Re: Guest Post - Bullshit Jobs

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No, because it was realized in the 30's that instituting shorter hours (the 40-hour workweek) paid for itself via increased productivity. Business has since sacrificed that benefit in favor of the cheapest labor per hour possible, I would say for political reasons.

My job is not bullshit, but the system that makes it necessary is bullshit - a rational universal health-care system would put me out of work.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:28 AM
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In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century's end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There's every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn't happen.

As I think I've remarked before, if you do 15 hours' work a week at the average US hourly wage, you get as near as dammit the annual income (adjusted for inflation) of an American in 1930. In a sense, it did happen. It's just that we don't particularly want to live like an average American did in 1930.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:32 AM
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OK, just checked and it's slightly under. 15 hours' work a week today gets you $18k. That's $1,286.84 in 1930 dollars. Average annual income back then was $1368.
Still, pretty close.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:36 AM
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Hannah Arendt's distinction between work, labor, action might be helpful here.

Or...

I like Graeber, but the second quote where "Hell, he's such an anarchist" is why I don't really read him. The Marxist analysis just makes more sense.

Declining rate of profit/exploitation in a global system that requires accelerating accumulation to survive will necessarily subsume more and broader areas of human activity in surplus-producing forms, and create new ones. Capital needs everything.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:42 AM
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I think it's merely profit-driven: get labor as cheaply as possible.

I don't know...the older I get the more I become convinced that you can't neglect sadism and general douchebaggery when accounting for how the upper class behaves.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:43 AM
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Plus the nearly univeral attitude, common among bosses that it's vital to treat workers like thieves and liars and ten year olds.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:47 AM
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Gah. *universal. (If only these idiot workers could spell.)


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:48 AM
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I think the article reflects an immediately recognizable feeling, but could benefit from more precise definitions. I read through it trying to figure out exactly how he would identify "bullshit jobs" and here's what I got.

[N]ot even so much of the "service" sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations . . . salaried paper-pushers . . . individuals who are spending the bulk of their time working on a task they don't like and are not especially good at. . . . corporate lawyer working in a prominent New York firm. He was the first to admit that his job was utterly meaningless, contributed nothing to the world, and, in his own estimation, should not really exist.

Those descriptions are so broad that they capture a lot of different phenomena, from jobs which I would agree are bullshit (which, perhaps, are not that much more common than the proverbial "waste, fraud, and abuse within government") to those in which there's simple bad management, or poor fit between job and worker which result in something which needs to be done being freighted with incredible inefficiencies.

[Full disclosure, most of the projects I work on fall into the category of, "writing software which makes life easier for the administrators who have to communicate with the managers who supervise the people who do the actual work." And yet, it doesn't feel at all like bullshit work.]


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:48 AM
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Yeah, I think the essence of economic growth is whipping everyone into a self-sustaining frenzy of activity, and that subsumes manufacturing and services. Is garment manufacturing a bullshit job? What if the average person has five times the clothing they would have 100 years ago?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:51 AM
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It seems like the category "bullshit jobs" is excessively vague, and Graeber seems to be implying agency where actually all that is required is for people to respond to incentives without thinking things through much.

For example, I would distinguish between these categories, and I don't think this list is exhaustive:

1) Adversarial jobs: people like corporate lawyers, who after a certain point are mainly useful to defend against other corporate lawyers and take from the defenseless

2) Controls and governance: a lot of jobs in corporate America are artifacts of scale, and the need to make sure other people are doing their jobs, now that so many types of "knowledge work" are hard to verify, and so many types of malfeasance, incompetence, slacking, and corruption are subtle and difficult to detect. You could further divide this category into necessary controls that actually help govern the company, and governance theater, that is in place in order to be able to show that you follow best practices, though often both roles are played by the same person.

3) Analytics and process refinement: Scale means that it makes sense to put more absolute resources into figuring out how to do something 0.1% more efficiently. Automation and other productivity enhancements mean that more people are working on this, in relative terms, compared to more obviously "productive," but automatable, jobs.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:54 AM
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10 written before I saw 8, I think we're pointing in the same direction. Metawork is also work.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:56 AM
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Nah, I tried but I couldn't get through the article.

Anarchists like Graeber look at the State, ask "Why is there a State" and answer themselves "No good reason!"
Or look at administrative jobs or corporate lawyers, and say "We don't need those jobs."

It's like looking at the platypus and saying it makes no sense.

Marxians and historical materialists look at the state, administration, and law; ask why are they there, and try to find an answer. The system needs them.

Liberal Capitalism isn't dumb.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:56 AM
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The problem with Medford, Oregon is that it is a pale shadow of its namesake, Medford, Massachusetts (which is itself not that great but anyhow).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:00 AM
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Of course, just because there's a sound reason for a job to exist doesn't mean it's socially beneficial. If you banned the sale of warranties/insurance on consumer items costing less than $500, society might be better off, even if some actuaries would lose their jobs and some companies would make a little less money. (Or, more likely, they'd just make up some new legal quasi-scam.) So in that sense plenty of jobs are not "productive" - but neither are soldiers, and it's no mystery why a state would want some.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:01 AM
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I don't think this is quite right. I think it's merely profit-driven: get labor as cheaply as possible

That isn't answering the question that Graeber is raising -- he's trying to figure out why companies pay so many people to do work that is unnecessary and pointless.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:02 AM
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9: Yep. It's status and anxiety all the way down. We've managed to harness a truly marvelous engine of "productive" behavior, the seeds of which beat within every breast.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:03 AM
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I don't know if Graeber is right about society, but I do know he's right about me.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:04 AM
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If 16 sounds too veldt-y replace "harness" with "create." I don't much care, either way massaging the energy into relatively less destructive (environmentally/psychologically/what-have-youally) channels is both possible and necessary.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:08 AM
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Implication of 18.last: Commenting on on Unfogged is an objective social good.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:10 AM
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Oh, I am far from an expert with one foot in post-Marxism, but I am pretty sure that as Capitalism ages towards its death and productivity increases, fictitious capital will replace (relatively) industrial capital and the managerial and creative classes will expand (partly to control the immiserated proletariat) until

...at the tipping point of post-scarcity, everybody is in the managerial and creative class or jobless proletariat...

and then we flip the switch. One of Peter Frase's four futures.

Bullshit jobs? What, like my dream of an army of oral historians and mural painters?

The phrase does not compute. Bad karma to take the side of efficiency.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:14 AM
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This is an interesting post to read after coming from an hour long discussion of how to enter data into a new, important, enterprise-wide database which began with the speaker emphasizing that we are allowed to use any system of measurement we want to create the numbers. All they need is some numbers they can aggregate and compare.


Posted by: Ronald Wilson Reagan | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:18 AM
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Have you considered the Lorenz equations?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:22 AM
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Related.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:22 AM
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Bullshit jobs? What, like my dream of an army of oral historians and mural painters?

The phrase does not compute. Bad karma to take the side of efficiency.

You're missing the point, bob! How unlike you!

Graeber doesn't care about efficiency - he cares about people doing work they hate that serves no purpose.

The question of efficiency only comes up because it's puzzling that a society that claims to value efficiency so much seems so insanely inefficient.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:24 AM
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I never understood how there's so much marketing and advertising. It seems like companies pay another company to run an ad, and the company that runs the ad pays someone else to advertise their advertising medium, etc.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:26 AM
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Where does "Anthropology Professor" fit on the spectrum of bullshit jobs? Can he explain he is actually making a contribution to society in a way that wouldn't also mean that a lot of the other kinds of metajobs (and Benquo put it) are not bullshit?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:43 AM
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[I]f your job wasn't performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I'm not sure I believe it's necessary.

I don't exactly believe that. But I do sometimes like to think that I have one of the few jobs that long predates global capitalism. Or at least it's what I say to administrators whenever they start condescending conversations about "basic economics."


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:45 AM
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26 is the thing--if we measure all jobs according to how much capital they produce, or how many goods they yield at what efficiency rate, then education jobs will always suffer. Or you have to measure reading Jonathan Swift in mouse orgasms. Some jobs were not invented for the purpose of making more money for everyone.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:47 AM
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The problem with Medford, Oregon is that it is a pale shadow of its namesake, Medford, Massachusetts (which is itself not that great but anyhow).

And don't even bother visiting the state capital... not a witch to be found.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:58 AM
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The problem with Medford, Oregon is that it is a pale shadow of its namesake, Medford, Massachusetts (which is itself not that great but anyhow).

And don't even bother visiting the state capital... not a witch to be found.

Oregon is just a nest of lies:
-Bend isn't very bendy.
-Not a cedar to be found in Lebanon.
-Can't get a decent donut in Baker City.
-Beavers have forsaken Beaverton, lo these last one hundred years.
-La Grande? More like La Mediocre.
-Boring is actually quite stimulating.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 10:13 AM
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The thing I don't get about Graeber's analysis is why he thinks that people would enjoy their leisure more. Most people don't make much of their leisure time, far as I can tell.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 10:16 AM
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Interestingly, I have basically the ur-metajob AND one that precedes global capitalism by several centuries, though of course it's also tied up in it. It sure does feel like pure bullshit sometimes; on the other hand, there are often huge amounts of money, people's happiness, etc, that depend on the wave of bullshit.

I dunno, I think I end up on this about where we were in the nepotism thread. If we had guaranteed income, reasonable hour maximums, strong social infrastructure, etc, I think the bullshit job problem wouldn't be nearly as significant. Honestly just a greater degree of social--as opposed to purely economic -- egalitarianism would go a long way. I haven't even read the Graeber piece yet but one of the things that annoys me about him as an anarchist is that he refuses to look at the possibility that in the modern world you basically need the social democratic welfare state operating and functional to create anything like the world he wants. Surely the Ashland/Medford issue isn't just because people are working long hours in apparently meaningless metajobs; it's because (predictable and reversible) social policy and political choices have created the difference.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 10:19 AM
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26: Graeber specifically talks about teaching as one of the "real" jobs.

But really if you think your job is valuable and worthwhile then Graeber isn't talking about you. He speciifically says that his criteria is the person themselves feeling the job is bullshit.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 10:28 AM
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26: Graeber specifically talks about teaching as one of the "real" jobs.

Sort of . . .

Now, I realise any such argument is going to run into immediate objections: "who are you to say what jobs are really 'necessary'? What's necessary anyway? You're an anthropology professor, what's the 'need' for that?" (And indeed a lot of tabloid readers would take the existence of my job as the very definition of wasteful social expenditure.) And on one level, this is obviously true. There can be no objective measure of social value.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 10:30 AM
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34: I was referring to this passage:

A world without teachers or dock-workers would soon be in trouble


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 10:35 AM
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Who will teach the dock-workers?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:01 AM
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Teachers are real, but not professors? Amazing!


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:05 AM
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I'm sure Graeber thinks professors are real. He is one.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:07 AM
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Those who can't throw 400 pounds over their shoulders, teach.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:10 AM
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37, 38: He's just being self-deprecating.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:14 AM
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Those who can't teach, profess.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:16 AM
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In the OP: Medford's most famous company, Harry and David's, was bought, bankrupted, and is struggling to recover.

