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Elizabeth Warren on Why 1970s Feminism Was Best for the Bosses
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I wouldn’t say “a disaster” but here’s the opening of the positive review I wrote for VDARE.com in 2003 of Elizabeth Warren’s book “The Two Income Trap” about how the 1970s feminist triumph of sending the wife to work turned out better for bosses than for families.

Huge numbers of mothers entered the labor force over the last few decades. And the inflation-adjusted price of food, clothing, appliances, electronics etc. dropped sharply. So how come we don’t feel like we’ve got a lot more discretionary income than our single-income parents had?

A wise and readable new public policy book called The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke provides a simple answer:

We don’t have more discretionary income than our single-income parents had.

The mother and daughter team of Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren and former McKinsey consultant Amelia Warren Tyagi explain:

“The average two-income family earns far more today than did the single-breadwinner family of a generation ago. And yet, once they have paid the mortgage, the car payments, the taxes, the health insurance, and the day-care bills, today’s dual-income families have less discretionary—and less money to put away for a rainy day—than the single-income family of a generation ago.”

The two authors note:

“The brunt of the price increases has fallen on families with children. Data from the Federal Reserve show that the median home value for the average childless individual increased by 23 percent between 1983 and 1998 … (adjusted for inflation). For married couples with children, however, housing prices shot up 79 percent—more than three times faster.” ..

Warren and Tyagi made an impressive survey of 2200 families that declared bankruptcy. “Our study showed that married couples with children are more than twice as likely to file for bankruptcy as their childless counterparts,” they write. This will come as no surprise to married couples with children. Even more striking: “This year more people will declare themselves bankrupt than will suffer a heart attack.”

The biggest single cause of this growing financial stress on middle-income parents: the breakdown of much of the public education system. As Warren and Tyagi note,

“Even as millions of mothers marched into the workforce, savings declined, and not, as we will show, because families were frittering away their paychecks on toys for themselves or their children. Instead, families were swept up in a bidding war, competing furiously with one another for their most important possession: a house in a decent school district… ”

Warren and Tyagi report: “A study conducted in Fresno … found that, for similar homes, school quality was the single most important determinant of neighborhood prices …”

They go on to say:

“Bad schools impose indirect—but huge—costs on millions of middle-class families. In their desperate rush to save their children from failing schools, families are literally spending themselves into bankruptcy.”

But what causes “bad schools”?

Read the whole thing there.

 
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  1. Good stuff.

    For the large number of Republicans who comment on Steve’s writing:

    Realize that whoever gets the Democratic nomination may become president.

    Would you rather have someone who wrote this article, based on original research, or one of the other candidates?

  2. Whiskey says: • Website

    Warren will rush out to denounce her own crimethink. Good schools is a code for avoid vibrancy.

    • Replies: @WowJustWow
  3. At the end of the Second World War, the only major organization in the US that wanted Rosie to keep on riveting was the National Association of Manufacturers.

  4. It’s funny how many things pushed by the mass media, the foundations and academia were good for the managerial elite. “Woke capitalism” is too obvious to hide after they’ve been pushing it for the last five or six decades.

  5. @Paleo Liberal

    Would you rather have someone who wrote this article, based on original research, or one of the other candidates?

    Competence in the service of evil is no comfort. Better they elect a fool.

  6. Rosie says:

    If American conservatives are able to bring about a realignment of party politics in this country, Tucker will deserve a great deal of the credit for it.

    • Replies: @dvorak
  7. This is very true. Interesting how it took a liberal to express it. Anybody with a brain back in the 1970s realized early on simple math. Fixed number of jobs + doubled workforce = halved wages. It’s simple Marxism, actually. Simple free marketism, too. Because it’s just true.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  8. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Paleo Liberal

    The person who wrote this article, by far — but what does that have to do with present-day Elizabeth Warren?

  9. I have much more respect for Elizabeth Warren now. I thought this was one of those plain-as-day truths (doubled workforce = halved pay) that you just weren’t allowed to say. Oh well. She’ll probably be forced to take it back and was her mouth out with soap now.

  10. Sailer wrote:

    But what causes “bad schools”?

    Bryan Caplan’s recently published The Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money makes a compelling case that schooling has become largely a matter of “signalling” — a bit of signalling of one’s intelligence (post Griggs v. Duke Power) but more a matter of signalling one’s persistence and, above all, compliance: i.e., that you will obediently tolerate pointless nonsense for 16+ years.

    Of course, signalling is largely a zero-sum game: kids and families are all on the wheel in the rat cage trying to run a bit faster than the others.

    STEM subjects are of course a partial exception, but only partial: aside from the fact that few people end up in STEM jobs, even STEM students spend much of their time in school on work that has nothing to do with their future jobs.

    I had an office-mate who had gotten an engineering degree on the GI Bill after WW II: he told me that when he started work, the overwhelming majority of engineers did not have college degrees but had learned as apprentices on the job. Based on what I have seen myself, I suspect that still might work.

    Caplan does concede that learning the three R’s for grade-school kids is necessary, but of course even that does not require the existing public schools (vide everything from Khan Academy to homeschooling).

    So, to answer Sailer’s question (“But what causes “bad schools”? “), perhaps the answer is that schools are intrinsically not the right way to get educated, and, yet, since WW II we have pushed schooling as a magical path to the good life in a way that has never before been done in human history.

    Works in a way for the mandarinate but not for most members of society.

    Caplan is pessimistic that we can break free of the mythology of schooling anytime soon.

  11. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:

    Secretarial work used to be a male profession, which is why important positions have the title “Secretary”. Secretaries were also known as “clerks”, which is where the surname “Clark” and “Clerk” come from. It was a good entry level and apprentice style job where young men would get a good overview of business management, or a longer term career where one served as a trusted advisor and assistant to managers, like Secretaries in Presidential Cabinets.

    • Replies: @Foreign Expert
  12. @Paleo Liberal

    Would you rather have someone who wrote this article, based on original research, or one of the other candidates?

    D-Presidential-candidate Warren is not the same lady who wrote this article, P.L. The lady who wrote this was a real conservative, maybe a Phillis Shlafley type. She would never get the nomination of any party fielding a candidate for President in today’s America. I’m not sure she could get elected as dog catcher, even if they still have them.

    These people morph or shape-change at will. It’s like a science fiction movie, but no, it’s all too real. Now, Chief Warren’s got one more thing to worry about, since you people (ahem, Steve) brought this book up again. What if the big diversicrats of the Democrat party were to find a copy of this book? Well, I guess I’m being too paranoid … most of them don’t even read.

  13. Ron, I did read your blurb about WP – v.4. I hope you can fix this bug, as not getting the EDIT window, but worse, no feedback as to whether the comment will appear, is getting annoying. Achmed is getting upset!

  14. Twinkie says:

    The mother and daughter team of Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren and former McKinsey consultant Amelia Warren Tyagi

    That’s hilarious. Elizabeth Warren may be a fake (feather) Indian, but her daughter married a real (dot) Indian, so presumably has a real (half dot) Indian grandchild. Problem solved! Run this woman for president and put that child on her lap (and perhaps someone can distastefully criticize this as an Asian prop as occurred with Jeff Session).

  15. @Paleo Liberal

    First, blaming bad schools without explaining why certain schools are bad isn’t correctly identifying the problem.

    Does she mention increased immigration, single mothers, the public school unions, section 8 housing, relocating blacks out of the inner cities?

    I didn’t read the book but Steve’s review doesn’t mention why E. Warren thinks the schools have deteriorated just that they mysteriously have.

    Her proposed solution? Give parents vouchers and allowing them to pick the school that their kids attend. What effect do you think this would have on the parents ability to find a good public school?

  16. bomag says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    Would you rather have someone who wrote this article, based on original research, or one of the other candidates?

    She’ll likely denounce it and fully embrace modern SJW-ism.

    And converts are often the extremists.

  17. Mr. Anon says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    Would you rather have someone who wrote this article, based on original research, or one of the other candidates?

    It doesn’t matter what she wrote 15 years ago. It is the promises she is making today (to her donors, implicit or explicit) that count.

  18. @Whiskey

    With the best things she ever had going for her now nudged outside the Overton window for being a little too anti-wahmen and anti-black, drawing more attention to her dubious claims of Indian heritage might actually be a step in the right direction.

    Turning 71 in 2020, she’ll be the shining young diverse face of the party compared to everybody else vying for the nomination.

    • Replies: @Jay Fink
  19. Even Elizabeth Warren is guilty of BadThlnk. When will it ever end?

    • LOL: bomag
  20. @Anonymous

    My grandfather was “secretary” of a major bank. Secretary was one rank below vice president in those days. Probably that rank no longer exists b

  21. EldnaYm says:

    The problem is that the idea that you need to get your kids in a “good school” is based on a myth. Her conclusions sound nice but her argument is wrong. If you’re going to claim bidding wars for good schools are what’s driving property price increases, you invalidate your own argument.

    Any middle class parent who goes broke spending all their money on homes near “good schools” instead of homeschooling their own children isn’t worth a damn.

  22. So what if people’s paychecks go less than half as far as they did when men were the sole breadwinners? Women are more fulfilled now.

  23. Twinkie says:
    @obwandiyag

    That assumes fixed demand for goods, which doesn’t hold when the workforce doubles (increased demand means increases in jobs, holding productivity constant, although that doesn’t stay constant either).

  24. Clyde says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    What your idiot Dems are going to nominate is a Kamala-Cortez ticket. As in Ocasio-Cortez.

    • Replies: @ChrisM
    , @unpc downunder
  25. DFH says:

    But what causes “bad schools”?

    Let me guess: School segregation

  26. George says:

    Ed Buck looks like one of those cruelly handsome white male criminals on Law & Order and burglar alarm commercials.

    Ed with rainbow bow tie and Hillary.

    In 1987, Ed Buck formed Mecham Recall Committee, to force Arizona Governor Evan Mecham from office. A year later, the homophobic governor became the first in Arizona to be impeached. Buck also organized the first HIV education program in Arizona. Since retiring to West Hollywood in 1991, Buck has become a volunteer with animal rescue. “Year after year, Ed has shown us how his commitment to compassion makes the difference. Best of all? Ed’s smart and sassy and gets the job done.” — John D’Amico, West Hollywood Councilmember (WeHo.org)

    That’s upscale, retiring from Arizona to LA.

    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
  27. She was more wrong than right, anyway. The demographic shift took her by surprise. Only 1/2 of married mothers work full-time, and that’s been true since pretty much right after her book came out. She wrote it up based on data gathered during peak Boomer Career Mom, and things changed very shortly afterward due to the tech revolution.

    • Replies: @Sam
  28. @EldnaYm

    Married parents are mostly not middle-class, if you mean 50-60k income. Most married parents are 100k households or pretty close.

  29. Cortes says:

    Where’d that bold Injun Warrior end up? Anyone know?

  30. Sam says:
    @The Practical Conservative

    Have some sources on that and what’s the connection with the tech revolution?
    A factor to discount here should be the parallel trend of fewer marriages among whites as well,right?

  31. ChrisM says:
    @Clyde

    Cortez is only 29. She will not be eligible for VP for another 6 years.

    • Replies: @clyde
    , @bomag
  32. @Song For the Deaf

    Are they really happier than they were in the fifties or sixties. The best and most comprehensive surveys I know about American women state that they are less happy now than they were in the fifties or sixties.

  33. clyde says:
    @ChrisM

    Cortez could run as VP but could not be seated. Then President K could pick another VP.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
  34. The biggest single cause of this growing financial stress on middle-income parents: the breakdown of much of the public education system.

    So, negroes. The hidden negro tax. The Detriotification of America. Welcome to my world people.

    Mrs Stan and I were having a parallel discussion last night about the utter collapse and failure of basic government services. Anyone who has had to obtain a form or register a vehicle or anything else involving government knows whereof I speak. My contention was that Slick Willie’s shift of negroes from welfare to workfare has cost us several multiples of what the welfare cost in lost productivity from the private sector taxpayers in addition to the higher payments to the negro taxeaters now paid to not work in a government building. Upon consideration, Mrs Stan agreed.

