Silicon Valley's janitor problem

The janitors for many of tech’s biggest companies decided to walk out on strike today.

I’m not a big union supporter. I generally don’t like the things because, for the most part, I live in a meritocracy. If I don’t get interesting videos, no one will show up and eventually sponsors figure that out and decide to spend their money somewhere else.

In the tech world if you build something interesting you’ll get the money and the job and all that. Yeah, I know there are exceptions and we should talk about those again sometime but that meritocracy works because it’s easy to get noticed in the geek world.

Right now at Google there’s a bunch of geeks coding cool stuff for mobile phones as part of WhereCamp. Are you a geek who knows how to code something cool for mobile phones? Well, you just need to show up. There’s no walls keeping you out. No entry fees. No one saying “your type can’t come in here.”

But, I’m not naive enough to think that the entire world works that way.

Have you ever thought about the people who clean your buildings? They are easy to miss. They usually come in after 10 p.m. — long after you should have left. At Microsoft I got to know a few of them because I was one of the few employees who’d stick around after hours.

I also lived with a guy who was a janitor at a San Jose school for a while, so I got to know a little bit about the profession that most people don’t like to talk about (or even see, which is why most of these people work at night).

But I do notice and it’s criminal that the people who clean the billionaires’ offices only make $23,000 or so, especially when janitors in other areas make more (and the housing costs of those people in those areas are less too, which doubles the insult). Yes, I know that to most people in the world $23,000 sounds like a lot of money (more than half of the world lives on $2 or so a day in income). But in Silicon Valley? That’s way below the poverty line (remember, an average house here costs more than $700,000).

So, it’s time to fix this little problem before Monday and pay them more and get them back to work. Oh, and to the people who work at these companies: why don’t you stick around until 8 p.m. or so, then drop off your trash in front of the CEO’s office? I guarantee if you do that this problem will get solved by Tuesday morning.

Published by

Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at http://amzn.to/AgeOfContext ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble

Comments

  1. That is the thought people in Flint Michigan had, then Ford bought robots.

    I think people should earn a fair wage, but it is a matter of supply and demand. If people will do the work for Minimum wage then the work will get minimum wage.

    Look what YOU have done to the price of corporate evangelists. YOU expanded the market and raised the wages of everyone in that role.

    At the same Time I also blame you for every Tom, Dick and, Harry thinking that their blog should make them 6 figures a year, because they write 200 word posts 10 times a day.

  2. That is the thought people in Flint Michigan had, then Ford bought robots.

    I think people should earn a fair wage, but it is a matter of supply and demand. If people will do the work for Minimum wage then the work will get minimum wage.

    Look what YOU have done to the price of corporate evangelists. YOU expanded the market and raised the wages of everyone in that role.

    At the same Time I also blame you for every Tom, Dick and, Harry thinking that their blog should make them 6 figures a year, because they write 200 word posts 10 times a day.

  3. I’m glad you posted about this. I agree 100%.

    “Silicon Valley now leads the nation in average median income, but the janitors’ wages fall far below their counterparts in other U.S. cities (New York janitors earn $20.25; San Francisco janitors earn $17.05; Chicago janitors earn $14.20; Silicon Valley janitors earn $11.04).”

    That is a disgraceful stat. These companies should be ashamed.

  4. I’m glad you posted about this. I agree 100%.

    “Silicon Valley now leads the nation in average median income, but the janitors’ wages fall far below their counterparts in other U.S. cities (New York janitors earn $20.25; San Francisco janitors earn $17.05; Chicago janitors earn $14.20; Silicon Valley janitors earn $11.04).”

    That is a disgraceful stat. These companies should be ashamed.

  5. You’re right, Gregg. They should be ashamed.

    Amid the technological and entrepreneurial clamor, the little guy gets screwed. These are real people, who’ve apparently put up with the situation in silence for a long time, based on what little knowledge I have of this dispute. My thoughts are with them, and I hope that they get a fairer deal.