Wait, what? The pears are still awesome! They're still my default gift to relatives around Christmas.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:22 AM
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40: Yeah. It's annoying. I wish the highly privileged tenured folks would stop selling the rest of us out for the pleasure of self-deprecation.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:23 AM
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I would not presume to tell someone who is convinced they are making a meaningful contribution to the world that, really, they are not. But what about those people who are themselves convinced their jobs are meaningless? Not long ago I got back in touch with a school friend who I hadn't seen since I was 12. I was amazed to discover that in the interim, he had become first a poet, then the front man in an indie rock band. I'd heard some of his songs on the radio having no idea the singer was someone I actually knew. He was obviously brilliant, innovative, and his work had unquestionably brightened and improved the lives of people all over the world. Yet, after a couple of unsuccessful albums, he'd lost his contract, and plagued with debts and a newborn daughter, ended up, as he put it, "taking the default choice of so many directionless folk: law school." Now he's a corporate lawyer working in a prominent New York firm. He was the first to admit that his job was utterly meaningless, contributed nothing to the world, and, in his own estimation, should not really exist.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:27 AM
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Boring is actually quite stimulating.

I beg to differ.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:36 AM
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Yeah, but I couldn't resist the name. I've actually only ever driven through.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:38 AM
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42: Oh, yes, the pears are unbelievable. Medford's surroundings look like the Shire, complete with Weathertop*, the weather gets cold enough for fruit to set and hot enough to sweeten it, the river is parcelled out to agriculture, it's hard enough to get to that it won't become a bedroom community for anywhere. Medford produces a lot of stuff that anyone would want. And Medford is doing poorly economically, with Harry and David the most famous victim.

Anyway, re. the original, I'm with Minivet and delagar and peep (and others) in thinking that there are an amazing number of jobs that seem to actively hinder the employer (as well as all the guard labor that hinders the customer but might benefit the employer). Even that could be explained by stupidity and the difficulty of adjustment; perhaps the hindering jobs are being evolved away from -- but, *most* confusingly, they seem to be best paid and least vulnerable to `efficiency optimization'. (The UC system is doing this. Oh my God.)

Hypothesis: bullshit jobs are vital to the new aristocracy exactly because you can't prove they're being done badly, so they're a good place to park nepos. Also, for the same reason, they aren't as vulnerable to immigrants and up-and-comers, ditto.

I don't think it matters to the argument whether Graeber's job is bullshit: if it is, well, why does he get a platform? However, I would say that his slightly-nondisciplinary book that was voluntarily read (and mocked!) by a fair number of people is the sign of (at worst) a crank rather than a bullshitter. No-one wants to actually read bullshit.

*7ma horseshoe-shaped mesas with a scrap of my research subject on the top. Gotta get back there in the wet season.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:39 AM
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Clew, the Applegate valley is even more shire-y, though both Table Rocks are very amusing.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:42 AM
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All they need is some numbers they can aggregate and compare.

Twined with the modern notion that the only things that matter are things that can be measured, this sounds pretty scary for your organization.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:45 AM
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36 Other dock-workers. It's dock-workers all the way down.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:50 AM
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I was a bit disappointed in this article. There are ever so many bullshit jobs he didn't touch on. Lotta creative-class jobs, lots of stuff in the non-profit sector, innumerable government jobs, and entire industries that could disappear with no one to mourn their passing. PLUS -- 80% of everyone is just phoning it in 80% of the time (as evinced by lots of stuff, not just this blog.)


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:54 AM
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47: horseshoe-shaped mesas with a scrap of my research subject on the top.

Athelas?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:56 AM
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there are an amazing number of jobs that seem to actively hinder the employer (as well as all the guard labor that hinders the customer but might benefit the employer) . . . bullshit jobs are vital to the new aristocracy exactly because you can't prove they're being done badly, so they're a good place to park nepos.

Yeah, this is just wrong (or misses the point). Speaking as someone who actually has basically the exemplar job (corporate lawyer/litigator) that Graeber describes as "bullshit" in the piece, I can tell you that employers would be very very very happy to not pay me anything to do what I do and keep the surplus for themselves. The problem is that the system as it is currently set up demands that something like my job exist, and there's a quite large amount of money (often) riding on the issues I deal with. The "bullshit" part of it doesn't arise because it's somehow artificially created as a place to park nepotism -- it's because it's the product of a legal, regulatory and organizational system (that is beyond the purview of any individual employer or person) that creates a fair amount of work that seems unnecessary. For example, there are lots of ways in which one could imagine a rule making the "discovery" process in litigation simpler and more efficient, and that would cut down substantially on money spent on people like me. Companies would love to do this. But precisely because there is a lot of money riding on these kinds of issues, and difficult questions of regulation, and existing practice . . . in the world as it is, someone has to do what I do, and it's actually economically very valuable to have someone like me send out passive-aggressive letters quibbling over the production of evidence, because the evidence matters at the end of the day for an issue with a lot of money riding on it. The same is true for a lot of jobs (HR posts, administration, whatever) that depend on second-order administration and regulation of living in a complex society. You can't just wish those jobs away without changing the regulatory world we live in, and even though a lot of people have a vested financial interest in doing so, not all of the financial interests point in the same way at the same time and there is lots of lobbying and infighting and . . . here we are.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:58 AM
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My job is 99% bullshit. But there is a solid 1% that is not, and it carries the rest.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:00 PM
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BIG ANTLERS ARE BULLSHIT!


Posted by: OPINIONATED IRISH ELK | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:01 PM
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Seems like the only definition of "bullshit jobs" Graeber actually commits to in here is "But what about those people who are themselves convinced their jobs are meaningless?" In other words, by his account, what makes a job bullshit is the relationship of the job-holder to the job. There's nothing he says makes a job inherently bullshit - in fact, "I would not presume to tell someone who is convinced they are making a meaningful contribution to the world that, really, they are not."

Really, he's talking about how people feel about their jobs - he sets it up like he's talking about what work is worthwhile, but then he doesn't speak to that in specifics at all. I feel like he's kinda palming a card here...


Posted by: freight train | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:01 PM
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I if I didn't not do my job, someone else would have to not do it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:02 PM
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Some disjointed thoughts, on company time:

There's a lot of different stuff going on within what Benquo labels "adversarial" as well as "governance"--and this connects, I think, to what folks (Frase especially) have been highlighting as the increasingly rentier-dominated aspects of the economy. PR/publicity people aren't exactly adversarial in the same way that lawyers are, but they're competing against each other to draw your attention to their products or whatever, and your attention, your time, is a fixed quantity.

Thinking about the scale issues--what's the justification for the scale, which in turn justifies the governance expenditures? Often it's explicitly about monopoly rents, about shaping and controlling markets.

An anecdote, which is like a data-point: there's an ongoing huge restructuring here at [global for-profit professional/scientific publishing company]. A full working group got axed--the designers. As best as I can tell from the corporate emails, the big winners, at least out of the folks in our location, were the guy heading up Licensing, and someone who's now doing Strategic Partnerships. The money's in controlling the distribution, making sure your stuff rather than the other company's stuff is the featured product, gets the big contract, etc. Apparently this means the real business happens in these strategic decisions/deals/etc., not in creating the products.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:04 PM
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53, etc: No, I agree, you're guard labor, which is a systemic need. I think our system is too adversarial, but it's clear why that part of it is stable.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:05 PM
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As usual I can't quite figure out your cryptic terminology, but it seems like almost all "bullshit jobs" in your analysis would be subsumed under "guard labor." I mean, sure, there are plenty of just plain inefficient and unnecessary jobs in any institution, but that's as likely to be true for dock workers or teachers as it is for administrators.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:15 PM
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60: Don't forget people with people skills!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:17 PM
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I have a ton to say on this topic but am just now getting to lunch (at 3:15 Eastern!) so it will have to wait.

For now, a reminder that "low-status" animals in Richard Scarry books don't get to do "high-status" jobs.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:17 PM
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You know, Bob's 4.3 and 4.4 seem pretty much to nail it, both as to the specific issue and as to Graeber in particular.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:23 PM
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I think we should wait for Witt.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:27 PM
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just plain inefficient and unnecessary jobs in any institution, but that's as likely to be true for dock workers

I wonder if that is true. I mean, I can look like I'm working just by sitting at this screen, so my inefficiency is harder to detect. But if a dockworker isn't hauling, she visibly isn't hauling.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:41 PM
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Aren't dockworkers sort of a special case? The vast majority of those jobs disappeared in the 2nd half of the 20th century, as shipping was mechanized and standardized. Even though the ILWU is a good radical union, aren't their members pretty much part of the aristocracy of labor at this point? Even so, I find it hard to believe that there isn't plenty of fucking around and being inefficient, even independent of any industrial action. And in any case, the ratio of dockworkers to everyone else is pretty tiny. It would seem to make more sense to talk about customer service/food/retail/light office workers if we're going to talk about working-class jobs.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:47 PM
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An anecdote, which is like a data-point: there's an ongoing huge restructuring here at [global for-profit professional/scientific publishing company]. A full working group got axed--the designers. As best as I can tell from the corporate emails, the big winners, at least out of the folks in our location, were the guy heading up Licensing, and someone who's now doing Strategic Partnerships. The money's in controlling the distribution, making sure your stuff rather than the other company's stuff is the featured product, gets the big contract, etc. Apparently this means the real business happens in these strategic decisions/deals/etc., not in creating the products.

Does this mean that the websites for [global for-profit professional/scientific publishing company] are going to become even harder to navigate and even more likely to steer you to things behind paywalls asking for more money than individuals or community colleges could ever think to spend?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:50 PM
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I wonder if that is true. I mean, I can look like I'm working just by sitting at this screen,

Caroline recently learned how to toggle between video games and a homework screen when an adult walks into the room.

I'm so proud she's learning valuable workplace skills!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:51 PM
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But if a dockworker isn't hauling, she visibly isn't hauling.

This made me think of a memorable passage from Which Side Are You On (Thomas Georgehegan), which definitely expresses mixed feelings but mostly makes me feel like we are very far removed from the heyday of industrial unions -- the overall description makes sense, but is completely removed from any of my personal experience.

We are on "lost time." Technically, this is not the name of a psychological state, but the name for a payment from the company to the employee for the time that the employee spends performing legitimate union business (handling a grievance, etc.). Many locals budget for only one or two full-time salaries officials. The others, such as the stewards, are supposedly part-time officials, who continue to receive lost-time wages from the company. As a result, for example, GM and not the UAW pays many of the officials of the UAW for the work they perform. This practice may look like bribery, or at least like a flagrant conflict of interest, but nobody seems to mind it.

