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Comments on Wednesday 22 January 2003:
Further thought on the subject of affirmative action. Those institutions that give bonus points for being a minority; how would people feel about that if it weren't "+20 for being a minority" but rather "-20 for being a caucasian male"? I don't think many would think that sounds fair, but in effect it's exactly the same thing, since the scores are purely relative and non-proportional. [06:55]

Tom
The set of 'a minority' is probably larger than that of 'a caucasian male', which of course creates an interesting irony. So, it's not exactly the same thing. You're taking away points from a smaller group of people than you would be giving them to, thus discriminating against a smaller number of people. Discriminating against small numbers of people is the sort of thing that doesn't sound fair to most. You have to discriminate against large numbers of people to be fair.

Yes, this is a rather proportional argument. The fact that the individual scores aren't proportional has little to do with whether people see them as fair.

Personally, I don't think there is a fair way of allocating points.

Digi
I think there is - merit.

RavenBlack
Mm, I think Tom meant there's no fair way of measuring merit. Absolute high school grades aren't fair since you might have gone to a crap school. Relative high school grades aren't fair since you might have been in a class composed entirely of retards. IQ tests don't show much. There was a device that gave, apparently, fairly reliable intelligence-measurements based on sticking electrodes to your head, but it was deprecated because the results it gave were 'racist'.

Digi
The ability to do ones job, in most cases, has little to do with intelligence or other academic aptitude, so allocating points on that basis isn't the be all and end all of allocating points that tell an employer whether he should employ you or not.

In some jobs stats speak for themselves, sportsmen, city traders, etc. Other jobs, stats are still important, such as my job (tech support for an isp), but other things are important too, attendance for example, or how well I get on with other employees. These things can be judged and converted in to points, but I certainly didn't think anyone was being literal when speaking of 'employment points'.

Confusion may have arisen from my using of the wrong word. 'Aptitude' would have been a better choice. In almost all jobs the sole criterion of an employer should be 'Amount of money this potential employee would make for the company' (apart from in situations where money is not the primary aim of the organisation, in which case other criteria should be applied).

For example, if I owned a petrol station in Nazi Germany, I wouldn't consider employing a Jewish attendant, no matter how great he was at his job. Not because I'm racist, but because he would cause me to loose money by forcing me to replace the windows every day.

Whatever the ensemble word for this is, if not aptitude, or merit (which I was using synonymously, and probably incorrectly), is what I think employability for a certain job should be scored on.

As for government-enforced rules on employment, I think there should be only be two:

1. "Privately owned companies can choose who ever they like for whatever reason they like."

2. "This must not infringe on any other laws." (Otherwise people would be hiring illegal immigrants and stuff).

Getting unpopular minorities (not all are, attractive lesbians – very rare, very popular) to join in is fine. But moping up the puddle instead of fixing the leak clearly won’t work.

Tom
Problem is that aptiitude to do the job, in the sense you seem to be using - i.e. potential income generated by an employee - isn't really something you can adequately measure before the job has been done. Your examples tend to indictate this:

Stats, attendance, how well you get on with other employees: you can only measure these things usefully by employing somebody and seeing how they turn out. I don't think there's any very usable way of measuring exactly how well somebody will do at a job until they've actually done it. You can make a guess based on previous performance in similar jobs, training, general personality displayed in an interview etc, but this doesn't necessarily give you an idea of how much income each potential applicant will create - to be somewhat trite, somebody straight out of high school could come up with a revolutionary idea that doubles your profit, while somebody with 30 years in the industry may just keep on doing things the same old way.

I rather fancy a first in system. First to apply (shows initiative at least) with a minimum set of skills gets the job for two weeks on a trial basis. If they don't work out, call the second applicant and so on. In the end you'll have somebody who's demonstrated that they can actually do the job and increase your profit as opposed to somebody who's just demonstrated that they might be able to do the job.

Wouldn't work of course, but it's an interesting idea. I don't think it's possible to fully test aptitude before somebody has been given a chance to do the job. Which makes additional points for minorities make a sort of sense from the point of view of social stability.

