Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Scott Adams and the Casual Disclosure of Social Change

Sometimes large cultural change is encapsulated in the most casual disclosures. Scott Adams (Dilbert) noted in a WSJ story, that he was twice turned down for promotions on the ground that he was well qualified, but a White male. Instead, the jobs were reserved for minorities.

Now, that is a remarkable thing. Adams dismisses it, of course, with the idea that every White male will become like him, a wealthy cartoonist, or something. But for most White males, the ability to become some wealthy entrepreneur is limited. Moreover, the social cost for companies getting (inevitably) substandard efforts out of unqualified non-Whites and the resentful White guys passed over for promotion inhibits innovation. Innovation rarely being some out-of-the-ether astonishment and mostly being putting disparate pieces together for a better whole.


Can a society sustain itself when the men of its largest racial group have no real hope of promotion and upward mobility within any organization of any size? It is the very casualness, the lack of any real passion other than sarcasm, that is shocking about Adam's disclosure:

One day, a position opened above me, and I was the most obvious candidate to fill it. My boss called me into her office and said she had some bad news. She explained that the media was giving our company a lot of heat because almost all of our managers and executives were white males. Promoting me, she explained, would only make things worse. I asked how long I might need to wait for all of this to blow over. My boss was vague, but she said the timeline involved smoothing out the effects of two centuries of corporate discrimination.
...
One day my boss called me into his office and explained that the media was giving the phone company a lot of heat because almost all of the managers and executives were white males. So, he explained, promoting me would only make things worse.


For better or for worse, Corporate America has turned over everything but lower level positions to non-Whites, and perhaps some White women. Coca-Cola is run by Muhtar Kent, of Turkish-American descent educated in the UK. Indra Nooyi is the Indian born CEO of Pepsi. This is pretty remarkable. Two major companies in America, famous for their American heritage, neither run by anyone connected to it.

If anything, it is much worse at lower levels. Can a largely "White male free" zone of upper and middle management produce world beating products and services? So far, the answer by America's corporate citizens is no. They cannot. Diversity has its price.

The first is promoting the least, not the most, qualified candidates (as Adams admits) to meet diversity goals, not find the best and most motivated candidates for upward promotion. If one wants to know why Corporate America is so hostile to White males, it is because so few work in management positions. A Carly Fiorina can easily fire lots of HP engineers, and boast that Americans don't "deserve" jobs in comparison with Indian (cheaper) engineers. Corporate America will therefore be hostile to White males as long as it has the same promotion preference (anyone but them). That those promoted have the right skin color or gender rather than talent is of course another cost. Second-ratism at best, if not outright shoddiness.

But it is the other issue that deserves the most attention. America has largely pushed White males out of upward mobility in every sphere except the military, where few want to enlist, due to the hardships and danger. This won't end well.

One group, and one group alone, has no investment and no desire to protect the current system. And every reason to overthrow the culture and elites that run it. PC and the diversity preference is very powerful, but it is not everything. From South Park to Scott Adams, the mere disclosure has its own undeniable power. There will be a great deal of men, not as Adams suggests starting their own business or being famous cartoonists, but willing to burn down the corporate structure and American businesses along with politics and the larger culture. In this the sheer stupidity of making those alien in culture and background corporate leaders (and their lack of producing good paying jobs in America) will aid the burn-to-the-ground mentality.

Everything has its price. Punishing generations of White guys for bad things long-dead White guys did fifty years ago (or more) has its own. One just beginning to be felt.




23 comments:

Paul said...

Are white males an endangered species ? :-)

Ned Wilobane said...

The government is beginning to worry about the number of rural whites in the military. In a recent rueters article Sec. Gates said that "members of the military are increasingly based in and recruited from rural and small-town areas of the South and mountainous West." He noted that in correspondence to this "there is a risk over time of developing a cadre of military leaders that politically, culturally and geographically have less and less in common with the people they have sworn to defend."

That would be a pity.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE68S5SV20100929

kurt9 said...

Have you considered learning a foreign language, such as Mandarin Chinese or the like, and moving abroad? Besides, you guys are always complaining about American women anyways. So why not move abroad?

