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Thread: Value of work (thread split)

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    Default Value of work (thread split)

    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    Exactly.

    I feel exactly the same way. In my job now, I get in trouble with management if I suggest something too far out of the box of what they are expecting or thinking. And if it's actually a better idea, and they realize it - then I get put down on purpose. They feel bad because they weren't the ones who came up with the idea. Corporations are filled with people with fragile self-images and self-esteems.

    It really is like the childhood playground all over again. The one with the best ideas might not be the one with the most power. Rights/territories/power/responsibilities are all argued over. I hate corporate politics with a fucking passion.

    I've learned if you want your ideas to be implemented, you need to develop some level of people-skills and respect for authority. You have to play the game if you want to move up in the corporate world. I know a fellow ILE at my work who did this with some success. He was able to get promoted to manager after a few years, and then he was given more freedom to be a bit creative in his ideas with what worked more efficiently.

    It's a moot point though. I'm actually working on developing a theory, that most corporations or gathering of people/employees end up largely inefficient and unworthwhile - the Jamestown Colony effect. People become complacent when they feel that others will assist them in their own work, and then they slack off. Captain John Smith came in and said, "If you don't work, you don't eat." Then he had people attend their own crops on the farms, and wouldn't allow any sharing. This motivated everyone to work harder to survive. That's why Jamestown was one of the few colonies that survived, and didn't starve to death. It's an extremely important example in economics. I personally think most corporations would run much more efficiently if a 'Captain John Smith' rule were implemented - something along the lines of - every person gets paid by commission or how much work they get done - not a flat hourly rate, not a guaranteed salary - but by how much work they get done. Have different & fair measurables in all departments. But pay people by the work that gets done. THAT would motivate people to actually WORK, and not play so much corporate politics. Then you would have much less of these flimsy, butt-hurt little corporate power-playing bitches getting their egos bruised every time someone smarter or harder-working suggests a better idea. Or better yet - the person with the better idea(s) uses them and simply wins and gets paid more.
    It isn't possible to pay everybody by commission because there is no way of determining the value of their work, because it often does not translate directly into cash flow. In fact, sometimes doing your job better is something that loses the company money in the short-run, and is only quantifiable by projection, which can be done, but will probably only be very roughly correct, and probably involve hiring expensive people to estimate this(well, based on the division of powers I've seen in the place I work, everything is so sales-oriented virtually nothing else can get done and expect to have any sort of systematic backing). So, this is not realistic for every company, but for larger(or higher profit) companies I could see it happening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    False.

    In nearly every business organization, you can still measure the quantity of work someone has done. You can break their job up into tiny little measurables and deliverables and micromanagement is a real possibility. Employees won't like this, but that's not the point, The point is to get the work done. If you work hard, and get more done, then one should be paid more.

    Also the line,"sometimes doing your job better is something that loses the company money in the short-run" sounds completely fucking stupid, in my humble opinion. Are you trying to justify your laziness?
    Again...you cannot measure their final value. If you do want a company to stagnate, doing it the way you've said is an EXCELLENT way to accomplish this. Companies succeed when their members work together, share information, and take up the impact of decisions as a group.

    For the second point...have you ever heard of this thing called a long-term project?

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    i don't really value corporate work... they don't need more help killing people's souls and destroying the world. all they want is mindless drones... an army of people to get a select few more $. (not all corporations are terrible though, just probably most of them.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    Lol



    What do you do for a living, ouronis? Make faerie pixie dust? I guarantee you you're not from the New York/NJ/eastern PA area, or have ever worked in sales or cold-calling, that's for sure.



    Yes. My point still stands. Nice attempt at sidestepping though. Even in long-term projects, one can measure the final results as well as what each member brought to the table along the way.

    It's ok if you're an idealistic socialist. Maybe you can work for a company that allows recess and naptime. That should help foster a playful environment of people working together. Disregard measuring their value at all.
    Well, you've just established yourself as a dumbfuck. How does it feel to be a dumbfuck, dumbfuck?

