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Chronic Under/Un/Rotten Employment for the Majority, Gold Bathtubs for the One Percent

Underemployment

— March 4, 1538 from Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, to Thomas Cromwell: a man can not have his cake and eat his cake

— William Kennedy, Ironweed: Why was it that suicide kept rising up in Francis’ mind? Wake up in the weeds outside Pittsburgh, half frozen over, too cold to move, flaked out ‘n’ stiffer than a chunk of old iron, and you say to yourself: Francis, you don’t ever want to put in another night, another mornin’, like this one was. Time to go take a header off the bridge.

But after a while you stand up, wipe the frost out of your ear, go someplace to get warm, bum a nickel for coffee, and then start walkin’ toward somewheres else that ain’t near no bridge.

The human body is both magnificent and self-induced deadly. We watch all the trash in movies and on cable with murder, rape, mayhem, autopsies, shoot-outs, deadly violence, and cartoonish depictions of death. Zombie apocalypse and Dystopian stories. Planetary destruction and alien invasions. Even one-on-one drama of the Long Journey into Night type with families back-stabbing, cursing, stealing, lying and virtually destroying loved ones. Mixed Martial Arts bouts with near decapitation and gridiron concussions as F-18’s fly over and tip murderous wings. And the 24/7 news images of bombings, shootings, fires, disasters, kidnappings, burglaries, “gangland” crimes, missing persons, stupid pet tricks, and weather-vehicular-aviation-rail-boat accidents.

Jackasses and dumb and dumber. Philistines and cretins. The Peter Principle gone wild, and reality TV now infecting every waking-sleeping-gestating moment now that another effete, Trump (but then ya’ gotta hand it to Obama, Bush, Clinton, et al for their kill-you-with-their-smile Yale/Harvard bravado) is pulling in the high ratings. Even today, Jan. 3, blood moon and year of the dog and all, the boy-man Trump is using phallus allusions in his syphilitic tweets about threats he’s going to plop his pudgy finger on Armageddon’s button by taunting Kim Jong-un:

“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times,” wrote Donald Trump on Twitter this Tuesday, apparently in response to a speech Kim Jong-un delivered on New Year’s day, in which he warned that his country’s nuclear forces had been consolidated. “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

This post wraps around all of that crap which is now called news, and comes full circle to my own predicament – I am on the skids, unemployed, for two months, batting zero on a wrongful discrimination complaint both through the private legal realm and through the state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries case worker.

This background noise of the rich and not-so rich having 24/7 coverage on all manner of gross and denigrating media; the miasma lifting and falling from this nasty country of hostile takeovers, monopolies and centralizing of all wealth; and the impending sound barrier booming every second as future generations have little hope of learning anything outside this usury society’s lack of morals, controlled by the likes of the big boys and girls in the chosen people’s army in order to DO anything worth a social-human-humane nickel, well, all of it is mind-blowing and physically debilitating. Unless you are insane, or lock-step believers in this American thuggery, divorced of humanity (as more of the ruling classes and their hegemons are stripped of ethics) and full throttle concerned only as constant buyers, shoppers, consumers, from cradle to grave.

All that evidence of our inhumanity, all that evidence that being a giver and helper and caring person is a fast-track to poverty, destitute living, homelessness and recrimination by each new and next generation of things that we call citizens.

One might think we’d be tough by now, under this blitzkrieg society, even when we ourselves go through personal pain. All that evidence of our inhumanity, all that evidence that being a giver and helper and caring person is a fast-track to poverty, destitute living, homelessness and recrimination by each new and next generation of things that we call citizens.

The facts bare something else out, though, even for us in the precariat – the loss of a job, employment, a livelihood, a place of belonging, duty and service or whatever one wants to call paid-for work, well, it can be a deadly event in our lives. For me, each and every time I have been sacked, the bitter spittle of resentment sets in. The hard lens looking at this absurd nation begins to turn inward on myself. Each and every crass, commercial celebration and buy-a-thon that is America becomes like acid poured in my eyes. The worth of ideas and philosophies gets pummeled. Spirituality becomes personal, almost an antidote for the disease that is self-doubt and alienation created through the entire process of losing a job.

And, the U-6, unemployment rate not publicized by the Chosen People’s Media, well, it’s over 8.5 percent! That’s 13 million, by the U-6 rating by the BLS. And, alas, it’s even higher than that. The ShadowStats Alternate Unemployment Rate for November 2017 is 21.7%.