    What say you iStevers?

    Is it less expensive to just pay them a pittance to stay in government housing and do nothing or to pay them more to sit in a government office and do nothing (or if they do something, do it so incompetently that it must be redone again and again – in manufacturing this “rework” is the bane of every plant manager).

  35. @Twinkie

    If the Warrens wanted an Indian for the purpose of cuisine change and other cultural delights, then I think they’ve got another think coming.

    They expected venison jerky, smoked salmon, and buffalo (boiled buffalo, smoked buffalo, sauteed buffalo, shrimp-fried buffalo, buffalo gumbo …). Yet, they got curry dishes, blueberry squishies, and microwave burritos.

    They expected incessant drumming, war chants, and moonlight dancing with wolves. Yet, they got 40 year-old disco, and Diwali carols.

    They expected story time, with the oral histories passed on from the ancient ones. Yet, they got two brother-in-laws holding 2-hour late-night arguments over the merits of WordPress vs. stand-alone php.

    I want my feathers back!

  36. @GermanReader2

    He didn’t say happier, Deutchman-2, he said more “fulfilled”. They know how fulfilled they are by how fulfilled Cosmo magazine says they are.

  37. bomag says:
    @EldnaYm

    I agree that homeschooling is a viable alternative, but that is not at all main stream thinking; homeschooling still has a whiff of taboo about it.

    And good schools are a proxy for good neighbors.

  38. @Stan d Mute

    The problem with the plans, such as yours, (and mine to keep them out of the offices and give them enough money to play pool all day to boot) is that idle hands thing. I’ve seen plenty of white people with lots of time on their hands that make, if not productive, interesting uses of their time. With certain other groups, the result is bad for everyone.

    BTW, it’s not just the welfare-to-workfare bit that has entrenched many middle-class blacks* in government positions. AA has had much to do with it also, over a very long time period as of now.

    So, regarding the incompetence of government workers, I think you should “make a new plan, Stan.” (sorry, couldn’t help that one)

    .

    * Lots of people figure that there would be not much of a black middle class if it weren’t for government jobs. I think they are right.

  39. iffen says:

    a house in a decent school district…

    Uh-oh.

    This will be more politically damaging to her than trying to claim POC status.

  40. bomag says:
    @ChrisM

    Hah! Congress will be so cucked/Dem by then, they will welcome her with constant ceremony. Any court challenge will be struck down by Roberts et al who will find an exception in the commerce clause.

  41. Stick says:

    There are just so many Cherokee schools available.

  42. Corn says:
    @Song For the Deaf

    Really? They are? How many bottles of wine does it take for them to say that?

  43. MEH 0910 says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    What if the big diversicrats of the Democrat party were to find a copy of this book?

    With a new introduction by the authors, Senator Elizabeth Warren and consultant Amelia Warren Tyagi, this 2016 edition of The Two-Income Trap shows that the middle class remains entirely out of reach for many.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  44. peterike says:

    Warren is one of those old-school Democrats who, if she had the least shred of integrity, would be a vocal Trump supporter. But she doesn’t, and so she isn’t. She’s just another grifter working her way up in Grifter Town.

    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
  45. @Twinkie

    That assumes fixed demand for goods, which doesn’t hold when the workforce doubles (increased demand means increases in jobs, holding productivity constant, although that doesn’t stay constant either).

    Roughly speaking demand for primary housing stays the same. Married people live in a single home, usually. whether one partner is working, or two. obwandiyag observation generally holds for that market. Incomes simply don’t go as far towards buying homes as they used to, back in the 1960s.

    I wonder if home prices have been inflated by two-income households, pricing single-income households into either less expensive homes and neighborhoods that they would once have chosen for themselves, or putting couples into the position where both have to work to afford the mortgage for a home in a neighborhood where they can live among their social peers.

    Is there any empirical research about this particular aspect of family income structure and housing prices?

  46. Corn says:
    @PhysicistDave

    “I had an office-mate who had gotten an engineering degree on the GI Bill after WW II: he told me that when he started work, the overwhelming majority of engineers did not have college degrees but had learned as apprentices on the job. Based on what I have seen myself, I suspect that still might work.”

    College has simply become white collar voc ed for many, if not most students.

    A regular commenter on a forum I used to frequent was an accountant. He said in his opinion one could probably be a perfectly competent accountant after a year and a half of night school with a paid internship during the day.

    Yet our society requires four years of college and the student debt that entails. A big vicious machine.

  47. @Twinkie

    It was a trade off of social capital for economic capital.

    The first working man who sent his wife to work OT an advantage: he and she were able to move to a better neighborhood than he alone could have afforded. After that first tragedy if the commons, everyone else just had to have two workers to hold steady.

    Of course, the Federal Government made out like a bandit on this. Two people earning 130k pay twice the Social Security taxes of one person in a married couple earning 260k. That’s an extra 16K max per year for the same income.

  48. From Steve’s 2003 review:

    The mother and daughter team of Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren and former McKinsey consultant Amelia Warren…

    I came away just plain liking these two ladies and their down-to-earth approach based on both formal data and the realities of daily life.

    LOL. Literally laughing out loud, “I’m gonna get me some beer now.”

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  49. Circumstances have changed drastically since the 70s when both parent working became typical. Interest on mortgages was as high as 18% and the options of homeschooling or attending/starting a charter school mostly didn’t exist. I believe more strategies for getting a quality education for your children could be made available with a little effort on the part of parents and communities. Some form of distance education tailored to a families needs could even make education fairly portable. I’m sure Elizabeth Warren was simply generating rationale for expanding the welfare state, something along the lines of the necessity of both parents working and still unable to make ends meet is a form of capitalist exploitation. The right typically heaps loads of blame and criticism on any social problem without any attempt at creative problem solving. Then will advocate for rigid adherence to societal norms from the 50s as the solution. Socialism will win if Republicans and other conservatives don’t embrace the aspects of libertarian thought related to empowering individuals and small communities to find and implement solutions to their own problems. And let’s not forget that those famously affordable houses in the 50s were called matchbox houses for a reason. Too bad their cars were anything but matchbox-size and couldn’t fit into their tiny garages.

  50. @George

    Ed’s smart and sassy and gets the job done.

    Calling a man sassy identifies him as gay. (Maybe the “ass” in the middle of the word?)

  51. @peterike

    Yes, I guarantee that were she to be elected, any talk of breaking up the banks and going after Wall Street would evaporate like the morning dew. Just like Obama’s promises to do something about out-sourcing. It’s just rhetoric, it isn’t meant to be taken seriously.

  52. @PhysicistDave

    We’ve talked about this. It’s not about education, it’s about something for kids to do all day. Are you really going to put a 10 year old to work in our economy? No, so kids must be warehoused while their parents work or do adult things. Might as well teach them something while they’re there. And some of them are even smart and benefit from the experience. Of course, most gain very little or are actively harmed by the whole mess.

    As to engineering without schooling: my son is majoring in electrical engineering and is awash in complicated math, physics, circuits, computers. It’s so technical that I can barely have a conversation with him about it. Do you suspect that most of his education is unnecessary?

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  53. “Bad schools impose indirect—but huge—costs on millions of middle-class families. In their desperate rush to save their children from failing schools, families are literally spending themselves into bankruptcy.”

    A little UK example of two houses only a few miles apart, both very similar, at the lower end of the market but the kind of place a poorish young couple might choose to start a family in. Solid Northern stone end terraces.

    Calton Street, Keighley – nearest school Holy Cross – sounds nice. No garden but beggars can’t be choosers. You could add an attic bedroom, doesn’t look nice but you could raise two children then. All you need are decent neighbours and safe streets.

    Holy Cross School, Ofsted report 2006. Rated as Good.

    “The school serves an area of extreme social disadvantage. More than three quarters of the pupils
    are from minority ethnic backgrounds and most of these do not speak English as a mother tongue when they start school. Throughout the school, many pupils are supported in their learning
    of English as an additional language. The proportion of pupils entitled to free school meals is higher
    than average as is the proportion who have learning difficulties and/or disabilities.”

    Or how about an almost identical place in Haworth, just a few miles up the road? Nearest school Haworth Primary. No garden but beggars can’t be choosers. You could add an attic bedroom, doesn’t look nice but you could raise two children then. All you need are decent neighbours and safe streets.

    Haworth Primary School, Ofsted report 2015. Rated as Good.

    The school is an average sized primary school. Numbers on roll have increased since the previous inspection. The school has raised its admission numbers from one to one and a half classes. The proportion of disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs is above average. The proportion of disadvantaged pupils supported by the pupil premium funding is broadly in line with the national average. The pupil premium is additional government funding to support pupils known to be eligible for free school meals and those children who are looked after by the local authority. The large majority of pupils are White British.

    First house is £48,500, second house is £85,000 – about 75% higher. And the first house has off road parking or a “back yard” for the kids to play in!

    The first house has also changed hands 4 times since 2011. There’s no end to the ways in which nice things are better than not nice ones.

  54. Thea says:

    The average size of single family homes also greatly increased while family size decreased. The post wwii boom that gave us a large number of families who owned a home, a car and required only one income and encouraged upward mobility of children was unsustainable . Women entering the workforce was the wrong reaction to the challenges that model faced but it was much shorter lived than most imagine.

    Crowded living and women earning some form of income ( sewing, tending chickens, domestic help) was common outside of the upper class.

  55. @Stan d Mute

    I’ve seen plenty of white people with lots of time on their hands that make, if not productive, interesting use of their time.

  56. @Achmed E. Newman

    It should be interesting use of their time

  57. @Stan d Mute

    So, negroes. The hidden negro tax. The Detriotification of America.

    Yep. You nailed it.

  58. @PiltdownMan

    Well, how much of the extra demand for consumer goods and services is caused by the need for the working wife and mother for those things and therefore essentially a “wash” in terms of standard of living?

    A working wife and mother will now require a vehicle of her own, car insurance, fuel for the car’s tank, car maintenance (oil changes, tires, rotors, wipers etc), parking and tolls, a work wardrobe, lunches, child care services, prepared foods, possibly a home computer, incidentals, and will have acquired significant debt as a necessary prerequisite for any white collar job.

    Adding just the sum of the second car (payment/insurance/maintenance/fuel) with the student loan payment is a healthy monthly nut to manage for a young couple.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  59. @MEH 0910

    Like I said, it’s good for the Dem leadership that the rank and file doesn’t read … like, books.

  60. @Achmed E. Newman

    AA = workfare = welfare. Also, correct english is “interesting use of their time”

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  61. I am surprised that nobody has mentioned the work of documentary filmmaker Aaron Russo on this topic.

    Also: surely there is a strong correlation between the decline in the quality of public education (and of nursing) and the opening of other career paths to intelligent and capable women (who might otherwise have become teachers or nurses) during the time period under discussion. My sense is that it was only the presence of large numbers of intelligent and capable women with few other options than schoolteaching who kept public education standards higher than they likely were ever intended to be. See John Taylor Gatto and Unz Review’s own Robert Weissberg for more on this topic.

  62. @Achmed E. Newman

    Do you seriously think they’d do more harm societally sitting home getting even fatter on welfare than they do obstructing and impeding the function of government for those of us who pay for government? Where’s your evidence? Prior to affirmative action and the massive shift from welfare to government workfare, what damage were they doing? Has that damage diminished? From where I sit, their dysfunction is the same before and after with the only change being a massively more incompetent government (and private sector where they’ve not been siloed into areas where they can’t cause operational ruin).

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  63. The problem with women like The Rodham and Pow-Wow is that they can’t shake the “insufferable suffragette” image. (Interestingly, both were raised as Methodists).

