7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

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Puppyclaws
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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Puppyclaws » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:47 pm UTC

Yeah, basically the way it works in the United States is, if you have paid vacation time, maybe if you are lucky you can take it. If you don't have paid vacation time, you are free to take unpaid days off whenever you want, so long as you don't plan on going back to that job after your days off because you are fired.

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CorruptUser
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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:55 pm UTC

It actually takes a bit more than a few unpaid days off to be fired from most jobs. Workers in anything but the most unskilled of jobs are tough to replace, even in this economy. The company probably won't fire you unless it has a large reason to.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:57 pm UTC

More cynically, it's a significant effort for the company to go to the trouble of firing you and hiring someone new, so if all you want is a few unpaid days to bury your dad, you can usually go back to work and not be fired your first day back. Provided you give notice and have a good reason.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby iamspen » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:00 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:It actually takes a bit more than a few unpaid days off to be fired from most jobs. Workers in anything but the most unskilled of jobs are tough to replace, even in this economy. The company probably won't fire you unless it has a large reason to.


That's of little comfort to those of us who have been stuck in the same dead-end job for two years, are still somehow classified as temporary, and receive nary a benefit (health insurance, paid leave, sick days, etc.) despite routinely working 60-plus hours and six a week.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:27 pm UTC

Have you been applying elsewhere? It's easier to find a job if you have one...

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby iamspen » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:44 pm UTC

Sure have, but it's tough to find something else for which I'm qualified (I have a pretty vast array of experience and skills, but I don't have any certificates or anything for them) that will also pay the bills. My girlfriend suggested I learn to code, but that's a pretty hefty proposition when I'm working such hours, as well as being bounced between days and nights fairly regularly.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby KrytenKoro » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:25 pm UTC

If you're working over 40 hours a week, I don't think it's legal for you to be classified as a temp. You might be being defrauded, or something, it's worth looking into the relevant statutes.
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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Lucrece » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:24 pm UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:If you're working over 40 hours a week, I don't think it's legal for you to be classified as a temp. You might be being defrauded, or something, it's worth looking into the relevant statutes.


Supervisors are in charge of reporting your hours. You could be working 42 hours, or even 40, and they'll just shave it to 39.5 and count you as temp, counting the extra as off the clock activities like closing shop or lunch breaks.

In many states, employers have more than enough ways of squeezing their employees while avoiding any obligations to them.

Some places of employments will also not pay extra if they have you work night/graveyard shifts (so you get paid the same regardless if you're working morning or afternoon vs. all nighter; which is detrimental to your health). Some places will make you work during holidays but not pay you more for it. Some places that label you as temp can have you work holidays and still have no obligation to grant you holiday/off/paid sick days.

It's nice if you've got a useful degree and manage to get into a reputable company, but what's being done to workers in the lower financial latters is complete exploitation, knowing that these people are in dead end financial scenarios and desperate to have enough to pay rent for a decent neighborhood.
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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby iamspen » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:48 pm UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:If you're working over 40 hours a week, I don't think it's legal for you to be classified as a temp. You might be being defrauded, or something, it's worth looking into the relevant statutes.


Not in Ohio, at least. I've looked up court cases involving temporary employment, and, to my dismay, temporary employment is not required to be temporary, and, so long as I'm receiving the overtime pay to which I am entitled, my employer can work me as many hours as it wants.

Bottom line: "worker's rights," is a phrase that means very little in America, which, IMHO, is entirely contradictory to the work-hard-and-be-successful mantra to which we claim to subscribe.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:29 am UTC

What I never really understood is why another company isn't able to muscle in on the exploitation. That is, you produce $5000 a month but are paid only $2000 (including stealth taxes), why can't another company steal you for $3000, then another steal you again for $3750, and so forth.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Adacore » Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:36 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:What I never really understood is why another company isn't able to muscle in on the exploitation. That is, you produce $5000 a month but are paid only $2000, why can't another company steal you for $3000, then another steal you again for $3750, and so forth.

