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How to Sound Charismatic – The Atlantic
According to Signorello’s research, which has not yet been published, most candidates varied their voices during rallies. One standout was President Obama, whose voice does not seem to dip into the lower registers as much as the other politicians studied. … Meanwhile, when politicians address a group of their peers—Signorello studied Clinton speaking to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and Trump appearing at a New Hampshire Leadership Summit—they use a much lower-pitched voice, and they change their pitch very little.
That’s a sign they’re trying to seem authoritative and confident, he said. Other mammals use the same vocalization styles to project physical size, power, or dominance.
Manufacturing: Up? Down? – FRED
Manufacturing output is definitively trending up; that is, the number of things produced in this country has increased over time and is currently increasing. This production is accomplished, however, with fewer and fewer employees. It should be no surprise that an economy becomes increasingly better (quicker, more efficient, etc.) at producing things, thanks to increasing productivity per employee through innovations, for example. Recently, though, manufacturing employment is trending up slightly, while productivity has slowed down (as it has in other sectors).
Driverless Cars Will Shrink Our Roads and Radically Reshape Urban Space – Curbed “Freeways are where it starts. Most manufacturers have a car that can navigate a freeway in a semi-autonomous way. Now there are people on a road that don’t need to touch the steering wheel. There will be more and more of this happening quickly.”
Comparing Urbanization in Rich and Poor Nations – NBER “Do insights about the economics of cities that have been developed largely from studies in the United States and Europe apply with equal force in the developing world, where in coming years the majority of the world’s urban population will reside?”
Vietnam blocked access to Facebook during Obama visit – TechCrunch
Inside A Growing Movement Of Coworking Spaces For Atypical Entrepreneurs – FastCo
Babies are born helpless, which might explain why humans are so clever – The Economist
Their idea is that helpless babies require intelligent parents to look after them. But to get big-brained parents you must start with big-headed—and therefore helpless—babies. The result is a feedback loop, in which the pressure for clever parents requires ever-more incompetent infants, requiring ever-brighter parents to ensure they survive childhood.
It is an elegant idea. The self-reinforcing nature of the process would explain why intelligence is so strikingly overdeveloped in humans compared even with chimpanzees.
12 Articles Every Aspiring Economist Should Read – Steven Horwitz
A recent Andreessen Horowitz a16z podcast features a great chat with management professor Thomas Davenport and Harvard Business Review editor Julia Kirby, authors of the new book Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines.
Listen to the whole thing, but I wanted to highlight a portion that concerned whether the automation “threat” — such as it is — demands serious consideration of universal basic income. (Here, by the way, is a great note on UBI from my AEI colleague Michael Strain.) From the podcast:
Sonal Chokshi: Some people argue that having a universal basic income can change the way we think about work, because if you don’t have to worry about basic necessities and survival, you can then think about work as this creative act — which is then why they tend to link it to this notion of automation and creativity. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Julia Kirby: Right, the link that people make with universal basic income is a really depressing link, and it’s a damaging way of thinking about things.
Chokshi: Why is that? I think that will be pretty controversial for some of our listeners who are pro- that link.
Kirby: Of course the reason people make the link is that people believe that automation means that there will be much much less for humans to do and that somehow we have to provide for human livelihood because jobs just won’t do it anymore. We just kind of reject that premise, and that’s fundamentally what our book is about. In fact there are lots of ways that humans are still going to be able to and be required to add value to what computers do in the workplace, and so we don’t at all see no need in the future for human employment, that all work can be given over to smart machines.
If you reject that premise, then you don’t have to think so hard about how you provide for people’s lives, and livelihoods, so that’s why it’s unnecessary. Why I actually think it’s a damaging way to think about things is that it denies the fact that work is really important to people. It’s really part of the human condition. Being part of something bigger than yourself, allying your efforts with other people’s, being compensated for your efforts — this is all really important to identity formation and a sense of being worthwhile.
It’s easy to say, “Oh, we would all just have the level of self-discipline required to do all that if our pay wasn’t contingent on it, or if there were no link between effort and reward in the world.” But that’s just not simply what we ever have seen. What we know is that we appreciate not only the source of income but the source of structure in our lives. The structure, the meaning that it gives to us… work is a good thing to have.