  64. @PiltdownMan

    “I wonder if home prices have been inflated by two-income households,”

    That seems plausible to me, along with the deductibility of mortgage interest.

  65. @PhysicistDave

    I had an office-mate who had gotten an engineering degree on the GI Bill after WW II: he told me that when he started work, the overwhelming majority of engineers did not have college degrees but had learned as apprentices on the job. Based on what I have seen myself, I suspect that still might work.

    For what it’s worth, I have a brilliant friend – invited to MIT before graduating HS, invited to Princeton grad physics before graduating MIT, later talked his way into Harvard’s math grad program while “tripping” – who spent many years of his uniquely disjointed career working in various high tech engineering firms. One of his specialties was partial differential equations. He told me that he learned far more about PDEs in his various engineering jobs than he ever did in academia. He claimed that a lot of current mathematical knowledge was closely held, proprietary trade secrets, jealously guarded by engineering firms.

  66. @Stan d Mute

    The better idea: Pay low IQ, criminally inclined, and otherwise socially dysfunctional persons not to have children. But above all, do not do the reverse, and pay them for every child they do have, as is the case now.

    • Agree: Jay Fink
  67. @Sam

    The tech revolution has meant that there’s millions of married couples where dad makes a STEM-related, frequently but not limited to IT/tech salary in the low six figures and mom doesn’t work very much or at all while kids are still in the home. There’s also all the jobs managing those guys, as well.

    About 25% of married mothers of kids under 18 have dad as the sole earner. Another 25% work part-time and mostly sub-20 hours a week true part-time, leaving only half to work full-time. And counter to the narrative of power couples each making six figures, the six-figure households have a majority of mothers earning 0-25% of the total household wage income.

    There is a shrinking pool of 60-90k married couples where mom’s income is a big factor, and in that sense the two-income trap is real for those households. We’ve moved rapidly towards a go big or go under the table on marriage-income, with huge increases in six figure households with one full time earner and a stable group in sub 50k households with unreported income.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  68. Anonymous[422] • Disclaimer says:

    But what causes “bad schools”?

    Our current education system is effectively school segregation via housing prices, which leads to very high housing prices (but good public schools if you can afford them). If we had total school integration there would be super-white-flight and segregation academies (errrr… I mean independent schools).

    A reasonable compromise would be school segregation via test scores. This is basically how Stuyvesant or Boston Latin work. It would lessen the “bad school squeeze” of people trying to white flight to expensive school districts, and also help poor, but smart kids who live in cities.

    Case in point, New Trier HS demographics:
    https://www.illinoisreportcard.com/school.aspx?source=studentcharacteristics&source2=studentdemographics&Schoolid=050162030170001

  69. Kyle says:

    The whole is equal the sum of the parts. Prices will always be set by what the market is willing to bear. My old man used to tell me before track meets, “if they’re handing out medals go ahead and take one.” I’m going to paraphrase my old man, and say if they’re handing out money, go ahead and take it.

    I heard elizabeth warren saying something on the radio the other day about how she cares about working families. It made me feel good to hear someone even pretending to care about affordable family formation. She might be a looney tune leftist, but at least she’s putting forth honest to god effort. It’s more than we could say about the rest of the Macronians in washington.

    • Replies: @Matt
  70. @PhysicistDave

    Physicist Dave, pre WW II, a man with basic math and reading skills could get a solid job in industry that afforded he and his family a decent life style. Many of those men didn’t want their sons to work in the steel mills or foundries that sustained their life. So they pushed for their kids to finish HS school and even get a college degree. But public education back then wasn’t the scam that it is today.

  71. @clyde

    clyde, I would be willing to bet that Ocasio Cortez will wear out her welcome with most Dems.

  72. Rosie says:
    @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    A working wife and mother will now require a vehicle of her own, car insurance, fuel for the car’s tank, car maintenance (oil changes, tires, rotors, wipers etc), parking and tolls, a work wardrobe, lunches, child care services, prepared foods, possibly a home computer, incidentals, and will have acquired significant debt as a necessary prerequisite for any white collar job.

    Adding just the sum of the second car (payment/insurance/maintenance/fuel) with the student loan payment is a healthy monthly nut to manage for a young couple.

    Mostly true. At least if you homeschool, you’ll still need a car, but it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A cheap, used car is fine. If it doesn’t start one day, no big deal.

    The second paycheck really doesn’t add enough to quality of life to make up for the hectic pace of the dual-income lifestyle.

    • Replies: @Rosamond Vincy
  73. Rosie says:
    @The Practical Conservative

    About 25% of married mothers of kids under 18 have dad as the sole earner. Another 25% work part-time and mostly sub-20 hours a week true part-time, leaving only half to work full-time. And counter to the narrative of power couples each making six figures, the six-figure households have a majority of mothers earning 0-25% of the total household wage income.

    That’s encouraging if true.

    I would like to see a poll on whether women who work would rather not. The problem is that any investigation would have to account for the sour grapes effect. Women who cannot afford to stay home will often tell themselves they don’t want to stay home.

  74. @Achmed E. Newman

    She also eviscerated the Big Banks in the 2007-2010 period.

    And, she can’t out-brown or out-commie Occasio-Cortez/Kamala types.

    Not sure where that leaves her.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  75. @Stan d Mute

    Do you seriously think they’d do more harm societally sitting home getting even fatter on welfare than they do obstructing and impeding the function of government for those of us who pay for government?

    Come on, Stan, you’ve been to an inner city, I know. The young men cause more damage in the form of crime and mayhem when idle than guys that (though maybe not working their asses off) work on the street projects, and the ladies that move their big butts slowly around a big office to collect your property taxes or give you a car tag.

    Prior to affirmative action and the massive shift from welfare to government workfare, what damage were they doing?

    That wasn’t the whole of it, Stan. They didn’t all shift like that. Even in the late-1990’s, there were many more manufacturing jobs here. There were many blacks on welfare then, and there are still plenty on it now. Now the AA has been in place since the 1970’s (my brother was a victim of it once). I think the biggest shift was from working real jobs to both being on welfare AND flooding the government sector. That went on over 50 years.

    No, I don’t like incompetent government, but I don’t like any government. I also don’t want to work with incompetent people that I can’t even complain about. I get that. I’m lucky about that right now, at least.

    I still maintain that having a big crowd of completely non-working black people, at least younger men, is a worse deal than them being in government via AA, but I don’t support the latter either.

  76. @welfare rec

    AA = workfare = welfare.

    Yeah, that’s part of it, but AA also includes getting put to the top of the line, when one might be very suitable for something lower down, along with getting admitted to colleges/etc. before the more qualified.

    Thanks for the correction, but I can’t correct it now.

  77. @Twinkie

    Bullshit lying statistics again.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  78. Phony baloney “economist” liars on here object to saying doubling the workforce halves the wages because they believe that whatever private business does is good, and so they rationalize in order to somehow justify the obvious fact that capitalists are not sexists or racists, they are happy to exploit whomever they possibly can to the greatest extent they possibly can. And that’s supposed to be good.

    I love how the one douche up there tries to blame the government for making out on the entry of women into the workforce. What evil stupid liars.

    Liberals are just as at fault, here, or course, however. They think doubling (or tripling, if you include civil rights) the workforce is just fine, just as long as there is diversity, despite the fact that everyone, including the diverse ones, suffer.

  79. @Paleo Liberal

    Would you rather have someone who wrote this article, based on original research, or one of the other candidates?

    “One of the other candidates”–the worse one possible actually, because i want white people, middle class people in general, to see the Democrats for what they are, and then–hopefully–expel them.

    ~~

    The key point is Warren’s middle class shtick is a fraud. The Democrats are always yammering about “working families” and it’s a complete fraud. They don’t give a rats ass about working families. (Sifting through to find a Republican who cares is another project but at least it’s possible.)

    The way we know liberals’ “working families” concen trolling is a complete fraud is that they will not mention “immigration” as contributing to the problem and certainly won’t work to stop it, but rather work to jack it up and make it worse.

    As Steve points out–and as is obvious to anyone who can do basic math–the logical implication of Warren’s book’s finding that increasing housing prices for a house with “good schools” is what is degrading life for American families is … stop immigration! That’s what keeps jacking up housing prices and precisely jacking up housing prices for neighborhoods with “good schools”. As more and more suburbs get immivaded native Americans must compete for housing in the increasingly limited set of districts that are “less diverse”.

    As i’ve pointed out repeatedly, mass immigration is directly at odds with pretty much everything liberals/Democrats claim to value:
    — good wages
    — income equality
    — affordable housing
    — good schools
    — community cohesion
    — “gender equality”
    — LGBTQWERTY tolerance
    — less crime
    — less sprawl
    — less traffic congestion
    — use of public transit
    — open space
    — habitat preservation
    — species preservation
    — less pollution
    — lower carbon footprint

    Immigration directly and obviously makes all that stuff worse. (I don’t care about a few of those bullets, but liberals claim to.)

    The *only* “liberal value” that immigration does contribute to is … diversity! (Which of course is code for more anti-white votes for Democrats.)

    But mass immigration is clearly, obviously, logically working in opposition to the usual laundry list of things liberals say they care about. And yet mass immigration is the core value they are committed to keep. Which means their verbiage on the rest of this stuff–like “working families”–is a complete fraud.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  80. @AnotherDad

    There is a chance that a significant percentage of Democrat party members are not sharp enough to understand how over-immigration can cause the displacement of citizens/jobs/culture. A large number of elected “leaders” probably don’t really get it either.

    The sharp guys with the power certainly do, however. The agenda is real, but this snake has a head, and there is the source of the problem. (I am not claiming to imply or identify anything about that, the true “leadership” of America.)

    Let’s just not fool ourselves into thinking that politicians and others who win elections are particularly smart, or that the people who vote for them are. Candidates are often dummies who love the spotlight and are willing to carry out the plans of those who bankroll them and work the system.

    Usually everybody just blames “the economy” or “the system” for failing to support everyone. Democrat propaganda then agitates for more control, while Republicans push for “free markets.”

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  81. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:

    Wow, and it took genius level Harvard law professors to figure out something that every dumb hillbilly redneck deplorable prole kids figured out 80 years ago.
    Here’s is the solution.

    Racially segregated schools.
    All blacks go to all black schools even if they have to bedded 70 miles away and even if their parent is a $250,000 PA civil servant
    Every child with a Spanish surname go to a Hispanic school even if they and their parents are blue eyed pale skinned Spanish immigrants

    They get the affirmative action benefits of being disadvantaged POCs . Great privileges mean great responsibilities to care for their fellow POCs.

    All Asians and Whites can go to Asian White nearest neighborhood school.

    Problem solved.

  82. @stillCARealist

    stillCARealist wrote to me:

    As to engineering without schooling: my son is majoring in electrical engineering and is awash in complicated math, physics, circuits, computers. It’s so technical that I can barely have a conversation with him about it. Do you suspect that most of his education is unnecessary?

    Yes, as a matter of fact most of it is indeed unnecessary.

    I worked in the field for a number of years, and, as a Ph.D. physicist, I knew more of the math, physics, etc. than any of the engineers. I was indeed rather surprised to see that they did not use (and indeed could not remember) most of what they had studied in school. I mean this quite literally: I never saw any of the engineers (and these were bright guys in leading-edge high-tech) even use first-year calculus. On the rare occasion when they did need calculus or college-level physics, they came to me, since I did remember it.

    From time to time, I woould try to explain something to them (again, I am talking about the brightest of the engineers with BS degrees) involving undergrad math and their eyes would just glaze over.

    The argument for the current education system for engineers would be that — who knows? — they might use one particullar piece of what they learned in school someday, and then they’d be ready. Indeed: but it is a rather inefficient method of training!

    The other argument, to which I do lend some credence, is that the schooling of engineers bends their minds to think in a certain way, even though they forget most of the details by the time they are out of school. That is true, though perhaps the same thing would happen if they spent that time working as an apprentice.