I think the Dilbert guy is right. Corporate (and government) bureaucracy has been dysfunctional from the get go. It has always been like that. Much of what goes on in corporate America is similar to that of the 1970's. It was the deregulation, and resulting corporate downsizing and restructuring during the 1980's that created much of the opportunity during that time.

Whiskey said...

Corporate and government culture have not always been dysfunctional. NASA put men on the moon in only ten years. Bell Labs created a plethora of innovation, including UNIX, the transistor, and some astonishing basic science. IBM was the forefront of research into magnetic disks. Dow Chemical created modern plastics.

Now that innovation ceased. Why?

Because innovation is the case of a brilliant guy having an earth shattering idea and making it happen all by himself. It mostly consists of Herman Hollerith finding a way to make census counts faster, turning into something more (data processing in general). Which in turn leads somewhere else. All because you have a deep pool of well motivated smart people who may not be super-geniuses but can innovate on their own effort.

ray said...

well duuuuuh-uh

this is The Problem That Must Not Be Spoken

the Diversity State, a subset of Der Gynogulag Inc, is an utter failure, but nobody can say this publically cause then youre a racist and sexist and neanderthal regressive etc

as bad as large business/corporate amerika has been, gubbermint has been far worse in its apartheid against white boys and men -- govt offices (and increasingly the Injustice Sistem) are often just a sea of females sprinkled with People of Color ... any white males remaining damn well better not advance/hire any other white males, so all the remaining white males are typically third-rate spineless "white knights"

every culture has its Scapegoat, its Whipping Boy, upon which collective angst and hatred can be dumped w/o (apparent) consequence

let's see ... fifty years of forcing the best and brightest out of your culture, employment, and education, and the "economy" is in cheyne-stokes . . . gee no i just cant figger it out, hm hm mebbe we better hire some more Economists to "fix" it

LOL!

it CAN'T be fixed -- amerika has painted itself into a Diversity Corner -- forced most of the innovation, creativity, and excellence out of its culture, demonized and shamed and criminalized it, and then the nation expects that "supply-side manipulations" and fiat "money" etc etc will "solve" the problem

hey! i know! let's throw those damn demoncraps outta office and put in some republicant . . . that'll change everything!

anybody with half a brain could see this coming decades ago, but it cannot be fixed, hell it cant even be adressed -- speak the truth and youre a whiner, a loser, practicing the "politics of resentment"

men -- esp white men -- produce

women consume

men innovate

women consume

men create

women consume

dont like Reality? then go on and make some more laws and build some more prisons and watch your nation crumble into three hundred million points of darkness -- i'm gonna laugh in the ashes of a nation that has degraded, marginalized, and criminalized me with gleeful abandon, rejecting at every turn my best intentions and efforts

like Dilbert, the moneyed and otherwise-protected elite have sheltered themselves from the consequences of all this -- and in many cases willfully encouraged, financed, and enforced this -- but that is coming to an end too

i strove for decades to excel in this culture, and its response at every turn was to crush me

so now i'm striving for something else, and i will attain that something else

"Everything has its price. Punishing generations of White guys for bad things long-dead White guys did fifty years ago (or more) has its own. One just beginning to be felt."

only the prior generation of black americans, and native american, had a real beef about past "bad things" -- and many of those things turn out to have been not quite as "bad" as we imagined, eh?

ray

word verification: obled

aint that the truth

kurt9 said...

I beg to differ. My friend's father worked as an engineer in defense industry (and space) in the 1960's and 1970's. Many of the problems of corporate bureaucracy that we have today sound very similar to stories this guy had about the 1970s'. One example was hiring being done by NR, which was called personnel in those days. This is just like today where HR departments manage the interviewing and hiring process.

I can tell you that this was not the case in the late 80's and early 90's. Every time I interviewed for a job then, it was with the hiring managers themselves. The only time I ever saw an HR person was the first day on the job when they set up my "bennies".

The reality is that American business culture is dysfunctional today. This is because it is dominated by large corporations, just like during the 1970's. We had economic growth (and job creation) during the 1980's because the large conglomerates and other corporations that dominated everything in the 1970's broke apart and restructured during the 1980's.