    I would bother responding to you if it didn't feel like I was talking to a 3 year old.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    Ironically, that is the most 3-year old like-sounding insult I think I've heard so far in 2015. Good job with the name-calling and strategic use of the word 'dumbfuck', 3 times in 2 sentences. Your momma must be proud. Yes, better to just ignore me when I make a better argument, if that will help your little ego feel better. How dare someone suggest that people's work has actual value that could be assigned to it to incentivize them to work harder. Complete blasphemy.
    Get a little bit of nuance in your life ok? Better yet, do some research.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    Great comeback, yet again. Yes, I will do some research so that I won't be a dumbfuck. You are so smart, ouronis. Listening to you is a productive use of my time.
    Good. Once you do, I'm sure you'll be prepared to make better, more informed decisions in the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    I sincerely hope so. Hopefully I can be as wise as you one day, up to your level. I'm sorry I suggested people's work could have value assigned to it, even those who don't directly translate to the bottom line. I don't know what got into me there. My argument and metaphor of the economics of the Jamestown colony was very poorly researched, compared to your absolute statements and general correctness.
    True, perhaps you will then understand how organizations should be properly incentivized, and that hourly work is the best and fairest method for most non-immediately-metricized employees, and that your past experiences are biasing you to an idiotic extent. Perhaps then you will learn to stop normalizing taking it up the ass.

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    Yay system designing! The sentiment is good, correct incentives will change people's actions so they can maximise their return.

    Indeed, this is why senior management is sometimes paid in shares of the company and by get bonuses according to the share price: What people want is the business to make profits. Senior management is making the big decisions which will impact the business's profits. If profits are good, then the company's shares go up and senior management get money. Incentives all align and it's great.

    This also happens at the lowest level, where it's easy to track people's performance and easy to hold them accountable. In electronics stores people are paid by commission: What the business wants is more sales. Salespeople can generally try harder to secure more sales. If they sell more, they get more money. Yay incentives.

    Issues can happen where you use the wrong metric, where you want people to innovate, where it can be costly or not-time-appropriate to measure or where people don't have the power. Considering each individually:

    If you use the wrong metric, then you're creating this perverse incentive for people to do the wrong thing.
    What if you're a banker and you need to approve home loans according to whether the person will be able to pay: What is the appropriate metric? You could say number of loans approved, but that creates a perverse incentive for people to approve all the dodgy loans.
    The reason there is such a big backlash against using standardised testing in education is because it means teachers will:
    • be incentivised to cheat for their students;
    • be incentivised to only want to take the best students and not teach "unprofitable" classes with worse students; and
    • be incentivised to not focus on a child's development, their social skills, their psychological well-being, etc. because it's not measured.
    There's a similar issue in the healthcare industry: Tying doctor's pay to hospital profits may incentivise them to only accept the wealthy patients who will pay large bills.

    If you want people to innovate, then it's hard to demand because innovation comes from lots of places. If people are being told to focus on a specific task because that's how they get paid, then the rational thing is for that person to purely focus on that and not try to improve things or solve bigger problems. In some cases, having a metric of "how many new ideas" might work, but that doesn't ensure quality. In some cases, having a metric of "how much money did your profits gain" might work, but often it runs into our next issue. If what was needed to be done is obvious that it can be metric-afied, it probably doesn't cover innovation or problem-solving.

    If it is costly or not-time-appropriate to measure.
    Firstly, if it's not time appropriate: as I was saying about innovation, the pipeline for innovation can take ages because of the trial and error that comes along with it. Also applicable if you were, say, the manager who decides where and when to build new factories. It is hard to create a metric around this because it would imply needing to hold off on paying the manager until the factory has been built, which can take ages.
    Secondly. it can also be costly to measure. This is why the NFP is sometimes slammed for being inefficient. It is costly to measure the impact someone working for a non-for-profit has had on a community. If you were leading a project to bring education to a community, the pay-off not come for a long time (not-time-appropriate) it would also be hard to measure. So far many NFPs use process-measures (e.g. how many schools did we put up), but that creates a perverse incentive where NFPs put up a lot of schools... but that might not be what the community needs.

