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Are 99%ers poking fingers at a failure of capitalism?


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#41 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

Posted 03 November 2011 - 11:54 PM


I just really wish people would stop attributing the wealth redistribution complaint to OWS. That's not what they are asking for. They are asking for jobs. They are asking for corporations to be corporations not the 4th branch of the government. They are asking "why are you sitting on trillions of dollars, but are not hiring?".


This is the biggest problems I have about the OWS complaints. These people need to realize that corporations do not owe them jobs. It's not their right to be employed at a large company just because the company is successful. The large companies did not force them to go tens of thousands of dollars into debt getting a useless degree. Lets be perfectly clear, corporations exist to make money and I don't believe that there is anything wrong with that as long as those corporations cannot simply buy monopolies via the government. I expect corporations to be greedy to an extent, but it's a problem when politicians who are supposed to be representing us are that greedy.


I guess that's not really my take on what the OWS protests are about (though there are so many disparate voices, you can probably pick about anything you want and find a decent segment of protesters supporting it). I agree that no corporation owes anyone a job. However, there are a couple of issues with the current economy that produce complaints that sound a lot like that.

A major factor affecting the poor economy is slack demand, which is fostered by low employment and poor wages. Even though many (but certainly not all) large corporations have returned to record profits, something like ~88% of that money has been captured by those corporations, even though what workers are more productive than ever. There are definitely reasons why that money might defensibly go elsewhere, like to prop up share prices, but there are others that are less so, like record executive compensation. Those corporations may not owe jobs to people, but nor do they owe an extra million to a CEO's salary. And yet they still manage to do the second.

There is little reason why the company's income needs to be directed so overwhelmingly to the top rather than being spread more evenly, either with more jobs or fewer but better paying jobs. And yet that's exactly what's happened (here's a broader graph), including in firms where those executives were either incompetent or did well for their companies by tanking the world economy. It's not that they can't do so, or even that the richest don't deserve a greater share of the national income than they had previously. But to happen to that degree while worker productivity has risen with only a modest increase in real wages for the vast majority of workers over the same period definitely sucks (unless you're one of the rich, of course). People really don't have any other recourse, so why not protest?

Additionally, corporations didn't just conjure the cash they're sitting on out of nowhere. It came out of the pockets of everyone, consumers and investors alike. Even if they have the best reasons in the world for not disbursing it as wages or new jobs or anything else, and there are valid reasons why they won't, it still sucks to have ~1/15 of the GDP tied up and not doing anything.

Another thing is that college degrees which might be called worthless now weren't worthless the farther back in time you go. For a long time a college degree was a sure way to get to a good job. A degree is still a huge help in landing a good job-- but there are way, way fewer of them to go around. Not to mention the hyper-specialization of certifications that exists in a lot of fields now making broader degree less valuable, and limiting the flexibility a job seeker has based on training. And one of my favorite quotes from the Simpsons demonstrates a reality that college graduates are facing now, "Joblessness: it's not just for philosophy majors anymore." It's not just English majors that are having trouble getting work. And it's not just college graduates that are unable to find work either; the job market is awful for a huge segment of the population including those who determined that college was too expensive.

I too expect corporations to be greedy, but that doesn't stop that greed from impeding the economy or hollowing out economic opportunity for vast numbers of people. Bad politicians are also a problem, as well as the corporate subversion of democracy. So is an increasingly bad payoff for college degrees, since there isn't a replacement for the opportunity they used to provide. And there are still other serious problems as well. But to say that the protesters are wrong for wanting jobs when there is at most one available for every three unemployed people, and when an extremely tiny portion of the country has sucked up a hugely disproportionate share of economic gains and still seeking to push the burden onto those who have barely progressed, suggests to me that you aren't perceiving the motivations behind the protests accurately. Even if one of their most popular talking points is somewhat inapt.

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#42 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 04 November 2011 - 06:41 AM

How do those things not fall under corporate greed? What makes you think that the OWS protesters have to have the same message? There are a variety of issues and problem so they are allowed to protest on a variety of issues and problems. I don't understand this "one message/one complaint" label some people try to put on the OWS movement. Different cities can protest about different issues.