  6. You’re right, Gregg. They should be ashamed.

    Amid the technological and entrepreneurial clamor, the little guy gets screwed. These are real people, who’ve apparently put up with the situation in silence for a long time, based on what little knowledge I have of this dispute. My thoughts are with them, and I hope that they get a fairer deal.

  7. Sounds like some of those janitors who are providing too much supply of unskilled labor in Silicon Valley should move and get jobs in New York.

  8. Sounds like some of those janitors who are providing too much supply of unskilled labor in Silicon Valley should move and get jobs in New York.

  9. Great post Robert and a very real issue. I’ve always been sadden by this horrible reality.

    I remember reading years ago about a woman who worked 80 hours a week at two fulltime jobs just to scrape by. Her second job was cleaning the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation offices.

    The article talked about this very issue of companies that pay great salaries to the executives and other staffers, but the service workers who clean the offices aren’t paid a living wage, have to work two jobs and barely have time to spend with their children because they are working so hard just to keep a roof over their heads.

    These type of stories break my heart and it’s not right. One really can’t live on $23,000 a year in Silicon Valley without some serious sacrifices, not to mention they can’t possibly have very good quality of life IMHO.

    I love your idea for those who work at these companies to stick around until 8:00 on Monday night and leave their trash in front of the CEOs office. Great idea!

    @Ken Hagler, I often wonder why minimum wage workers even stay in Silicon Valley where the cost of living is so high. There are so many other places outside of California where even at a lower income your quality of life is so much better because your money goes farther.

  10. Great post Robert and a very real issue. I’ve always been sadden by this horrible reality.

    I remember reading years ago about a woman who worked 80 hours a week at two fulltime jobs just to scrape by. Her second job was cleaning the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation offices.

    The article talked about this very issue of companies that pay great salaries to the executives and other staffers, but the service workers who clean the offices aren’t paid a living wage, have to work two jobs and barely have time to spend with their children because they are working so hard just to keep a roof over their heads.

    These type of stories break my heart and it’s not right. One really can’t live on $23,000 a year in Silicon Valley without some serious sacrifices, not to mention they can’t possibly have very good quality of life IMHO.

    I love your idea for those who work at these companies to stick around until 8:00 on Monday night and leave their trash in front of the CEOs office. Great idea!

    @Ken Hagler, I often wonder why minimum wage workers even stay in Silicon Valley where the cost of living is so high. There are so many other places outside of California where even at a lower income your quality of life is so much better because your money goes farther.

  11. Companies forget that these people are customers in the end. They buy houses, need mortgages, buys computers and other stuff. If you redistribute income the way the US has done for the past ten, fifteen years, there is no surprise that credit crunches happen. People in India don’t buy American housing. So much for outsourcing. But I agree with you, Robert, about the Unions and the meritocracy view.

  12. Companies forget that these people are customers in the end. They buy houses, need mortgages, buys computers and other stuff. If you redistribute income the way the US has done for the past ten, fifteen years, there is no surprise that credit crunches happen. People in India don’t buy American housing. So much for outsourcing. But I agree with you, Robert, about the Unions and the meritocracy view.

  13. I’ve always found it interesting to talk to the cleaners. It’s amazing what you can learn. Their experiences and backgrounds can be interesting as there are many motivations that get people working the night shifts.

    The other point is, depending on how the career goes, the cleaner nobody notices could be you.

  14. I’ve always found it interesting to talk to the cleaners. It’s amazing what you can learn. Their experiences and backgrounds can be interesting as there are many motivations that get people working the night shifts.

    The other point is, depending on how the career goes, the cleaner nobody notices could be you.

  15. see now this is why unions is such a good thing! how could these janitors have gotten they pay raised by anything else than grouping together and saying “enough”?

  16. see now this is why unions is such a good thing! how could these janitors have gotten they pay raised by anything else than grouping together and saying “enough”?

  17. that this problem will get solved

    Pullling stunts like that will get you fired, what if something toxic was dumped?

