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A Tale of Two Countries

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the that's-from-a-book dept.

Businesses 518

theodp writes "Over at TechCrunch, Jon Bischke is troubled by the growing divide between Silicon Valley and unemployed America. While people who spend most of their days within a few blocks of tech start-up epicenters are enjoying a boom/bubble, the number of unemployed now eclipses 14 million nationwide, labor under-utilization is 16.2%, and the mean duration of unemployment has spiked to 40 weeks. 'Which bring us to an important question,' writes Bischke. 'Should Silicon Valley (and other tech clusters throughout the country) care? After all, as long as people in Nebraska or the Central Valley of California have enough money to buy virtual tractors to tend their crops in Farmville, should the tech community be worried about whether those same people are getting paid to do work in the real world? Is what's best for Silicon Valley also good for America?'"

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518 comments

hmm... (1)

Soilworker (795251) | more than 2 years ago | (#36804908)

People who DOESN'T want to work count in those statistics ?

Re:hmm... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805102)

For reporting purposes, "unemployment" counts only those who do not have; but are seeking, a job. Retirees, 'discouraged' former job seekers, students/children not seeking work, etc. don't count.

This is to say, things are generally worse than unemployment statistics indicate.

Re:hmm... (3, Informative)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805152)

U-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force

U-6 jumped a full point from 15.4 in May to 16.4 in June.

Re:hmm... (2, Informative)

Scarred Intellect (1648867) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805450)

It's way too easy to remain unemployed.

My friend's unemployment check is $347/wk. He's already filed for and received "Emergency Unemployment Compensation" which extends his benefits for up to a year. His only requirement to remain on unemployment is that he has to "make and active job search" meaning 3 job-searching activities (job fairs, interviews, etc.) or 3 job applications, or any combination per week. Job applications includes applying online to jobs via the state's unemployment office.

And $347wk covers all his bills, so why should he look for a job? Yet he counts as unemployed.

It's just our government messing up its own programs and making things appear worse than they should be.

Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36804910)

Where should I send a check?

Re:Sure (1)

enjerth (892959) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805128)

Don't worry too much about Nebraska farmers. This is one of the states that the recession hasn't really hit hard, yet. We'll start to get worried when you stop buying food.

http://www.theindependent.com/articles/2011/07/07/news/ag/13597942.txt [theindependent.com]

Re:Sure (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805454)

I don't think it's quite that rosy. While Nebraska may not be as affected, there's a large drought going on in the southern states right now which is greatly affecting agricultural yields. Things like this are always hardest on the smaller farmers. You can't stay in business long when you don't have any product to sell.

10% is better than 16% (1)

macmacaman (779878) | more than 2 years ago | (#36804918)

It's hard to call 10% unemployment is Silicon Valley a booming economy...beats 16.2%.

Re:10% is better than 16% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805168)

Here is a real world example that just happened to me over the past few weeks. New boss started on a Monday, we didn't get along. Told him Friday I was looking for a new job, he asked me to leave. Following Monday sent out a few resumes. Wednesday had 2 interviews. Thursday I had 2 offers. Both offering about 20% more than I had been making at the last place. Started my new job today.

I had to turn my phone off, I was still getting calls today.

Re:10% is better than 16% (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805492)

I'm not even in Silicon Valley (I live in Phoenix and telecommute for a company in the midwest, but I do SV-type work), and while I got my job three months ago, these stupid recruiters haven't stopped calling me yet. It's really annoying, because I've NEVER gotten a job through one of them, and many of them seem to be unable to comprehend what I even do, and keep sending me emails about jobs that aren't even remotely like my experience.

Welcome to the Obama economy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36804948)

How's that hope and change working out for ya?

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (1)

Berkyjay (1225604) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805026)

I don't mean to be a stickler, but I think you mean the Bush economy. I'm pretty sure that's who you meant.

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805098)

Maybe you didn't notice, but Obama's continued every one of Bush's disasters. Don't forget that he voted for TARP when he was in the senate, for a start.

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805124)

Therefore "both" parties and presidents deserve to be criticised.

Unfortunately this is what "both" sides have wrong. Both "sides" are only one side: the corporatists. The corporate economy is BOOMING, which why none of the middle class problems are going to change.

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805196)

Sure.

Obama comes in with three wars, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the mysterious War on Terror. The banks have just trashed the economy by selling derivates as actual notes, but NO ONE even to this day, understands their motive.

Obama gets stonewalled wherever he goes, first by the "nyets" covering their wealth, then by the juggernauts that warn that the economy will just keel over into the actual depression if we don't spend quantum dollars.

Yeah, Obama isn't a saint. But compared to the madness of Geo Bush et al, he's fending well. Except for the new Deficit Dummies, the lemming-like freshmen congressmen with all that great experience and God on their side. Yeah.

Corporatists? No such thing. Corporate politics as an unnnamed political party? Absolutely. Well-financed, too.

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805310)

>Obama comes in with three wars, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the mysterious War on Terror.
And he adds a fourth in Libia.

>Obama gets stonewalled wherever he goes,
Yeah, if only he had had a Dem Congress for a while... oh, wait.