This was in reply to this, " What happened to the campaign funding issues and the desire for legal repercussions for those responsible for the financial crisis that the occupy movement was founded on?" for context.

The problem with protesting "corporate greed" is that greediness is in a corporations nature. They operate best when they are greedy. For the first problem (corporate donations to political campaigns), this is a problem of the political system that allows that greed to boil over and corrupt our politicians. For the second problem, that has nothing to do with corporate greed. That is 100% individual greed. If you are a shareholder of a company where you think the CEO is being over payed (CEO pay packages should be released to the public in full now I believe as of last year) and it is hurting the company's profits you can report them to the SEC to be investigated.

To generalize a protest to "corporate greed" cheapens the argument against the valid problems with non-abstract definitions.

#43 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 04 November 2011 - 06:42 AM

I don't believe that the problems OWS are complaining about are not a problem of capitalism. Our government effectively creates and supports monopolies. Politicians are sitting on the boards of these giant corporations and have a monetary interest in ensuring there are plenty of loopholes for the company to take advantage of all while the would be competition is saddled with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. We have a two party system where democrats and republicans simply trade power back and forth as you get pissed off at one side and turn to the other for support. It is a system designed to keep power consolidated in a relatively small group. OWS would probably be more on target if they were occupying DC instead.

The worst part of it is there are jobs to be had, but they are not and are no longer going to be unskilled. We are not just exporting our jobs, we are importing skilled workers from other countries because there are not enough qualified Americans to do the jobs. The US education system is broken and failing at preparing our children to compete in the future market and despite what many claim, it's not simply a matter of being underfunded. The teachers unions have a stranglehold on our education system and are putting the future of this country in jeopardy. There is another great target for the OWS crowd, but they seem more interested in calling attention to the symptoms than the underlying problems.


1000 times this.

#44 Michael Tanczos   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 5149

Posted 04 November 2011 - 07:26 AM

The worst part of it is there are jobs to be had, but they are not and are no longer going to be unskilled. We are not just exporting our jobs, we are importing skilled workers from other countries because there are not enough qualified Americans to do the jobs. The US education system is broken and failing at preparing our children to compete in the future market and despite what many claim, it's not simply a matter of being underfunded. The teachers unions have a stranglehold on our education system and are putting the future of this country in jeopardy. There is another great target for the OWS crowd, but they seem more interested in calling attention to the symptoms than the underlying problems.


The idea that the US education system is broken and failing is laughable and is likely fueled by propaganda. Our students are performing at levels much higher than those even 15 years ago and especially more than those from 30+ years ago. Smart kids are still smart kids and they will continue to perform well regardless of the school.. The kids that are struggling have more resources behind them than ever to help them bring up the bar. The reason schools are "failing" now is because failure has been continually defined by a higher standard. It's an illusion created by setting unreasonable standards. Outside of school, many kids don't have the support structures they need to be successful.. kids from poor families don't often have parents who are going to be harping on them for not getting homework done.

Teachers unions have nothing to do with it - in fact, states with teachers unions outperform those who don't. This is likely because unions can negotiate for better wages, thus attracting a larger applicant pool for schools to select from. The idea that teachers can't be dismissed or fired because of tenure is also patently false - it doesn't take much more than a few negative evaluations to boot a teacher regardless of tenure.

#45 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 04 November 2011 - 07:57 AM

The idea that the US education system is broken and failing is laughable and is likely fueled by propaganda. Our students are performing at levels much higher than those even 15 years ago and especially more than those from 30+ years ago. Smart kids are still smart kids and they will continue to perform well regardless of the school.. The kids that are struggling have more resources behind them than ever to help them bring up the bar. The reason schools are "failing" now is because failure has been continually defined by a higher standard.

That's exactly how failure should be defined because we have a continually growing knowledge base. To define it differently is just to cover the problem, and the problem is real.

By every metric and at almost every level the US is under performing compared to other developed nations. It spends more money per student to get average results.

