket stereotype.

We DO go hungry. We DO have medical problem that we can not afford medecine for. We DO walk to work.

[ Parent ]
You are not middle class. (none / 0) (#33)
by your_desired_username on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 11:03:09 AM EST

The experiences you describe imply an income substantially lower than middle class (or possibly a larger than average family - which leaves you just as poor).

To me, it seems that the rising income of the upper class has made the middle class smaller, and therfor some people have dropped into lower class incomes. I think this is partly because the money must come from somewere, and partly an artifact of the way 'middle class' is (usually) measured.

As for the costs of childern, Childern are expensive, and I think that having childern when one's income is low is a poor monetary decision. The poor must not breed, lest they suffer, and watch their children suffer more.

(Yes, that is troll - except that I genuinely feel that way. Think about how much easier it would be raise your children well if you had more resources. Recall that no good deed goes unpunished.)



[ Parent ]
I certainly can agree... (none / 0) (#46)
by Cheerio Boy on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 12:08:40 PM EST

The experiences you describe imply an income substantially lower than middle class (or possibly a larger than average family - which leaves you just as poor).

My income is fine - it's my outflow of money that is the problem. I'm paying far too much in old bills and new "surprises". It seems sometimes that one bill get paid off and is immediately replaced by another one.

To me, it seems that the rising income of the upper class has made the middle class smaller, and therfor some people have dropped into lower class incomes. I think this is partly because the money must come from somewere, and partly an artifact of the way 'middle class' is (usually) measured.

Undoubtably this is true. Even making 50k as I am now is not enough often to keep up with things. Now as I stated before some of this is of my own direct doing from when I was much younger and much stupider but some is not. As for not being in the middle class anymore I really think the term needs to be re-defined or thrown out as it's not appropriate to the situation anymore.

As for the costs of childern, Childern are expensive, and I think that having childern when one's income is low is a poor monetary decision. The poor must not breed, lest they suffer, and watch their children suffer more.

*tossing troll food through grate*
The decision to have a child sometimes is unexpected. Mine was despite precautions taken. The only way to prevent a child totally is sterilization which I would not recommend to any family. It's not my right to decide that for them nor is it the governments or anybody else but their own for that matter.

(Yes, that is troll - except that I genuinely feel that way. Think about how much easier it would be raise your children well if you had more resources. Recall that no good deed goes unpunished.)

That is the exact reason why I have decided to all but abstain from relations with my wife at the moment. It causes problems sure but I would rather have a bright future for my existing child than a dim future for all my children.


[ Parent ]
Cheerio is Middle Class (none / 0) (#66)
by Blarney on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 09:55:01 PM EST

Cheerio, I'd say you're definitely middle class by my standards. Here's my breakdown of how different social classes respond when handed a $15,000 medical bill ( or something like that ):

  • Rich: Pay the bill immediately, they have the cash. Maybe skip that vacation trip....
  • Poor: Toss bill in trash! They'll never get the money out of you, or if they do they'll have to wait in line behind the county jail, which wants $2000 for housing you for 30 days, because you were jailed for not paying your parking tickets, which you got because you were evicted and had no place to put your car, which doesn't run......
  • Middle Class: Set up installment plan, painfully manage to pay bill over many years(with interest!)


[ Parent ]
I have a question (none / 0) (#40)
by maketo on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 11:44:31 AM EST

Without a wish to be rude - I feel compelled to ask you: why did you have a child without having the conditions to support it?
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
[ Parent ]
It just happened ;-) (none / 0) (#42)
by Cheerio Boy on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 11:57:30 AM EST

No offense taken.

My daughter was an untimely accident. My wife and I were taking precautions however unless you count sterilization of some manner those precautions are never 100%.

Thus my daugher whom I love very dearly despite all.

[ Parent ]
oh, ok (none / 0) (#45)
by maketo on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 11:59:43 AM EST

Well, good luck :)
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
[ Parent ]
...so are stereotypes (3.75 / 4) (#19)
by mjs on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 09:53:22 AM EST

They don't starve, they don't go without medicine, hell - they don't even walk to work.

Apologies but I have to disagree with your angry posting. Yes, yes, and yes, they do. Rather, some do, some don't. Just because you don't happen to know any doesn't mean they don't exist, and that their numbers aren't growing.

Comparing the "plight" of white-collar workers to the dehumanizing life of a real sweat shop is vulgar.