>Yeah, Obama isn't a saint. But compared to the madness of Geo Bush et al, he's fending well.
From over here (across the pond) it looks like he is papering over whatever problem arises by printing money.

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805334)

The banks have just trashed the economy by selling derivates as actual notes, but NO ONE even to this day, understands their motive.

You don't understand the motive, but it really isn't that hard. Where else did you think all the crap loans that the CRA forced the banks to make would wind up, paid off in fairy dust from Nevernever land?

And when the people who wrote and pushed the CRA were told "it's going to break, we need to fix it", and they kept saying "there's no problem, there's no problem" and did nothing, did you imagine that Hansel and Gretel would buy up all the gingerbread mortgages so they could have something yummy to eat?

Obama gets stonewalled wherever he goes,

Like Bush got stonewalled when he wanted to redesign Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Franks and Dodd and the other CRA architects said there was no problem and thus did nothing?

But compared to the madness of Geo Bush et al, he's fending well.

Other than being a deliberate liar making promises he knew he couldn't keep just to get elected, Obama is doing very well. Now, tell me why it was madness to try to fix the mortgage problem before it exploded and not by simply handing out tons of money to political cronies like ACORN after?

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805458)

A politician not keeping campaign promises? Unheard of! Stop the presses!

Yeah, he over promised. Find me a pol that doesn't.

The CRA allowed banks to punk FannieMae and FreddieMac really well. Soaked them clean through. And we, the US taxpayers, get the bag. The banks knew the assets were toxic, and that they were "too big to fail". Some of them had forced mergers, but the orgs they were merged into were just as toxic as they were-- they just had more clever accounting to mask the damage.

Trying to tip this out of Geo Bush's barrel is an argument that is difficult to win. Obama or anyone stepping into the presidency had a no-fun situation. But bringing up Acorn reveals your bias. And since that bias begs me to believe that your fingers are in your ears, have a nice day.

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805380)

I believe that a casual glance at the U.S.'s Trade Balances will allow one to focus on the problem that needs to be addressed. Why the current administration panders to those countries that maintain an unusually high trade draining the U.S. is information not available to the unwashed like myself. But maybe the current administration is satisfied with existing for only one term? I personally favor a candidate that would crib smother the Bush Tax Cuts, and sharply equalize this countries Trade Balances. I'm grow tired of the help to those who have a petty sense of global community.

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805166)

He also appears not to have noticed that Bush has been gone for 3 years, and things have gotten worse on his watch, despite the "summer of recovery"

Obama should become some Yiddish idiom for a massive cistern full of empty promises

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (1)

OctaviusIII (969957) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805220)

Bungling a recovery means that the various attempts to rescucitate the economy have gone poorly, as many predicted they would: Keynesians said the stimulus wasn't big enough, while Randians said any stimulus just hurt things, for example. But mishandling an economy in good times with favorable political winds? That's what created the problem in the first place. So the current situation is Obama trying to fix the Bush economy and not doing a very good job at it. Who do you blame for a car which has been running on old oil - the previous owner or the mechanic that's trying to fix it?

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (1)

tomcode (261182) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805352)

I like to run my car for 20,000 miles without changing the oil and when it breaks I take it to the mechanic. He changes the oil, fixes what he can on the small budget I give him, and them I complain that he made the car worse.

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (1)

Berkyjay (1225604) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805300)

Well, I just think you need to give credit to the progenitor of our current economy. We can't afford a new economy so Obama got old George's used, beat up hand me down economy.

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805206)

Actually it's Bill Clinton's economy. Many believe that Clinton presided over some incredible economic times, while in reality he was inflating a very large bubble, with one was in the dot.com stuff and the other was starting in public and consumer credit, as Greenspan took interest rates down to near 1 as a bail out/stimulus, while FHA had quotas for 'affordable' housing go from 30 to 50% over Clinton's administration, all while Rubin was re-mortgaging US debt at low variable rates (and many incorrectly believe that there was a balanced budget during Clinton, which is false, the budget was 'balanced' by another credit card in layman's terms.)

Of-course nobody before Clinton has been better for 100 years....

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (1)

AdamWill (604569) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805356)

so, what you're basically saying is that all your leaders (and by extension the political system which produces them) have been clueless idiots living on the never-never for a couple of centuries?

If you'd only asked any other country ever (with the possible exceptions of Greece, Ireland and Iceland), we could have told you that *years* ago.

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (1, Informative)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805488)

Not for a couple of centuries. Between 1800 and 1913 USA became the world's strongest economy, largest creditor nation with probably the strongest currency as well, while seeing new technologies being created, innovation and inventions were everywhere and people were really looking for a better, FREER life in USA.

Freedom of 19 century is what allowed USA to become the super-wealthy country, and since the beginning of 20th century, USA has been living on that credit while burning it away with more and more regulations and taxes, fewer and fewer freedoms, bigger and bigger government, which became sort of a separate nation in itself, existing for itself, feeding on the productive part of the economy and society.