Teachers unions have nothing to do with it - in fact, states with teachers unions outperform those who don't. This is likely because unions can negotiate for better wages, thus attracting a larger applicant pool for schools to select from. The idea that teachers can't be dismissed or fired because of tenure is also patently false - it doesn't take much more than a few negative evaluations to boot a teacher regardless of tenure.

Have you seen "Kids Aren't Cars" or "Waiting for Superman"? Kids aren't cars is available online for free, and waiting for superman is on netflix if you want to watch it. Specifically your statement, "The idea that teachers can't be dismissed or fired because of tenure is also patently false," is proven quite wrong in both.

#46 Michael Tanczos   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 5149

Posted 04 November 2011 - 08:29 AM

That's exactly how failure should be defined because we have a continually growing knowledge base. To define it differently is just to cover the problem, and the problem is real.

By every metric and at almost every level the US is under performing compared to other developed nations. It spends more money per student to get average results.


These are not apples to apples comparisons. A shockingly huge amount of education spending goes to special education. If you set up specialized schools that discriminate on who can get in, of course you're going to get better results.

Have you seen "Kids Aren't Cars" or "Waiting for Superman"? Kids aren't cars is available online for free, and waiting for superman is on netflix if you want to watch it. Specifically your statement, "The idea that teachers can't be dismissed or fired because of tenure is also patently false," is proven quite wrong in both.



Yes, and I've seen Michael Moore films too, and have watched Fox News and MSNBC.. clearly there isn't bias in any of them. These are terrible sources of evidence.

#47 smr   Members   -  Reputation: 1558

Posted 04 November 2011 - 08:42 AM


The worst part of it is there are jobs to be had, but they are not and are no longer going to be unskilled. We are not just exporting our jobs, we are importing skilled workers from other countries because there are not enough qualified Americans to do the jobs. The US education system is broken and failing at preparing our children to compete in the future market and despite what many claim, it's not simply a matter of being underfunded. The teachers unions have a stranglehold on our education system and are putting the future of this country in jeopardy. There is another great target for the OWS crowd, but they seem more interested in calling attention to the symptoms than the underlying problems.


The idea that the US education system is broken and failing is laughable and is likely fueled by propaganda. Our students are performing at levels much higher than those even 15 years ago and especially more than those from 30+ years ago. Smart kids are still smart kids and they will continue to perform well regardless of the school.. The kids that are struggling have more resources behind them than ever to help them bring up the bar. The reason schools are "failing" now is because failure has been continually defined by a higher standard. It's an illusion created by setting unreasonable standards. Outside of school, many kids don't have the support structures they need to be successful.. kids from poor families don't often have parents who are going to be harping on them for not getting homework done.

Teachers unions have nothing to do with it - in fact, states with teachers unions outperform those who don't. This is likely because unions can negotiate for better wages, thus attracting a larger applicant pool for schools to select from. The idea that teachers can't be dismissed or fired because of tenure is also patently false - it doesn't take much more than a few negative evaluations to boot a teacher regardless of tenure.


My girlfriend is a teacher, so I hear about the problems teachers and education face almost every day. Tenure does make it hard to get rid of bad teachers, but it's not impossible. But bad teachers are exceptions, not rules. The problem is twofold: No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and parents.

The NCLB act is raising the bar every year to the point where good schools will have no chance to meet or exceed. My girlfriend's school passed with an 86 percent meets or exceeds last year. That's a B grade by most standards, but next year that 86% will be a failing grade. Schools will have to score 92.5% to satisfy the NCLB requirement. By 2014 NCLB requires EVERY STUDENT IN HER SCHOOL to pass the standardized test at his or her grade level. Even students who have special needs, some of whom read at less than half of their actual grade level, are expected to pass. They do not get to take a different test, otherwise schools could just label poor students as special needs kids and improve their scores.