Thomas Davenport: Even dogs like work. Some dog trainers that I’ve had for my dog put these little saddles on the dogs because they like to know they have something important to do and carry around. We do believe it’s certainly possible there will be some job loss on the margins, but because of this belief in the importance of work for meaning, for lifestyle, we’d argue for guaranteed work that would be compensated rather than for guaranteed income alone, and as Julia suggests, there haven’t been a whole lot of experiments around the world — we’ll probably see one in Switzerland in a couple of weeks where there’s going to be a vote on guaranteed basic income up to $2500. But in the experiments thus far, instead of doing highly meaningful activities, people just watch more TV, and I don’t think that’s a terribly satisfying life, to spend our days watching television.
Chokshi: Totally throw off our productivity numbers too, which is apparently a big deal. I think that’s a great point to me on the UBI topic, that incentives are totally misaligned. That’s why to me the insurance angle is really interesting, similar to your point on guaranteed work, because incentives are more aligned with how people are driven. I would say though that this notion that “that’s how we’ve always done it, that’s how we find meaning in work,” I do think technology can surprise us and we don’t know how our lives will be as more of it is automated. We could actually find ourselves very surprised by how the nature of work changes.
Davenport: I think it’ll be really interesting if Switzerland votes this in because we’ll have one of the world’s largest experiments on what people do when they can live at least at a very low level without having to work. It’ll be interesting to see the desire to pursue work and to see what people decide to do in their “leisure” time.
Chockshi: It will be an interesting case study, and just like with any case study, we are thinking of countries that are smaller and more homogenous, and then I’m thinking of places that are more heterogeneous, diverse, like the US or India, or China, with these traditions and layers; it’ll be super interesting to see how this plays out into other regions.
It’s one thing when a company generates profits from creating value. That’s a beautiful thing. But how about when the profit comes from manipulating the political system? If that latter situation is commonplace, then rising profits might show something is deeply wrong with an economy.
Such a situation could, as James Bessen writes in Harvard Business Review, “represent a decline in competition and, with that, a decline in economic dynamism. While a dynamic, competitive economy rewards innovative firms with high profits and punishes poor performers with low profits, sustained aggregate profits suggest, instead, that firms are able to get away with higher prices because competition is limited. Firms engage in political ‘rent seeking’—lobbying for regulations that provide them sheltered markets—rather than competing on innovation. If so, then high profits portend diminished productivity growth.”
Innovation or manipulation? What’s driving profit growth in the US? (If you have already noticed the above chart, you have been spoiled.) Bessen:
In a new research paper, I tease apart the factors associated with the growth in corporate valuations relative to assets (Tobin’s Q) and the growth in operating margins. I account for the roles of R&D, spending on advertising and marketing, and on administrative costs, including IT. I also consider investments in lobbying, political campaign spending, and regulation; and I look for links between rising profits and industry concentration and stock volatility. I find that investments in conventional capital assets like machinery and spending on R&D together account for a substantial part of the rise in valuations and profits, especially during the 1990s. However, since 2000, political activity and regulation account for a surprisingly large share of the increase.
Bessen goes on to note how regulation can help incumbent firms by raising entry barriers for prospective competitors. Indeed, he notes that over “the last 15 years, political campaign spending by firm PACs has increased more than thirty-fold and the Regdata index of regulation has increased by nearly 50% for public firms.” That is hardly a recipe for economic dynamism, a subject I am much concerned about.
This is just one analysis, but it certainly provides reason to ponder to what extent the US economy is suffering calcification by cronyism. On a similar note, check out this recent chart from a Peterson Institute study on how the super-wealthy got that way:
Note the light blue part. A greater share of wealth is self-made. Encouraging, I think. But the green bit — representing political connections — is pretty small but getting bigger.
Just how fast will the robots rise? And how many of our current jobs will they take over the next few decades? One frequently cited estimate puts that number at around half. (Better get that universal basic income up and running, ASAP!) The 47% estimate comes from a study by Oxford academics Michael Osborne and Carl Frey.
But an OECD analysis takes issue with the Osborne-Frey analysis. Instead of nearly half of all jobs at risk, researchers Melanie Arntz, Terry Gregory, and Ulrich Zierahn find only 9% of US jobs face a “high automatibility.” (Thanks to Ian Hathaway for the pointer.) Here is their core reasoning:
In particular, we argue that one of their major limitations is that they view occupations rather than tasks as being threatened by automation. We therefore focus on the task-content of jobs, as workers within the same occupation often perform different tasks. As we argue throughout this article, many workers in occupations that have been classified as vulnerable to automation in these studies may in fact be less exposed to automation than previously thought. The reason is that workers often perform a substantial share of non-routine interactive tasks, which are known to be less automatable. …
The study demonstrates the necessity to view technological change as substituting or complementing certain tasks rather than occupations. Neglecting the differences in tasks of comparable jobs may lead to an overestimation of job automatibility. Moreover, difference in the task structure are to a large extend able to explain differences in the employment projections.