The way they did it is by convincing the general public that the law that governs the government - Constitution, was not a law, but a set of loose guidelines open to interpretation. All that was needed was some unscrupulous people, who were willing to take that idea and implement it into reality, so the politicians but also the judges of-course. Another important step was taking over the economy - so more and more regulations and various types of income taxes. Of-course this wasn't enough for the insatiable appetites of government machine, it needed to be able to print money itself and allow itself to get into insurmountable impossible to pay back debts.

The Fed, the IRS, the Treasury and SCOTUS became the tools of self-destruction, not the tools of building the country up, they became the tools of mass destruction and that's where the country is finding itself now, with people being weak, of-course, bought by the impossible to fulfill promises and filled with hate towards the wrong target (the rich, the employers, companies, etc.etc.), all of this to ensure that nobody asks the real question: what's the deal with the two countries - government and the rest?

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805048)

How's that hope and change working out for ya?

A hell of a lot better than MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!111!!1 worked out for me.

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805186)

I remember that speech, in May of 2003, when unemployment was 6%.

Those were the days.

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (1)

tomcode (261182) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805368)

The defining characteristic of a house of cards is that everything looks great, until it collapses.

Never had so many... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805490)

"Never had so many worked for so little." That more or less summed up the der Fuehrer Shrub years. Unemployment was low, but alas much of those employed where earning minimum wage, which most would acknowledge isn't a living wage (unless working two or three jobs.) Yes, I still think der Fuehrer Shrub stole the election, TWICE.

Re:Welcome to the Obama economy (1)

rkww (675767) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805214)

No, it's the American economy. Obama might represent it, but he didn't design it.

Oh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36804964)

Many people don't need the latest OS, game, communication device, computer, or gadget. If your job is to develop, manufacture, or sell products that millions of people can no longer afford, then that ought to tell you something significant about where you'll be headed if things don't turn around.

Re:Oh? (0)

tomcode (261182) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805382)

And yet sales of these gadgets that millions of people can't afford, are way up. The rich are doing great in this economy, in fact better than ever. Tax cuts for the rich are working - for the rich.

NO !! AY !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36804986)

For there to be The Rich, there must be The Poor !! All in favor of The Rick say Ay !!

AY !!

Leave Tech/IT alone! (3, Insightful)

Bloodwine77 (913355) | more than 2 years ago | (#36804996)

The software development, technology, and IT industries have been under attack for quite some time now. Automation, outsourcing, H1B visas, and now the cloud.

It is a testament to the technology-related fields that the workforce keeps adapting and evolving to keep pushing forward amidst adversity.

While I feel for all those unemployed, I have worked very hard to not only stay up-to-date and relevant, but to also keep pushing myself forward. I am not saying I am better than anybody else, but I have more than paid my dues and continue to do so. Perhaps the technology-related fields fare better because it has always been a moving target. Before you had worries about job security you had worries about your tools becoming obsolete or deprecated. The entire mindset is to keep learning new languages, concepts, and technology. Never rest on your laurels.

Re:Leave Tech/IT alone! (1, Insightful)

rkww (675767) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805286)

> I am not saying I am better than anybody else Yes you are.

Re:Leave Tech/IT alone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805650)

no he's not
He's saying people like you are complacent douche bags and it's your own fault you cant get a job because you took your eye off the ball and are now unmarketable.

Also, you are a douche bag

Detroit (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805636)

I imagine at the heyday of auto manufacturing in the US, people were saying the same things about Detroit.

The old argument (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36804998)

It's been discussed ad nauseam. The same things were said in the early 80s. Know what happened? People stopped worrying about it and got back to work and the country enjoyed a significant boom in production. What's unfortunate now is we have a president who's completely clueless. So enjoy a Republican in the White House in 2013.

because we borrowed a shitload of money (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805148)

to dole it out to welfare projects like the B-1 bomber, the space shuttle, and a host of other socialist, big government programs.

sounds like a damn good idea! bring back that reagan guy!

As a soon-to-be new college engineering grad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805000)

Not to be purely gloating, but finding a job as an electrical engineering student from a decent school has been pretty easy. I personally don't know anyone who has had trouble finding a nice high paying job straight out of school, at places like Silicon Valley or Seattle. The trick of course, is to get some good internship experience on your resume. And finding those internships isn't too difficult either.

Re:As a soon-to-be new college engineering grad... (1)

rkww (675767) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805154)

And you are willing to pay extra taxes to subsidize your less lucky peers ? A nationwide problem is your problem too. Ah, I forget, you happily admit to gloating. Sorry, what was the national deficit again ?

Re:As a soon-to-be new college engineering grad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805258)

What is "high paying" relative to real estate in either Silicon Valley or Seattle? I think a lateral move for me would be in the $250k/year range for either of those places!

Sorry, wrong scapegoat. (1)

Brummund (447393) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805018)

The scapegoat is hiding behind that MBA wall over there.

(Serious note: What a troll story. Of course, everyone should care about unemployment rate, but should software engineers (and you Flash idiots) care more than others about it? Probably not.)