There's lots of factors here, but one of them is that it's not like everyone gets a report from their employer saying 'your salary is X and your productivity is Y'. Most people don't know what their productivity is (most employers don't know what your productivity is), and even if they do, certainly have no solid way to convince other potential employers of it. As an employer hiring someone you can try to estimate the candidate's productivity from their experience, past work and current salary, but that doesn't even come close to giving you a specific value.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:09 am UTC

The easiest way to determine overall productivity to pay would be to compare the profit+salaries to the number of employees. Wal-Mart, for example, has $15B profit vs 2.2M employees, meaning on average the company is making $7000/yr more per employee than it pays out. Which employees is of course the $15B question. Apple makes something like $500,000 profit per employee on average*, so it would seem electronics engineers are far more exploited than stocking clerks. For reference, McDonald's makes something like $4000 per employee.

McDonald's and Wal-Mart, despite being the goto examples of shit jobs, can't really do a whole lot to muscle out other potential employers (though I'm sure we'll disagree about Wal-Mart). But electronics engineers don't have nearly as much opportunities for employment. So while Apple still has to pay their employees well, they can get away with quite a bit more exploiting than McDonald's can even if the people exploited aren't as sympathetic.

Personally I think factories should be restructured internally so that the pay is based on productivity/value of some form. For example, employee pay is equal to say, 90% of the value of goods manufactured minus amortization, raw materials, maintenance, R&D, etc etc. If only so that the unions become much more heavily focused on getting more bang for the buck rather than in competition with management over who can do the most screwing over.

*Less if you factor in the Foxconn workers, but then less for Wal-Mart if you include the people making their goods as well.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Brace » Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:32 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:The easiest way to determine overall productivity to pay would be to compare the profit+salaries to the number of employees. Wal-Mart, for example, has $15B profit vs 2.2M employees, meaning on average the company is making $7000/yr more per employee than it pays out. Which employees is of course the $15B question. Apple makes something like $500,000 profit per employee on average*, so it would seem electronics engineers are far more exploited than stocking clerks. For reference, McDonald's makes something like $4000 per employee.


Money is worth more the less you have, however.
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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:36 am UTC

Brace wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:The easiest way to determine overall productivity to pay would be to compare the profit+salaries to the number of employees. Wal-Mart, for example, has $15B profit vs 2.2M employees, meaning on average the company is making $7000/yr more per employee than it pays out. Which employees is of course the $15B question. Apple makes something like $500,000 profit per employee on average*, so it would seem electronics engineers are far more exploited than stocking clerks. For reference, McDonald's makes something like $4000 per employee.


Money is worth more the less you have, however.


That has little to do with how much the employees are being exploited, only how much 'harm' that exploitation is doing. Assuming you are referring to utility as 'worth'.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Brace » Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:46 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Brace wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:The easiest way to determine overall productivity to pay would be to compare the profit+salaries to the number of employees. Wal-Mart, for example, has $15B profit vs 2.2M employees, meaning on average the company is making $7000/yr more per employee than it pays out. Which employees is of course the $15B question. Apple makes something like $500,000 profit per employee on average*, so it would seem electronics engineers are far more exploited than stocking clerks. For reference, McDonald's makes something like $4000 per employee.


Money is worth more the less you have, however.


That has little to do with how much the employees are being exploited, only how much 'harm' that exploitation is doing. Assuming you are referring to utility as 'worth'.


I suppose. I think harm might be the best basis for defining exploitation though. Otherwise you are simply saying, somewhat arbitrarily, that it is unethical to profit from labor beyond a certain (presently undefined) extent.
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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jun 20, 2013 4:04 am UTC

I never talked about the ethics of exploitation. Just that there is more of it occurring at the high end jobs than at the shit jobs, by raw numbers and I'd imagine by percentage as well. And that the shit jobs have less exploitation because it's easier to "create" a shit job than it is to "create" a high end tech job.

For example, I can open up a Wendy's rather easily if I have just a bit of capital and know-how. But a tech company takes a lot more skill than I have. So if the labor cost was $1/day, just about everyone could open a Taco Bell or a Subway or any other shit job and make a fortune, raising the price of shit labor. But no matter what the price of cell phones are, very few people could open up 'Mom&Pop's Fones'R'Us'.
Last edited by CorruptUser on Thu Jun 20, 2013 4:12 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Brace » Thu Jun 20, 2013 4:11 am UTC

Sorry, I guess I just assumed that the pejorative nature of the term implied an ethical judgement was being made.
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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jun 20, 2013 4:16 am UTC

Oh, I have made some ethical judgments about it. I'm just more concerned with 'is' than 'ought'.

