Skip to main content
No. of Recommendations: 4
Admittedly, I’ve asked this question in a COMPLETELY different context, but this hand-wringing piece is popping up everywhere for me. Thought it would be fun to discuss here.

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/7-ways-men-live-without-w...

First of all, I think it’s bizarre that they lump people living on retirement money in the same mix as people living on disability. Seems to me there is a PROFOUND difference between saving and investing and quitting versus legit or not-so-legit disability.

It’s also interesting that men live off savings and selling NFTs, trading Bitcoin, etc but not women? This piece, to me, seems misogynistic because the lack of men in the workforce is somehow more concerning than the lack of women (who’ve been more affected by Covid and childcare issues), and also doesn’t mention child support NOT being paid by a lot of those non-working guys (and yes, I know women often pay child support, too).

Anyway. This piece really bugged me for many reasons.

Curious what y’all thought.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
That is a good question.

Frankly, I am puzzled that there aren't more people (women and men)
returning to work after all the state's bonuses were curtailed. There
sure is a need and I see advertisements for help all the time.

It sounds like you were unhappy that they focused on men instead of
the population as a whole. Is that right?

Maybe the extra money given in the form of state weekly increases of
$600 on top of unemployment plus the stimulus money made it possible
to pay off bills so that their cost of living was lowered substantially.
That, as well as deciding to live more cheaply, enabled them to live off
what they have invested.

I, actually, could live off my Social Security but I have no debt of any
kind. I have an income stream from investments that increased quite a
bit during this past year but I have chosen to reinvest and add to my savings
instead of increasing spending. I know that I am very fortunate but I am also
content with less than many people.

It has been wonderful to resume air travel so that I can see my children and
grandchildren again. Three of my children live in different state than me and
I used to fly every quarter so I could keep an "in person" relationship with them.
Being home for over a year and a half has been tough. I leave to visit two of my
children's families next month and I am very excited!

It does seem rather odd that they would focus only on men. I would have thought
a more balanced article would be interesting. Perhaps interviewing both men
and women to find out how they are making it in this day and age especially
if they don't have a job. I bet it would be interesting to find out if men
and women handle the finances differently.


Robyn
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 14
Curious what y’all thought.

Where are all the men? They're finishing high school and going to college.

The author of this thinkpiece is looking at the very topline labor force participation rate, but not really digging into the weeds of what it reflects. It is true that the overall male labor force participation rate has fallen to about 67%. But the BLS defines working age population as starting at sixteen - which means that millions and millions of men that are part of the working age population are also 'school age.'

So then - the BLS provides a breakdown of the civilian labor force participation rate by sex and age:

https://www.bls.gov/emp/tables/civilian-labor-force-particip...

The participation rate for working age men (age 16 and older) has fallen from 75% to 67.7%. But the participation rate for men aged 25-54 is 88%. So it's not as if a third of men are somehow living their grown-up lives without holding down a job. And that labor force participation rate hasn't really changed all that much from 20 years ago, when it was about 92%.

What has changed a lot? School-aged men. Here's the figures for the 16-24 year old age brackets:

2000 2020
16 to 19 52.8% 34.1%
20 to 24 82.6% 71.0%

The first row reflects the fact that high-school dropout rates have been declining fairly steadily, and have fallen by a little more than a third:

https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2017/educatio...

...and the second row reflects the fact that college enrollment has also risen (though not nearly as much as high-school retention rates).

Once you realize that the topline figure is mostly reflecting the labor choices of people under the age of 25 or over the age of 55, it becomes clear that you're looking more at education and early-retirement choices and less at a 'job-free' lifestyle that's sweeping the nation....

Albaby
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1


It sounds like you were unhappy that they focused on men instead of
the population as a whole. Is that right?