My experience encourages me to disagree with you: I've done both, have you?

[ Parent ]

three points (4.33 / 9) (#11)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 09:27:19 AM EST

(1) Welcome to the real world. What did people expect from a economic recovery from a recession entirely financed on credit cards and second mortgages?

(2) Us white-collar workers have it pretty good. Not being able to afford our SUV payments or the latest greatest 300+ DVD changer to hook up to the 48" screen TV in our private mini-theatre hardly puts us in the same position as people that don't get paid enough to buy adequate food for their family.

(3) Welcome to a (mostly) free market. Free markets inevitably gravitate toward monopoly. A collary of this is that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This has always been the case. Those with enough money to work with as capital will increase the capital. The additional capital has to come from somewhere. Currently that somewhere is the bank accounts of people that don't have working capital.

As an aside, I can't wait to see what happens when the baby-boomers start retiring en masse. What happens when a significantly large fraction of the population starts cashing in their 401k instead of contributing to it? I see a rough ride ahead.

Baby Boomers.. (4.00 / 2) (#14)
by ignatiusst on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 09:40:17 AM EST

As an aside, I can't wait to see what happens when the baby-boomers start retiring en masse. What happens when a significantly large fraction of the population starts cashing in their 401k instead of contributing to it? I see a rough ride ahead.

Everytime someone mentions the impending baby-boomer retirement, I tend to get really upset. . . Why is it that boomers will think nothing of getting a new credit card to charge $5000 of hair/breast implants so that they can look younger, but won't save a dime for retirement?

I have a really bad feeling that, once the boomers begin retiring en masse, we are going to find that they haven't saved enough and social security isn't large enough to support them.

Unfortunately, they are a large block of America's population. That means we won't be able to push them into low-cost elder care facilities and forget about them. No, they will vote themselves bigger and bigger benefits and our taxes will go higher and higher.

I dunno.. maybe we can just eat them..

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

more than enough blame to go around (5.00 / 3) (#18)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 09:51:41 AM EST

As far as the credit card goes, the blame lies equally upon the applicant and the provider. Credit card companies are incredibly marvelous at giving credit lines to people who shouldn't have them by any sensible measure. These companies also don't want to face the consequences of their bad decisions are continually push to get special treatment in bankruptcy cases.

Of course, this doesn't excuse the users of credit cards for living outside of their means. What makes matter worse is that countries that seemingly do everything right in terms of saving/spending patterns (like Japan) have been stuck in rampant recessions for an incredibly long time. This feeds right into the illusion that the US can have its cake and eat it too because as long as people keep racking up more and more debt, the economy keeps chugging along. It is quite likely that eventually the bubble will burst and banks will again be left holding an empty bag and it will be the Great Depression all over again.

On the bright side it only took twenty years or so to recover from the Great Depression.

I also think that a large demographic like the baby-boomers retiring all at the same time presents a much more serious problem to the economy than the debt of the baby-boomers. The value of stocks are based entirely on perception of their value. What happens when a sizeable percentage is no longer buying but only selling to live off the proceeds? What happens to the value when more people want to sell than want to buy? The obvious answer is that the value tanks and retirees are left with a small fraction of the nest egg they thought they had.

[ Parent ]

Re: more than enough blame (4.00 / 5) (#30)
by Mr. Piccolo on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 10:45:50 AM EST

On the bright side it only took twenty years or so to recover from the Great Depression.
Uh, and a World War... do you really want that again?

The BBC would like to apologise for the following comment.


[ Parent ]
It's not a zero sum game (3.00 / 1) (#55)
by Woodblock on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 02:10:43 PM EST

<quote>Those with enough money to work with as capital will increase the capital. The additional capital has to come from somewhere. Currently that somewhere is the bank accounts of people that don't have working capital.</quote>

Capitalism is not a zero sum game. It is possible to generate wealth, which is very different from accumulating money.
-- Real computer scientists don't use computers.
[ Parent ]
It doesn't have to be zero-sum for gap to widen (4.75 / 4) (#58)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 04:14:27 PM EST

I realize that capitalism does not have to be a zero-sum game. That said, historically wealth generation does not seem to have ever consistently occurred at a rate that exceeded the rate of accumulation of capitalists of the resources held by non-capitalists.