(The way the world works, not how the world 'should' be according to my own very narrow viewpoint. Personally I believe that people should be paid close to what they are worth, and that this would be better accomplished via healthy markets than via government fiat. Healthy markets requiring a lot more government oversight than most Libertarians would like in order to account for externalities, but a market nonetheless.)

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Derek » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:02 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:What I never really understood is why another company isn't able to muscle in on the exploitation. That is, you produce $5000 a month but are paid only $2000 (including stealth taxes), why can't another company steal you for $3000, then another steal you again for $3750, and so forth.

They could. The fact that they don't suggests that the labor isn't worth it. Labor is not simply worth the value of the output. It is a product like any else and it's price is determined by supply and demand.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby HungryHobo » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:56 am UTC

Brace wrote:Moving can make it impossible to keep up with schoolwork, people drop out due to harassment and abuse, and expulsions factor into the issue as well.

Those are the factors which paint those who drop out in a positive light.

There's also a fairly major "why the fuck should I do what they say, I'm my own boss now" group if those who dropped out of my old school were any indicator.
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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Brace » Thu Jun 20, 2013 1:38 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:
Brace wrote:Moving can make it impossible to keep up with schoolwork, people drop out due to harassment and abuse, and expulsions factor into the issue as well.

Those are the factors which paint those who drop out in a positive light.

There's also a fairly major "why the fuck should I do what they say, I'm my own boss now" group if those who dropped out of my old school were any indicator.


Sure. And then there's people who fall into both categories simultaneously. After all, why would you expect someone who was subjected to institutional abuse or neglect to have a good attitude about the institution in question?
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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:53 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:


Or you could look at it as you get given the financial value of the holiday and can potentially choose whether to take them - which is arguably preferable

If I don't use my allotted holidays, I can sell them back to the company for the equivalent part of my salary. That's typical for most workplaces here. The opposite is usually far harder: getting more holidays than standard in return for less pay. Even when it's possible, it typically comes with an informal but very clear slacker mark, putting you last in line for career advancement and first for downsizings.

Perhaps this works different in the US? Is it easy in American workplaces to give up pay for more holidays?


It works similarly here. Large companies, some small companies, and of course, the government, all have leave buyback programs. The exact details differ depending on the job, but they all boil down to getting paid for leave you don't take.

The reverse is fairly frequently available as leave without pay, but it also has a bit of a stigma, so it's not utilized frequently for pure vacation. If you're using it, say, in conjunction with sick leave/vacation for recovery from an illness, that's considered normal, but taking it as straight vacation on a routine basis would carry a similar slacker stigma that you see.

I agree that going by state is much more fair. Americans will frequently tell you what an awesome place such and such state is(often where they're from, naturally), but criticize other states. Really, there's a huge spread between them, and it would be a really strange metric that would label all of them awesome or crappy. Everyone's gonna have preferences.

Now, none of them are say, third world bad, but there are definitely areas that I personally wouldn't want to live in. Also, I do take issue with describing us as having no paid maternity leave. In practice, most people do get paid maternity leave. It just isn't federally mandated. Comparing actual amounts taken between countries strikes me as a better description of how good life is than comparing the laws.

And of course, saying that America sucks because we have lots of cars is just ridiculous. Us having lots of cars is a sign of wealth. It's also very convenient. Is it bad for the environment and what not? Obviously, yes. However, carbon emissions are a global thing. It doesn't mean it sucks to live here.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Belial » Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:19 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Also, I do take issue with describing us as having no paid maternity leave. In practice, most people do get paid maternity leave. It just isn't federally mandated. Comparing actual amounts taken between countries strikes me as a better description of how good life is than comparing the laws.


What the laws tell us is how our worst-treated workers are treated.

I forget who said that you can learn a lot about a society from how they treat their worst-off, but it's a fair point.
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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:58 pm UTC

Belial wrote:What the laws tell us is how our worst-treated workers are treated.