If you'll let me take it as a given that there's no very good way of measuring merit/aptitude/whatever - you can't really tell before employing somebody how much they will increase/decrease your profit - then you may as well look at other reasons for employing somebody. Increasing the minority employment rate is likely to also lower the gap between the rich and the poor. Most viole

Tom
nt uprisings, riots etc seem to happen because there is a large gap between the rich and the poor. If every group in your society, as a group, is getting roughly the same amount of income, you're much less likely to have a revolution. So, it makes sense that if you want to increase the stability of your society, you should increase the minority employment rate. Giving points to minorities is one way of doing this.

Digi
On the subject of 'meritude' of course, you can never judge it correctly. Or rather you can never calculate it correctly and be sure you have it right. What you can do is be good at judging prospective employees and get a fair idea of whether they'll be good or not. You may get it wrong, but you'll probably get it right. Besides, it's not for you or I to set laws on who should employ whom. However it is our place to *suggest* what might be the best way to make money (the only goal of almost all companies). If someone doesn't want to use my suggested criterion for their choice of employees, fine, I neither mind nor care.
The point I was labouring is that it should be their choice. It's their company, they built/bought it. I don't expect the government to tell me how I should or shouldn't let into my house. If I wake up tomorrow with a sudden fear and loathing of black people, I shan't be speaking to some of my friends anymore, and I won't be letting them into my home, because it's MY home. My reasons may be vile, but they are MY reasons. (Flame prevention: I've got nothing against black people - they make some of the finest green in the world).
The principal is the same when it comes to ‘men only’ clubs in this country. Dozens of women are suing ‘men only’ clubs for not letting women in. Maybe I should sue Manchester United FC for not letting me play on their team on the grounds that they discriminate against the crap-at-football. Or how about saying, “Chess clubs should also discuss poetry”. It’s their club, why should they? Maybe that’s just not the kind of club they want to have?
Maybe that’s just not the kind of company Johnny Racist BSc Hons wants to run? If customers have objections to this, don’t shop RacistMart. If employees have objections to this, don’t go work there. Besides, do you really want to work at place where everyone hates you, and resents the way you got the job? I guess this boils down to my opinion that &#822

Digi
On the subject of social inclusion; yes it’s important, and by most’s standards very important. On a global scale, the west’s cultural, religious, and language differences with the middle east are looking like they might well cause the end of the world and all that jazz. I think it would be nice to have the Arab world with us westerners (because I don’t want to go to war, and die), Tom probably agrees (on similar grounds), Raven also… actually no, he’ll appreciate the extra corpses. But if there are people who don’t agree and want to opt out of any kind of solution making, fine.

A parallel can be drawn between that and the situation in American cities. Rich white people don’t get on with poor black people. Poor black people get pissed off and steal cars, rich white people don’t give them jobs, and pass laws that fuck up the poor peoples lives. It would be nice if it was otherwise, and efforts should be made to turn it around. So the government goes knocking on employers doors and says “We’ve got a bad situation here, your now going to be an instrument of our solution whether you like it or not, and we’ll be giving you nothing for it.”. Wouldn’t making unemployable minorities more employable (whatever that might mean) be a much better solution than *forcing* employers to employ them as they are? Or how about, “We’d really like you to give this guy a go, we know you wouldn’t normally employ him, be we will pay for any lost earnings, and give you $10,000 dollars and a cookie. It’s up to you.” That may well be not possible, but bottom line, if someone doesn’t want to take any part in social inclusion, it’s there choice, we shouldn’t make them.

Ceres: Y'us is talking about how the actions of people like y'you has completely y'fucked up the employment system.

Digi
That's completely illegible, IE is gay.

RavenBlack
(Note: Digi's response to Ceres appears to make no sense simply because I deleted all blog comments posted by Ceres, what with him (?) being a stupid person pretending to be an even stupider person. I also deleted most of the comments that were a direct response to the baiting, but this one had other content.)
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