Re:Sorry, wrong scapegoat. (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805216)

It's a serious enough issue that sci-fi has considered it for decades - what if automation makes many people unnecessary? What do all those people do? If their economic worth is less than the cost of food and shelter for them, then political instability is sure to follow. Don't just debunk silly "solutions" you think people might have in mind, like ludditism or marxism - do you see a workable solution? Or a good reason to continue to think it's an unfounded fear?

Re:Sorry, wrong scapegoat. (2)

Brummund (447393) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805370)

Well, in the eighties some politicians here in Norway suggested a ban on robotics. It probably seemed like a nice way to save jobs (and votes.) Now, all politicians like to have a piece of the high tech cake, and claim their policies made it possible. (Our biggest claims to fame is OO, the paper clip, a cheese grater and a supposedly very efficient sea missile.)

But yes, all people should fear redundancy. I am a software engineer above the mid thirties and I fear redundancy big time. But, I do read a lot of books, follow forums and do a lot to not get left behind.

Again, I realize that is different from having your job replaced with a machine, like in the shoe industry, canning etc. For those, we invented reality TV.

On a serious note, once again: Yes, of course it can be a big problem, but only if a large enough mass of people at the same time suffer from it. OIf it is a chip at a time, it will get about as much as attention as when your last blacksmith went out of business.

Re:Sorry, wrong scapegoat. (1)

Brummund (447393) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805456)

Well, as your reply really posed a few good questions, I would like to refer to the poster below mentioning the difference between US and most European countries.

We do have safety measures for all people, so in principle you are never in the risk of having no shelter (or a home, as we call it in Norway) and not having food on the table. Really. Most right wingers in the US would call it socialism, but here we just pay our taxes and enjoy a nice safety net. Heck, we will even pay for your reeducation to a different trade.

US (0)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805038)

From my outside (European) perspective, back in eighties during Reagan presidency, US abandoned European-style government assisted social welfare system. In my opinion that was really wrong, there is too little protection for _growing_ mass of angry unemployed potentially dangerous crowd. It will inevitably end in some really nasty situation. Hopefully I am wrong...

Re:US (3, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805108)

A nasty situation like riots and a bailout from Germany?

Re:US (2, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805260)

If you're talking about Greece, then yes - one of the EU countries who had a culture of "low or no taxes" for the wealthy and businesses at all costs. Sort of like another, slight larger, economy that is similarly struggling.

You know, it's funny but when you don't have income (in the form of taxes), you can't spend it on things that you're paying for anyway, like air conditioning Afghanistan.

Re:US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805414)

You seem to have conveniently forgot to mention the immense burden the "retirement' system, welfare and inefficiencies of the Greek system played in their problems. I am Greek and I lived in Greece for 2 years. People retire at 52 - 53 and get 80% of their pay, you pay bills (phone, power, hospital, etc) at each vendors location, make retirement contributions at your local retirement office where they keep the records in a giant ledger by hand and get retirement benefits in cash at the local post office. It is basically a cash society, checks are for businesses. With a cash society it is hard to collect taxes from anyone.

Re:US (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805558)

Of course I can't prove it, but my point was more to sarcastically suggest that promises from the government are only worth so much.

Re:US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805134)

They are not unemployed; just weeded out by the free market.

Computers - Taking Away Jobs (2, Insightful)

Conception (212279) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805110)

I remember back when granddad had a computer. He'd add up all the coins and do the math required for the accounting for the business. Then silly technology came along and now we have "calculators" and "computers". What happened to the real faces behind these jobs?! How many people are out of work that have the skills to do long division -JUST LIKE A COMPUTER-! It's a terrible thing and we should at once do away with progress. It's far too damaging to the economy.

Re:Computers - Taking Away Jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805252)

Here, here. What about those machines from Caterpillar and Komatsu that put all those laborers out of work on road projects. Now we have a machine that can chew up the pavement and one that can lay new pavement. What ever happened to shovels and a strong back. The Romans built many a road this way.

Re:Computers - Taking Away Jobs (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805266)

At least granddad didn't have a floating point precision bug! Progress eh?!

Re:Computers - Taking Away Jobs (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805340)

Mine did. He often had hard-to-find errors after the first several digits after the decimal point. He often had rounding errors as well.

Re:Computers - Taking Away Jobs (2)

Conception (212279) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805374)

Granddad just called floating point precision bugs thieves and had them flogged. Same bugs, more entertaining.

are they capable of caring? (4, Informative)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805118)

look, no offense.

but a lot of people whose life is a never ending string of relatively well paying jobs, "interesting" work, conferences, tech seminars, etc, tend to lose their ability to empathize with the rest of us losers.

Re:are they capable of caring? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805338)

Sorry, what? I was coding....

Wish we could move (2)

DKirk (2315490) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805130)

It would be prudent to move where the jobs are but those of us that got suckered in with a mortgage are now upside down and unable to move. We're locked into living in a dead/dying economy (Michigan) by a mortgage that is sinking further year after year. Those of us mortgage-locked would sure benefit from telecommuting positions but they seem more of a fairy tale than reality. If only companies would realize that they could give us VPN access to their infrastructure and we could do the work from home, we don't need always sit in a cubicle on-site. The lack of true leadership coming out of Washington continues to worsen year after year. Heck, remember last year the state department sending millions of dollars to train middle-eastern country (Pakistan?) Java programming? Why couldn't they spend that money and train us folks here?

