Why won’t more men take service sector jobs?

by on January 5, 2017 at 2:04 pm in Economics | Permalink

Lawrence Katz, an economist at Harvard, has a term for this: “retrospective wait unemployment,” or “looking for the job you used to have.”

“It’s not a skill mismatch, but an identity mismatch,” he said. “It’s not that they couldn’t become a health worker, it’s that people have backward views of what their identity is.”

That is from a longer and interesting piece by Claire Cain Miller (NYT).

1 JWatts January 5, 2017 at 2:09 pm

“Why won’t more men take service sector jobs?”

The pay isn’t as high as they desire.

Do I win a prize for the obvious answer?

2 Autistic Econ Nerd January 5, 2017 at 2:12 pm

That’s the problem. People need to give up on desire and submit purely and fully to the judgement of the market. We need to remove human desires and emotions to become more like me, someone who experiences only the market.

3 Just Another Right Wing Economist January 5, 2017 at 2:15 pm

+100

4 Willitts January 5, 2017 at 4:40 pm

They can have all the unrealistic desires they want, but they cannot rationally blame anyone but themselves for their failure to obtain employment.

I’m still waiting for my professional baseball career to start.

5 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 2:22 am

I’m among the many people who believe that things external to myself also influence my ability, rationally speaking, to be able to do various things.

For example, if your uncle owns a major company or is an executive in a major firm, probably you know from a young age that there are opportunities likely available if you do what needs to be done to be competent in that area.

Why would someone growing up in the hood ever imagine that they might be CEO? Probably the most successful role model they know is a teacher.

So anyways, what many people can read from statements such as yours is that you’ve had an easy life where things lined up. Duh, you had to go out there and get it too, had to get the education and actually do all the work and stuff. But you could not possibly say that if you were more aware of the lived experience of a great number of people.

6 Ricardo January 6, 2017 at 8:52 am

Most people do not have uncles who own major companies or are executives in major firms.

7 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 10:57 pm

OK, how about foreman with a local construction firm as compared to night shift manager at McDonalds? It’s not necessary to compare Wall St. CEOs with meat packers to get the idea.

The point is that if you have both “better” role models and also more belief in prospects being accessible, then you are more likely to go for it.

I think it is assumed among many that this sort of thing is among reasons that people voted for Obama. You’re more likely to try to go for it if you see proof that it’s possible to get there.

8 Richard D. Lum January 10, 2017 at 6:12 am

If I were a jobless person, I would take any job to pay my bills!

9 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 5:26 pm

“The market” = “what other people want”

10 msgkings January 5, 2017 at 2:18 pm

I think their point is the men would gladly take lower paying jobs in the field that matches their self-conception. Offer the same lower pay for being a cashier and they can’t do it.

11 Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta January 5, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Men don’t want women’s jobs?

The real problem: Women don’t want men with women’s jobs.

12 Axa January 5, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Are you a woman? Or are you a man who knows what women want?

13 Car January 5, 2017 at 5:31 pm

Axa, are you a woman? Or are you a man who knows what women want?

14 4ChanMan January 5, 2017 at 5:57 pm

He’s a CUCK

15 Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta January 5, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Yup.

Men don’t want women’s jobs?

The real problem: Women don’t want men with women’s jobs.

16 msgkings January 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Some truth to this, yes. But what about already married manly men, presumably their wives would prefer a paycheck from a ‘woman’s job’ to the guy sitting around waiting for the steel mill to open up again.

17 4ChanMan January 5, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Those guys are probably CUCKS

18 Car January 5, 2017 at 5:32 pm

4ChanMan: f*** off JIDF

19 Cliff January 5, 2017 at 5:37 pm

Again this is highly offensive language to someone like me that identifies as a cuckold in the BDSM Community

20 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 5:44 pm

@Cliff.

I laughed out loud.

21 Cliff January 5, 2017 at 5:46 pm

Not sure why you are laughing at lifestyle choices.

22 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 6:13 pm

@Cliff,

Indeed. It is shameful the way the alt-right expresses it’s cuckphobia.

23 Richard D. Lum January 10, 2017 at 6:13 am

+ 1

24 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 5:27 pm

Some do. There are lots of low-paying jobs in cover bands.
The pay isn’t as good but I hear you still get laid a lot.

25 George January 5, 2017 at 8:25 pm

Getting laid is never the problem since – to use DTrumps terms – there are plenty of 2s and 3s around but some guys have integrity and self respect and most importantly discipline so they hold out for the 10.

26 msgkings January 5, 2017 at 8:40 pm

Right, ‘discipline’ is what you call guys who never get a date because they refuse to date on their level

27 Don Reba January 6, 2017 at 2:34 am

@msgkings, it just means that dating at their level is worse than staying single. That’s nobody’s fault.

28 Hazel Meade January 6, 2017 at 9:28 am

I once knew a guy who lost 300 lbs. He said because one day he realized he would never have sex again without paying for it unless he lost the weight. So he hiked down into the Grand Canyon carrying only water bottles and two power bars and sat there for a week, starving himself and saving those two power bars for the hike out and drinking water. He didn’t lose all 300 lbs that day, but it was a start. Anyway, there is no point to this story except that many men will go to great lengths to get laid.

29 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 2:26 am

A lot of successful bands (in the sense of being able to pay the rent and live solely from music income) do a lot of cover shows.

You do a 3 hour set, maybe throw in a couple/few of your own songs where it fits, etc. So you’re always in good shape with technical abilities, being well practiced, ready to set up easily for shows, etc. Lots of experience. And you can still do a few shows a month doing entirely your own thing. The cover band act can even serve as a tool to promote your own music.

But the reality is that most people in venues where music is wanted are looking for something to listen to while getting drunk, and are not there to appreciate the music. So yeah, there’s definitely a market there.

30 kevin January 6, 2017 at 8:55 am

Is that true? Maybe, probably to a degree, but the article sure doesn’t suggest that.

31 RM January 5, 2017 at 2:19 pm

But it is contingent on the job. He will take $18/hour to be a brick layer, but require $150 per hour to be a nurse.

32 JWatts January 5, 2017 at 2:29 pm

“But it is contingent on the job. He will take $18/hour to be a brick layer, but require $150 per hour to be a nurse.”

Yes, that was what I said.

You could also say: “But it is contingent on the job. She will take $18/hour to be a nurse but require $150 per hour to be a brick layer.”

It’s a pretty mundane observation to point out that different sexes tend to have different preferences.

(Also, the $150/hour figure is just wrong. I’m pretty sure if you offered the entire cohort of guys who would take $18 per hour to be a brick layer, $35 per hour to be a nurse, you would have an instant surplus of poorly trained nurses.)

33 asdf January 5, 2017 at 2:43 pm

Except male nurses have been on the rise for awhile now, in line with increases in nurse pay which has been going up along with doctor pay. I know quite a number of male nurses.

People respond to incentives, and while each gender has some preferences around the margin, it seems it doesn’t require a particularly ridiculous pay differential to incentivize action.

Most service jobs pay shit, and I’m not surprised lots of men see working and making shit as worse that not working and getting benies. Others might be willing to be nurses, but nursing does require a degree and may be out of reach for many men on the left half of the bell curve in ways factory jobs weren’t.

34 BenK January 5, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Of all the male nurses I know, most of them are or were in the military. In which case, being a nurse didn’t have quite the same identity.

35 Harun January 5, 2017 at 7:03 pm

Wonder if you could rename the job “medical orderly” and affect this.

36 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 2:56 am

Anyone can get through a basic nursing program if they apply themselves, assuming that they have picked up expected knowledge through high school, etc. The “if they apply themselves” basically means “if that’s what they want to do”.

37 P Burgos January 5, 2017 at 3:40 pm

I think many RNs do make around $35 an hour. I think there was a post on this website a while back commenting on the fact that for women, a major in nursing is the college degree that has the highest average payoff, and the average salary was in the $70K to $80K range. I have certainly know nurses who make more than that, although they have a bit more experience and specialization.

38 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 5:45 pm

Indeed, IIRC, Nurse Practitioners easily make six figures.

39 Art Deco January 5, 2017 at 8:02 pm

Perhaps a half to a third the time, barely. They seem to spent most of their time filling out electronic medical records nowadays.

40 Cooper January 5, 2017 at 3:46 pm

You can become a certified nursing assistant with a two month training course. The job pays an average of $12/hour. We are adding 30K of these jobs a year.

So it’s not abundantly clear that a bricklayer would want to spend thousands of dollars and two months taking a training course to get a job that pays $12/hour rather than waiting around for business conditions to improve so he can go back to laying bricks.

41 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Does bricklaying pay more than $12 an hour?

42 JWatts January 5, 2017 at 5:54 pm

It depends upon skill and experience of course, but yes, it actually pays quite a bit more than that.

$12/hour would be someone with little skill just starting out. In reality, the guy (I’ve never seen a female brick layer) making $10-12 is probably mixing cement and hauling bricks, not actually laying them. If you are talking a skilled brick layer the pays going to be roughly twice that, say $25 / hr.

43 Cooper January 5, 2017 at 6:02 pm

Looks like we may have picked a poor example. The mason industry is growing relatively rapidly. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/brickmasons-blockmasons-and-stonemasons.htm

The wages of bricklayers appear to be about 50-60% higher than the wages for nursing assistants. The lowest paid 10% of bricklayers earn as much as the median certified nursing assistant.

44 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 3:03 am

I regularly see bricklaying adds offering up front in the $25-30 range, with explicit mentions of upward potential. I don’t think it’s a huge area of work, but there’s definitely a market there.

45 Hazel Meade January 6, 2017 at 10:25 am

Still, that’s not great, really. It’s not like bricklaying is such an awesome job that one would define one’s identity by it.
I can understand a former bank executive not wanting to take a pay cut and make a career change but bricklaying is not such a career investment that you would lose a lot of earning potential by changing careers.

46 Slocum January 5, 2017 at 3:18 pm

An unemployed brick layer doesn’t have the option of taking a job as a nurse. And the jobs those he could qualify for, don’t pay much. Most of those female-dominated service-sector jobs in the list (basically all of the ‘aid’ and ‘asst’ positions) require little education and are not well paid (significantly less than a skilled brick layer). There are higher paid jobs in those areas, but those require a BA, MA or in sometimes a ‘clinical doctorate’ (in those fields that have pushed credentialism as a barrier to entry particularly enthusiastically).

47 Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta January 5, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Men don’t want women’s jobs?