I forget who said that you can learn a lot about a society from how they treat their worst-off, but it's a fair point.


As long as there is a large amount of social mobility it's kind of irrelevant how badly treated the worst off are. It's when you have things like the law punishing an employer for so much as hiring someone with a 'violent' history that you end up with problems.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby sardia » Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:49 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Belial wrote:What the laws tell us is how our worst-treated workers are treated.

I forget who said that you can learn a lot about a society from how they treat their worst-off, but it's a fair point.


As long as there is a large amount of social mobility it's kind of irrelevant how badly treated the worst off are. It's when you have things like the law punishing an employer for so much as hiring someone with a 'violent' history that you end up with problems.

There is not much social mobility and the mobility is trending downward this generation and last. Now, that we put that to rest, do you have anything to add?

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:33 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:
Belial wrote:What the laws tell us is how our worst-treated workers are treated.

I forget who said that you can learn a lot about a society from how they treat their worst-off, but it's a fair point.


As long as there is a large amount of social mobility it's kind of irrelevant how badly treated the worst off are. It's when you have things like the law punishing an employer for so much as hiring someone with a 'violent' history that you end up with problems.

There is not much social mobility and the mobility is trending downward this generation and last. Now, that we put that to rest, do you have anything to add?


Did I disagree with you that we don't have nearly enough social mobility?

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:49 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:
Belial wrote:What the laws tell us is how our worst-treated workers are treated.

I forget who said that you can learn a lot about a society from how they treat their worst-off, but it's a fair point.


As long as there is a large amount of social mobility it's kind of irrelevant how badly treated the worst off are. It's when you have things like the law punishing an employer for so much as hiring someone with a 'violent' history that you end up with problems.

There is not much social mobility and the mobility is trending downward this generation and last. Now, that we put that to rest, do you have anything to add?


This is often overstated. Examples for this are often cherry picked, selecting whatever the least mobile quintile to quintile move is. Absolute mobility in the US shows that 68% of people end up better off than their parents, and this is, unsuprisingly, increasingly higher for lower quintiles, with the bottom quintile hitting 83%(Source: Pew Economic Mobility Project). Furthermore, this is increasing, with 67% of Americans having more mobility than their parents.

Could it be better? Sure. But in straight up "is it possible for me to get a better life than my parents had", America is pretty damned good.

What everyone usually points to is relative mobility, in which, it doesn't actually matter how well off you are, but merely how you scale in proportion to everyone else. Now, are your odds of going from dirt poor to being a millionare poor? Yes. Obviously, there just isn't a lot of millionares. If it makes you feel better, most millionares kids won't be millionares either.

In the end, the big factor for success is education. If you factor the higher odds for that out of the wealth issue, wealth really doesn't accomplish all that much at the quintile granularity.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:04 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
sardia wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:
Belial wrote:What the laws tell us is how our worst-treated workers are treated.

I forget who said that you can learn a lot about a society from how they treat their worst-off, but it's a fair point.


As long as there is a large amount of social mobility it's kind of irrelevant how badly treated the worst off are. It's when you have things like the law punishing an employer for so much as hiring someone with a 'violent' history that you end up with problems.

There is not much social mobility and the mobility is trending downward this generation and last. Now, that we put that to rest, do you have anything to add?
Did I disagree with you that we don't have nearly enough social mobility?
Implicitly, yes.

"As long as there is a large amount of idiocy coming from you blah blah blah" definitely implies that there is currently a large amount of idiocy coming from you, and that "blah blah blah" is therefore true now and will continue to be true as long as there continues to be a large amount of idiocy coming from you.
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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby addams » Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:23 am UTC

sardia wrote:Anybody notice it specifying Urban graduation rates instead of overall graduation rates? I know inner cities have terrible rates compared to the wealthier suburbs.

The Rural Poor have low rates for education, too.

The Urban people have low horizons and The Rural people have low horizons.
The Wealthy Suburban people must carry the weight for All of us?

Not only That's Not Fair. It is also Not a Good Idea.
The Wealthy Suburban people look over The Fence via internet and aspire to be Urban poor With Loads and Loads of Money.

The US is as good palace to be as any.
If this is where all the People you know and love are, then this is where you will be Happiest.