As described by the OECD research, the Osborne-Frey study comes to its alarming conclusion by asking “experts about the technological potential for automation in the near future. ” Team OECD has a different method: examining what tasks are actually involved in different jobs and how easily those tasks can be automated.
For instance: Osborne and Frey say people working in the occupation “Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks” face an automation potential of 98%. But, according to AGZ, “only 24% of all employees in this occupation can perform their job with neither group work nor face-to-face interactions.”
Likewise, O&F argue that people working in the occupation “Retail Salesperson” face an automation potential of 92%. Despite this, says AGZ, “only 4% of retail salespersons perform their jobs with neither both group work nor face-to-face interactions.”
These finding are very much in keeping with a recent McKinsey analysis of job automation. It found that while 45% of work tasks could be automated “using already demonstrated technology,” “fewer than 5% of occupations could be entirely automated using current technology.” The firm sees automation automation replacing “more routine or repetitive tasks, allowing employees to focus more on tasks that utilize creativity and emotion.”
That said, the OECD researchers do offer some cautionary notes:
1) Their approach looks at what’s possible right now with tech, not how tech is currently being used in the real world. That “might lead to a further overestimation of job automatibility.”
2) Moreover, they only look at current jobs, not the new jobs technology creates. And new technology “may also exert positive effects on labour demand if they raise product demand due to an improved competitiveness and a positive effect on workers’ incomes.”
3) Education and skill levels play a huge role here:
This suggests that low educated workers likely will bear the brunt of adjustment costs to technological change in terms of requirements for further training and occupational retraining. …We find that the automatibility of jobs is lower in jobs with high educational job requirements or jobs which require cooperation with other employees or where people spend more time on influencing others. Hence, the low-risk tasks partially reflect what FO called engineering bottlenecks. The automatibility is higher in jobs with a high share of tasks that are related to exchanging information, selling or using fingers and hands. … Moreover, for this group of workers, regaining the competitive advantage over machines by means of upskilling and training may be difficult to achieve, especially since the speed of the current technological revolution appears to exceed the pace of its predecessors. Hence, this study clearly points towards the need to focus more on the potential inequalities and requirements for (re-)training arising from technological change rather than the general threat of unemployment that technological progress might or might not cause.
- Conservatives are too quick to dismiss the rise of the robots
- Donald Trump should shut up about China and start railing against robots
- How the story of the decline of shoe manufacturing jobs shows today's trade warriors are stuck in the past
- Pethokoukis Podcast: Will the robots take our jobs? A Q&A with Martin Ford
View related content: Pethokoukis
Why Georgetown’s Randy Bass Wants to ‘Rebundle’ College – Chronicle of Higher Ed
I think if we look across the next five, 10, or 15 years, one of the consequences of the explosion of options to learn things online is that our value proposition will increasingly be on the high-quality interaction of faculty. Some of that will be in the classroom, and increasingly some of that will be outside the classroom. That cannot expand if all of that work is happening outside of how we charge for credits and how we credit faculty with workload.One of the things that we’re trying to help people do is to reimagine how some of the mentoring work they do with students — and sustained project work — could be on both sides of the ledger brought under the credit-bearing experience and counted as teaching load.
The ‘Gig’ Economy Is Great For the U.S. Economy – RCM
When workers are independent contractors, as they are with Uber, a recession doesn’t necessitate that the costs be fully borne by the relatively few people who lose their jobs. In an economy with more independent contractors, a reduction in demand gets spread out. While incomes do fall, there are fewer people without jobs than in a non-gig economy. Gig economies dampen the employment swings within a business cycle-a good thing. Given that it’s the young and unskilled whose careers bear the brunt of the long-term costs of any recession, this should be hailed as a welcome evolution in the economy rather than something that needs to be fixed.
Antisocial network: how self-deprecation is taking over the internet – The Guardian
Interview with Alan Sked, a historian at the London School of Economics, on Brexit – The Atlantic
Delman: Both [the Conservative MP] Michael Gove and [the Conservative MP] Steve Baker have, in some ways, compared a British exit to how the Americans fought for their independence and self-sovereignty in the 18th century. Do you find any sort of truth or resonance in that comparison?