    No one saying “your type can’t come in here.”

    Umm yes, they are, try coding in something outside python. So the Microsoft Windows Mobile, Palm, BREW, RIM, LiMo guys are all welcome? Hah.

    Well at least you are consistent, that is, consistently wrong. ;)

  18. that this problem will get solved

    Pullling stunts like that will get you fired, what if something toxic was dumped?

    No one saying “your type can’t come in here.”

    Umm yes, they are, try coding in something outside python. So the Microsoft Windows Mobile, Palm, BREW, RIM, LiMo guys are all welcome? Hah.

    Well at least you are consistent, that is, consistently wrong. ;)

  19. There are a lot worse jobs than being a Janitor in ultra modern Silicon Valley.

    $23 k is tough if you are living alone or a single parent – but not if you have another working partner making the same.

    Society is not guilty for others who do not use foresight when planning their future. Some immigrants came here to get those jobs that many Silicon Valley educated would never dream of doing.

    If you then have a family and choose to stay in the same city to work – it is not society’s fault.

    They probably get work benefits also – and may live in subsidized housing – as well as get food stamps and Medicaid.

    So fucking sick of hard luck stories every day

  20. There are a lot worse jobs than being a Janitor in ultra modern Silicon Valley.

    $23 k is tough if you are living alone or a single parent – but not if you have another working partner making the same.

    Society is not guilty for others who do not use foresight when planning their future. Some immigrants came here to get those jobs that many Silicon Valley educated would never dream of doing.

    If you then have a family and choose to stay in the same city to work – it is not society’s fault.

    They probably get work benefits also – and may live in subsidized housing – as well as get food stamps and Medicaid.

    So fucking sick of hard luck stories every day

  21. The logic of SearchEngines’ last comment fails miserably. Foresight does not make up for the economic circumstances of a person’s youth, lack of educational opportunity, or – heaven forbid – a lower IQ that all the smart alecks who can write code. It’s not a hard luck story to have fewer natural resources. People are not all the same. There are jobs that many of us have aspired to because we had the capacity to do that. The menial jobs will remain and the folks who do them deserve equity in the job market where they work. Denying the cleaning staff the right to have children or live in decent conditions is not an answer.

  22. The logic of SearchEngines’ last comment fails miserably. Foresight does not make up for the economic circumstances of a person’s youth, lack of educational opportunity, or – heaven forbid – a lower IQ that all the smart alecks who can write code. It’s not a hard luck story to have fewer natural resources. People are not all the same. There are jobs that many of us have aspired to because we had the capacity to do that. The menial jobs will remain and the folks who do them deserve equity in the job market where they work. Denying the cleaning staff the right to have children or live in decent conditions is not an answer.

  23. “Umm yes, they are, try coding in something outside python.”

    App Engine isn’t even in beta. It’s a preview release. They picked one language to start with, not as a final total.

  24. “Umm yes, they are, try coding in something outside python.”

    App Engine isn’t even in beta. It’s a preview release. They picked one language to start with, not as a final total.

  25. Right on, Robert. I was a janitor for a couple of years. It’s hard work and the folks who do it have to put up with a lot. They should demand higher wages. If the people who are denying said wages had to clean up after themselves and their employees for a week, then there wouldn’t even be a discussion about this. I won’t go into the disgusting tales of what I saw from the workers I served (in and out of the tech industry in Bellevue and Redmond, WA, by the way), but it provided me with a whole new perspective on humanity.

  26. Right on, Robert. I was a janitor for a couple of years. It’s hard work and the folks who do it have to put up with a lot. They should demand higher wages. If the people who are denying said wages had to clean up after themselves and their employees for a week, then there wouldn’t even be a discussion about this. I won’t go into the disgusting tales of what I saw from the workers I served (in and out of the tech industry in Bellevue and Redmond, WA, by the way), but it provided me with a whole new perspective on humanity.