Some poor sweet person being dropped off here thinking the Streets are Lined with Gold may be disappointed.
Yes. This is a Land of Many Mansions. Yes. This is a Land of Milk and Honey. But, not for everyone.

For some this is a Land of Homeless Despair. For some this is a Land of Cheep over-processed food and not enough of that.

This is a big place and the quality of Life for the Poor has been dropping like a Rock.
The Screens tell people to be afraid. Be very afraid. So; There is very little of The Promise left.

I like this Country. I know this land about as well as anyone. I have talked to her people.
They make me laugh; They make me cry. People are like that Everywhere.

The US seems to be breaking new ground in the area of Hubris.
Some people shy away from Hubris. Never let it be said that Americans are Not Bold.

Americans Are Bold.
I swear; George W. would have walked up to a God; Looked it in The Eye and said,
"You can't Know anything I don't Know; And, I don't Know very much."

That is Bold. There is a Strong Majority that can echo him without missing a beat.

Who does not want to be Wonderfully Bold like the Americans?
Look at us on TV. We Look Wonderful!

Our Tits are Huge, Our Men are Childish and we are Like Barbie;
We Have Everything!
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Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
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Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Adacore » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:57 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:This is often overstated. Examples for this are often cherry picked, selecting whatever the least mobile quintile to quintile move is. Absolute mobility in the US shows that 68% of people end up better off than their parents, and this is, unsuprisingly, increasingly higher for lower quintiles, with the bottom quintile hitting 83%(Source: Pew Economic Mobility Project). Furthermore, this is increasing, with 67% of Americans having more mobility than their parents.

I'm not sure absolute mobility is something most people really care about when they discuss 'mobility' in general. Most people, when they discuss mobility, are talking about relative mobility*, which is, in my understanding, zero-sum, so the only way that more than half of people (two thirds in your statistics) can be better off is if a small portion of the formerly top-ranked people have plummeted to the bottom, while the majority remained fairly static. With perfect relative mobility, you'd expect everybody to be randomly distributed across the 'well off-ness' scale, so 50% of people should be better off than their parents, no? Anyway, if you're looking at relative mobility, every study I can find (although I didn't search particularly hard) indicates that it has decreased in the US (and the UK) over the last 20-30 years.

*In my understanding the psychological feeling of happiness/satisfaction with one's place in society is defined by where you rank in relation to the others in society, not some external absolute value. Absolute mobility is a good measure of how a society as a whole is doing, but to measure the effects of being born into a rich/poor family/environment you really need to look at a combination of relative mobility and overall inequality within that society.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:05 am UTC

Adacore wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:This is often overstated. Examples for this are often cherry picked, selecting whatever the least mobile quintile to quintile move is. Absolute mobility in the US shows that 68% of people end up better off than their parents, and this is, unsuprisingly, increasingly higher for lower quintiles, with the bottom quintile hitting 83%(Source: Pew Economic Mobility Project). Furthermore, this is increasing, with 67% of Americans having more mobility than their parents.


I'm not sure absolute mobility is something most people really care about when they discuss 'mobility' in general. Most people, when they discuss mobility, are talking about relative mobility*, which is, in my understanding, zero-sum, so the only way that more than half of people (two thirds in your statistics) can be better off is if a small portion of the formerly top-ranked people have plummeted to the bottom, while the majority remained fairly static. With perfect relative mobility, you'd expect everybody to be randomly distributed across the 'well off-ness' scale, so 50% of people should be better off than their parents, no? Anyway, if you're looking at relative mobility, every study I can find (although I didn't search particularly hard) indicates that it has decreased in the US (and the UK) over the last 20-30 years.


You are assuming that each set of parents has the same number of kids. Let's say there are 3 couples, one rich one middle one poor. The rich one has 4 kids, the poor one has none, and the middle has 2. The middle and rich kids stay roughly where they are. The result is now the middle kids are 'poor', and the rich kids are 'middle' and 'rich', thus 2/3 of kids do relatively worse than their parents. Flip it around, where the rich have few kids and the poor have little hordes, and most people do relatively better than their parents.