Sked: Yes, this is what Americans don’t understand. Americans tend to think of Britain as just one of those colonies in 1776, and all the European states as other colonies, and I think the parallel in the minds subconsciously of many Americans is that they should all get together and form a United States of Europe, just as the American colonies formed a United States of America, and look how wonderful that turned out. But they don’t seem to realize that instead of these states forming a wonderful future baby brother for America, they’ve formed a nasty empire already, and the real parallel is that Britain should secede from this empire and become an independent state. They think Europe today is like America in 1776, whereas in [actuality], Britain’s like America in 1776.
A third of new cellular customers last quarter were cars – Re/code
From Audi to Volvo, most “self-driving” cars use the same hardware – Ars Technica
Employment and disconnection among teens and young adults: The role of place, race, and education – Brookings
How the story of the decline of shoe manufacturing jobs shows today’s trade warriors are stuck in the past
Shoe manufacturing used to be a pretty big deal in the United States. In 1932, International Shoe was added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average. By the early 1940s, nearly a quarter-million Americans were employed in the industry. But mid-century America was Peak Shoe. Or, or at least, Peak American Shoe Job.
A 2014 Wall Street Journal piece noted that shoe-making jobs “began falling sharply in the 1970s and have leveled off at about 14,000 in the past two years, according to government data.” The work could be done much cheaper elsewhere, part of “a wave of low-cost manufacturers in Asia and other parts of the world, engulfing 98% of the American market.”
Take the case of Nike, currently part of the Dow 30. It’s a big, profitable shoe and apparel company that employs 60,000 people. But only a third is US-based. And those jobs represent, the Washington Post explained in a 2015 piece, “only a small fraction of its global workforce, estimated at over 1 million, with most in manufacturing jobs in low-wage countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia. While Nike makes some shoe components in the United States, such as its trademark Air soles, it has not assembled shoes in the country since 1984.”
Now some politicians are promising that a combo of tariffs and savvy trade negotiations can “bring the jobs back” — assuming we would want those very low-wage jobs — and restore America to an age of mass manufacturing employment. Shoe jobs for all. But if the jobs came back, the scenario would likely resemble this one, via the Guardian:
Adidas, the German maker of sportswear and equipment, has announced it will start marketing its first series of shoes manufactured by robots in Germany from 2017. More than 20 years after Adidas ceased production activities in Germany and moved them to Asia, chief executive Herbert Hainer unveiled to the press the group’s new prototype “Speedfactory” in Ansbach, southern Germany. … The 4,600-square-metre plant is still being built but Adidas opened it to the press, pledging to automate shoe production – which is currently done mostly by hand in Asia – and enable the shoes to be made more quickly and closer to its sales outlets. Large-scale production will begin in 2017 and Adidas was planning a second “Speed Factory” in the United States in the same year, said Hainer. … Hainer insisted the factories would not immediately replace the work of sub-contractors in Asia. “Our goal is not full automatisation,” said Gerd Manz, head of innovation and technology.
I am sure a local Speed Factory would create some jobs, including high-skill ones. But that is a far cry from 1950s General Motors America. By one estimate, productivity growth — not unfair trade deals — accounts for 85% of the job losses in manufacturing between 2000 and 2010. It’s the rise of the robots. This from FiveThirtyEight’s Ben Casselman makes the point well: “Because of rising wages in China, the need for shorter supply chains and other factors, a small but growing group of companies are shifting production back to the U.S. But the factories they build here are heavily automated, employing a small fraction of the workers they would have a generation ago.” Indeed, Apple and Samsung supplier Foxconn says it has replaced 60,000 factory workers in China with robots. (I wrote about China’s automation push in my The Week column.)
It’s a similar story in the apparel industry. There has been a rise in clothing startups, but it’s niche and artisanal and doesn’t seem likely to be a massive manufacturing job creator for the working class. And as these firms try and scale, they will turn more and more to automation. From a recent Fast Company piece:
Of course, not all startups are able to grow as quickly as American Giant and Yogasmoga, and therefore take advantage of the economic efficiencies that occur at such a large scale. This is where Manufacture New York hopes to make a difference. Based in a factory in Brooklyn, the organization helps up-and-coming designers understand the production process and tap into a local supply chain. Designers work alongside engineers, textile specialists, sewers, and other manufacturing experts to find ways to create products at reasonable prices. Manufacture New York has already launched more than 90 labels that are able to benefit from the scale that Winthrop is talking about.