Again, look at that number — Twenty-Seven Percent!

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You might call some of us vulnerable to the Ted Kaczynski Effect – we want an audience, anyone, to believe we are not the insane individuals all the other people profess we are.

Again, wrapping around back to the lede, the point of this piece is not the Unabomber or Trump or the ghastly perverse stuff Americans consume in their noggins. It’s about precarity taken to the next power. The older one is, the harder the fall from work to the termination bin and living in a state of unemployment using a state’s insurance and services while looking for new work. Even though many Americans do not feel satisfied with their current jobs, losing even a crappy one can cause someone great mental and bodily harm. The harm extends beyond the person who was sacked – the immediate family and loved ones are negatively affected, and even unborn children or youngsters pay the price.

Read: a country with no public services, public transportation that is on a scale below Bulgaria’s, with no national health system, no more free and open commons, no museums, no intellectual life for even the upper classes, let alone the deplorables/desposables/ demented/deranged/ and working class, sure, we are working, yes, but hating every minute of it. Add to that the Gilded Age’s return and the astronomical wealth-income gap between the five percent or even 10 percent and then the rest of us. Ironically, I enjoyed the work I did on the last job for which I was sacked. My firing females did not even take that into consideration! Here, a report:

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Even perks like ping pong tables and free lunch can’t mask the ugly truth – that most Americans hate their jobs and are merely trying to survive each day at the office.

An alarming 70% of those surveyed in a recent Gallup poll either hate their jobs or are completely disengaged, and not even incentives and extras can extricate them from the working man’s blues.

Jim Clifton, Gallup’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement that poor management was one of the leading causes for employee disengagement.

Many surveyed complained of “bosses from hell” who ignored talent and didn’t cultivate growth.

But the implications of the report go much deeper. The report state that the dissatisfaction, anger, and boredom felt by workers hurts the economy, which has been feeble since the Great Recession of 2008.

It also costs the U.S. an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion per annum of lost productivity, stolen goods, and missed days of work.

I bring this up in regard to my most recent sacking – a wrongful termination covered here and here and here. On the surface, the fact one (me) was booted out of a full time job with benefits, on the word of a third party, in this case several trainers from Planned Parenthood Seattle, the firing seems even more slippery and devastating.

I’ve already relayed the situation several places and it (my story) has been picked up on the internet by other venues. It ties into my simple disagreement with Planned Parenthood telling the 40 case managers and other social workers that hands down, the jury is in, concluding that the HPV vaccine(Gardasil) is safe, and all other points of contention in between are not “evidence based” (i.e through the filter of the CDC and FDA and Big Pharma) and therefore not legitimate but not appropriate for the class. More luridly, I was in a classroom environment, where students were supposedly in a safe space (both inferred and broadcast by the Planned Parenthood trainers), and I barely voiced my belief that non-Western ways of thinking – spirituality versus science – are just as legitimate as so-called “science-based” information.

I have talked to three lawyers, and one state case worker on employment discrimination, the later having my case ready to send to my former employer, who is not Planned Parenthood. When I retell my plight, it sounds so shallow and sad – I was not beat up, sexually harassed, verbally abused, and harangued about my beliefs per se. I did not have cast iron fitting fall on me, nor was I exposed to noxious gas. It was this one event — a mandatory training to deliver sex ed to youth — that got me sacked, and in the scheme of things, well, another white male in his sixties given the boot is no skin off the backs of 99.99 percent of humanity. Case closed.

This is what losing a job vis-à-vis wrongful termination does: heightens the skepticism and exponentially kicks up the self-doubt. Self-effacement and then self-pity follow. This is how modernity works its tapeworm into the mental system. This is how the dog-eat-dog world of Neoliberalism and Conservative tax dodging for the corporations eats at the soul of some of us. Yet, we all are precarious workers now, that is, the 80 percent of us. Macy’s has a sale now — 10,000 employees canned. Thank e-commerce for that. America, the delivery nation! Bezos and Company.  Self-proclaimed gay billionaire, Peter Thiel, Trump data collector and killer of media that is critical of his PayPal/Facebook/IT Finance world, well, he’s about to one-up FOX News and create his own conservative “news” network . . . Bezos and his Washington Post and Thiel. Peter and Donald and Zio-Christo Pence!