    Of course, nowadays your son does need the degree to get a job: credentialism. It’s a sorting mechanism.

    • Replies: @epebble
  83. Aardvark says:

    Someone smarter than I pointed out that people too often assume that public schools are for educating children. Viewed through this lens, on the whole they are a dismal failure. If we viewed public schools as indoctrination camps, they are wildly successful.

    So, how do we return to schools that have a mission to educate instead of indoctrinate?
    I have long suspected private schools are much less of an indoctrination operation and much more of an education operation.

  84. What causes “bad schools”?

    Education majors.

    As long ago as the 1960s, Max Rafferty’s classic What They Are Doing to Your Children pointed out the folly of having Math Education majors instead of math, Language Arts Education majors instead of English, Social Studies Education majors instead of History or Geography. In addition, instead of reading excerpts from Patrick Henry, Shakespeare, or classic children’s literature by Carroll or Twain (as McGuffey Readers would feature), they read what Rafferty called “people no one ever heard of.”

    As Rita Kramer’s 200 Ed School Follies: The Miseducation of America’s Teachers indicates, things are worse than ever. Have a look. Anyone who read the Anne of Green Gables series, and followed her rigorous training and career as a schoolteacher would be astonished at howlittle a teacher is required–even preferred–to know now.

    BTW, schools in high socio-economic areas may be safer, but don’t assume they’re more educational. Unless they are private schools that aren’t forced to hire only those with Teaching Certificates, they are every bit as vapid.

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
  85. @Aardvark

    NY doesn’t like it that way. The Board of Regents requires staff at even parochial schools, the last bastion of parents who want their kids to learn, to take some Education credits before they can be certified to teach.

  86. @Rosie

    If it doesn’t start one day, no big deal.
    Unless you need to get groceries or hit the laundromat. Not everyone has a washer/dryer in the basement.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  87. @Clyde

    In practice, economic leftist/idealists like Cortez have little impact on immigration policy. Name me a socialist politician in an Anglo country who has overseen a big immigration surge?

    The one’s you have got to watch are the economic right-wingers who are socially progressive (on the centre-right or centre-left). Clinton signed NAFTA which started the big surge in Mexican immigration. Tony Blair was the one responsible for the immigration surge in the UK in the 90s. Economic right-wingers like Paul Keating and Rodger Douglas opened up Canada, Australia and New Zealand to mass Asian immigration.

    • Agree: dfordoom
  88. Is that Lindsey Graham on the cover of Ship of Fools?

    For some reason I thought it was Chris Matthews. I had a little trouble with Maxine Waters, but she was my top guess for the black lady. Everyone else was quite simple to identify.

    I don’t know if Steve mentioned it in his review, but the book sorely needs footnotes. Ironically, I’m simultaneously reading a couple of classics by Thomas Sowell, and his endnote section is almost as long as Tucker’s whole book.

    An index would be nice, too, but I can see the point of tricking people into reading the whole book looking for something particular. However, it’s hard to cite passages on a certain topic or figure over 100 pages after the reference.

    Somehow books by women seem more likely to lack indexes, but that may be more to do with the subject matter they gravitate to.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  89. dfordoom says: • Website
    @PhysicistDave

    So, to answer Sailer’s question (“But what causes “bad schools”? “), perhaps the answer is that schools are intrinsically not the right way to get educated,

    Maybe the “good schools” are actually worse and more damaging to both the individual and society than the “bad schools” – maybe it’s the “good schools” that have turned us into a society of morons who believe anything the government or the media tells us because that’s exactly what the purpose of schools is.

    Schools exist not only to teach us to obey, to conform and to consume they also exist to feminise us. Schools are a very female thing. Do what Teacher tells you to do because Teacher knows best. Women love school because it teaches them social conformity and it teaches them to navigate the very feminine waters of social status ands social hierarchy.

    Maybe it’s “good schools” that have turned our young men into soy boys?

    • Replies: @stillCARealist
  90. epebble says:
    @PhysicistDave

    What kind of engineers did you work with that did not need college level math? I have been in engineering over 30 years (but never soldered a transistor) but have used Fourier methods, numerical analysis, stability analysis (of control loops), optimization (linear programming etc.) etc., Today’s EEs don’t know how to solder etc., but can’t get any job if they don’t know all the circuit & board design/simulation software and languages like Verilog and VHDL.

    • Agree: PiltdownMan
  91. @Buffalo Joe

    Her pro-Palestinian rhetoric will wear reeeaaal fast.

    • Replies: @Corn
  92. @Buffalo Joe

    She seems to be gunning for the top spot which usually doesn’t rub a collection of older sociopaths gunning for the top spot the right way.

  93. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @PhysicistDave

    I had an office-mate who had gotten an engineering degree on the GI Bill after WW II: he told me that when he started work, the overwhelming majority of engineers did not have college degrees but had learned as apprentices on the job. Based on what I have seen myself, I suspect that still might work.

    The late Jerry Pournelle talked about that from his experience working at Boeing:

    https://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/does-america-hate-bright-kids-some-thoughts-on-education-and-the-pareto-principle-possible-good-news-about-china/

    Well, we showed a way out, and that part certainly was fiction. Many of my early stories postulated that the great corporations would get so disgusted with the schools that they would set up company schools for employees’ children, and go on to set up programs that would substitute for college education. That last wasn’t entirely speculation: when I went to work for Boeing in the 1950’s a large portion of the aeronautical engineers were not college graduates; they had begun as draftsmen and mechanics, learned on the job and in company classes, and became certified by examination. I think there a none of those now. My friend Paul Turner was one of the last non-degree professional engineers in the North American Shuttle program, and he retired years ago.

    We can only conclude that the ruling class hates bright upstarts kids not their own.

  94. @dfordoom

    Try finding a public schooled kid who doesn’t think that homosexuality is just fine and dandy. Even an ostensibly Christian, straight guy.

    Try finding a female public schooler who doesn’t spout all the usual feminist tropes, even though they may have little understanding of any of the issues.

    And they’re all certain that climate change will kill us all and Western capitalism is the culprit.
    Also that the USA is racist (although race isn’t real), sexist (although sex isn’t real), and homophobic (sexual orientation is VERY real, except when it’s not).

    The “good schools” are indeed the problem.

  95. dfordoom says: • Website
    @GermanReader2

    Are they really happier than they were in the fifties or sixties. The best and most comprehensive surveys I know about American women state that they are less happy now than they were in the fifties or sixties.

    The massively privileged elite women in academia and the bureaucracy and the ones being given senior executive positions in business just for being women are happier. And the angry lesbians are probably happier.

    And that’s all that matters. Feminism was only ever for the benefit of those women. The fact that most ordinary women are miserable today is of no importance.

    • Replies: @Bleuteaux
  96. @Achmed E. Newman

    The Two Income Trap?

    Is that what Golden Globe recipient Glenn Close was crying about on TV the other night?

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  97. @Reg Cæsar

    An index would be nice, too, but I can see the point of tricking people into reading the whole book looking for something particular.

    Is there a trend toward not putting indexes in books these days? Why?

  98. There’s an American Society for Indexing. Also, an International Committee of Representatives of Indexing Societies.

    Who knew?

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  99. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Let’s just not fool ourselves into thinking that politicians and others who win elections are particularly smart, or that the people who vote for them are. Candidates are often dummies who love the spotlight and are willing to carry out the plans of those who bankroll them and work the system.

    A very good point. The average politician in a liberal democracy has about the same intellectual depth that you’d find in an actor or a model or a pop star. They’re essentially chosen for their celebrity qualities.

    Particularly in the U.S. where congressmen don’t have any actual responsibilities so anyone with an IQ of 70 can do the job.

  100. @Whitey Whiteman III

    Not sure where that leaves her.

    It leaves her a loser, but it’s kind of a shame, now that I have a little respect for her (from reading reviews of this book). She is smart enough to know that her fellow white old-time lefties, having left the door open for 10’s of millions of non-white D-voters, may vote for her in big numbers, but still be outnumbered by the newcomers they invited, so she has no chance of winning. Isn’t it ironic, “like rain on your wedding day” … actually not at all like rain on your wedding day.

  101. @TomSchmidt

    Sure, but there’s far fewer women making 130k, married or unmarried. That’s close to top 1% income for female workers.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  102. @Rosamond Vincy

    All of a sudden, I can use AGREE, Mrs. Vincy (but not all the time). To explain, I agree with you completely on the Ed-school scam! I knew a couple who were both math majors and were the type to love to teach kids. They both had to go through a year or 1 1/2 years of Ed school – it must have been mind-numbing, all that bull. I also knew two very nice Education majors in a grad-school class in weather/climate who got condensation vs. evaporation wrong, on the last day of class, as everyone was saying goodbye. Oh, everyone got at least a B, even those 2.

  103. @Rosie

    You can look it up yourself via Census and BLS data. And I’m not sure what’s so encouraging about it costing 100k+ plus to start a family, which has been the actual result of the high STEM salaries that rise only just enough to afford the latest round of home price increases.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  104. Jay Fink says:
    @WowJustWow

    Beto will be the young Dem. I have a bad feeling he will be our next President. Women voters will flock to him.

  105. @Inquiring Mind

    I wouldn’t know what Glenn Close has ever been crying about, I.M. (Steve Sailer will know.) As far as I’m concerned, if she’s not still hot and in a movie worth watching, she’s dead to me. That’s nothing personal about Glenn Close, of course, but just what I think about Hollywood.

    I was not trying to be rude there – I just don’t understand any fixation on Hollywood people.

  106. @Steve Sailer

    It costs money to index a book. You have to hire an indexer. It’s an arcane specialty. Authors and editors usually can’t do it, not well at least.

    You could do it automatically, with software, but that’s even worse than automatic online translation used to be. You can kind of tell at a glance when a book has been indexed by machine.

    “Girly” subjects tend to lack them. They lack the need for them. Military histories, finance, fix-it manuals, STEM, etc., do need them.

    I forget which noted “public intellectual” was famous for checking the index of review copies he was sent. If his name wasn’t in it, he wouldn’t bother to review, or even read, the book. It couldn’t possibly be important!

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  107. Rosie says:
    @The Practical Conservative

    And I’m not sure what’s so encouraging about it costing 100k+ plus to start a family, which has been the actual result of the high STEM salaries that rise only just enough to afford the latest round of home price increases.

    That part is certainly not encouraging, but I do find it encouraging that half of women are choosing either to stay at home or work fewer hours. If I’m correct in my belief that a large percentage of women working full-time would rather not, then it suggests that an overwhelming majority of mothers are not in fact on board with what SS aptly calls 70s feminism.

    • Replies: @Bleuteaux
  108. Rosie says:
    @TomSchmidt

    The first working man who sent his wife to work OT an advantage: he and she were able to move to a better neighborhood than he alone could have afforded. After that first tragedy if the commons, everyone else just had to have two workers to hold steady.

    Indeed. Now women find ourselves in a kind of prisoners’ dilemma. If we all quit, we’re better off. If only a few of us quit, we’re worse off and the others are (a little) better off.

    Of course, there’s also the unfortunate fact that, for the time being, TPTB would just replace us with foreigners rather than give our husbands a raise.

  109. dvorak says:
    @Rosie

    If American conservatives are able to bring about a realignment of party politics in this country, Tucker will deserve a great deal of the credit for it.

    No. The moment that Trump began to wipe the floor with ¡Jeb! was the moment the GOP shifted permanently toward becoming a blue-collar party. Tucker’s support is welcome, but the shift is already written. It’s done.

    Sailer as interpreted by Coulter gets credit for the idea for the new GOP, and Trump gets credit for the execution.

    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
  110. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer

    Indices, cursive writing, Latin abbreviations, complex reading (preliminary scanning as opposed to reading straight through), proofreader’s marks, manicules, parsing, hederæ, æ’s, apt literary references, shades of meaning normal in text but lost in speech, being irritated at erroneous-replacement-by-spellcheck on the grounds that it isn’t the right word even if the meaning is still plain: the trend is against literacy and the culprit is technology. Even if they aren’t just saying “google it” some books save paper by offering a link to online endnotes (enotes?). Those things existed in the first place as a function of technology and maybe they will be lost.