The real problem: Women don’t want men with women’s jobs.

48 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 5:53 pm

I think the real real problem is that women don’t want men with “men’s jobs” anymore.

And the real real real problem is that what we define as “men’s jobs” is perversely working-class oriented.
Why is it more “manly” to be a bricklayer than a lawyer? Why is maniliness associated with brainless muscle and manual labor?

49 Jeff R January 5, 2017 at 6:08 pm

Comparative advantage.

50 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 6:15 pm

You mean that women are superior at everything, but men are least bad at manual labor tasks?

Very well, I agree.

51 Harun January 5, 2017 at 7:05 pm

Women tend to be better at detail-oriented manual labor.

52 Anon7 January 5, 2017 at 7:21 pm

Evolution gave most men exceptional (upper body) muscles and fewer of them exceptional brains (which are comparatively good at manipulating abstract objects).

53 Reader January 6, 2017 at 10:57 am

Research tends to show more variance for traits in males, including for IQ. This means there are apparently more women who are close to being average than there are men who are close to being average, which means MORE men have exceptional brains.

Supposing the research findings are correct, it could be that an unexceptional brain is better for the kinds of jobs we call “women’s work”. It could also be that employers hiring for women’s work are more risk-averse and have somehow internalized the wide variance in men. The latter theory is also supported by the fact that service sector areas such as retail operate on extremely narrow margins.

54 required January 7, 2017 at 5:26 pm

Stupidity is also exceptional; not only geniuses.

55 Art Deco January 5, 2017 at 8:03 pm

Why is it more “manly” to be a bricklayer than a lawyer? Why is maniliness associated with brainless muscle and manual labor?

Your incomprehension of your social world cannot be repaired by anyone here, any more than a flower bed can be explained to someone color-blind.

56 Rich Berger January 5, 2017 at 8:34 pm
57 Corplawyer January 5, 2017 at 2:16 pm

The solution to unemployment is obviously to have people take jobs which lower their social and sexual status. If they refuse, it’s because they hold themselves in too high esteem.

I wonder why the passengers are voting to fly the plane? Maybe they think the pilots don’t have their interests at heart?

58 Corplawyer January 5, 2017 at 2:30 pm

Btw, I’m thinking that people have been wrong about sociopathy and leadership. Our society may be far more influenced by autistic decision makers rather than sociopaths. What else explains this kind of economic thinking except autism and self interest?

59 N.K Anton January 5, 2017 at 3:05 pm

Rational and cold self-interest was supposed to a masculine trait, why all the womenly feels?

60 The Anti-Gnostic January 5, 2017 at 4:28 pm

LOL. Mention immigration or private discrimination and watch all the gimlet-eyed economists weep and collapse onto their fainting couches.

61 Art Deco January 5, 2017 at 7:56 pm

That really doesn’t describe Scott Sumner. He just turns the dial up to 11.

62 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 3:12 am

No. More like observing in passing that one number is larger than the other. I.e., what is good for the economy.

However, I think they are generally insufficiently attentive to interest group analysis, in particular those which affect lower income earners of medium or high potential in the present economic environment. Again, like a number to observe in passing, while emphasizing the fact of the more relevant number at the aggregate level.

I think most economists are honestly sympathetic to that group, but if you take such a dispassionate view of the aggregate benefit from the start, then it’s quite easy to expect that they might accept a doubling in income for foreigners (or especially immigrants after they arrive) at a few percent relative cost to the lower class in their own country.

And the folks who are negatively affected these days are full of decades of anti-communist propaganda which instructs them that it is anti-patriotic and perhaps traitorous to organize specifically on the basis of their shared economic interest – which may be a part of the story of leading towards ever-more-ridiculous justifications, when they could just say “See my number? Smaller than if the way it was. End of story. I know my interest.”

63 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Everyone is entitled to a job in the occupation of their choice – so therefore we obviously need a government program to help 18 year old make music videos of themselves and broadcast them on television.

Why would anyone want to take a job that lowers their sexual and social status? We should all be Prince or David Bowie.

64 msgkings January 5, 2017 at 6:58 pm

We should all be dead?

65 djw January 6, 2017 at 11:59 am

In the long run, we all will be.

66 mavery January 5, 2017 at 2:33 pm

So what you’re saying is that instead of unemployment insurance, we should have social status insurance.

67 Harun January 5, 2017 at 7:07 pm

Holy smokes. This might happen. Imagine a world of UBI etc. where work is not that important.

The next big leveler / progressive step would be social status.

68 8 January 6, 2017 at 11:09 am

Given the economically destructive results of progressive policies, and the history of communism, this seems to have been the plan all along.

69 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 5:17 pm

If they refuse, it’s because they hold themselves in too high esteem.

Yes. And?
If a person is mad they can’t find a job as a rock star, maybe there is indeed a problem with their self esteem.
Ditto people who bitch that they can’t get any job as good and as high status as they think they are entitled to. The magnitude of the self-esteem gap may not be as large but it is still there. If nobody will pay you the salary you want in the occupation you want, the problem probably isn’t with them.

70 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 3:17 am

I think that’s really the issue. It’s like people need to have that outward status in order to have self confidence.

Most people who are not rock stars are not rock stars because they do not want to be. Many people who want to be require external validation, which for some reason they do not have internally.

71 Kris January 5, 2017 at 9:46 pm

When we talk about unemployed men, we are talking about older guys who presumably are married with kids (who they need to support.) Social status I get, but why does sexual status matter to them?

For younger men, to whom sexual status does matter, unemployment is not much of an issue in developed countries. It’s the older, presumably more expensive and less adaptable, workers that get canned.

72 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 3:39 am

Grow up with a view of men as the provider. This is what defines your ability to be a worthwhile human being – to provide for the wife and kids.

Then you lose your job and the wife and kids are bringing in the dough while you lounge around in quasi-depression trying to find a way to satisfy your self-expected (and historically consistent) societal role that has existed since the time that collecting berries and roots has not been a major part of our calorie intake.

I think it’s something like that … some men are more able to be proud of, or at least happy about, the achievements of their wife and children without feeling like a loser if things have not gone well in their own career or work.

73 Reader January 6, 2017 at 11:04 am

Sexual status is pre-rational. A married man with no thoughts of infidelity will still stand up straighter and pull in his gut when a hot young babe walks in the room. He might not even realize he’s doing it.

74 Just Saying January 5, 2017 at 2:19 pm

Maybe for the same reason women won’t take engineering jobs at the same rate as men? Because men and women are different?

75 Autistic Econ Nerd January 5, 2017 at 2:25 pm

But the Market has deemed that female-oriented jobs are what is currently demanded. We need to focus policies on overcoming the differences between men and women and move forward feminising men. This is why the Trump win is such a huge setback, political correctness was a tool to be used to smooth men’s rough edges and force them to feminise and thus better server The Market.

76 anon January 5, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Autist- I sense some sarcasm. But just to reiterate, it was trade and immigration, and social policy decisions that has created the female-oriented jobs demand. The welfare state, which is largely a cover for transfers from men to women, creates a lot of female work (and make-work). It also destroys families and therefore creates more need for female work to patch up the destruction. Then immigration and trade compete directly more with males than females. ( I know the immigrant ppop is 50-50 mf but its in construction, etc. where you see the real impacts of immigration on wages.) Trade competes with males.

I think the series of decisions is more consistent with people who really hate certain types of males than autism or stupidity.

77 Cooper January 5, 2017 at 3:53 pm

An American Autarky would still be experiencing massive declines in manufacturing employment.

Automation is the largest single cause of the decline in demand for native born blue collar workers. We know this because manufacturing output in the US hits new all time highs every year while the labor component keeps falling.

Increasing demand for education/health workers would have also continued in an American Autarky. Society is getting older (and would be getting even older without immigrants!) so we need more qualified medical staff to care for them. Society is getting more complicated so we need more education to navigate it.

78 asdf January 5, 2017 at 5:16 pm

Singapore and Japan are pretty old on average. But they have smaller medical sectors. And this hasn’t come at the expense of either available or quality.

The size of the medical sector is determined by government incentives and mandates. Aging is just a force multiplier.

Society is getting more complicated because of policy decisions we’ve made. It could easily be less complicated.

79 Car January 5, 2017 at 5:34 pm

“Society is getting more complicated so we need more education to navigate it.”

Are you one of those people who really believes that ”’education”’ helps people navigate it? Think!

80 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 3:44 am

“Feminizing men”

Talking about problems instead of beating people up?

Or, I dunno, you almost seem to suggest that there is something masculine about speaking disrespectfully to people. Personally, I think most often it is a sign of inner weakness – the need to stomp on others to feel worthwhile is not a strong indication that all is well inside.

Imo, should feel free to be rough around the edges, straying into offensiveness. But when offensiveness strays into outright disrespect, especially intentional disrespect which cannot be justified (e.g., referring to national statistics about average income or crime rates in a group, instead of regarding the person in front of you as a person is a person is a person …) …. I dunno, I think that’s a problem.

Among other things, say, being an officeplace Nazi in terms of quality, discipline rigidity, etc., is not remotely even in the same class of personalities as being the kind of person that gets pleasure from treating other people like garbage.

81 Anon7 January 5, 2017 at 5:29 pm

Yes. Men are much more likely to prefer dealing with objects than with subjects. Hence men dominate the hard sciences and the manual trades. And no, it is not merely the product of social construction, so no amount of social engineering will change those preferences.

82 astonished January 5, 2017 at 2:20 pm

what are we supposed to think “identity mismatch” means? I’m confused by the entire premise here. The insinuation is, somehow, that the disembodied spirit called “the market” knows what a person’s identity ought to be, but that the person himself doesn’t?

83 Hadur January 5, 2017 at 2:21 pm

The point is, free marketeers wish to blame the worsening of the labor market on workers being lazy, instead of on demand for labor drying up. That’s why you see free market economists bemoaning that Americans don’t move, that Americans won’t take jobs that are “feminine”, etc.

84 Cliff January 5, 2017 at 4:04 pm

And yet the unemployment rate is 4.6%

85 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 5:25 pm

The disembodied spirit called “the market” is short hand of “other people”.
“Other people” want certain skills and talents. Not the ones that you the individual wish they wanted.

I, for instance, would like to be a rock star. I would like to be showered with cash and adoring fans. or possibly a movie star. Something like that.
Sadly, “the market” seems to only have room for a limited number of rock stars, despite my obvious talents. Other people just don’t seem to think my talents are quite as obvious.