Companies committed to manufacturing locally are innovating at the level of fabric and design, but they also have to be creative in terms of the entire supply chain. For instance, Manufacture New York’s Bland is keen to find a way to improve the process of picking out garments in a warehouse and packing them when a customer makes an order. This is a laborious process that is still largely done by hand, but she believes it can be automated. Bali and Winthrop spend their days cracking logistical puzzles like how to shave off minutes on transporting fabrics from mills to factories or how to maximize each swath of fabric when cutting clothing patterns.
Chart of the Day: US productivity growth is set to fall for the first time in decades. Should we worry a little or a lot?
From the Financial Times:
Productivity is set to fall in the US for the first time in more than three decades, raising the prospect of persistent wage stagnation and the risk of a further populist backlash. Research by the Conference Board, a US think-tank, also shows the rate of productivity growth sliding behind the feeble rates in other advanced economies, with gross domestic product per hour projected to drop by 0.2 per cent this year. … “Last year it looked like we were entering into a productivity crisis: now we are right in it,” said Bart van Ark, the Conference Board’s chief economist. “Companies really need to invest seriously in innovation. It is time for companies to move on the productivity agenda to turn this story around.” …
Unless the rate of productivity growth increases, advanced economies will struggle to raise living standards and pay for the costs of their ageing populations. … Output per person, an alternative measure of productivity, grew just 1.2 per cent across the world in 2015, down from 1.9 per cent in 2014. But the US, which appeared to be outperforming other advanced economies, is now increasingly concerned at the deterioration in its own performance. … Growth in output per hour slowed last year to just 0.3 per cent from 0.5 per cent in 2014, well below the pace of 2.4 per cent in 1999 to 2006. …
Productivity growth lies at the heart of economic progress. Without an improvement in output for every hour worked, economies can grow only if people work harder and longer or more people find jobs. A downturn in productivity growth in one year does not matter much because economies will go through ups and downs as technology changes, but a persistent decline is a much more serious prospect.
Know what’s worse than middle-class incomes not rising in sync with productivity growth? No productivity growth at all. Without innovation-driven growth, there’s no wealth to redistribute.
Two big questions: First, is the stagnation real? As the FT notes, “The poor productivity numbers are in some ways surprising given the breakneck pace of digital innovation in powerhouses such as Silicon Valley and other US research hubs. However such new technologies are only gradually being rolled out across the economy.”
Maybe we are mismeasuring productivity growth both in terms of a) accurately capturing technological progress in today’s increasingly digital economy and b) the value of free goods such as Facebook and Google Maps that don’t show up in GDP. Some economists, such as those at Goldman Sachs, argue this may be the case. In fact, Team Goldman has created an alternative productivity timeline that incorporates revised measurements. So America’s 2% economy is maybe really closer to a 3% economy:
Second, how worried should we be? Even if the numbers are more or less correct, there are also reasons for hope. More people are working in science than ever before, and with better tools. And we may be just at the start of many new technologies being incorporated more effectively and deeply in the economy. As economist Daron Acemoglu recently said: “It may well be that these innovations haven’t translated into productivity. But if you look at just the technologies that have been [recently] invented and are close to being implemented over the next five to 10 years, they are amazingly rich. It is just very hard to think we’re in an age of paucity of innovation.”
But we shouldn’t assume the productivity slump, if real, will turn around. Again, the FT: “The White House has argued that slowing investment may be dragging productivity down and has highlighted a slump in the number of business start-ups.” (Though there is some good news of late on high-impact, entrepreneurial innovation.) Those would seem to be two areas, along with more basic science research, that policymakers should focus on to achieve greater product innovation. Also, housing — both in terms of affordability in our high productivity cities and making it easier for workers to move to where the good jobs are. Oh, and maybe we need a big inspirational goal, too.
Anyway, productivity stories often start with this famous Paul Krugman quote, so mine will end with it: “Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything.
Sometimes you hear economic wisdom from politicians — they are so sure! — but their “facts” may not reflect reality. A few examples just from today:
1) Better trade deals can bring jobs home? Maybe not. From the BBC:
Apple and Samsung supplier Foxconn has reportedly replaced 60,000 factory workers with robots. One factory has “reduced employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000 thanks to the introduction of robots”, a government official told the South China Morning Post.