Re:Wish we could move (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805232)

If you have no equity in your house, it makes sense to get up and leave and stop paying, because one thing is certain: it will not get better because people want politicians to solve their problems, rather than shoeing the politicians away with brooms and taking matters into their own hands in terms of the economy, security, etc.

Re:Wish we could move (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805406)

you can make a change if you really want to.

i lost over $80,000 in value in 2 years on a chunk of my "American Dream".

this is exactly what i did and i just closed my short sell a few weeks ago. some how i actually got a check from someone for getting it sold. rofl. suckers.

1) stop paying your mortgage and put the money in a bank account (this is the beginning of your new savings account).
2) wait for your bank to ask you if you need help
3) activate the bank assistance programs if you quality
4) start the short sell process. your hardship is that you live in a place with no jobs and you need to relocate for work.
5) give the bank a ton of paper work that they ask you for
6) wait for someone to come along and pickup your hilarious underpriced/undervalued home.
7) get out of the house at the cost of a few hundred points to your credit score.
8) never use credit again.

note: you can stay in your home during this whole process with free rent.

i must emphasis #8. your new goal in life is to pay cash for everything you need including cars, the land, and the house you will die in (read, retirement).

Re:Wish we could move (3, Insightful)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805442)

...those of us that got suckered in with a mortgage...

How exactly were you 'suckered'?

Re:Wish we could move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805538)

The promise of perpetual appreciation?

Confused (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805132)

So, what is he saying here? Everyone who works in an industry that produces only luxury items should feel sorry for those that dont and devote a portion of their income? That we should immedially stop producing all luxury items until everyone that desires to be employed is? All sports franchises are immeditly disbanded. All Television and Media production is halted. All motor vehicles greater than 20k USD will be discontinued. Yeah, I am sure that will help unemployment.... Yeah, it sucks that the economy is crap and people are unemployed, but does that mean everyone that does have a job needs to start living in a cardboard box? Our social services are designed to keep people afloat until they can find useful work. It may not be just and it may not be efficient, but its better than tossing everyone that missing a mortgage payment out on the street, surely?

A Tale of Two Countries (-1, Offtopic)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805138)

Any private enterprise is good, especially if it does end up creating destructive technologies, because after all, wealth is not work, it's things we produce and can then own.

The real question that was left an-asked should be this:

Should the unemployed country care about where Washington DC is taking the country?

The real question is what is up with the divide between the public and private sectors?

Work in the public sector should be about sacrifice, it should not be a better place to make more money, instead the workers there enjoy very stable and secure working conditions. However this is not what the public sectors is or has been about for over a hundred years now.

Today working in the public sector is profitable, it comes with various perks - the workers are famous, they are swamped by armies of lobbyists, who are working on behalf of those, who are being regulated/taxed/subsidized based on the decisions made in the public sector.

USA sees values of its housing market decline except for places where there is high competition with foreign investors (N.Y., L.A.), but the most growth in every way is found in Washington DC. Growing housing market, growing salaries, growing everything.

Public workers do not pay income taxes.

That's right, they don't pay income taxes, because to pay an income tax, income must be made, something must be produced of value, so whatever counts for income taxes there is just what they don't get in salary. There are all sorts of perks being a public sector worker.

So what do you think, do public sector workers share the same problems as the rest of the country?

When a public sector worker talks about sacrifice, he does mean that everybody must sacrifice but him, because whoever does actual work - creates something and sells something, that person lives off his own labor. A public sector worker lives off the labor of others.

When a public sector worker strikes, he really is only trying to negotiate a deal between himself and some other politician, and that's definitely an Alien vs Predator situation, because it doesn't matter who wins there, the actual tax payers lose, either in money or in some way that has to do with policy.

The real question is what about these 2 countries: the government workers VS everybody else? It's not about employer VS employee, as the public sector worker wants you to believe.

Re:A Tale of Two Countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805384)

This sounds like the same talking points garbage you hear from those Tea Party tools.

Public workers do pay income taxes just like everyone else. From firefighters to cops to administrators to the military.

Not all public sector workers can strike. Despite that there is still a federal workers union. Reason: So they can at least have a seat at the table.

Public sector workers are suffering along with everyone else. Cutbacks, unpaid furloughs....you name it.

There is two countries here though: the super rich and everyone else. The divide widens every day with every tax cut they are given.

Maybe if you pulled your nose out of your master's ass you would realize that.

Re:A Tale of Two Countries (5, Insightful)

thrich81 (1357561) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805482)

OK, this one of the new "Big Lies" that is repeated enough that it might become accepted -- 'that public sector workers don't produce anything, only the private sector does'. Total BS. Examples: When a scientist employed by the Naval Research Laboratories invents a better laser, is something of value produced -- yes. When an employee of the city picks up your garbage, is a service of value performed -- yes. When a SEAL puts a bullet through the head of bin Laden, is a service of value performed -- yes. All examples of public employees producing valuable goods and services. The purveyors of this line of BS need to read some economics and learn the definition of "production". And I've known lots of persons employed in the private sector who produced absolutely nothing of value. If you want to, you could try to make some deranged argument that the private sector could always perform a service cheaper or better than the public sector, which is at least coherent, if not correct.