The school she teaches at is an excellent school by any standard. Small class size (average class size is around 18 students), high parental involvement, good facilities, etc. Next year they will likely not meet or exceed the unreasonable 92.5% standard, and that won't be their fault. In her school, that's just two kids not passing the test. Two kids who know that this test doesn't affect their grades and that there are no personal consequences for just blowing it off. There are just some students that teachers cannot force to care about education, and those one or two kids will put a stain on a great school's reputation and possibly cost funding and, eventually, takeover of the school. How is that right?

Some schools, and I know this for a fact, have completely stopped focusing on real education and are entirely focused on standardized tests. They have stopped handing out homework, they have started teaching reading and writing in other subjects, they've reduced class times for history, art, science, etc. Anything that will not help a kid pass a standardized test is being phased out. And I can't blame them for doing this. They're just trying to survive in a country where they've been set up for failure.

And second, parents: Teachers can't parent your kid. If the parents do not make education a priority for their kids, the kids won't either. If a teacher calls a parent and tells that parent that he is not doing his job at home, they will not hear it, and will probably get pissed off and contact the administration. When kids get in trouble at school, parents are defending the kids now instead of punishing them. After all, they're just picking on the sweet little angel. Most of the time though, what you get is a parent who comes in and talks a good game when they're meeting the teacher, but do not follow through at home. It's just easier to let little Jimmy play Call of Duty until his fingers bleed than to actually be bothered to make sure he does his homework.

I'm actually wondering if the motivation behind NCLB was to privatize education by forcing every public school to look like a failure.

#48 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 04 November 2011 - 08:58 AM

Yes, and I've seen Michael Moore films too, and have watched Fox News and MSNBC.. clearly there isn't bias in any of them. These are terrible sources of evidence.


That's fairly ad hominem. There are factual accounts in both movies of teachers who won awards for teaching ability being passed up for promotions because of unions and factual accounts of teachers who didn't teach and allowed their students to gamble in the classroom IN MY HOME TOWN being re-hired because they were part of a union. Neither documentary inserts the opinion of the director too greatly. Large portions of the movie are superintendents, principles, teachers, and parents giving first hand accounts of why the system is broken and how to fix it backed up by statistics and scientific studies.

Compare that to a Michael Moore film where his primary interviewee and case study is himself and the unreasonable situations he forces people into(see: Michael Moore Hates America).

You say you've seen them, but I don't understand how you can say your above statement honestly if you were paying attention through the whole movie

edit:
http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Solving-puzzle-of-bad-teachers-2232004.php

Do you consider beating children, being late over 50% of the school year, and downloading porn on work computers for over a year cases where teachers shouldn't be fired? It would appear the New York teachers union does.

#49 Michael Tanczos   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 5149

Posted 04 November 2011 - 09:15 AM


Yes, and I've seen Michael Moore films too, and have watched Fox News and MSNBC.. clearly there isn't bias in any of them. These are terrible sources of evidence.


That's fairly ad hominem. There are factual accounts in both movies of teachers who won awards for teaching ability being passed up for promotions because of unions and factual accounts of teachers who didn't teach and allowed their students to gamble in the classroom IN MY HOME TOWN being re-hired because they were part of a union. Neither documentary inserts the opinion of the director too greatly. Large portions of the movie are superintendents, principles, teachers, and parents giving first hand accounts of why the system is broken and how to fix it backed up by statistics and scientific studies.

Compare that to a Michael Moore film where his primary interviewee and case study is himself and the unreasonable situations he forces people into(see: Michael Moore Hates America).

You say you've seen them, but I don't understand how you can say your above statement honestly if you were paying attention through the whole movie.


The problem with these movies is lack of balance - you take a microcosm of the whole system that is failing and then brand the whole system as a failure. That's ridiculous and suspiciously self-serving. The stench of videos like this is as bad as Michael Moore's, because they clearly are promoting a political agenda. I agree that there is inequity for struggling poor districts, but our education system doesn't consist wholly of inner city schools.

Dismissing teachers is also state controlled - in my state (Pennsylvania) you could never get away with that kind of blatant negligence as a teacher.