Xu Yulian, head of publicity for the Kunshan region, added: “More companies are likely to follow suit.”
China is investing heavily in a robot workforce. In a statement to the BBC, Foxconn Technology Group confirmed that it was automating “many of the manufacturing tasks associated with our operations” but denied that it meant long-term job losses.
“We are applying robotics engineering and other innovative manufacturing technologies to replace repetitive tasks previously done by employees, and through training, also enable our employees to focus on higher value-added elements in the manufacturing process, such as research and development, process control and quality control. “We will continue to harness automation and manpower in our manufacturing operations, and we expect to maintain our significant workforce in China.”
2) Free trade is driving manufacturing job losses? Maybe not. From the Financial Times:
If rightwing populism is to be defeated, one must offer alternatives. In a forthcoming article Dartmouth College’s Douglas Irwin notes that protectionism is quack medicine. Productivity growth accounted for more than 85 per cent of the job losses in manufacturing between 2000 and 2010. — “How to defeat right-wing populism” (Financial Times.)
3) Worker wages are stagnant? Maybe not. From the Washington Post:
It’s conventional wisdom that wage stagnation has contributed to the sluggish recovery and the downcast attitudes of millions. But what if it’s not true?
A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco suggests just that. It concludes that widely cited figures showing stagnation are mostly a statistical fluke. Workers continuously employed in full-time jobs received wage increases higher than inflation from 2002 to 2015. Last year, the gain was a 3.5 percent increase after inflation, up from 1.2 percent in 2010.
Typically, the median wage — the wage exactly in the middle of all wages — is cited as evidence of stagnation. Indeed, the Fed study confirms this. Median wage increases have fluctuated around 2 percent, unadjusted for inflation. But the median wage is misleading, the report argues, because it’s heavily driven by demographic changes: an influx of young and part-time workers whose relatively low wages drag down the median; and the retirement of baby-boom workers whose relatively higher pay no longer lifts up the median.
“Exiting workers with higher wage levels are [being] replaced by entrants to full-time employment who earn less than the median wage,” says the study, which was done by economists Mary Daly and Benjamin Pyle of the San Francisco Fed and Bart Hobijn of Arizona State University. The result is that all workers, as judged by the median wage, seem to be treading water when many workers are actually receiving modest increases.
- 5 questions every presidential candidate should answer on American internationalism
- 5 questions every presidential candidate should answer on trade
- Conservatives are too quick to dismiss the rise of the robots
- Donald Trump should shut up about China and start railing against robots
- How to stop the robots from taking all our jobs: A Q&A with Noah Smith
View related content: Pethokoukis
Cross-Generational Differences in Educational Outcomes in the Second Great Wave of Immigration – NBER
We find evidence suggesting that early-arriving first generation immigrants perform better than do second generation immigrants, and second generation immigrants perform better than third generation immigrants. Among first generation immigrants, the earlier the arrival, the better the students tend to perform. These patterns of findings hold for both Asian and Hispanic students, and suggest a general pattern of successively reduced achievement.
Technology is changing how we live, but it needs to change how we work – Vox
The End of the Office Dress Code – NY Times
Corporate America Chases the Mythical Millennial – Farhad Manjoo
Should we retain the right to feel unhappy at work? – The Economist
The utopian socialists developed their ideas when Europe was in the first stages of industrialisation. Today’s start-up culture appropriates the communal values of earlier utopias to serve the purposes of the free market—we are taught to uphold teamwork as the highest ideal, while simultaneously being encouraged to compete as individuals. Like Godin’s Familistère, the offices of global corporations such as Google and Facebook aim to turn work into play, but there is a key difference: the Familistère was built on a separate site to the Godin ironworks, whereas the workspaces of today are gradually encroaching on the domestic sphere. We live in pursuit of innovation through distraction; whether it’s a wifi-supplied allotment, a canteen serving free haute-cuisine, a cosy office sleeping pod, or the new trend for shared ‘live-work’ apartments, our escape routes are leading us back to the laptop. The phrase ‘work-life balance’ is becoming an archaism.
Gender and the returns to attractiveness – Research in Social Stratification and Mobility
We find that attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness, but this gap is reduced when controlling for grooming, suggesting that the beauty premium can be actively cultivated. Further, while both conventional wisdom and previous research suggest the importance of attractiveness might vary by gender, we find no gender differences in the attractiveness gradient. However, we do find that grooming accounts for the entire attractiveness premium for women, and only half of the premium for men.