Re:A Tale of Two Countries (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805570)

When a scientist employed by the Naval Research Laboratories invents a better laser, is something of value produced -- yes.

- the same scientist could be working for a private company, doing the same thing. If government was not destroying the credit, the savings, the capital that makes private companies invest into their business. If government wasn't busy destroying the currency itself, many would be able to invest into their businesses, rather than having to simply search for ways to escape the destruction.

When an employee of the city picks up your garbage, is a service of value performed -- yes

- there should be no government involvement into this at all. This here was Toronto, not US, but the point is valid. [www.cbc.ca]

Besides, I said "produce", not "service". Services can be performed by any business, government is definitely not better at it, but mainly worse, they don't have to compete, their monopoly is tight and their unions don't care about the customer.

When a SEAL puts a bullet through the head of bin Laden, is a service of value performed -- yes.

- wouldn't it be great if the government stuck to its role - minimum military for protection, and didn't stick its nose into every hell hole on the planet CREATING the fucking terrorist in the first place?

They create the problem and then they "solve" it. And at what cost? The wars? The dead, that didn't have to be dead? No thanks, you can keep that 'public service'.

All examples of public employees producing valuable goods and services.

- at what cost and to what end? What was not done by the private sector, because the public sector ate the money, the credit, the resources, regulated the hell out of private sector and destroyed a bunch of businesses by subsidizing monsters it feeds off of?

Those are questions very well worth asking.

Re:A Tale of Two Countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805496)

I've read some stupid rants on slashdot, but this one stands out as the worst of all of them.

A public sector worker lives off the labor of others? Sacrifice but only for others? WTF?

Let's consider military personnel... they don't sacrifice or risk their lives doing their jobs? Do the produce anything that can be sold? Hm... no, so they don't pay taxes and/or don't produce anything of value, except provide national security that lets everything else happen?

You have got to be the biggest dumbfuck on all of slashdot.

Re:A Tale of Two Countries (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805644)

Let's consider military personnel... they don't sacrifice or risk their lives doing their jobs?

1. Military is the only legitimate service government must be providing.

2. Military must be minimal, for protection only. Instead you've got a war machine, which is dropped as a 'solution' hammer into every problem, creating more problems than solving.

3. Government policies are the primary reason for the problems, that later are 'solved' with military intervention.

4. By destroying the private businesses, government mis-allocates so many resources, that so many young people have nothing else left to them, but to join the military. It's definitely not something most of them would choose in a working economy, and the government is the primary reason for economy being fucked.

5. The government sector is the only one that's growing and has been growing and spending, but not actually earning and producing anything (and it shouldn't be, gov't is a spending item, not a productive item) for many generations now, and it's happening because you and others like you don't see a problem with that now and you don't even have the presence of the mind to be able to ask those questions.

Re:A Tale of Two Countries (3)

aarner (901356) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805592)

Public Sector workers don't pay income taxes?

On the back of what cereal box did you read that? Having worked in various players within the public sector (State, Local, and Federal) - I've been hit with the same unpleasant income tax that anyone else is required to pay. There are no free lunches where income tax is concerned.

I'm guessing you're conflating certain states (IIRC, Vermont, NH, and possibly D.C.) that don't have a state income tax. That doesn't get you out of paying federal income taxes, which are the brunt anyways, and those states and locales that don't have an income tax get the revenue in other ways (10%+ sales tax, $300 to throw away a bag of trash or $500 to park a car on your street.)

Nobody gets away clean.

Also, for what it's worth, I recently left the public sector (State of Wisconsin, of all places) and re-joined the private sector after a long hiatus. I'm up $35,000 year-over-year, even considering lousy health insurance compared to the state, and I'm responsible for much less work in the private sector than was expected of me in the public sector. Increasingly, working for government is a job that only a crazy person would sign up for. You really want the type of individual that sees a value proposition in making half-as-much money for twice-as-much work teaching your kids, writing government software, policing your streets, etc?

But by all means, don't let reality get in the way of ideology.

Re:A Tale of Two Countries (1)

Bob_Geldof (887321) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805598)

Precisely what you would expect to hear from a tea party nut that has never worked in the public sector. Thank you. Keep up the good work being a shill for the Koch brothers and their ilk. It is only a matter of time before the super-rich (who are the only ones to truly benefit from Tea Party ideals) come after you and make your life miserable.

Re:A Tale of Two Countries (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805628)

You are a fucking idiot.

I work for the State of California and I pay income state and federal taxes like everyone else. I worked for a small company in the private sector until 2009 and they did wage freezes when the economy went in the shitter. I know people who still work there and the freezes are still in effect. Since I've left and gone to the State of California, we've had mandatory furloughs where I have lost between 5-15% of my pay.. all the while still having to work my full schedule. A wage freeze doesn't look too bad compared to that.

So please don't give me shit about public sector workers not sharing the problems as others. Whether you really believe the shit you are spewing or not, you are still a fucking idiot.

Silicon Valley the Land of Milk and Honey? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805142)

There are still people with surplus money out there in Silicon Valley?

And as I recall, the weather there is pretty good for camping. Except it gets pretty hot in the summer...

And there are produce fields, and grapes, just down the roads...

Might be time to head back that direction...

Except... Have they done something abut the mosquitos there yet? They used to lurk in bandit swarms around the passes just east of the hills that are just east of Cannary Row...

And so...what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805150)

You could reverse this by asking whether people in Nebraska or Kansas should care about Silicon Valley or not.

And yes, both ways it should. The elitism inherent in thinking only "this part of America counts/matters" is what brought about the skullduggery that is "The Heartland" and "Real Americans."

Yes douchebags, thinking you're the heart of America and that you're real Americans while the people living in cities are "fake" Americans is elitist.

Misleading summary (1)

usul294 (1163169) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805178)

The central theme of the article is whether or not tech companies should continue try to grow their business, or should they decide to not compete with established industries. A specific cited example is that Apple created a net job loss through iTunes by ruining Tower Records. The summary makes it sound like the article is asking whether or not tech companies should feel bad for the fact people play Farmville rather than look for a job.

If people want to care (1)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805188)

There are plenty of private charities they can send their money to. Or they can outsource a startup to Iowa - the big state schools do produce plenty of quality engineering talent, and you can pay them less, but it's still less of a headache than going to India.

All in all, America has pushed into a high-expertise economy. No matter where you are geographically, you can do pretty well for yourself with a competent tech background. It's less about Silicon Valley versus Iowa than it is the guy with the BS versus the one with the BA or the GED.

Re:If people want to care (0)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805500)

All in all, America has pushed into a high-expertise economy.

I disagree, work has always been high-expertise, anything that's not high-expertise you can do yourself without hiring anybody else. The issue is that IMHO a large portion of high-expertise jobs has all but disappeared whether via automation (a lot simpler to do woodworking with power tools vs by hand, and let's not even talk about CNC) or via outsourcing (whether it's outsourcing manufacturing or tech stuff).

What happens when a significant portion of the population has aptitude to become expert only in jobs/careers which are automated or outsourced? I am sure there are thousands of unemployed people right now that would be amazing cabinetmakers, for example, or luthiers, or blacksmiths, but without any chance whatsoever of starting a career in that field.

There is more to life than writing the next Farmville or troubleshooting a network, for the people that are good at this and love it, hey, it's great, but there ought to be a way forward for the others that doesn't end with "and would you like fries with that".

Shitty article (3, Insightful)

andsens (1658865) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805190)

Wow, this was one hell of a crap article. Who does this guy think he is, trying to guilt trip working americans in silicon valley because they are, well... working. I mean WTF?!

Yes (1)

Ryanator2209 (1577631) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805194)

Silicon Valley should not only care that there are millions unemployed they should continue working to find better ways to make money off the fact that millions are unemployed. That's the type of caring you were asking about, right?

Yes. (3, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805222)

Income disparity was what made roman population lose interest, hope and eventually, participation in the roman republic, leading to deterioration of not only state but also culture in just a hundred years or so :

rich were flooding the market with cheap grain, causing the small farmers not to be able to make a living because the crop they produced ended up more expensive in cost than rich, big farm holders. in turn, they had to sell their farms to rich farmers and migrate into cities to make a living. increasingly roman agriculture had come under the control of very few, rich landowning aristocrats. these farms were called latifundia.

since the backbone of the country, the small free citizen landholders were gone, public services and military continually deteriorated. the 'barbarians' (non-romans) who were increasingly conscripted to the army had less incentive than a citizen soldier to defend anything. moreover, the disillusioned citizenry, who could get nothing out of the society at that point, cared much for any intruders - whomever invaded, they were just replacing existing elite with their own, little was changing in the case of ordinary citizens. (except for exceedingly vandal barbarians and similar - vandals were also a barbarian tribe, as a sidenote).

the rich, who held all the resources had little use for anything of the sort like republic or democracy. and when augustus and later emperors started to dismantle last vestiges of republic, noone cared. now, the citizenry had no say or share from society as a whole. and from that point on it all disintegrated.

the irony is, this process started around the peak of roman momentum - late republic era. the very era in which triumvirate (caesar pompei and crassus) were waging their civil war against each other. the empire didnt instantly disintegrate - it had momentum to take itself comfortably forward at least 100 years more. everything then started to directly crumble.

today is no different. back in roman times, the poor had at least the chance to engage in trade and arts/crafts. today, even those fields of life are 'latifundiated' by the rich just like how roman agriculture (then the backbone of economy) was consolidated in the hands of very few elite.

i would like to alert you to the fact that, this situation that destroyed roman empire, had later also become the causes that led to the birth of aristocracy in middle ages and on. in fact, the entire system of feudalism, is a system of property ownership - the difference with our current capitalist system is, now everyone is able to own property (land in this case), while back then, only aristocrats could. however this doesnt change one fundamental fact - this system eventually leads to a minority having and controlling everything (yes, including politics because resource is power - just like how senate had to accept subjugation in front of those who had the funds to muster legions), and ends up in an aristocratic hierarchical society.

in short - yes, they should care. for the sake of their own freedom too.

wow. disturbing ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805416)

an eloquently enunciated compilation of proceedings of the late republic - early empire roman history, with connections to early middle ages and later, on solid grounds (most of what i have told is mainstream in history scholar circles now), is downmodded. why ?

too irritable ?