Consider a capitalist, Joe. Joe owns a factory that produces widgets and pays his employees. Joe creates wealth by financing adding value to natural resources. (This is why he is a capitalist.) The typical employee of Joe gets some of this created wealth. This typicall employee also has to spend his share of newly created wealth in buying widgets from Joe and other similiar capitalists. When this employee dies, he will have relatively little to leave to his heirs. Joe, on the other hand, will have a tremendous amount of money to leave to his heirs. Over time, the descendants of Joe will accumulate additional capital at an ever-increasing rate while the descendants of Joe's employees (barring exceptional circumstances) will have fewer and fewer resources to attempt to become capitalists and break out of the cycle.

This is why fuedalism lasted so long in medieval Europe. The land concentrated in the hands of an ever decreasing number of wealthy nobles. It took exceptional events such as foreign invasions and peasant rebellions to shake things up and redistribute the wealth that had ended up in the hands of the nobility.

This theory is also why millionaires and billionaires such as William Gates as George Soros are against the repeal of the estate tax. Repealing the estate tax would accelerate the process of the rich getting richer and poor getting poorer with the gap between the two growing so large as to be almost uncrossable when attempting go from the poor side to the rich side.

[ Parent ]

Slow down... (3.50 / 2) (#59)
by Woodblock on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 05:21:15 PM EST

The typical employee of Joe gets some of this created wealth.
An employee doesn't "get" wealth. They get money in exchange for their labour, and what they choose to use this money for is their business. In a capitalist society, they will never have to buy anything they don't want. Besides, your simplified captitalist factory hardly ever is found anywhere on earth. In reality, many people own that factory, either shareholders, which any typical employee can very easily become, or it is paid for with borrowed money.

Your veiled analogy between feudalism and capitalism is poorly chosen. Under capitalism, there is, or should not be, any barriers to start one's own business, while under feudalism there were actual laws preventing peasants from owning much of anything.

And finally, I think your analysis of Gates and Soros is totally wrong. Most billionaires are much more altruistic in philosophy than anyone wishes to believe. That's why The Bill Gate's Foundation is the largest charity in the world. I'm sure they have more pressing concerns than all going to Soros' house and figuring out how they are going to make the poor poorer. I'm sure it would be wise for them to make them richer, even if only to exapand their customer base.
-- Real computer scientists don't use computers.
[ Parent ]

Other forms of wealth (3.00 / 1) (#61)
by sigwinch on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 06:42:25 PM EST

Consider a capitalist, Joe. Joe owns a factory that produces widgets and pays his employees. Joe creates wealth by financing adding value to natural resources.

You seem to have overlooked intellectual capital. Knowledge and ideas are, overall, much more valuable than gold and raw materials. King Solomon couldn't have purchased a single dose of vanomycin (an antibiotic). The gentlemen of the East India Tea Company could not have launched a weather satellite for all the tea in China. Rockefeller couldn't have purchased a single microcomputer, not even a TRS-80.

And most intellectual capital is almost impossible to monopolize: for an idea to be valuable you have to tell it to at least a few people, and your competitors can often deduce your secrets from your products. Over time the secret tends to leak out and benefit everybody.

When you look around the U.S. or western Europe and see hardly anybody starving, it isn't because they have all they world's coal and iron ore, or the best farmland. What makes them wealthy is knowledge, and a culture that encourages people to use it.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Some problems with your conclusions. (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by kellan on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 07:16:45 PM EST

Intellectualy property is hard to turn into bread, and especially difficult for an individual in late-stage capitalism.

Sony, Viacom, Time Warner, Disney, Newscorps. These entities have the distribution channels, back scratching agreements, and legal backing to realize the huge potential wealth in IP. Most individuals most sell or give away the rights to their intellectual property in order to realize any income at all from it.(Being a programmer living with a musician and a writer, this is a constant conversation) I also find it a very strange claim to say that intellectual capital is impossible to monopolize in light of the RIAA vs. Napster.

As for nobody starving in the US or Western Europe because we're just so damn smart, I don't know where to start with a comment like that!