Our findings underscore the social construction of attractiveness, and in doing so illuminate a key mechanism for attractiveness premia that varies by gender.
Emotional photo reveals Haitian West Point grad’s American dream – CNN
“Three things came to mind and led to those tears,” he continued. “The first is where I started. I am from Haiti and never did I imagine that such honor would be one day bestowed on me. The second is where I am. Men and women who have preserved the very essence of the human condition stood in that position and took the same oath…”
“The third is my future. Shortly after leave, I will report to Ft. Rucker to start flight school. Knowing that one day I will be a pilot is humbling beyond words. I could not help but be flooded with emotions knowing that I will be leading these men and women who are willing to give their all to preserve what we value as the American way of life. To me, that is the greatest honor. Once again, thank you.”
Why does Silicon Valley seem to love Democrats and dismiss the GOP? A Q&A with journalist Greg Ferenstein
A lot has been made of the tech world’s growing involvement in politics — from accusations that social media sites such as Facebook are politically biased, to questions over certain Silicon Valley leaders’ endorsements, to the sector’s support of issues such as more high-skill immigration.
Republicans and other on the right bemoan that Silicon Valley tends to go blue. They’re confused. How could this hotbed of entrepreneurship and wealth creation be largely pro-Democrat? But Silicon Valley boasts a unique culture that emerges from an environment of competition, innovation, government involvement, and collaboration. As journalist Greg Ferenstein has written, these “hippies who dig capitalism and science” – many of them millennials – are hard to label. They go with the public policies that make their ventures possible.
So what is the “political philosophy” of Silicon Valley? And what do these tech leaders want from public policy? I sat down with Greg, editor of the Ferenstein Wire and author of The Age Of Optimists, a free book on Silicon Valley’s political endgame, available on Medium. Here’s some of our conversation, which you can listen at in full over on Ricochet.
Pethokoukis: You’ve done interviews with some 130 Silicon Valley founders. What you’ve found is that they donate overwhelmingly to Democrats, but they have some beliefs that don’t necessarily align perfectly with Democrats or Republicans. You call them “hippies who dig capitalism and science,” pro-business liberals.
They’re big on globalization, free trade, open borders, and they’re anti-labor union, but they’re also pro-Obamacare, and believe that governments should act like a business. They have a meritocratic world view, prioritize individual creativity as a source of problem solving, yet also believe in collaboration and competition.
Why do all these free enterprise loving Silicon Valley folks vote for Democrats?
Ferenstein: The high level elevator pitch is that Silicon Valley and, broadly, urbanized professionals, represent an entirely new political category — not libertarian, not Democrat, and not Republican. I argue that they are pro-capitalism and pro-government and their belief is that the government should be an investor in citizens to make them more educated, entrepreneurial and civic, rather than act as a regulator of the two parties.
What we’re seeing is the emergence of an entirely new thing… They’re trying to race into a better future as quickly as possible.
The Democratic Party comes closest to this, and the people that they fund pretty heavily tend to author laws that focus on education and civics and making people healthier rather than regulations and labor unions. So that’s the upshot: what we’re seeing is the emergence of an entirely new thing, which I’m tentatively calling optimists, because that’s their basic philosophical output. They’re trying to race into a better future as quickly as possible.
And as part of that optimism, they’re optimistic that government can do things that work where certainly on the right there’s deep, deep pessimism on the ability of government to do much of anything.
Yeah, but the internet was created by a government lab. Much of Silicon Valley is based on government funding, whether it be basic research or education or outreach for free trade the internet requires pretty substantial government involvement.
But yet there are certainly parts of the Democratic Party that don’t seem to fit very well: regulation, teachers’ unions. Quite a bit in the Democratic Party doesn’t seem to very forward looking, with a lot of economic nostalgia for the 1960s. But are the people in Silicon Valley who like Bernie Sanders, are they not like the founders, but they’re the 23 year olds who work for the founders?
There’s actually not a lot of support for Bernie Sanders in Silicon Valley, and Bernie Sanders does represent the old Democratic Party, the old populist Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton represents a little bit more of what are actually called the new Democrats, which her husband coined in the 90s, which tend to be this more Silicon Valley business-friendly liberal, although she’s a pretty mild version of it. Michael Bloomberg was a much purer version. And Bernie Sanders doesn’t have a lot of fans out here. I did a poll of internet founders and found that Clinton was actually the most popular and Bernie Sanders was a distant second. (more…)