At some big plants, there may be one full-time steward, on lost time, per thirty workers. Think of it: one full-time, company-paid agitator for every thirty rank and file. Once in Wisconsin I saw it: a local that had a one-to-thirty ratio. It was like England or Germany. And many of the stewards were dropouts from the sixties, guys who had been in grad schools. Now, as stewards, they had been on lost time. There is a deep, almost libidinal pleasure to be on lost time, to be AWOL, to roam around the plant without permission. This may be what draws people into the unions, to be stewards, vice presidents, recording secretaries. They are the people who cannot hack it anymore at work. A few years ago, when the layoffs came and work forces began to shrink, there was no need for so many stewards. So while other members lost their jobs, the stewards lost their lost time. After years of being stewards, they faced the agony, when the layoffs came, of really going back to work and taking their place on the line. The stewards may have suffered more than the members who were unemployed.

Some of them claimed, desperately, that they were disabled mow. Men shot themselves in the foot, like in wartime. Jimmy T., who had been on lost time for fifteen years, said he fell out of a tree while deer hunting with a bow and arrow. I represent Jimmy T. and I know him well, and I cannot imagine him in a tree with a bow and arrow in Indiana, but Jimmy T. is a hell of a steward, after fifteen years, and he shrugged like it could happen to anybody, and U.S. Steel bought the story. He was out of work for twelve months. The guy is a legend around the plant.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:02 PM
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oops, I got the blockquote right (including line-breaks) but messed up the italics.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:02 PM
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from the link in 62

there is a hidden language or code inscribed in children's books, which teaches kids to view inequalities within the division of labor as a "natural" fact of life - that is, as a reflection of the inherent characteristics of the workers themselves. Young readers learn (without realizing it, of course) that some species-beings are simply better equipped to hold manual or service jobs, while other creatures ought to be professionals...we are already predisposed to accept the hierarchical, caste-based system of labor that characterizes the American workplace.

Jesus, do we need to take a field trip to Amish country? Maybe illustrators are dividing labor according to inherent characteristics of the animals because that's how animal labor works. Sure, occasionally a chicken gets his dreams of pulling a plow crushed but it's a rough world for everyone. Look at that pic, did Scarry really depict pigs, an animal that likes to dig and root around in the dirt, mixing cement and working with mortar? The only plausible explanation is that Scarry is pre conditioning children of peons to accept their place in the system.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:09 PM
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Some of them claimed, desperately, that they were disabled meow.
Ftfy


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:10 PM
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71: Scarry knew that some animals are more equal than others.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:12 PM
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That isn't answering the question that Graeber is raising -- he's trying to figure out why companies pay so many people to do work that is unnecessary and pointless.

Ah, good point.

But this gets me thinking: what the hell is Graeber talking about? We have lots of people who are unemployed and looking for for work, or have dropped out of the workforce altogether. Is it possibly the case that, as a nation, we average 15 hour weeks per person, only it's a bimodal distribution centered at 40 hour weeks and 0 hour weeks?


Also 22 made me laugh.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:14 PM
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The link in 62 shows a lion/doctor taking a rabbit's temperature. Once the lion/doctor determines that the rabbit is healthy, he will eat her.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:17 PM
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Looking at this list (and let's put my cards on the table -- I fucking love Busytown and eat shit sociologists!) it looks like the analysis is pretty ridiculous. The mayor is a fox, and so is fix-it fox the handyman (they're brothers, IIRC). There's also a janitor fox. Pigs make up both the masonry workforce and the fire department, which, for a book aimed at boys under 7, is clearly the most high-status of all jobs. In fact, pigs have a wide range of jobs, from farmer to postman to house painter. Sgt. Murphy is a (presumably Irish) dog and also a police officer. Mr. Gronkle is a motherfucking warthog who is also a millionaire and drives a fancy car. Goldbug the TV reporter is a cricket and goddamn LOWLY WORM is a protagonist character and a centerpiece of the story.

About the lowest status character I can think of is Bananas Gorilla, who is also (as a gorilla) up there with the highest status animals.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:19 PM
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Shorter me: suck it sociologist idiots!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:20 PM
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Does this mean that the websites for [global for-profit professional/scientific publishing company] are going to become even harder to navigate and even more likely to steer you to things behind paywalls asking for more money than individuals or community colleges could ever think to spend?

I think that's a different division. But fear not: [GF-PP/SPC] definitely knows that "digital" will be the heart of future revenue growth!

It's funny--despite working in this (not very large, maybe ~120 employees) office for 8 months, I have very little sense who does what (which is a real problem now that I'm the receptionist). Partly, of course, it's that I've never had any intention of trying to get hired here permanently, and so never had any interest in figuring out who's who and who does what and all that. But it's partly that nobody tells the temps this stuff. It's been interesting seeing a cohort of summer interns come and go--interns, even if they're doing tasks more mindless than those of the temps, are treated as "real" employees, and as real people: invited to lunch, that sort of thing. Temps, not so much. There was another long-time temp in the cubicle in front of me, who was just hired on permanently--and now there he is, sitting with the real workers at lunch.

Oh, and 68 is great.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:20 PM
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One other long passage from an older book describing the transition from one set of behaviors and assumptions around work to another -- this one about how computers change things. One of my favorite bits from Close To The Machine

Something similar happened with the AIDS project. Despite the idealism of the programmers, the good intentions of my client's staff, the hard work of the users, what we created in the end was not the "system of care" we set out to build. In the end, what we created was a system.

The first sign was the users' problem with e-mail. Connecting the providers via electronic mail was supposed to "increase communication," "facilitate information exchange," and other worth organizational goals.

My client spoke glowingly of imagined charts and files attached to friendly e-mail messages, all circling from agency to agency, enwrapping the patient in an electronic blanket of service. But it didn't turn out that way.

"I worry that e-mail is breaking down our system of care," said one user.

"Is it a training issue?" asked my client. "Do you need another e-mail course?"

"No," said the user, "the problem is we used to talk on the phone a lot. Now we don't."

"Oh."

"We relied on knowing each other. Now we don't."

"Oh."

Now they can sit in the office like programmers and send e-mail. Now they can stay where they are like stock analysts and connect by modems.

...

All the "goodness" was slowly draining away. Then, two months into the planning of the second phase, the project took a distinctly "bad" turn. The director of the department began asking for links between client registration data and other city systems. She wanted to compare delivered services to commitments in providers' contracts. She wanted to cross-check on funding sources, billings, contract compliance. She wanted to run the client information against a database kept by a group ominously called "Surveillance."

"I thought the idea was to improve client care," I said.

In meeting after meeting, I argued with the director. I tried to warn her that the machine cannot keep rounded edges; that its dumb, declarative nature could not comprehend the small, chaotic accommodations to reality which keep human systems running. How would it help clients if Jerry told her that this particular underfunded agency should be even more underfunded? What good would it do to find out that this poor, ill person was not quite as poor and ill as he was supposed to be? How would it help if, in the awful and explicit way of computer systems, Jerry made it clear what everyone knew -- that there was a little fudging going on around the edges, so that providers could get a little extra and give a little more. In the absence of the machine everyone could wink at these small rough edges. But Jerry -- cute little Jerry with its guacamole-colored screens and the smiling face of an African-American man with AIDS -- could make it all plain beyond deniability. "Don't do this," I said to the director. Once you have this information, you'll have to do something about it."

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:22 PM
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76: The Carnivora ruling class is of course perfectly fine if the rare warthog rises up from the masses of pigs, especially as a symbol that if they keep on trying one day they too can drive fancy cars.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:25 PM
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There's also a mouse who owns the bakery and is a major business owner in town. Has this fucking idiot even read a single motherfucking Busytown book?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:26 PM
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You didn't even read the article in Poetics, did you.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:28 PM
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I fucking love Busytown and eat shit sociologists

Word.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:29 PM
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Is it a one-mouse bakery? The Levi Martin article has zero instances of mice being in authority over others but 50 instances of others being in authority over mice.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:34 PM
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74: I think the main peaks are at 0, 25, and 60-with-alt-tab-faffing, but yes. Not that all the long weeks have faffing. Some hospital is reporting that when they shorten doctor's shifts they lose to communication errors what they gain in exhaustion errors.

I was tapped for some acronym-rich corporate scheme once that felt like lost time. Fewer actual products, more meetings, reports we didn't think anyone read, offsite retreats (ech), and eventually consultation with an EST psychologist. A few of us went into management, most of us went back to programming, and the bullshitters declared it a success and spun themselves off as a consultancy.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:44 PM
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The book from 79 sounds interesting!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:15 PM
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I can't really think of a more right-wing propaganda line than "Everyone is a worker"


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:16 PM
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Oh wait holy shit a pig can also be a doctor!!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:19 PM
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The book from 79 sounds interesting!

It is, you should read it. Particularly since you're thinking about taking up programming (it is dated, and programming culture has changed from what she was writing about, but I still think it would be worth your time).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:19 PM
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Indeed, which was one of the reasons to hate on those 40-days-of-dating people.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:21 PM
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Particularly since you're thinking about taking up programming

I'm not just thinking about it--I'm starting this program in three weeks.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:22 PM
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What what what! A mouse can drive a jaunty sports car, look prosperous, and have an entire book written about him? Why, my job at the sociology department might just be bullshit!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:25 PM
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I'm starting this program in three weeks.

Congratulations, and good luck.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:27 PM
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I like to think that Halford has an encyclopedic knowledge of Richard Scarry and is posting these off the top of his head, rather than looking through covers on Amazon.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:27 PM
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Be serious, Walt--he's delegating that to a junior associate (or intern or something? I can never remember if Halford's in-house or what).


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:29 PM
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The traditional suitor for a female mouse is a frog. What is this modern bowdlerization?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:29 PM
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IANASociologist (but I'm close!), and I like the Busytown books just fine. The cartoons, however, are excruciating, and none more so than the spin-off series in which Huckle the Cat is an amateur detective. I want to do serious harm to Huckle after watching those episodes, and I like cats!


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:38 PM
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IANASociologist (but I'm close!), and I like the Busytown books just fine.

Sounds like someone's not cut out for academia.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:44 PM
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pigs have a wide range of jobs, from farmer

Wait, I never read the Scarry books. What kind of food do the pig farmers raise? Other pigs? Humans? Just vegetables?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:46 PM
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95: He's outsourcing it to helper mice. He's the biggest hypocrite of all.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:48 PM
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What kind of food do the pig farmers raise? Other pigs?

Yes, of course.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:56 PM
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The cosmetics-testing lab is run by mice.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:56 PM
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This guy grows the crops.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:58 PM
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Cats run the tennis racket factory.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 3:00 PM
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Geese manufacture pillows and quilts. Cows staff the local butcher shop.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 3:02 PM
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It's really quite shocking.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 3:03 PM
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But the books teach children a valuable lesson -- the value of hard work.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 3:04 PM
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Another perspective on "bullshit jobs":

I'm an editor, basically, and the documents I edit have to be published. Some parts of all of them, and all of some of them, are legally mandated. Even with more sane government policy, there would be good practical reasons for a lot of what I work on. So in the sense that it has to be done, it's not bullshit. (Editing may be a bullshit career compared to, say, farming or doctoring, but it's definitely more practical than lots of things we could think of.)