#50 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4684

Posted 04 November 2011 - 09:15 AM


I don't believe that the problems OWS are complaining about are not a problem of capitalism. Our government effectively creates and supports monopolies. Politicians are sitting on the boards of these giant corporations and have a monetary interest in ensuring there are plenty of loopholes for the company to take advantage of all while the would be competition is saddled with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. We have a two party system where democrats and republicans simply trade power back and forth as you get pissed off at one side and turn to the other for support. It is a system designed to keep power consolidated in a relatively small group. OWS would probably be more on target if they were occupying DC instead.

The worst part of it is there are jobs to be had, but they are not and are no longer going to be unskilled. We are not just exporting our jobs, we are importing skilled workers from other countries because there are not enough qualified Americans to do the jobs. The US education system is broken and failing at preparing our children to compete in the future market and despite what many claim, it's not simply a matter of being underfunded. The teachers unions have a stranglehold on our education system and are putting the future of this country in jeopardy. There is another great target for the OWS crowd, but they seem more interested in calling attention to the symptoms than the underlying problems.


1000 times this.

So all those college graduates in sitting parks across the nation are unskilled?
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#51 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 04 November 2011 - 09:44 AM

The problem with these movies is lack of balance - you take a microcosm of the whole system that is failing and then brand the whole system as a failure. That's ridiculous and suspiciously self-serving. The stench of videos like this is as bad as Michael Moore's, because they clearly are promoting a political agenda. I agree that there is inequity for struggling poor districts, but our education system doesn't consist wholly of inner city schools.

Dismissing teachers is also state controlled - in my state (Pennsylvania) you could never get away with that kind of blatant negligence as a teacher.


Neither of them brand the whole system as failing. Both brand specifically inner city public education as failing, which I'd consider fairly accurate. Kids aren't cars also tries to highlight that teachers' unions do not have what's best for education at heart, which is totally true and spokesmen for the major teacher's unions have admitted to this.

Interesting factoid, but the leaders of the AFT and NEA make 4 times Warren Buffet's salary and there are 600 staffers in both organizations that make 6 figure incomes.

#52 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 04 November 2011 - 09:47 AM

So all those college graduates in sitting parks across the nation are unskilled?


the unemployment rate for college graduates is only at 4.3%.

#53 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

Posted 04 November 2011 - 10:10 AM


So all those college graduates in sitting parks across the nation are unskilled?


the unemployment rate for college graduates is only at 4.3%.


Depends on the graduation year. It's about 5x that for recent graduates. Plus about the same percentage of graduates hold jobs that don't require a degree at all.

Besides, even if I accept your number that doesn't match well with your point above. If a college degree is the key to gainful employment, then our failing education system wouldn't be churning out record numbers of college graduates who are ready and able to participate successfully in the labor market, which a 4.3% unemployment rate among graduates would suggest under current conditions.

Plus, as maligned as teachers' unions are (and sometimes rightly), educating kids is difficult. Union-free charter schools haven't posted compelling results that unions are the key factors in holding kids back.

#54 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 04 November 2011 - 10:16 AM

The reason schools are "failing" now is because failure has been continually defined by a higher standard.


That higher standard is CRITICAL. To say that we're doing better than 15 years ago, while may be true, it's not good enough. Today's students are going to be competing in a global work force where the US is smoked year after year in academic achievement. Every time I'm trying to higher a new developer, I get dozens and dozens of Indian developers with masters degrees in computer science while the number of born and raised American applicants is shockingly small and of them.

Teachers unions have nothing to do with it - in fact, states with teachers unions outperform those who don't. This is likely because unions can negotiate for better wages, thus attracting a larger applicant pool for schools to select from. The idea that teachers can't be dismissed or fired because of tenure is also patently false - it doesn't take much more than a few negative evaluations to boot a teacher regardless of tenure.



This is quite simply wrong. Just looking at the termination stats for teachers should be proof enough of that, unless you really think that only one out of every thousand teachers deserves to be fired a year. I guarantee you, there are a lot more bad teachers out there then that. In a ten year timespan 1995 to 2005, only 112 teachers were fired in LA Unified. That's 0.2% over the course of ten years in a school district with a graduation rate of just over 50%. If you can't see anything wrong with that, then I'm afraid discourse with you regarding the problems with our education system is going to be impossible.