Peter Thiel Donald Trump

Moving on in my puny world . . . .Then, the fact I was not allowed to cross-examine my accusers, well, a feeling of impotence set in. The old adage of wanting to meet one’s accusers comes to mind. Also, the ideas of fairness in the workplace also pop up. For me, I am a victim, not of corporate downsizing or outsourcing or replacement by robotics or a set of algorithms. In my case, I was doing what all college-educated (and in my case, former college instructor) people do in a classroom environment – staying open to learning and engaging in a robust discussion of the topics at hand. Even if the discussion militates toward two people agreeing to disagree, the idea of teaching or facilitating a training is about tolerance. Planned Parenthood is an organization, I have since discovered through researching, dedicated to intolerance. There is no nuance in how the mostly female-run/staffed Planned Parenthood sees humanity, communities, ideas and debate. It’s a cold outfit, unfortunately, and pretty anti-male, anti-white male, anti-white baby boomer male.

So, I voiced my skepticism of seeing all of Western Medicine’s “great evidence-based” rhetoric (studies) as infallible and also stated alternative views on contraception utilized by Native Americans and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners. I also wondered in writing the efficacy, safety and long-term validity of the HPV vaccine, or most commonly sold as Merck’s Gardasil.

I’ve been sacked before, and that crosses forty-five years in the so-called workforce; and I found little shame in fighting for principles and calling out the people in power (usually in academia and social services) less capable of knowing the difference between dictating and governance. My passions and political opinions and devotion to students or clients have sunk me. Principles and going up against a hierarchical system of dictatorial bosses or even micromanaging supervisors, coupled with rotten Human Resources departments and bizarre agency-company policies, have done me in.

To this day going on 61, I am still flabbergasted by and shocked at the shallowness and actual brutality of decisions made by higher ups.

That my friends is what is reprehensible to all the commenters and trolls on the internet. There is no thought experiment needed to see how horrible the consequences are of defending workers and lambasting the decisions that cause one to be unemployed and on the dole. I’ve seen the disparaging and simplistic remarks on this story:

Scan some of the 1,474 comments and see what fellow Americans believe we are – the ranks of the unemployed, that is. Surprisingly, many commentators are in line with feeling sympathetic towards sacked older people:

The Vanishing Male Worker: How America Fell Behind by Binyamin Appelbaum Dec. 11, 2014

a. As an American male I’m embarrassed by these men who feel it is better to sit on their duff rather than “stoop” to taking a lesser job than they feel they are due. I was brought up in a time when you did anything to bring in money for your family regardless of what it was. They should be ashamed of that attitude. What has happened in this country to promote such an outlook?

b. The unfortunate aspects of “Me no Worky No More” is the litany of excuses individuals, society’s and cultures can come up with and maintain., Even people that work unenthusiastically at mundane dead-end jobs are spirited enough to know it and are genuinely challenged to progress, mature and find the better path and life and change it. One thing that is guaranteed about most people who are uninterested in work. They are generally uninterested in a great many things…not much for reading, cooking or physical activity. They do not have passionate hobbies or activities, they have multiple failed relationships with parents/children or significant others. Some people are simply not motivated to be anything then what they are and the thought of digging deeper just interferes with the nothingness they have determined as acceptable … hence their situation. Beating the bushes for societal issues, psychiatric cause and effect … studying government subsidy’s is all part of the science and our incessant need to understand it… The easiest route between two points is a straight line, but if the route is traveling through life … doing it without a job … any job, no matter the pay, is the worst thing you will ever do to your mind and your body. Working is simply the best way forward for many reasons other than money … and as the old adage goes, “If you are not working … you don’t want to.”

c. In each case the availability of benefits is cited as one reason those who are unemployed may choose to stay unemployed rather than lower themselves to perform a job outside of their comprehension. Paying people with government money enables and encourages them to do nothing.

Still, it’s not enough to say that we’ll starve these people and make them homeless until they decide to work. Yet the system is out of hand if it discourages people from working.

China has had a booming economy because of smart people willing to work for low wages. In the US we have smart people who are not willing to work for low wages because they can get more for nothing by applying to the government. That is wrong.

A number of factors have created this situation: (1) government support payments that have reduced the willingness of people to take new jobs in new places, (2) relentless free trade that favors higher returns to capital (which is highly mobile) at all cost to labor, assuming the labor markets will adjust, (3) a failure to enforce trade laws against China and other countries, (4) currency manipulation by China, (5) failure to protect US intellectual property, (6) technology.

