Critical Section

the Reich stuff, revisited

Wednesday,  10/28/09  04:47 PM

Revisiting the Reich stuff...  I reread this post which lists a number of "inconvenient truths", and realized there was one statement in his list with which I disagree:

  • adult educationHelping people at the bottom earn more is going to cost higher income people more money.

This might be true but isn't necessarily true.  It depends on how you help them; this is a "give them fish" vs. "teach them fishing" argument.  If you educate low-income people and otherwise make them more productive, they can make more money without costing high-income people anything, in fact, it can be a "rising tide lifts all boats" situation.  Of course if you simply pay them more without raising their productivity, then the statement is true, which is why minimum wage laws are so dumb.  And also why union-imposed pay scales are dumb.  Etc.

This combines nicely with another statement on his list which is true:

  • robots assembling a carAnyone who does an unskilled, repetitive job will lose it in the near future to outsourcing or automation.  And there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

There's definitely nothing you can do about the "losing the job" part; unskilled, repetitive jobs will be replaced by outsourcing or automation.  But there is something you can do about it in the sense of helping the people who've lost their jobs; you can teach them to perform skilled, unrepetitive jobs, which won't be replaced by automation (could be replaced by outsourcing though) and which would make them more productive.

Which means we should all celebrate the University of Phoenix :)

this date in:
About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
The Nest
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained