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Identifying why the economy is so fucked

So pretty soon the point arrives when there\’s a middle-class stranglehold on the jobs that people want to do – notably in politics, the media and the third sector.

When the desirable jobs are spending other peoples\’ money, reporting on spending other peoples\’ money and lobbying to spend other peoples\’ money then you know that the society is fucked.

16 thoughts on “Identifying why the economy is so fucked”

  1. That should been, of course,

    jobs that “people who have become Guardian columnists” want to do

    Which makes it a lot more understandable, trivial even: “a professional parasite sees working as a parasite as desirable.

  2. Of course those jobs are desirable. If you’re an attractive middle-class girl with a good voice, you can earn good money for only a few minutes work by presenting the weather forecast on TV. Similarly you don’t need vast amounts of talent to be a BBC “researcher” – the job mainly involves making phone calls and meeting other middle- and upper-class people (“ooh your manor is lovely, Lord Snooty, we’ll definitely feature it on the next series of Cash In The Attic.”) There are no worries about productivity or profit, and no pesky clients who can be so demanding. Even I wouldn’t mind a job there!

  3. What Andrew M said. They are not real jobs. They require no real work, just constant meetings and phone calls, all with no or very little pressure to achieve anything. The ‘charity organiser’ doesn’t actually sully their hands with the nitty gritty of what their charity actually does (if it does any nitty gritty at all). The politician by definition does no real work, just talking, and all those in the ‘regulation’ industry have to do is produce voluminous reports to justify their own existence.

    In fact that is the raison d’etre for massive swathes of middle class job holders – producing enough evidence via paperwork and records of ‘achievements’ that their job is vital to the organisation they work for. Actually producing something or servicing customers is entirely coincidental to that main objective of keeping their cushy job.

  4. To echo SE, who are there “People”, exactly? I know lots of people who would run away screaming at the suggestion of doing jobs of this kind, and vastly more who might not run away screaming exactly, but who would none the less prefer other things.

    It’s the “It’s terrible that the sorts of jobs that people like me want to do are monopolised by people like me fallacy”.

    The travel form of the fallacy is the old “It’s terrible that Starbucks/whoever are opening stores everywhere in the world. I see them everywhere I go. The world has become horribly homogenised…” without realising that this says a great deal about where you go, and almost nothing about Starbucks. My favourite ever example of this was someone(about a decade ago) who complained that the word was now so homogenised that she saw Gap clothing stores everywhere she went. At the time, there were something like five cities outside the US where they had stores, but these included London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, the only places she ever went.

  5. It would, of course, have nothing to do with the fact that the trendy leftie has debased our educational system to the point that we no longer bother to educate hoi polloi. It does not occur to them that employers want those with a smattering of English, an ability to differentiate between letters and numbers and the capacity to sit up straight.

  6. The BBC has about 15 ot 20 non TV/Radio producing people for every person who makes a programme. It is one giant public sector job creation scheme and a very well paying one also.

    You have to be careful what you say about someone in the BBC because, unlike other work-places, it seems that nearly everyone is related to someone else in the BBC – jobs for the boys and girls.

    It has been hijacked by the middle and upper classes also. The salaries paid are just obscene – they say that people will go elsewhere if they are not paid the money. What bull!

  7. My wife moved from BBC to commercial television and got paid a lot more, so I’m sceptical of what Bob says.

    Media & creative industries is in fact a huge and successful part of the UK economy, and I can see a lot of that ‘it’s not real unless its making physical stuff’ in these comments.

  8. Internships for nowt have been keeping German companies going for years… some people do them serially into their 30’s, a few will find good jobs but many others go onto workfare, aka 1-euro jobs and similar no future work.

    I guess this is what an oversupply of university educated people does — rendering the actual labour market value of those individuals as zero.

    You could say that it’s a form of elitism, but that’s a strange way of looking at people having to work for free because that’s all they are worth.(true, 10% are lucky, but 90% will end up where they started…)

    People claim that the businesses that employ them make a mint out of that, well, actually no, interns are often all they can afford if they don’t want to close. The only agency making any money to speak of is the taxman here, often more than the company turns in profit, once you tot up everything including PAYE etc that is generated by the place.

    Take a close look at the sheeple of all walks of life everywhere — they’ve not been shorn, they’ve been comprehensively depilated.

    Ps.: Does anyone here think that limiting the internships that can be taken to 2 per person? Or should companies be limited in the internships they can offer, say, no more than 5% of their workforce (obviously needs adjusting for small companies)?