Clearly, that’s a market failure. Why won’t the market provide me with the job I desire?

86 Car January 5, 2017 at 5:42 pm

“The disembodied spirit called “the market” is short hand of “other people”.”

That is how libertardians think about it. In reality, “the market” is a political creation. Adam Smith originally used the term “political economy,” never the term “economics,” understanding it’s political context. Much of the change in the market is due to a political decision by the liberals and cuckservatives to open the border, illegal immigrants who work are heavily male, thus hitting male occupations much harder than they hit female occupations.

87 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 5:55 pm

So “male occupations” are synonymous with low skilled manual labor?

Why is that? Are men just stupider than women in some way?

88 Car January 5, 2017 at 6:11 pm

We’re talking about low-skill jobs here, work on your reading comprehension.

89 Reader January 6, 2017 at 11:28 am

“Much of the change in the market is due to a political decision […] to open the border”

I agree but that doesn’t tell the whole story. A lot factors into change, and a major one is technology. (On the Alt Right, only Brenda Walker seems to acknowledge this and nobody pays her much attention for it.) The Amish have been able to keep their society the way they like it for a hundred years. In part, sure, they have some qualities that naturally repel the analog of “illegal immigration” into their communities, but they also are extremely selective about what technology they adopt because they know it can lead to a change what is needed to sustain their lifestyles.

Many commenters on this thread (and on the Alt Right in general) seem to long for a time more like the 50s, when tons of American men had jobs in the manufacturing sector on which they could house and support their families and save for retirement. But people lived in small houses back then, often without TVs, most with one or fewer cars, and just in general had far less. Yes, a lot of other costs have gone up outside of the individual’s control (e.g. the cost of a doctor’s visit), but plenty of costs are voluntary expenses.

You want a viable manufacturing sector in this country? Be prepared for a lot of the things you want to be prohibitively expensive. That means no smart phone and smart watch. No vij’ya games. No drone helicopters under your Christmas tree. No multiple flatscreen TVs in your giant house. And no raised F250 crew cab for driving to the grocery store.

Personally, I’m fine not having any of that. Are you? Are most of the people you know? To me it looks like materialism is pretty bipartisan in this country.

90 Reader January 6, 2017 at 11:39 am

And come to think of it I’m painting too rosy a picture of the 50s or what it would take to return to it. You also have to give up not just material things, but a lot of the quality of services you enjoy now. For example, medicine isn’t quite a science, for sure, but the stuff they can do these days is WIZARDRY compared to what was possible in the 50s–and you have to pay for it. Or think about how safe you are in a sedan made in 2016 as opposed to one made in 1956. Or for that matter how much gas you need to put in it to drive the same distance.

I don’t like it when economist-types keep telling us the present is oh-so-great and now-is-the-best-time and all that, but you have to be realistic about where there have been advances, and more importantly, the fact that they come with a price.

91 JWatts January 6, 2017 at 11:56 am

“Many commenters on this thread (and on the Alt Right in general) seem to long for a time more like the 50s”

I doubt this is true. I don’t think there is one comment on here that says as much and it’s not a logical conclusion of the comments.

92 Anderse January 6, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Lion of the Blogosphere has talked a lot about automarion, and I know Derb and Sailer have both said they think it’s coming.

93 Reader January 6, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Automation isn’t what I was talking about.

94 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 3:57 am

If you spend the first 20 or 50 years of your life thinking of yourself as a welder, and service jobs as being a women’s thing, then it would be an assault on your identity to think of giving up the “I’m a welder” self conception to a “I’m a service person” self conception.

In a lot of ways, society promotes this sort of boxed in thinking. One way is by promotion of specialization. Another is that people sometimes seem dissatisfied with the notion of not being able to define someone by their job – so everyone is always pressing for some simplistic point of reference to understand a person.

Treating people as people, and not as their jobs, at the same time as understanding that clearly 20 years of doing some job will shape a person in some way, is maybe not as easy as it sounds.

What’s he? “A former welder who got a job as …” – how long until he becomes the new job and not a former welder? Or, can he become comfortable in defining himself outside of his economic occupation? Maybe get a hobby? Maybe just not worry about it?

95 Hadur January 5, 2017 at 2:20 pm

What if “feminine” jobs are stable and well-paying BECAUSE half the population irrationally won’t take them?

96 Pshrnk January 5, 2017 at 2:28 pm

A lot of bullying occurs in “feminine” jobs.

97 y81 January 5, 2017 at 2:34 pm

But as the article notes, before going to explain what’s wrong with men and how they need to change, female jobs aren’t that well-paying.

98 Car January 5, 2017 at 5:48 pm

+1

This paragraph is from the article:

“When men take these so-called pink-collar jobs, they have more job security and wage growth than in blue-collar work, according to recent research. But they are paid less and feel stigmatized.”

99 8 January 6, 2017 at 11:21 am

The problem is hospitals are too feminine. Toxic femininity pervades the medical profession.

100 msgkings January 6, 2017 at 11:59 am

LOL what would a masculine hospital be like? Buncha bearded doctors with a beer in their hand wearing a plaid shirt telling you to rub some dirt on it?

101 Slocum January 5, 2017 at 3:28 pm

But all those therapist ‘aid’ and ‘asst’ jobs are not well paid, and being unwilling to take them isn’t irrational. In the NYTimes list, I see 4 jobs that are female-dominated, and also well-paid (Physical Therapist, Nurse Practitioner, Physicians Assistant, and Genetics Counselor). Significantly, they all require an MA or clinical doctorate — careers that older, unemployed blue-collar workers could shift into only with great difficulty and low probability of success.

102 Cliff January 5, 2017 at 4:05 pm

PT, NP and PA all require an MA?

103 John January 5, 2017 at 4:19 pm

PT requires a masters of some sort, generally four years of post-college. I’m not sure why it requires so much school, but it does. NP officially only requires an MA, but most NP education programs now only offer a PhD or professional doctorate. An NP is a nurse who can also proscribe certain meds and treat certain issues without an MD being involved. PA is a weird mix between an NP and an actual medical doctor, in that they still have authorities that only doctors have but also have restrictions in what they can treat. A PA needs several years of post-college education.

104 Slocum January 5, 2017 at 4:32 pm

Yep, an MA or more. There’s been quite a bit of credential inflation in these fields in recent decades.

105 Art Deco January 5, 2017 at 5:09 pm

Physical Therapy requires 130 credit hours of classroom work plus clinical training. RNNP requires a post-baccalaureate degree.

106 Cliff January 5, 2017 at 9:15 pm

So to be a PT you have to have undergraduate degree and THEN 130 hours of additional classes and clinical training?? Seriously? I’ve been to PT, it’s not that hard. It’s so not hard that after going for a while I learned how to do it on myself and I haven’t been back.

107 Slocum January 6, 2017 at 8:28 am

Seriously? I’ve been to PT, it’s not that hard

Most medical occupations (MD included) require a lot more years of education than is necessary for the limited, specialized work the practitioner ends up performing. But barriers to entry just aren’t going to erect themselves. And since there’s a plausible public safety argument that most layperson ‘baptists’ tend to accept, there’s not much push-back by the public. Also, there are continual scope-of-practice skirmishes between the various medical occupations, and raising the status of your field by going from bachelor’s to master’s to clinical doctorate leaves you better equipped to fight those battles. And, of course, longer programs are more lucrative for the universities offering them. In my wife’s specialty, when she was trained, it was a master’s degree and paid fellowship year following graduation. Now it’s a 3-year clinical doctorate program followed by a year of unpaid internship for which, naturally, the trainee continues to pay full tuition. This is quite an amazing deal for both the clinic getting a year’s free labor and for the university getting an extra year’s worth of tuition for doing next to nothing.

All of the ‘aid’ and ‘asst’ positions are growing partly because of this credential inflation, since a PT-assistant is much cheaper to hire than a full PT. I suppose that in time all the assistant positions will be upgraded to at least 4 year degrees too, and then we’ll need PT assistant-assistants in a futile attempt to keep costs under control.

108 Art Deco January 6, 2017 at 11:02 am

So to be a PT you have to have undergraduate degree

Not sure. Don’t think so.

109 Slocum January 6, 2017 at 1:40 pm

“Not sure. Don’t think so.”

To become a PT in the U.S. you now need a doctorate:

Professional (entry-level) physical therapist education programs in the United States only offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree to all new students who enroll. The Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) and Master of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT) degrees are no longer offered to any new students in the United States. To practice as a physical therapist in the US, you must earn a physical therapist degree from a CAPTE- accredited physical therapist education program and pass a state licensure exam.

http://www.apta.org/PTEducation/Overview/

110 Art Deco January 6, 2017 at 6:33 pm

The DPT is now standard. The question posed is whether or not you need a full BA in some other subject before embarking on DPT training, or whether a preparatory certificate will do. The D.Pharm is now standard for pharmacy, but it’s 4-5 years of study in toto (starting at age 18).

Re peri-medical occupations, the longest program of study is chiropractic, followed by dentistry and podiatry, followed by physical therapy (just a shade less), followed by optometry, followed by pharmacy. Occupational therapy requires a post-baccalaureate degree which is 60 credits in toto (about 70% classroom study, 30% clinic).

111 Slocum January 7, 2017 at 2:22 pm

DPT Admission Criteria
“The question posed is whether or not you need a full BA in some other subject before embarking on DPT training”

All the programs I found with a quick search suggest that yes, you do need a BA. Here’s the University of Florida, for example:

The following are minimum requirements for entry into the DPT program. Please see DPT Admission Procedure and Deadlines below for instructions on how to document these requirements.

1. Baccalaureate degree in any discipline from an accredited college or university. Degree needs to be completed prior to entering the program, but is not required to be complete at the time of application

2. Minimum score of 146 on the verbal portion of the GRE, 144 on the quantitative portion and 3.5 on the analytical writing portion for GRE test.

112 Dave January 5, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Most of those listed in the NYT is in the healthcare field. In my local area, most of those hospitals are unionized. So maybe that’s a factor for job stability if not high pays.

113 Albert January 5, 2017 at 2:20 pm

Funny that when it is about men avoiding jobs in a sector, the reason is that men don’t want to take those jobs because they are irrational but when it is about women avoiding jobs in a sector, the blurb will inevitably be something along the lines of women being “prevented / blocked / discriminated against / etc.” from those jobs.

114 Dave January 5, 2017 at 5:36 pm

My experience is that many of the men in the female dominated professions are often “tracked” into some specialties not necessary based on their own wish/career objectives.