In my understanding the psychological feeling of happiness/satisfaction with one's place in society is defined by where you rank in relation to the others in society, not some external absolute value. Absolute mobility is a good measure of how a society as a whole is doing, but to measure the effects of being born into a rich/poor family/environment you really need to look at a combination of relative mobility and overall inequality within that society.


Which is an argument for segregation, at least based on wealth. You look around, see everyone is roughly the same as you, you are doing alright. Hooray for white flight! /sarcasm

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby HungryHobo » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:06 pm UTC

Brace wrote:
HungryHobo wrote:
Brace wrote:Moving can make it impossible to keep up with schoolwork, people drop out due to harassment and abuse, and expulsions factor into the issue as well.

Those are the factors which paint those who drop out in a positive light.

There's also a fairly major "why the fuck should I do what they say, I'm my own boss now" group if those who dropped out of my old school were any indicator.


Sure. And then there's people who fall into both categories simultaneously. After all, why would you expect someone who was subjected to institutional abuse or neglect to have a good attitude about the institution in question?


there can even be a very very major overlap with the group of people who make the institutions hell for everyone else around them and abuse others.

Which isn't terribly surprising since aggression, poor impulse control/a tendency to discount long term rewards(like a better job/income years down the line) vs short term rewards(fuck school, lets go have fun and burn shit by the river) is highly correlated.

Hell poor impulse control correlates with a lot of bad things:

kids who fail the marshmallow test(if you can not eat this sweet for 5 minutes you can have 2 sweets) at age 4 are in later life more likely to drop out, end up with drug problems, have lower test scores and are more likely to have conduct problem and aggression problems.

this before the school has had a chance to scar, abuse or neglect them.
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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Brace » Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:17 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:
Brace wrote:
HungryHobo wrote:
Brace wrote:Moving can make it impossible to keep up with schoolwork, people drop out due to harassment and abuse, and expulsions factor into the issue as well.

Those are the factors which paint those who drop out in a positive light.

There's also a fairly major "why the fuck should I do what they say, I'm my own boss now" group if those who dropped out of my old school were any indicator.


Sure. And then there's people who fall into both categories simultaneously. After all, why would you expect someone who was subjected to institutional abuse or neglect to have a good attitude about the institution in question?


there can even be a very very major overlap with the group of people who make the institutions hell for everyone else around them and abuse others.

Which isn't terribly surprising since aggression, poor impulse control/a tendency to discount long term rewards(like a better job/income years down the line) vs short term rewards(fuck school, lets go have fun and burn shit by the river) is highly correlated.

Hell poor impulse control correlates with a lot of bad things:

kids who fail the marshmallow test(if you can not eat this sweet for 5 minutes you can have 2 sweets) at age 4 are in later life more likely to drop out, end up with drug problems, have lower test scores and are more likely to have conduct problem and aggression problems.

this before the school has had a chance to scar, abuse or neglect them.


That's fair, although in practice you can get away with being a bully if you bully the right people in the right way. People like gang members and other juvenile delinquents fit the category you're describing. In essence people find themselves leaving school ahead of schedule if they're disruptive in some way. Hurting people, even in extreme and obvious ways, isn't necessarily disruptive, and things which aren't harmful at all are often extremely disruptive. That's why victims of rape and assault can be socially shamed to the point where they have to leave school, while someone like Mitt Romney can become a wealthy businessman, a fairly successful politician, and a presidential candidate.

Just to really drive the point home, here is a quote from the article:

He told the Post that he wondered if they’d get in trouble. They didn’t; nor did Romney when another student thought to be gay spoke in class and he called out, “Atta Girl!” Lauber, however [the gay teen who was assaulted], was kicked out of Cranbrook, a private all-boys boarding and day school, when someone saw him smoking a cigarette, alone.
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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby addams » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:05 am UTC

Brace wrote:
HungryHobo wrote:
Brace wrote:
HungryHobo wrote:
Brace wrote:Moving can make it impossible to keep up with schoolwork, people drop out due to harassment and abuse, and expulsions factor into the issue as well.

Those are the factors which paint those who drop out in a positive light.

There's also a fairly major "why the fuck should I do what they say, I'm my own boss now" group if those who dropped out of my old school were any indicator.