  9. Unpaid internships are a consequence of Blair’s National Minimum Wage (and, to a lesser extent, of the consequent rise in Unemployment).
    When I was young, firms could afford to pay an Oxford undergraduate £6 a week in the Long Vacation to cover for staff on holiday with the view to hiring him/her after graduation if he/she was suitable. I never even heard of unpaid jobs except for Charities (or kids helping out a parent on an informal basis).
    Now the cost of a paid intern would run into thousands: decent small firms can’t afford it and exploitative ones take advantage of the (un-)employment situation.
    @ Hexe Froschbein the last time I looked most British companies employed fewer than 20 people, but apart from call centres and the like there is going to be a practical limit on how many interns a company can manage.

  10. You also know the economy is f***ed when all the money belongs to the State, and the most valued skill in a small community is that of a man who knows how to get a little of it back for things people actually want to do – which is a pretty accurate description of the way things actually are these days.

  11. “Unpaid internships are a consequence of Blair’s National Minimum Wage (and, to a lesser extent, of the consequent rise in Unemployment).”

    I don’t see how the two are connected.

    The internships are unpaid because the current market value of the interns is precisely zero — not MW, whih would be an improvement for them.

    Everyone of those people is a very expensive investment that has failed to pay off, thet are the human equivalent to a Ford Edsel.

  12. Hexe Froschbein,

    The connection is that a lot of these internships don’t want to pay much. A lot of them are basically “tea girl, but you might learn a bit about PR through osmosis”. What’s fetching lattes from the cafe worth? Couple of quid an hour?

    At one time, someone would have got paid a few quid. Today, they’re getting nothing.

    One problem is that these jobs have been sold as glamorous and important. Think about movies about journalists like The Front Page or All The Presidents Men. But reality is that a programmer at Google makes much more difference to the world than most backbench MPs.

  13. Tim Almond, the reality is that interns are not even worth a couple of quid and making the tea (etc) is all the work there is available for them. Hence the pay rate of zero… no-one needs them or even wants them.

    Of course those non-jobs (which are limited in number too… what does this tell you?) get sold as glamorous and important… (onna stick!) but even if you told the truth as it is, people would still take them no matter what, just to make sure there is no gap on the CV which would sink their career before it even started. If you were as invested as they are, you’d be doing the same too, there is nothing else for them.

    It’s not the jobs you need to ‘sell’ as ‘glamorous’, it’s the unemployed surplus graduates, each of which cost tens of thousands of pounds to produce, and now are a liability to maintain whilst they work for free(or claim the dole). Every year they don’t work for the pay that was assumed they’ll be getting is a loss to the taxpayer, and human lifespan is limited, so a year lost cannot be made good.

    Regards your comparison, sorry it’s broken — anyone who is not totally lazy or stupid can easily pass those degrees in applied handwaving held by the interns we’re talking about without any special talents, which is another reason why there is a glut of those guys, but not of graduates in ‘hard’ subjects. Trouble is that not many people can pass those degrees, just like not many people can become Olympic Athletes — and to be an MP takes a special kind of talent, most people would be ashamed to have.

    Now humans are not factory produced goods as such, but unfortunately the rules of the market still apply here, if you overproduce something no-one wants to buy because no-one needs it, you go broke.

    Watch this:

    and imagine that the plates without bolts or adequate overhang were human beings and the buildings put together with them, our future society. It’s a classic case of inevitable FAIL, repeated over an over again, in every system/business that fails.

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  15. @ Hexe Froschbein
    “The internships are unpaid because the current market value of the interns is precisely zero”
    That may be true of you but it wasn’t true of me when I did a Vac job nor of my son when he did one. He was actually rather proud of some of the work he did, correcting and/or improving on the work of paid staff.
    “Regards your comparison, sorry it’s broken — anyone who is not totally lazy or stupid can easily pass those degrees in applied handwaving held by the interns we’re talking about without any special talents” Complete and utter bullshit. You are replying on to my comment so we are talking about Oxbridge (two Oxford, one Cambridge in my group) /near Oxbridge (Durham at 17 because he didn’t want to wait a year to take Oxbridge entrance) mathematicians in different generations all programming state-of-the-art/near state of the art computers.
    If you do not know what you are talking about, don’t throw out unnecessary insults. Whether I have any special talents, on any definition of “special” or “talents”, is open to debate but it is NOT open to debate that “anyone who is not totally lazy or stupid can easily pass those degrees”.

  16. A friend of mine just got a job as a fill in forklift/dumptruck/bulldozer operator. It’s part time, three days a week, and the only qualification he’s got is a two day forklift course. He’s getting AUD 1500 a week.

    If your only qualification is a strong back, come to Western Australia and work in the mines.

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