  27. The union might be the problem. The unions do collective bargaining so everyone good or bad gets paid the same. Imagine if that was the case with tech people. No one would strive to go the extra mile because you’re paid the same as someone who doesn’t. Maybe one could pay a good janitor a little more but one can’t because you’d have to pay all help the same. Hence, the pay is low for everyone.

    On a side note, if you can’t in live in Silicon Valley on $23k, how are these people doing it and why don’t they relocate to someone cheaper like Las Vegas? What’s keeping them in Silicon Valley?

  28. The union might be the problem. The unions do collective bargaining so everyone good or bad gets paid the same. Imagine if that was the case with tech people. No one would strive to go the extra mile because you’re paid the same as someone who doesn’t. Maybe one could pay a good janitor a little more but one can’t because you’d have to pay all help the same. Hence, the pay is low for everyone.

    On a side note, if you can’t in live in Silicon Valley on $23k, how are these people doing it and why don’t they relocate to someone cheaper like Las Vegas? What’s keeping them in Silicon Valley?

  29. I have two former foster children who have been janitors. If you make $23,000 per year, you pay 10% in taxes. That takes it down to $21k. Then you have a car. Even without a payment, filling up your car costs $200 a month, which takes it down to $18.5k. You share an apartment, and your rent and utilities are at least $12k a year. That takes it down to $6.5k. Your food is at least $200 a month (with food stamps) That takes it to $4k. So you have about $350 a month for health insurance, car insurance, incidentals, God forbid a car payment, and clothes.

    And this is not in Silicon Valley. These are numbers for Arizona. I make these budgets all the time for my kids and even with two of them living together they barely get by. And the CEO becomes a billionaire.

  30. I have two former foster children who have been janitors. If you make $23,000 per year, you pay 10% in taxes. That takes it down to $21k. Then you have a car. Even without a payment, filling up your car costs $200 a month, which takes it down to $18.5k. You share an apartment, and your rent and utilities are at least $12k a year. That takes it down to $6.5k. Your food is at least $200 a month (with food stamps) That takes it to $4k. So you have about $350 a month for health insurance, car insurance, incidentals, God forbid a car payment, and clothes.

    And this is not in Silicon Valley. These are numbers for Arizona. I make these budgets all the time for my kids and even with two of them living together they barely get by. And the CEO becomes a billionaire.

  31. So protesting by picking a weekend night that will attract a lot of notice. One would think say a Monday night or the like might attract far more. Odd day to pick.

  32. So protesting by picking a weekend night that will attract a lot of notice. One would think say a Monday night or the like might attract far more. Odd day to pick.

  33. Robert,

    Unions serve to protect skilled workers from being mistreated by their employers.

    I see no reason you can’t support meritocracy and still support unions. In fact, unions work perfectly fine with meritocracies.

    Let me give you an example from the film industry. Yes, there are bad directors in the director’s guild of America, but do you see these horrible directors being hired for the same jobs as people like Spielberg? All the union does is ensures that everyone is treated fairly and greedy executives don’t keep all the millions for themselves without giving anything to the people behind the movies.

    Yet, technology people seem to be averse to unions because they feel they’re “professionals” and don’t need it. This has created an environment where tech people are not paid what they deserve and are frequently treated poorly. There’s nothing wrong with the idea that talent will rise to the top but without a union, it’s more likely that you’ll be unfairly compensated by your employers. It’s the nature of the machine.

    With the kind of success you have, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that unions aren’t that great. Sure, talented people like you and I are able to gain recognition and get noticed without the help of a union, but I’d say it’s more about us being lucky. Even so, our careers would probably be helped by a union. There are plenty of people who are just as talented as you, but they don’t have the same luck.

    I just ask that you reconsider your take on unions. It’s this kind of elitist attitude that makes working in the tech industry so rough for a lot of people.

  34. Robert,

    Unions serve to protect skilled workers from being mistreated by their employers.

    I see no reason you can’t support meritocracy and still support unions. In fact, unions work perfectly fine with meritocracies.