    Finally, the big one is that it's often not equitable. Often people don't actually have much power to influence things, and sometimes that can be a huge issue. My friends who work in retail have quit when paid by commission because the sheer number of customers coming into the store is too low for it to be profitable. Bankers can't decide how many credit-worthy borrowers come to see them. Teachers and doctors aren't miracle workers, so if someone is deathly stupid or sick there's only so much they can do. Innovators can spend a lot of time working on something, and then it just doesn't work out. It's often unfair to tie people's pay to outcomes, because the outcomes aren't always a direct function of the worker's inputs.

    Two more thoughts:

    1. People also lie. A great example where people were held accountable (and fired if they didn't make standards) was at Enron. Everyone just lied about their results so they would get more pay, and in the end management was being fed false information.

    2. System's not perfect but an entire area of HR is dedicated to correct incentives so I'm sure there's something behind it. Have you read about Google's rule to Pay Unfairly and they've also written a new book about it (and other stuff) their HR book?
    Warm Regards,



    Clowns & Entropy

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    Quote Originally Posted by ClownsandEntropy View Post
    Yay system designing! The sentiment is good, correct incentives will change people's actions so they can maximise their return.

    Indeed, this is why senior management is sometimes paid in shares of the company and by get bonuses according to the share price: What people want is the business to make profits. Senior management is making the big decisions which will impact the business's profits. If profits are good, then the company's shares go up and senior management get money. Incentives all align and it's great.

    This also happens at the lowest level, where it's easy to track people's performance and easy to hold them accountable. In electronics stores people are paid by commission: What the business wants is more sales. Salespeople can generally try harder to secure more sales. If they sell more, they get more money. Yay incentives.

    Issues can happen where you use the wrong metric, where you want people to innovate, where it can be costly or not-time-appropriate to measure or where people don't have the power. Considering each individually:

    If you use the wrong metric, then you're creating this perverse incentive for people to do the wrong thing.
    What if you're a banker and you need to approve home loans according to whether the person will be able to pay: What is the appropriate metric? You could say number of loans approved, but that creates a perverse incentive for people to approve all the dodgy loans.
    The reason there is such a big backlash against using standardised testing in education is because it means teachers will:
    • be incentivised to cheat for their students;
    • be incentivised to only want to take the best students and not teach "unprofitable" classes with worse students; and
    • be incentivised to not focus on a child's development, their social skills, their psychological well-being, etc. because it's not measured.

    There's a similar issue in the healthcare industry: Tying doctor's pay to hospital profits may incentivise them to only accept the wealthy patients who will pay large bills.

    If you want people to innovate, then it's hard to demand because innovation comes from lots of places. If people are being told to focus on a specific task because that's how they get paid, then the rational thing is for that person to purely focus on that and not try to improve things or solve bigger problems. In some cases, having a metric of "how many new ideas" might work, but that doesn't ensure quality. In some cases, having a metric of "how much money did your profits gain" might work, but often it runs into our next issue. If what was needed to be done is obvious that it can be metric-afied, it probably doesn't cover innovation or problem-solving.

    If it is costly or not-time-appropriate to measure.
    Firstly, if it's not time appropriate: as I was saying about innovation, the pipeline for innovation can take ages because of the trial and error that comes along with it. Also applicable if you were, say, the manager who decides where and when to build new factories. It is hard to create a metric around this because it would imply needing to hold off on paying the manager until the factory has been built, which can take ages.
    Secondly. it can also be costly to measure. This is why the NFP is sometimes slammed for being inefficient. It is costly to measure the impact someone working for a non-for-profit has had on a community. If you were leading a project to bring education to a community, the pay-off not come for a long time (not-time-appropriate) it would also be hard to measure. So far many NFPs use process-measures (e.g. how many schools did we put up), but that creates a perverse incentive where NFPs put up a lot of schools... but that might not be what the community needs.

    Finally, the big one is that it's often not equitable. Often people don't actually have much power to influence things, and sometimes that can be a huge issue. My friends who work in retail have quit when paid by commission because the sheer number of customers coming into the store is too low for it to be profitable. Bankers can't decide how many credit-worthy borrowers come to see them. Teachers and doctors aren't miracle workers, so if someone is deathly stupid or sick there's only so much they can do. Innovators can spend a lot of time working on something, and then it just doesn't work out. It's often unfair to tie people's pay to outcomes, because the outcomes aren't always a direct function of the worker's inputs.