Up into the 70s, some libraries would explicitly advertise some positions as “night boy” to staff the evening hours. In practice, some male librarians would still be pushed into staffing the late shifts and are unlikely hired to be children’s librarians, etc.

The male nurses are also over represented in psychiatric specialties. Male teachers are also over represented in P.E. and special ed.

I think if market/supply/demand push for some of those specialties that value muscle/strength with higher pay, that would address the issues. But those are also usually unionized fields that loathes to have some members with high specialty pays.

115 Uribe January 5, 2017 at 2:21 pm

I think it would taklet a bit of innate talent to be a healthcare worker. Not everyone has the stomach to work with sick and injured people.

116 Will January 5, 2017 at 2:29 pm

“The pay isn’t as high as they desire.”

“The solution to unemployment is obviously to have people take jobs which lower their social and sexual status. If they refuse, it’s because they hold themselves in too high esteem.”

“The point is, free marketeers wish to blame the worsening of the labor market on workers being lazy, instead of on demand for labor drying up.”

The MR comments section sure is smug considering how terrible the reading comprehension here is.

117 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 5, 2017 at 2:30 pm

The MR comments section sure is smug

Uhhh…DUH how long have you been reading this site?

118 JWatts January 5, 2017 at 2:39 pm

“The MR comments section sure is smug considering how terrible the reading comprehension here is.”

My answer wasn’t smug. It was obvious. That’s what I said.

““It’s not a skill mismatch, but an identity mismatch,” he said. “It’s not that they couldn’t become a health worker, it’s that people have backward views of what their identity is.””

That on the other hand is clearly a condescending remark. The author believe that having an identity that’s not perfectly economically rational is backward.

119 That Guy January 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm

It is condescending, but let’s have a reality check- the article is focused on men who are long-term unemployed. These people are on the receiving end of income transfers from me, in the form of unemployment checks paid for by my tax dollars. If I’m subsidizing their choice to stay unemployed, then I damned well get to condescend to them if they are going to take a too-proud-for-women’s-work attitude. If your unemployment check is big enough to say ‘no’ to $18/hour gainful employment, then F** you, take the job or renounce the check. If you take the check and not the job, you are backward, and I get to say so. That’s the basic bargain of a welfare state. You get to choose between the check and your pride. You don’t get both. I’m not saying this just because I don’t know them personally- if it were a family member of mine, I’d let them crash in my guestroom for free if they were looking for work, but if after 2 months they weren’t considering decent-paying open positions because it “wasn’t their thing”, I’d flip my lid and give them an apply-or-hit-the-street ultimatum.

Can I empathize with them? Sure. It’s a super shitty hand they’ve been dealt. If the value of my labor was such that my two options in life were changing bedpans at a retirement home or defrauding social security disability and obliterating myself with oxy, I’d give the oxy a long, hard look. Is the article written in an especially smarmy, sneery, effeminate NYT style? Sure, but it’s not substantively incorrect. Where it’s laughably wrong is the method required for change. These are working class men with working class pride. They aren’t going to respond to elliptical pablum about “identity” written by area-studies majors who want them to be more effeminate. The solution is not to try to get them to shed their masculinity. Proud men do not respond to incentives to embrace their softer side. They respond to the threat of humiliation, which is precisely the problem identified by the article. The solution is just to make unemployment more emasculating than nursing school.

120 JWatts January 5, 2017 at 4:14 pm

I find this the best answer.

That being said, this part is just wrong.

” the article is focused on men who are long-term unemployed. These people are on the receiving end of income transfers from me, in the form of unemployment checks paid for by my tax dollars.”

Under normal circumstances, the long term unemployed, are ineligible for unemployment benefits in the US.

Per the BLS – Long-term unemployed refers to individuals who have been looking for work for 27 weeks or more.

“Under normal times, an individual can collect unemployment benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. “

121 msgkings January 5, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Many will claim a ‘disability’ after the UI runs out. Maybe not most, but plenty.

122 JWatts January 5, 2017 at 5:34 pm

“Many will claim a ‘disability’ after the UI runs out. Maybe not most, but plenty.”

I support tightening the rules on disability. I absolutely agree with That Guy’s POV, that my tax dollars shouldn’t be used to support your preference to not work a ‘girly’ job. That being said, this isn’t the case as described in the original post. If people are willing to personally sacrifice their income for their own personal reasons, I’m not going to condescendingly refer to them as “backwards”.

123 chuck martel January 5, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Sadly, neither you nor any other typical bozo gets to choose what his taxes are spent on. Maybe if they painted little squares on the freeways, sides of aircraft carriers and windows of new FBI headquarters in Florida and then stenciled your name in the center it would be OK. Or if you got a card once a month from some babe and her kids living in section 8 housing.

124 Plucky January 5, 2017 at 2:30 pm

What annoyed me most about this article was that it simply assumes that healthcare jobs will grow more than others and continue to be better-compensated than other jobs of comparable skill levels. That is essentially a claim that there will a) be crappy or no efficiency gains in healthcare delivery and b) despite crappy to no efficiency gains, wages will remain high. This when the healthcare sector is already gobbling up a colossal share of resources, and that achieving the #1 political fiscal priority of reducing that cost will require either reducing either the quantity (via efficiency) or compensation level of labor used in healthcare

125 chuck martel January 5, 2017 at 2:43 pm

As the enlightened, post-modern US advances, more and more resources are devoted to the fragile, sickly population that can’t seem to exist without the most advanced health care available. Natural selection, if true, is now meaningless and eventually homo sapiens will degenerate into a flabby, coughing, diabetic crowd of genetic losers.

126 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 4:09 am

Do you know many people who plan to seek out mental retards and make babies with them?

A major aspect of natural selection in many species is sexual selection. It’s actually a lot more about who to make babies with than staying not-dead-yet. Which means that improved quality of life and opportunity for those with reduced mating prospects does not necessarily imply adding to the average load of mutations (reportedly about 21 known disease-related mutations per individual, in NE USA).

I assume that people will generally prefer to uphold principles of individual choice and selection while restraining possiblities that could, say, lead to a genetic arms race or any such thing. So probably people will, without interference external to family and social circles, make choices about who to date, etc., and in terms of reproduction, probably there will not be much use of genetic modification except to erase mutations which are likely to cause severe damage to living quality.

127 Boonton January 5, 2017 at 4:03 pm

“That is essentially a claim that there will a) be crappy or no efficiency gains in healthcare delivery and b) despite crappy to no efficiency gains, wages will remain high. ”

Efficiency gains are great but they don’t mean you get better wages, in fact low efficiency means higher wages.

128 jim jones January 5, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Women evolved to manipulate social relationships, men evolved to solve problems

129 Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta January 5, 2017 at 3:52 pm

+1

130 That Guy January 5, 2017 at 4:38 pm

so, what if social relationships are the main problems to solve?

131 Car January 5, 2017 at 5:54 pm

That’s the mentality exactly.

132 Harun January 5, 2017 at 7:17 pm

Hmmmm, as a man, I solve this problem by creating sex robots to avoid social relationships being needed.

As a woman, I get people to form a coalition to ban sex robots.

133 msgkings January 5, 2017 at 7:25 pm

Real men desire more than sex in this world. You are a child.

134 Car January 5, 2017 at 8:42 pm

“Real men desire more than sex in this world.”

Is that what your wife tells you?

135 msgkings January 6, 2017 at 12:03 am

No, yours.

136 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 4:18 am

Yeah, it’s a problem in recent years. Too much of this idea going around, which isn’t even necessarily quite true, to extend from “all men want sex” to “all that men want is sex or sexual things”.

It’s not clear to me whether it is more limiting or insulting than treating women as nothing more than sexual objects, existing primarily for the benefit of providing sexual pleasure to men (for which some nice guys might be willing to reciprocate with some effort), and to take care of all that nonsense associated with child rearing, with the exception of knocking some masculine toughness into the kids from time to time.

So, it’s definitely not 1960, but it seems 1955 is still in the room somewhere.

Women’s liberation was not so they could go have sex with whoever whenever (although some will do that), it was about the ability to define themselves independently and seek what fortune they sought in the world, without necessarily constrained by expectations within the family.

In most Western places these days, while I think most women are still doing more of the cooking and cleaning, as compared to 30 years ago, any guy who met a girl and then stated this as a firm expectation, even stated in a lovely way, is unlikely to be attractive to many women except perhaps as a plaything for a time.

137 Hazel Meade January 6, 2017 at 9:38 am

It’s interesting. I have found that when I was younger I was more interested in social status. Once i paired up with someone and got married and had a kid my interests radically changed. Social status is important mostly to find sexual partners. Once you’ve found a person and you’re happy with them, there is hardly any reason to meet new people, except maybe for career advancement. I suspect that (most) married men probably experience the same thing. Sex and social status ceases to be a driver after marriage (assuming you’re still getting laid that is) and it becomes more about advancing you career, making money to give your children as many advantages as possible, and having a fulfilling family life.

138 4ChanMan January 5, 2017 at 7:27 pm

I bet your sex robots would still cuckold you.

139 4ChanMan2 January 5, 2017 at 9:19 pm

Better than being cuckolded by your own father like you

140 required January 7, 2017 at 5:32 pm

Women want sex without marriage, based on happiness.

141 8 January 6, 2017 at 11:28 am

In a democracy yes, which is why universal suffrage democracy is going bye-bye.

142 Bob from Ohio January 5, 2017 at 2:56 pm

A “girls rule, men drool” article from the New York Times. How original.

143 y81 January 5, 2017 at 3:00 pm

This article is a good example of normative sociology (HT: Robert Nozick). We all know that men are insecure, sexist idiots, and that this must be holding them back. So we disregard some obvious explanations, namely that men don’t want low-paying, low-status jobs that they don’t enjoy and that don’t match their skill set, and determine that their insecurities, gender stereotypes, and general mutton-headedness are the real source of their problems.

144 N.K Anton January 5, 2017 at 3:06 pm

“men don’t want low-paying, low-status jobs that they don’t enjoy and that don’t match their skill set” = “determine that their insecurities, gender stereotypes, and general mutton-headedness are the real source of their problems.”

145 Cliff January 5, 2017 at 4:09 pm

No

146 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 5:33 pm

“men don’t want low-paying, low-status jobs that they don’t enjoy and that don’t match their skill set,”

Translation: Men want the rest of the world to conform to their desires, instead of the other way around.
I know several excellent guitar players who are STILL waiting for high status high paying jobs that match their skill set. Oh the humanity!