    Let me give you an example from the film industry. Yes, there are bad directors in the director’s guild of America, but do you see these horrible directors being hired for the same jobs as people like Spielberg? All the union does is ensures that everyone is treated fairly and greedy executives don’t keep all the millions for themselves without giving anything to the people behind the movies.

    Yet, technology people seem to be averse to unions because they feel they’re “professionals” and don’t need it. This has created an environment where tech people are not paid what they deserve and are frequently treated poorly. There’s nothing wrong with the idea that talent will rise to the top but without a union, it’s more likely that you’ll be unfairly compensated by your employers. It’s the nature of the machine.

    With the kind of success you have, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that unions aren’t that great. Sure, talented people like you and I are able to gain recognition and get noticed without the help of a union, but I’d say it’s more about us being lucky. Even so, our careers would probably be helped by a union. There are plenty of people who are just as talented as you, but they don’t have the same luck.

    I just ask that you reconsider your take on unions. It’s this kind of elitist attitude that makes working in the tech industry so rough for a lot of people.

  35. I knew in the comments there would be a handful of libertarians.

    Oh yeah, the union might be the problem says one.

    Tech libertarians seem to be the most naive/ignorant of real world problems out there.

  36. I knew in the comments there would be a handful of libertarians.

    Oh yeah, the union might be the problem says one.

    Tech libertarians seem to be the most naive/ignorant of real world problems out there.

  37. Stiv: missing any actual arguments or facts in your post. Wow. Isn’t always great to discuss society’s downturns? … just to add an argument- and fact-free post of my own.

  38. Stiv: missing any actual arguments or facts in your post. Wow. Isn’t always great to discuss society’s downturns? … just to add an argument- and fact-free post of my own.

  39. Andrew,

    What I did was read scobles post and know that some commenters would play the glibertarian line.
    “Unions are bad’.
    It’s up there in the comments.
    It’s not like this is the first post ever about unions.
    Alex Plank makes the points I would make.
    They all aren’t soprano style jersey unions.

  40. Andrew,

    What I did was read scobles post and know that some commenters would play the glibertarian line.
    “Unions are bad’.
    It’s up there in the comments.
    It’s not like this is the first post ever about unions.
    Alex Plank makes the points I would make.
    They all aren’t soprano style jersey unions.

  41. Here’s an interesting twist. One of the hardest parts about hacking is gaining physical access. Once you have access either to a network port or to a physical machine, gaining entry to critical systems is trivial. So what you have here is a BUNCH of really pissed off janitors who all have physical access. Seems a very risky proposition in terms of enterprise security. Imagine a competitor trying to steal “secrets” paying $10K to one of these people to plant some small network listening devices or steal a harddrive, whatever. $10K is nothing to a large firm, but a TON of money for someone paid this little.

    But, if you paid them well, you engender a sense of loyalty that eliminates some (not all) of this risk.

  42. Here’s an interesting twist. One of the hardest parts about hacking is gaining physical access. Once you have access either to a network port or to a physical machine, gaining entry to critical systems is trivial. So what you have here is a BUNCH of really pissed off janitors who all have physical access. Seems a very risky proposition in terms of enterprise security. Imagine a competitor trying to steal “secrets” paying $10K to one of these people to plant some small network listening devices or steal a harddrive, whatever. $10K is nothing to a large firm, but a TON of money for someone paid this little.

    But, if you paid them well, you engender a sense of loyalty that eliminates some (not all) of this risk.

  43. “Meritocracy” is a word the rich and well-off use as an excuse to trample the poor underfoot. It justifies treating people badly, because if they’re working such poor jobs, they must be either lazy or stupid, and so deserve what they’re getting.

    It’s really the most terrible myths there is, and it’s all the worse because the rich people with all the power, and who make all the decisions, believe it. That’s why unions are necessary; to protect the workers from exploitation that they would otherwise be powerless to prevent.

