What “Occupy Wall Street” Is Missing

By looking only in one direction, Occupy Wall Street is missing the big picture.

David Brooks argues in an Op-Ed today that the Occupy Wall Street crowd, and its progeny, are missing a crucial part of the problems we face by focusing their argument on a virtuous 99% allegedly being taken advantage of by the evil 1%:

The country has been wasting this winter of recuperation. Nothing of consequence has been achieved over the past two years. Instead, there have been a series of trivial sideshows. It’s as if people can’t keep their minds focused on the big things. They get diverted by scuffles that are small, contentious and symbolic.

Take the Occupy Wall Street movement. This uprising was sparked by the magazine Adbusters, previously best known for the 2004 essay, “Why Won’t Anyone Say They Are Jewish?” — an investigative report that identified some of the most influential Jews in America and their nefarious grip on policy.

If there is a core theme to the Occupy Wall Street movement, it is that the virtuous 99 percent of society is being cheated by the richest and greediest 1 percent.

This is a theme that allows the people in the 99 percent to think very highly of themselves. All their problems are caused by the nefarious elite.

Unfortunately, almost no problem can be productively conceived in this way. A group that divides the world between the pure 99 percent and the evil 1 percent will have nothing to say about education reform, Medicare reform, tax reform, wage stagnation or polarization. They will have nothing to say about the way Americans have overconsumed and overborrowed. These are problems that implicate a much broader swath of society than the top 1 percent.

They will have no realistic proposal to reduce the debt or sustain the welfare state. Even if you tax away 50 percent of the income of those making between $1 million and $10 million, you only reduce the national debt by 1 percent, according to the Tax Foundation. If you confiscate all the income of those making more than $10 million, you reduce the debt by 2 percent. You would still be nibbling only meekly around the edges.

The 99-versus-1 frame is also extremely self-limiting. If you think all problems flow from a small sliver of American society, then all your solutions are going to be small, too. The policy proposals that have been floating around the Occupy Wall Street movement — a financial transfer tax, forgiveness for student loans — are marginal.

The Occupy Wall Street movement may look radical, but its members’ ideas are less radical than those you might hear at your average Rotary Club. Its members may hate capitalism. A third believe the U.S. is no better than Al Qaeda, according to a New York magazine survey, but since the left no longer believes in the nationalization of industry, these “radicals” really have no systemic reforms to fall back on.

Not only that, but the sad truth of the matter is that, to no small extent, many of the problems that some of the individuals that have been highlighted as members of the 99% are ones that cannot easily be explained away by blaming “the rich.” It wasn’t the rich, for example, that led people to run up huge amounts of student loan debt pursuing a degree that wasn’t likely to bring in a good income even in a good economy. That’s not to say that there aren’t solutions for some of these problems, of course. I highlighted one of them earlier today. However, casting blame on one small segment of society for a problem that is really everyone’s fault strikes me as both far too easy and intellectually dishonest. We live in a country where everyone has wanted to have their cake and eat it too for far too long, and we’re coming to the point where the bills are going due. As much as it feels good to be able to say your problems are all the fault of the “monied interests” and absurdly characterize them as some kind modern day version of the French Bourbouns, that simply isn’t accurate and it isn’t going to do anything to solve the myriad of problems that this country has.

Rod Dreher agrees with Brooks:

If it’s going to get fixed, it’s going to hurt all of us. I really do believe that those whose wealth puts them in a position to weather the pain better than most should have to bear a greater share of the burden. But let’s get real: occupying Wall Street isn’t going to pay off one’s credit card, or obviate the spendthriftiness that may have led one to run it up. And so forth. Not saying that to let Wall Street off the hook, but only to underscore Brooks’s depressing and unromantic point that the true nature of the problem is radical and widespread, not simply concentrated in the top one percent.

Nor are they concentrated, as the Tea Party crowd argued, solely in government spending, although that is certainly part of the problem. There’s been much debate over the past two weeks over whether or not Occupy Wall Street is some kind of left-wing version of the Tea Party movement. The only way we’ll know that is when that movement, if it survives, puts forward a coherent political agenda and does the same kind of hard political slogging that the Tea Party has done to advance it. As I’ve said previously, hanging out in a park in New York City isn’t going to change the world, and the longer the movement does that and nothing else the less serious they are going to end up being taken. There is one way that the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street are alike, though, both of them make the mistake of only focusing on one thing that they claim is the cause of all our problems. What they both need to do is wake up, look in the mirror, and realize that we call got into this together, and we’re going to have to get out of it together.

Photo via Foreign Policy

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Lit3Bolt says:

    Shorter Doug: Let’s ignore the financial wizards’ role in the crash completely. People are responsible for their own destinies, there are no outside influences!

  2. Martin says:

    Speaking of intellectual dishonesty, to point out the OWS shortcomings without their legitimate grievances seems a bit hypocritical.

  3. john personna says:

    Economist James Kwak notes that Brooks got his math wrong:

    Bathtubs for Beginners

  4. Ron Beasley says:

    One of the real economic crimes in the US is that Brooks gets a lot of money to write this drivel.

  5. Tsar Nicholas says:

    David Brooks??

    In any event, from the looks of these clowns they’re also missing reality, adulthood, common sense, soap, shampoo, toothpaste and showers, not to mention their own pasts, presents and futures. If Generation Y was a stock I’d short sell it.

  6. john personna says:

    Holy Moley …

    The University of California last week tentatively agreed to a deal with UC-AFT that included a new provision barring the system and its campuses from creating online courses or programs that would result in “a change to a term or condition of employment” of any lecturer without first dealing with the union.

    Via MR

    (That of course kicks this college costs thing in the teeth.)

  7. G.A.Phillips says:

    There is one way that the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street are alike, though, both of them make the mistake of only focusing on one thing that they claim is the cause of all our problems.

    wow,man,er….

    The 20%er’s ain’t focused on crap, well maybe they are lol…

    And we are focused on many problems.You will see in the 2012 elections.

  8. Scott F. says:

    I really don’t think you’d get too many OWS participants who would argue Dreher’s point too strongly:

    If it’s going to get fixed, it’s going to hurt all of us. I really do believe that those whose wealth puts them in a position to weather the pain better than most should have to bear a greater share of the burden.

    Actually, that’s pretty much Obama’s stated position.

    What the OWS folks are pointing out, however, is that is NOT what’s happening now. Obama’s modest proposals are being blocked and the fixes being counter proposed would hurt the lower and middle classes disproportionately. Also, the wealthy are fighting tooth and nail against bearing a greater share of the burden.

    Frankly, I don’t know that things are going to get “fixed”. I’d settle for seeing Joseph Cassano and Dick Fuld wearing orange prison jumpsuits. Applying some moral hazard to the recklessness of the FIRE sector would at least be something.

  9. WR says:

    @john personna: I don’t get why this deserves a holey moley. The university has agreed to work with the unions as they develop online teaching instead of drafting some plan and telling the faculty to suck it. To me, it’s a much smarter way to go.

    And I say that as one who teaches in the University of California’s only low-residency program.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    When the 1% acquire 90% of the political power they get 90% of the political blame.

    You don’t want people blaming the oligarchy? Don’t create an oligarchy. Because as Uncle Ben pointed out, with great power comes great responsibility.

  11. john personna says:

    @WR:

    Successful higher education reform will reduce labor inputs. Right?

  12. Hey Norm says:

    Doug….you’re completely underestimating the impact of the 1% on our politics and our economics. The 1% crashed the economy with their crazy financial gimics and the rest of us…the 53% if you want…bailed them out. Today they are lavishing bonuses on themselves again while the rest of us struggle with the mess they left. So what was done to protect the 99%? Nothing because the 1% made sure anything to fix it was watered down so as to be meaningless.
    60% of the country supports taxing the 1% more and preserving social safety nets. But the 1% has lobbied the conversation in the other direction.
    The OWS reflects the frustration of the 99% with the inequity between them and the 1% that has been exploding for 30 years.
    But if Brroks and Dreher and you think there’s nothing there….well that settles it.

  13. Ron Beasley says:

    @michael reynolds: Well said as usual Michael!

  14. WR says:

    @john personna: I’m sorry, but I can’t tell if you’re being ironic or serious.

  15. john personna says:

    @WR:

    Both. The initiative above was about online courses. Would it be in the student’s interest if an online course delivered same quality at lower cost? Would it be in the union’s interest if (same thing but) that lower cost was achieved through a reduction in total staff hour per credit?

  16. john personna says:

    (There may be staff who have a high sense of mission and seek to lower student costs, but we also know there will be union participants who see it as their role to protect staff interests.)

  17. An Interested Party says:

    Awwwww…the poor, sad, mistreated 1%…at least that group has people like David Brooks and Doug Mataconis to come to their defense and lick their finely polished dress shoes…by the way, when you have to bring in David Brooks to help with your argument, you’ve already lost your argument…

  18. john personna says:

    I think David Brooks is sometimes right, but he bats about .200

  19. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    There’s been much debate over the past two weeks over whether or not Occupy Wall Street is some kind of left-wing version of the Tea Party movement. The only way we’ll know that is when that movement, if it survives, puts forward a coherent political agenda and does the same kind of hard political slogging that the Tea Party has done to advance it.

    The Tea Parry has a coherent political agenda? You’re kidding, right? Doug, WHAT, pray tell, is the “coherent” ANYTHING in the Tea Party movement? (And leave the “that’s not what I said” meme at home for this answer.)

    You’re losing your credibility quickly, Doug. Take the increase in hours and go back to lawyering, where your solely self-interested viewpoint will be accepted as the status quo (I was going to say “norm” but that would have been unfair to one of the other commenters on the site.)

  20. Eric Florack says:

    Speaking of intellectual dishonesty, to point out the OWS shortcomings without their legitimate grievances seems a bit hypocritical.

    Such as?

    The 1% crashed the economy with their crazy financial gimics and the rest of us…the 53% if you want…bailed them out.

    No, Government did that…. trying to force loans out to people who couldn’t pay for them in the name of equality, for example. That’s just one part of the social democrat welfare state that is responsible for busting economies world-wide. (You have been watching Europe, right?)

    And Doug… I’ll tell you this; What’s missing is brown shirts, and a historical perspective. I say that because Ernst Rohm leaps to mind watching these creatures. Rohm’s experience has a lesson for the nutjobs working as the tools of Soros and the remaining leftists, but I wonder if they ahve the wit to understand the lessons inherent in that comparison. Clue: They’ll come for these OWS morons, next, once their task is complete. The knives aren’t any longer than they were back then.

  21. anjin-san says:

    Damn bit, have you suffered a blow to the head recently?

  22. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @john personna: When the school that I was teaching at added online courses to the curriculum, the union got involved with the decision because the administration contended

    1. Teachers would be assigned on line courses, for which they would develop appropriate curricula and delivery systems on their own time

    2. All such curricula, software, e-texts, lectures, handouts and other educational materials would become the property of the school

    3. Since on-line courses did not involve contact hours (even if one of the delivery systems was on-line lecture [because these could be taped}), they could be added to the existing workload.

    4. Because on-line courses involved no contact hours, teachers could teach them for a $500 a quarter stipend. A typical “overload” class paid, at that time, from $1300-1500 (or roughly 25 cents on the dollar relative to base salary).

    Damn straight the union got involved! That’s what we pay dues for!

  23. KansasMom says:
  24. WR says:

    @john personna: It seems to me that these are questions to be worked out between the administration and those who actually do the work. So I’d say this move it right on. Unless you want to claim that the Walmart model should be applied to higher education — that is, low prices for consumers, high profits for administration and screw the workers — I still can’t imagine why you’d think this was anything but a good thing.

  25. WR says:

    @john personna: It is not the job of the facult to focus on lowering student costs. It’s the job of the faculty to focus on making education better. You might as well say it’s the job of the students to worry about faculty labor issues. None of this is true.

    You seem to want faculty members to look for ways to lower their own pay to help students, in the same way that Wisconsin and other R states have decided to “help” students by slashing teacher pay. That’s not what I’m hired to do. I’m hired to teach, and I do a damn good job. I’m not going to stand up and volunteer to have my pay cut. Are you?

  26. ponce says:

    If I had a nickle for every wingnut anti-OWS post I’ve seen this week, OWS would be protesting me.

    OWS sure has their panties in a bunch.

  27. steve says:

    “No, Government did that…. trying to force loans out to people who couldn’t pay for them in the name of equality”

    “Oh please Massah, dont force me to make loans to those poor folks. I dont want to have to make billions of dollars.”

    Steve

  28. David M says:

    I’m not super impressed with the OWS movement or optimistic they can actually accomplish anything, but they are light years ahead of the tea party on the coherent message front. The tea party (taxed enough already) protests against higher taxes and spending made absolutely no sense. Not only are federal taxes lower than they’ve been in 50 years (as a % of GDP), but tax cuts were a signficant portion of the ARRA. That doesn’t even get into how catastrophically bad it would have been to have a ARRA sized spending cut during the recession. I think the tea party is best seen as a Republican protest that there is a Democratic president, as their stated goals are nonsense. (So wrong they weren’t even wrong anymore, similar to how 2+2=5 is wrong, but 2+2=banana is Billy Madison level wrong.)

    The OWS have identified one of the major problems with the economy and recovery. Wall Street. The financial sector profits were too high pre-bubble, but we still bailed them out as the least bad option. Now the financial sector has come back but the recovery has left everyone else behind. Wall St is a good starting place for protests, so OWS are already make more sense than the GOPtea party.

  29. Hey Norm says:

    I worry about Eric.
    Seriously.

  30. Tlaloc says:

    pure bull, Doug. Let’s take an example:

    It wasn’t the rich, for example, that led people to run up huge amounts of student loan debt pursuing a degree that wasn’t likely to bring in a good income even in a good economy.

    Except it absolutely was in fact their fault. We got into a system of predatory for profit lending to students that was all about encouraging more and more borrowing at inflated prices. The fact of the matter is the supremely wealthy really are the root cause of about 80% of our problems. America is a very wealthy nation. When we can’t provide health care or even food to all of our citizens it is because a tiny tiny fraction are devouring such a huge portion of the pie. When we can’t provide education, the same cause. When our infrastructure is falling apart, again same cause.

    When you have these bloated ticks bleeding us dry it is no wonder the vast an apparently unsolvable problems. And yes that’s squarely on the 1%. No matter how much libertarians might wish to deny it.

  31. Janis Gore says:
  32. A voice from another precinct says:

    @Tlaloc: Yes, but you’re forgetting the basic moral foundations of Objectivism:

    “The only person that I have ANY obligation to is (insert own name here).”

    How can this possibly be the fault of the supremely rich if they were following the moral code? It’s not their fault that others have to be stepped on for their gain; after all, you can’t make an omlete without breaking eggs, either.

  33. john personna says:

    @Just nutha ig’rant cracker, @WR:

    I have sympathy if you were hired for one thing, and the ground shifts beneath you. But consider a separate “operation” by a traditional Uni. It hires a consulting firm at one-time cost to produce a sophisticated on-line class at a one time up-front cost. That class is designed to provide high value, and to require low operational costs each semester.

    That development is obviously a benefit to the student, and to the society at large.

    Now … you guys are both telling me you don’t want to be involved with that. That’s where “Holy Moley” was coming from, obviously.

    Or, as I put it at MR:

    If I remember my Christensen, and “Innovator’s Dilemma,” then someone needs to endow a “new University” unbeholden to the old model. The old value networks, and there are several in play at traditional Unis, are too strong.

  34. john personna says:

    BTW you two … do you ever shop at Amazon?

  35. Rob in CT says:

    @David M:

    Well stated.

  36. WR says:

    @john personna: No, I’m saying that if I create an online course that a university uses over and over again, I want to be paid for my intellectual property, the same way I am when a TV studio resells a show I’ve written or my publisher sells a copy of one of my books.

    You seem to be suggesting that professors should create online courses for a flat fee, and then let the universities profit forever, apparently because we owe it to the students. In other words, take what used to be a lifelong career and turn it into a one-time freelance assignment, while the administration pockets all the money they once paid faculty. No thank you.

    Oh, and by the way, I’m currently writing the curriculum for an online course for one of the largest educational companies in the country. Once it goes live, they’ll pay me a percentage of every student fee they take in. So apparently even the private sector doesn’t believe that I should have to give away the knowledge I’ve acquired over decades and the teaching skills I’ve learned, simply for the good of the students.

  37. WR says:

    @john personna: Not only do I shop at Amazon, I have a 12-book deal with their newest publishing imprint, 47North.

    http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/49035-amazon-launches-sci-fi-fantasy-imprint-47north–acquires-marshall-memoir.html

    And they’re paying me a hell of a lot more than Penguin used to…

  38. Joel says:

    I don’t really have a strong opinion on OWS yet, but seeing 100 people say “You can have sex with animals” in unison is kind of comically disturbing:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My_cNzQGS8E&feature=player_embedded#!

  39. Tlaloc says:

    disturbingly awesome?

  40. john personna says:

    @WR:

    I think if you are teaching, then you should be able to step back and look at my two questions, about course development and Amazon in the big picture.

    The short way to say it is that Sears Roebuck could not become Amazon for the same reason that established universities cannot move to the new model. Think if Sears asked managers at their stores to develop a system designed to reduce their floor traffic. That’s pretty much contrary to the in-store value network.

    Or think of traditional newspapers compared to this blog. Did The Times (whichever Times) move first? Of course not. The value networks at the papers were oriented against it. It took outsiders without a vested interest to change the game.

    … but you think individual teachers should not be allowed to create on-line courses (under terms agreeable to that instructor) without first clearing them with the union?

    Lordie.

  41. Ben Wolf says:

    @Doug

    It wasn’t the rich, for example, that led people to run up huge amounts of student loan debt pursuing a degree that wasn’t likely to bring in a good income even in a good economy.

    You might learn something if you went to the effort of answering the following question: Why did the U.S. switch from a grant system for students and universities to the debt-based funding system it has now?

  42. WR says:

    @john personna: “… but you think individual teachers should not be allowed to create on-line courses (under terms agreeable to that instructor) without first clearing them with the union?”

    You mean, do I think that employers should be able to undercut union contracts by negotiating individually rather than going through the union? Absolutely not. You can say “lordie” all you want — you can even clutch your pearls if that keeps you off the fainting couch. But I don’t believe that the future of higher education should depend on bringing back the kind of assymetrical labor negotiations that exist in a non-unionized business.

  43. john personna says:

    @WR:

    Dude, if you wanted to be a union supporter on that high ground, then you should have boycotted Amazaon from day one, and only shopped at bricks and mortar union shops in your town.

    Basically you are in the “I said nothing when they came for the shop workers” routine, and speaking up “when they come for me.”

    And of course I don’t particularly care about you and your union. If you were in a non-vital industry you could suffer a slow and inevitable decline for all I care. The reason this is important is that it is the root of $70,000 student debts.

    If I’ve read you correctly, you think the answer is more direct government funding, to pay you, rather than costs reduction, right?

  44. WR says:

    @john personna: First of all, find me one unionized book store chain. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

    Okay, one straw man down.

    And now I’m being published by Amazon. Guess what — people who write books don’t have a union, either. Which is why they’re treated so much worse than people who write for TV or movies. Except by Amazon, which has discovered that if they treat writers with respect, we’ll flock to be in business with them.

    So another straw man gone. Next?

    I’m glad that you find my “industry” to be a vital one. It seems odd to me that your way to protecting that industry is to beggar the people who work in it. Because you’ve decided that my job is important to the nation, I have to watch my pay and benefits disappear.

    Excuse me, but isn’t that exactly the opposite of the way the market is supposed to work? I thought we were only going to impoverish all those workers in trades that weren’t important anymore. Now I discover that those of us whose work is valued must sacrifice for your preferences, too? Perhaps all engineers should be made to work for minimum wage — after all, I keep reading comments here claiming this is the only valuable field in the world. Surely you owe more to society than I do under that comparison.

    You’ll notice I never said anything about more direct government funding. I might say I don’t want to see my intellectual property confiscated simply because you think taxes are too high on rich people. But how administrations manage their budgets is not my concern — because I’m not in administration.

    Oh, and by the way, the program I teach in, although part of the University of California, doesn’t take a nickel in state money. We’ve paid back every penny they put in for start-up costs, and we now turn a profit for them.

  45. john personna says:

    @WR:

    Your lack of introspection is astounding. These are supposed to be skills universities impart.

    There has not been a straw man, and you have dispatched none.

    You defend the rent seekers at universities, while taking advantage of the very labor saving services you oppose in your workplace as you shop and sell at Amazon.

    Amazon did not kill the writing jobs, it killed the book sellers. How can you not grasp this?

  46. john personna says:

    Just to stress the parallel again, most professors are not fortunate enough to write their own text books. They are part of the delivery system.

    Good lord, you do that by thinking “it is all me.”

    Excuse me, but isn’t that exactly the opposite of the way the market is supposed to work? I thought we were only going to impoverish all those workers in trades that weren’t important anymore. Now I discover that those of us whose work is valued must sacrifice for your preferences, too? Perhaps all engineers should be made to work for minimum wage — after all, I keep reading comments here claiming this is the only valuable field in the world. Surely you owe more to society than I do under that comparison.

    Again, what incredible blind spot lets you put that on me, while you defend Amazon?

  47. Eric Florack says:

    Anjin; Hardly. I’m simply citing historical events of a similar nature.

    You’d prefer I draw the comparison to Cuba?
    Or, Argentina?
    Or The Soviet Union?
    Now, not in all the cases did the tools get killed once the job was completed. But in no case did they actually get anything out for their loyalty to the ‘movement’.

    I look at history and I make the radical conclusion that history repeats itself.

    pure bull, Doug. Let’s take an example:

    It wasn’t the rich, for example, that led people to run up huge amounts of student loan debt pursuing a degree that wasn’t likely to bring in a good income even in a good economy.

    Except it absolutely was in fact their fault. We got into a system of predatory for profit lending to students that was all about encouraging more and more borrowing at inflated prices.

    Ummmmm no.
    The majority of the people who profited were of the middle class. Stockholders. 401k’s and so on. Do try again.

  48. Eric Florack says:

    First of all, find me one unionized book store

    Powell’s. ILWU Local 5, iof I’m not much mistaken.

  49. Eric Florack says:

    @steve:

    “No, Government did that…. trying to force loans out to people who couldn’t pay for them in the name of equality”

    “Oh please Massah, dont force me to make loans to those poor folks. I dont want to have to make billions of dollars.”

    But of course they didn’t… which is why, when the loans started going belly up for non-payment, banks started collapsing under the weight of loans the government forced them into.

  50. Ben Wolf says:

    @Eric Florack: The middle class has not profited because most of its wealth is derived from its homes, not stocks. It has lost roughly $11 trillion since the financial crash while the top 1% have already recovered their lost wealth and earnings.

    Stop lying.

  51. Eric Florack says:

    Amazon did not kill the writing jobs, it killed the book sellers. How can you not grasp this?

    No, overly high labor costs created an opportunity for someone to come in with a lower costs. What raised those labor costs to that point, John?

  52. Ben Wolf says:

    @Eric Florack: The U.S. does not can cannot have “overly high labor costs”. This concept is entirely the creation of economic illiteracy and outright dishonesty, with no basis in fact.

    Stop. Lying.

  53. john personna says:

    @Eric Florack:

    No, overly high labor costs created an opportunity for someone to come in with a lower costs. What raised those labor costs to that point, John?

    To be slightly more patient than Ben, let’s say you were working at $10/hr at a nice friendly bookstore. Let’s say that was just the right wage. You were happy. Customers were happy. Your boss was happy. And then along comes a programmer who creates an online bookstore, one that only needs shipping staff. You sell 100 books per day. The (union?) shipper, moves 1000 per day.

    What happened to the value of your wage? What happened to the price of a book?

  54. Eric Florack says:

    @Eric Florack: The U.S. does not can cannot have “overly high labor costs”. This concept is entirely the creation of economic illiteracy and outright dishonesty, with no basis in fact.

    Really? Then why are jobs going elsewhere? Face it; Service industry jobs swelled in the 90’s because it was the only kind of job that couldn’t be exported.

    Hint; If companies are going elsewhere for cheaper labor, your labor costs are too high.
    Period.
    Full stop.

  55. Eric Florack says:

    Persona; A thought occurrs:

    So, you took out a huge loan to pay for an education that turned out to be nigh on worthless in terms of finding a real job… one large enough to pay for the loan. And you’re pissed at…. the BANK?

    How about being mad at the school that convinced you you could get by on an education with more indoctrination than substance?

  56. john personna says:

    @Eric Florack:

    So, you took out a huge loan to pay for an education that turned out to be nigh on worthless in terms of finding a real job… one large enough to pay for the loan. And you’re pissed at…. the BANK?

    I am arguing with someone defending “the system.”

    I’ve always been opposed to the idea that “affordable education” should be defined as “loans for everyone.”

    As this comes to a crux I predict an argument between people like me who want costs lowered, and defenders of the system who now want government to forgive debt, and to increase direct subsidies.

  57. Eric Florack says:

    What happened to the value of your wage? What happened to the price of a book?

    They get re-negotiated, or you go out of business.
    Oh, I see. We should keep open bookstores that can’t compete? With tax money, I presume?
    Or we regulate our of existence people and companies who CAN compete?

  58. john personna says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Hint; If companies are going elsewhere for cheaper labor, your labor costs are too high.
    Period.

    So wages in China are $1.50/hr.

    What do you propose, $1.49/hr here in the US?

  59. Eric Florack says:

    What do you propose, $1.49/hr here in the US?

    Or some innovation or other. Amazon, would seem to qualify as such.
    That’s called a free market and competition.

  60. john personna says:

    @Eric Florack:

    They get re-negotiated, or you go out of business.

    To say that every job which cannot survive to globalization and automation should go away is an intellectually consistent position. It’s isn’t like saying “keep professors, ditch booksellers.”

    But, probably the majority aren’t comfortable with that harsh a capitalism. Not with the possibility of a “new normal” at high unemployment.

  61. Eric Florack says:

    I am arguing with someone defending “the system.”

    And I’m raising the idea that your problem isn’t the banks, but the educational system…. which, surprise, surprise, is run mostly by government. Your solution is to give more power to government.

    Does not compute, Will Robinson.

  62. Eric Florack says:

    But, probably the majority aren’t comfortable with that harsh a capitalism. Not with the possibility of a “new normal” at high unemployment.

    High unemployment exists to the exact degree we’ve priced ourselves out of various markets.
    Unless you’re going to run a soviet style economy, you can’t dictate high wages for everyone.
    Course, it didn’t work for THEM, either.

  63. john personna says:

    @Eric Florack:

    And I’m raising the idea that your problem isn’t the banks, but the educational system…. which, surprise, surprise, is run mostly by government. Your solution is to give more power to government.

    I can’t see where I’ve said “more government.”

    Lower cost education would of necessity be smaller, lighter.

  64. john personna says:

    @Eric Florack:

    As many have noted, your position that “hey, not everyone can have a job” (paraphrased) is quite different from the right’s position a few years ago. We were told that lower taxes would bring prosperity and jobs for everyone.

  65. WR says:

    @john personna: Rent-seekers? I’m a university professor, not a welfare case. And pardon me, but who the hell are you to demand that I destroy my profession because you think there’s a cheaper way to do my job?

    As for straw men, you said I shouldn’t shop at Amazon to protect the unionized bookstore employees. Here’s the straw, as I pointed out — there were never large unionized bookstore chains. So my shopping at Amazon did nothing to hurt the union.

    And I have no problem with the online future of education. Where I do have a problem is with your idea that if we can get professors to record their online classes, schools won’t have to pay them for reuse — that the knowledge we’ve spent a lifetime accruing and learning how to communicate is worth nothing more than a one-time payment while the university continues to make money off it.

    And somehow you’ve decided that because I choose not to completely devalue my profession — one that you claim is vital to the nation’s future — I’m not only a “rent seeker,” but completely lacking in introspection.

    Sorry, friend, if I don’t jump up and down at your brilliant idea of working for free. But I’ll tell you what — I’ll do it the day after you do.

  66. WR says:

    @john personna: Ah, now I see the problem. Teachers don’t actually have any value on their own, they’re merely part of a textbook delivery system.

    In that case, let’s hire teenagers at minimum wage to read from textbooks. That should cut costs pretty quick.

    I don’t know, maybe this is how engineering professors work. Maybe this is why you and your engineering buddies have so much contempt for education. But it’s not the way it works in my program, and it wasn’t in any of the classes I took in college and grad school.

  67. Drew says:

    “We were told that lower taxes would bring prosperity and jobs for everyone.”

    One of the stupidist comments ever at OTB. And completely inconsistent with the concept of a natural rate of unemployment.

    Carry on, zero.

  68. john personna says:

    @WR:

    Ah, now I see the problem. Teachers don’t actually have any value on their own, they’re merely part of a textbook delivery system.

    Lol, I was going to say no, but maybe it depends … do you teach your students to retreat with that kind of straw man?

  69. WR says:

    @Eric Florack: Okay, here’s what I wrote:

    “First of all, find me one unionized book store chain.”

    And here’s what you answered:

    “First of all, find me one unionized book store

    Powell’s. ILWU Local 5, iof I’m not much mistaken. ”

    You deliberately misquoted me so that you could pretend to give an answer. I’d call this intelletual dishonesty, but I don’t want to degrade the word intellectual by using it in the same sentence with you.

  70. WR says:

    @Eric Florack: “No, overly high labor costs created an opportunity for someone to come in with a lower costs. What raised those labor costs to that point, John?”

    You’re talking about overly high labor costs… in BOOK STORES? Most bookstore jobs pay barely more than minimum wage — if that.

    Oh, but wait, there is one unionized book store, as you point out — Powell’s. And oddly, it’s one of the few big independents that’s thriving.

    So maybe labor costs wasn’t the problem.

  71. WR says:

    @john personna: “I am arguing with someone defending “the system.” ”

    Bullsh!t. You’re arguing with someone defending the role of the professor within the university system and the right of the professor to make a living from his skills.

    There are lots of ways to cut costs in education. You, like a good rightie, choose to target the people who actually do the work.

  72. john personna says:

    @Drew:

    Did you sleep through the 2000’s?

    We started with GWB saying “Tax relief will create new jobs. Tax relief will generate new wealth. And tax relief will open new opportunities.” We’ve had “job killing taxes” all along. Every Republican jobs plan in the last 10 years has had tax cuts as its core.

    That wasn’t just tax cuts for tax cuts. Tax cuts were sold as jobs creators.

  73. john personna says:

    @WR:

    Bullsh!t. You’re arguing with someone defending the role of the professor within the university system and the right of the professor to make a living from his skills.

    Dude. Buy some self-awareness for a dollar.

    You did not center that on a mission statement for the student, did you?

    “defending the role of the professor” and “the right of the professor to make a living from his skills”

    Quit now before you damage any more youth.

  74. john personna says:

    @Drew:

    I hope you’re lovin’ that I just got called a “rightie’ 😉

  75. WR says:

    @john personna: Here’s what you said:

    “Just to stress the parallel again, most professors are not fortunate enough to write their own text books. They are part of the delivery system.”

    Here’s how I responded:

    “Ah, now I see the problem. Teachers don’t actually have any value on their own, they’re merely part of a textbook delivery system.”

    So you said teachers don’t write their own books, and that they’re part of the delivery system. I quoted that back to you… and you said I was making a straw man argument.

    Perhaps you need to check the definition.

  76. john personna says:

    @WR:

    You took my accurate description of professors as part of a delivery system and translated it into a straw man that they have no current value.

    Of course they have value. The challenge of online solutions is to deliver equal value.

    (You wrote: “Ah, now I see the problem. Teachers don’t actually have any value on their own, they’re merely part of a textbook delivery system.”)

  77. john personna says:

    Ye gods, if you didn’t recognize yourself as part of a knowledge delivery system, another reason to quit … at least this argument. You aren’t keeping up.

  78. WR says:

    @john personna: I know you’re not a right-winger, but you’ve adopted their philosophy when it comes to the value of work.

  79. john personna says:

    @WR:

    I know you’re not a right-winger, but you’ve adopted their philosophy when it comes to the value of work.

    No. If you look back at threads about jobs loses from globalization and automation, I’ve been worrying about it for quite some time. I would like to see systemic changes to support all workers and unemployed.

    The changes I’d make would be about appropriate taxes on winners though, and appropriate support for losers. I don’t believe we should go down the path of locking in inefficient jobs for sake of employment. That’s speaking broadly.

    In education we have a particular problem that inefficiency burdens our whole society. Did you see that total student loan debt has risen above total credit card debt and is now at $824B dollars? If my math is right, that debt is $2,644 for every man, woman, and child in the country.

    So, tell me again about how we need to protect wages at the university.

  80. WR says:

    @john personna: Let me just see if I understand your argument:

    I work as a professor.

    My job is to teach students.

    My job of teaching students is so important that I must put their needs above my own.

    If that means giving away my skills and knowledge for almost nothing so that the university can continue to reuse them and make money from them while paying me nothing, then I must do that or I am not looking after my students’ needs.

