For a country, such as the Philippines, which sends thousands of nurses overseas, this is excellent news.
Another widespread myth holds that most Americans need to go to college in the future. In reality, most of the fastest-growing jobs, including those in healthcare, do not require a four-year bachelor’s degree. According to the Council of Economic Advisers: “The categories with some education required beyond high school are growing faster than those not requiring post-secondary schooling. The growth is not solely among occupations requiring bachelor’s degrees; occupations that require only an associate’s degree or a post-secondary vocational award are actually projected to grow slightly faster than occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree or more.” The appropriate public policy response is not necessarily to send more Americans to expensive four-year colleges, particularly if that means crippling burdens of personal debt in the form of student loans. We need to expand the vocational training provided by the community college system.
None of this means that we don’t need world-class scientists and engineers, or that we don’t need to rebuild our manufacturing export industries, or that we don’t need to hire people to design and build up-to-date infrastructure and energy systems. High-tech agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructure and related business and professional services will remain essential to economic dynamism. But thanks to ever smarter machines, fewer and fewer people will work in the primary (field), secondary (factory) and tertiary (office) sectors. Most of the job growth will be in the “quaternary” sector of healthcare and other qualify-of-life services.
Dilbert’s days are numbered. Look for Dilbert Jr. at the nursing station.
This is interesting. In a sense a good reason why celebrities swear by being happier with having children, Being loaded (with cash) means having children does not carry with it the negative consequences. Does this mean that only rich people should have children? Of course not, but this I believe shows that unhappy poor people shouldn’t be allowed to have children. I don’t know. read the linked blog post for the pertinent papers.
Children & happiness
Having children makes you miserable. That’s the message of this paper by Luca Stanca, which draws upon data from 94 countries:
Having children is negatively related to subjective well-being. Conditioning on individual characteristics shows that the effect of parenthood on well-being is positive and significant only for widowers, older and highly educated individuals…On the basis of a purely economic approach, the optimal number of children for a rational agent is zero.
This partly corroborates evidence from the UK (pdf), which shows that children increase the well-being only of married couples and widowers, but reduce the well-being of single or separated parents.
However, the reason for this is rather mundane. Children make (many) people less happy only because they are expensive. Mr Stanca finds that children improve people’s satisfaction with non-financial aspects of their life, but worsen their financial happiness. This corroborates some other evidence (hat-tip).
Frank Eippert from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf used a technique caled functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the backbones of volunteers as they experienced the placebo effect. Eippert heated the recruits’ forearms to the point of pain and he gave them cream to soothe the sting. The creams were all shams with no pain-relieving properties, but only half of the recruits were told this. The others were told that they’d been given lidocaine, an anaesthetic.
Sure enough, the volunteers who used the alleged “anaesthetic” felt about a quarter less pain than those who were aware that they were using an ordinary cream – the placebo effect in action. But Eippert also found that the activity of neurons in the spine (specifically an area near the back called the “dorsal horn”) was also strongly allayed.
I’m a fan of both shows. I’ve watched HIMYM and BBT 3 times each all the seasons, which can only be beaten by me watching The Office five times all seasons (correction I’ve watched ).
That said, It surprised me how high the difference between their ratings are. I don’t know where to get the tv rating stats to actually dive into the differences between the audiences of these two shows. Suffice to say, 2-3 million lead for BBT is considerable because they follow each other.
Any thoughts on this?
It’s the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Wow, I was only a child then, but even I knew that it was a momentous event.
Now as a new decade approaches a new wall has already been built, the battle lines are fuzzy and the enemy would be much harder to defeat.
It is funny in a perverse way. Capitalism suffers from its excesses, and there is at least a considerable fraction of people who agree that left to its own devices capitalism fails (I dare to say that more people were convinced of capitalisms problems by the recent economic crisis rather than the former soviet union).
Democracy is heading to a collision course with religion. Not a specific religion but with the practice of religion. It is a question I mull but cannot seem to get any headway in. I just hope we solve this within our lifetimes. In a way as hard problems tend to be, I don’t know where I stand when the collision happens, all that I know is that it probably will happen.
I’ve grapple with this constantly, whenever I have to explain this I am lost for words. It is like people believe their lives are compartmentalized. As the person who wrote this said, being religious does not excuse acting like an asshole, being religious does not excuse you from not being a decent human being. Let us a accept that we are who we are 24/7. There is no churchgoing version of ourselves versus the ruthless work personality we have.
After talking for some time about her family situation we turned to other areas of her life. When she reached spiritual matters we had the following exchange:
“I need to spend more time working on my relationship with God.”
I responded, “Why would you want to do that?”
Startled she says, “What do you mean?”
“Well, why would you want to spend any time at all on working on your relationship with God?”
“Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?”
“Let me answer by asking you a question. Can you think of anyone, right now, to whom you need to apologize? Anyone you’ve wronged?”
She thinks and answers, “Yes.”
“Well, why don’t you give them a call today and ask for their forgiveness. That might be a better use of your time than working on your relationship with God.”
Obviously, I was being a bit provocative with the student. And I did go on to clarify. But I was trying to push back on a strain of Christianity I see in both my students and the larger Christian culture. Specifically, when the student said “I need to work on my relationship with God” I knew exactly what she meant. It meant praying more, getting up early to study the bible, to start going back to church. Things along those lines. The goal of these activities is to get “closer” to God. To “waste time with Jesus.” Of course, please hear me on this point, nothing is wrong with those activities. Personal acts of piety and devotion are vital to a vibrant spiritual life and continued spiritual formation. But all too often “working on my relationship with God” has almost nothing to do with trying to become a more decent human being.