However, there really doesn't need so many people doing it. More sane government policy would have fewer, better documents published. If my office is squeezed catastrophically in Congress's next pissing match over the budget, half of the people with my title could lose our jobs, but the survivors could take over their workload without anyone but us noticing the difference. That would be more stressful for them, but manageable.

So the job might not be bullshit, but the fact that there so many people doing it might be.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 3:32 PM
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Rereading the thread for the first time since like 4 p.m., that's kind of been covered, what with the 15-hour-a-week stuff. But still.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 3:33 PM
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I'm not sure how this applies to the topic, but over the past several years I've realized that no amount of work is likely to make me enough wealth to produce a qualitative difference in my social status or quality of life. I think I might go for ambition and evil if I could sell for a reasonable sum, but I just can't. I credit the part of the Our Father about leading us from temptation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 3:37 PM
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Actually 2/3 of those were from memory. I've never read Dr. Doctor.. Also IIRC the town butcher really is a pig, though at least in our household that's an extremely high status position.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 3:39 PM
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And a rabbit can also be a doctor -- but I'm sure only in the "rabbit ghetto" that sociology fuckface thinks exists in Busytown.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 3:46 PM
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Oh my god. Look at where halfwit asshole teaches. I should have fucking known.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 3:48 PM
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113: given the way he characterizes this on the linked page, I'm wondering if the whole thing was some kind of put-on?


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 3:58 PM
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107 made me laugh.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 4:04 PM
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I think we should wait for Witt.

I too hope Witt has time to revisit this thread later.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 4:06 PM
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I dunno, that guy's papers sound pretty cool. Download the full data set, and then get back to us. I assume his response is that he's looking at overall patterns; obviously there are going to be exceptions, and zeroing in on those outliers is like saying "How can America be racist if the president's black?"


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 4:06 PM
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They're not outliers, you ignorant shithead. The motherfucking fire department is entirely made up of pigs. The mayor is the same animal as the handyman as the janitor. ONE OF THE TWO MOST PROMINENT CHARACTERS IN THE BOOK AND THE ONE THAT CHILDREN MOST IDENTIFY WITH IS A FUCKING WORM NAMED "LOWLY." There is literally no way to read the books seriously and come up with the conclusions that this idiot did.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 4:09 PM
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I mean, c'mon, the guy published "Is Power Sexy?":

In particular, this study disentangles two aspects of power that are often confused, namely power as a dyadic relationship and power as an individual characteristic or position (which the author calls "status"). ... While this study finds that there is indeed a connection between sexiness and power, it is instead women whose high status increases their sexiness (to men), while it is the interpersonal power of men that makes them sexy, both to men and to women.

Interesting!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 4:10 PM
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That's because you're making the mistake of treating each character like a character in a book. If you just flatten them out into numbers, it would all make sense.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 4:12 PM
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Who refers to it as "The University of Chicago at Chicago"?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 4:14 PM
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Halford needs to get a job as the book critic for Sprout.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 4:16 PM
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Someone who thinks he's being cute, having listed his three prior affiliations (correctly) as "The University of X at Y" in the previous sentence?


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 4:17 PM
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I'm enjoying the hell out of Halford's rage.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 4:20 PM
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I spent the afternoon reviewing papers that I'm recommending be rejected. That's bullshit!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 4:20 PM
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I think Nina still works for Sprout, if you need a reason to shift jobs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 4:22 PM
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I'm enjoying the hell out of Halford's rage.

Me too, to be honest. Speaking of rage, anybody know whether the bleacher seats are any good at the Coliseum? I know that's where the crazy hardcore fans sit, which might be fun.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 4:24 PM
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127 -- Actually I have knowledge there too. I spent two seasons going to those seats (or other cheap ones -- $2 at the time with a discount) frequently. The Mausoleum is really a terrible, terrible, terrible baseball stadium, but A's fans are great and the team is a lot of fun and the shitty stadium has its own kind of charm, so it's an overall awesome experience. Go for sure.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 4:32 PM
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This thread makes me think I should read Sprout but the internet makes me think I can't read books of that length anymore.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 5:23 PM
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I'm not sure why I wrote Sprout instead of a book title, but that only confirms my point.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 5:28 PM
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Before they closed off the top deck behind the plate, they had $2 wednesdays. In my experience, the bleachers have been fine. Hard to complain when you're paying $8.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 5:29 PM
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Who will teach the dock-workers?

I dunno. Coast Guard?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 5:35 PM
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127, 128: The bleacher seats are... okay. I mean, they're bleacher seats. The advantage of the Coliseum is that the marginal cost of upgrading to really great seats isn't that bad, but if you want to have fun at a baseball game around here better the Coliseum than Pac Bell Park.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 5:52 PM
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What if the average person has five times the clothing they would have 100 years ago?

Probably a lot more. People had very little in the way of clothing and shoes back then, even in the very wealthy (relatively) US. And re Ajay's point, Keynes was British, and the UK had lower living standards than the US. Places like Germany or France were still poorer.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 5:58 PM
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Halford, I've never loved you more.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 6:00 PM
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Catching up to the thread... trapnel, you're doing AppAcademy? I'll be interested to hear what you think of it; my girlfriend is considering it and a bunch of other bootcamps but she's not sure which one is right for her.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 6:04 PM
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||

I'm possibly in need of a pseud change soon. We'll see what I come up with.

|>


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 6:54 PM
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Wry Cooter is still available.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 6:55 PM
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I've never delved into it, but my impression is that Ruby falls into the "write only" family of languages with Perl. What's the appeal?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 6:57 PM
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OK, back now.

It's an interesting article, although naturally the editor in me thinks it needs some editing.

I think NickS in 8 gets at a core criticism: Graeber is conflating some very different phenomena. Thinking that your job is stupid because the world would go on just fine if you weren't doing it, and feeling that you are working at a "job you don't like and aren't especially good at" are just not the same at all.

Hypothesis: bullshit jobs are vital to the new aristocracy exactly because you can't prove they're being done badly, so they're a good place to park nepos.

I would agree with this, at least partially.

Freight train in 56: Really, he's talking about how people feel about their jobs - he sets it up like he's talking about what work is worthwhile, but then he doesn't speak to that in specifics at all. I feel like he's kinda palming a card here...

Exactly. No "kinda" about it.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:02 PM
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Megan in 65: I can look like I'm working just by sitting at this screen, so my inefficiency is harder to detect. But if a dockworker isn't hauling, she visibly isn't hauling.

Right. On a similar theme, a friend of mine is the son of a fishmonger. His father and the entire family have worked working-class jobs their whole lives, and they don't fully understand his terminal-degree-level national nonprofit job, and why he can be so stressed.

He explains it as: If I'm working in the fish store, and it's the day before a holiday and we're slammed, and I'm hustling as hard as I can, sweating, while the customers stack up, you can SEE I'm busting my butt. You know I mean it if I say I can't go any faster.

But in my job, my boss can't see my work like that. It's all invisible, or nearly so. I don't have any easy way to demonstrate how slammed I am, or how hard I'm working.

I think it's a pretty good illustration.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:04 PM
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138: I recently read an article in National Geographic about bonobos. Reminds me of a possible pseud:

gg rubbings.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:07 PM
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140: two things:

1) Rails. Which makes doing database-driven web development much easier (and much cooler) than it was before. These days other languages have caught up, but it's still got a big following.

2) Ruby makes it really easy to create domain-specific languages, which means you can give non-programmers tools that let them do things you previously had to be a programmer to do.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:08 PM
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Heebie in 74: what the hell is Graeber talking about? We have lots of people who are unemployed and looking for work, or have dropped out of the workforce altogether. Is it possibly the case that, as a nation, we average 15 hour weeks per person, only it's a bimodal distribution centered at 40 hour weeks and 0 hour weeks?

I honestly wonder it it's a social-circle blindness problem. I don't know a thing about him, of course. Maybe he has a really diverse range of friends and acquaintances, but IME the people who make arguments like they are like the audiences I speak to who estimate, straight-faced, that "85 percent" of people have college degrees.*

What they mean is "Almost everyone I know has a college degree, but I know there are some other people in the world, so let's say 15%."

(*It's 32% of US-born Philadelphia area residents and 38% of immigrants, in case you were wondering.)

So I wonder if it's that the people Graeber knows and has contact are experiencing these types of jobs. It's the anarchist anthropologist version of a NYT trend piece!**

**I'm kidding. I would never insult an apparently decent human being by comparing him to the NYT.

Heebie's hypothesis certainly seems possible too.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:10 PM
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Ruby makes it really easy to create domain-specific languages, which means it's a write-only language.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:10 PM
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138: Let me be the first to suggest Fresh Salt.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:11 PM
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Fresh Cooter?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:13 PM
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76 et seq: Halford, you're cracking me up. Serioulsy, I'm sitting her eon my couch giggling. Dude, will it make you feel better if I said I uncharacteristically did not read the underlying research to which I linked? And that I am a lifelong fan of Richard Scarry with a particular affection for Lowly Worm (since I was 1, apparently).


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:15 PM
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94 is pretty funny too. I'm just going to live-blog my laughs; hope you guys don't mind.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:19 PM
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140 - Deep ties to the startup world and a vocal evangelical community that lets people who were given swirlies in high-school feel bro-tastic.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:28 PM
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Rails. Which makes doing database-driven web development much easier
Now you tell me. I'd be happy that nosflow has my back except he probably approves of write-only languages.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:42 PM
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I am pretty sure Ruby on Rails doesn't make anything cooler, in the usual sense of the word.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:44 PM
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Ruby on Rails seems to be pretty important to parts of the library world (hy/dra).


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:46 PM
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129 is funny too; wow.

OK, being serious here before I stop serial posting:

I don't think Graeber pushes his question far enough. It's not just about whether people find their work meaningful or not. It's also about opportunity cost and power.

My very first paid job was sorting cards for each day's circulation at the library. Most people find this a mind-numbing task.* For me it wasn't, because it was intimately connected with the business of a library -- and that was compelling to me. Still is, 23 years later.

*[detailed explanation omitted for space]

There are plenty of boring and even distasteful tasks to be done in a library. But like most jobs, the degree to which they are unpleasant is IME much more strongly correlated with whether you feel like you have a sense of agency and autonomy. It's not the task or even the role that dictates that.

Another example. A lot of the work I do now is unnecessary -- not in the sense that the world doesn't need it, but in the sense that if the world functioned equitably, I wouldn't be needed.

I would be thrilled to never again have to fight to get a child enrolled in school. I have nine million ideas about what else I could do with my time, and I spend a lot of hours thinking about what factors are at work that create the current system and how we can dismantle them.

Should enrolling kids in school take as many people as it does? Of course not. Is the fact that it does a sign of too many people in the "professional, managerial, clerical" jobs? Not hardly.