The only answer from the government is to increase support payment (courtesy of the Democrats supporting their constituents) and decrease trade restrictions (Republicans supporting their constituents).

We need to tighten trade, forcing more jobs on shore, and reduce government payments.

These were some of the “nicer ones” I lifted from the article. I wonder what these fellow New Yorkers would say about me: I was sacked, I filed for unemployment immediately (Oct. 26), but the day I was put on paid administrative leave (Oct. 15), I applied to two jobs, feeling the writing on the wall. That writing is all about Oregon, at-will state, with a drop of a hat, a firing, and the business is given a bye and complete reign to fire at the drop of a pin.

I suspected something was up, and from my point of view, with my years with people as a social worker, teacher and journalist, to mention a few things, I knew that my workplace, mostly staffed and supervised by white women, that I would be put on the chopping block. Being inquisitive and participatory is called being aggressive and combative. I would have never thought Planned Parenthood could get me fired, but that’s exactly what happened. That six months I did on this job is killing me, and I wonder what the New Yorkers trolling and commenting would say about my sorry ass?

I’ve sent out dozens (2.5 dozen) of applications, many on-line and very elaborate. I have had a few (4) interviews. And, well, the elephant in the room is “what happened that you would be on a job for six months and then be let go.”

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There are so many aspects of being “un” in the unemployed arena that for those of us who understand the complexities of this slave labor society, it is clear that predatory big-time capitalists also appear in the form of small-time supervisors and bosses. Persona non grata is the way of capitalism, unpersonhood, where there are scabs at the gates of the striking workers and a million workers ready to step on another million to get a job.

In an “at-will state,” in the social services, no less, getting sacked is a daily occurrence, but no consolation; and there are very few remediation and reconciliation processes the so-called healing arts people in positions of power will utilize. These people fire for being aggressive and combative. Whew! That’s how we become the un-working class.

How bad are the social services in terms of turnover? Real bad, from the state agencies to the non-profits. The amount of time and money put into my training, down the drain. The efficacy of this move to sack me is called into question when we have crisis after crisis eating at social services and the clients we serve, and that then affects family, communities and the economic well being of Oregon.

a. Addressing Oregon’s mental and behavioral health crisismeans supporting the behavioral health workers who are critical to the health and well-being of our communities. But with growing caseloads, stagnant pay and poor outcomes for our clients, one thing is clear: the behavioral health industry isn’t going to change unless care providers stand up and fight for better care.

And other headlines throughout the country belie this story of more and more of the social services – the so-called helping and healing arts – being gutted by high turnover. This is the world of disruptive economies guys like Jeff “I Want To Own All Retail Transactions” Bezos and his ilk desire. The world of unemployed begets a world of pain, suffering, three and two degrees of separation, and families in disrepair, and relationships worn down and children dispossessed.

b. Sara Barth had nightmares about the mounting pile of cases on her desk: children covered in bruises, kids confessing they’d been raped, mothers dead of drug overdoses.

She felt like she was drowning, responsible for too many of the state’s most helpless children.

“How do you ever stop thinking about those kids?” said Barth, a state social worker for more than a decade. “I wasn’t able to sleep. It was so consuming. The expectation was higher than anything you could ever meet without breaking yourself.”

So last year, after working for the state for 12 years, she quit her job to work at a private company that offered her far more than her $32,000-a-year state salary, regular hours with no middle-of-the-night emergency calls. Dozens of other social workers quit too, sending the state’s already-burdened child welfare system into a tailspin.

c. Turnover in Child Welfare:

Certain child abuse “professionals” have labeled child abuse “as American as apple pie.” If child abuse is the apple pie, then Child Protective Services may well be the apple turnover of the child abuse bakery.

In Massachusetts, for example, the turnover among Department of Social Services social workers is currently 300 per year.

Dare Family Services Northeast Region, a private nonprofit agency that provides adoption and foster placement under contract with the Massachusetts Department of Social Services reported an 80 percent turnover since the policy of dealing with whole families rather than single children went into effect in July of 1990. Its Taunton office reported a 100 percent turnover.

In Prince William County, Virginia, the ranks of Child Protective Services have been battered by low morale and a staggering 60 percent annual turnover rate, said Department head Ricardo Perez to the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.

d. Social worker turnover problematic

Turnover in human services agencies, especially children services, is high due to the stressful nature of the work, experts say. But some former Butler County social workers blame management.