A similar restructuring MUST occur in order for us to grow ourselves out of this recession. The current big corporations and what not are a result of the FED's cheap money policy during the mid to late 90's and current decade. Ben Bernanke's attempt to "restore" the economy with quantitative easing is really an attempt to create economic growth without the large corporations having to restructure. And I'm telling you that this is impossible. The current corporate structures are unsustainable, period. They have to go away (restructure through bankruptcy or downsizing) in order for the economy to self-correct all of the marketplace distortions resulting from the bubbles (all bubbles are FAKE growth, anything they produce is NOT real). Only then will there be real sustainable economic growth. Any else is impossible.

Bernanke wants to pump up the money supply (and debase our currency) because he believes that economic recovery without corporate restructuring is possible and he wants to save all of the giant corporations.

Ben Bernanke is either deluded or a criminal. Take your pick.

Novaseeker said...

My experience is that white guys still get promoted, but in order to get promoted they either must be (1) connected or (2) "blow the doors off" better than a woman/minority competitor for the slot. It's analogous to the situation in higher education. There are plenty of whites at the best schools, but they are almost *all* elite whites --> the whites who get shafted by these policies are the rest of the whites, and they get overwhelmingly shafted. Unless you are connected or an elite, blow-the-doors-off white guy, a white guy in corporate America has a Dilbert future as a cap.

kurt9 said...

NASA is and always has been a failure. NASA may have landed men on the moon. But they have done nothing to develop low-cost space transportation and to open up the high frontier to human settlement. NASA also has invented nothing. For example, Teflon was not invented by NASA. It was invented in 1938 by a private chemical manufacturer.

The Tokamak and NIF programs have done nothing to realize commercial fusion. 95% of all medical research in this country is similarly worthless.

The problems of bureaucracy and delusional thinking that you cited in your posting are intrinsic to ALL large scale institutions, whether they be public or private (public ones are worse). This is the reason why they are ALL bad. They are incapable of any kind of value creation. They produce nothing. This is the reason why they must be allowed to fail on their own.

Ray Manta said...

Whiskey said...
Now that innovation ceased. Why?
Because innovation is the case of a brilliant guy having an earth shattering idea and making it happen all by himself.


Occasionally, yes, but more often it's due to someone incrementally extending an existing idea or putting together a couple of them together in new configurations. And then getting enough of the details right for it to matter.
But I think you were suggesting that in your previous posts.

I've experienced the Dilbertization of corporate hiring and promotion firsthand and have had friends and relatives experience the same (or worse) in government jobs. As you said, it can't possibly end well.

Sgt. Joe Friday said...

"...there is a risk over time of developing a cadre of military leaders that politically, culturally and geographically have less and less in common with the people they have sworn to defend."

This is actually not as big a problem as one might imagine. Long before we reach that point, my money says we will have already splintered into several smaller, more ethnically homogenous nation-states.

Look, nothing lasts forever, not even (or maybe especially not) large, multi-ethnic nation states. Not a single one has survived long term, and it would be foolish to suppose that we're going to be the exception to the rule.

Astute Commenters said...

I'm not surprised by the Scott Adams story, but I didn't know the rot was that deep that far back. It explains a lot.

On a different note, I've been doing some contrarian thinking recently.

One is the "white male threat" prevalent in ADT and Brinks home security advertisements. Part of it's PC culture, but we need to remember that advertising is based on the idea that "people want to believe."

Chicks prefer jerks. Such advertising helps desperate white housewives to believe that their boring white beta dentist husband is a secret badass, mad, bad and dangerous to know. The commercials help get them wet for the next dutiful spousal shag.

Another is the obesity epidemic among women. Fat chicks are automatic losers in the sexual marketplace. There's no way they can kid themselves otherwise. So why do they do it?

Maybe they don't want their lives to the 24x7 sexual negotiation feminists so desperately desire. 50 years ago these young women could have kept themselves thin without having to worry about constantly fending off unwanted sexual advances. There were courtship and other rituals for keeping sex separate from most of daily life.

Which is not to say these women don't want to enjoy sex, they just don't want to have to think about it all the time with every man they meet. So subconsciously they pork up as a defense mechanism.

Whiskey said...