Well, tbh, I sort of thought the whole piece was a bit goofy in that 1) it focused solely on men 2) was really short on actual figures 3) it conflated disability and 401(k) income —sorry, I think that’s super weird and 4) it really ignored a lot of fundamental shifts in the economy that have taken place over the years (shift from manufacturing to knowledge-based), and 5) it ignores a lot of education issues that go hand in hand, to an extent, with #4.

Also by concentrating only on men, it ignores that plenty of women are also working under the table, freeloading off relatives, etc.

It’s interesting, too, that he seems to be using the peak labor force participation rate of men in 1949 as the benchmark. Today could not possibly be more different than 1949 in terms of types of jobs, demographics, legal situation (ie, Equal rights for minorities and women), the fact that the current population is much older than it was (about 40% of the population currently is 45 years old or older. In 1950 it was about 26%. Stand to reason that a much greater percentage of that current population has retired).

Like I said, the piece just struck me as very sloppy.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Frankly, I am puzzled that there aren't more people (women and men)
returning to work after all the state's bonuses were curtailed. There
sure is a need and I see advertisements for help all the time.


That's easy. They don't want to. Some jobs don't pay enough. Restaurants are raising their minimum wage because that's the only way they can get people.**

Many have gotten a taste of working at home, and don't want to go back to an office. Some are quitting rather than doing that. Others had time to pursue their dreams, and are now doing something on their own.

Just google it. LOTS of articles about "never going back". Employers are going to have to evolve or die.

With regard to the men, it strikes me as sexist also. The assumption that men are the primary bread-winners, and primary drivers in the workplace. That's not so true anymore. And don't even talk to me about "tips". That -as in Europe- should be eliminated.***

1poorguy




**I'd never work in a restaurant. 1poorkid worked in a sandwich shop, and I worked at a pizza place when I was a teen. Dealing with people SUCKS. They're horrible. You have to pay a lot more for workers to have to deal with customers. A LOT more.

***Tips are actually racist. They were devised as a way to underpay workers, and then the customers could "tip" the servers more if they liked. You can imagine that most of the people who could afford eating out were white, and white people (back when tipping became a custom) would tip black servers little, if anything. So they could keep black people disadvantaged.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0

That's easy. They don't want to. Some jobs don't pay enough.



https://www.vox.com/recode/22673353/unemployment-job-search-...


This was an interesting article about the current employment problem.

For some of the jobs available, people don’t have the right skills, or at least the skills employers say they’re looking for. Other jobs are undesirable — they offer bad pay or an unpredictable schedule, or just don’t feel worth it to unemployed workers, many of whom are rethinking their priorities. In some cases, there are a host of perfectly acceptable candidates and jobs out there, but for a multitude of reasons, they’re just not being matched.


Tim Brackney, president and COO of management consulting firm RGP, refers to the current situation as the “great mismatch.” That mismatch refers to a number of things, including desires, experience, and skills. And part of the reason is that the skills necessary for a given job are changing faster than ever, as companies more frequently adopt new software.


I also think companies are being WAY WAY picky, looking for Employee Charming, that perfect candidate that only exists on paper. I know that’s happening at my company.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
And depending on the profession, there are the H1Bs. My company likes hiring engineers from India. A lot cheaper, apparently.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0

Once you realize that the topline figure is mostly reflecting the labor choices of people under the age of 25 or over the age of 55, it becomes clear that you're looking more at education and early-retirement choices and less at a 'job-free' lifestyle that's sweeping the nation....


Great points!
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
there are the H1Bs. My company likes hiring engineers from India. A lot cheaper, apparently.

Then they are breaking the law if they are paying less for equally competent engineers.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I'm sure they are adhering to the letter of the law. Some loophole.

US colleges are graduating legions of engineers. You're telling me that they can't find someone, so they have to resort to H1B? I don't buy it. Somehow it is cheaper to get an H1B, pay for them to relocate, and employ them than it is to hire a US citizen.