#55 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 04 November 2011 - 10:22 AM



So all those college graduates in sitting parks across the nation are unskilled?


the unemployment rate for college graduates is only at 4.3%.


Depends on the graduation year. It's about 5x that for recent graduates. Plus about the same percentage of graduates hold jobs that don't require a degree at all.

Besides, even if I accept your number that doesn't match well with your point above. If a college degree is the key to gainful employment, then our failing education system wouldn't be churning out record numbers of college graduates who are ready and able to participate successfully in the labor market, which a 4.3% unemployment rate among graduates would suggest under current conditions.

Plus, as maligned as teachers' unions are (and sometimes rightly), educating kids is difficult. Union-free charter schools haven't posted compelling results that unions are the key factors in holding kids back.


I don't know about the unemployment rate for college grads, but in the technical sector the unemployment rate is around 3.3%. This is the fastest growing job sector in the USA, and we do not have enough qualified Americans to fill these positions. Not all degrees are created equal. I don't think the figures exist showing the breakdown of the various degrees that OWS protesters have, but I'd be willing to bet there is a disproportionally low number of computer science or engineering degrees represented.

#56 landagen   Members   -  Reputation: 376

Posted 04 November 2011 - 10:22 AM

If we want things to get better, then we as consumers need to start putting our money into smaller businesses. What happened to locally owned gas stations, locally owned grocery stores, locally owned video rentals, or even locally owned coffee shops. Instead, we shop at huge chains such as walmart or blockbuster or Starbucks. The more big businesses you feed into, the more money gets funneled to the top. Big businesses are the ones who are outsourcing to foreign countries. They are the ones who pay their CEO's ungodly amounts of money. They are the one's who can do a lot more with less labor causing a decrease in jobs. Big businesses are definitely useful for things like manufacturing and research and I am not against big businesses, but we need a balance and lately all of our money has been shifting to big businesses.





#57 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 04 November 2011 - 10:24 AM



I just really wish people would stop attributing the wealth redistribution complaint to OWS. That's not what they are asking for. They are asking for jobs. They are asking for corporations to be corporations not the 4th branch of the government. They are asking "why are you sitting on trillions of dollars, but are not hiring?".


This is the biggest problems I have about the OWS complaints. These people need to realize that corporations do not owe them jobs. It's not their right to be employed at a large company just because the company is successful. The large companies did not force them to go tens of thousands of dollars into debt getting a useless degree. Lets be perfectly clear, corporations exist to make money and I don't believe that there is anything wrong with that as long as those corporations cannot simply buy monopolies via the government. I expect corporations to be greedy to an extent, but it's a problem when politicians who are supposed to be representing us are that greedy.


I guess that's not really my take on what the OWS protests are about (though there are so many disparate voices, you can probably pick about anything you want and find a decent segment of protesters supporting it). I agree that no corporation owes anyone a job. However, there are a couple of issues with the current economy that produce complaints that sound a lot like that.

A major factor affecting the poor economy is slack demand, which is fostered by low employment and poor wages. Even though many (but certainly not all) large corporations have returned to record profits, something like ~88% of that money has been captured by those corporations, even though what workers are more productive than ever. There are definitely reasons why that money might defensibly go elsewhere, like to prop up share prices, but there are others that are less so, like record executive compensation. Those corporations may not owe jobs to people, but nor do they owe an extra million to a CEO's salary. And yet they still manage to do the second.

There is little reason why the company's income needs to be directed so overwhelmingly to the top rather than being spread more evenly, either with more jobs or fewer but better paying jobs. And yet that's exactly what's happened (here's a broader graph), including in firms where those executives were either incompetent or did well for their companies by tanking the world economy. It's not that they can't do so, or even that the richest don't deserve a greater share of the national income than they had previously. But to happen to that degree while worker productivity has risen with only a modest increase in real wages for the vast majority of workers over the same period definitely sucks (unless you're one of the rich, of course). People really don't have any other recourse, so why not protest?

