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American workers not "best in the world." In fact, we're actually kind of bad.

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Oct 9, 2013.

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  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    In the least surprising news since Tim Lincecum was busted for smoking weed, shitty American students have turned into shitty American employees or, as the case may be, unemployees:


    In a nutshell:

    One big reason that Americans remain unemployed isn't because they don't want to find work, as the mantra so often goes. It is that they don't have anything to offer.
  2. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    American in his/her 20s to prospective employers: "I don't have anything to offer because you won't offer me a company phone, company car, 2 p.m. naps, X-boxes in the break room and two free meals a day in the cafeteria for an entry-level job. Oh, and you won't tell me five times a day that I'm special because I try really hard."
  3. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    But we're *really* good at sports. So it all balances out.
  4. BitterYoungMatador2

    BitterYoungMatador2 Well-Known Member

    Murrican Exceptionalism
  5. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Just read this.

    It's really crazy. Having a skill that is in demand is how you make money, and gain the leverage necessary to make more money.

    The highly skilled in the United States earn a much larger wage premium over unskilled workers than in most, if not all, other advanced nations, where regulations, unions and taxes tend to temper inequality. So if the rewards for skills are so high, why is the supply of skilled workers so sluggish?

    The "you didn't build that" crowd has made success almost shameful.

    Too many would like us to be more like Europe, where they "temper inequality". But, since we don't live in a European social Democracy, advocates of this do the rest of us a disservice.

    We need to tell kids that they must work hard, and acquire a skill. But, that goes against everything union teachers believe in.
  6. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I think we should temper inequality. I don't think we should temper inequality at the expense of growth. And I certainly don't think we should be protecting, for the long haul, obsolete jobs. You can't will them into continued relevance, and trying to do so is just Soviet central planning on a smaller scale. My Congressman is one of the worst about it, too.

    Generalizing. Too far. The problem with teachers isn' t the one you cite. It's that most of them come out of the bottom one-third of their college graduating classes. They'd love to teach their students to acquire a skill. They just aren't, on a large scale, and with no help from many parents, capable of imparting those skills. Mix that with systemic issues that we have discussed ad nauseum here and, well, see link above.
  7. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    I'm going to do my best to steer way the hell clear of the politics here, but I can tell you that this article hits the nail on the head with regard to the numeracy issue. I know not everyone has it in him/her to be a mathematician, but the level of mathematical incompetence I encounter on a regular basis is absolutely astounding.

    I did a derivative on the board the other night in my MBA class and I daresay that at least two-thirds of the class had no idea in hell what I was doing. Not just the mechanics, but what it meant. Now keep in mind that every one of these students had, at some point in his/her life, sat in a classroom "studying" calculus. So what in the hell happened?
  8. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    The latest issue of "Skeptic" magazine notes that the biggest correlation between a nation and its poor performance in STEM subjects is its devotion to religious fundamentalism.

    Sounds about right.

    I'll dig up the precise passage at lunch.
  9. britwrit

    britwrit Well-Known Member

    This is a complicated subject. But part of the problem is that students probably don't want to spend six years of their life expensively learning a skill that will be obsolete in another five, or outsourced. I know manufacturing is coming back in America thanks to automation but are you going to bet the farm on a lifetime career in it?

    Plus - assuming Americans aren't simply genetically inferior - I see students smart enough for these fields heading straight for medicine or accountancy. When was the last time the Doctor Factory had a lay-off?
  10. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    But it's not that expensive to pay attention in your high school math or English class. People aren't even doing that much, this indicates.
  11. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    I would suggest that what the "I built that all by myself" crowd has done is undermine at every possible turn the fundamental infrastructure needed to produce these highly skilled workers, not to mention systematically devaluing the very skills they claim to need. For every business owner who seeks highly skilled workers, there are plenty more who are content to get by with moderately skilled workers, preferably in a third-world country that's less finicky about things like paying a decent wage.
  12. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    You're talking about different things. A business owner doesn't want highly skilled workers to answer phones or sew buttons or glue a bumper on. Of course he's going to outsource those jobs, as he should. He or she wants highly skilled workers to program computers or draft contracts or innovate the processes.
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