The Indian folks are very competent, and some of them even went to college here on college visas. But, despite college visas not permitting them to work here, the company manages to get it converted to a working authorization. Of course, this is happening much less now because we have an India facility today. With TEAMS, they just have to stay up late to attend meetings (or, occasionally, we have to stay up late...depends whose time zone the meeting is scheduled). But even five or ten years ago a large percentage of the people I was working with had green cards. From China and India, mostly. Most have become citizens at this point.

Of course, COVID may have changed some things. But we do have a new engineer in my group. I've never met him (I don't go to the office very often, and usually only on weekends when I must). I've heard his voice, and he's definitely Indian-born. I haven't inquired (it would probably be regarded as inappropriate), but I'll bet he's an H1B.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
You're telling me that they can't find someone, so they have to resort to H1B? I don't buy it.

Sure. It is easy to do. Simply require competent fluency in some language and/or "professional" contacts in India--and you have eliminated most US engineers. Saw the equivalent ALL the time as a requirement in a variety of areas. Engineers, scientists, management, etc. Limited the application pool to a VERY small group--which had been probably specifically targeted by the company.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
Impolite nailed it.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
Finally - and I see people talking about this but no one seems to understand how dire it is - childcare is still really difficult to arrange right now , and what is available is expensive enough it takes a decent hourly wage to come near making it worthwhile.

This.

But unfortunately, it's a fairly predictable outcome of a lot of the trends in our economy these days, all of which are driving up wages in the lower end of the markets. The discussions over the 'Fight for $15' seemed to focus on fast food jobs, where labor costs were an important but not majority proportion of business expenses and where mechanization allows for greater efficiency, allowing significant increases in compensation without having to see large increases in prices. But you can't do that with child care, where almost the entire cost of production is labor and where regulatory limits prevent you from 'producing' more child care with fewer workers (ie. more kids per adult).

So when we raise the wages in fast food and retail and warehouse jobs to $15 or more, the child care industry can't keep paying just $10-12 per hour like they were - especially since the job these days involves necessary exposure to lots of unvaccinated kids. Almost all of that increase in labor costs has to get passed through to the customer. And so child care gets both scarcer and more expensive.

TANSTAAFL.

Albaby
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
But, despite college visas not permitting them to work here, the company manages to get it converted to a working authorization.

If the student is in the United States on an F1 student visa, that comes with work authorization for 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT). That gives enough time for graduates to enter the H1B visa lottery and a more permanent position.

Regards,

- HCF
has the unrestricted right to work in the United States without sponsorship.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Then they are breaking the law if they are paying less for equally competent engineers.

True, but engineers are hired to a specific level, or grade. A grade 4 (I forget the exact words - It's been years.) can be assigned to the same project as a grade 7, or even a 9. (At the Boeing company.) And there is a range of salaries for a grade 4 engineer.

In my observation, the Indian engineers are able to do the calculations (especially if there is a computer program involved), but they sometimes lack the mechanical experience of working on their cars as teen agers or on their bicycles as kids. (Maybe not today - there are a lot of bicycles in India.) Memorizing formulas does not necessarily make one a good engineer.

I hasten to add that I have known some very capable Indian engineers. Somewhat less for the Koreans I have known - they have memorized every formula in the book but sometimes have no mechanical sense.

CNC
... OK, color me snobbish - or even prejudiced.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 4
Who’s going to hold the company accountable for tossing out American engineers in favor of H1B? Disney did it in plain sight even requiring the US engineers to train their replacements or get zero severance.

Good luck fighting Goliath.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
That's why you need powerful government. No one else can control the corporations.

I once read a piece (many years ago) wherein a psychologist analyzed corporate behavior. He said all the successful corps were sociopathic. They have no interest in benefiting the community, nor their workers, except insofar as it benefits their bottom line.

Even Google, whose motto was "do no evil", has not been able to hold to that. They've gotten too big, and are now sociopaths (as a corporation, not as people).

1poorguy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 4
all the successful corps were sociopathic. They have no interest in benefiting the community, nor their workers, except insofar as it benefits their bottom line.