147 Car January 5, 2017 at 5:59 pm

“Translation: Men want the rest of the world to conform to their desires, instead of the other way around.”

“Rest of the world” translates to “people with money and power.”

148 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 6:08 pm

Money, yes.
There’s this thing about jobs. They usually involve getting people with money to give it to you in exchange for labor.

149 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 4:23 am

“Men want the rest of the world to conform to their desires”

The opposite side of that, steterotypically, being that women are quite the other way around a lot (understand that the world will not conform to their expectations), except when it comes to that man, no?

150 Hazel Meade January 6, 2017 at 9:48 am

Not really. A guy who is totally what you want and expect is boring. It’s better to be with someone who has their own desires and interests so they can teach you things you would never have thought of yourself and take you on adventures you would never have chosen on your own.

That’s actually one of my biggest relationship peeves. If someone asks what you want to do today, don’t just say “I don’t know whatever”, express a thought for something that you actually would enjoy doing. It sucks to have to do all the planning of fun. Take the girl to go do something that *you* enjoy.

151 y81 January 6, 2017 at 7:12 am

And I know thousands and thousands of feminist activists and politicians, starting with our genius president, who believe that with enough “pay equity” studies and legal enforcement, they can force the market to pay their preferred recipients much more than the world wants to. Do you care to comment on the plausibility of this claim and the intelligence of the people making it?

152 Axa January 5, 2017 at 5:57 pm

Option A: low paying and low status job. Option B: Unemployment payments. Somehow, living off unemployment benefits is higher status than a bad job.

153 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 6:10 pm

Ding, ding, ding.

154 Cliff January 5, 2017 at 9:21 pm

Possibly, in several ways. 1) It’s just a transitional period and in a few months you’ll be back to a job that people respect. 2) You are too school for cool and rebelled against the oppression of work. 3) Maybe it’s lower status but it’s also a lot easier

155 RJ January 7, 2017 at 2:12 am

If the low status job means you have to take a lot of crap from a supervisor, unemployment is preferable.

The thing a lot of you don’t get about the men in question is that one of the highest goals they have is a degree of autonomy. Service jobs rarely provide that.

156 Axa January 8, 2017 at 6:33 am

If one of the highest goals is a degree of autonomy, why not open a business and become self-employed? If these guys lack the capital, social or management skills to be self-employed…….better learn to enjoy life as a low status employee.

157 Thanatos Savehn January 5, 2017 at 3:12 pm

Summary: “Causation is hard and when we find it we often don’t like what it entails. So instead, we construct plausible ‘just so’ stories that pander to the prejudices of the self-regarding elite, burnish them with our Harvard Econ credentials, and pass them off as enlightening scholarship to credulous journalists and bloggers for dissemination. Ultimately it boils down to selling a sort of cosmetic, the purpose of which is to enhance the reflection of the narcissist as he gazes into the literature and sees therein all his biases beautifully confirmed.”

tl;dr “Backwards” blue collar men are allegedly too stupid/lazy/homophobic to ride the unstoppable and irreversible female-friendly jobs tsunami. This is the sort of Econ porn that gets the left fapping.

158 dearieme January 5, 2017 at 6:19 pm

Speaking of fapping I enjoy it with a glass of the Lagavulin 16 while I watch my wife and a strapping buck go at it. That’s what I call Well Cucked *Wink*

159 Silas Barta January 5, 2017 at 3:27 pm

You sure it’s on the *worker’s* side? There are probably situations like, “engineer can easily take accountant role, but he’s Not An Accountant” (even though he’s learned to do much harder stuff on the job).

160 Silas Barta January 5, 2017 at 3:30 pm

To clarify, in that hypothetical, it’s the employer flat out rejecting him because NAA.

161 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 5, 2017 at 5:32 pm

But that’s basically how employers act in every field. You don’t even need to use the Engineering to Accountant example – which to be honest makes no sense, you still need to learn completely different things to be a proper accountant, and besides engineering isn’t remotely as difficult as people around here like to fetishize about. That being said employers the world over tend to be very adverse to hiring someone for a job unless they’ve already been doing the exact, same job before – its tough for an engineering to switch to doing work even in a closely related field as their previous job.

162 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 5:38 pm

Eh? I know lots of people with engineering degrees who don’t work in their field. And Engineering degree says “I am good at math”. So it’s pretty easy to parlay into work in any other field. I don’t think this problem exists. There aren’t unemployed engineers who can’t get jobs as accountants. The people who can’t get jobs as accountants are working class guys with high school diplomas.

163 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 5, 2017 at 5:44 pm

Sure anyone can go ahead and do the CPA test I guess but being an engineer isn’t going to get you a job as an accountant all it means is you wasted years getting an education in a field not relevant to your new career. Being “good at math” doesn’t mean much any way – engineering degrees actually don’t have too much tough math content in them (of course excluding the elite programs at places like CalTech) and virtually no one needs to know anything about differential equations or vector calculus – even for most “engineering” jobs.

164 JWatts January 5, 2017 at 5:48 pm

“engineering degrees actually don’t have too much tough math content in them”

That’s just laughably wrong.

“and virtually no one needs to know anything about differential equations or vector calculus – even for most “engineering” jobs.”

This is probably true, but it’s also irrelevant to the discussion.

165 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 5, 2017 at 5:53 pm

It’s totally relevant – you aren’t going to be able to go around with your engineering degree and get hired as an accountant because you’re “good at math”. It’s also not laughably wrong to say getting an engineering degree – even graduating with high grades requires you to actually be good at math. What do you take in an engineering program -some vector calculus and differential equations most likely, doesn’t actually require a tonne of talent for math to just jump through the hoops and get through that. I would not consider the typical engineering grad to be “good at math” (again I know elite programs have far higher standards I’m talking about your run-of-the-mill school).

166 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 5, 2017 at 5:56 pm

And the other point was that its tough to switch careers. The discussion wasn’t about the kid fresh out of school with an engineering degree who maybe winds up working at a Big-4 Consultancy or something by getting into a trainee program. We are talking about older workers changing fields and that just really doesn’t happen remotely easily. Say you’re some 40 year old guy with an EE degree who was doing like analog electronic design and gets laid off. You really think he’s going to just be able to apply to be an accountant? Let alone apply to be say an embedded systems guy? He won’t go anywhere without serious retraining investment and time and maybe not even then.

167 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 6:05 pm

The math you get as an engineer is pretty much the same as in any undergraduate STEM program, except maybe Mathematics itself. That’s as tough as it gets for a Bachelor’s degree. Of course it varies by program and university. Some schools are clearly harder than others. Some fields have more high-level math than others. But if you’re trying to say that engienering programs don’t have difficult math, that’s a relative statement. Compared to graduate level information theory, undergrad engineering math is easy. Compared to your typical accounting class, it’s hard.

Accountants pretty much just learn how to use spreadsheets and software programs these days anyway. It’s not like accountants actually do math by hand.

168 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 5, 2017 at 6:12 pm

And none of that makes a difference to the vast majority of employers. You aren’t going to be able to take a laid-off 40 year old engineering and get him a job as an accountant, you’ll probably have a REAL tough time getting him a job again as an engineer unless something opens up that is virtually identical to his previous job. The original comment at the top was correct, even if the worker has the skills necessary or could learn the job most employers consider hiring anything less than 100% match to be either a risk or don’t want to take any time to retrain the worker.

169 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 6:18 pm

You aren’t going to be able to take a laid-off 40 year old engineering and get him a job as an accountant, you’ll probably have a REAL tough time getting him a job again as an engineer unless something opens up that is virtually identical to his previous job.

Really? Have you tried? Do you know a lot of laid off 40 year old engineers who can’t get jobs?

170 JWatts January 5, 2017 at 6:18 pm

Well I have the very rare perspective of having a BS in Finance (which might as well be accounting) and a BS in Engineering.

I do agree that you couldn’t be hired as a “CPA” with just an Engineering degree. But just about any Engineering graduate can do basic accounting and could get hired as a Book Keeper (and probably a Financial Analyst, depending on state requirements). Then they’d need to pick up roughly 12 hours in accounting to be eligible to sit for the CPA.

Whereas, an Accountant would have to go through at least two more years of college to get an Engineering degree.

” I would not consider the typical engineering grad to be “good at math” ”

Yeah, ok I think this point is a bit pedantic. Engineers, on average are in the top 20% of the population with respect to math ability by testing and the top 10% by math education. Most people would consider anybody in the top 10% of a certain requirement to be ‘good’ at it.

171 JWatts January 5, 2017 at 6:20 pm

“Compared to your typical accounting class, it’s hard.”

Absolutely. I’ve had two years of accounting classes. The math is addition and subtraction. It’s 9th grade math at most.

172 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 5, 2017 at 6:23 pm

Really? Have you tried? Do you know a lot of laid off 40 year old engineers who can’t get jobs?

No engineers are losers, absolute bottom of the totem pole of professionals, I don’t hang around those kind of people but I’m sure its not that hard to find laid off engineers and they would not be able to walk in and get a job as an accountant.

And to JWatt’s point – they CAN do the job of a bookkeeper doesn’t mean anyone would hire them for that if they have no experience to back it up. People hire WAY more based on previous experience not so much based on potential.

173 Silas Barta January 5, 2017 at 6:42 pm

@Just_Another_MR_Commentor,_King_of_the_Komments: You’re right that the 15-year EE “isn’t going to be able to walk into an accountant role”, but it’s solely because of the misplaced views about identity, *not* because they work is to hard for EEs or requires too much knowledge they don’t have.

Rather, the EE would say, “seriously? That’s all you guys do?” Then brush up on the literature and be ready to go in a week.

174 a definite beta guy January 5, 2017 at 6:43 pm

Book keeping? You mean that stuff that’s outsourced to India? Yes, any engineer can get a bookkeeping job, it requires a freakin’ GED. I do not find it likely an engineer will get a staff accountant role or a financial analyst role unless people were absolutely desperate. The CPA also aint an easy exam.

175 a definite beta guy January 5, 2017 at 6:48 pm

Definitely agree with JAMRC commenter, way too much engineer masturbation on these threads. Most of the engineers I have met are all intelligent, but rather spacey and unable to focus on something that cannot hold their interest. They are NOT to be trusted with company finances. They can do some math, but they are also not the smartest I have met (that usually goes to philosophers). And if they were actually that great at math, Wall Street would have already scooped them up. They aren’t anything special.