  44. “Meritocracy” is a word the rich and well-off use as an excuse to trample the poor underfoot. It justifies treating people badly, because if they’re working such poor jobs, they must be either lazy or stupid, and so deserve what they’re getting.

    It’s really the most terrible myths there is, and it’s all the worse because the rich people with all the power, and who make all the decisions, believe it. That’s why unions are necessary; to protect the workers from exploitation that they would otherwise be powerless to prevent.

  45. No one has a “right” to a specific wage or salary. It’s a free market. You, as an employee, are simply a resource the business puts a price on for the output it gets. If you are a scarce resouce you are worth more. (there are exceptions, like Scoble, Arrington, et.al.). Yeah, it sucks that is the going wage for janitors. But obviously that is what the market has set the price at. To artificially inflate the market price will only hurt in the long run. Its the same illogical argument used for enforced minimum wage. It creates unemployment, higher prices, etc. And what is the magical “fair wage”? $40k/yr? $50k? Hell, why not just force businesses to pay everyone $250k/yr, regardless of skill level? That should solve eveyone’s problems, right?

  46. No one has a “right” to a specific wage or salary. It’s a free market. You, as an employee, are simply a resource the business puts a price on for the output it gets. If you are a scarce resouce you are worth more. (there are exceptions, like Scoble, Arrington, et.al.). Yeah, it sucks that is the going wage for janitors. But obviously that is what the market has set the price at. To artificially inflate the market price will only hurt in the long run. Its the same illogical argument used for enforced minimum wage. It creates unemployment, higher prices, etc. And what is the magical “fair wage”? $40k/yr? $50k? Hell, why not just force businesses to pay everyone $250k/yr, regardless of skill level? That should solve eveyone’s problems, right?

  47. Stiv

    thank you :-) btw Professions do have unions Medical Doctors and Lawyers have pre entry closed shops :-).

    And just because techies are clever doesn’t been they cant get taken for a ride. How would an individual deal with a long running legal case about say pensions (look up the BT Section A Case) or represent themselves in a labour court.

    Profesional unions (Ie M&P) deal with some of the same issues but there are more subtle issues that come into play at the higher end I’ve had bullying cases when i was woried about one person and when I heard that someone had jumped in front of a train at the local station I was relived that it wasn’t one of my boys and girls who hadn’t come to anyone with their problems – felt a bit bad about that afterwards.

    Ill leave with the reminder that FDR said Capitalism only works when everyone benefits.

  48. Stiv

    thank you :-) btw Professions do have unions Medical Doctors and Lawyers have pre entry closed shops :-).

    And just because techies are clever doesn’t been they cant get taken for a ride. How would an individual deal with a long running legal case about say pensions (look up the BT Section A Case) or represent themselves in a labour court.

    Profesional unions (Ie M&P) deal with some of the same issues but there are more subtle issues that come into play at the higher end I’ve had bullying cases when i was woried about one person and when I heard that someone had jumped in front of a train at the local station I was relived that it wasn’t one of my boys and girls who hadn’t come to anyone with their problems – felt a bit bad about that afterwards.

    Ill leave with the reminder that FDR said Capitalism only works when everyone benefits.

  49. Unions i think cause more damage than good. they make it difficult if not impossible to fire poor workers. I worked as a manager where i had unionized workers. I do believe every one of them should be paid a good living wage and have access to health care. However workers get paid by seniority not by work effort and quality, meaning we had problems with people doing just enough to scoot by and not be fired. I don’t get 100% coverage on my health, and yet our janitors striking demanded 100% coverage, and a raise. I irked me the sense of entitlement. We even fired one woman for physically attacking and harassing a co-worker, but the union made us re-hire the worker because it was a first offense and there had to be at least three with proper paperwork filed to fire someone. See what I mean? All people, regardless of job should be paid well enough to live if they work full time at minimum. Unions taking a cut of pay and other things doesn’t help people. Workers could certainly strike and negotiate as a group without an official union ‘leader’ leading it.

