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Making people unemployed.

 
Jan de Boer
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Making people unemployed.

I overheard a manager and a salesperson talking about my project. It seemed the manager his most important reason to buy my program was to ‘get another few people out’. Now this is not really inspiring! So my effort makes other people unemployed. The job/project I had before this one, was trying to improve cancer treatment. You can imagine I felt a lot more useful for society and the human race working at that place. Unfortunately this was a temporary project, and I had to look for a new assignment. I wish I could do something like that again!! :-(
 
Joe Ess
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Martin Vajsar
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This has reminded me of a situation I witnessed as a real greenhorn years ago. The company I worked for created an application for a state-run institution. That application did at a click of a button the work that was performed by some four or five people in that office for a whole month (it was actually some kind of a reporting). That institution declined to buy the application, because they would have to lay off the entire section. Granted, at that time there were more plentiful years, today it probably wouldn't happen, even in my country. Anyway, I remember the frustration of the colleagues when they learned their application was "too good to be saleable".

In any case, this is happening all the time. Every time a company is driven out of the market by a competitor, people lose jobs. But it is also one of the forces that drive forward the progress of the human race. Look at the situation of the countries that suppress competition.
 
Pat Farrell
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Martin Vajsar wrote: That institution declined to buy the application, because they would have to lay off the entire section. Granted, at that time there were more plentiful years, today it probably wouldn't happen, even in my country.


Well, you are ascribing to the institution the thought processes that are human, or belong to a group of humans.

The primary directive of any bureaucracy is to continue (and if possible grow) itself as a bureaucracy.

In many (most? all?) bureaucracies, it is very difficult to judge the capabilities of a given bureaucrat. So they use indirect means. The proven metric of a bureaucratic boss is the number of other bureaucrats who work for him/her. The more people who "report" to you, the more important and powerful and valuable you are.

Suppose you are the bureaucrat (call her Alice) who has five people working for him doing the report @martin's program would replace. The instant they buy @martin's program, Alice goes from having a nice staff of five to having a staff of zero. Her value and importance goes to zero.

Consider George, the bureaucrat who has Alice, Bob, Charlie, Dorris, Ed, and Frank working for him. He has lots of power because he has six managers working for him, and they each have five people working for them. So George has 36 people working for him, six managers and 30 worker bureaucrats.

Now @martin comes in and says, for only $10,000, you can buy my program. George will throw you out the window. Not only will Alice not be needed to manage her five people, but Alice herself is no longer needed. In an instant, all six, from Alice to Frank are gone.

He would go from being a very important and very valuable bureaucrat to a peon in an instant. In one day, from 36 staff to zero. Never gonna happen.
 
Martin Vajsar
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Pat Farrell wrote:Well, you are ascribing to the institution the thought processes that are human, or belong to a group of humans.

The primary directive of any bureaucracy is to continue (and if possible grow) itself as a bureaucracy.

Yes, it's been some time since I saw "Yes, Minister". Need to watch it again

And this page illustrates your point nicely.
 
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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If you really want to be depressed, read Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut.
 
Frank Silbermann
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Pat Farrell wrote:
Martin Vajsar wrote: That institution declined to buy the application, because they would have to lay off the entire section. Granted, at that time there were more plentiful years, today it probably wouldn't happen, even in my country.


Well, you are ascribing to the institution the thought processes that are human, or belong to a group of humans.

The primary directive of any bureaucracy is to continue (and if possible grow) itself as a bureaucracy.

In many (most? all?) bureaucracies, it is very difficult to judge the capabilities of a given bureaucrat. So they use indirect means. The proven metric of a bureaucratic boss is the number of other bureaucrats who work for him/her. The more people who "report" to you, the more important and powerful and valuable you are.

Suppose you are the bureaucrat (call her Alice) who has five people working for him doing the report @martin's program would replace. The instant they buy @martin's program, Alice goes from having a nice staff of five to having a staff of zero. Her value and importance goes to zero.

Consider George, the bureaucrat who has Alice, Bob, Charlie, Dorris, Ed, and Frank working for him. He has lots of power because he has six managers working for him, and they each have five people working for them. So George has 36 people working for him, six managers and 30 worker bureaucrats.

Now @martin comes in and says, for only $10,000, you can buy my program. George will throw you out the window. Not only will Alice not be needed to manage her five people, but Alice herself is no longer needed. In an instant, all six, from Alice to Frank are gone.

He would go from being a very important and very valuable bureaucrat to a peon in an instant. In one day, from 36 staff to zero. Never gonna happen.
But if you could staff your bureaucracy with ideological communists, then wouldn't they do whatever was for the good of the People?
 
dennis deems
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Martin Vajsar wrote:But it is also one of the forces that drive forward the progress of the human race.

I suppose the definition of what constitutes progress, and whether that is actually a good thing for the human race (or the planet at large) is open for debate.
 
Joe Ess
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Frank Silbermann wrote: But if you could staff your bureaucracy with ideological communists, then wouldn't they do whatever was for the good of the People?