176 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 5, 2017 at 6:53 pm

Views about identify and “fit” drive a huge amount of hiring decisions, you can’t just wave them away. Employers and HR departments in most companies have extreme biases and they want specific kinds of people for specific kinds of roles even if other kinds of people could potentially do the job just as well. And no an EE is not going to learn real accounting in a week, your typical EE is NOT some kind of super genius, in fact your typical guy with an EE degree has probably spent his whole career working in quality control, supplier quality, or sales engineering and hasn’t touched anything seriously technical his entire career. No EE is going to be prepared to the satisfaction of a real employer to take up an accounting position in a week.

177 Mondfledermaus January 5, 2017 at 9:04 pm

Being “good at math” doesn’t mean much any way – engineering degrees actually don’t have too much tough math content in them

Huh? I don’t know which colleges you have in mind, because I went to one that was miles behind CalTech or MIT, and we were required lots of advance math, and if the dean had had it his way it would have been four years of math only. You don’t need to know Partial Differential Equations for most engineering jobs, but the fact that you were able to handle advanced math when required tells employers that you are better at most engineering tasks that a guy that spent four years reading about literature, philosophy or psychology.

178 The Original D January 5, 2017 at 9:15 pm

I was a music major and parlayed a temp gig building spreadsheets into an accounting job at Price Waterhouse. I thought about doing the CE work to get a CPA but decided I hated the work.

179 cthulhu January 5, 2017 at 10:20 pm

Many successful engineering companies take well established, skilled engineers, put them through an MBA program, and put them on the company executive track. I knew the CFO of my large Fortune 100 company for several years; he continued to write Mathematica notebooks and publish technical papers while planning and making acquisitions that paid off many fold.

I freely admit that many engineers don’t use the math that they took, but many of us do. My undergrad degree at a good but not super-prestigious state university did the normal calculus sequence + ODEs, but several disciplines (including mine) also did a semester of PDEs. Yes, I still do PDEs on occasion, and ODEs every day. Sounds like JAMRCKOTK has some engineering envy going on here 🙂

180 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 4:35 am

First year level math in engineering in many ways goes beyond that seen in the most advanced courses in top institutions in economics. Unless you’re in a vocational college or something, where “the engineer” is the guy who knows how to fix some stuff around (very useful!), not the person who compares theoretical and historical simulations and real data to present observations as a part of ongoing upgrades to quality and quality of monitoring.

181 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 6, 2017 at 7:44 am

Yeah my degree was in EE so I know what I’m talking about – and I graduated the top of my program as well, only saying this just to make the point that I wasn’t one of those guys who scrapped and struggled through my engineering degree. I’m discussing the median engineering here. The number of engineers who ever see ODEs again after school is tiny, “many of us do” is like 5 – 10% of the profession tops, meaning not actually many. Ditto for former engineers who make it into some Fortune 100 Executive Management track program – you’re talking about a tiny fraction of people.

182 Hazel Meade January 6, 2017 at 9:59 am

I honestly don’t understand what you are talking about. EE is probably one of the more math intensive Engineering disciplines, as you don’t just have to take calculus and ODEs, you have to take statistics, which is directly relevant to digital signal processing, which EEs probably spend more time on (cell phones and wi-fi and everything) than anything else. And the statistics in DSP is no joke either. Bayesian inference, non-linear regression, Kalman filtering.
Admittedly some of this is probably part-graduate level. But not necessarily PhD level material. You could take it as a senior in EE or in a one year Master of Engineering degree.

183 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 6, 2017 at 10:47 am

Yeah that’s all mostly graduate level material, the undergraduate signal processing classes are not particularly difficult. Look none of that is relevant to this discussion at all. The whole point was that the median engineer doesn’t have a job doing anything to do with Kalman filtering or any of that stuff. The median engineer is some guy with a bachelors degree in engineering from I’ve-Never-Heard-Of-It State University who sits around in some random factory somewhere doing supplier quality and updating spreadsheets of defects or something equally shitty. This definitely includes EEs because there aren’t actually that many jobs for EEs who don’t have advanced degrees and are super-specialists. If the factory closes or has to lay people off that median engineer has NO chance of walking into an office and landing an accounting job – he probably would be hard pressed to land another “engineering” job unless it exactly matched his old one. That’s how things work, taking a bunch of shitty courses where you do math textbook problems means pretty much nothing in the real world. Its not about what people COULD do or have SKILLS to do or have POTENTIAL its mostly about how comfortable employers are at taking a risk on a not 100% fit candidate that that comfort level at most employers is near zero.

184 Silas Barta January 5, 2017 at 6:39 pm

@Hazel_Meade: It’s not common for experienced engineers to have trouble getting work, but it happens, usually when a major employer closes offices in the area and they have a hard time uprooting.

Agreed about the rest.

185 RJ January 7, 2017 at 2:19 am

I don’t believe Mr. mr_commenter has a EE degree.

186 Effem January 5, 2017 at 3:31 pm

So if women refused to be commercial fishers or sanitation workers or security guards they would have a “backwards view of what their identity is?”

187 JWatts January 5, 2017 at 3:47 pm

It seems unlikely that an academic paper would reach that conclusion. The author would face a potentially career limiting backlash.

“Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers has triggered criticism by telling an economics conference Friday that the under-representation of female scientists at elite universities may stem in part from “innate” differences between men and women”

https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2005/1/14/summers-comments-on-women-and-science/

188 msgkings January 5, 2017 at 3:49 pm

Well yeah, if they preferred to stay unemployed to working in a masculine field that was more available to them.

189 Cliff January 5, 2017 at 4:10 pm

No

190 msgkings January 5, 2017 at 4:17 pm

Yes

191 Cliff January 5, 2017 at 4:38 pm

Hmmm…. Well Cucked Sir!

192 Cliff January 5, 2017 at 9:27 pm

So because a woman doesn’t want to be a lumberjack she has a backwards view of her identity? Or she just doesn’t like lumberjacking maybe?

193 msgkings January 5, 2017 at 11:50 pm

Depends on why she doesn’t like lumberjacking. The point of this post is that some blue collar men find it hard to take female type jobs. It’s understandable, but it might also be hindering them.

194 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 5:01 am

Quite likely, only those in the few percent of women who a) have the physique and b) can tolerate sexual harassment, would seek out jobs like that.

Most do not fit either category, and those who fit both also have other options, even if they may pay less.

However, it strikes me as though women tend less to identify less by their jobs.

195 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 5:41 pm

Right in the hypothetical reality in which there was massive demand for firemen and very low demand for nurses, then women who just pined for a job as a nurse instead of attempting to get a job as a fireman would have a problem.

Honestly, I can’t see how this is different from complaining that buggy whip manufacturers shouldn’t be put upon to adjust their identity to get a different career.

196 Cliff January 5, 2017 at 9:26 pm

Are you willfully trying not to see the problem? The problem is that the men who are losing their jobs do not like and are not good at the jobs that are available. Therefore many choose not to take those jobs. You can blame it all on them and still recognize that it is a problem.

197 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 5:16 am

This is an entire class of economic activity involving millions of people, not some subprofession that was replaced by something that created far more employment than it erased.

198 Reader January 6, 2017 at 11:53 am

Amish buggy whip manufacturers have a lot less of that problem. Maybe there’s a consideration y’all are missing…

199 Boonton January 5, 2017 at 4:05 pm

What’s the issue again? If half the population avoided a particular type of job because it is unfashionable, then standard economics would seem to imply to me that the other half of the population that is open to the job would enjoy higher pay.

200 Lanigram January 6, 2017 at 12:44 am

Good point. Jobs that are undesirable, according to economists, because they are dirty, dangerous, or difficult should pay more because otherwise people would gravitate to the easy, clean, and safe jobs. Note we are talking about blue-collar vs pink-collar jobs.

If the pink-collar jobs are hard to fill then the wages should go up, but they don’t. I suspect those jobs must have many takers.

Personally, I think pink-collar jobs wiping the butts of sick people are dangerous – exposure to pathogens – and disgusting – a universal human aversion to body fluids. I would never ever take one. I have, however, worked on a roof, built houses, and worked as a hod carrier in 100+ degree heat in the desert.

To the others on this thread;

Btw, I have a degree in math, including post graduate math, and I know math very well. Nobody cares.

201 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 5:19 am

Standard economics may not apply to the “caring professions”. When you tell someone that the requested 3% a year for 5 years instead of 1.8% inflation adjustments will result in closing the wing that provides the lowest-profit health service, or will result in an additional 1 student per classroom, then this causes some people to pause in their demands.

202 Thiago Ribeiro January 5, 2017 at 4:11 pm

The problem, as I see it, is that Americans used to build things, most of thise jobs were done by men. Now Americans are expect to make a living by cutting each other’s hairs, selling one another currency swaps and making apps.

203 Boonton January 5, 2017 at 4:17 pm

Is fixing a car considered a girly ‘non-building’ type job? Technically it is a service job, not a building one. Plumbers and electricians too do more fixing than building from scratch. How about doctors?

The ‘building jobs’ of the early 20th century I suspect are a bit of a myth. At one time a lot of people worked in large factories on assembly line type jobs *but not a majority!* and that was only a period of history, not what should be considered ‘normal’.

204 Thiago Ribeiro January 5, 2017 at 5:03 pm

How many Americans are doctors or mob enforcers by the way (I guess it is a services job, too)? Americans must go back to building real things. My first computer was a Brazilian clone of a Bulgarian clone of an American computer, a solid, reliable American computer. Now, I must make do with Korean garbage with keys too tiny for my fingers.

205 msgkings January 5, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Americans build more things than at any point in history, but many of those Americans are robots.

206 Thiago Ribeiro January 5, 2017 at 4:59 pm

Send those Robot-Americans to wherevert they came from. Probably China.

207 Car January 5, 2017 at 6:06 pm

“cutting each other’s hairs, selling one another currency swaps and making apps.”

Two of those three are disproportionately male jobs.

208 Thiago Ribeiro January 5, 2017 at 6:45 pm

But they are niche jobs, most Americans can’t do those jobs.

209 Bill January 5, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Identity works as well for those who inherited wealth.

The identity story goes two ways:

Work is beneath me,

Or,

Despite having inherited wealth from my dad, $18 million to start up my business,

I am wealthy only because I worked hard and you didn’t work as hard as I did (when in fact you did).

Look at Akerloff’s Identity Economics book, and Shiller and Akerloff’s Phishing for Fools book for more on identity economics and job market and other frictions from identity economics.

