here is a lesson I learned reading this deck: let us all endeavor to be “wage slaves,” and to educate our colleagues to be wage slaves. it really gets under this guy’s skin (he hates them precious!) that some people might actually know the value of their labor. organize!
They know their market value and perform exactly to it and no more
Wow, what a novel concept.
“Wage slaves… hate em!”
I wonder if he realizes that this meme comes from an incompetently evil anthropomorphic octopus (Ultros in Final Fantasy VI).
What is the “wage slave” phrase supposed to mean? The way it is repeatedly used (and juxtaposed against other categories of employees) sounds more like jargon than just an off-hand choice of two words. At face value the phrase seems to be an oxymoron, as slaves weren’t known to receive wages for their work.
Internet searches yielded definitions which were unhelpful, and seem like they could describe any non-management employees of a company. What am I missing?
This is kind of a second-order usage of the term that I’ve heard now and then. Wikipedia covers the original usage fairly well. It was more widespread in the 19th century, when wage labor wasn’t yet fully normalized, and roughly boils down to an argument the theoretically free choice to work or not work for someone often has a significant degree of coercion involved in it, since many wage laborers, especially in the traditional working class, aren’t in a position to say “no” to work they need in order to live. In the U.S. context it was a particularly big debate in the post-civil-war abolition movement, which split over whether abolishing slavery had accomplished its goals, or if things like the mining camps and factories still represented a type of unfree labor that they should push to abolish.
Anyway, the second-order usage is that terms like “wage slave attitude” were coined by 20th-century management people to describe workers who have a version of that viewpoint, “I work because I have to work to survive, it’s a job right?”. That’s seen (by such management people) as too cynical and insufficiently motivated by love of the job and company etc.: they come in, put in their 40 hours and do competent work, but you don’t really want that at AmazingCorp, you want people who believe in your amazing mission!
What is the “wage slave” phrase supposed to mean?
The theory goes back to Marx: that a low-status worker is not appreciably better off in terms of lifestyle than a slave.
In practice, what he means is “worker aware of his low status”. He wants his peons not to know that they’re peons, because they’ll work harder. So in his usage, “wage slave” refers to the Gervais/MacLeod Loser class (as in, Sociopaths, Clueless, and Losers). Here’s a place to start, on that: Gervais Principle.
The OP is a Sociopath who wants to hire only Clueless (low-status workers unaware of their low status). Note that MacLeod Sociopaths aren’t always sociopaths or bad people. I’m a MacLeod Sociopath but not a sociopath. All of that said, the OP seems like a sociopath in addition to being a (MacLeod) Sociopath.
This is not missing the satire tag.
I was wondering. Continue to stand by decision to pass on the industry and to recommend young programmers to do the same.
I’d rather make a business dude rich and go play with my dogs at 5 pm. That’s not mediocrity, that’s knowing a video game doesn’t change the world.
Even if it did change the world, your life is important too. I like what I do, it feels important to me. But I only put in 40 hours a week, most of the time, and I stand by that.
Woah, that sounds like “balance” talk. Watch your mouth.
Smart and well balanced employees do significantly better work long-term than ones churning out code 16 hours a day.
Don’t you work in the Google, though?
I’m not sure normal math even applies there. :-S
I do, yes. I agree it’s an uncommon place.
I’ve been looking for a job and while there is a lot of postings in tech, I dont see that many outside the industry. Most of my contract work up to now has mostly shown me that people outside the tech industry arent really aware of the costs, most offers being magnitudes lower than what I see in tech companies.
And I’d love to be able to work with the outdoor companies I’ve grown to know here in Quebec.
If you know people in a non-tech industry who have a problem that can be solved with software and are willing to pay significant money for it to be solved then maybe you don’t need to work for them for them to pay you. You might be sitting on one of them “sales channels”.
Continue to stand by decision to pass on the industry and to recommend young programmers to do the same.
So where do you tell them to work? There don’t seem to be very many meaty jobs, from a programmer’s perspective, outside of the technology industry. Or do you suggest that they be hobbyist programmers only and use their technical skills to segue into pre-executive jobs?
I ask this because I think there’s mutual benefit in helping great programmers get out of the technology industry while still using their skills. It’s not good for society to have the best programmers in one industry, and it’s an industry that tends to take us for granted and to treat us poorly. The thing is: I don’t know how to go about it, much less solve the problem at scale. I suppose that it would require a fleet of agents who act as tech-industry exit consultants.
I don’t come to this website to discuss your agenda.
No, of course not, but I thought you might have something useful to say, or some insight. That’s why I asked you the question. Apparently, I was wrong.
It’s how most technology managers/executives and almost all of the VCs think. OP is just uncouth enough to express things that others would never say (such as the disgusting gendered shit that assumes that programmers burn out because of “wives/GFs”) in public.
Even when it’s true that “everyone thinks X, he’s just honest enough to say it”, that act of saying X makes things worse since it further normalizes the situation.
The Moldbug controversy ties in to #2. His views are disgusting. That said, the reason there’s such a push to remove him from the conference circuit isn’t just that his politics are awful, but also that he’s accessible. The billionaires who run Silicon Valley largely share his views. They just aren’t stupid enough to get caught. (“Mencius Moldbug” was a pseduonym that got doxxed.) Also, enough people want their money that they can get away with pretty much anything, just like Trump said about his hypothetical 5th Avenue murder.
I certainly don’t wish to excuse bad behavior or exclusionary viewpoints. I just wish there was more consistency in it. I probably wouldn’t invite Yarvin to speak if it were my conference. But how many people would turn away a billionaire venture capitalist who dislikes the 19th Amendment (Thiel) or that liberals are capable of Kristallnacht (Perkins)? I’m guessing that most of the tech industry wouldn’t.