Sure. And then there's people who fall into both categories simultaneously. After all, why would you expect someone who was subjected to institutional abuse or neglect to have a good attitude about the institution in question?


there can even be a very very major overlap with the group of people who make the institutions hell for everyone else around them and abuse others.

Which isn't terribly surprising since aggression, poor impulse control/a tendency to discount long term rewards(like a better job/income years down the line) vs short term rewards(fuck school, lets go have fun and burn shit by the river) is highly correlated.

Hell poor impulse control correlates with a lot of bad things:

kids who fail the marshmallow test(if you can not eat this sweet for 5 minutes you can have 2 sweets) at age 4 are in later life more likely to drop out, end up with drug problems, have lower test scores and are more likely to have conduct problem and aggression problems.

this before the school has had a chance to scar, abuse or neglect them.


That's fair, although in practice you can get away with being a bully if you bully the right people in the right way. People like gang members and other juvenile delinquents fit the category you're describing. In essence people find themselves leaving school ahead of schedule if they're disruptive in some way. Hurting people, even in extreme and obvious ways, isn't necessarily disruptive, and things which aren't harmful at all are often extremely disruptive. That's why victims of rape and assault can be socially shamed to the point where they have to leave school, while someone like Mitt Romney can become a wealthy businessman, a fairly successful politician, and a presidential candidate.

Just to really drive the point home, here is a quote from the article:

He told the Post that he wondered if they’d get in trouble. They didn’t; nor did Romney when another student thought to be gay spoke in class and he called out, “Atta Girl!” Lauber, however [the gay teen who was assaulted], was kicked out of Cranbrook, a private all-boys boarding and day school, when someone saw him smoking a cigarette, alone.

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Were we Ever any better than that?
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I went to a Mob on Purpose.

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I gave my support to The Mob.

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Very few of us would have remained if we were doing That Task Alone.
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It was fun. One time we got naked and lay down in wet cold Grass.
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One time we walked as a Group Through a Town. Then we had Tea.
Another time we stood around feeling awkward For an Hour. Then we had Tea.

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He was roughed up too.

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He was a little angry that we laughed.
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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:31 pm UTC

Adacore wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:This is often overstated. Examples for this are often cherry picked, selecting whatever the least mobile quintile to quintile move is. Absolute mobility in the US shows that 68% of people end up better off than their parents, and this is, unsuprisingly, increasingly higher for lower quintiles, with the bottom quintile hitting 83%(Source: Pew Economic Mobility Project). Furthermore, this is increasing, with 67% of Americans having more mobility than their parents.

I'm not sure absolute mobility is something most people really care about when they discuss 'mobility' in general. Most people, when they discuss mobility, are talking about relative mobility*, which is, in my understanding, zero-sum, so the only way that more than half of people (two thirds in your statistics) can be better off is if a small portion of the formerly top-ranked people have plummeted to the bottom, while the majority remained fairly static. With perfect relative mobility, you'd expect everybody to be randomly distributed across the 'well off-ness' scale, so 50% of people should be better off than their parents, no? Anyway, if you're looking at relative mobility, every study I can find (although I didn't search particularly hard) indicates that it has decreased in the US (and the UK) over the last 20-30 years.

*In my understanding the psychological feeling of happiness/satisfaction with one's place in society is defined by where you rank in relation to the others in society, not some external absolute value. Absolute mobility is a good measure of how a society as a whole is doing, but to measure the effects of being born into a rich/poor family/environment you really need to look at a combination of relative mobility and overall inequality within that society.


People usually simply describe it as "mobility", describing it using the effects of absolute mobility, while using statistics from relative mobility. This is not valid.

For instance, relative mobility does not describe if you are better off than your parents. It only describes how well off you are in relationship to the rest of society. Overall changes in wealth in a society mean that relative mobility and absolute mobility match only when the economy is perfectly stagnant.

In terms of the standard quintile scale, one would expect that if it was perfectly mobile, with all wealth being assigned by random chance, then to parents of a given quintile, their children will have a 20% chance of being in any given quintile, including the same one as their parents. In practice, it's about 39%. So, while there's a skew....it's pretty damned close to the exact same skew provided by education, and the educational achievements of each quintile. In other words, money is not being distributed randomly in our society, it's being distributed on the basis of education.