To begin with you're wrong, just last month the USDA released their annual study saying that in 2000, 10% of US households regular didn't have enough food, with 3.2 million children considered malnourished(yes, I took notes), and that relief organizations have been seeing a rapid rise in the demands for their services, something like 30% since 1998.(That last number is just what I remember, but I think I saw the link on Salon, or Common Dreams if you want to go find the whole report)

Secondly, you're being racist. The U.S and Western Europe and the North in general play a dominant role in the global economy for a number of complicated and historic reasons. To suggest that all those darkies are starving because their culture doesn't encourage people to use knowledge is a little provincial and smug to say the least.

kellan

[ Parent ]

Intellectual "property" vs intellectual (2.50 / 2) (#73)
by sigwinch on Fri Mar 02, 2001 at 10:37:08 PM EST

Intellectualy property is hard to turn into bread, and especially difficult for an individual in late-stage capitalism. ... Sony, Viacom, Time Warner, Disney, Newscorps. These entities have the distribution channels, back scratching agreements, and legal backing to realize the huge potential wealth in IP. Most individuals most sell or give away the rights to their intellectual property in order to realize any income at all from it.

Shame on you, kellan, for using the term "intellectual property" without qualifications. Stay after class and write "I am not a pawn of the media-industrial complex" 100 times on the blackboard. "Intellectual property" is a lawyer noise made by people who think gaining a temporary government concession is the reason for living. In reality it's just an incentive, like tax breaks for charitable organizations. Besides which it's not what I was talking about.

By "intellectual capital", I meant the knowledge of how to get things done, and get them done efficiently. It's ideas and discoveries that are useful, such as the knowledge of how to hybridize food plants to greatly improve their yield. Or the knowledge of how to heat-treat the steel of a flour mill to increase the mill's lifetime and improve the consistency of the flour. Or how to make electrical generators and motors. Or how to teach children effectively. Or how to process tungsten so that it can be drawn into wires for light bulb filaments (hint: it's a subtle multi-step process).

I also find it a very strange claim to say that intellectual capital is impossible to monopolize in light of the RIAA vs. Napster.

The RIAA wants tyrannical control of Brittney Spears. B.S. is not intellectual, nor is it capital. Intellectual capital is inherently difficult to monopolize. For example, even if Bell Laboratories had managed to keep the details of transistor fabrication a secret, the mere fact that it was possible at all would have stimulated other people to independently figure out how to make transistors.

As for nobody starving in the US or Western Europe because we're just so damn smart, I don't know where to start with a comment like that! To begin with you're wrong, just last month the USDA released their annual study saying that in 2000, 10% of US households regular didn't have enough food, with 3.2 million children considered malnourished

Firstly, I wasn't talking about smart, I was talking about knowledgeable. Americans and Europeans are generally highly educated, and that's the primary reason for their comparative prosperity. Secondly, "malnourished" by USDA standards is fat and happy by Bangladeshi beggar standards. Of those "malnourished" US children, how many have rickets? Or permanent, severe brain damage? I don't want to minimize the fact that they could eat better, but few of them are truly starving to death.

Secondly, you're being racist. ... To suggest that all those darkies are starving because their culture doesn't encourage people to use knowledge is a little provincial and smug to say the least.

Industrial knowledge and industrial culture develop together. I guess the point I was trying to make is that you couldn't just dump unlimited raw materials and resources on Africa and they'd suddenly be prosperous. Nor can you just dump science and engineering knowledge on them and make them prosperous. It takes more than mere information and raw materials: you need ambition and gumption to bring the forces of nature under your control. You have to have the perspective that the world is not a place you are subjected to, but is instead a place that you help create. And those skills are cultural. (Or at least I think of them as cultural.)

The U.S. has had such a culture almost from the start. For example, one of the founders of the U.S. (Benjamin Franklin) did basic scientific research in electricity (he started the convention that electrons are negatively charged). In the U.S. today, public libraries and schools are traditional. Compare that to the many African "leaders" whose biggest accomplishment was the assassination of their predecessor, and whose countries have no tradition of scholarship. Countries where, even if the people knew how to write, their crappy postal system would make it hard for them to write to anyone.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

getting there. (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by kellan on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 06:44:29 PM EST

You're right, I was conflating intellectual property, and intellectual capital. And for your well reasoned correction, I am appreciative. I stil find the language you are using about Africa jingoistic.

Also, while I find this concept of intellectual capital interesting, it doesn't seem to directly address the original post by lee, many days ago.

kellan

[ Parent ]

So let me get this straight... (3.25 / 4) (#34)
by trhurler on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 11:15:09 AM EST

They lump in everyone from mailroom chumps to CEOs as white collar, and are then amazed when mailroom chump salaries haven't gone up as fast as CEO salaries, and this is a surprise? They point out that people in the US work a lot, and we're to believe we didn't know that already? I'm sorry, but this not new. Yes, some people work lots of hours. Some people don't. What most people don't understand is that almost anyone can decide whether he wants to do that in the US. There is nobody skilled enough to carry the label "white collar" who can't get another job if the current one isn't to his or her liking, and even many of the rest can do so.