    Is that about right? Because I have a couple of questions:

    Why is it that you have never once addressed my main point here — that I have no problem with online learning, but that I choose not to sell my classes for a one-time flat fee while the university continues to make money off them? (Odd, I don’t see you claiming that the universities should give away dorm rooms and food and classrooms for free — why is it just the faculty?)

    What other professionals in the world need to stop looking after their own needs and think only about other people? Should doctors refuse to be paid because they’re all about the patients? Should investment advisors no longer take a commission because they’re all about their clients? Should engineers do their work for free because it’s all about the end users?

    Or is it just my profession you think should act like monks?

  81. WR says:

    @john personna: “In education we have a particular problem that inefficiency burdens our whole society. Did you see that total student loan debt has risen above total credit card debt and is now at $824B dollars? If my math is right, that debt is $2,644 for every man, woman, and child in the country.

    So, tell me again about how we need to protect wages at the university.”

    Perhaps before we start slashing wages on the select group of people you find overpaid, we should actually do a little studying on what exactly has caused the run-up in college costs, how much of that raise has gone to faculty, and what elements could be cut most profitably.

    This is like the NBA owners deciding they need to cut costs, so they want to slash the pay of their players, and yet don’t consider cutting their own costs — and pay.

    Professors teaching classes is the core of the university education. So maybe there are places to cut costs that don’t directly affect the core.

  82. john personna says:

    @WR:

    Why is it that you have never once addressed my main point here — that I have no problem with online learning, but that I choose not to sell my classes for a one-time flat fee while the university continues to make money off them? (Odd, I don’t see you claiming that the universities should give away dorm rooms and food and classrooms for free — why is it just the faculty?)

    I didn’t address that because that’s not what the original quote is about. It is about teachers as a group (via their union) being able to review the on-line plans of any one of them.

    Do I really need to answer the rooms and food strawmen?

    If I must … it would be analogous to a member of staff figuring how to do those cheaper, but being forced to face review by other workers.

    What other professionals in the world need to stop looking after their own needs and think only about other people? Should doctors refuse to be paid because they’re all about the patients? Should investment advisors no longer take a commission because they’re all about their clients? Should engineers do their work for free because it’s all about the end users?

    This has been an excellent thread, because you have shown how you approach these cost issues, and how you relate to the debt load of OWS protesters.

    FWIW, in my work as a consultant I faced the question very early on, what kind of guy I wanted to be. Did I want to hide anything or stretch anything. I feel very fortunate that I faced it early, and decided to work myself out of a job, every time(*). I shared knowledge, I documented my work, and I produced reliable systems which could run without me. It worked. Just about every job I ever had called me back later for another tour.

    * – it was perhaps fortunate timing that I’d just seen The Seven Samurai

  83. john personna says:

    @WR:

    Perhaps before we start slashing wages on the select group of people you find overpaid, we should actually do a little studying on what exactly has caused the run-up in college costs, how much of that raise has gone to faculty, and what elements could be cut most profitably.

    While the union reviews on-line plans to make sure they don’t cut too much?

  84. WR says:

    @john personna: Once again, no reply. How do you know professor’s salaries are the key to college costs? You don’t. You make this up and decide to punish a class of people you’ve decided are overpaid. And when I propose actually trying to find out where the money goes, you decide to snark about unions.

    I’m beginning to think you don’t care about cutting college costs at all. You just don’t like them uppity professors actually being able to negotiate for their own futures.

    Guess what — it’s because of people like you we need unions.

  85. john personna says:

    @WR:

    Dude. You changed the subject.

  86. Drew says:

    “FWIW, in my work as a consultant I faced the question very early on, what kind of guy I wanted to be. Did I want to hide anything or stretch anything. I feel very fortunate that I faced it early, and decided to work myself out of a job, every time(*). I shared knowledge, I documented my work, and I produced reliable systems which could run without me. It worked. Just about every job I ever had called me back later for another tour.”

    And I think this is laudable, and testament to talent and integrity.

  87. Drew says:

    “I hope you’re lovin’ that I just got called a “rightie’ ;-)”

    You ought to know by now that the only thing that matters to me is the quality of the data, the argument and logic. I don’t base my comments on who makes a point.

    But I must confess, I don’t know what kind of dance you and wr are currently engaged in.

  88. mattb says:

    It’s too late to wander into most of the discussion of University Education. But I did want to touch on one thing:

    @john personna:

    It is about teachers as a group (via their union) being able to review the on-line plans of any one of them. … FWIW, in my work as a consultant I faced the question very early on, what kind of guy I wanted to be. … I feel very fortunate that I faced it early, and decided to work myself out of a job, every time(*). I shared knowledge, I documented my work, and I produced reliable systems which could run without me.

    As someone who teaches on the college level, I wanted to give you my perspective on this. I think that you chose an admirable position. But the key thing is that you we given the right to make that choice on your own.

    When it comes to Syllabi I followed a similar path — I will share my syllabi and assignments with anyone. And while I’ve gotten away from powerpoints, I had no problems sharing them with colleagues either. But again, that was my choice.

    However, I don’t share my reading notes or lecture notes openly. If a colleague requests them, chances are I would provide them. In part that’s because what’s in there is far more personal than my other work — that’s the area where I’m typically working through ideas. More importantly, if that other instructor needs my notes in order to successfully teach a class, that’s a sign that they shouldn’t be teaching the class in the first place.

    It’s one thing to point people in the right direction. It’s an entirely different thing to hand them the material with no work. And I don’t personally believe that — as the university is structured today — it has the right to demand that sharing (not to mention that beyond Syllabi, trying to get a bunch of professor to agree on what is standard “teaching resources” is even more futile than herding cats).

  89. mattb says:

    @Drew:

    You ought to know by now that the only thing that matters to me is the quality of the data, the argument and logic[, provided they match my own personal bias on the topic].

    After seeing the crap you have posted on climate change, I had to fix that for you.

    Yeah.. I know this is a snarky comment…

  90. Eric Florack says:

    As this comes to a crux I predict an argument between people like me who want costs lowered, and defenders of the system who now want government to forgive debt, and to increase direct subsidies.

    Mmm. Likley true. Yet, the simple way to lower costs is get government out of the education business. Prolly make it a more effective education, as well.

  91. Eric Florack says:

    Once again, no reply. How do you know professor’s salaries are the key to college costs? You don’t.

    In fairness, the salaries and “work rules” tend to be a largish chunk of it. There are other issues to be sure, but…. what we have is a lack of competition in the field.

  92. Eric Florack says:

    To say that every job which cannot survive to globalization and automation should go away is an intellectually consistent position. It’s isn’t like saying “keep professors, ditch booksellers.”

    To expand on the concept I’m trying to get across to you:
    A business’s primary purpose is not to provide a service, or to create jobs. Those two are secondary to the primary goal of making money for the owners, and investors. The jobs and services tend to come along in direct proportion to the success had in the primary goal of making money.