    Sorry to ramble but unions aggravate me, i think poor workers should be able to be fired so that we can hire a good worker instead. Admittedly if we aren’t paying enough we won’t get a good worker, and then we’ll have to raise what we are willing to pay for what we want.

  50. Unions i think cause more damage than good. they make it difficult if not impossible to fire poor workers. I worked as a manager where i had unionized workers. I do believe every one of them should be paid a good living wage and have access to health care. However workers get paid by seniority not by work effort and quality, meaning we had problems with people doing just enough to scoot by and not be fired. I don’t get 100% coverage on my health, and yet our janitors striking demanded 100% coverage, and a raise. I irked me the sense of entitlement. We even fired one woman for physically attacking and harassing a co-worker, but the union made us re-hire the worker because it was a first offense and there had to be at least three with proper paperwork filed to fire someone. See what I mean? All people, regardless of job should be paid well enough to live if they work full time at minimum. Unions taking a cut of pay and other things doesn’t help people. Workers could certainly strike and negotiate as a group without an official union ‘leader’ leading it.

    Sorry to ramble but unions aggravate me, i think poor workers should be able to be fired so that we can hire a good worker instead. Admittedly if we aren’t paying enough we won’t get a good worker, and then we’ll have to raise what we are willing to pay for what we want.

  51. Well, given that FDR approved about every socialist program this country now has, I’d say his understanding of capitalism was a bit flawed

  52. Well, given that FDR approved about every socialist program this country now has, I’d say his understanding of capitalism was a bit flawed

  53. Just because janitora are in a job where they can market , i.e. BS their way out to the top, using utopian ideas and romantic faith, means that they will continue to be discriminated against. Sometimes, I feel for all it’s goodness, in terms of wealth creation and richness, the US is actually a harder place to survive – the standard deviation is so huge

  54. Just because janitora are in a job where they can market , i.e. BS their way out to the top, using utopian ideas and romantic faith, means that they will continue to be discriminated against. Sometimes, I feel for all it’s goodness, in terms of wealth creation and richness, the US is actually a harder place to survive – the standard deviation is so huge

  55. “Well, given that FDR approved about every socialist program this country now has, I’d say his understanding of capitalism was a bit flawed”

    Man, good times, what?

  56. “Well, given that FDR approved about every socialist program this country now has, I’d say his understanding of capitalism was a bit flawed”

    Man, good times, what?

  57. There is power in a factory, power in the land
    Power in the hands of a worker
    But it all amounts to nothing if together we don’t stand There is power in a Union

    Now the lessons of the past were all learned with workers’ blood
    The mistakes of the bosses we must pay for
    From the cities and the farmlands to trenches full of mud
    War has always been the bosses’ way, sir

    The Union forever defending our rights
    Down with the blackleg, all workers unite
    With our brothers and out sisters from many far off lands
    There is power in a Union

    Now I long for the morning that they realise
    Brutality and unjust laws can not defeat us
    But who’ll defend the workers who cannot organise
    When the bosses send their lackies out to cheat us?

    Money speaks for money, the Devil for his own
    Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone
    What a comfort to the widow, a light to the child
    There is power in a Union

    The Union forever defending our rights
    Down with the blackleg, all workers unite
    With our brothers and out sisters from many far off lands
    There is power in a Union.

  58. There is power in a factory, power in the land
    Power in the hands of a worker
    But it all amounts to nothing if together we don’t stand There is power in a Union

    Now the lessons of the past were all learned with workers’ blood
    The mistakes of the bosses we must pay for
    From the cities and the farmlands to trenches full of mud
    War has always been the bosses’ way, sir

    The Union forever defending our rights
    Down with the blackleg, all workers unite
    With our brothers and out sisters from many far off lands
    There is power in a Union

    Now I long for the morning that they realise
    Brutality and unjust laws can not defeat us
    But who’ll defend the workers who cannot organise
    When the bosses send their lackies out to cheat us?