This is particularly ridiculous when applied to the computer field, where the facts are that average salaries rise just about every single year, employment rates are essentially 100% when you take into account the voluntarily unemployed, people work long hours if and only if they want to, which usually means they want one of the really high paid and/or high prestige jobs, and so on. (Yes, there are exceptions, such as tech support. Notice that this is because those aren't really "computer jobs," but rather, jobs that involve some amount of computer use, and they don't take much actual skill in most cases. You can probably train monkeys and dolphins, and maybe smart dogs, to do that job! On the other hand, when they DO require significant skill, such as when they're required to actually SUPPORT a program instead of just asking the dev teams to do so, they tend to be skilled, well paid, and so on.)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

ASPCA (none / 0) (#48)
by Devil Ducky on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 12:28:15 PM EST

Don't be cruel to the monkeys, dolphins, and dogs. It would be demeaning to thier little egos to have to work tech support.

If you feel the need to hire mammals from other species, you can put the monkeys to work writing documentation. Just be careful that you dont leave them in there too long, or you'll end up with the works of Shakespere.

The dolphins can be used in marketing, they like to talk but no one understands what they're saying. That would make a perfect match with the exception of the inteligence difference between the dolphins and the marketing people...

And the dogs can be dogs, you dont need dogs in your workforce!

Devil Ducky

Immune to the Forces of Duct Tape
Day trading at it's Funnest
[ Parent ]
Computer Field? (none / 0) (#79)
by Khedak on Wed Mar 14, 2001 at 12:23:38 PM EST

They lump in everyone from mailroom chumps to CEOs as white collar, and are then amazed when mailroom chump salaries haven't gone up as fast as CEO salaries, and this is a surprise?

They compared CEO salaries to "middle 20%" salaries. If you think that middle 20% is a mail room chump (and hence there's 40% of people below even this mark), then that in itself is quite alarming, yes. You don't agree?

This is particularly ridiculous when applied to the computer field, ...

Yes, it is. Take care to note that the only one who is drawing a comparison to the computer field is you. We're all aware that the computer industry has been booming wildly (up until very recently), but that says little about the state of the white-collar working class overall. Actually, I'd like to see your figures, though, just so we can see.

[ Parent ]
White Collar Sweatshops....? (4.14 / 7) (#47)
by nobbystyles on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 12:26:03 PM EST

What a load of rubbish. Real sweatshops exist in places such as Phillipines manufacturing trainers for the 'unfortunate' inhabitants of these 'White Collar Sweatshops'.<Sarcasm>People making only USD 30,000 or 40,000 a year!!!</Sarcasm>. Most inhabitants on earth would think they've died and gone to heaven to have one of these jobs...

The problem with some Usians is that they have no sense of proportion. Same here in Europe as well. My advice is if you feel you are overworked, get another job instead of moaning about it.

Re: White Collar Sweatshops....? (3.00 / 1) (#52)
by eLuddite on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 01:14:58 PM EST

White Collar Sweatshops....?

Do you think its fair to fixate on the title of the article at the expense of its thesis?

Most inhabitants on earth would think they've died and gone to heaven to have one of these jobs...

That's all very well and true but it has nothing to do with the article which merely points out that economic gains made on behalf of white collar labor are illusory and that the educated work force in the first world is not as well off today as it was in the past.

If this is not worthy of your consideration, fine, erect strawmen and knock them over.

My advice is if you feel you are overworked, get another job instead of moaning about it.

The problem with your advice is that if everyone followed it, your advice would only be heard as far as you can throw your voice. How is that going to help your filipino slave laborers?

As it is, you've managed to get it posted to K5, from your keyboard all the way to a remote disk and right back to your screen. Clearly white collar labor has some value to you.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

A point or two.. (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by Cheerio Boy on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 01:19:26 PM EST

What a load of rubbish. Real sweatshops exist in places such as Phillipines manufacturing trainers for the 'unfortunate' inhabitants of these 'White Collar Sweatshops'.<Sarcasm>People making only USD 30,000 or 40,000 a year!!!</Sarcasm>. Most inhabitants on earth would think they've died and gone to heaven to have one of these jobs...