The trouble with contemporary Christianity is that a massive bait and switch is going on. “Christianity” has essentially become a mechanism for allowing millions of people to replace being a decent human being with something else, an endorsed “spiritual” substitute. For example, rather than being a decent human being the following is a list of some commonly acceptable substitutes:
Going to church
Spiritual disciplines (e.g., fasting)
Going on spiritual retreats
Reading religious books
Arguing with evolutionists
Sending your child to a Christian school or providing education at home
Using religious language
Avoiding R-rated movies
Not reading Harry Potter.
The point is that one can fill a life full of spiritual activities without ever, actually, trying to become a more decent human being. Much of this activity can actually distract one from becoming a more decent human being. In fact, some of these activities make you worse, interpersonally speaking. Many churches are jerk factories.
Take, for example, how Christians tip and behave in restaurants. If you have ever worked in the restaurant industry you know the reputation of the Sunday morning lunch crowd. Millions of Christians go to lunch after church on Sundays and their behavior is abysmal. The single most damaging phenomenon to the witness of Christianity in America today is the collective behavior of the Sunday morning lunch crowd. Never has a more well-dressed, entitled, dismissive, haughty or cheap collection of Christians been seen on the face of the earth.
A friend when asked why he did charity work, answered: “I do it because it makes me feel good. I do it for me not them”. I agree with him. In a sense he is at least honest to himself!
This meshes nicely with a self-signalling conception of morality. If part of the point of behaving morally is to convince yourself that you’re a good person, then once you’re convinced, behaving morally loses a lot of its value.
By coincidence, a few days after reading this study, I found this article by Dr. Beck, a theologian, complaining about the behavior of churchgoers on Sunday afternoon lunches. He says that in his circles, it’s well known that people having lunch after church tend to abuse the waitstaff and tip poorly. And he blames the same mechanism identified by Mazar and Zhong in their Dictator Game. He says that, having proven to their own satisfaction that they are godly and holy people, doing something else godly and holy like being nice to others would be overkill.
This doesn’t make much sense at first sight but the mind works in mysterious ways. People know there are others who think the same way they do and if people like them don’t vote then their candidate is unlikely to win. Therefore they need to vote themselves.
It sounds like a twisted kind of logic but Quattrone & Tversky found some evidence for it in a study following on from the one they did about self-deception (see the connection?!). They found that in a simulated voting situation participants behaved as though they believed that their own vote actually caused other people to vote in the same way they did.
In other words, people seem to behave as though their own behaviour is diagnostic of other people who think the same way.
This is another neat demonstration of our powers of self-deception and one reason self-deception can work to society’s advantage. Democracies generally view voting as a good thing (with some notable exceptions!) and try to encourage it, yet people rationally understand that their individual vote makes practically no difference. But when we see our vote as signalling how others will behave, it becomes much more important.
Rousseau didn’t believe the rights he called for existed in our natural state. They became necessary when we began to live in large groups. It is necessary to trust that men will have the same general values if we travel a mile from home, or a hundred miles. We hope not to be robbed or murdered. We hope a system of trade allows us to earn a living and obtain what we need. We hope those we find there treat each other, and strangers, decently. We hope our boat hasn’t landed us on the shores of a libertarian nation.
The ideas of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau led logically to the American and French Revolutions. The preamble to our Declaration of Independence could well have been dictated by any one of the three. Our revolution, like so many, is still underway. Universal health care happens to be its current battlefield.
I am naive enough to think that universal care is obviously good. I don’t say how it should be implemented or regulated. I say we should implement it and regulate it as well as we can, and improve it through our votes and our legislature. This is something we owe to the future. The United States is shamefully the only Western democracy without universal health care. All of the nations that we inspired by our revolution, including France, have moved ahead on us on this.
I am told we cannot trust the government. I believe we must trust it, and work to make it trustworthy. We are told the free enterprise system will sort things out, but it has not. When insurance companies direct millions toward lobbying and advertising against a health care system, every dollar is being withheld from sick people. When it goes to salaries, executive jets, corporate edifices and legislative manipulation, it isn’t going to Amy Caudle.
The fallacy of the free enterprise argument is that there is a faith that corporations are motivated to bring about the public good. Corporations are motivated to maximize profits for shareholders. That is the primary mission of all corporate executives, and they retain their jobs by placing the bottom line and the stock price above all else.
If you doubt it, I recommend a current documentary named “Crude,” by Joe Berlinger. It relates the story of a group of Indians who have occupied the Ecuadorean rain forest since time immemorial. They existed in unison with nature, living off the land and for the land, governed by themselves. They were, if you will, Noble Savages. Or perhaps they were an ideal libertarian state. They occupy the forest filmed by Herzog in “Fitzcarraldo.”
It was their misfortune that oil was discovered beneath their forest. Texaco, later called Chevron, moved in with the permission of the national government, which had previously ignored them. It laid waste to square miles of forest, struck oil, had an oil spill that blighted the river highway of the Indians, and pumped billions of gallons of toxic waste into the river. One independent estimate is that remediation should cost Chevron $27 billion.
We meet a man whose little daughter went splashing in the river one day and was dead within 24 hours. The water is lethal to drink. Many others died. Vegetation was destroyed. Fish disappeared. The Indians are represented by a determined local lawyer and an American lawyer working pro bono. Chevron has deployed a legal team that prevented the complaint from even coming to court for ten years. There is still no resolution. The corporation is prepared to fight this forever.
Is there the great Filipino Documentary? If there is would someone please let me know.
For those people who can access joost here is the link to the whole film
One noble purpose of documentaries, he said, is to be on the side of the kinds of people asking that question. Then he quoted words by Studs Terkel that summarized the spirist of William Gates, Arthur Agee, the makers of “Hoop Dreams” and the film itself: “I live in a community, and if the community isn’t in good shape, neither am I.”