    Two more thoughts:

    1. People also lie. A great example where people were held accountable (and fired if they didn't make standards) was at Enron. Everyone just lied about their results so they would get more pay, and in the end management was being fed false information.

    2. System's not perfect but an entire area of HR is dedicated to correct incentives so I'm sure there's something behind it. Have you read about Google's rule to Pay Unfairly and they've also written a new book about it (and other stuff) their HR book?
    You didn't have to be so polite about it, I was having fun calling him names.

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    Haha nah this is a great topic. In principle adding incentives everywhere should improve behaviour but implementing that is hard, I'd love to discuss it.
    Warm Regards,



    Clowns & Entropy

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    It is really silly to think that you can assign an absolute value to work.


    On a simple level, where the results of a person's work can be easily measured (for example, when that person is making pins), the value of a pin maker's work depends entirely on how much a pin buyer values pins. It could be a little, or a lot. It depends on how badly you want a pin. The market for pins may be stable enough to predict a price point at which pins can be produced profitably, but that really says nothing about the absolute value of the work. It only says that there is a market for pins.


    In the case of more complex work, it is even harder to determine the value of work. For example, a company has been doing very well producing a drug that delays the onset of diabetes, and a company chemist has accidentally discovered another drug that prevents people from contracting measles in 93.4% of cases, and has unpleasant side effects (read, legal problems) in 2% of the cases but unfailingly halts hair loss in post-menopausal women, but the company cannot raise enough capital to produce both drugs, should the company retool their production to the new drug or stick with the old drug? Should the person making the above decision be rewarded with a flat fee, or with a percentage of the profits, and will they suffer any losses if the company bets wrong and goes bankrupt and everyone loses their jobs? Or is everyone in this together, and therefore the person making the above decision should be paid a standard salary, like everyone else who has joined his or her fate to this enterprise? You tell me how to value that person's work.


    How people's work is valued has a large effect on the kind of society we live in. If we pay a few people a lot who have managed to corner the market on some product or service through legal or political means, then we just encourage more of this kind of behavior, and ultimately, this is not good, because we will end up in a toll booth society, where every person who lives next to a road sets up a toll booth. We are seeing more of this, and as a result, we are also seeing the quality of life for most people either rise more slowly or actually decline. Personally, I like to work hard and be paid well, but that is not the only solution, and as wacey has pointed out, it leads to an ultimately unsatisfying situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    False.

    In nearly every business organization, you can still measure the quantity of work someone has done. You can break their job up into tiny little measurables and deliverables and micromanagement is a real possibility. Employees won't like this, but that's not the point, The point is to get the work done. If you work hard, and get more done, then one should be paid more.

    Also the line,"sometimes doing your job better is something that loses the company money in the short-run" sounds completely fucking stupid, in my humble opinion. Are you trying to justify your laziness?
    You can't really do this without killing your company. Capitalism attempts to do this which is what makes corporations soulless and horrible.

    The part I bolded is exactly the point. Employees that don't like it will leave, and talented individuals will be able to leave much easier than the stagnant complacent individuals, eventually you get this sort of drift of talent and talent won't even sign up to join your company so what happens is the only people in the company who can do work is the grinders, they grind and do the program of mess up the program someone far more talented than them left behind and they strangle the company into oblivion.

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    Glorious Member mu4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    Lol

    What do you do for a living, ouronis? Make faerie pixie dust? I guarantee you you're not from the New York/NJ/eastern PA area, or have ever worked in sales or cold-calling, that's for sure.

    Yes. My point still stands. Nice attempt at sidestepping though. Even in long-term projects, one can measure the final results as well as what each member brought to the table along the way.

    It's ok if you're an idealistic socialist. Maybe you can work for a company that allows recess and naptime. That should help foster a playful environment of people working together. Disregard measuring their value at all.
    I started build a product 15 years ago that is currently doing quite well, and I mostly just mess around while making a market dominating product. The creative fire of capitalism is entirely not measurable, that worth is an always a risk and to capture it and chain it is to destroy it.