    Here’s something to think about. Apple Computers make on average a 45% profit on things it sells. Yet the left took great pride on mourning his loss the other day. Apparently, such folk are unaware of the kind of profits being had by Apple.

    To put this level of profit into some perspective, consider the oil companies… the ones the left loves to hate. They make a lowly 8-9% on their better quarters, less in others.

    For all the complaints about oil’s profits, you’d think some of this would have been considered. It’s for these reasons that the left’s attack on oil has always been about politics.

  93. Eric Florack says:

    I can’t seI can’t see where I’ve said “more government.”

    So who are you suggesting taje the banks in hand over loans for education?

    ”You’re talking about overly high labor costs… in BOOK STORES? Most bookstore jobs pay barely more than minimum wage — if that.

    You’ve swerved into a great truth, here. Government itself has pushed wages too high.

  94. Eric Florack says:

    Since this topic came upn with WR and Persona… Found this at Glenn’s place

    HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Nothing says “we’re secure in the value we add” like efforts to outlaw competition! University of California teachers’ union aims to block online classes. “Frankly, it’s astonishing to me that a knee-jerk defensiveness of lecturers’ jobs is the best this union can do. They could at least make the case for why face-to-face interaction enhances education.” Or maybe they couldn’t.

    And that’s what this comes down to.
    WR saying he doesn’t want to be teaching for years for a one-time fee…. and fine… that’s valid for him. Yet, I’m willing to bet others will serve, and gladly. That’s called competition. It’s also called the real world.

  95. Eric Florack says:

    @WR: Didn’t intend to cut that one. My bad.
    Still, and so far as I’m aware, powell’s is not just one location.

  96. Eric Florack says:

    As many have noted, your position that “hey, not everyone can have a job” (paraphrased) is quite different from the right’s position a few years ago. We were told that lower taxes would bring prosperity and jobs for everyone.

    And so they do.
    The thing you continually miss is what I said earlier: A business’s primary purpose is not to provide a service, or to create jobs. Those two are secondary to the primary goal of making money for the owners, and investors. The jobs and services tend to come along in direct proportion to the success had in the primary goal of making money.

    Government regulations and high taxes tend to diminish that ability, and thereby the number and quality of jobs created. You can have a tightly regulated and highly taxed marketplace…(The US has now either the highest or second highest corporate tax rate on the world)… or you can have jobs. That’s the choice. That’s always been the choice. And taht’s why Obama’s been unable to deal with the joblessness… all he understands is tax and pass laws and threaten the very people job creation depends on.

  97. WR says:

    @Eric Florack: “In fairness, the salaries and “work rules” tend to be a largish chunk of it”

    In fairness, you have no actual information, and are simply pulling this assertion out of your ass. Yes, let’s start wrecking lives based on Bithead’s ignorant assumptions about the way things “tend” to be.

  98. WR says:

    @Eric Florack: Thanks for the apology. Not something one sees a lot on the internet!

    That said, while it’s true that Powell’s has several locations, they’re all in the Portland area. It’s not really Barnes and Noble…

  99. Eric Florack says:

    In fairness, you have no actual information, and are simply pulling this assertion out of your ass. Yes, let’s start wrecking lives based on Bithead’s ignorant assumptions about the way things “tend” to be.

    And you base this charge on… what, exactly? That I disagree with the union on the matter?
    Salary is a major consideration in ANY job, WR, of ANY kind.

    And look, regardless of your liking it or not, in the end your union will not protect you from competition. Indeed, it’ll hasten a jobless condition.

    If you doubt that, may I suggest a visit to the great city of Detroit?

  100. WR says:

    @Eric Florack: “WR saying he doesn’t want to be teaching for years for a one-time fee…. and fine… that’s valid for him. Yet, I’m willing to bet others will serve, and gladly. That’s called competition. It’s also called the real world. ”

    It’s also called a race to the bottom.

    Hey, I don’t want to write a TV script for five hundred bucks and no residuals. There are plenty of others who will serve there, too. But they can’t. Because if a studio starts buying scripts for five hundred bucks, no member of the WGA will ever be allowed to work for them again. So we keep our price high. And the studios are still making tons of money.

    That’s called non-assymetrical negotiation. And that’s part of the real world, too.

  101. WR says:

    @Eric Florack: We were talking about the costs of education and why they’ve skyrocketed. I suggested that before we start slashing professors’ salaries, we should find out where the increased costs are coming from and see if there are other ways to cut costs. And you came up with the “largish chunk.”

  102. anjin-san says:

    It’s also called a race to the bottom.

    And there you have it. The end game of tea party politics.

    Bithead’s dream is to become a tea party version of a Soviet party apparatchik. If he mindlessly touts the party line long enough and loud enough, if he vacuum welds his lips to the right asses, he just might reach a station in life that his own innate abilities can’t get him to.

    Hey, Michelle Malkin did it. Sarah Palin did it. Is there room for one more on the Oblivion Express?

  103. anjin-san says:

    Apple Computers make on average a 45% profit on things it sells. Yet the left took great pride on mourning his loss the other day

    You are such an asshole.

  104. lhfree says:

    “We live in a country where everyone has wanted to have their cake and eat it too for far too long, and we’re coming to the point where the bills are going due.”

    Everyone? No. There are many people who live beneath their means, have savings, have jobs, and pay their bills. They get stuck paying taxes to support the multitude of others that wants free food, a free place to stay, and free education.

    The occupiers and the copycats are representative of the entitled minority of Americans that feels it is owed everything. Just like those fools in California and Florida that squat in foreclosed houses and show up at foreclosure auctions to intimidate auction participants.

    I wish the bill would come due, but it hasn’t. China and others that buy America’s debt continue to let America slide. So until the foreign money runs out there will be legions of low-class people throughout America who demand their right to whatever while shirking all responsibility for themselves and their failures.

  105. Eric Florack says:

    And there you have it. The end game of tea party politics.

    No, Anjin… it’s called reality.
    You can’t regulate yourself out of he real world. The countries and cultures that have tried have failed both in that specific and in general. We’re damn near there now. Do we see tyhe rocks and change direction, or do we at your insistence, assume they won’t hurt us, because after all we have good intentions and we’re beyond all that vulgar profiteering?

    You are such an asshole.

    TRanslation: I cannot argue this comparison logically and it make leftists look like fools. So, in short, you cannot handle the truth? Gee, big shock.

    Hey, I don’t want to write a TV script for five hundred bucks and no residuals.

    Good for you. Just don’t get the idea that someone else won’t come along and take that job.
    And no, union thuggery won’t stop it from happening.

