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View Diary: My Dad Agreed With Newt Gingrich (97 comments)

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  •  it works like this: (30+ / 0-)

    The jobs that make the most difference are for the most part undervalued and underpaid in our culture, and the jobs that make the least difference are overvalued and overpaid.


    Teachers (including librarians and arguably scientists)
    Protectors (heroes in time of need, forgotten otherwise)
    Farmers (including foodstuffs producers such as fishers and bakers)


    Most paper-pushers with some exceptions.
    Criminals (the real stars of most movie & TV dramas)

    And what I have to conclude from this, is that the latter category, recognizing that its existence is wholly ephemeral and that the world could continue working and living without it, has undertaken a vast propaganda effort to make its members appear indispensable, glamorous, etc., whereby to seize the lion's share of wealth and power vis-a-vis the former category.  As a generalization I call this "the rise of the Administrative Class."

    While a plurality of administrative jobs are essential to the functioning of a society and economy (e.g. bookkeepers, accountants, functional managers, etc.), what has happened is that the administrative sector and the financial sector have grown all out of proportion to their actual functionality.  This to the point where we have to find clever ways to rationalize their existence (lest the obvious contradictions drive us mad), such as the claim that speculators are "useful" because they "make markets."  

    Here's an example:

    Some months ago, someone posted a diary talking about how wonderful their job is, and how they can work from home or while sitting in a park, and they bike to work, and they have tele-meetings that get lots of stuff done efficiently, and their team is happy & healthy (and presumably wealthy & wise?), and all this.

    But not one word about what they actually did.

    So I asked.

    Diarist replied that his team "helps optimize the sales process for a large health insurer."

    OK, now try to wrap your brain around this: optimizing the sales process for a large health insurer.   Say it out loud slowly.  Have you figured it out yet?  Oh, and does the point ever arrive where the sales process has achieved its optimum such that it can purr smoothly along on its own?

    Hypothesis:  Occupations that fulfill core needs in a society can be described in fairly simple sentences composed of common verbs and nouns.  

    For example:  "I grow wheat," or "I put out fires," or "I teach children," or "I clean offices," or "I bake bread" or "I write software," or something.  

    The further you get from that kind of "I (verb) (noun)" formulation or its nearest equivalents ("I am a member of the U.S. Navy," or "I am a scientist", that kind of thing), or the more difficult it is for a person of average intelligence and education to visualize what the job consists of (we can visualize sailors onboard Naval ships, and scientists in labs), the more questionable it is that the job is part of the core necessities of a society or economy.

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Mon Feb 13, 2012 at 04:39:25 AM PST

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    •  Don't underestimate Operations Research. (6+ / 0-)

      That is the SCIENCE of optimizing manufacturing or any other process.

      It was instrumental during WWII for getting the most out of our factories and getting the right supplies to the right place at the right time.

      You should also add the teamsters to your list of people that help.  Transport makes an economy.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      —Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Mon Feb 13, 2012 at 06:54:21 AM PST

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    •  I design and build web sites (7+ / 0-)

      Also do a fair amount of print work.  I'm proud to say I've spent my career creating things and as much as possible for causes and people I support.  I guess for me it's critical for there to be something to see for the hours I put into my work.  I think my greatest source of pride is having ben able to march in the DC pride parade helping carry a banner (and logo) I designed myself or the NYC subway fare card I have at home with the address of a web site I designed and built printed on it.  All those people just moving money around or pushing papers in some office on Wall Street (or more likely near Times Square these days) - I can't say I have a whole lot of respect for them: what is their real output?  Are they creating anything of actual substance?  What are they doing to earn those ridiculous salaries?  I dare say nothing.

    •  Yes, but many of these people have nothing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      melo, Odysseus

      but their gift of gab.  They are good at passing along instructions.  But many of them are either "all thumbs" or people whose hands are "hinged backwards."  They are literally incompetent and if they can't cajole others into doing for them, they would not survive.
      All the will in the world will not compensate for the inability to understand "how" or "why" things happen as they do.  Somehow, cause and effect don't connect in some brains.

      People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

      by hannah on Mon Feb 13, 2012 at 08:28:17 AM PST

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    •  LOL, this job can be described in a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CuriousBoston, Odysseus

      simple sentence composed with common verbs and nouns.  It just needs translation:

      I help optimize the sales process for a large health insurer.
      I manufacture bullshit.
      Of course admitting the nature of such a vile job to others much less one's self would make it nearly impossible to perform.  Thus, the need for an euphemism.

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Mon Feb 13, 2012 at 08:31:43 AM PST

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