210 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 5:37 am

The proof is in the pudding. If you got more money, then you deserved it more.

Explanations including any element of systemically entrenched easier roads for some are to be rejected as a conspiracy on the part of the 99% to undermine the well-earned legitimacy of the rest.

211 Ari January 5, 2017 at 4:45 pm

I know a lot of men who work eg. in health sector and are a proud about it. They can be doing something else meanwhile.

212 Willitts January 5, 2017 at 4:46 pm

Anyone can get a job as a carpenter, electrician or pipe fitter any time they want. They just have to underbid and outperform illegal aliens.

213 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 5:41 am

Most people are willing to pay for reliability. If they cannot trust your quality, then why not just hire the guy who will do it for half the price?

Also, the specific activities you refer to are normally controlled by municipal codes which require state-level accreditation of some sort. E.g., a licensed electrician. So, for example, fire insurance is null and void (in many places) if unlicensed electrical work was done on the property, and this is among the reasons that your story is less relevant than you might think. (Although it’s always hard to know exactly what’s going on in the underground economy.)

214 Reader January 6, 2017 at 12:03 pm

Yup. It’s not hard to tell when you’re hiring illegal immigrants, and personally I’d be willing to spend 2-4x more to ensure I’m getting safe, reliable services from someone who is bonded and insured, if not backed by the quality assurances of a guild certification, not to mention someone who is legally allowed to work in this country.

One problem is, many Americans want to keep up with the Joneses but assume it shouldn’t cost them any more than not doing so.

215 4ChanMan January 5, 2017 at 4:55 pm

The guys running this blog want to see a LOT more illegal immigrant “pipe fitters” in this country. Fitting their pipes into white women. Cowen is in Nigeria right now recruiting more talent

216 Car January 5, 2017 at 6:01 pm

F*** off JIDF.

217 4ChanMan January 5, 2017 at 6:03 pm

What’s JIDF?

218 Car January 5, 2017 at 6:14 pm

Tyler, please ban 4ChanMan, he’s obviously a troll.

219 Car January 5, 2017 at 6:15 pm

Any actual 4Chan poster would know what the JIDF is.

220 Reminder Guy January 5, 2017 at 8:28 pm

Never feed the troll

221 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 5:45 am

Never leave the propaganda or hostility of a troll unresponded to, unless he’s already soundly proven himself an idiot (which I think might have applied this time around …).

Otherwise, there will be those who will be tempted to fill all sorts of pages in all sorts of places with trash that will subtlely or not so subtlely over time bore into the minds of the unaware.

Fell like you’re arguing with a robot programmed on some autopilot? Someone else might be taken by the manipulations or overtly false (in this case obscene) assertions.

222 4ChanMan2 January 5, 2017 at 9:29 pm

Go away Cuck

223 ex-PFC Wintergreen January 5, 2017 at 5:28 pm

Changing one’s identity is not the easiest thing in the world, especially if you perceive that the shift is from from higher- to lower-status. And it requires others changing how they perceive you, which can sometimes be a bit sticky.

224 doug January 5, 2017 at 5:36 pm

Easy for Katz to say. Maybe not so easy if you are there.

225 Edgar January 5, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Hahhaha…The Clerisy still trying to blame working people for the lousy economy rather than the pestilence produced by their own self-serving policy preferences.

First off, why not ask “Why won’t more women take those menial jobs?” After all, during King Obama’s Reign. the labor force participation rate for women declined 5% from 59.4 in January 2009 to 56.7 in November 2016 the same percentage decline as for men, 72.2 to 69 over the same period. Women: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LNS11300002
Men: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LNS11300001

Its all part and parcel of the anti-white male hate hysteria that Tyler is using to foment incidents like the Chicago torture. case. The decline in the white male LFPR that Tyler loves to offer up as proof positive that working class whites are worthless layabouts, was actually a bit worse during King Obama’s reign that that work Black/African Americans. White male participation went from 75.8 to 71.7 (a 5% decline) and Black/African American male participation went from 70.5 to 67.5 (-4%).but is that difference really an absolution of all the high mighty and their wretched policy making?

The Ivory Tower crowd may believe Obama was the Second Coming and that it is the moral failings of white males that is the problem. However, anyone who has not drank that cool-aid might have reason to think that there are other forces at play.

226 4ChanMan January 5, 2017 at 6:02 pm

Hey look don’t you get it man? This blog is all about promoting cuckoldry as the new national ideology. Cowen just wants everyone to be cucks. He went to Nigeria to find black guys to bring back to VA after he got bored with getting cucked by Mexicans for cheap chulupas. He heavily promotes Ross Douthat as one of his favourite public intellectuals even though Ross made his career writing book called Privileged which chronicled his experience at Harvard constantly getting cucked and humiliated by his aristo classmates.

227 Edgar January 5, 2017 at 7:26 pm

No. I don’t. How much is Soros pauing you to spout that stuff. State supremicists. Are so Goebelsesque.

228 4ChanMan2 January 5, 2017 at 9:31 pm

I guess you took it badly when you found out you were getting cucked by a swarm of dwarves. Sorry, bro. No I’m not!!

229 Edgar January 6, 2017 at 1:10 pm

Oh go run along and fake some hate crimes then brag to your buddies on DailyKos what a great SJW hero you are…

230 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 5:48 am

Not even close. They are saying that if men tended to be less resistant to entering “feminine professions” that they would have more and better jobs.

I don’t think anyone is engaging in simplistic thinking on the matter except for those trolling (intentionally or otherwise) those who point out this situation.

As for the facts relating to many of those who benefit from access to cheaper labour, and their not being so concerned about the situation of some who may be displaced in the process, I think that is a completely separate issue, relating only by virtue of being the same people and their job situations being involved.

231 Todd Kreider January 5, 2017 at 6:03 pm

This conversation will get more interesting when the medical assistant as well as many doctor and nurse jobs vanish when Watson’s diagnostics and robotic surgery are common around 2022. By coincidence, that is around the year that a laptop will have the computing power of a human brain.

Of course doctors, nurses and all of their assistants can easily retrain to become social workers, hair stylists and world music artists, so mostly a non issue.

232 4ChanMan January 5, 2017 at 6:06 pm

The doctors won’t vanish they aren’t stupid, they protect their own and don’t cuck out.

233 JWatts January 5, 2017 at 6:27 pm

“This conversation will get more interesting when the medical assistant as well as many doctor and nurse jobs vanish when Watson’s diagnostics and robotic surgery are common around 2022.”

Doctors and nurses tend to be legally protected. For Doctors is basically a guild.

234 Todd Kreider January 6, 2017 at 8:02 am

Watson snacks on guilds.

235 msgkings January 6, 2017 at 12:39 pm

Reality snacks on techno-utopians. Or rather, timescales do.

236 Todd Kreider January 6, 2017 at 6:57 pm

There is nothing utopian about this. It wasn’t techno-utopian when a computer beat the best chess and go players, right? Or as Google Translate eroded and continues to erode translator’s wages. We won’t think we are in a utopia when cars drive us around and taxi drivers no longer exist, either.

We also think it is a rare tragedy when someone under 50 gets a fatal disease but this happened all the time before world War II. We don’t think we live in a utopia because of this – just pretty cool – and usually taken for granted.

237 Car January 5, 2017 at 6:09 pm

The elderly are disproportionately female. They don’t want men touching them. Particularly young men. But, naturally, that doesn’t occur to anybody in the NYT.

238 Car January 5, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Here’s a though experiment: assume that, within low-skilled employment men don’t want to do women’s jobs and women don’t want to do men’s jobs. Assume that the demand for both kinds of work is equal. And then assume that men are more likely to quit their jobs because YOLO. What would you see? You’d see wages for the men’s jobs be higher, and men’s labor force participation rate down. For women’s jobs, you’d see low wages, but no decrease in women’s labor force participation rate.* That’s pretty much what we see.

*In absolute terms, women’s labor force participation rate is still lower than men’s.

This isn’t the only explanation, but an alternative explanation would have to explain why those men’s jobs which remain pay so well. Welders, the example given by the NYT, make 18.34 an hour on average:

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/welders-cutters-solderers-and-brazers.htm

In this case, it looks less like an example of the rise of women and the male as dinosaur. Should women and their beta cheerleaders like Hazel Meade be happy that women have jobs which pay 10.50 an hour(figure from the New York Times)?

239 Larry Siegel January 6, 2017 at 3:41 am

One explanation would be that $18.34 an hour is still a tiny amount of money, well below the median household income.

240 Todd Kreider January 5, 2017 at 6:16 pm

Doctors won’t be able to come close to competing with a Watson like system in 2022. They can slow down the inevitable by a year or two, but that is all. What can a doctor or nurse do that a Watson or robot in 2022 can’t do? Play golf? They will be able to do that , too!

241 4ChanMan January 5, 2017 at 6:44 pm

You’re an idiot. The Doctors will just get Congress to pass a law not allowing Watson-like systems to issue prescriptions or whatever, Doctors are a powerful lobby and THAT is what matters and being part of a protected class is what gets you a high income in this country. It doesn’t matter what Watson can do – it matters that doctors collectively are politically very powerful.

242 Car January 5, 2017 at 6:52 pm

4ChanMan is a parody of the alt-Right,in this case he get’s the alt-Rights view exactly. 2022 is too soon, but even by 2035, when Watson is much better than a human doctor, they’ll be able to get competition from his restricted. Smart people believe dumb things if other smart people say them, and who’s smarter than doctors?* Just look at the completely baseless fear of GMOs and how common HBD-denailism is among smart people throughout the West.

*Many people actually, but doctors have a stereotype as being super-smart.

243 Dzhaughn January 5, 2017 at 7:16 pm

The robots you are promoting are not yet qualified to vacuum a floor.

244 Cliff January 5, 2017 at 9:34 pm

So why are so many expensive robot vacuum cleaners being sold?

245 msgkings January 5, 2017 at 7:17 pm

Health care and doctoring are the ultimate personalized services involving actual humans with emotions. Watson might be doing the diagnostic stuff, but only a small sliver of autists would prefer to talk to a robot about their health. There will always be jobs for humans delivering data and advice from the robots, because the customers are human. They might get paid less though.

246 4ChanMan January 5, 2017 at 7:24 pm

Its not just about that its much MORE about the collective political power of doctors to protect their own profession although the human aspect of health care greatly helps doctors get public sympathy on their side.