Manta, my bad I meant rarely is innovation an entirely individual, whole-cloth affair. It is mostly putting existing pieces together and making those pieces work with skilled personnel. You need skilled workers and craftsman as well as brilliant engineers to make technology happen.

Kurt9 -- Moving abroad merely trades one discrimination for another much worse. A White foreigner in another country is the lowest of the low. A point I can see, it is their country. I simply don't see the point of it in the USA.

NASA's later failures don't make their past triumphs irrelevant. America simply stopped caring about technology and wanting to grow more powerful and wealthy (manned Moon bases would inevitably give rise to low-G, vacuum led material science and materials not available on earth). Instead, the Obama like agenda of making White guys last in line (except as Novaseeker points out connected or blow the doors off White guys) so others go first took off.

I don't disagree that the current corporate structure is stupid and bigness for the sake of bigness can be dumb. But on the other hand being big means you can get cash in bad times when a small firm cannot. Size has advantages, one Germany and Japan have pushed. Siemens and Toyota vs. say, Nintendo come to mind. Nintendo being small is getting hammered, financially. Whereas Sony can make mistake after mistake and still have margin for error.

Bernanke is an utter failure, true. He will get the worst of all worlds. High inflation. High interest rates, negative economic growth. A currency worth nothing.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

"A White foreigner in another country is the lowest of the low."

Well that depends on the country, e.g. in Japan I think the lowest of the low are SE Asians. Probably the biggest issue you'll encounter is that you may never completely fit in, and you'll certainly never be considered Japanese. That's of course nothing compared to how you'll be treated in most of the West within a few decades.

Rock Granite said...

For better or for worse, Corporate America has turned over everything but lower level positions to non-Whites, and perhaps some White women.

Sounds like another classic Whiskey hysterical overreaction. Doesn't seem to be based in reality but it would be helpful to back up the claim with data.

What percentage of Fortune 500 companies have White men as CEOs, CFOs, COOs, Presidents and Chairmen?

My guess is 80+% and disproportionately Jewish.

Let's find out.

Anonymous said...

The meritocracy problem has been with us far longer than most people suspect. In the early 70s, fresh out of college, I was interviewed by a personnel manager who'd been three years ahead of me in journalism school. He said, "Yes, I remember you. Ordinarily we'd hire you but I gotta tell you, you're the wrong sex and the wrong color."

That situation forced me to become a freelance writer--a long road that eventually led to a successful career. However, the fact that things eventually worked out for me does not make "reverse discrimination" right. That's because "reverse" is the adjective and "discrimination" is the noun.

Astute Commenters said...

@Rock Granite,

You're following the apex fallacy. one aspect of that error.

Another aspect is that women don't want those jobs.

Too Few Women In Tech? Stop Blaming The Men.

They tend to drop out of the rat race before they reach that executive level. That's the best evidence that women are smarter than men. I know some CEOs of smaller companies. They don't have lives, just businesses.

Women dropping out of high-stress careers is a major problem with government health care in Canada and Britain. Something like 50% of female graduates of medical school have stopped practicing medicine full time, or have quit completely.

Part of the reason for this is the Accelerated Peter Principle. Women are being shoved up the corporate ladder at a high rate of speed. This does them a disservice, as they aren't given the time to learn their jobs and build networks. Instead of plateauing one level above their ability, they end up several levels too high.

There was an article a while back about the crop of female CEOs that resulted from this. A revisit of those companies showed every one of them was in trouble, or had shut down. Here are a couple of them.

Like minorities over-promoted to Ivy League universities, affirmative action set these women were set up to fail. (Obama is a sterling example of this.)

Then there's this. Men Rule -- At Least in Workplace Attitudes

"And three out of four women who expressed a preference said they would rather work for a man than a woman."

Astute Commenters said...

References for my previous post.

Disillusioned with stressful jobs, a whole generation of women are opting out of the rat race

"...suddenly, it meant nothing. I started wondering if I could make ends meet by dog walking. And I don't even like dogs. For the first time ever, I wanted an easy life more than a successful one.'

Vanessa is not alone.
I can think of five close friends who have either quit their jobs or gone part-time in the past two years - and only one of them has children.