No, they'd herd everyone into re-education camps for "team building" exercises as the actual performance of the company is secondary to the purity of the Party
 
Martin Vajsar
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Joe Ess wrote:
Frank Silbermann wrote: But if you could staff your bureaucracy with ideological communists, then wouldn't they do whatever was for the good of the People?


No, they'd herd everyone into re-education camps for "team building" exercises as the actual performance of the company is secondary to the purity of the Party


I actually come from a country that was lead by ideological communists before 1989, and though I was too young at that time, I still have made a few observations:

1) As Dennis correctly pointed out earlier, what is good to the People / human race is open to debate. The interpretation of ideological communists is especially notable for the amount of unfortunate consequences it had caused to individual people who happened to have different opinion on this topic.

2) The team building exercises were camouflaged as "political training". They were taking place especially in the army and at some companies. The main challenge was to try to figure out who of your colleagues has been coerced by the State Security to help them keep a file on you.

Some political training in a limited form was taking place at schools too. I most vividly remember civil defense rehearsals, where we were trying to protect ourselves from imperialists' nuclear attack by wearing gas masks, plastic raincoats and plastic sacks fixed by rubber bands of hands and feet. It was actually quite fun because it took place instead of regular school classes. (I know think this was in some form happening in the West too, though I believe not in the 1980s.)

3) Companies were concerned especially about meeting the plan at 105% or more, and when that failed, about identifying the culprits responsible for the failure, if possible outside of the company (An old joke in our country went like this: Socialism has five main enemies: spring, summer, autumn, winter and Imperialism). The main problem with this approach was that meeting the plan often did not imply meeting the quality standards.

4) Plans for the companies were set up by planning commissions (under the control of the Party, of course). These commissions completely failed to notice the population boom of the 1970s (or at least some aspects of that), which famously lead to serious shortages of sanitary pads when girls from this baby-boom generation reached adolescence.
 
Jesper de Jong
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Martin Vajsar wrote:(I know think this was in some form happening in the West too, though I believe not in the 1980s.)

More in the 1950's here.


 
Campbell Ritchie
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Duck and Cover? That’s brilliant. I grew up in a village and once a year somwbody was killed by falling off a tractor. I have visions of hundreds of farmboys killed by their tractors if they watch that film before a thunderstorm.
And most of you are too young to remember the real cold war. I remember the Cuban missiles and the Bay of Pigs. About that time we lived in full expectation of having an atom bomb dropped on us. And I remember a country similar to where Martin comes from. In 1968 they tried a bit of democratisation and had their country overrun by Communist tanks.
 
Frank Silbermann
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:Duck and Cover? That’s brilliant. I grew up in a village and once a year somwbody was killed by falling off a tractor. I have visions of hundreds of farmboys killed by their tractors if they watch that film before a thunderstorm.
And most of you are too young to remember the real cold war. I remember the Cuban missiles and the Bay of Pigs. About that time we lived in full expectation of having an atom bomb dropped on us. And I remember a country similar to where Martin comes from. In 1968 they tried a bit of democratisation and had their country overrun by Communist tanks.
The good part was being able to tell your date she might as well give up her virginity (they cared about such things back then) because who knows if the world is going to be destroyed tomorrow.
 
Pat Farrell
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We did duck and cover in the late 50s. The first version had you just climb under your school desk and get in a fetal ball.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis they did an enhanced version, where we went down into the basement cafeteria and climbed under the lunch tables. I was only 10 or so then, so I don't know what news coverage was national wide. But I know it was a really big deal in suburban Washington DC. All the parents knew that Washington was a prime target, if not THE prime target.

I've recently read some history of that time, and the Russian rockets placed in Cuba had limited range. They could nuke Washington and New York, but not St Louis, and nothing farther west.

What I find hilarious now is that we were so serious about duck-and-cover. My school was (and still is) about 7 miles from the Pentagon. Assuming the Russians dropped "the big one" we would expect that every building in a ten mile radius would be knocked down. Or if they dropped a few moderate ones and missed their targets on some, spreading the wealth. My school would be 100% reduced to a pile of bricks.
 
eileen keeney
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Frank Silbermann wrote:But if you could staff your bureaucracy with ideological communists, then wouldn't they do whatever was for the good of the People?


IF they were both ideological AND all knowing.

I think I have a lot of really good ideas, that would make government and the country better.
But because none of my ideas will ever get implemented, I will never have to see their flaws.

Is the job of a Senator to do what is best for the United States or what is best for the state they represent?
Is the job of a congressional representative to do what is best for the United States or what is best for their district.

When I vote is my responsibility to vote for what is best for the country (state or whatever entity the law is applicable to), what is best for myself, or what I see as the most fair to the most people?
I have struggled with this one more than once.

 
Pat Farrell
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eileen keeney wrote:
Is the job of a Senator to do what is best for the United States or what is best for the state they represent?
Is the job of a congressional representative to do what is best for the United States or what is best for their district.


Sadly, in recent years, the answer to both is none of the choices you posit.

They see their jobs as getting re-elected. Whatever that takes.
 
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