Of five area counties surveyed, Warren County had 13 of 43 employees leave its agency this year, a turnover rate of 30 percent.

e. High caseloads lead to increased staff turnover as well as increased costs and decreases in quality delivery of services

f. High turnover rate at DSS worries Oswego County legislators

OSWEGO — Department of Social Services Commissioner Stacy Alvord told county legislators this week that high turnover rates are “evidence of a workforce in crisis” at the same time reports of child abuse and neglect in the county are at an all-time high.

High turnover rates at certain positions have combined with a county policy of waiting 30 days to fill vacant positions to create the current conditions. The effect of high turnover rates has been compounded by a record number of child abuse and neglect reports.

Now, the mental health consequences of poverty are the same for those who are unemployed, and that equation, u + dt = p, that is, unemployment plus disruptive technologies = poverty, is telling on the physical well-being of those among the unemployed.

While this writing and my story is never reflected in a diatribe from Chris HedgesHenry Giroux or even Robert Jensen, I hope those three might see in me brethren of sorts, railing against the powers that be, the controllers, this Don Quixote quixotic position I have been in as journalist like Hedges, faculty like Giroux and journalist in Texas like Jensen.

Is this precarity I am living in a matter of choices, my own? As I so explicitly purport here in my last (New Year’s) DV post? This lost cause of a termination can mess with one’s noggin. Am I sane, or am I reaching out to all those oh-so-mainstream and destructive politicians and pundits to cut me some slack? Is Ted asking the world to consider his Manifesto sane, from a place of sanity looking into the insane looking glass of industrialization and disruptive economies?

His thoughts are not that radical or out of place with many environmentalists, uh?

Here are the headings within the Manifesto

The psychology of modern leftism
Feelings of inferiority
Oversocialization
The power process
Surrogate activities
Autonomy
Sources of social problems
Disruption of the power process in modern society
How some people adjust
The motives of scientists
The nature of freedom
Some principles of history
Industrial-technological society cannot be reformed
Restriction of freedom is unavoidable in industrial society
The ‘bad’ parts of technology cannot be separated from the ‘good’ parts
Technology is a more powerful social force than the aspiration for freedom
Simpler social problems have proved intractable
Revolution is easier than reform
Control of human behavior
Human race at a crossroads
Human suffering
The future
Strategy
Two kinds of technology
The danger of leftism
Final note

Is it all about the lesser of the thinkers, like Trump and his generals and the Goldman in Sachs and Sachs in Goldman, who will mete out punishment on a full-spectrum level: media, the law, politics, marketing, war machines, education, science, society, culture?

Is this the future for the partially employed, unemployed? We have no voice now as working citizens, so what voice do we have when we drop out or get kicked out?

The next installment of Paul’s Great and Marvelous Adventure (for the eighth time) will look closer at the disease that jobs create and being unemployed generate. For now, the job is looking for a job, and daily, the email box fills with all sorts of Amazon fulfillment center work, Uber gigs, working at K-Mart and Target (soon to be Amazon property?). Email box full of thank you’s, and no thank you’s, or you almost made it’s.

Psyche 101. Only the tough ones get jobs, persistent, ready to eat shit no matter what. That’s what the American people say, and they have spoken via FOX, CNN, NYT and WoP/WSJ!

Here, Robert Sapolsky’s thesis on stress versus fight or flight. Bad boss, loss of job, mortgage behind a few months, creditors looking for the student in the school loan?

In the short term, Robert Sapolsky explained, stress hormones are “brilliantly adapted” to help you survive an unexpected threat. “You mobilize energy in your thigh muscles, you increase your blood pressure and you turn off everything that’s not essential to surviving, such as digestion, growth and reproduction,” he said. “You think more clearly, and certain aspects of learning and memory are enhanced. All of that is spectacularly adapted if you’re dealing with an acute physical stressor—a real one.”

But non-life-threatening stressors, such as constantly worrying about money or pleasing your boss, also trigger the release of adrenalin and other stress hormones, which, over time, can have devastating consequences to your health, he said: “If you turn on the stress response chronically for purely psychological reasons, you increase your risk of adult onset diabetes and high blood pressure. If you’re chronically shutting down the digestive system, there’s a bunch of gastrointestinal disorders you’re more at risk for as well.”