OK, one last story. Last summer I joined hundreds of other people who collectively spent thousands of hours on Voter ID issues. Most of the news coverage focused on a horse-race analysis of whether Voter ID had "affected turnout" or not. Not one single reporter asked: What could we do with thousands of people-hours besides run around cleaning up an artificial mess?

Sure, there are people working in dumb jobs and useless jobs. And there are still more people who are ill-matched with their jobs, such that they *experience* those jobs as dumb or useless.

But the big question to me is not whether some people are wasting their time. It's why humanity keeps lurching toward meaningful work despite the best efforts of people in power.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:48 PM
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152: yeah? when was the last time you bro'd down and crushed code?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:53 PM
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Rains is cool, but it hides a lot of the implementation details behind various magic incantations. I'd be concerned that by learning web development through Rails you might miss a lot of the important knowledge about how the stuff actually works. On the other hand, you got to start somewhere, and its less sinful than PHP.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:57 PM
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Rains, rails, whaever.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:57 PM
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t


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:57 PM
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152: it beats Java. Or, God forbid, CGI.pm.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:03 PM
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151: oh, no, both Ruby and Rails are clusterfucks, and the culture around Rails in particular is toxic in a lot of ways. But it's still better than what we had before.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:05 PM
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Anyway, Eggplant, you needn't worry.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:06 PM
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I've actually been really impressed by how easy Python has made the SQL stuff I've been working on. Usually I badly underestimate the amount of work an unfamiliar project will entail.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:20 PM
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Not one single reporter asked: What could we do with thousands of people-hours besides run around cleaning up an artificial mess?

Yes, this. Someone puts a paycheck protection measure on the CA ballot every six years or so, and we know how to beat it, but it drains the bank of every union in the state. It was amazing Prop 30 passed (the tax overhaul to patch the budget and fund the higher education system) while we were fighting Prop 32.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:30 PM
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But like most jobs, the degree to which they are unpleasant is IME much more strongly correlated with whether you feel like you have a sense of agency and autonomy. It's not the task or even the role that dictates that.

This is absolutely right. I often say that most people would probably hate my job (this was more true five years ago than it is now), but I really like it. It involves a significant amount of tedium, but I care about doing it well and that makes it interesting.

My brother was just talking about the topic of autonomy at work recently, I should ask him about it. I remember he was referring back to the opening of Moby Dick:

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.

...

Now, when I say that I am in the habit of going to sea whenever I begin to grow hazy about the eyes, and begin to be over conscious of my lungs, I do not mean to have it inferred that I ever go to sea as a passenger. For to go as a passenger you must needs have a purse, and a purse is but a rag unless you have something in it. Besides, passengers get sea-sick --grow quarrelsome --don't sleep of nights --do not enjoy themselves much, as a general thing; --no, I never go as a passenger; nor, though I am something of a salt, do I ever go to sea as a Commodore, or a Captain, or a Cook. I abandon the glory and distinction of such offices to those who like them.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 8:40 PM
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About the missing 15-hour work week: I always thought this was basically an individual incentive problem. If we all agreed to work 15 hours a week, we could do it, and with modern technology, we'd still be able to live decently. But in that world, there'd be a huge incentive for someone to work a little harder and get an advantage over everyone else. The system isn't stable unless most people are working about as hard as they think they can.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 12:11 AM
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the river is parcelled out to agriculture

That's a shame. Fuckin' white people ruin everything.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 12:14 AM
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I suspect that, rather like "government non-jobs" over the other side of the wire, a "bullshit job" is operationally defined as being one you don't know enough about. (Also, fuck indie poet lawyer guy; doesn't Graeber know anyone non-maddeningly swpl?)


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 1:40 AM
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I'm surprised we've gotten this far into a Graeber thread without anyone mentioning Wrongest Ever the Sentence. I'm not very inclined to take his anecdotes seriously after that.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 1:46 AM
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On the actual issue he brings up, such as it is, I think I basically agree with Halford (and bob!).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 1:48 AM
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re: 153

Yes, we work on that. Although, tbh, the vast bulk of our dev projects use Python [plus Solr, Jquery, and some sort of web framework like Django or Pylons/Pyramid].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 1:50 AM
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134: re Ajay's point, Keynes was British, and the UK had lower living standards than the US. Places like Germany or France were still poorer.

That doesn't really affect my point because
a) Keynes specifically mentioned the United States and
b) if you worked fifteen hours a week on the UK average hourly wage today, you'd get £9,000 a year, which is the adjusted equivalent of £162 15/6 in 1930. And in 1930, the average income in the UK was... £195 16/-. So the picture's pretty much the same in the UK. We can't quite live on fifteen hours a week at a 1930 standard, but we're almost there. Eighteen hours a week would do it.

LB will no doubt recall that Mary Wimsey planned to run away with the abominable Geo. Goyles and live perfectly happily in a two-income household on £6 or £7 a week. Two average salaries, you see.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 2:09 AM
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I thought Keynes' underlying point was that full employment could easily be achieved through shorter hours.

Incidentally Ernest Mandel did some similar calculations in the 1970s, when living standards, though low by today's lights (if you have a job), were higher than in the interwar period. I think the onus of proof is on those who suggest it wouldn't still work.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:02 AM
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I have never been to Ashland and I'm sure that it has a lot of lovely qualities, but I sort of hate the place because it's full of anti-vacciners. Also, my aunt lives there. That's the one who told me that she was angry at me for being insufficiently appreciative of the value of her emotional support when I was struggling to sort out things for my mother with Alzheimer's (might actually be vascular dementia but I was old it was Alzheimer's at the time).

She was a subsidized hippy who never actually had a job. She and her boyfriend went off to rural Oregon and let her Dad support her while they built a tiny house, smoked pot, kept bees and grew wildflowers. I think there was one year where she actually almost got commercial enough to sell wreaths on a large scale but then she dropped out of the labor force completely, and then they moved to Salem, because there was an acupuncturist there or something, and then Portland before going to Ashland where her now-husband's family lives. His family is all from LA.

This is not a coherent thought but the rich retired hippy who never engaged in capitalist activity herself but never really committed to a full hippy lifestyle once it got hard seems relevant somehow. Insubstantial and hollow,


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:09 AM
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I thought Keynes' underlying point was that full employment could easily be achieved through shorter hours.

That sounds like a different point. And less likely, too - labour isn't really fungible like that. If every doctor in the city decides to work part time, that's still not going to help the unemployed electricians.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:21 AM
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We use Groovy Grails, I hear the software engineers say that phrase a lot. I don't know what the difference is from whatever the fuck you're all talking about except that it rhymes (I'm sure intentionally.)
Does anyone want to write an unfogged app for my Glass?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 4:17 AM
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174.last: He turned out to be an asshole so she married some cop.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 4:28 AM
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I'm skeptical that inflation-adjusted average wages tell us much about standards of living over that extended time period.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 5:07 AM
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181: OK, it isn't an exact answer, but it's the best I could do back-of-an-envelope, and if anyone's got any better ideas then go for it. Standards of living were pretty low in 1930. The median Briton might not have had a bathroom in their house, for one thing. More than 50% of Glaswegians lived in housing that was either without electricity or without running water or without both in 1951. It might very well be impossible to live like a median 1930s Briton today, because it would actually be illegal to house people in the conditions that they lived in.

I think it also depends on how you interpret "able to implement a fifteen-hour work week". I mean, fifteen hours of median-wage work won't get you above the poverty line but that's because the poverty line is defined as 60% of the median wage. But then the Minimum Income chaps reckon that a single person with no kids needs £16,582 a year. You'd need to work 26 hours a week at the median wage to get that.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 5:53 AM
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I imagine Minimum Income chaps are less comfortable than more expensive ones.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 6:04 AM
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Over this period agriculture went from employing something like 75 percent of the population to approximately zero. How much of housing prices and other expenses is pure rent?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 6:20 AM
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184 -- off the top of my head, more like 25% in the US in agriculture in 1930 and substantially less than that in Britain. Don't forget that a lot of those guys paid rent too. I should say I'm still pretty skeptical that there's been a meaningful "choice" in any sense to trade work hours for income by labor -- because I don't think the labor market works like that in any remotely realistic sense -- and it would surely be possible (if you could overcome the collective action problem through government action) to substitute a leisure/income trade that would make people generally better off, as well as (per Minivet in 1) the economy more productive, and topless vacation crazed Europe has proven that precisely such state intervention is possible and popular.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 6:38 AM
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I thought Keynes' underlying point was that full employment could easily be achieved through shorter hours.

I'd be surprised if Keynes advocated this. In addition to ajay's point in 177, less work presumably leads to less consumption, and therefore less work to be done creating the things we consume. It'd be a different equilibrium with different implications for society, but an equilibrium with no predictable result related to unemployment.

(But I suppose in a world where people are perfect, frictionless spheres, ajay's electricians could become doctors.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 6:41 AM
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off the top of my head, more like 25% in the US in agriculture in 1930 and substantially less than that in Britain.

Sounds about right. British farms in the thirties were ludicrously mechanised and efficient compared to pretty well everywhere else in the world except the US. By 1950, only 5% of the British population worked on farms, and only 13% of the US population - and I don't think that's because US farms were much less efficient, I think you lot just grew a lot more food.
To go all Edgerton for a moment, that's one reason why we won the war, as I think I may have mentioned. Germany had this huge dependence on the Small Family Farmers (bedrock of the nation, Real Germans, etc) who were extremely inefficient. They had much higher numbers of women working than Britain or the US did, Rosie the Riveter and my granny notwithstanding, but they weren't building bombers and cracking codes, they were digging turnips. Inefficiently.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 7:06 AM
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Does anyone want to write an unfogged app for my Glass?

It will cause the text "you are a douche" to constantly hover in front of your face.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 7:16 AM
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I thought of a really good research application for Glass but I don't think Google will give me one to try it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 7:19 AM
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188 Or play "Waiting for the Barbarians" on continuous loop.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 7:22 AM
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188- Easy fix for that, just don't set the default login to nosflow.
189- Use mine if you want, even though that's a violation of TOS. It has to be logged in to my google account to work.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 7:24 AM
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I mean, fifteen hours of median-wage work won't get you above the poverty line but that's because the poverty line is defined as 60% of the median wage.