    Everything can only be measured after the fact, but without risk business is just dead. Sales and cold calling is a grinder's game, volume and banality. It's a brutal work enviroment that's absolutely meaningless to creative work. It's quite obvious you've never worked with creatives or people that care about innovation.

    You're just a grinder and that's what you know but if you worked in any sort of creative field, you would find that it's very diffucult to quantify.

    Also if you can quantify work in some sort of real way, you will realize very quickly the exploitative mechanism of the world and probably need to start killing your bosses.

    The problem of quantifing work is a self-referential one, because people and societies are changed by knowledge, and such knowledge starts interfering with the previous equations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebird View Post
    It wasn't that he isn't choosing quality workers to work for him, it's that he is a perfectionist. It was stone work and he thought his looked better in comparison to the other workers. It wasn't uniform enough for him. He didn't think it looked good and it bothered him. It was primarily for aesthetic reasons. It was a big job but he had done most of it himself because he is highly critical of the quality of the work of others and he doesn't want it to make him or his job look bad. He needs to hire more workers to get the job done faster, but he's so picky that he picks apart every thing they do...
    I don't think it would be fair to the worker to be paid by the quality judged by him. I'm not saying it's a bad thing. I find his hard work, responsibility, and perfectionism highly admirable and are qualities I've always liked about him.
    with my tiny bit of experience now with being in charge i really think i know how your husband can fix all of this. as you said earlier, he needs to communicate clear expectations before hand. he'll have to spend time though working on how to put his quality expectations into words. workers need to know what he expects *before* they finish the project. it will involve trial and error and gradually learning how to translate his sense of quality into something he can communicate to the people working for him (both verbally and in writing). also, if he checks in regularly on a project, he can correct problems, before the entire project is finished and not to his liking. it could even help just to be upfront when hiring/contracting people and saying that he has *really high standards of quality that aren't easy to explain, but that he knows it when he sees it.* it's not fair or reasonable to blame an employee for expectations he never told them about before hand.

    from my pov, the earlier cell phone example sounds like more of a managerial skillz issue > an issue with "bad workers." like you mentioned, if he sets expectations of what is/isn't allowed at work ahead of time, communicates clearly, and tells employees to stop doing personal stuff on the clock and that they will be dismissed if it continues: problem solved. (easier said than done, but one can get better at this with practice.)

    being in charge just requires developing a whole new skill set, and really i think most people aren't automatic naturals at it. he could even look into if there are any good workshops on being a supervisor that he could attend. (i know he's the employer/owner... but since there isn't any middle management i assume, he's also the supervisor/manager.) it kind of sounds like he wants to skip training, skip making expectations clear, skip setting standards and penalties, skip check-ins, skip performance reviews, and expect people to magically do what he wants. (not on purpose, but just because the managerial skillz need improvement.) meanwhile, confused workers = unproductive workers.

    improving the screening process can help to weed out some of the "slackers" before hiring them, e.g. coming up with interview questions that get at some of the things he expects, and also even mentioning his high quality standards in the interview. honest people will realize if they don't want the job and their answers will indicate their own work ethics. a few bs-artists will always probably get through though, but they can be fired later if they can't meet expectations.

    all of that stuff is hard and a job in itself, but if one gets good at it, it saves more time/work/$ in the long run.

    the only other thing i can think of is if he's "too much of a perfectionist" ? long ago, one of the supervisors where i worked had such high standards and low tolerance for mistakes that she just kept firing person after person after person in this one position. i thought the issue was that it wasn't possible for the vast majority of people to live up to her standards.

    oh, actually, another thought: if he does get a worker who he finds really "gets it" and has good communication/leadership skills, he could give that person a promotion and make that person the supervisor/trainer, and thus not have to worry so much about this stuff.

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    Glorious Member mu4's Avatar
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    You have to pay for quality and a lot of the perfectionist level of quality is much more expensive because that final 1% is as expensive as the final 10%. Logarithmic scaling at that level of fault removal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    False.

    In nearly every business organization, you can still measure the quantity of work someone has done. You can break their job up into tiny little measurables and deliverables and micromanagement is a real possibility. Employees won't like this, but that's not the point, The point is to get the work done. If you work hard, and get more done, then one should be paid more.