That may be true in many modern corporations but it has not always been so.

There definitely are corporations that bought up failing businesses during the Great Depression and kept them running to provide jobs in their area.

I have met executives who feel a responsibility for their employees and the need to keep plants running so their workers can feed their families.

Dog eat dog may be the theme of many out there but I think we have plenty who take a more generous approach to life and being successful.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Maybe so, but the bigger corps are traded on the markets. Their primary responsibility is to shareholders. And shareholders mostly care about the bottom line. If the stock price isn't going up, you could find yourself off the Board.

Corporations are generally pretty good at responding that that. The CEO may support many charities, and care for workers, but in the end he works for shareholders who don't know Bob in the cube next to the Coke machine, whose wife just had a baby. That the CEO knows that doesn't usually have an impact.

Though our CEO doesn't like laying folks off. I'm told he loses sleep over it. But he will, and has done so in the past (though not for at least a decade now).
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 4
Maybe so, but the bigger corps are traded on the markets. Their primary responsibility is to shareholders.

Only some of them. I think that we use 'corporation' as a shorthand for 'big commercial for-profit business entities,' but it's worth remembering that this doesn't entirely capture the breadth of corporate entities in the U.S. - which encompass a lot more than just companies like Honeywell or Caterpillar. The Sierra Club is a corporation. So are the NAACP, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Doctors Without Borders, Harvard University, the City of Miami, and the New York Times. Corporations can be set up to do anything.

Albaby
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Fair enough. So what term would you recommend to disentangle Google from Doctors Without Borders?

One is sociopathic in the quest for profits, the other isn't.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
We should also note there are privately held companies that may be more patient especially for a good cause. It is often noted that Wall Street investors have trouble seeing beyond last quarters numbers. Long term strategy often gets little or no attention.

Top performing US companies succeed for a variety of reasons and often on multiple levels. Calling them all cut throat goes too far.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I don't now recall the precise article I read, but a quick google provides many hits.

https://www.google.com/search?q=corporations+are+sociopaths&...

Corporations are psychotic/sociopathic. Not all of them. But their motivations and obligations result in behavior that, if it were an individual person, in many cases we would call "sociopath".

That's what the experts are saying. I'm just reporting on it. I'm not a psychotherapist, so I take their word for it. (e.g. PBS, Psychology Today, and others)
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
So what term would you recommend to disentangle Google from Doctors Without Borders?

I don't know - large multi-national for-profit businesses?

I know that's not very satisfying, but it's really only a narrow slice of 'corporations' - even business corporations - that are 'sociopathic in the quest for profits.' There's only a few thousand publicly-traded corporations, but there's literally millions and millions of corporate businesses out there. Most of them aren't sociopathic. They're just the corporate form of your local dry cleaner, neighborhood Italian restaurant, or dental office. Many of them are just pass-throughs - my psychologist wife and all of her psychologist friends/colleagues all do their practices under a corporate entity. And that's to say nothing of the millions and millions of special purpose entities - corporations that exist only to do a single thing, like own a single parcel of land for development purposes or hold the lease to a piece of capital equipment.

Albaby
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
I’m a corporation. I’m a LLC.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
"You're telling me that they can't find someone, so they have to resort to H1B? I don't buy it."

First, advertise the job with impossible to meet divergent rqmnts. Second, collect information and show that there were no qualified applicants. Third, advertise the job abroad in another language where someone can stealthily change the job rqmnts and/or split the job into two positions. Fourth (optional) have the U.S. person train their replacements under threat of losing separation pay.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 5
Maybe so, but the bigger corps are traded on the markets. Their primary responsibility is to shareholders. And shareholders mostly care about the bottom line. If the stock price isn't going up, you could find yourself off the Board.

Corporations are generally pretty good at responding that that. The CEO may support many charities, and care for workers, but in the end he works for shareholders who don't know Bob in the cube next to the Coke machine, whose wife just had a baby. That the CEO knows that doesn't usually have an impact.