Not here, incidentally - Federal Poverty Level is a fixed number for each household size that gets inflation-adjusted every year.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 7:26 AM
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Shows me for not looking up the statistic before commenting. But my larger point stands! Our economy is dramatically different. I don't think average income gives you anything more than an order of magnitude estimate, which is useless for these purposes.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 7:41 AM
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Perhaps a better estimate could be arrived at by searching through various countries until the desired standard of living is found.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 7:53 AM
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Ignoring issues of good governance and the fungibility of labor, with our productivity we could have 15 hour work weeks, full e ployment, and Portugal's standard of living.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:00 AM
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Shit, I'd go for that.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:04 AM
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I know, right? Live like the Portugese is my new rallying cry.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:09 AM
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Bacalhau in every pot!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:12 AM
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Caldo verde FTW! I suspect minimum living costs increase with latitude, though. Not just heating bills, but the need for more housing space because you an't live outside.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:15 AM
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15 hour work weeks

I think I'd vastly prefer to have 30 hour work weeks and only work half the year. Is that on the table?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:17 AM
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halford, you are totally fucking right. I read this thread out loud because you rocked it so hard. but husband x wants to know, who's the banker? the cops aren't pigs, which might be inflammatory. the butcher is indeed a pig. whatsit murphy is an irish setter iirc, are the rest of the cops? he also wants to know what happened to gswift exactly that he had to have surgery, and I would have said, "rtfa, that's your problem, dude," except I don't know myself, so, gswift, what happened? also, how can harry and david not exist? whence will I send people delightful assortments of fruit? finally, ashland is lovely and the shakespeare is really almost always good.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:17 AM
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Wait, Harry and David doesn't exist anymore?!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:22 AM
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Clearly still in existence.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:23 AM
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he also wants to know what happened to gswift exactly

this.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:23 AM
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It's husband x because there's a husband y and a husband z, isn't there?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:27 AM
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I suspect minimum living costs increase with latitude, though.
Live like the Poles?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:28 AM
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Oh, I get it. Husband y is Harry, and husband z is David. You really need to read between the lines to follow this blog.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:28 AM
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I suspect minimum living costs increase with latitude, though.
Live like the Poles?

No, the poles are the point of maximum latitude. Live like the Equator.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:33 AM
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Can I live like the Poles but with Portuguese food and wine? I'd go up to 20 hours a week?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:40 AM
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Harry & David were financially ruined. Physically still there, financially digging out.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:43 AM
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You still haven't addressed the whole imitation Medford issue.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:03 AM
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The original Medford was a ditch near London where Queen Elizabeth I took a shit in 1172. The Medford in Massachusetts can't compete with that kind of history.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:26 AM
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211: I beg to differ. 30 comprehensively answers all claims re: Oregon towns.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:30 AM
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I can see Medford from my house. Or my upstairs neighbors probably can.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:31 AM
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I'm just focused on the fact that somebody liked Medford, Mass. enough to name someplace else after it. It's almost as weird as the fact that there's a Brockton Tavern in La Jolla.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:34 AM
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Having not been to Medford, Mass., I cannot comment on which one is better. Medford, Ore. is a lot closer to Crater Lake, which is objectively awesomer than any craters near to Medford, Mass.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:34 AM
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216 is difficult to argue with. Not a hotbed of craters, Eastern Mass.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:37 AM
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Crater Lake, which is objectively awesomer than any craters near to Medford, Mass.
Give essear time, Annelid. Give him time.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:38 AM
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I don't think there is a banker? I have "Best Storybook Ever" open right now. Dogs are most commonly the police, they are bobbies in "Pip Pip Goes to London," both the carabinieri and the Swiss Guard in "Good Luck in Rome" and "Couscous the Algerian Detective" is a dog. However "Pierre the Paris Policeman" is a fox and "Officer Montey of Monaco" a cat.

There is also, in "A Castle in Denmark," a MOUSE who is the goddamn king of Denmark. But admittedly that's a pretty low-status monarchy. Another aristocrat is Baron Von Crow.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:38 AM
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There's a huge crater in the Chesapeake Bay.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:42 AM
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Dating from the late Eocene, probably associated with a comet shower, along with the Popigai crater in Siberia.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:44 AM
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Relatedly, I've now had a paper rejected by both Science and Nature.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:45 AM
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222: sweet!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:46 AM
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Dating from the late Eocene
But what have you done for us lately?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:50 AM
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Halford, does that one have the housepainters who are supposed to be using blue and white for the Greek flag for a little old lady mouse(?) but don't match up which should be trim and which the main color? I was trying to remember what their species were.

While you're at it, you can tell me to fuck off anytime. I'd meant to say on the other thread that I think an unfogged fight might be fun for me and didn't get around to it yet.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:52 AM
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Surely that doesn't count. If it does, then I withdraw "crater" and cite "deepest lake on the continent" and "rad volcano caldera" and the old man of the lake


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:54 AM
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But admittedly that's a pretty low-status monarchy.

Nah. Low status monarchies are the ones that can't even run to kings and queens and have to make do with princes and grand dukes and such.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:55 AM
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I know, right? Live like the Portugese is my new rallying cry.

You're righter than you know.

(Via Iberian Beauty.)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 10:01 AM
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227: for one thing, it stretches "near" a bit, but it's way bigger than the meteor crater in Arizona. Admittedly, Crater Lake is a different and awesome kind of thing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 10:02 AM
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223: turns out they only like to publish things that are statistically significant. Who knew?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 10:05 AM
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doesn't count because it isn't visible to the naked eye... yeah, that's the ticket.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 10:07 AM
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Fuck off Witt! That one doesn't seem to be in the storybook so we'll have to research further.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 10:07 AM
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232: statistically significant, entirely novel, interdisciplinary and which use totally novel methods. SURE NO PROB GUYS.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 10:08 AM
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234: I'm not even Witt, but I guess we all look alike to you.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 10:15 AM
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Go fuck yourself Thorn for pointing out an error!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 10:18 AM
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[ o/t bleg -- any suggestions for things to do in Los Angeles area with my active 80+ year old mother. She's into arty and cultured stuff mostly. Also any vegetarian-friendly restaurants to recommend? Thanks in advance! ]


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 10:38 AM
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238, go to the Getty. You park and ride a tram up, and there are plenty of places to sit. I like MOCA as well, but that's certainly not as universally pleasing. You'd probably do best with Asian fare in LA for vegetarian (general rec for Korean, esp if seafood is OK) rather than American.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 10:53 AM
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What part of LA will you be in?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 10:56 AM
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Oh, right, Griffiths Observatory is neat (both the smog obstructed views and the inside), but it's a decent uphill walk (maybe 1/2 mile, not really steep but also not easy) unless you arrive before sunset to get parking close to the top.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 10:56 AM
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I was surprised whenever I was in LA (January? but it feels like it was multiple years ago. but I think: January) that there was a pretty large walkable chunk of the city, at least by my standards of walkable, which may not extend to 80-year-olds. I liked MOCA and the tar pits. Didn't go to the Getty because that would have required renting a car.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:00 AM
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Depending on where you're from, interests, and where you're staying (most important) I'd recommend making a reservation at the Getty Villa (which is really an incredible ancient art museum and also gets in the requisite "beach" experience) and also going to LACMA, which is really great now. As for vegetarian restaurants, fuck you.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:15 AM
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Oh, another one. My sister swears that movies in LA look better (something about movie industry snobbery), plus there are lots of art house type independent films playing. I couldn't notice a difference myself, but I'm not a professional industry type like she is. (Obligatory: I really kind of hate LA.)


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:17 AM
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I remember when the Getty Villa was the only Getty. We used to go there a lot when I was in high school.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:17 AM
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The Museum of Jurassic Technology is the weirdest museum in LA and, thus, highly recommended.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:21 AM
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Everyone told me to go to that and then I didn't. Next time!

Or wait, probably not next time, because I'll be there for like 36 hours and then have to get back to teach. The time after that!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:26 AM
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247 - WRONG! There is also the "Sports Museum of Los Angeles" which is a private collection of obscure Lakers and Dodgers memorabilia collected by some weirdo and kept in a warehouse in a horrible part of town, open only by private appointment. There's also this awesome 13-foot museum in someone I know's backyard, which actually your 80 year old mother should totally go to.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:27 AM
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Oh yeah, the Museum of Jurassic Technology is great. And you can go upstairs and have tea and cookies while you try to figure out how much of it is legit.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:27 AM
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After walking past it a million times I recently decided to look up the website of the Museum of the Modern Renaissance, which confirmed my initial impression that it's just somebody's unusually decorated house.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:30 AM
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I agree re. Getty Villa -- it's got lots of wonderful stuff and it's such a pleasant place in its own right (unlike the Getty Museum, which is too bright and hot and open). It's close to the Inn at the Seventh Ray, which is a very LA experience and also a nice restaurant with good veg options.

Also, the last time I went to the Getty Villa I sat across from Koji Yashuko (*swoon*) in the cafe, though YMMV.

If you'll be on the east side, the Norton Simon and the Huntington, both in the Pasadena area, are excellent museum options. There are about a billion vegetarian restaurants in Pasadena, mostly South or Southeast Asian.

The Museum of Jurassic Technology is one of my standard destinations for visitors, but honestly that place always makes me feel a little ill. I think the air inside hasn't been changed for the past twenty years. If you go there you can have a lovely, possibly free, vegetarian dinner next door at the Hare Krishna temple.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:31 AM
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There's also this awesome 13-foot museum in someone I know's backyard, which actually your 80 year old mother should totally go to.

That does sound like the kind of thing she likes! Thanks!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:31 AM
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I think we're staying in a hotel near where my niece lives in San Pedro. We will have a car.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:34 AM
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Dating from the late Eocene

The title of the latest paleo-oriented relationship self-help book.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:38 AM
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Goddamnit I love Pedro. I don't know about your Mom but if I were you I'd just drive around the port and stare, it is so so so awesome. It is a little far from most museums (and I guess vegetarian restaurants) though. But if you time it right the drive up the Harbor Freeway up to Downtown and MOCA isn't too bad at all. There's also the Long Beach Museum of Latin American Art which is close and supposed to be pretty good but I've never been there.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:41 AM
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There's also this awesome 13-foot museum in someone I know's backyard, which actually your 80 year old mother should totally go to.

One member of that community is Katie Grinnan, whose sculpture "FYI" is on view at LAMOA until early August and will travel to the Print Center in Philadelphia in September. The work consists of a lime-green steel structure that holds a collection of hanging files filled with all kinds of printed matter. Grinnan asked her personal contacts for "information" that they would like to share and created a filing system around their contributions. Visitors are invited to add their own information or simply browse what's there already.

You totally put printouts of The Archives in there, didn't you, Halford?


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:43 AM
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You can drive across the St. Vincent Thomas bridge and get confused about why they canonized a city councilman!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:44 AM
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San Pedro is also just up the road from the Long Beach Aquarium, where you can also catch a ferries out to Catalina, whale watch tours, etc.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:48 AM
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The late Assemblyman Vincent Thomas of San Pedro hasn't officially had his name removed from the 47-year-old bridge dedicated in his honor, but a lot of folks think the name is the St. Vincent Thomas Bridge. It was even called that in the 1995 shoot-'em-up movie "Heat."

"I can't figure out what [the misconception over the name] is about," Long Beach Press-Telegram columnist Tim Grobaty said. "I don't recall, after my centuries of Catholic schooling, any St. Vincent Thomas -- St. Vincent, St. Thomas, St. Vincent De Paul, Edna St. Vincent Millay, yes...."

But no St. Vincent Thomas.

That is confusing!



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:51 AM
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Actually if you're in Pedro you should absolutely and totally take your Mom to the Watts Towers, which are pretty close and she'd like if she's into art.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:53 AM
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I always think of The Usual Suspects when someone mentions San Pedro.

