Posts Tagged ‘Income Inequality’

STEM career viability in a winner-take-all society…

March 29, 2014

Working World Bell JarIn a previous post regarding STEM career viability I promised more installments on my own personal journey as a biomedical scientist.   But we are going to take a brief detour from academic biomedical research and biotech and make a brief stop in Silicon Valley.  The reason for this is to highlight some basic meat and potatoes compensation issues that are trending through many, if not most STEM career tracks.

Yves Smith of Naked Captialism just posted a blog on the justice department response to a massive wage suppression (price-fixing)  conspiracy that has ensnared the likes of Apple, Google, Dell, Dreamworks, Comcast – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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Of shareholder profits, leveraged buyouts and “crapification”…

February 21, 2014

Two recent articles caught my eye and relating to what I call the STEM conundrum.  In a country that has been wringing their hands over a supposed STEM crisis, we find that Facebook – perhaps the ultimate employer of a geeks in the US is switching its focus from development to acquiring sales staff!

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When the wealth of a few jeopardizes the security of the many…

January 29, 2014

Raspberry & Mandarin cheesecakeThe President is making his State of the union address tonight. We have been told to look forward to a speech dominated by issue of “income inequality”.   A divisive issue – most certainly, but timely and long overdue as the centerpiece of  domestic policy.

In a recent column in the New York Times (The Inequality Problem)  David Brooks  indicated that targeting the obscene wealth of the top 1% might be a moot point since the wealth at the top, though massively higher than it was in the past, is not making the rest of the world poorer.  To that assumption, the most polite thing I can think to say is “horse hockey!”

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Six years into the great recession and…”We are not OK….”

January 7, 2014

Income inequality, the wealth gap, call it what you will, the problem is very real and is literally shredding the fabric of the  middle and working classes.  Progressives have coined the phrase “income inequality” to describe this destructive force.

Without trying to parse words too much, I think “wealth inequality would be a more comprehensive  definition of what is actually happening.  Either way neither description has that sound-bite “pop” that would capture the essence of this national tragedy.   Neither can come close to “class warfare”  which the republicans and tea baggers had the audacity to latch onto. Admittedly it was a brilliant stroke of political spin. They brazenly managed to take ownership of “class warfare” while they were launching  full scale nuclear Armageddon on the middle and working classes.

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Swapping experience for money – when working unpaid becomes the new normal…

June 20, 2013

When I was in my teens someone gave me a poster with a picture of a rather frustrated looking panda bear.  The caption read “Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want”.  True enough, when I was in high school and college I would seek out part time work that paid some money.  But in the early 80s   interest rates were sky high and inflation was up there right there along with it.  Paid work could not always be found.  However, we could get “experience” by volunteering or creating an internship.  Back then, unpaid internships existed but they they were self-limiting, did not serve to “replace” actual  paid employees.   The duration was limited to a semester or a summer.  Students got  “experience” at a level that they could not obtain if they were compensated. This was particularly true of internships in research labs.

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Innovation with a little “i” is booming but we probably need bigger government for big problems…

June 8, 2013

“Yes! There’s an app for that!”  Too bad if its an app for trying to find  single men between the ages of 40 -50 in a 3 block radius when what you really need is an app for finding affordable health insurance after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer.  The dichotomy between the apparent collapse of real deal innovation and the explosion of useless “fluff” apps was brought to vivid life by C.Z. Nnaemeka  in the “The Unexotic Underclass” in the MIT Entrepreneurship Review.  It is a great article worth the read and don’t forget the comment thread.

Truth be told, the author was preaching to the choir as far as I was concerned.  I mentioned this in previous blogs about little “i” innovation outpacing big “I” innovation at an alarming pace.  America has big yawning problems with a dearth of solutions, yet there is app after app, and product after product for the trivial and irrelevant.  We have iPhones, iPhone apps, iPads, and even iShares to help you make a killing in the market.  We have apps to find the perfect restaurant, apps for train schedules.  VC flows freely into these ventures while the purse strings remain tightly closed for the big issues such as climate change, income inequality, or our apparent inability to keep Americas roads and bridges from collapsing.

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Deflation and wage stagnation – a red herring?

June 23, 2011

Lately I’ve been hearing an alarming number of pundits suggest that the reason for wage stagnation is the lack of inflation and the actually presence of deflation in the economy.  Inflation – so the argument goes – would have the laudatory effect of exert pressure on the private sector to raise wages.

Really? Seriously???? What are you smoking?

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Income Inequality vs the middle class Pac Man analogy…

March 24, 2011

In the wake of the Wisconsin protests that seem to have spread across the rust belt – there appears to be a glimmer of hope that the  public has finally awakened from their stupor of complacency.

This is in part happening because the props holding up the middle class have been knocked out from under them.  Easy access to credit – GONE!  How about cashing out some of the untapped equity in your home? You’ve gotta be kidding me – WHAT equity?
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