Additionally, corporations didn't just conjure the cash they're sitting on out of nowhere. It came out of the pockets of everyone, consumers and investors alike. Even if they have the best reasons in the world for not disbursing it as wages or new jobs or anything else, and there are valid reasons why they won't, it still sucks to have ~1/15 of the GDP tied up and not doing anything.

Another thing is that college degrees which might be called worthless now weren't worthless the farther back in time you go. For a long time a college degree was a sure way to get to a good job. A degree is still a huge help in landing a good job-- but there are way, way fewer of them to go around. Not to mention the hyper-specialization of certifications that exists in a lot of fields now making broader degree less valuable, and limiting the flexibility a job seeker has based on training. And one of my favorite quotes from the Simpsons demonstrates a reality that college graduates are facing now, "Joblessness: it's not just for philosophy majors anymore." It's not just English majors that are having trouble getting work. And it's not just college graduates that are unable to find work either; the job market is awful for a huge segment of the population including those who determined that college was too expensive.

I too expect corporations to be greedy, but that doesn't stop that greed from impeding the economy or hollowing out economic opportunity for vast numbers of people. Bad politicians are also a problem, as well as the corporate subversion of democracy. So is an increasingly bad payoff for college degrees, since there isn't a replacement for the opportunity they used to provide. And there are still other serious problems as well. But to say that the protesters are wrong for wanting jobs when there is at most one available for every three unemployed people, and when an extremely tiny portion of the country has sucked up a hugely disproportionate share of economic gains and still seeking to push the burden onto those who have barely progressed, suggests to me that you aren't perceiving the motivations behind the protests accurately. Even if one of their most popular talking points is somewhat inapt.


Just to be clear, I know that the OWS movement has multiple motivations and that the jobs portion is just one of them. I even agree with most of them, but this one in particular irks me.

#58 Michael Tanczos   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 5149

Posted 04 November 2011 - 10:45 AM


The reason schools are "failing" now is because failure has been continually defined by a higher standard.


That higher standard is CRITICAL. To say that we're doing better than 15 years ago, while may be true, it's not good enough. Today's students are going to be competing in a global work force where the US is smoked year after year in academic achievement. Every time I'm trying to higher a new developer, I get dozens and dozens of Indian developers with masters degrees in computer science while the number of born and raised American applicants is shockingly small and of them.

Teachers unions have nothing to do with it - in fact, states with teachers unions outperform those who don't. This is likely because unions can negotiate for better wages, thus attracting a larger applicant pool for schools to select from. The idea that teachers can't be dismissed or fired because of tenure is also patently false - it doesn't take much more than a few negative evaluations to boot a teacher regardless of tenure.



This is quite simply wrong. Just looking at the termination stats for teachers should be proof enough of that, unless you really think that only one out of every thousand teachers deserves to be fired a year. I guarantee you, there are a lot more bad teachers out there then that. In a ten year timespan 1995 to 2005, only 112 teachers were fired in LA Unified. That's 0.2% over the course of ten years in a school district with a graduation rate of just over 50%. If you can't see anything wrong with that, then I'm afraid discourse with you regarding the problems with our education system is going to be impossible.


That higher standard we're shooting for has been overshot by top 20% students nigh on forever and met by most of that next 40%. Termination of teachers depends on the state, but any district willing to go through the process can fire a teacher. Also, graduation rate could certainly be much higher if teachers lowered the bar and allowed students to graduate.

Second, what does graduation rate have to do with anything?

If I put you in a room in front of a kid who has absolutely no desire to learn anything from you.. who has no interest in mathematics.. and thinks that it's more fun to do zig-zag lines on standardized tests because they don't count for anything or draw cartoons on every other test, I'd love to see you held accountable for that kid. I'd love to see everyone outside that room mock you for being a failure of a teacher or for refusing to allow this student to graduate because you can't reach that one kid. With every city school there are kids who are absolute boat anchors.. they have a firmly entrenched mentality that they don't have to do anything. The truth is that parents have a more profound impact on student success than teachers, and it starts when the students are young. Our "failing" school system doesn't acknowledge whatsoever the large percentage of students who ARE succeeding.