Watch out for Keyser Söze.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:55 AM
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You're too far away to go have my brother wait on you, so I don't have other input. My parents, who are a bit younger than yours, thought the Getty Villa was fantastic.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 12:06 PM
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OK, no one else seems to have cared about this, but:

The thing I don't get about Graeber's analysis is why he thinks that people would enjoy their leisure more. Most people don't make much of their leisure time, far as I can tell.

Granted that a lot of people watch stunning amounts of TV, but I'd argue that, for a typical working family with kids, most ostensible leisure time gets divided between non-work obligations (housework, child-rearing, necessary shopping*), and simple unwinding, which doesn't leave a lot of time for things you would define as "making much of". IOW, if I'm working 9 hours a day, commuting for 2, sleeping 7, and dealing with home and family 3 (which is probably scant when you consider basic grooming and eating), I'm down to 3 hours/day that aren't completely dedicated to not-me. For most (all?) people, some of that needs to be down time, whether TV or internet or sitting on the deck with a beer. And now you're not left with a whole hell of a lot of opportunity to perform whatever leisure you'd consider worthy of the name.

In a saner world, the working and commuting times in there would be reduced, and you could perhaps double uncommitted leisure time, at which point "real" leisure - exercising, creating, flaneurie - becomes a lot more feasible. But I think most people, in their current schedules, find that sort of thing exhausting to contemplate.

*most Americans do both necessary shopping and leisure shopping


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 12:11 PM
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Wow! Lots of great suggestions! Thanks, people!

263.2: My mother was a soldier in the Israeli military. She'll protect me.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 12:18 PM
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at which point "real" leisure - exercising, creating, flaneurie flânerie, correcting other people's tiny mistakes on the Internet...


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 12:21 PM
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I always think of The Usual Suspects when someone mentions San Pedro.

Whereas I always think of Chinatown.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 12:40 PM
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I think of The Minutemen


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 12:42 PM
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Also, it's pronounced "peedro" as in urine, and don't fuck that up.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 12:43 PM
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No, I get that as with bullshit jobs, it is hard to say what people would do with their leisure if it The System were different. I totally see that with constrained leisure time it is hard to take up artisan pickle-making. Maybe if they had a secure income that only took 20 hours/week and some structure, they would all become fulfilled ganache sculptors. But maybe people who are disaffected with crappy jobs would be disaffected with empty time, too.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 12:44 PM
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I do wonder about that. I do literally almost nothing with leisure time lately; weekend time not devoted to necessary errands turns into blank staring. I wonder if there's an amount of leisure at which I'd be energized.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 12:47 PM
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I wonder if there's an amount of leisure at which I'd be energized.

I can't say that I've taken up artisanal pickle-making, but the last couple of months have shown me that while I thought the book-reading part of my brain was permanently broken, it's actually the book-reading-after-going-to-a-job-I-don't-really-like part that was the problem.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 12:50 PM
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I don't feel like I have very much leisure time, but I've sewn most of a shirt for myself (cut up from another shirt and frankensteined together, not fro plain cloth) in the last 18 hours or so. Reading a book is a higher priority when I have the time, but it feels really good to be making something again.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 1:04 PM
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267: it was a fairly blind guess, although in retrospect I could have guessed better. I knew about the little hat over the a, but I don't care.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 1:08 PM
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Halford (and others) might like to know that I have the complete run of these upstairs.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 1:10 PM
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But maybe people who are disaffected with crappy jobs would be disaffected with empty time, too.

The longer I live, the more convinced I am that most people actually have untapped wells of interest and activity. You see it in the intricate websites devoted to, well, pretty much every damn thing, you see it in trainspotters and diorama builders and yarnbombers and calligraphers. I think that most people are A. too tired to explore them, B. too vitiated by consumer culture to be proactive in discovering/exploring them, and C. too easily distracted by prefab leisure activities. For C I'm thinking about collecting Beanie Babies and scrapbooking (the latter being a sort of bullshit leisure, in that it creates a lot more consumerism than it does worthwhile scrapbooks).

Now, some of this is covered by Megan's original claim of making poor use of existing leisure time, but I think the parts of it that aren't driven by exhaustion are more driven by Paralysis of Choice (or whatever that's called): with a million stupid leisure options offered up by Society, we either ignore them all and watch TV, or else randomly pick one and pour our energies into it.

I don't think most people are incapable of using their leisure time well; I think that they tend not to for largely exogenous reasons.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 1:20 PM
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I choosing to believe that 278 gets it absolutely right.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 1:30 PM
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My hobby is collecting exogenous reasons.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 1:31 PM
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I bring the links

Russell's In Praise of Idleness

Standing in Precariat spends a lot of time, hmm, describing the "unpaid work" the precariat or part-timers do to get and stay employed.

I am not sure if he is where I recently saw the Russell alluded to. I read too much. And I am sure it has been discussed above, not checking, but the ways that what was unpaid domestic work or sort-of-leisure or leisure have been commodified and are now expenses are making life more precarious and stressful.

I know it is tough in the lower half of the income scale, and you can shoot me, but commodifying housework and cooking and yardwork and DIY and life/health maintenance and leisure activities does not seem so stress-reducing when you desperately have to work 16 hour days to pay for the cleaning service and club memberships.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 1:31 PM
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I bring the failure, but am not ashamed. Ashamed of my impatience for not previewing

Russell Idleness


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 1:33 PM
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I agree with 279.

To add one thing: sports obsession (e.g. guys with their man caves utterly coated with everything branded in their teams' names) is a fairly bullshit way of using leisure time that I don't think would go anywhere in any conceivable society. And I don't see any particular reason to think that guys who spend their time and money on that sort of thing will do anything else - each marginal hour and dollar will sink into that. I'd suggest that the extremes that we currently see have been driven by bullshit capitalism (no, you can't have a raise, but cheap crap from China will be cheaper), but I don't really see it receding even under some surprising yet plausible reconstruction of society (like people getting real wage increases in line with productivity gains while somewhat reducing worked hours).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 1:40 PM
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sports obsession (e.g. guys with their man caves utterly coated with everything branded in their teams' names) is a fairly bullshit way of using leisure time that I don't think would go anywhere in any conceivable society.

Maybe so, but you and Moby could be forgiven for so indulging yourselves this summer.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 1:57 PM
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280 to 284.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 2:16 PM
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284: You have no idea. I mean, no man cave, but....


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 2:35 PM
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...an Andrew McCutchen RealDoll(tm) in the bedroom?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 2:50 PM
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286: I do, though; I imagine the feeling to be something like mine after the 2004 postseason (implicitly, fuck you, Halford).


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 2:55 PM
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Damn it, I was just composing my fuck YOU message for the weekend.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:01 PM
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Save it for later. You're totally right about Scarry, too, but fuck you anyway.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:02 PM
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You going to the Dodgers game tonight, Halford? Should be good.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:08 PM
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286: Oh right. Although the whirl of going from hopeless to division race is pretty heady. Every win feels like a gift.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:10 PM
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Potentially tough series for our boys, CC. If Halford comes out on top I'm going to feel bad.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:11 PM
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Marginal leisure time for me usually goes into reading books. But I keep buying them at the rate I did when I was in high school and college, if not more often, and reading a lot fewer of them, so they're still winning.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:14 PM
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Not tonight, but I'll go for Saturday's day game. Nolasco's not great and Capuano is pretty affirmatively bad (also: Duke) (though fine for a fifth starter), so I'm not super optimistic about Friday or Sunday. Goddamn stadium will have goddamn Red Sox fans in it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:15 PM
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On the other hand, losing probably has fewer bad consequences for us than for you, ho ho ho.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:15 PM
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292: I've raised my daughters to be Red Sox fans first and Giants fans second, but I told them it was okay to feel good about last night's game because Pirates fans totally deserve this season. Massholes can be compassionate like that.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:17 PM
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297: Aggh! Fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:18 PM
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You have a dispensation for being a Giants fan if you're actually born within the boundaries of the City and County of San Francisco, and I'll even generously extend that to San Mateo county. Otherwise not so much.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:20 PM
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297: puts a tear in my eye, by gum.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:21 PM
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Massholes can be compassionate like that

Ryan Dempster was just showing some tough love, got it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:24 PM
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298: Excellent. They hate the Yankees first and the Indians/Braves second (because racism), and now if they ask why when I tell them the Dodgers should be third, I can tell them about you, thereby steering them away from Dodgers fandom, LA and corporate law simultaneously.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:24 PM
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301: I'm perfectly happy explaining to them that Dempster was a dick regardless of how much of a cunt A-Rod is, though perhaps not in those words exactly.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:28 PM
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Sox have never beaten the Dodgers at home. Never.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:30 PM
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Remember when baseball was deprecated on the blog? Maybe if we talk about it enough, ogged will come back, if only to shut the thing down.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:37 PM
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304 -- the battle of the second and third oldest stadiums in MLB.

I keep forgetting you guys have Shane Victorino now. I hate that guy so much!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:40 PM
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305: He knowingly handed the blog keys to a White Sox fan; it's his own damn fault. I mean, not that I ever blog about baseball. Or even follow it very closely (especially not this season, stupid last place).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:41 PM
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First and third, I guess. Sorry.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:41 PM
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Wait, and on checking my suspicion, I'm proven correct that 304 is wrong. The Red Sox won the 1916 world series by beating the Dodgers at home, mostly on the pitching strength of Babe Ruth.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:45 PM
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Actually, on checking further, it turns out that Ruth didn't pitch in any of the Dodgers home games. So that part was wrong. Let no one say that accuracy is not my watchword.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 3:54 PM
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Very late to the thread, but I think Bob in 4 and Halford in 53 spot the basic problem with this article -- it's a sort of a sentimental expression of opinion rather than any kind of analysis. So it slides into a kind of pseudo-conspiracy theory. You have to analyze capitalism systemically -- it promises to create a decentralized system of job matching based on responses to real human needs, expressed through consumer demand. But in actuality the entire system is driven by capitalist accumulation, racking up and preserving profits generated by private property. As Halford points out in 53, many of the 'useless' jobs are actually useful to employers in the sense of generating profits. Their uselessness emerges from the deeper sense of waste in the system of capitalist property rights. A vast amount of human labor is diverted into defining, defending, and manipulating the property rights essential to profit generation under capitalism. This, along with manipulating consumer demand through propaganda, is much of what 'suits' do. (And it is a different and broader concept than 'guard labor' because it's not just about direct worker discipline, although it supports that). Once you understand how this works you see how much actual capitalism conflicts with econ 101, because the work of defining/defending/manipulating property rights is frequently about *defeating* perfect competition. Perfect competition and profit potential are in direct conflict.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 4:32 PM
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I think that most people are A. too tired to explore them, B. too vitiated by consumer culture to be proactive in discovering/exploring them, and C. too easily distracted by prefab leisure activities.

