Presenting political argument on Twitter, and the "prestige economy"




“Entry-level jobs were replaced with unpaid internships”

I would say the high cost of hiring has more to do with this than malicious hiring managers.

“Jobs that once offered on-site training now require college degrees.”

This seems to be due to the large numbers of people with college degrees. It’s an easy weed out for HR departments. Anecdotally, it seems that grade inflation and other methods used to keep people in higher education (those darn greedy capitalists) have resulted in graduates unprepared. This includes basic skills like writing.
*Yes critique mine, I’m an IT person.

“Health care and home ownership are unaffordable for most young people. This makes them feel desperate, particularly when they begin adult life saddled with stratospheric debt.”

This has been debated endlessly, I think that someone who would take on stratospheric dept without doing research on their chosen field has already failed their interview. Granted times are tough but here’s something to consider when discussing the current housing market: During the early 80s mortgage interest rates were as high as 19%.

Unemployment wasn’t great either. Actually often worse than the US experienced during the the financial meltdown:

Why do I care? Because I see the calls for “there outa be a law” starting. Additionally, although an Ivy league education can certainly make a big difference when starting a career it isn’t everything. How much time and effort will it take to pay off those giant loans? Wouldn’t that time be better spent focusing on ones career?


I once did a short internship at a graphics design buro. In the three months I was there, I did about 90% of the work on three contracts for them, each (my guess) in the five figures. The money that they would have had to pay me to stay on would have been as close to zero, compared to that, as you can get. I tried to talk money with them, they wouldn’t hear it, so I left.

Nope, we’re talking entry level jobs that have been eroded. High cost of hiring only applies to the big jobs later down the line.

I would say the collossal uncertainty of the job market these days more than makes up for that discrepancy. I’m lucky, I live in a country that has a great social net and have a family that can support me - and I ended up chancing on my job (programming). I’m privileged. But that doesn’t make me doubt for one second that it’s just bloody hard to figure out what you want to end up being, these days.

You know what? Fuck that. There ought to be a law.

If companies magically make produce appear in their factory and use that to make profit, the government steps in and asks pretty tough questions about their bookkeeping. Often resulting in criminal charges. If you churn through dozens of interns every quarter to the point where the paid staff just hands through the work to the clients, there ought to be a law against that. Because it’s absolutely ridiculous and will hurt the economy in the long run.

Yeah, because that’s really very simple.


I’m not really clear what your point is. The sad fact is that employers created the short term mentality by changing their practices from keeping employees through the lean times to laying people off whenever the wind starts blowing a little less profit their way. With shorter job tenures businesses don’t want to train people anymore. So they create a situation via their greed and then use that situation to justify eliminating on the job training. Then they lobby congress to allow hundreds of thousands of H1-B visas entrants to compete for jobs that they could fill locally if they didn’t have such stringent and ridiculous job requirements. Given that you work in IT you should know all this.

The mentality amongst most employers these days is to treat employees as fungible, disposable commodities. It doesn’t have to be that way – you get the loyalty you give. They’ve made this mess along with their wall street pals (they could’ve fought back against wall street’s demands for offshoring, etc. but they didn’t). They want (and have succeeded in making) labor desperate and cheap, and yet they complain when workers aren’t loyal to them, or workers use them as springboards to other opportunities. Employers hold all the cards. This environment is one they created. I don’t want to hear about how hiring is expensive. It wouldn’t be so expensive (if that is even true) if employers treated workers better, paid living wages, and didn’t drop them the moment their profits stop rising as fast as they were last month. On top of that, many businesses are now welfare queens – living off the government tit in way more expensive ways than normal people ever did. The banks are the prime example of this: big banks that would ALL be bankrupt and gone if it weren’t for massive and ongoing bailouts to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars still walk around pretending they are some kind of genius business people independent of “big government”. Bullshit. Their continued existence is solely due to the largesse of the taxpayers – they are for all intents government owned entities – yet they get to keep all the “profits” while we foot the losses. They don’t have profits, they have government handouts. But in our government’s infinite wisdom (more like infinite corruption) they get to pretend to be masters of some alternate universe while the rest of us are supposed to “suck it up and cope” and deal with years of unemployment and mass destitution.