    Also the line,"sometimes doing your job better is something that loses the company money in the short-run" sounds completely fucking stupid, in my humble opinion. Are you trying to justify your laziness?
    This seems like a very Te-valuing post to me, on multiple levels.
    Enneagram: 9w1 6w5 2w3 so/sx

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    oh William, your viking soul is better applied elsewhere. but the corporations have robbed us all of our heritages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    I'll be more mindful of your blatant harassment and trolling in future posts.
    Don't pretend you didn't goad me first. Why am I even talking right now? I know what the response will be, yet I still do it. Well, let's just say I like oblivion.

    However, let me reply to your most direct counterpoint-that work is valued anyways.

    Ok, so how is the salary work valued? It is valued, in spite of its inability to be valued, through external factors such as how hard such labor is to obtain and how integral the labor is to a process, capped by what the company can pay, not what it thinks you are worth in the grand scheme of things(like if they had information about butterfly effects and every result of every action, obviously impossible, but information asymmetry is a big part of employer-employee relations, so imagine some middle grounds). Things can be projected, of course, but the ability to project the value of a job becomes more uncertain as the complexity of that job increases. Companies attempt to short-circuit these uncertainties by talking a whole fucking lot about the problem.

    Personally, I kind of recommend the opposite way of handling the problem. I like the approach "let an employee be paid well enough he doesn't have to think about money." And then any increases will be based on performance. Course, again, I'm not talking about low-level jobs, but jobs where people are more removed from production and more invested in the strategy and future of the company. I think each industry at the low-level will sort of naturally suggest its optimal organization(s) based on the processes present there-certainly there can be micromanagement where there is an ability to press people's nose against the floor and implicitly threaten their livelihood. Still, someone will be taking on the costs of organizing for the future. This person will be losing money in the short run as things are re-arranged for the future.
    Last edited by ouronis; 06-06-2015 at 05:17 AM.

  19. #19
    Hot Message FDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    False.
    In nearly every business organization, you can still measure the quantity of work someone has done. You can break their job up into tiny little measurables and deliverables and micromanagement is a real possibility.
    Yeah, but if you don't sell the product this work has still zero (monetary) value.

    In a "market-oriented" economy the value (price) of someone's work is his opportunity cost of time i.e. the per-hour salary you should pay him/her such that he/she doesn't change jobs. I can't think of many other ways that make sense.
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    Breaking stereotypes Suz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post

    (and quite frankly, the amount of time put into typing things out and trying to explain things to you is monstrously disproportional to your short, e9-passive-aggressive, dismissive posts)
    William no offense, you do have a point there, because i find a lot of your "explanatory" or "debating" posts much much much too long to read. So you may be sensing correctly about me being dismissive of your such posts, simply bc i really dont have time to be combing through your tomes of evidence, often taken out of context, and often sounding like ranty nonsense to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by William
    You may describe it as Te, Suz, since you self-type as Alpha SF now, and Te would seem 'alien' to you. But not everything that seems alien to you is necessarily related to a function you self-type as not valuing.
    You could be right about that, but why does it irritate me so much?
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    For what its worth, in my line of work our supervisors cant quantify the work we do in any reliable way.
    I would say that ethically you are still supposed to act as if you have unilateral responsibility; but simultaneously you have to be able to see the other as a fully autonomous, free, aware person.

    Medicalizing social problems has the additional benefit of rendering society not responsible for those social ills. If it’s a disease, it’s nobody’s fault. Yay empiricism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Yeah, but if you don't sell the product this work has still zero (monetary) value.

    In a "market-oriented" economy the value (price) of someone's work is his opportunity cost of time i.e. the per-hour salary you should pay him/her such that he/she doesn't change jobs. I can't think of many other ways that make sense.
    Also the value of something is how much someone is willing to pay for it?
    Warm Regards,



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    Quote Originally Posted by ClownsandEntropy View Post
    Also the value of something is how much someone is willing to pay for it?
    The value of work is this:

    v(w) = R(g) / R(s)

    v = value
    w = work
    R(s) = Resources spent
    R(g) = Resources gained

    For the scenario where v(w) >= 1, we can talk about profit and a job well done. Simple .

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