The Rise of Bullshit Jobs

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hong
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Re: The Rise of Bullshit Jobs

Post by hong » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:05 am

Quantitative easing or a "loose" monetary policy may assist in the creation of bullshit jobs, or BS projects in general. The argument is that, with a lower cost of capital, mediocre projects are more easily tolerated. So QE pumps resources from the bottom to the top [big corporations enjoy lower interest rate] to keep everyone busy [lower unemployment rate] on projects with questionable efficiency [optimistically: high risk, high return exploratory projects].

Or maybe I am wrong. BS jobs didn't disappear from high interest rate era during the 80s [as you can see in Graeber's book]

jacob
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Re: The Rise of Bullshit Jobs

Post by jacob » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:28 am

That is the exact point of economic stimulus. It is also what happens when equity financing gets really cheap, that is, when stocks are expensive.

It fails if and only if those newly created BS jobs are not profitable. Interest rates are managed and raised to prevent the creation of BS jobs that are not profitable. This works because higher interest rates on debt makes it harder to finance with debt and provides an attractive alternative to risk capital.

If rates are raised too fast, too few BS jobs are created and this is bad for the so-called economy (i.e. people who work for a living). If they're raised too slow, too many BS jobs are created and that's bad for the markets (i.e. people who don't work for a living). Both of these failures are good for innovation and the environment though.

It should be noted that BS jobs serve an important role as a distributor of resources because many humans firmly believe that real wealth is best rationed by individual ability to make fictitious money. From a certain perspective, this makes sense.

prognastat
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Re: The Rise of Bullshit Jobs

Post by prognastat » Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:03 pm

The thing that has amazed me is that some people believe the most mundane BS jobs are still better than something like universal basic income. Outside of the financial parts or arguing the viability there are people that argue universal basic income is so immoral that in a case of extreme automation it would be better to choose to pay people say 10k a year to do a mundane task that could be performed by a robot for a fraction of the cost(thus economically the superior option).

So they think it's so important that people earn their income that wasting money by making someone perform a mundane task that is actually wasting time, money and effort being a net negative to the economy would actually be what they preferred because it would be better than giving people the money, because they don't deserve it. I've even had people argue that it would literally be better to have people digging and filling useless ditches for money rather than giving them said money.

As long as the protestant work ethic mindset remains in place there will probably be BS jobs.

tonyedgecombe
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Re: The Rise of Bullshit Jobs

Post by tonyedgecombe » Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:24 pm

I'm not sure that will ever change, we seem to have a desire for fairness built into us. Seeing someone else having a comfortable life without putting in any obvious effort is disturbing to most people.

The point about QE is interesting, I do wonder if all this cheap money is keeping some businesses alive that would under normal circumstances have failed. Perhaps the business world isn't as competitive and cutthroat as we have been led to believe.

BRUTE
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Re: The Rise of Bullshit Jobs

Post by BRUTE » Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:34 pm

brute can report that there seems to be something true to the protestant work ethic. he was not a big believer in it, but then he spent about a year doing absolutely nothing - it's not fun.

brute now believes that there needs to be something an individual can fill his life with. the default for most humans these days is work. taking that away without providing something else relies on the ability of most humans to find their own meaning in life. brute can report that, for himself, this is very difficult.

brute is against UBI mostly for other reasons, but he totally gets the sentiment. he doesn't think work is dignifying, but it is a waste of time. and without wasting their time, humans would realize how boring and grey life really is, which is not in general an insight humans handle well.

7Wannabe5
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Re: The Rise of Bullshit Jobs

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Nov 21, 2018 6:19 am

Being the only adult in a room full of 28 7 year old children is NOT a bullshit job. You can't even walk out into the hallway for 30 seconds without risking catastrophe.

Also, women with 7 or more children are the least likely to commit suicide humans. I think this is because they never get 30 free seconds to think about whether or not their life has purpose beyond the next poopy diaper.

daylen
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Re: The Rise of Bullshit Jobs

Post by daylen » Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:56 am

BRUTE wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:34 pm
brute now believes that there needs to be something an individual can fill his life with. the default for most humans these days is work. taking that away without providing something else relies on the ability of most humans to find their own meaning in life. brute can report that, for himself, this is very difficult.
My current take on this is that a human needs some form of consistency in their lives to be able to contextualize what is meaningful. I find that my past experience (Si) is the primary source of meaning, since otherwise I do not have any basis for my metaphysical framework. The past has given me a sense of direction, and this is allowing me to determine my duty (or how I should act to generate the future I want).

For a (Ni-Se) dominate personality such as yourself, meaning is likely to be anchored more to the future or to discovering your destiny one goal at a time.

BRUTE
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Re: The Rise of Bullshit Jobs

Post by BRUTE » Wed Nov 21, 2018 9:06 pm

Si/Ni-Se - is that Myers-Briggs?

brute doesn't find a ton of meaning in his past. brute past appears to him as a random conglomeration of accidental facts. were it written down, it would hardly constitute a plot or a story. brute is not sure if he finds meaning in the future or discovering destiny (whatever that means). so far he hasn't found much meaning at all - merely distractions. hence his theory that they are one and the same.

daylen
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Re: The Rise of Bullshit Jobs

Post by daylen » Wed Nov 21, 2018 9:35 pm

These are some of the cognitive functions which extend on the Myers-Briggs type system. MB-Types are modes of operation, and the cognitive functions are specific patterns of brain activity. I think that you are an INFJ, so your function stack is (Ni, Fe, Ti, Se, Ne, Fi, Te, Si)(*).