The economy is run solely for the benefit of the rich these days. Prestige jobs and unpaid internships are the thing that ensures only the children of the wealthy get all the plumb jobs, no matter whether they are qualified or not. Its enough to make one want to start a goddamned communist revolution, although I have no illusions such an arrangement would be much better. We need to go back to a true social democracy – it was the best hope in the 20th century, and its the only thing that will save us now. Unfortunately the political swine, including saint obama, are all in bed with the 1%, hell they are the 1%, and will do everything they can to keep this corrupt system churning. Too bad for them its running out of steam and all their money printing (lets please not get into the empty discussion of whether QE is “technically” money printing or not) and market manipulation is going to inevitably end in a crash to make 1929 & 2008 look like a cakewalk. Its only a matter of time, but when it happens the Fed won’t be able to bail out its cronies fast enough to save them from going down. Of course the regular people will be the ones to feel that brunt of that disaster as well, but at least it will hopefully wake us up enough to throw the thieves in jail and elect each other to government instead of plutocrats and their stooges.


US population in 1985 ~235mil. Now ~314mil.

There was a philosophical shift in the 80’s where labor costs went from necessary evil to malleable overhead. The saying used to be, “Make yourself irreplaceable.” Doesn’t matter anymore. Everyone’s replaceable. No matter where you are on the troth someone will do the same job for less.


I am growing more convinced that the only jobs remaining by the time my kids are adults will be service, creative or entrepreneurial. I’m trying and hoping to prepare them for the last two.

The current education bubble is likely to pop fairly soon. Very few people now finishing high school will realize any net benefit from an education (financially speaking, quality of life is another thing). Many of the people currently in post-secondary probably shouldn’t be there. I certainly would have been better served to do something else, my MA only qualified me for jobs that I discovered, within 5 years, that I hated.


You obviously didn’t think this through. That is a good reason to used an internship as a probationary period before making a permanent hire of a recent grad, but is not any reason at all not to pay that intern. In my field, and many other engineering disciplines, interns are typically payed ~45-60k, and it’s used as a screening method that allows a company to only offer permanent jobs to the ones they want to keep. Non-technical knowledge economy jobs, including those in the legal and government spheres, requiring unpaid internships that are only feasible for people who have some family money, are clearly a way to make the class divide permanent.


Are you suggesting that the cost of bad hires is a recent phenomenon that didn’t apply when internships were not the phenomenon they are now?[quote=“stupendousman, post:2, topic:15348”]
Unemployment wasn’t great either. Actually often worse than the US experienced during the the financial meltdown:
Holy cherry-picking. Why, in your opinion, are new jobless claims the most important measure of unemployment? Why aren’t overall unemployment rates more important? I mean, by your measure an economy that has consistently high unemployment with no job creation and no job destruction (such as France) would be better than an economy with low unemployment but significant job churn (the US). If we look at unemployment rates, then there was only [one year][1] in the 1980s where the unemployment rate was above 8%. On the other hand, we’ve now been above 8% unemployment every year since 2009.

[1]:[quote=“stupendousman, post:2, topic:15348”]
Additionally, although an Ivy league education can certainly make a big difference when starting a career it isn’t everything. How much time and effort will it take to pay off those giant loans? Wouldn’t that time be better spent focusing on ones career?
How does one focus one one’s career without going to college, when you’ve already acknowledged that college degrees are now an easy way for HR departments to weed out applicants?


It’s fairly clear to me that to work in London you need to do an unpaid internship. There were 6 or so people in the office I worked in this summer doing unpaid internships, supporting themselves off of the coin of Mom & Dad. None of them were working a second job to fund their time in London - all of them will benefit from the experience - but those positions would be inaccessible for someone without a few thousand pounds worth of financial help and without the contacts to secure the unadvertised, unpaid positions. Hence they were all Oxbridge or London University types. The UK is seriously considering charging £20,000 a year for undergraduate degrees, financed by a loan made at 6.3% interest.


Good for you.

I think it’s pretty clear that entry level jobs are going away as a result of specialization and more complex jobs. The future is here.

And who is going to write it? You? People you agree with? The arrogance of that statement astounds me for two reasons. The first, as I already hinted at, is how on earth would one keep control of such a movement- answer one wouldn’t. Second, be careful what you advocate- once it’s law the enforcers will use it in whatever way they choose, again no control.
Oh and a third point. I guess the cats long out of the bag but advocating using said government employees to enforce such preferences with almost impossible to define
harms and victims is criminally (in an ethical sense) reckless.

What? The idea that most of the workforce is unpaid is ludicrous.

I agree with that. But it’s always been a crap shoot. Unfortunately what one wants to be and what will pay the bills is often different.


How about free education for those that want it, and can show an aptitude for it? Or, for that matter, what the shuddering fuck is wrong with a law mandating that internships should be accompanied by a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work? Or at least minimum wage, if you want to nickel and dime it?