  111. Twinkie says:
    @obwandiyag

    Bullshit lying statistics again.

    First of all, it’s economics, not statistics. And I read that as “I don’t understand the basic math behind economics.”

    Mind you, I’m someone who believes most women, in general, should be wives, mothers, and homemakers rather than doing low value-added work pouside the home, but I agree with idea of another commenter above that this is matter of social capital vs. economic capital. Don’t rely on a moronically simple and flawed argument.

    When there is doubling of workforce, there IS going to be increased consumption, which necessitates increased production. So the aggregate wages aren’t going to stay the same (which they must in order for the per capital salary halve).

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
    , @dwb
  112. Anonymous[221] • Disclaimer says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    So laughably cringy. If this keeps up until 2020, the Dems will make Trump seem normal.

  113. @Twinkie

    Amelia Warren’s husband, Sushil Tyagi, appears to be a bit different from the typical Indian immigrant.

    The guy has a master’s degree in marine civil engineering from Berkeley, another in ocean physics/oceanography, an MBA from Wharton, and seems to have then spent a few years producing new-agey documentaries.

    He’s been running his own craft brewery company for the last decade.

  114. @epebble

    epebble wrote to me:

    What kind of engineers did you work with that did not need college level math? I have been in engineering over 30 years (but never soldered a transistor) but have used Fourier methods, numerical analysis, stability analysis (of control loops), optimization (linear programming etc.) etc.,

    EE — chip design, communications systems design, error-correction for storage devices, etc. Yeah, of course the engineers I worked with had heard of “Fourier methods, numerical analysis, stability analysis (of control loops), optimization (linear programming” etc. and taken classes on lots of that, but what they actually did was run computer simulations to see how their fairly straightforward designs worked (usually small modifications of earlier designs the company had used). And, those were the bright engineers — the not-so-bright ones spent their time testing, working out parts lists, and so on.

    The not-so-bright engineers also made hilariously bizarre errors using the software for things like stability analysis: they had not really understood the material in their classes, so the software just enabled them to make fools of themselves (oh, I good give examples!).

    I did mention earlier that I was talking about engineers with BS degrees. The MS guys were a bit brighter, and the Ph.D.s tended (sometimes) to be brighter still in the specific topic they got their Ph.D.s in.

    I’m not trashing engineers: some of the brighter BS engineers I’ve known were brighter than many Ph.D. physicists I’ve known (including some professors at Stanford). But most engineers just don’t use advanced math on the job — unless you count running computer simulations that hide most of the math from the user.

    epebble also said:

    Today’s EEs don’t know how to solder etc., but can’t get any job if they don’t know all the circuit & board design/simulation software and languages like Verilog and VHDL.

    Yes, but those are surely skills best learned on the job.

    Would you really take a class to learn Verilog or SPICE??? Anyone who has an IQ above room temperature just learns it in a few days when he needs it and when he is highly motivated to learn how to use it.

    It’s like people who take a class to “learn” MSWord!

  115. What causes “bad schools”? Maybe this crazy american idea that schools should be financed by the local district.

    > Overwhelmingly, though, Americans use the term “bad schools” to mean—”bad students.”

    Heh, even Mr “Straight Shooter” here doesn’t dare say what everyone knows to be true.

  116. clyde says:
    @Buffalo Joe

    About Ocasio Cortez….Come on, I know you have a soft spot for your fellow Nuevo Yorker.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
  117. @epebble

    epebble,

    I think there is a simple way to compare notes between your and my engineering experiences:

    A) When is the last time, on the job, that you did an integral by hand (not just using software) that you would have found moderately challenging when you took first-year calculus, and what was that integral?

    B) When was the last time, on the job, that you solved a differential equation by hand (not just using software) that you would have found moderately challenging when you took differential equations, and what was that differential equation?

    C) When was the last time, on the job, that you used a conformal transformation via complex analysis to solve a concrete problem, and what was that problem?

    D) When was the last time, on the job, that you did a calculation in linear algebra by hand (not just using software) that took more than three lines of algebra, and what was that problem?

    Pretty much all of the EEs I have worked with would answer “Never!” to all of those questions. I myself have done all of those of course — the conformal transformation was particularly entertaining.

    I know of course that for some reason engineers are expected to “know” such stuff even though very few actually do. And, again, I am not trashing engineers: most of the good engineers I’ve worked with were better than I was at taking a system and getting it to work — that, after all, is what engineers are paid to do. I like to think that my ability to carry out tasks such as A-D above did make a real contribution to the teams I worked on, but I am well aware that a team composed solely of people like me would not be a strong team.

    Maybe you have spent the last few decades doing the same kind of tasks I have done, such as A-D above. If so, I’d guess that you have more than a BS. If you only have a BS and can do all of this, well, then I’m impressed.

    If most of the engineers you have worked with are constantly carrying out tasks such as A-D above, well, I’d like to know where you’ve worked! My kids are engineering students and I would encourage them to apply to such places where what they studied in school is actually of real value.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    , @Anon
  118. Corn says:
    @Canadian Observer

    Oh I think the leadership and donors have already housebroken her on that issue. Hell, word is now she’s part Jewish!

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  119. @Reg Cæsar

    That’s very interesting stuff, Reg, and yeah, that guy in your last paragraphs is pretty arrogant. I do have a question about books that are electronic though. Once you have ctrl-F capability (OK, the real term is a search function) an index is not at all necessary anymore, right? I’ve found that the search functions are much better than an index, as you can see the nearby text, giving context to you, and making it very easy to get to the point in the book you want.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  120. @Steve Sailer

    See also my reply to Mr. Caeser, but once a book is in an electronic format, there is no use for an index. For paper copies, yes. Maybe the publishers are all getting set to have their stuff in electronic form, and don’t want to spend the effort for those troglodytes that are killing the trees and shit. ;-}

    I don’t read many books on tablets, etc., but I do see the big value in having a search function, ESPECIALLY for fiction. That is because, once I run into some character and wonder “what was the deal with this guy again?”, I can just search for references earlier on in the book. That is SO MUCH BETTER than flipping pages!

  121. @PhysicistDave

    Interesting discussion, but I’m all for the engineers. Here’s the thing:

    I know of course that for some reason engineers are expected to “know” such stuff even though very few actually do.

    That’s just it – you don’t know the reason, and many engineers probably don’t (and resent all the hardwork, if they are not the type that really LOVE it). The reason engineers have to learn the hard math is so they can understand the theory part of the engineering classes, more than anything else. Load of engineering students will tell you (and it’s very tempting to think like this): “Hey, just give us the final formulas, methods, assumptions, etc. Why do we need to sit here and listen to this?”

    The answer is because, unless you have a very good idea of where the math you use in problem solving comes from, you will not know, or easily forget, the assumptions behind them, that is the limits to the method. If he were to get into a problem in which something is different enough to make the math he’s using wrong, a good engineer would either a) remember, at least, that “no, this does NOT apply, because XXX.” or b) know exactly what he’d have to change around in the math to model the situation correctly, making it a really fun and/or challenging problem.

    Another thing is that any engineer who cares only about the final problem-solving methods is not much more than a technician. The engineers that are really deep into a specific area are the ones MAKING the formulas and methods for other engineers and technicians to follow.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  122. @The Practical Conservative

    Without a doubt. Given the marriage penalty in US taxation, the highest possible tax rate would be two people earning the same salary, married. 130K is an example of that for two earners: both pay maximal SS tax, and, because of the marriage penalty in additional Medicare taxes (you pay the additional tax after the first 200k of income as a single person, and after the first 250k as a couple), they will also get dunned an additional $90 for Medicare. If each earned 200k, they’d incur Medicare tax on 150k of money over the 250k limit, and so pay an extra $1350 each year, just for the privilege of being married.

    It was the Republicans who passed this anti-marriage tax law, as they controlled the House in 2012. Maybe they figured it was a Blue-State-only tax?

    At least the gay-marriage-opposing conservatives get to penalize balanced-earning gay couples who do get married, I guess.

  123. Anon[168] • Disclaimer says:
    @PhysicistDave

    What do you think of current efforts to “reform” engineering education to make it more diverse? If, as you imply, engineers are all chuckleheads, then we have nothing to worry about?

    I read the higher ed sites, and among the things going on are eliminating initial “weed out” courses, giving tutoring to minorities and women and pressuring professors to limit material on tests, group projects where the grade is shared because “working well with others is the essence of engineering,” and other tricks to obfuscate technical ability on transcripts.

    I think the group project groups are carefully selected to included an Asian and a white guy to do the work, a woman to “communicate” and a black guy to keep things poppin’.

  124. @Rosie

    Worse off in financial or material goods.

    But I wonder if that’s even true. warren is correct: many of the costs that a second income incurs can eat up most of the surplus of it, for people earning less than 40k at least. You need a place with good schools so you Move to a very expensive neighborhood that requires house poverty. If instead the time spent working and wearing out a second car and buying meals away from home and paying extra Social Security is put towards cooking, homeschooling, and building a social network (the most important thing) with other likeminded people, I’d bet it comes out even, or financially ahead, for a number of people.

    The risks are two, and large: threats to the income of the working partner. Divorce leaving the non-working partner in poverty. The second issue is mostly addressed by our skewed divorce laws that still presume a family environment of the 1960s that penalize men, but paired with the environment in which they were developed could reinforce family structure.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  125. My brother is an EE and I showed him a text from my son of his digital circuits homework. My brother’s reply, “That’s critically important for him to understand. I use that all the time.”

    Obviously not every class will be like that, but all math and science is cumulative. IOW, it builds on itself. Perhaps it’s quite necessary to take tons of math and physics that won’t show up in a job but lays the foundation of the tasks and concepts that will.

    I worked in a chem lab for years and was intrigued to note the occasional need to understand reaction mechanisms that I studied in organic chemistry when I was 19. Cool. But using the actual tools of a lab, like a GC, could be simply training. In fact, I worked with a guy who hadn’t been to college and he could use all the same equipment as the rest of us. However, he would make simple comprehension mistakes with the results and his data were not super trustworthy. Yes, he was demoted.

    For many jobs, training plus classes makes perfect sense. Requiring an expensive four year degree doesn’t. But then, you’re stuck in that field.

  126. @Rosamond Vincy

    Making the problem worse are the administrators , principals and superintendents. Even a good social studies teacher has little control of what is taught , read or tested. They would lose their jobs if they attempted to educate their students with facts not tested by the state.

  127. @Achmed E. Newman

    Once you have ctrl-F capability (OK, the real term is a search function) an index is not at all necessary anymore, right?

    That works for specific things like names and dates, but would be a big-time fail for concepts. What if you devote seven pages running to a certain subject, but only name it on the first and last of those? The software would miss the middle pages.

  128. @Rosie

    Indeed. Now women find ourselves in a kind of prisoners’ dilemma. If we all quit, we’re better off. If only a few of us quit, we’re worse off and the others are (a little) better off.

    It’s like voting. Once you’re allowed to, you’re pretty much forced to.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  129. @TomSchmidt

    Of course, the Federal Government made out like a bandit on this. Two people earning 130k pay twice the Social Security taxes of one person in a married couple earning 260k. That’s an extra 16K max per year for the same income.

    Women making that much still want a man who makes more. When she’s successful, imagine what that does to the household income inequality graph.

  130. @Corn

    Oh I think the leadership and donors have already housebroken her on that issue. Hell, word is now she’s part Jewish!

    Probably through the marranos. I got into an online argument with a lefty the other day. I’d accused her family of white flight. He said she’s a POC. Then he defined that as someone “not of European descent”.

    But her European descent is obvious. Much more so than her non-European.