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It’s hard to know someone’s intent and, in that light, it’s hard to know what his true views are.
His self-presentation is of an intellectual who simply isn’t willing to reject monarchy, slavery, white supremacy, and other unfashionable (in many cases, because they are bad) political institutions out of hand. Just as there are useful alternative logics (e.g. non-Euclidean geometry, intuitionist logic, non-ZFC set theories) I suppose he is trying to start from first principles, with no assumptions, and derive an alternative politics. At least, that’s how he wants to present himself: a free thinker on the right, unconstrained by conventional humanist assumptions.
Part of the problem, I think, is that he’s either disingenuous or sophomoric. For example, he claims that Europeans preferred African slaves because they were “better adapted” to slavery than Native Americans. In fact, they were only better adapted to the Southern climate (35 C summers, high humidity) because the Natives are descended from Northeast Asians (hence, the most successful Mesoamerican civilizations were at altitude). He’s remarkably willing to accept bad ideas, and his reading of history is superficial and weird.
He might be an obscurantist “dog whistle” racist. He might just be (as you suggest is possible) coming off as aloof and lacking empathy. He’s certainly contributed to an ideological movement that harbors actual racists. Also, slavery is outright evil regardless of whether it’s racially based. (African-American slavery was an especially disgusting brand of it, but slavery has existed since antiquity, and exists today, in a variety of formats.)
I’d feel differently if he disavowed Moldbug. Look, I’ve created (more in jest than toward any serious effect) offensive internet characters. If he said, “I was full of shit back then”, I’d like to believe that many people would forgive him. However, he hasn’t. Even worse, he claims to have named his daughter after a pro-slavery man-of-letters, Thomas Carlyle. That just makes me ill.
Does it not make sense that the guideline is individual to each conference? I have a really hard time buying the exclusion or lack thereof of Yarvin as the first step in a slippery slope. Strange Loop removed him, pure and simple, no discussion, and Everything Was Fine. Lambdaconf didn’t, some people pulled out, and the show will still go on. Conferences have a right to their rules and their attendees and supporters also have that right. That we fight about it on the internet is no indication that anyone is winning anything from social pressure.
William Shockley invented the semiconductor. He won a nobel prize. After that he became an outspoken advocate for eugenics and some pretty brutal racist policies. His SPLC file is here. He suffered, personally and professionally, for his views. He lost friends and colleagues over these views.
My own opinions about Yarvin aside (I think Moldbug’s ideas are repugnant and dressing up plain-ol' bigotry with equivocation doesn’t make them any less repugnant), I find it highly unlikely that conferences will standardize in this regard. If a large enough people disagree with how conferences are handled, there’s nothing stopping them from hosting whomever they’d like.
Splitting hairs about what we individually find appropriate is our own business. Do we let a Klan member or donor speak so long as they don’t bring their robes? Who cares? I think it’s important for each of us to determine what we think we should support and act accordingly. If a lot of us feel that way about a person, they won’t have a platform at conferences. There’s nothing about that process that’s undemocratic or unfair.
Strange Loop removed him, pure and simple, no discussion, and Everything Was Fine.
The nature of slippery slopes is that they don’t show up immediately.
That we fight about it on the internet is no indication that anyone is winning anything from social pressure.
I think it’s important for each of us to determine what we think we should support and act accordingly. If a lot of us feel that way about a person, they won’t have a platform at conferences. There’s nothing about that process that’s undemocratic or unfair.
If it’s the democratic decision of the conference attendees to exclude someone I’m fine with that. If it’s some vocal/famous people on Twitter whipping up a mob of people who aren’t even going I’m a lot less fine with that, and that I do think is undemocratic.
How deeply disappointing. :(
By the first quarter I was thinking, this has got to be satire… But reading his bio makes me understand why.
How charmingly vile. I particularly “like” this line:
Look elsewhere for the self starters that have struggled
to overcome adversity and lack of opportunity, they are much more valuable and loyal if
you can find them.
The unspoken subtext is, of course, that these people, having become successful through non-traditional methods (e.g. self-taught), often don’t have the cultural context to know that they are being exploited and abused, or that the working conditions they suffer aren’t normal. Hence, they’ll be “more loyal”.
This presentation’s from a few years ago, but I believe it’s making the rounds again because the author published a somewhat inflammatory op-ed yesterday on a related subject.
You nailed it. I saw tweets and followed a link to this deck; didn’t realize there was a second thing going oround.
Thanks for context.
I honestly thought for a while it was trolling by being as deliberately offensive as possible. Sadly, that’s not the case…
I’m starting to understand that, increasingly, Poe’s Law doesn’t apply and really people are just that extreme. :(
I’m actually kinda seeing red right now.
Take off your sock, might help.
Another reason I don’t use the term engineer to describe myself.
True story: I had the displeasure of overhearing Alex St. John talk about this and other nonsense at an Auckland café. He met a couple of guys there regarding business and I was seated a table away.
He didn’t leave a good impression on me then, and this quasi-trolling slide deck definitely doesn’t help his case.
If Giants are the people this satire describes, I am just so much happier to be a little mouse. None of the great engineers I’ve met over the years, are like the one this deck describes.
I am somewhat tempted to figure out who the author is (never heard of him before), but past the 5th slide… nah. Not worth it.
I was just reading this
Just wow. And yet his column in boot was so cool. Anybody remember that?
It’s herd behavior.
There’s no way this is real. It can’t be. Who would ever seriously think those things? That’s like a charicature of a capitalist villain, framed in the tech world.