Let me rephrase using your terminology: While you find distractions in the present, you will get better at constructing a hierarchy of cyclic distractions where each level triggers your attention based on some set of conditions. Eventually, BRUTE will never truly be bored, because he will not be able to recognize the overall meta-pattern of distractions as merely a distraction itself.

Maybe brute has already distracted himself so well that he cannot distinguish the micro-distractions from the larger distraction his unconscious mind has already initiated.

All I meant by destiny is the path that you end up taking before you die, ha.

(*) The function stack is an ordering of how much time a human with that type spends in these patterns of activity. You can deduce your type more accurately by reading about the cognitive functions and reflecting on which are dominate.

BRUTE
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Re: The Rise of Bullshit Jobs

Post by BRUTE » Thu Nov 22, 2018 1:31 am

brute forgets what exactly his MB types are, but 2 of the letters often flip and are typically close. might have been I/E-N-F/T-J or something.

yea, the cyclical pattern thing describes it pretty well. the fun part is that it works even if the meta-pattern is recognized. in fact, brute's current framework for life is basically trying to discover and construct a local optimum of such a meta-pattern that is sustainable. so far, brute has fluctuated through various patterns that worked well for a time, but none of them have been stable. the frequency of fluctuation has been somewhat stable, but each swing has ended in a pretty bad way, indicating that there is room for improvement. brute has thought of increasing the frequency, finding a greater number of patterns to cycle through, and how to enable these in a more sustainable way.

latearlyFI
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Re: The Rise of Bullshit Jobs

Post by latearlyFI » Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:06 am

Check out this article in the WSJ about Accenture retraining a slew of white collar jobs becoming automated, they're actually training them for Bullshit jobs!

https://www.marketscreener.com/ACCENTUR ... -28800182/


I appreciate what they're doing, I really do, but this is another sign of what is in the job pipeline.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: The Rise of Bullshit Jobs

Post by SavingWithBabies » Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:45 am

Software testing is an important job in software development. Mostly because software developers are expensive and testers are less expensive. Then there is the whole thing about determining what we are building which is where most of the friction and inefficiencies are in software development. For example, a project might have:

* business person
* project manager
* tester/quality assurance person
* developer operations (for deploying/running in production)
* some software developers
* perhaps someone focused on delivery management

Somehow, what we need to build has to get communicated effectively to the developers from the business side and make it through the funnel of the project manager trying to divide things up into packets that they can manager in order to predict the future (ie when the work will get finished). Inevitably, what we are building isn't communicated effectively or is unknown until we build it and then the testers push on the ambiguous areas and bugs/defects emerge that aren't really true bugs but are instead the result of ironing out the details to the point that a decision has been made in a specific area.

That all takes time. So it seems the current approach is to do most of the development without really ironing out the details (which is understandable, that takes a lot of time too) and then coming back around to fix the 10-20% part that wasn't clear the first time around. And it's cheaper paying non-developers to figure out these parts. So that is why I'd say it's not a bullshit job. However, if we're stepping back and saying it's all bullshit...

latearlyFI
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Re: The Rise of Bullshit Jobs

Post by latearlyFI » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:15 pm

okay, point taken. Once it is all tested, I'm guessing the need for testers reduces and how much does it pay. Are previously high income Underwriters sitting down clicking digital buttons over and over all day and making minimum wage now?

I actually googled pay for website testers and this came up: Website offering automated website testing ugh

https://www.ranorex.com/web-test-automa ... %20Testing

And oh the irony. We've automated your job away forever, but good news, now you can become a tester and help make it even better, (even though it is already better than you)!

SavingWithBabies
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Re: The Rise of Bullshit Jobs

Post by SavingWithBabies » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:28 pm

Oh, yeah, most of the testing now is around writing the automated tests. But that is custom to the project so it's not really less work. It just makes the job less drudgery. For example, say you want to test that when you click a specific button that some other thing happens. You can test that manually and do that every time code changes or you can setup a test to automatically do that. Software developers often write tests sort of like that at a lower level (and sometimes at that higher level) but the tester would most likely focus at that higher level and write tests for it. By writing a test that can be run over and over, they don't have to manually do it which is a pretty annoying task.

The pay isn't bad for software testing. I don't know how it compares to insurance underwriting though. And to be clear, I work in software and I kind of think my job ends up being BS in the end. So I'm not really disagreeing it's not BS at a higher level.

In software though, the focus is around automating as much as possible. So automating testing. Automating deployment. And so forth. But setting all of that up takes time so it's just kind of moving the work from one place to another. For the most part. It might slightly lower the employee costs and/or increase overall quality. It does reduce the domain knowledge in employee's heads so it makes it easier to lay off employees.

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