Sunday, July 10, 2016

Adjusting To The Market

I focused much of my irritation on my own tribe, the Arts & Humanities Tribe in the early years of this blog.  My renunciation of - or escape from - them (while hopefully retaining their better values) was an ongoing discussion, and I know many here understood this at a personal level as well. I don't mention them so much anymore, because I feel I have beaten that to death. 

Except... these ongoing cocktail parties we call blogs change in attendees over time, and those who are newer may be unaware of that substrate.  It is ever thus.  Whatever new party you go to, there are already inside jokes, embarrassments that are politely not mentioned, and discussions that have already occurred. So if you have become a regular here only over the last three years, you might amuse yourself by browsing in a random month 2006-2011, or using the search feature for "humanities" or "arts." Some of the material is now dated. Some of it I would backpedal from - just a bit - and all of it I would edit and clarify.

That said, I bring them back after reading an article by a Nigerian woman who was a Philosophy major at Wellesley who then worked for Goldman Sachs about how the aspiring 1% from elite schools might do good in the world. (via bsking, via Scott Greenfield.) I thought of the A&H tribe, and their jobs, and how they will survive automation in 20 or 30 years.

They have figured it out.  They have trained their children to rent-seeking from the government. (See also: arts subsidies, educational grants, non-profits)

I don't know if that will last as well as they hope.  But it might.


dmoelling said...

AVI to your comment on "rent-seeking" I have a short experience to relate.

A couple of years ago I did a long hike with my daughter in the White Mountains using the AMC Huts. I have never done that before. My daughter is a geologist who went to school in the West where mining and drilling are accepted parts of life so she was prepared for the excessive greenery of the other hut patrons. The summer staff at the huts are energetic young people and they gave a short skit after dinner.

All of them gave a short bio and I was not surprised to see how many were "studies" majors. This could be environmental studies, third world studies etc. I first thought how they must have rich parents to affort tuition. But I quickly realized that these majors and internships were just the pre-requisites for pretty comfy careers at the big foundations and NGO's. In my career as an engineer I could always find these operations around the pool at the five star hotel in lower nowhereistan's capital city. No real sacrifices here.

Grim said...

I like how the author put in bold type the fact that the VA processes 97% of its stuff by hand. Clearly this is a shocking idea, although not that long ago 100% of everyone's stuff was processed by hand -- and somehow the government was still capable of solving problems in those days. Problems like WWII, say.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

dmoelling, we are very familiar with those huts, and their staff. There is a substrate, maybe 25%, of people who come from that Foundations and NGO's* group but gave it all up to live the rough life. Many are ski bums for whom this is an ideal job.

They are in one sense more sensible, as they are not SJW's for recycling rocks. However, they are stoned a lot, so they aren't really sensible.

Is that a new tribe? F & N?