I'm sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805248)

people with talent and an ability to communicate get jobs.

Can it Get Worse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805250)

Hope for the best for the economy. Plenty of theories and no proof as to what may work. http://www.meatgrindersnow.com/Home.html

From the article... (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805270)

For a self-motivated individual of at least average intelligence there is a shrinking number of excuses for not possessing in-demand skills.

let me know how your self motivated learning gets you past the "HR wall" where if you don't have x years of industry experience in language/environment y your resume goes to the trash pile...

When pretty much every entry level job is outsourced and ageism not being unknown in the tech sector, it seems really difficult for anybody in their 30s/40s to "self motivate" themselves into a tech/development career.

If I was trying to get into programming right now and had no prior experience I'd go the app store route: with a reasonable investment (say, a last generation imac + a last generation ipad + a last generation ipod touch, which could be purchased refurbished directly from apple for likely $1.5k or so) you can get in, and if you are able to create some good quality apps it would likely help a lot with the job search.

This said I remember the programs I wrote when I had learned how to program only a year before, and even taking into consideration that in the early 80s there wasn't really nearly as much learning material as there was now, still a year experience is IMHO only good for an entry level position, of which there are nearly none to be had as I was saying above.

And regarding the topic at hand no, I don't think it's good at all to have a "two speed" society where a small percentage of people rakes in the dough and a large percentage of people struggles to survive: that should be self-evident, not to mention the fact that a society where the only jobs to be had that enable a decent middle-class standard of living are "brain-type" jobs doesn't seem balanced either.

Not everybody wants to be an entrepreneur, or to sit in front of a desk all day and stare at a computer screen, other people are a lot better at painting, or woodworking, or construction, or teaching, or plumbing, or building bridges, or all sorts of other job types, and they should have the chance to make a living at what they are good at instead of being told over and over again that unless you have a certain set of skills you'll never be able to live comfortably (I don't mean being rich, I mean living comfortably, which is what a much larger portion of society used to be able to do in the 50s and 60s).

Re:From the article... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805422)

I want the job as SI swim suit edition butt sand artist. It's what I think I'll be good at, love your work and all.

I just want to live comfortably licking super models butts (there is no such thing as a male super model you perverts), then applying sand. Is that too much to ask?

Lot's of kids are good at playing video games? Should they be able to make a comfortable living at it?

Eating pizza and drinking beer?

Fapping?

Plenty of supply, little demand.

Re:From the article... (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805542)

seems like you, like a lot of other people, assume that people can only love idle pursuits. What if you love and are good at building violins (say)? it's not an easy job, it takes dedication and a lifetime to master, but could you do it? could you make a comfortable living at it as things stand now?

Can society as a whole survive and improve where if you aren't sitting in a chair in front of a computer you can't pay your bills?

Like you say, supply/demand, why shouldn't there be focus on increasing demand for all sorts of jobs rather than beating the drum of "retrain or starve" or "be your own entrepreneur or else"? Not everybody wants to be an entrepreneur, some people just want to wake up, go to their workshop and spend hours making just the perfect dovetail by hand, but those people aren't going to be making a living as things stand now, and that's not fair.

Ummm ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805298)

"After all, as long as people in Nebraska or the Central Valley of California have enough money to buy virtual tractors to tend their crops in Farmville, should the tech community be worried about ..."

Not sure about the central valley of California, but the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in Nebraska is 4.1%, less than half the rate of the nation as a whole. Who needs virtual tractors when agriculture and other commodities are booming?

Relative (1)

frisket (149522) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805410)

They'll start to care when they start being killed as food in the streets. In any event, people in the US have no idea what serious unemployment is like. In some areas elsewhere in the westernised world it's headed for the 50% mark and more.

Yes, they should (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805470)

Silicon Valley, Boston, and NYC are full of jobs but people who want them can't move there because those cities don't grow, quality of life for their residents aside. Job clusters like those are a natural resource of sorts, not to be squandered by those who live there. Those tech centers appeared as a result of national policies - funding for nearby universities, open immigration, free trade, etc. We should be happy to help any part of the country grow but not if they are going to close themselves off to the rest of us.

Care? (1)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 2 years ago | (#36805566)

The question "should someone care" is meaningless.

The question is, should they take action.

The effect of caring without doing is the same as that of not caring.

So, what is it that prospering hi-tech startups should actually do about unemployment such that it is in their interest, and not merely charity?

I can't think of it.

What boom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36805670)

Silicon Valley has still not recovered from the 2001 crash. Employment levels are still lower than in 2001!

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