I can't imagine why the random way would be considered better.

Now, this could be used as an excellent argument for improvement of our educational system. No argument there. Still, our educational system isn't that horrible. It could be better, but pretty much everyone accepts that, so it's not really overrated. I see people taking shots at "students don't even know basic fact x" all the time.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Vash » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:08 pm UTC

Regarding the graphs themselves:
The first graph is basically a political opinion made into a graph. The second is similar, because it does not look at the actual situation of maternity leave. It just looks at the law. Also, since it is about law, it's not showing a trend. The third chart chooses deaths from assault and says it is a measure of violence. First of all, not all assault will result in death. Second of all, not all violent acts will be counted as assault. Looking at a broader range of statistics would be more useful. The fourth chart is reasonable, and the point they make is kind of reasonable, although citing one group does not really make the claim absolute. Very little evidence provided to support that point about costs and waste. The fifth graph says nothing in particular about "gas guzzlers," but is misrepresented as solely pertaining to that. It's also not as reasonable a political opinion. The reason Americans like cars is assumed to be very subjective. The reality is that Americans probably like cars because they fit the landscape better. The US is pretty spread out, for the most part. The sixth graph is like the second. The last graph is a good graph. I think the political/philosophical point for that graph is much more subjective, although I support it.

As for the discussion on leave/vacation in the US, it's true that there are state laws, and also true that a lack of federal protection means that not everyone in the US is protected. Nonetheless, it would have been more useful if they had graphed real trends or at least considered another statistic that took state law into effect.

If someone actually bothered, I bet they could create graphs that make basically the opposite case about the US. This is just an extension of the current liberal trend of selective, biased choosing of statistics (or in some cases, things that aren't really even statistics, but basically have a front that makes them appear to be statistics) that make the US look bad. I am not impressed. Without a serious evaluation, I can't really be sure what the overall picture is. I don't necessarily disagree with some of the individual points, though. Also, when talking about the value of a society, we are getting into a number of things that cannot actually be measured.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Adacore » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:39 pm UTC

Well, on the subject of graphs showing things potentially relevant to the quality of life in various countries, how about this selection of maps from the BBC on things that affect children across the world? I think there's less overt bias there, although they obviously still select the graphs they do in order to show things that may be surprising, which does impart some bias I suppose.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:49 pm UTC

Again, it varies wildly from state to state, and more importantly, the laws themselves are not metrics of results.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Adacore » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:54 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Again, it varies wildly from state to state, and more importantly, the laws themselves are not metrics of results.

Yeah, I guess the opinion of most of the world is that if some important right is not enforced by a law, it will inevitably be denied in some cases. America tends to value personal (and corporate) freedom from restrictions more than personal rights, relative to the rest of the world, which is why they tend to come out looking a little worse than other western countries in such comparisons.

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Re: 7 graphs that prove America is overrated.

Postby Diadem » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:14 am UTC

Adacore wrote:Well, on the subject of graphs showing things potentially relevant to the quality of life in various countries, how about this selection of maps from the BBC on things that affect children across the world? I think there's less overt bias there, although they obviously still select the graphs they do in order to show things that may be surprising, which does impart some bias I suppose.

I'm a bit confused by some of their graphs. The third graph talks about "Do constitutions guarantee the right of children with disabilities". A weird statistic. A country that guarantees rights for all children would score badly because it would have no specific provisions for children with disabilities. Countries that just have ordinary laws would also score badly. Strange enough, the UK, which doesn't even have a constitution, scores 'yes'. Also on 'legal age to buy alcohol' they suddenly inverted the colours, making more liberal countries red and more conservative countries blue instead of the other way around like in all other graphs. Another graph is 'Do constitutions protect against discrimination in work based on ethnicity'. Apart from this having nothing to do with children, this is a weird question. Almost every single country in the world scores a 'no', which is no surprise, since such provisions are not supposed to be in a constitution. A constitution is about what government can and can't do. Provisions about companies ought to go in normal laws.

Still interesting though.

I am saddened to see my own country being a negative outlier on many of those graphs, compared to its neighbors. I knew we weren't doing too great on this subject, but I did not realize we were doing this poorly compared to the rest of Western Europe.
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