247 Todd Kreider January 5, 2017 at 10:08 pm

You are missing the point. You don’t want great bedside care from a doctor- you don’t want to be in the bed in the first place. Watson will diagnose well before you get to that point and the coming health pills before then will reduce heart disease and diabetes.

Paid less? How about $0 per hour?

You have the best virtual doctor on your phone for free. So you want to pay a doctor $15 an hour for “consulting”? Consulting what? You already know everything. How many doctors are going to be willing to earn $30,000 a year to consult to suckers?

Well, astrologers seem to make good cash…

248 msgkings January 5, 2017 at 11:53 pm

Not everyone is a techno futurist utopian like you. When Grandma gets cancer she will want a human being to help her deal with it.

249 JWatts January 6, 2017 at 9:12 am

I think you are both missing the most common example. Yes people do want a human with bed side manner, but that’s gone anyway. The most common experience anymore is for the doctor to come into the room, spend less than 15 minutes and spend most of that time hammering notes away on a computer.

That being the case, I think artificial barriers protected by the AMA will keep Watson and the like out of the Doctor business. At best you’ll have a Doctor who is the official front man for the Watson who will actually do the prognosis.

250 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 6, 2017 at 9:21 am

Congress will find ways to keep the Doctors in the healthcare loop for a long, long time to come. We could ALREADY have lower priced doctors in the US – most countries don’t pay doctors anywhere near as much as they earn in the US, but the Medical Lobby is politically powerful and keeps their prerogatives. Watson may be able to diagnose illnesses as accurately as any human doctor but patients will still need prescriptions filled out by a real doctor do the diagnoses will be largely moot.

251 Human Factors Engineer January 6, 2017 at 4:28 pm

This is the problem with the internet. Buncha people spouting off on stuff they don’t know nothin’ about.

Human factors research shows that teams comprised of mediocre-skilled humans collaborating with mediocre-level AI vastly outperforms individual top-of-the-line AI. They also outperform top-of-the-line AIs working together with top-skilled humans if the latter’s collaboration isn’t facilitated well.

Teams of sub-master-level chess players (i.e. rated < 2200) strategizing together with very basic chess computers consistently beat both grandmasters and chess supercomputers.

This means in the future we might expect highly competent doctors with AI assistants, and lots of business value placed on the systems by which the two interact. This also means a lot of good new jobs for people who can design, maintain, and improve those systems.

252 Todd Kreider January 6, 2017 at 7:17 pm

I don’t know what you are talking about with respect to teams beating chess supercomputers. What chess super computers? Deep junior in 2003 wasn’t exactly a super computer and after that the focus was on work stations and PC chess.

Why would future doctors suddenly become “highly competent” since today the range is from shitty to excellent?

The good news is that the “A.I assistant” will smoke the doctor making his or her role trivial which means trivial pay. The AMA can’t possible survive this. If there is a radiology program that is 99.94% accurate, it is only a matter of time before we don’t say, “Let’s make sure and run this computer checked MRI by a human doctor who is 98.3% accurate!”

253 Human Factors Engineer January 6, 2017 at 8:28 pm

I don’t know what you are talking about

I know! It’s not your fault though, you’re just not up on the research. You probably have no reason to be.

Since a big part of my job is knowing this stuff, I’ll share an example with you. The excerpts below are from “From Autonomous Systems to Sociotechnical Systems,” a recent paper by Behymer and Flach in She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation:

“In 2005, Playchess.com hosted a chess tournament in which teams of human players could use computer assistance during matches. [2] The chess super computer Hydra was also entered into the competition, and after recently defeating Grand Master Michael Adams 5 ½–½ in a six game match, was considered to be the prohibitive favorite. Surprisingly, Hydra was eliminated before the semi-finals, with three of the four semi-finalists consisting of Grand Master-led teams equipped with supercomputers. Even more surprising was the fourth semi-finalist and eventual winner, team ZachS, composed of two relatively amateur chess players named Steven Crampton and Zackary Stephen using ordinary computers.”

“rich coupling [of humans and AI] allows coordination of multiple actions to achieve a common goal. Without coupling, the actions of each loop [process of perceiving information, doing something with it, and producing a result] will be a potential disturbance relative to other loops. If the coupling within the network of collaborating agents is rich—if there is effective communication—then the whole can serve as a more effective control system than any of the components. If the coupling within the network is poor, then there is a potential for the whole to be worse than the best component due to interference between loops.
“Unfortunately, system developers often focus on increasing the capabilities of autonomous agents, without giving sufficient consideration to how they will interface with human operators. This approach often fails to recognize the technical limitations of autonomous components and the potential of a human-machine team. Additionally, focusing on improving the technical capabilities of autonomous agents without considering how these will interact with human operators often leads to poor coupling within the human-machine team.”

254 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 10:19 pm

Obviously he would have said it differently in 2015 than in 2005, considering various types of risks of various human-computer interfaces, but it’s a very interesting example.

255 Todd Kreider January 6, 2017 at 10:37 pm

“I know! It’s not your fault though, you’re just not up on the research. You probably have no reason to be.
Since a big part of my job is knowing this stuff, I’ll share an example with you.”

That is great, but how about sharing your knowledge from something in the current decade, not 2005.

I was off by three years as Hydra ended in 2006.

256 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 11:05 pm

Sadly, it is difficult to construe what Plato would have had to say about the matter.

I don’t think he could have fathomed the potential for abuse, within the thinking behind his “myth of metals” and state management of education associated with the idea. There are a few TV series covering that angle already …

257 Human Factors Engineer January 7, 2017 at 1:03 pm

The paper is from 2016. That chess example is from 2005, but is from a citation dated 2015 or 2014. Go read the paper.

258 Axa January 5, 2017 at 6:17 pm

I wonder how the Protestant work ethic is compatible with disdaining low status jobs and living-off unemployment benefits.

259 JWatts January 6, 2017 at 9:13 am

It’s not. But the country gave up on the Protestant work ethic quite some time ago.

260 chuck martel January 5, 2017 at 6:56 pm

“people have backward views of what their identity is.”

This must mean that people look at themselves as what they HAVE been, not what they really are. Since life is an ongoing process, there’s some truth to this except that who determines what they really are? It’s usually easy to tell when someone no longer fits a category to which they once belonged. It’s more difficult to ascertain where they fit in now or in the future. The individual themself probably doesn’t know.

261 Dzhaughn January 5, 2017 at 7:08 pm

Using this table:

https://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_105.htm

for her purposes is innumerate. The fact that there will be 1200 fewer locomotive firers and 6000 car electronics installers in 10 years is so trivial that mentioning it is anti-informative, even if they basically all male.

The interesting thing in that table is the only high-paying jobs declining at a fast rate are in (who’d a thunk it) the US postal service! (It’s 50/50 that your postal clerk makes more than $50K! Wonder why that is not going to last.) Everything else pays pretty miserably.

262 AngloSaxon January 5, 2017 at 9:20 pm

Low paying jobs to at least start, is a market based tradition except for the WWII/Cold War era when the US was transformed into a National quasi-command economy via unionism and capital bowing down to that “model”.

If people went back to 1928, they would be appalled by the state of the “economy”. Just simply appalled.

263 Nato January 5, 2017 at 10:29 pm

Hi,
I’m one of those types who took a pay cut to step away from a desk and into a forklift and yes, it’s an ‘identity’ issue.
An economist reads, types, talks on the telephone and has stress. So does a secretary in the typing pool. Of course the feminists want your job, or sitting down in a truck cabin, but not unloading the haul of light commercial tyres into stillages by hand.
I ain’t got no PhD, but when we make something, fix something or move something we aren’t even a number to the Katzes and Cowens of the world. We’re assumed in the aggregate, are we not?
So maybe it really is an identity issue. It’s a matter of personal value.

264 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 5:54 am

FYI, it’s God damned gender mainstreaming that even makes it possible to discuss this.

Do you know there was a time when it was considered some sort of stupid feminist agenda to even know what the difference was between the effects on men as compared to women when there was a change in the economy?

Now, no trade or policy analysis is complete without at least checking whether there is a significant gender dimension to draw attention to.

Furthering the insanity, is that millions and billions in corrupt foreign policy and -related work involves training, shared best practices, and ongoing debate in these and very numerous other areas of policy interest which are common across many countries, and where some handful of Western countries stand at the clear forefront in both internal ability and the ability to disseminate such abilities to those who accept or even invite such assistance or partnerships.

265 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 5:56 am

The foreign policy aid packages that come in the form of billions worth of military assistance, however, I hear that sometimes that is related to something or other corrupt sometimes. Maybe it has more to do with supporting a corrupt regime than the Pentagon causing that corruption to exist?

266 dwb January 6, 2017 at 7:05 am

“Why wont people change culture to get service sector jobs” -> Once upon a time, economists understood labor markets were rigid, and promoted policies that encouraged a diverse labor market that provided opportunities for everyone, even in the face of rigidity.

Now, economists expect people to change to conform to rigid policies. And are shocked that the labor market has rigidities, like culture. There is a reason people voted for Trump and against elitists like economists.

People do change, but usually it requires the incentive of higher pay to overcome the costs.

267 Peldrigal January 6, 2017 at 8:30 am

I’m quite startled that a discussion like this could go on without any mention to alienation and alienating jobs. Must be my European education.

268 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 6, 2017 at 9:22 am

This blog is full of autistic weirdo freaks so its not that strange at all.

269 A Definite Beta Guy January 6, 2017 at 9:44 am

Yes, we don’t do Marxism in America. If you don’t like your job, that’s because it’s work, and it’s not supposed to be fun.

270 Troll me January 7, 2017 at 5:19 am

Is it Marxist to strive towards arranging working life in a manner that can be other than drudgery?

271 8 January 6, 2017 at 11:39 am

I’m pretty sure several people already mentioned illegal aliens, but the term fell out of use due to political correctness.

272 8 January 6, 2017 at 11:37 am

Why would anyone want a low IQ guy for a nurse? Medical mistakes, like giving someone the wrong dosage, is already a leading killer in the USA.

273 Andreas Johansson January 8, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Why would male nurses be lower-IQ than female ones?

274 Floccina January 6, 2017 at 12:48 pm

BTW I think all work has dignity and I think people should treat fast food work with dignity.

275 Urso January 6, 2017 at 3:40 pm

What does the NYT pay its blogging not-quite-writers from the Upshot? Not much I’d guess. So why isn’t Clair Cane Miller an oncological nurse? She went to Yale; no doubt she’s smart enough for the job. Plus you make extra if you take the night shift.

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