From my experience in a Very Large Corporation (which I'll generalize from):

1) When a Board vacancy occurs, the Board creates a nominating committee. It is my understanding the CEO/Chair pretty much controls who'll be on it and has the major (veto?) role in the outcome. The nominees are place on the ballot. Stockholders can vote "For" or "Abstain", with no option for write-in candidates. As a result, stockholders have little to say as to who is on the Board.

2) Stockholders can try to exert some influence through resolutions but (at least in my corp.) those were only treated as non-binding suggestions. If passed, nothing needed to be done nor did any progress have to be reported back to stockholders.

3) The Board sets the terms of the contracts and evaluate the performance of the C-level folks. Ultimately, the Board is their customer and boss, NOT the stockholders.

3a) The purpose of the corporation is NOT to "make money". The purpose (and strategy for achieving it) is based on what the CEO is accountable for in his/her contract.

3b) We each need to breathe in order to live, yet nobody would say their *purpose* in life is to breathe. Corporations are like that with money; it's a condition for existence, but not a purpose.

=== One person's opinion; YMMV.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
My experience in the software biz tells me that the purpose of a company is to get bought out by a bigger company so the executives make Really Big Bux (and workers bees who've been granted stock options make some bux, too).
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
"My experience in the software biz tells me that the purpose of a company is to get bought out by a bigger company so the executives make Really Big Bux (and workers bees who've been granted stock options make some bux, too). "

Good idea but I suspect 80% of more of 'start ups' fail. Many of the worker bees work 80-100 hours a week, hoping to cash in later if and when they get bought out. Some take 'shares' in lieu of paychecks.

"The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines a "small" business as one with 500 employees or less. In 2019, the failure rate of startups was around 90%. Research concludes 21.5% of startups fail in the first year, 30% in the second year, 50% in the fifth year, and 70% in their 10th year"

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/04091....

a lot of computer companies (software and hardware) bit the dust along the way from Gateway to NorthStar to Radio Shack. Ever hear of Pascal and Ada and a hundred other programming languages? Forth? Lisp?

As far as 'games'......maybe 1 in 10 work out..... but not many Atari and other game systems around.

You, too, could have bought MSFT when it came out. Same for Apple and Amazon and others....invested your bucks. At one time, MCI sold for under a buck a share. It went to several hundred dollars a share and if you bailed out 10 years later, you'd probably made a million. One secretary back in 1977 took stock instead of a paycheck. She was a millionaire 7 years later.

YEah, the dream of Silicon Valley start ups of all sorts is to make it big, have the venture cap companies bought out with a public offering, and execs and early workers sail off into the sunset with multi-millions.


t.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Ever hear of Pascal and Ada and a hundred other programming languages? Forth? Lisp?

Pascal - never used it - I think it's peak in popularity was before my time - I did use Modula 2 which many people consider to be the evolution of Pascal.

Ada - Not my cup of tea - I think it's popular in Department of Defense circles. I haven't used it, but I have certainly heard of it.

Forth - been a long time since I've written anything using it. Isn't a language I find easy to use.

Lisp - use it every few months or so. (technically a dialect of Lisp)

I'm not sure what your point is - but those aren't that unusual of languages... And there are some very successful businesses built on not-widely-known languages - like Epic Systems.

YEah, the dream of Silicon Valley start ups of all sorts is to make it big, have the venture cap companies bought out with a public offering, and execs and early workers sail off into the sunset with multi-millions.

I think that changed 20 years ago - the dream for most of them isn't an IPO - it's to be acquired by Alphabet/Microsoft/Facebook/Apple/SAP/etc.
Which I think is why they said that "the purpose of a company is to get bought out by a bigger company".

There are a few exceptions - like Epic.
But there are so many that appear to exist first to get bought, and second to make money while waiting to be bought. And the truth of the comment is what makes it funny. (And I think alstroemeria was trying to be funny with that quip)
Print the post Back To Top