My main point would be that the world and human interaction is very complex. Looking for an other is easy.

So you’re aware of everyone’s motivations? It couldn’t be that the requirements of modern work requires more?

If the job applicants on visas are more qualified why shouldn’t they get the positions? They took our jeerbs!!!

Today? That’s how its always been . Unfortunately it’s true from most positions.

Uh, don’t you think this increase employment costs?

While I don’t believe that I do agree that corporatism is a huge problem. Additionally an economy shouldn’t be run.


Yep, I’ve had contracts like that myself. I’ve not heard of many IT positions that are unpaid internships that weren’t part-time.

Well the legal profession is flush with lawyers. There just aren’t enough jobs to go around. Except for a few, my lawyer friends are all in different fields. I tried to convince them not to go back to law school.
As for government work… the less the better in my book.


For what it’s worth, some companies do still understand that internships are a “pre-hiring” mechanism, and both pay their interns moderately reasonably and try to give them real work to do, rather than underpaying them and using them as grunt clerical staff.

There have always been bad actors. I’m willing to believe that that has increased in the non-hiring environment. I’m just cautioning against assuming that the horror stories are the only stories.


I’ve read they’ve ballooned but I can’t find any numbers. Nope it’s always been expensive to hire. My guess is it’s more expensive now than in the past. Employment laws continue to be created. Following those laws costs money.

It was an example for Odin’s sake. Calm down.

Most of the people I work in IT with don’t have degrees, or at least not IT degrees. It is an advantage, not a guarantee.


The matter of who’s doing it is separate from the matter of more or less. This system makes sure that the people doing it will be from the already privileged classes, which in turn makes sure that the people working in government will want to maintain the privilege of those classes.


Yes, but the important point is: I could make that call. Turn the pressure up a few notches and people quickly run out of options like that. We’re really not talking about huge, sweeping issues here. Just cranking that lever bit by bit until people fall by the wayside.

The point of the article was to say that with the entry level jobs, we also lose entry level education, instead shifting it to higher education.

I’m obviously talking about unpaid interns.

No, that’s a copout. Tons and tons of jobs have been eroded, it’s crazy scary. It is enormously more difficult to find a job, let alone keep it for a long time and the areas where it’s still safe to find a job are getting worse and worse. It used to be the norm that you went to school, trained for a job and then kept that job until a decade or two before they lowered you into your grave. We have certainly come a long way since then and it gets crazier every year.

It is the job of government to protect society from collapse. The “our jeerbs!” nonsense is your attempt of polarizing the debate. It’s quite simple: There are things that a society and an economy can deal with and there are things that will erode it. This is why we have environmental laws or worker protection laws for instance. Just because some right wing nutcases turn that to the extreme and use it for hatred doesn’t mean that there is an argument to be had on that point. It’s really basic economic theory at this point: If you flood the market with cheap offers, you’re inviting trouble.

I’m about as left-wing as they come (which means I’m pretty much a socialist by US standards), but I do know this: Without careful, sensible management, economies eat themselves alive pretty quickly.

I think it’s a self fulfilling prophecy, though. If you hire people higher and higher in the education pyramid, you simply end up with a different set problems. If the hires you do end up making are in the 300k range, you should expect a higher cost on the legal end. If you hire interns at proper wages, you won’t have high costs like that by far. It’s apples and oranges.


[quote=“stupendousman, post:15, topic:15348”]
Nope it’s always been expensive to hire.[/quote]
So you basically admit that the expense of hiring has little to do with the increase in internships, since it has always been expensive to hire people. Unless you believe that the marginal increase in employment laws (which should be somewhat offset by the inflation-adjusted decrease in both minimum wage and median wage) has somehow caused the massive inflation in internships.

I thought it was a bad example and pointed out why. Calm down.

It’s obviously not a guarantee, given the number of unemployed college grads, but that’s not to say it’s not a virtual prerequisite (as you seemed to acknowledge earlier).

Outside of government regulation, how do think that corporatism can be controlled?


[quote=“stupendousman, post:12, topic:15348”]Additionally an economy shouldn’t be run.

Ah, there we go! The means justify the end, eh?

You could have saved us all a lot of time by just shrugging and saying “Ehhh, waddya gonna do?”


And what about this is new ?? It’s only more open, nothing has essentially changed since Ugg started telling Grog, Mukk, and Ing how to hunt that Mammoth. . . while supervising from 100 years away. . .