    She’s a “white Hispanic”! Whiter than Zimmerman, by far!

  131. Rosie says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    It’s like voting. Once you’re allowed to, you’re pretty much forced to.

    Fortunately, voting doesn’t cause nearly the same disruption as dual-income households do.

  132. How likely is Warren to go against the narrative? I quote from the book Leadership BS:

    people who want to be successful-to become or to remain
    insiders-avoid telling the truth if such truth could be perceived
    as a criticism of other insiders, people, or companies with power.
    As Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren wrote in her book A
    Fighting Chance
    , she received precisely such advice to avoid criticizing
    powerful others from Lawrence Summers, a former president
    of Harvard University and u.s. treasury secretary:

    “I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider.
    Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people
    on the inside don’t listen to them. Insiders, however, get
    lots of access and a chance to push their ideas …. But
    insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: They
    don’t criticize other insiders.”

    Now that she is an insider, we can expect her to go along. The promise of Trump, by contrast, seems to be that he has NOT been made an insider by the DC Swamp.

  133. Rosie says:
    @TomSchmidt

    The risks are two, and large: threats to the income of the working partner. Divorce leaving the non-working partner in poverty. The second issue is mostly addressed by our skewed divorce laws that still presume a family environment of the 1960s that penalize men, but paired with the environment in which they were developed could reinforce family structure.

    You all say all the time that divorce laws penalize men. I’m still trying, in good faith, to figure out how this is so. The law treats marriage as a partnership. If the partnership dissolves, each partner gets half. That might feel like a punishment to a man who believes that he is the more “important” partner by virtue of being the breadwinner, but that doesn’t make it so.

    Of course, alimony is bitterly hated by the manosphere, but absolutely necessary and totally fair when you give it a moment’s thought. When we promise to remain with our husbands “for better or for worse,” what we are saying is that we understand that the future is not yet knowable. If you are poor for the rest of your days, we remain loyal regardless. OTOH, if you get rich, we are entitled to share fully in that success.

    Think of it like this. If a corporation sells bonds, they are promising to repay the principal with interest and no more. If a corporation sells stocks, they are promising a commensurate share of the profits. The lucky shareholders’ dividends may look like an unearned windfall, but in fact they are compensation for investment and risk-sharing. The law treats spouses as 50% equity shareholders, not bondholders with a right to be made whole and no more. That is what it means to be married.

    Now, if I understand you correctly, you are not complaining about alimony in general, but rather about other issues, and there you certainly have a fair point. You can’t on the one hand demand that men take responsibility for the financial wellbeing of their wives and then on the other hand handicap them with affirmative action in the workplace.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  134. @dvorak

    No, without Tucker Carlson and dozens of other prominent people following behind him, the MAGA revolution will fail. Trump pulled off a trick shot when he won the presidency but without a team to follow him, Trump will be like the German teenager who landed a plane on Red Square back in 1987. Mathias Rust piloted a plane into Russia while Lenin arrived by train. The big difference though was that one of them had a team to work with when he got there. Right now, Trump seems more like the German kid.

    • Replies: @dvorak
  135. @clyde

    clyde, New York is actually two states, Upstate where I live and downstate where De Blasio, Cuomo and Cortez rule.

  136. Bleuteaux says:
    @Rosie

    They’re doing it because salaries and rents for the upper 10% are so out of line with he rest of society that they can afford to have adulthood as a permanent spa session. No different than any other age of oligarchs.

  137. Bleuteaux says:
    @dfordoom

    If the depressing Kavanaugh hearings reinforced anything for me, it was that vast numbers of women see modern society as their liberation from having to do dirty old tasks such as stay at home, raise kids and rely on a man, and no matter how miserable they may be in their jobs or anything else, their number one issue is never ever going back to the way things were. Even the miserable ones feel as if feminism is their most important issue.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  138. @Rosie

    When we promise to remain with our husbands “for better or for worse,” what we are saying is that we understand that the future is not yet knowable. If you are poor for the rest of your days, we remain loyal regardless. OTOH, if you get rich, we are entitled to share fully in that success.

    Fair enough. I’d agree that alimony is fair in an environment where the earning partner asks to dissolve the marriage, usually to his advantage. It’s simply a truism that men can earn more money, while a woman’s 20s, when gone, are never coming back.

    What about when a woman, who “promise(d) to remain… for better or for worse” files for divorce? It seems she’s breaking that promise, no? Should she qualify for alimony? What percent of US divorces are filed by women, for the record?

    Of course, alimony is rarer nowadays with both spouses working. The biggest unavoidable, and usually unfair, imposition is child support, where enough money is paid not necessarily for the child, but for the parent with custody. I’d assume you fully support joint custody as the default, and child support payments only for the non-filing-for-divorce spouse. Otherwise, you’d incentivize financial desolation of families, and you cannot want that.

    Some myths for you. enjoy.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  139. @Anon

    Anon[168] asked me:

    What do you think of current efforts to “reform” engineering education to make it more diverse? If, as you imply, engineers are all chuckleheads, then we have nothing to worry about?

    You’re not reading what I wrote. I said explicitly that the better BS engineers I’ve known were as smart as many of the Ph.D. physicists I’ve known.

    They are not “chuckleheads,” but they just do not use on the job most of the coursework they cover in school. Like almost all students, they do not even remember most of the coursework they cover in school. This is especially true, of course, of the math and physics they are required to take in school: note that my questions to epebble focused on math courses that engineers take and in which they learn to do problems that they almost never do on the job (and, indeed, usually forget how to do).

    One of the dirty little secrets of American education is that, aside from STEM people, almost no one uses math beyond grade-school arithmetic, and STEM people rarely use math beyond Algebra I. Most university-math courses are essentially full-employment programs for math profs and math TAs. Even those of us who like or need advanced math generally teach ourselves rather than takee more math courses than are required because, among other things, most math profs cannot teach (and do not want to teach). In grad school in theoretical physics, I never heard a physics prof even suggest that one of us take a math course: it was just taken for granted that we should teach ourselves rather than interact with the loons in the math department.

    As I’ve tried to emphasize, a big part of the problem is that it is hard to remember stuff when it is taught in a context where its relevance and importance is hard to grasp. Wouldn’t it make more sense to learn on the job the stuff you actually need to know to do the job so that you do grasp its relevance? In fact, this is largely what really happens — the schoolwork is really just “getting your ticket punched,” and then you go out into the real world and learn to be an engineer.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  140. @Anon

    Anon[168] wrote to me

    :I read the higher ed sites, and among the things going on are eliminating initial “weed out” courses…

    Yeah, the math and physics courses especially. EEs have to take classical mechanics where they analyze blocks on inclined planes connected to pulleys with a given coefficient of friction, etc., all of which has about as much connection to EE as Latin does. It’s just a full employment program for PhD. physicists like me: how could they justify having guys like me on the faculty if we didn’t have all the engineers as captive students?

  141. @Achmed E. Newman

    Achmed E. Newman wrote to me:

    The reason engineers have to learn the hard math is so they can understand the theory part of the engineering classes, more than anything else. Load of engineering students will tell you (and it’s very tempting to think like this): “Hey, just give us the final formulas, methods, assumptions, etc. Why do we need to sit here and listen to this?”

    Yeah, that’s the fake justification, all right. But, it is not true. They just do not learn the math and physics, so it does not enable them to really understand the harder engineering concepts. I can give specific examples even of very good Ph.D. engineers (the guys I have in mind had degrees from MIT, Caltech, and Stanford) who did not grasp the basic physics behind some EE they needed. Let me know if you want to hear the details.

    AEN also wrote:

    Another thing is that any engineer who cares only about the final problem-solving methods is not much more than a technician. The engineers that are really deep into a specific area are the ones MAKING the formulas and methods for other engineers and technicians to follow.

    Indeed. And, for obvious reasons, it is only a tiny, tiny minority of engineers who are, as you put it, “the ones MAKING the formulas and methods for other engineers and technicians to follow.” In any profession, most people are not and cannot be the innovators and trailblazers.

    Yeah, guys like Shockley, Shannon, Bardeen, et al. actually do understand the stuff, which is one of the reasons we physicists claim Shockley and Bardeen as physicists! (Although even those guys learned on the job: i.e., they worked it out for themselves on the job.)

    Again, I am not saying it is a bad thing for engineers to learn stuff. I am simply saying that both common sense and actual observation of real engineers suggests that learning on the job works better than “learning” in a classroom disconnected from any relevant application.

    Almost everyone knows this in his own life: how many avid gardeners or do-it-yourselfers learned what they know sitting in a classroom? But, Americans are so wed to the ideology of schooling that they have trouble admitting the obvious truth.

  142. @Rosie

    The joy of the female career:

    • Replies: @Rosie
  143. @stillCARealist

    stillCARealist wrote:

    My brother is an EE and I showed him a text from my son of his digital circuits homework. My brother’s reply, “That’s critically important for him to understand. I use that all the time.”

    Now, ask your brother how often he uses the stuff he learned in classical mechanics with the sliding block and pulley on the inclined plane and all the rest. Or ask him the four questions I asked epebble.

    I can guess the answer: “Well, sure, I never actually use that stuff, but it taught me how to think like an engineer.” Yeah, but wouldn’t working as an apprentice engineer be an even better way of learning to “think like an engineer” than doing stupid problems about inclined planes (that even we physics majors hated because they were so pointless)?

    Stockholm syndrome: we’ve all been forced to sit through four or more, largely useless, years of college, and thus many people try to come up with justifications for why this senseless approach actually makes sense.

    But, the emperor is still naked: again, ask your brother about the classical mechanics course and the inclined planes and ask him the four questions I asked epebble.

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    Americans in the last sixty years have become so indoctrinated into the cult of schooling that it is hard for even smart people to escape.

  144. Before she became prominent this side of the Atlantic, I read a piece by her on this topic. I was very impressed. I have had similar thoughts myself about British social developments (dual incomes being forced on us by the banks and the greedy). This is not a subject that is widely discussed but it has largely killed the traditional family and made the survivors less secure. It is not in the interests of the banks or feminists to acknowledge this.

  145. @Twinkie

    Everyone of any sense knows that “economics” is phony.

    It’s a fact. They doubled the workforce and halved the wages. This already happened. You are just making up a dream world in which it didn’t.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  146. By the way. This whole issue is a middle-class issue. It was broached by people with maids, like Betty Friedan, as so cogently pointed out by Barbara Ehrenreich. Spoiled pampered bored housewives wanted to go out and play Captainette of Industry.

    Working class women, on the other hand, my dear constant-over-generalizers, always had to work.

    Learn to make distinctions.

  147. @Anon

    The creator of Beavis and Butthead said that these are the kind of people to grow up to be engineers. Engineers are not particularly smart. Women, as in most any other job that does not require carrying more than 100 pounds, will no doubt do very well at it.

    This pathetic STEM-worship you bobos deal in is just sad.

    Here’s a clue. Nobody gets out of this world alive. Nobody’s a “genius.” 99% of jobs can be done by anybody–doesn’t matter what their aptitude is.

  148. “The inflation-adjusted price of food, clothing, appliances, electronics etc. dropped sharply”: On what planet, pray tell? Not the one I live on, I assure you.

  149. @TomSchmidt

    Of course, the Federal Government made out like a bandit on this.

    Right. The inflation of the 70s pushed people into higher tax brackets even though they weren’t making any more money. Taxes were not indexed for inflation for years, and the standard deduction, which is supposed to represent what it costs an individual to live, is still ridiculously low.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  150. nebulafox says:
    @PhysicistDave

    Would you say your Phd and your research was a waste? I’m not being snarky at all with this question, I’m really not. I’m genuinely interested in how you look upon your education in retrospect, because I’m considering going back for a Phd. Even moreso because I don’t have any illusions about my prospects in academia, but I nevertheless have a strong desire to do it.