The subject is about "White Collar" sweatshops. The over-working of "White Collar" people. Are we aware of low-income wage-slave businesses that hurt and exploit people? Yes we are. But remember this: Wage-Slave and White-Collar are not mutually exclusive. Which brings me to:

The problem with some Usians is that they have no sense of proportion. Same here in Europe as well. My advice is if you feel you are overworked, get another job instead of moaning about it.

This is not always possible. I hate to break this to you but changing jobs to find the right one is often the fast-track to not getting another job. Quite a number of employers see multiple job changes as "unreliability" and thus do not hire the individual. Tech workers by far run into this a lot because the tech jobs they find are not stable and cause them to change jobs. HR people see this in the light of "Why should I hire this guy who maybe will not stick around when I can hire some young fresh guy who we can indoctrinate to work for us for a long time."

A lot of people in the tech industry see things that way because they know that even if they have a large amount of accumulted experience under their belt they have to stay with their current position for a long length of time to "appear" stable to the next HR person they have to deal with. Thus as a technical person you end up working long hours, being visible to everyone whenever possible, rush-finishing projects because that makes an "impression" on management, and many other things to show that you're someone who should be kept around at all costs.

Add this all up and you get an 60 hours or better work week and eventual burnout.



[ Parent ]
Slaves or drones? (3.50 / 2) (#56)
by Beorn on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 02:41:31 PM EST

What I'm curious about is how many of these people interviewed in the book actually has to work long hours in shitty jobs to survive. Are there really no other options left? Could it be that many of of these people willingly sacrifice time for luxuries, happiness for careers?

I know several nerds who easily could have worked less overtime if they wanted to, but I don't know if these are representative for the american white-collars in question. All I know is that I wouldn't. I'd rather earn far below average than be overworked and unhappy, or at least I'd try living in poverty before automatically choosing the other evil. So I'm having problems understanding their motivation.

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]

Classic leftist 'rich are getting richer' nonsense (3.00 / 1) (#69)
by duffbeer703 on Fri Mar 02, 2001 at 10:30:02 AM EST

From the article:
"In the years between 1988 and 1998, Fraser writes, the middle 20 percent of American families saw only a $780 increase in annual income, while the richest 5 percent enjoyed a $50,760 surge."

The $50,760 in additional 'income' was mostly based on gains on investments, fueled by the longest bull market in history. I'd like to see revised figures now, since high-flying stocks like Intel and Cisco have dropped 50% in the last 6 months and internet players like Amazon have dropped from $120 a share to $8 (and dropping still)

In addition, the middle 20% of American families are employees working in 'normal', stable jobs. Teachers, cops and office managers see minimal income growth in a ten year period. They contribute to their pension, raise their families and live their lives. They are not 'oppressed'.

The bitching about how "Ordinary employees seem to be powerless against the cost-cutting pressures of corporations" is a valid argument, but is something that we need to accept.

One hundred fifty years ago, couriers and coachmen were squeezed out of their jobs when the Railroads and Telegraph were established. Forty years ago, many paper-pushers and accountants were worried since the newfangled mainframes of the time were replacing armies of clerks at an astonishing rate. Thirty years ago, autoworkers were up in arms when robotic welders and other automated production techniques began replacing humans. This is structural unemployment causes alot of short-term pain for individuals, but the changes which fuel it ultimately provide cheaper goods, more employment and more wealth.

The structural unemployment which results from technological innovation is NOT a bad thing, it is simply the market at work. Businesses is not in the business of providing employment -- they are here to make money.

Income != Capital Gains (3.00 / 1) (#72)
by Philipp on Fri Mar 02, 2001 at 02:57:27 PM EST

Income calculations do not include stock market gains. You can't deny that the top incomes have been rising very much and all others have been preety much static. Look at the facts

You point about technology is right. Technological progress is good, since it increases productivity. However, it should benefit anybody, and not just the rich.

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'
[ Parent ]

Income Calculations DO Include (none / 0) (#75)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:06:08 AM EST

Bonuses, which are often awarded to management in direct correlation to the increase in stock price or increases in sales.

[ Parent ]
According to the IRS ... (none / 0) (#77)
by LegionDaMany on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 09:48:52 PM EST

Capital gains are income. Whenever I am asked what my household income is for a census, which is from where your supporting data was taken, I report the income that I report to the IRS ... which does include capital gains. I suspect that others are the same.



Call me Legion for I am Many ...
[ Parent ]
White-Collar Sweatshop | 79 comments (75 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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