For years, the only reason women would take a step back from their career was to raise a family, but my friends are getting off the treadmill before then.
"

How Meg Whitman Failed Her Way to the Top at eBay, Collecting Billions While Nearly Destroying the Company

"Former CEO Whitman's record of gross incompetence, massive waste and personal enrichment is breathtaking. That the media isn't talking about it is incredible."

Meg Whitman Failed at Flower Company

"Most voters know Meg Whitman as the former CEO Of eBay, but she also spent time at the helm of a flower company -- and failed miserably."

Two companies. Two epic fails.

The trifecta? Meg Whitman spent a jawdropping $140 million in a failed political campaign for governor of California just days ago.

Anonymous said...

Whiskey,

Are you familiar at all with Laissez-faire economics? Have you read Von Mises, Bastiat, Simon, Rothbard, the rest of the Austrians? You come off as someone who sees only problems but not the obvious solutions: *eliminate the welfare-state, public education, regulatory-state (including the anti-discrimination laws) and the victimless-crime laws.

This has all been worked out by the better libertarians. The solution is not any type of reinvigorated white racial pride (The Larry Auster solution). The solution is genuine freedom.

Do any of you god-damn conservatives know what genuine liberty is? You sure as hell don't Whiskey. You have some knowledge of trees. But damn, you don't have the slightest fucking clue about forests.

D. Bandler

Truth(er) said...

"This has all been worked out by the better libertarians. The solution is not any type of reinvigorated white racial pride (The Larry Auster solution). The solution is genuine freedom."

Sorry. There simply is no market for freedom. I agree that the best libertarian economists worked this out completely, even as far back as 1921 when Mises predicted in minute detail the failure of socialism. Yet, this is not enough. Power and control also animates the human spirit.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

This is a month old, but:

Five episodes into its rookie season, the Maggie Q-fronted action drama is undergoing some routine maintenance. Specifically, The CW is looking to lighten the show’s somber mood and jack up its title character’s love life.

The goal? To boost viewership in the network’s sweet spot: young females. While Nikita is off to a solid start among total viewers, it’s losing a huge chunk of the core women 18-34 demo from its Vampire Diaries lead-in. Season-to-date, Nikita is maintaining 94 percent of Diaries‘ overall audience but is squandering an alarming 54 percent of the 18-34 crowd. This could be one reason why the net has yet to give the show a back-nine order. (Ironically, where Nikita is performing particularly well is among males over 40.)


Among said tweaks is the introduction of several new characters, including a confidant and potential love interest for Nikita who’s described as a clean-cut, all-American CIA case officer. “Moms want to marry off their daughters to this kid,” reads the casting notice. “But he’s too busy saving the world.”

I wonder how this will turn out. The show has gotten better every episode, and I worry that they'll drive it off a cliff in pursuit of the female demographic. They're going to lighten the mood and introduce a romantic interest... yeah, that's not promising at all.

If the ratings are otherwise solid (already), who cares if 18-34 females aren't tuning in?

Astute Commenters said...

Jesus Christ Supercop said...
"If the ratings are otherwise solid (already), who cares if 18-34 females aren't tuning in?"

Advertisers. 18-34 females are the market to capture, willing to spend money like there's no tomorrow on useless junk. They're willing to max out their credit cards, spend their own money, their daddy's money, their husband's money, their boyfriend's money, the government's money, etc. ad nauseam to buy, buy, buy.

I just read about a female journalist with a column advising young women on their finances. She confessed that she spent so much money on clothes, food, and entertainment that she had to borrow money from her parents to pay the rent.

She pointed at ''Sex and the City'' as part of the reason. Although she ludicrously claimed that the conspicuous consumption was not the main motivation for the show. Even without direct advertising, simply showing the lifestyle had her living beyond her means.

You can't expect businesses to ignore that kind of financial stupidity. As far as they're concerned, the fish are jumping into the boat.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

Ah, of course. I somehow completely forgot about advertising.

Whiskey said...

Jesus, always a pleasure to have the Savior commenting.

Thanks for the link. I had not known that CW was going to romance up Nikita.

There is of course, a demo that advertisers pay more for, than women 18-34. Its men. Though they don't talk about it much. I also suspect that the ongoing recession will kill that kind of financial stupidity.

Already cable cutting is real. Expect a post on this soon.