    As for your other posts, one of my brothers is a recently graduated MechE who is working for a big defense company, and he pretty much echoes what you say in just about everything. Same dynamic for CS majors. My other brother is currently one, and I’m working as a software developer currently.

    (And yeah, inclined planes sucked. I really only started enjoying my major when we hit upper-level electrodynamics and quantum mechanics.)

  151. @Rosamond Vincy

    Unless you need to get groceries or hit the laundromat. Not everyone has a washer/dryer in the basement.

    I lived in a 4 room converted gas station in Colorado in the 70s and one of the first things I did was get a washing machine and fix it. I hate laundromats.

    • Replies: @Rosamond Vincy
  152. @PhysicistDave

    I have been programming for a while now, and the most advanced math I ever used was translating Cartesian coordinates into geo coordinates and a bit of sine cosine stuff. Simple geometry.

  153. @nebulafox

    The PhD has its own satisfactions. It’s actually a negative to work as a programmer, as they figure you’ll get bored. But if you’ve got an interesting problem and a good director, and you have no illusions of a career in academics, it can be a great experience. Especially when you finish.

    FWIW, there’s a real shortage of CS PhDs at the moment, so teaching gigs are available with decent pay for native English speakers. In three or four years when you finish? Who knows.

  154. @Jim Don Bob

    Have you seen what the 2017 tax act did to indexing? It’s gonna screw the middle class and people onSS. Chained CPI was originally a Democratic proposal. The Reps passed the tax bill without Dem support, doing their work for them. They really are the stupid party.

  155. @Jim Don Bob

    I hate laundromats

    .

    Don’t we all.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  156. @nebulafox

    the book I recommend to people wondering about the process of doing a PhD is The Dresden Manuscripts. It’s not a great book, but it illuminates a great thing done by one man in the process of getting his PhD. Read or listen to it, and see if that sort of strife is what you want.

  157. Rosie says:
    @Rosamond Vincy

    These are the days when you wish your bed was already made…

    • Replies: @Rosamond Vincy
  158. @Rosamond Vincy

    Hey Rosamond, they’re playing your song!:

    • Replies: @Rosamond Vincy
  159. @nebulafox

    nebulafox wrote to me:

    Would you say your Phd and your research was a waste?

    Well… for six years, I could get up when I wanted and spend lots of time in the Stanford libraries reading about whatever I wanted. Aside from that, yeah, it was pretty much a waste, both of my time and of the taxpayers’ money (which indirectly paid for my graduate education via research grants to Stanford). I did actually use one technique I learned in grad school — the real-space renormalization group — to solve a real-world engineering problem, but by any realistic cost-benefit analysis, that did not justify the Ph.D.

    I can’t think of anyone I have known in my generation for whom getting a Ph.D. in physics was really a good choice. The closest, I suppose, is the late Joe Polchinski, who was a dorm-mate at Caltech and was later considered a superstar in superstring theory. If you skim through Joe’s memoirs, I think you will find them rather bittersweet. What Joe does not quite come out and say but sort of hints at is that it is not clear that any of his major work at all is actually correct. A truly brilliant guy and, yet, almost all of his work may well be nonsense. My other peers have even less to show than Joe.

    nebulafox also wrote:

    I’m considering going back for a Phd. Even moreso because I don’t have any illusions about my prospects in academia, but I nevertheless have a strong desire to do it.

    Well, if you expect to really enjoy it and you have nothing better to do… Obviously, it is a personal choice, but it probably will not pay by any reasonable financial or economic calculation, either for yourself or for society at large. It does depend a bit on what degree you currently have — if you currently have a BS in physics, for example, you may well want an advanced degree, since a physics BS carries little weight. But I would suggest looking at an MS or Ph.D, in engineering, in that case. Nowadays there is some really cool stuff happening in a lot of areas of engineering: for someone with an MS in engineering, the Ph.D. is usually not worth it, but if you only have a BS in physics, the MS or Ph.D. in engineering can serve as proof that you can handle real-world stuff.

    nebulafox also wrote:

    As for your other posts, one of my brothers is a recently graduated MechE who is working for a big defense company, and he pretty much echoes what you say in just about everything. Same dynamic for CS majors. My other brother is currently one, and I’m working as a software developer currently.

    Thanks; I think that is what most engineers would say. It is not that they learned absolutely zero in school, but that very little is job relevant. In fact, I would say that if an engineer ten years out of school does not say that most of what he learned he learned on the job, then he has a dead-end job.

    Best of luck in deciding on further education.

  160. @stillCARealist

    On my course, Engineering Science, we did more many hours of maths than the mathematicians. It was a combined course for Engineering Scientists and Applied Physicists with the mathematicians turning up for some parts. It was very heavy on calculus. Sometime later, I did a stress engineering analysis from first principles that ran to 5 pages of dense calculus. No computers then. My bosses could just about follow it. (A previous guy had got it wrong on a prestige project. It mattered enough for them to check).

  161. @PhysicistDave

    I did an apprenticeship combined with my degree. Both are needed for R&D. Physical theory and maths are needed for any kind of R&D but they means nothing without some idea of how things are done in the real world. I found a lot of heavy Electro-mechanical work on the tools transferable to disk drives.

    That said, most design engineers work to standards and design codes that are already defined. When asked to design something, a physicist reaches for a slide rule, an engineer reaches for a catalogue and CAD/CAM software. Engineers build things for pennies on the dollar compared to scientists.

    Maintenance is even less intellectual, although still require important problem solving skills short of advanced maths. So in design (distinct from R&D) and maintenance, I think there is much more to be said for the main thrust being apprenticeship.

    Mistakes can be tested out of most products but in civil engineering everything is a one off. A different story.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  162. @Philip Owen

    Oh,

    The most important subject other than maths that I studied was A Level chemistry. Almost every project I have been involved in used either a new material or new process for treating materials.

  163. @PhysicistDave

    Well I suppose all those freshman and sophomore classes in F=ma could be considered weeder classes. If you can’t hack those you won’t be able to learn the real engineering.

    My freshman year I took Calculus, Physics, and Chemistry. I concluded that my major would change to something else or I would drop out.

    I appreciate your perspective BTW. I took numerous classes in college that, while interesting, were a total waste of my parents’ and the state’s money. And we all knew it at the time.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  164. dwb says:
    @Twinkie

    @Twinkie:

    but this is just wrong.

    Of course, adding women to the workforce is going to create demand for products. SOME products. And by the way, I hope it is not too pedantic to say that women entering the workforce has not actually doubled the number of workers (which is a minor point to the over-all argument that they have, in fact, massively expanded it, if not actually increasing it 100 per cent).

    There are of course, some additional products that are needed because women are working now in greater numbers. Work clothes, for example. Marginally more automobiles (even if they were not full-time workers, with the move to suburbs and zoning, women would still need a second car at home to help run the house – shopping for food, running errands. There is plainly not going to be a 1:1 correlation in the increase of automobiles purchased to women working outside the home).

    The problem is this: the single largest factor in any family budget is housing. That the wife is working does not increase the need for housing. A two-income family does not suddenly require a second house. Your food budget is not going to go up significantly – the wife may eat in restaurants outside the home, of course, for lunch. But what that does is increase the need for low-level service work (waiters, busboys, line cooks). The actual materials in the meal – the food, the energy to cook it, the transport to move it around – will I suspect largely remain unchanged.

    So I suspect that what we see is that there is a marginal increase in demand for some products (like clothes) – but guess what? Those clothes are not made in the US any more. The office supplies (staplers, printers, computers) are almost all manufactured elsewhere.

    And for the big ticket item – housing – guess what? Not only is demand unlikely to “double,” in the long run, all else being equal, it is going to go down.

    Because one corollary is that, as women enter the workforce in large numbers, they delay having children, and have fewer of them when they do. If the population is not growing, there is no demand for more housing.

    The idea that the demand-side is going to increase in anything close to 1:1 to the supply side (of workers) is something that I would just love to see an unbiased economic analysis of.

    And you simply MUST control for the impact of immigration, which coincided with the move of women into the workforce, and unlike that, actually does quite linearly correlate with demand.

    A family of immigrants coming to the US to work will, unlike the family whose wife goes off to take a job, need a house. They will need at least one car. They will need food and other products.

    And they are, I suspect, going to be willing to work for lower wages as well.

    As Rosie put it, women entering the workforce has created a very real prisoner’s dilemma.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  165. dwb says:
    @PhysicistDave

    Dave –

    I’m a mathematician and not an engineer, so your world is a bit different from mine.

    But is this analysis not just a bit reductive?

    I’m thinking of the extreme dystopian fictions of The Time Machine, or more recently, Idiocracy. In the former, the Morlocks knew (one presumes from “apprenticeship” of sorts) how to keep the machines running without actually understanding why they worked. In the latter, the idiots of the future still had television and tech, but in an almost cargo cult sort of way.

    It is very, very rare that I sit with pen and paper and reckon out the closed-form integrals that I need, or solve a system of linear equations. But it does happen on occasion. I’m a bit lazy, so what I am as likely as not to do is come to the solution using Monte Carlo or some other simulation. It’s faster, and I need to budget my time.

    In order to do this, I of course need to be able to do arithmetic, I need to understand basic algebra. I need to recall details of integral and differential calculus.

    The engineer who does not study (or understand) basic kinetics (the block and pulley) is going to go about his day not really understanding why things work, but instead, simply “plugging in” the inputs to the equations and consuming the results. Sort of a much smarter version of the guy at McDonald’s who pushes the picture of the Big Mac on his keyboard rather than reading and then calculating the correct change.

    But what happens if there is even a small deviation from the basic assumptions? Or (in my field, worse still) if those assumptions are wrong? In analysis of variance, those assumptions (e.g., independence, normality) matter. MOST of the time, they are closely enough to the truth fulfilled, but if they aren’t, you are going to get a potentially catastrophic error.

    Yes, you need to be able to ‘think like an engineer,’ but unless you are more than just a guy following a recipe given to you by a much smarter (or better educated “architect”), you simply need as well to understand why you are able to “do the math” so you can make executive decisions.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  166. Twinkie says:
    @obwandiyag

    Are you, by any chance, an African?

  167. @Achmed E. Newman

    This is way more punk than any of their stuff that gets regular play on retro stations.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  168. Matt says:
    @Kyle

    My old man used to tell me before track meets, “if they’re handing out medals go ahead and take one.”

    My track coach (former NCAA All-American) in high school used to use me like that. I ran the first event (800) and then since we were the smallest team in the division he would tell me that he stuck me in the second heat of the last event (2 mile). There were points to be had. Hated it. Had to eat lots of pain to avoid getting “lapped”. All the while your buddies are hollering swell advice, “Run faster!”

  169. Rosie says:
    @TomSchmidt

    What about when a woman, who “promise(d) to remain… for better or for worse” files for divorce? It seems she’s breaking that promise, no? Should she qualify for alimony? What percent of US divorces are filed by women, for the record?

    I believe it’s 70%, but here you place too much emphasis on the question of who files for divorce. The question is who is at fault, not who files. A woman who is being cheated on may have no choice but to file for divorce to freeze the marital assets to stop the husband squandering marital assets on some bimbo home wrecker. I’m not saying this is often the case; I’m just saying we need more data.

    The biggest unavoidable, and usually unfair, imposition is child support, where enough money is paid not necessarily for the child, but for the parent with custody.

    Here again the issue is more complicated than it appears at first blush. Courts usually prefer to disrupt a child’s life as little as possible. If that means paying Mom oodles of money so the child can remain in the same school and community they have always known, so be it. The child’s interests are paramount.

    When I hear horror stories about divorce, I usually suspect that some relevant fact or facts is being omitted. Again, I’m not saying I know this for sure. I’m just saying we need more information.

    As to custody, it should be awarded to the innocent spouse, regardless of who files. A parent who wrongs their spouse causing the dissolution of the family has revealed their priorities and their (lack of) values.

    Thank you for your thoughtful response.

