Nov 3, 2022Liked by Free Black Thought

With respect to minimum wage. The point about automation is well made.

A typical entry level job is at a fast food restaurant. Robotics to automatically run the its component jobs are available. With progress in AI and robotics, we will soon lose the French fry center, grill center, burger build table, etc. , jobs to smart robotics. Any increase in minimum wages will only accelerate this.

A huge loss from this is that even though these jobs may not be very fun or financially rewarding, even at low pay those who work them build soft skills. It is the lack of requisite soft skills that employers say is the biggest challenge in bringing on new workers. At a minimum, Mc-jobs make entry level workers more employable in better jobs...

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Nov 3, 2022Liked by Free Black Thought

This is so good. Loury-esque! Thank you!!

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Nov 7, 2022·edited Nov 7, 2022Liked by Free Black Thought

I think we actually agree on the underlying issue - some educational expenses are out of reach for capable people who lack resources - but disagree on a view of the underlying reasons, which actually connect more to grade inflation and “undeserved promotion”.

Today Caltech and and MIT are Institutes. Stanford and Princeton are Universities. Bowdoin is a college, along with Claremont Mcakenna, and the group basically hasn’t changed much over a century. Let’s call them “Old School”.

However, sometime after the 40’s and 50’s, “Normal Schools, Teachers Colleges, provincial Theological Seminaries, Business Schools and Secretarial Institutes” suddenly started becoming universities. (I quote Paul Fussel’s “Class”, more in a moment). Let’s call them “Nouveau School.”

A simple Old School four-year college which might teach accounting, education, logistics, computer programming, nursing, agriculture, or marketing or at a reasonable cost became a Nouveau School University which taught accounting or marketing at an exorbitant cost. And somehow the agricultural school had to have a Nationally recognized Football Team to boot.

[Internet is fascinating - here’s a little known fact:

“Accounting can be a very challenging major and takes four years of serious commitment to complete. With difficult classes, intense curriculums, and very little free time, many international students find that accounting may not be right for them and decide to leave the field.”


I suppose physics, anthropology, economics, philosophy, organic chemistry, and architecture are completely out of the question.]

When what was essentially an Old School trade school which taught education in 1930 became a Nouveau School university in the 1980’s where an education degree costs $200,000, well I’d have to say it’s probably not a good idea to make that free.

There are really probably only a handful of Old School elite Institutes, Colleges and Universities in the US after all the name inflation of the 80’s and 90’s. The rest are still just teaching trades, which could be free, as long as they did away with sports and entertainment costs and focused on academics.

As to Black / White - I think the grotesque educational “name inflation” we have is a pretty scandalous fraud perpetrated on all communities which may not be aware of real distinctions in intellectual achievement at these institutions, and which play entirely on issues of class insecurity. I had to explain once to a mystified colleague from Europe why there were four times as many Universities (80) in Tennessee - my home state - than in the Netherlands (20), when The Netherlands has 3x the population - was the state of Tennessee as a whole really a surprise intellectual heir to the ancient Greek “Academeia” in culture and praxis?

I’m not a big fan of the pseudoscientific idea of race; I think it’s much more rigorous, realistic and actionable to look at economic situations for different groups. Those situations are measurable and can be focused on to improve opportunity and achievement.

Having written all this I have no issue with helping all economically disadvantaged groups secure free post-secondary education and better income opportunities through schools with an excellent focus on core disciplines and trades, and in some cases then go on to advanced degrees, also “free.”

The chance of that happening today, where the cultural and class prestige of schools is marketed quite fraudulently to the economically disadvantaged is zero.

[Sorry for the long reply. Interestingly when I was at Caltech I shared the same last name with an African-American student in my student house. Some interesting crossovers in private messages occurred.]

The hopelessly nasty (yet bearing kernels of truth) book “Class” by Paul Fussell, in the chapter “Life of the Mind”, lays bare the systemic frauds of US higher education “perpetrated on the proles”, and the unspoken knowledge of economic elites in the US of what constitutes an acceptable school.

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Nov 6, 2022·edited Dec 17, 2022Liked by Free Black Thought

In case you're not already aware it isn't just conservatives & right-wingers that hate Critical Race Theory. There are liberals & left-wingers who also hate Critical Race Theory.

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Nov 6, 2022Liked by Free Black Thought

Why not mandatory accounting/finance in the schools? That could have been done since Sputnik. What would that have done in 60 years.

Don't hear that from the Left or the Right.

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Nov 5, 2022Liked by Free Black Thought

Excellent article!

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Nov 4, 2022Liked by Free Black Thought

One consideration that would add to understanding the labor market and the minimum wage is whether there is significant leakage to this system--namely the undocumented labor force, especially over the last few years. We can assume that labor laws will forestall employers paying an unlawfuly present labor force off the books. Maybe, maybe not. Since an unlawflly present labor force is more compliant and less likely to stick up for labor rights (my research), they will displace the legal workforce or depress wages. This had been part of the analysis in decades past. Is it still relevant?

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Nov 4, 2022Liked by Free Black Thought

Another *great* article, M. Creswell! I agree with RW (as well as "Alien.."). TYTY.

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Nov 4, 2022Liked by Free Black Thought

Well, I disagree with half this article. Evidence is clear that realistic minimum wage laws remediate gross income inequality at the lower ranges of income. Here’s an example paper : http://www.clairemontialoux.com/files/DM2020.pdf

“… Wages in market economies reflect each worker’s productivity.” - except of course for CEO’s and others at the top of the wage scale who often receive compensation startlingly out of proportion to their “productivity”, and so frequently that it’s not even remarkable anymore.

“To make matters worse, free college tuition could potentially drive up costs.” - the university system in Holland has many schools which are essentially free ( around €1900 a year) and it hasn’t caused a financial meltdown overall.

“ Within a couple of years, the recipients of reparations might find themselves back where they started, if not worse off.” - I don’t get shocked often, but the lines leading to this statement read strangely. It’s as though the case was being made that you shouldn’t give poor people money due them because they were too stupid to be prudent. A hard condescension of the first water.

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