It would be interesting to see how someone would grade your own performance on educating me as to why you are right - because what I walk away with is entirely beyond your control. If you were a teacher, you'd have to be considered a failure by "modern" standards because I'm like that bottom 10% kid who isn't going to gain anything from you regardless of what you say.. even if 90% of the rest of the population does in fact learn something valuable from your contributions.

#59 Sirisian   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1651

Posted 04 November 2011 - 10:47 AM

I just saw this link about the Vatican calling for a central world bank for tracking financial matters.

It is obvious that to some extent this is equivalent to putting the existing exchange systems up for discussion in order to find effective means of coordination and supervision. This process must also involve the emerging and developing countries in defining the stages of a gradual adaptation of the existing instruments.
In fact, one can see an emerging requirement for a body that will carry out the functions of a kind of “central world bank” that regulates the flow and system of monetary exchanges similar to the national central banks. The underlying logic of peace, coordination and common vision which led to the Bretton Woods Agreements needs to be dusted off in order to provide adequate answers to the current questions. On the regional level, this process could begin by strengthening the existing institutions, such as the European Central Bank.

Always wanted such a central world bank for dealing with currencies and managing transactions in a completely open way. It's interesting that the Vatican, which has run it's own city like a clockwork with only a few problems (corruption), would suggest such a sensible idea.

If we want things to get better, then we as consumers need to start putting our money into smaller businesses. What happened to locally owned gas stations, locally owned grocery stores, locally owned video rentals, or even locally owned coffee shops. Instead, we shop at huge chains such as walmart or blockbuster or Starbucks.

Vertical integration. The reason big grocery stores and franchises work so well is they offer convenience and do it cheaply. There are documentaries about how things used to be. You'd go to a single place to buy a few things. It was a lot more work. Now you stop at one place and get everything you need. For a locally owned place to compete would cost millions in investments to construct and then you'd need recognition through advertisement. It's a tough market where people already have habits. Also it's impossible to support local gas stations. They were all bought out by franchises. I for one haven't seen one ever. I go to a speedway since they offer a rewards program to get free gas.

Pretty sure blockbuster died. Netflix and Red Box took over. Family Video is still going strong. Again convenience.

#60 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 04 November 2011 - 10:58 AM

If I put you in a room in front of a kid who has absolutely no desire to learn anything from you.. who has no interest in mathematics.. and thinks that it's more fun to do zig-zag lines on standardized tests because they don't count for anything or draw cartoons on every other test, I'd love to see you held accountable for that kid. I'd love to see everyone outside that room mock you for being a failure of a teacher or for refusing to allow this student to graduate because you can't reach that one kid. With every city school there are kids who are absolute boat anchors.. they have a firmly entrenched mentality that they don't have to do anything. The truth is that parents have a more profound impact on student success than teachers, and it starts when the students are young. Our "failing" school system doesn't acknowledge whatsoever the large percentage of students who ARE succeeding.


Of course there are some students succeeding, but not enough. We are well below other industrialized nations in national scores, and it's having a significant impact on our economy and employment rate.

It would be interesting to see how someone would grade your own performance on educating me as to why you are right - because what I walk away with is entirely beyond your control. If you were a teacher, you'd have to be considered a failure by "modern" standards because I'm like that bottom 10% kid who isn't going to gain anything from you regardless of what you say.. even if 90% of the rest of the population does in fact learn something valuable from your contributions.


It is NOT beyond your control. If that were true, you would not have teachers with consistently better results in the same school system. Like it or not, a large part of the teachers job is motivating students to want to learn. That's what separates the great teachers from those who are just handing out assignments from the lesson plan. It is those teachers we should be paying higher salaries and encouraging, but teachers unions make this impossible. To throw up your hands and give up because some students aren't interested in learning is ridiculous. Of course there are students you're not going to be able to reach, but a 50% graduation rate is unacceptable.




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