I just got cable TV for the first time, and holy shit television / video / Netflix is an incredibly powerful drug. It's like having a morphine drip in your living room. Between 800 channels of video content, internet porn, and junk food I wonder how anyone ever leaves the house or participates in non-passive recreation.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 4:37 PM
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311 makes bullshit jobs seem even less morally defensible and even less politically vulnerable.

I found out exactly when my interests in things came back to me, when I took my first retirement. About two months, I think, although the first six weeks were mostly sleep and an RSI crisis.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 5:16 PM
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(This was before netflix and cable didn't seem attractive, but I could get all the easy-spined books I wanted from the local library.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 5:17 PM
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I could get all the easy-spined books I wanted from the local library

Is this some sort of euphemism for whoring?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 5:37 PM
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I was on a three day week for about five months a few years back. Mostly I did more of my usual stuff, like reading, and didn't start writing a novel or anything very creative. I mist say was a really good daughter to my mother during that time.
I swapped my situation for 4 months unpaid study leave and an interesting mornings-only course that paid a €300 pw stipend, which was an absolutely fantastic life. (I went into work one half day a week just to make sure there were things they'd still need me for.) Still proud that as a not-morning person I got them to swap me from the afternoon course to the morning (knew full well I would just spend my a.m. sleeping otherwise)
Anyway more free time is fantastic but you start to worry about money.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 5:39 PM
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316: Maybe? I couldn't hold a book open, they had to lay themselves flat.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 5:46 PM
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The more free time I have, the less I do. I have to be overbooked to actually complete anything.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 5:49 PM
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I really recommend visiting the Wayfarers Chapel in LA. It's beautiful, and it's not far from San Pedro.

(California, I miss you.)


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 6:39 PM
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Once you understand how this works you see how much actual capitalism conflicts with econ 101, because the work of defining/defending/manipulating property rights is frequently about *defeating* perfect competition. Perfect competition and profit potential are in direct conflict.

This is a really important and underappreciated point.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 6:40 PM
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Also the Museum of Neon Art is fun (though it looks like it's closed temporarily).


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 6:50 PM
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Speaking of bullshit and leisure, I can now get a sunburn through my hair. The fuck.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 6:59 PM
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Sounds like some sort of hat might be in order.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 7:00 PM
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First and third, I guess. Sorry.

It took a while for that to sink in. Nearly 50 years worth of ballparks, all gone? Huh.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 7:02 PM
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Well, just because you can, that doesn't mean it's a good idea.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 7:02 PM
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And yes, PGD's 311 is indeed excellent. One could take that argument further, and suggest that government regulation can help ensure fair competition, making the free market more efficient. But that would be crazy talk.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 7:12 PM
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324 -- yes, and DS is pretty much the only good and likely to survive stadium from the period between Wrigley and Camden Yards, so there's that. Also, if you have the ability to listen to Vin call this game, you totally should.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 7:16 PM
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327 -- actually PGD's argument suggests a far more radical (and accurate) critique of capitalism than that.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 7:18 PM
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329: that it carries the seeds of its own destruction?like ip!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 7:26 PM
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Boooo.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:08 PM
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actually PGD's argument suggests a far more radical (and accurate) critique of capitalism human nature than that.

There. Maximum pessimism!


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 8:22 PM
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205: keep it on the down low, motherfucker!
219: you've got them open right now? man, I love you as much as nosflow loved beat poetry in middle school, man.
re: leisure time, when you look at how amazingly awesome video games are now, you kind of have to scoff at those, 'the kids coming up these days, spending too much time playing video game' complaints. when I was a kid, video games donked compared to this shit. this is like...next level. who the fuck would go outside when it's cold when they could be inside playing that mutable gravity game for their ps console?


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:09 PM
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M/tch's show was super amazing. I can't believe how talented that cast is. And m/tch delivered some hysterical lines, and generally fit right in.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:12 PM
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Regarding leisure time: I was recently handed a couple weeks off, but I couldn't afford to travel, so staycation. It turns out that, with no particular plan, I will drink coffee and read the internet a lot, ride my bike to the river several times, run nearly every day, and say yes to people who want to get together to play music. I've really enjoyed it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:22 PM
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Yay M/tch! Yay Stanley!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 9:23 PM
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That was super fun. The laydeez of the cast are awesome and made it easy. So glad you came to watch, heebs! And thanks again, so much, to everyone who voted!


Posted by: M/tch M/Los | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:26 PM
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Congrats, M/tch!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:29 PM
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Also, yay Stanley!


Posted by: M/tch M/Los | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:29 PM
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I assume M/tch M/Los is M/tch M/lls's non-union Mexican equivalent.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:30 PM
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I'm a little btokced. Or should I say "M/Los'd"?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:32 PM
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Quite so, M/Lord.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:37 PM
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OT: Guys, I totally hit a raccoon with my car tonight. I was on the highway, late, and had stopped for like 10 different animals already, but this one just ran right under the wheels of my car. An hour later, when I got close to my town, I slowed down and there is a terrible noise--not alive, just a mechanical flapping, and it doesn't affect the way the car drives at all. It's just loud. I have to drive to Chicago pretty early tomorrow. Should I stop and try to get it looked at? I guess so, huh? Anyway, it sucked and I feel really bad about it.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 12:40 AM
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That does suck. Maybe take a look in the morning and see if anything looks weird in the area where the sound seems to be coming from and go from there.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 12:44 AM
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I got out when I dropped my friend off and asked if he would look, but he is apparently also a pussy, so neither of us looked. I looked at what I could see around the wheels and front, and saw nothing, but my guess is that something is tangled up around the bottom. So awful and gross. Hopefully my dealership can take care of it on my way out of town.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 12:47 AM
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Yeah, probably stop by the dealership and see what they say. And try not to get too upset about it (easier said than done, I know). These things just happen sometimes.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 12:53 AM
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Would that there were a train that goes from here to points elsewhere! I like trains. I miss trains. Sigh.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 1:00 AM
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I hear ya.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 1:05 AM
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One could take that argument further, and suggest that government regulation can help ensure fair competition, making the free market more efficient.

yeah, I don't really agree with this as an outcome of what I was getting at. I mean, it's true. But a system where markets approximated perfect competition would be nightmarish -- no producer surplus at all, and our life as producers/workers/employees is more important to us than our life as consumers. The most humane forms of capitalism usually have some kind of imperfect competition that generates producer surplus, and then rules/norms/power sharing that leads the owners to share the surplus with the employees.

The question is, can we figure out a decentralized system of incentives that works but is different from property rights>profit accumulation? I don't think human nature makes that impossible, because when you look closely at incentives for most people they revolve more around social status/pride/pleasure in work than they do accumulation. (Above a certain material level of course). But getting there from here is admittedly sort of utopian. And it may not be possible to do it with as individualistic a setup as we have today.

There, is that grandiose and cryptic enough?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 3:25 AM
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It's somewhat amusing to see so much of the current focus in Pittsburgh on the .500 threshold rather than the playoffs per se. But as native NE Ohioan my PTSLD* is so well-established that I understand implicitly. (And make a graph for Pirates 2011, 2012, 2013 here to see why it is only in the last two to three weeks that people actually believe in their heart of hearts.)

*Post-Traumatic Sports Loss Disorder.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 4:18 AM
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that it carries the seeds of its own destruction?like ip! the Pirates

Fixed that for you.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 5:05 AM
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343: This isn't one those cases where "raccoon" is a psychological defense mechanism and there's actually a dead guy on your bumper.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 5:13 AM
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AWB bought heebie's car?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 5:23 AM
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Hopefully my dealership can take care of it on my way out of town.

I was somewhere around Iowa City when the drugs began to take hold ...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 5:41 AM
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Some bastards took Raiders of the Lost Ark and remade it replacing Nazis with cats and making a little boy and some puppies the protagonists.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 5:49 AM
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355 not to 354, unfortunately. This probably isn't going to do long term damage to his brain, right?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 6:26 AM
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Speaking of bullshit jobs, I guess this is related. Liens have to be accepted without any verification, which then cascades through the system (credit scores, etc.)? I believe that's called an exploit.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 6:26 AM
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I mean, anything where a monkey carries a knife can't be all that bad for kids.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 6:30 AM
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Although now I see a possible solution to the civil forfeiture bullshit in the other post. That might even be legal, right?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 6:35 AM
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357, 9: I had a relative who used to get papers from people in these groups back in the 80s. Back then they were rejecting the courts completely, not harassing through them. They had their own courts and my relative was ordered by pay then $1 million and it had to be in coins from back when they had silver in them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 6:43 AM
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And the flag couldn't have a fringe on it, or possibly was required to?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:47 PM
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LB will remember for sure, but I think the first of those.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:59 PM
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Speaking of bullshit jobs, somebody wants me to call China to discuss my antibody needs. I want to call them collect and say that I need my antibodies to fight diseases the kid brings home from school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 3:03 PM
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Nearly 50 years worth of ballparks, all gone? Huh.

Worse than that. If I'm not mistaken, there are only 2-3 ballparks* remaining between Dodger Stadium and Camden Yards. Meaning that Stadium history is now represented by 2 parks from the 1910's, 1 from the '50s, 2 from the '60s, and 1 or 2 from the pre-retro '90s. The other 24 teams play in parks that are less than 20 years old, and are almost all similarly styled.

* Kaufman, Oakland, Comiskey; am I missing any? The Trop, I guess.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 9:29 PM
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357: I heard tonight about a professor who accidentally secured his home loan with a refrigerator because the bank forgot to check a box on the mortgage document. The professor didn't have the courage of his convictions to default on the loan, though.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:14 PM
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Maybe he needed the refrigerator.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:31 PM
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That's seems unlikely. It would make more sense if you had to check a box to have the mortgage secured by the fridge instead.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:50 PM
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i guess that the Moby Hick is right with ur words


Posted by: Bruno Pinna | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 6:46 AM
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The Toronto SkyDome is from 89.

I just realized almost every stadium I've ever been to for a baseball game is now gone.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 7:16 AM
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Baseball is mostly just boredom anyway.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 9:00 AM
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Comiskey is gone and Dodger Stadium, now the third-oldest in the majors, is from the 60s ('63), but yes. One of the great joys of Dodger Stadium now, among others, is precisely that it's unique in being a great stadium that's modernist and not post-Camden Yards.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 9:46 AM
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I'm sure there are people who preferred Memorial Stadium to Camden Yards, but I'm not one of them.

I should really work a little harder at getting out to Safeco for a game or two.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 10:07 AM
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Having watched the Nats play in RFK, and then their own place, I'm really not on board at all with the hate on the new ballparks.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 10:09 AM
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The new Comiskey ever so slightly pre-Camden Yards (it opened the year before).


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 10:09 AM
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I should really work a little harder at getting out to Safeco for a game or two.

Let me know when you do, and I'll try to join you. I love that place.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 11:02 AM
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I was just looking at the calendar and thinking I'll be walking pretty well, if with a Dutch Limp, in mid-May. Now I just need to find a client willing to pay me to go there . . .


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 11:12 AM
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