    And a general comment on thr OWS protestors themselves. Remember, gang, this is the crew that labled the Tea Party just a group of thugs, holding the country hostage, a mob criminals, etc. Remember all that? Now, suddenly the left is telling us that the OWS nutters are just like the TEa Party. Apparently the left couldn’t even convince itself how bad the Tea Party is, since they now declare them to be equals with them.

    Or is it that OWS is just a group of thugs, holding the country hostage, a mob criminals, etc? Those are the choices, people. Neither one seems particularly complimentary of the left. Then again, logical consistency is never a strong suit on the left, eh?

  106. mannning says:

    A comment on the thread:

    1. Most professors I had in three universities taught from texts and passed out notes, plus parallel reading lists and problems to solve. Their lectures were uninspiring to say the least, and the subjects I took were rather universal. I would be very surprised if their lectures had monitary value, with a few outstanding exceptions. Most professors did help with difficult problems, for sure.
    2. Two other problems with these university classes were: 1) Almost unreadable texts; and 2) almost unintelligible professors (to most of us in the classes). Again, I could see no monitary value in their lectures.

    So between the boring lectures, the coded texts and the garbled speech, there was only one solution, and that was to resort to pure self study and hope the grades came out good.

    Hence, I strongly support lectures via DVD or online from professors that truly have the gift of teaching their specialty, and I also support that these professors receive proper remuneration for their skills and the products, both within the university and in the open marketplace.

    That the university of their employment believes they have a stake in the lectures seems to me to reside in whether the professor signed a legal agreement that their intellectual products/property were to be owned or shared with the university, much as is done in the electronics industry. I don’t believe this is so.

    That unions have a stake in this property or product escapes me completely, unless the professor was a member of the union, and signed such an agreement with them. Without the professor signing up, what basis does the union have?

  107. Eric Florack says:

    That the university of their employment believes they have a stake in the lectures seems to me to reside in whether the professor signed a legal agreement that their intellectual products/property were to be owned or shared with the university, much as is done in the electronics industry. I don’t believe this is so.

    Hi, Manning… was gonna comment on this aspect before, & got diverted a bit, there….but you bringing it up again reminded me.

    Since my wife is an IP specialist, I must say I have a problem with IP being used in this context.
    If for example, we’re talking about a history professor…. what about what he is teaching can be consider to be his IP? Not much really. Isn’t that concept reserved to something that is the IP holders, and theirs alone? If so, I would argue that the ideas “teacher” and “intellectual property” are fundamentally incompatible.

    Now, I more than grant in many cases, professors are researchers as well, and in that sense lend a unique perspective to what they’re teaching. Perhaps some unique codicil of history that they alone know about or have a particular opinion about. But didn’t they already get grants or otherwise paid for that research? Double dipping, hmm? And are they suppsed to be teaching history, or their opinion?

    Forgive me, but “teaching” is a process of sharing, something supposedly done for the greater good of the whole. That, I was told by many teachers in my life is why they started teaching in the first place.

    The arguments I see taking place… and what I see from the Unions out in California strike me as being rather greedy…. and profit driven…. something the left supposedly abhors, particularly when those nasty corporations are involved.

  108. mannning says:

    I take your point, Eric, but I had a unique teaching approach in mind for a subject–any subject– that involved highly creative materials and methods of instruction originated by the professor, some of which I have seen in the Great Courses DVDs and elsewhere. It isn’t the subject but the materials and methods, and the organization and viewpoint that are unique. These materials and methods and their organization may not legally be his intellectual property in the beginning, I can’t say, but for sure they are unique and worth paying to see and absorb, and to buy their textbook if offered. I suppose copyright might be the answer. In any event, the professors that do create such courses are rather rare and should be rewarded adequately.

  109. anjin-san says:

    TRanslation: I cannot argue this comparison logical

    Nope. No translation needed. You are just an asshole. Dragging the recently deceased Mr. Jobs into your lame political stew is the act of an ass.

  110. WR says:

    @Eric Florack: “Good for you. Just don’t get the idea that someone else won’t come along and take that job.
    And no, union thuggery won’t stop it from happening.”

    Um, yeah, union “thuggery” keep it from happening every day. That is, as long as the studios want to be in business with professional writers.

    I realize you’ve got a strong ideology, but I actually know this business, having worked in it for 25 years. So why don’t you find something else to make up crap about?

  111. Eric Florack says:

    Nope. No translation needed. You are just an asshole. Dragging the recently deceased Mr. Jobs into your lame political stew is the act of an ass.

    So I take it, my observation is correct…. that obscene profits are only obscene if the person making them is a leftist?

    Face it, Anjin, you got caught off guard, and are unprepared to explain the double standard I pointed out. It’s there for all to see, pard, and it;s the only conclusion to draw.

    Unless you’d like to tell us what other industry titan the left has so lionized, of late…. one that wasn’t stone leftist.

    Prefer to deal with the living? Fine. How about the left continually mouthing off about billionaires… people who make their money on wall street. Somehow, Soros never mentioned in that context.

    I see again that the position you’d like to defend… that of the double standard… is indefensible, and hence your feigned anger for daring to bring up an example from the recent headlines. Sucks to be you.

  112. Eric Florack says:

    Um, yeah, union “thuggery” keep it from happening every day. That is, as long as the studios want to be in business with professional writers.

    No, it doesn’t.

    I realize you’ve got a strong ideology, but I actually know this business, having worked in it for 25 years.

    And you’re worried, now because reality has started to catch up with it. It’s clear in what you write, and clearer still in what I see coming out of California. With the state beyond bankrupt, how long do you suppose your union-swollen salary will be intact?

  113. WR says:

    @Eric Florack: “And you’re worried, now because reality has started to catch up with it. It’s clear in what you write, and clearer still in what I see coming out of California. With the state beyond bankrupt, how long do you suppose your union-swollen salary will be intact?”

    What the hell are you talking about? If you’re talking about the salary I make from the U of California, it’s not union-swollen, since I’m not in that union, and it doesn’t matter if the state is “beyond bankrupt,” because my program turns a profit. If you’re talking about my work as a screenwriter, where I am protected by a union — and which is what the discusion you reference was about — the state has nothing to do with it.

    You really need to lie down for a while until this confusion clears up. Whatever you do, don’t try to operate heavy machinery.

  114. Eric Florack says:

    What the hell are you talking about? If you’re talking about the salary I make from the U of California, it’s not union-swollen, since I’m not in that union, and it doesn’t matter if the state is “beyond bankrupt,” because my program turns a profit.

    Interesting. In the process of this discussion you have ap[apparently forgotten that one of the complaints from the OWS crowd is huge education loans. Of course the ank isn’ the issue, it’s the costs involved. You, sir, seem to feel that your position doesn’t raise the cost to the student.

    Wrong.

    And as t the State of California’s finances, consider the bill Gov Moonbeam just signed…. providing a free education to illegals. So much for not affecting the budget in California.

    Some self-inspection would seem in order.