  170. Twinkie says:
    @dwb

    There is plainly not going to be a 1:1 correlation

    You are arguing with a straw man, for I wrote nothing about “1:1 correlations.” Go back and read what I wrote carefully.

    • Replies: @dwb
  171. dwb says:
    @Twinkie

    Your comment is overly reductive.

    There does not have to be a 1:1 correlation. You attacked the other poster for being simultaneously over simplistic and ignorant of maths.

    In fact, the initial claim you are attacking is itself largely a straw-man. The thread began with the claim that, if the workforce doubles, wages will be cut in half.

    Now, taken as an explicit and literal claim, this is obviously wrong. The economy is a dynamic system, so it’s not a good model to presume that one can change one variable without any of the others also changing.

    So, I do not think that the initial claimant (obwandiyag) is actually trying, literally to claim that wages should be cut in half simply because the number of workers is doubling (and it isn’t, actually, as I said in the part of my comment that you ignored.)

    My objection was to this statement of yours:

    but I agree with idea of another commenter above that this is matter of social capital vs. economic capital. Don’t rely on a moronically simple and flawed argument.

    When there is doubling of workforce, there IS going to be increased consumption, which necessitates increased production. So the aggregate wages aren’t going to stay the same (which they must in order for the per capital salary halve).

    In fact, it is at once both a social and economic capital problem. Saying that wages must be cut, necessarily in half, if the supply of workers is doubled is a simple argument, and taken simply, it is flawed.

    The larger point makes sense – the introduction of women into the workplace (and most of them are not, by the way, going into jobs like auto manufacture, fuel delivery, trucking, etc.) – in large numbers almost surely has lowered wages.

    The question being asked is: “Has the entry into the workforce by women in large numbers had a significant impact on per capita (not per household) wages? And if so, has that not resulted in the model of women to be in the workforce to shift from something some women wanted to do, to something that most women now must do?

    I think that the answer is “yes” on both counts.

    The perceived growth in demand for products, empirically, has not offset the competition for jobs and kept wages stable.

    Real wages have remained flat – they have in fact, fallen for many – even as GDP and productivity have steadily grown.

    It is, at least in my opinion, ridiculously pedantic to argue that, because the correlation between increase in workforce and decrease in wages is not perfect, therefore the economic capital costs can just be ignored.

    Which is the main point of this whole thread – that the entry of women into the workforce has had a corrosive effect on family formation. And not just because no one is home making sure that the kids are looked after…

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  172. @Bleuteaux

    Ok but the upper 10% is pretty much where your white married couples are parked. The struggling double-income households are much less white and much more immigrant-y and frequently much less willing to report all of their earned income. White babies are primarily being born to that crowd, not so much 50k married households.

  173. Twinkie says:
    @dwb

    Most of your reply is reasonable, except this:

    So, I do not think that the initial claimant (obwandiyag) is actually trying, literally to claim that wages should be cut in half simply because the number of workers is doubling

    You overestimate his claim/intelligence, because that is exactly what he claims.

    You understand what a dynamic system is. He doesn’t – it’s all gobbledygook to him. Read his replies to me if you disagree.

    It is, at least in my opinion, ridiculously pedantic to argue that, because the correlation between increase in workforce and decrease in wages is not perfect, therefore the economic capital costs can just be ignored.

    Kindly point out where I made the bolded claim.

    • Replies: @dwb
  174. @Rosie

    Any popular music extolling the joys of any careers? From “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” through “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Take This Job and Shove it,” nobody, make or female, seems to be musically inspired by the job. It’s something you do so you can afford to do the stuff you really care about with the people you really care about, if there’s any left over after food and shelter.

    You might counter that “How Do You Like Me Now?” is an exception, but those in the Performing Arts have tbeir anthems like “On Broadway” or “Juke Box Hero.” Despite the best efforts of the motivational speakers that businesses and government agencies recruit to do presentations, nobody’s really that thrilled about doing an office job. It’s less physically demanding than working the stockroom or being on your feet all day in retail, but that’s about all that can be said for most if them.

    THAT is the thing Feminutsies don’t want to acknowledge: not all careers are fulfilling, even traditionally male ones. Sometimes, people are just trying to pay the bills. Your colicky baby may not be nearly as annoying as your husband’s supervisor, and probably looks a heck of a lot cuter with creamed spinach all over the face.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  175. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Bleuteaux

    If the depressing Kavanaugh hearings reinforced anything for me, it was that vast numbers of women see modern society as their liberation from having to do dirty old tasks such as stay at home, raise kids and rely on a man, and no matter how miserable they may be in their jobs or anything else, their number one issue is never ever going back to the way things were.

    That’s certainly true of middle-class women.

    Even the miserable ones feel as if feminism is their most important issue.

    Yes, because if they’re now much more miserable than they were in the past that cannot be because it’s their own fault or because feminism is inherently unworkable. It can only be because of men, or the patriarchy. Nothing has ever been a woman’s fault.

    Middle-class women tend to have zero self-awareness.

  176. dwb says:
    @Twinkie

    Here is the offending statement that you made:

    this is matter of social capital vs. economic capital.

    I guess if one takes “or” in the predicate logic sense that

    A OR B can include A, B, and A and B

    then I think we agree. I know the difference between OR and EOR (from old days putting together assembly code). My default in common usage is that people typically when using OR mean exclusive or.

    I agree that there is both a societal and an economic price to pay. Please do correct me if this is not what you mean.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  177. @Rosamond Vincy

    It’s an album cut off of Learning to Crawl, and to me, the weakest song on that great album. I don’t think it would have been played much, if at all, on commercial radio.

    Here’s my favorite, with an intro you’d recognize instantly, were you a Rush Limbaugh fan:

    You need to have big enough speakers for some bass though. It’s absolutely no good without the bass.

    • Replies: @Rosamond Vincy
  178. Twinkie says:
    @dwb

    this is matter of social capital vs. economic capital.

    Fair enough. What I meant was that this was foremost a social capital issue, rather than an economic capital one in the main.

    Sorry for leaving out the qualifiers/caveats.

  179. @stillCARealist

    stillCARealist wrote to me:

    Well I suppose all those freshman and sophomore classes in F=ma could be considered weeder classes. If you can’t hack those you won’t be able to learn the real engineering.

    Yeah, at least at the University of California campuses that I am most familiar with, everyone is pretty open that these are “weeder classes,” at least for EEs. (A MechE does of course need to know F=ma.)

    Don’t get me wrong: personally, I think it would be good for the soul for everyone to learn classical mechanics, Galois field theory, complex analysis,, algebraic topology, and a host of other subjects I happen to find interesting. But, we need to face up to the fact that requiring such classes does not necessarily mean that the students will actually learn the material, much less remember it a couple years later. And, then there is the cost, both in students’ time and in parents’ and taxpayers’ money.

    Also, it is crucial to consider if there are better alternatives for learning. I have programmed in a number of programming languages: Fortran, Basic, PL/1, C, C++, and various assembly languages. I did not learn any of those languages in a formal class in which I was trying to earn a grade. Indeed, I have found that I can only learn a programming language if I need to know it for some practical purpose, and then I can learn it in a week or two.

    I think most people have a similar experience.

    stillCARealist also said:

    I took numerous classes in college that, while interesting, were a total waste of my parents’ and the state’s money. And we all knew it at the time.

    Yeah, me too: I really liked some of the econ courses and the two philosophy courses I took. But they were recreation, rather expensive recreation.

    I will say that my sophomore high-school English class has been extremely valuable to me throughout my entire life, even in STEM classes and in my professional work: we had a crazy teacher who insisted that clear writing followed from clear thinking, and he was determined to teach us both, whether we liked it or not. After his class, I was better at constructing math proofs, analyzing physics problems, everything. But he was an unusually brilliant teacher: very few classes offer such an experience.

  180. @dwb

    dwb wrote to me:

    The engineer who does not study (or understand) basic kinetics (the block and pulley) is going to go about his day not really understanding why things work…

    Well, I was talking about EEs and arguing that they do not need classical mechanics and they really don’t. And, I’m not sure anyone really gains from the apparently infinite number of stupid block-on-an-inclined-plane type of problem.

    dwb also wrote of the danger of:

    …simply “plugging in” the inputs to the equations and consuming the results. Sort of a much smarter version of the guy at McDonald’s who pushes the picture of the Big Mac on his keyboard rather than reading and then calculating the correct change.

    But what happens if there is even a small deviation from the basic assumptions? Or (in my field, worse still) if those assumptions are wrong? In analysis of variance, those assumptions (e.g., independence, normality) matter. MOST of the time, they are closely enough to the truth fulfilled, but if they aren’t, you are going to get a potentially catastrophic error.

    Oh, I quite agree, but my point is that classes do not lead to these skills and actual apprentice work on the job can.

    A true story:
    Several of us were working together on an engineering problem three decades ago in the IC industry. One of the guys was a recent 4.0 EE BS grad out of UCLA. At one point, we needed to know what 1.9 times 2.1 was. One of us (not the recent grad) casually mentioned that this was about 4. The recent 4.0 grad from UCLA pulled out his calculator and did the calculation. He turned to us astounded and asked us how we knew it would be around 4.0!

    So, yes, we patiently explained it to him. (I did not bother to explain that it was trivial to get the exact answer using (a+b)*(a-b): it seemed likely this would be beyond him.)

    UCLA really is a good school; I knew other bright engineers from there. But, this guy had a 4.0. GPA!

    I could give a number of other stories of the same sort. The classwork is just not sticking, even for most good students.

    I agree that what you want is desirable. But, I’m suggesting that both experience and common sense suggest it is better attained via on-the-job apprenticeships than in very, very expensive classes that, for most students, just do not work.

  181. @Rosamond Vincy

    THAT is the thing Feminutsies don’t want to acknowledge: not all careers are fulfilling, even traditionally male ones.

    But women are constantly told that they can have a “fulfilling career”. Then when they find out that most “careers” are just jobs, and that most jobs kinda suck, they are disappointed, and now it’s the fault of the Patriarchy. Psst! Meeting tonight at the usual place.

  182. @Achmed E. Newman

    Have heard the song on the radio.
    Don’t really follow Limbaugh, but I was amused by the multiple ironies in this Wikipedia entry:

    In 1999, Rolling Stone magazine reported that, according to Hynde’s manager, Limbaugh had neither licensed the song nor asked permission to use it. According to Rolling Stone, EMI took action after Limbaugh told a pair of reporters in 1997 that “it was icing on the cake that it was [written by] an environmentalist, animal rights wacko and was an anti-conservative song. It is anti-development, anti-capitalist and here I am going to take a liberal song and make fun of [liberals] at the same time.”[5] EMI issued a cease and desist request that Limbaugh stop using the song, which he did. When Hynde found out during a radio interview, she said that her parents loved and listened to Limbaugh and she did not mind its use. A usage payment was agreed upon which she donated to PETA.[4][5] She later wrote to the organization saying, “In light of Rush Limbaugh’s vocal support of PETA’s campaign against the Environmental Protection Agency’s foolish plan to test some 3,000 chemicals on animals, I have decided to allow him to keep my song, ‘My City Was Gone’, as his signature tune…”[5]

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  183. @Aardvark

    Paul Graham has some great things to say about this.

  184. dvorak says:
    @Cagey Beast

    without Tucker Carlson and dozens of other prominent people following behind him, the MAGA revolution will fail

    You’re changing the subject. The subject is, who changed the GOP for keeps. The MAGA revolution may fail, but the establishment GOP cannot take the party back to WSJ-editorial-page positions (they have been trying, you will notice).

    The GOP is blue collar for good, even if in the wilderness / in failure.

  185. @Rosamond Vincy

    That is a great story, Rosamond. Thanks. It’s amazing how much cooler the country was even 20-30 years back, when people were united enough not to take themselves too seriously. Good on ole Rushbo, and good on Chrissy – don’t ever change that 80’s haircut … either of you.

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