In children, the continual release of glucocorticoids can suppress the secretion of normal growth hormones. “There’s actually a syndrome called stress dwarfism in kids who are so psychologically stressed that growth is markedly impaired,” Sapolsky said.

Studies show that long-term stress also suppresses the immune system, making you more susceptible to infectious diseases, and can even shut down reproduction by causing erectile dysfunction and disrupting menstrual cycles.

“Furthermore, if you’re chronically stressed, all sorts of aspects of brain function are impaired, including, at an extreme, making it harder for some neurons to survive neurological insults,” Sapolsky added. “Also, neurons in the parts of the brain relating to learning, memory and judgment don’t function as well under stress. That particular piece is what my lab has spent the last 20 years on.”

The bottom line, according to Sapolsky: “If you plan to get stressed like a normal mammal, you had better turn on the stress response or else you’re dead. But if you get chronically, psychosocially stressed, like a Westernized human, then you are more at risk for heart disease and some of the other leading causes of death in Westernized life.”

Oh, the irony, Sapolsky, and I had him on my old radio show, in Spokane, and he gave a talk to the community college I taught at. Oh the irony, and I wonder what he’d say about this 60 year old, so well put together in 2006-07? A Primate’s Memoir, we talked about, and for 58 minutes, he was my peer, thanking me for not only my insight, but my style and my form.

This is the reality of some of us, not victims (I hate to see myself a victim, per se, but . . . the systems do victimize, and sterilize and sanitize), we just did not get the golden ticket, or the planets failed to align, or the gift of gab and a pretty fine mind just are not in demand these days.

What do they all say, these people I have had on my radio show, who have been the subjects of journalism pieces, who’ve I’ve brought to campuses and tied into big events?

It’s not as if I went for the bottle or the needle. I didn’t end up in some Weinstein thing. My crimes were tied to my belief that a strong mind, a good argument and a forceful discourse are enough to protect you. In fact, those three things, in combination, now, in this bull-shit PC world, in this compliant world, in this hyper managed world, well, these are not traits the largess of society and the hiring world want.

The baboon man, Sapolsky, knows, though, the death spiral these events — i.e. unemployment — can precipitate! That’s my next piece, part two of this unemployment blues eulogy, maybe.

Those oh-so hipster people can laugh at the white guy in the south offing himself, statistically, and going on Oxy’s, and their despondency because of the fabric of the Democratic Party and the Grand Old Republican Party — taking all social services and splaying communities and gutting the commons and fighting tooth and nail against real honest fair taxation of the Trumps, Obamas, Clintons, and the other One and down to 10 percenters!

I hear people laugh all the time at the “poor ass white males, in their fifties, offing themselves cuz their world is like everyone else’s now — part-time, underemployed, detritus.

I know very true socialists, even fewer communists, and so the daily bleed is truth and the elites and their Little Eichmanns and the marketing and media pitting us against us, them against them, the other against the other.

Oh, the workplace, so not nurturing, so synced with rivalry and competition and backstabbing and meanness. How is nurturing affecting us, or the lack thereof hurting us? We are products of this dog eat dog world, and yet, we know what works in giver society and what doesn’t work that the taker society extracts from every living cell.

Here, Sapolsky:

Another study that winds up in half the textbooks makes the same point, if more subtly. The subjects of the “experiment” were children reared in two different orphanages in Germany after World War II. Both orphanages were run by the government; thus there were important controls in place—the kids in both had the same general diet, the same frequency of doctors’ visits, and so on. The main identifiable difference in their care was the two women who ran the orphanages. The scientists even checked them, and their description sounds like a parable.

In one orphanage was Fräulein Grun, the warm, nurturing mother figure who played with the children, comforted them, and spent all day singing and laughing. In the other was Fräulein Schwarz, a woman who was clearly in the wrong profession. She discharged her professional obligations, but minimized her contact with the children; she frequently criticized and berated them, typically among their assembled peers. The growth rates at the two orphanages were entirely different.

Fräulein Schwarz’s kids grew in height and weight at a slower pace than the kids in the other orphanage.

Then, in an elaboration that couldn’t have been more useful if it had been planned by a scientist, Fräulein Grun moved on to greener pastures and, for some bureaucratic reason, Fräulein Schwarz was transferred to the other orphanage. Growth rates in her former orphanage promptly increased; those in her new one decreased. ― Robert M. Sapolsky, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping

war criminals

Which orphanage, err, job, would you want to work in?

Paul Haeder