    Money speaks for money, the Devil for his own
    Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone
    What a comfort to the widow, a light to the child
    There is power in a Union

    The Union forever defending our rights
    Down with the blackleg, all workers unite
    With our brothers and out sisters from many far off lands
    There is power in a Union.

  59. Why are you people even arguing about this? Capitalism is the Natural Law by which we live in the US economy. Nothing should change that. Nothing should cost-motivate the system to change in any way. Take, for example, a reverse scenerio: if the janitor made more than the programmer, how would people be motivated to create as much innovation in the world? How would people be motivated to better their lives? People get by when they are forced to–furthermore, they are motivated to improve their lives. Sure some statistical outliers experience a downward spiral, and become homeless, and this is a real problem, too, but the wage disparity is essential to the US Economy.

    Furthermore, in matters of supply and demand, more people azre capable of doing unskilled labor, so wage competition ensues & business leaders profit from people out-bidding each other. I think that since Google and Wikipedia generally reduce the overall asymetrical information situation, many so-called skilled laborers will find that competition is much more keen in the future, as information is more easily available to everyone else. But then employers will hae to rely on other factors in screening and wage determination. Credit score & credible experience will become tantamount in the years to come–not formal education. I think we have seen this phenomena, already.

    In closing, I want everyone to rest assured. As long as you are doing what you enjoy, or at least learning the skills for what you wish to do & preparing yourself for a growing move into what you enjoy, you will be fine. Low income is a great tool to motivate people to improve their lives & there are plenty of relatively unskilled jobs out there which pay more than poverty level–just see your temp agency. In the long run, everything balances out or oscillates the other way. One day, people are going to say, “To heck with this janitor job,” and they leave their current job for something nicer / profitable / whatever. This will leave a larger than usual hole in the janitor job market, and janitors will be more empowered to set their own wages. Diminishing oscillations in economies are a wonderful long-term phenomenon which ensure a balanced, and efficient job market.

    Thanks.

  60. Why are you people even arguing about this? Capitalism is the Natural Law by which we live in the US economy. Nothing should change that. Nothing should cost-motivate the system to change in any way. Take, for example, a reverse scenerio: if the janitor made more than the programmer, how would people be motivated to create as much innovation in the world? How would people be motivated to better their lives? People get by when they are forced to–furthermore, they are motivated to improve their lives. Sure some statistical outliers experience a downward spiral, and become homeless, and this is a real problem, too, but the wage disparity is essential to the US Economy.

    Furthermore, in matters of supply and demand, more people azre capable of doing unskilled labor, so wage competition ensues & business leaders profit from people out-bidding each other. I think that since Google and Wikipedia generally reduce the overall asymetrical information situation, many so-called skilled laborers will find that competition is much more keen in the future, as information is more easily available to everyone else. But then employers will hae to rely on other factors in screening and wage determination. Credit score & credible experience will become tantamount in the years to come–not formal education. I think we have seen this phenomena, already.

    In closing, I want everyone to rest assured. As long as you are doing what you enjoy, or at least learning the skills for what you wish to do & preparing yourself for a growing move into what you enjoy, you will be fine. Low income is a great tool to motivate people to improve their lives & there are plenty of relatively unskilled jobs out there which pay more than poverty level–just see your temp agency. In the long run, everything balances out or oscillates the other way. One day, people are going to say, “To heck with this janitor job,” and they leave their current job for something nicer / profitable / whatever. This will leave a larger than usual hole in the janitor job market, and janitors will be more empowered to set their own wages. Diminishing oscillations in economies are a wonderful long-term phenomenon which ensure a balanced, and efficient job market.

    Thanks.

  61. You cannot have a democratic society without a democratic workplace. Everyone, including those often-ignored janitors, should have a say in their workplace.

    And as for this “FDR was a Commie” business, let’s not forget that he got America out of the Great Depression, which was largely caused by Libertarian business practices.

  62. You cannot have a democratic society without a democratic workplace. Everyone, including those often-ignored janitors, should have a say in their workplace.

    And as for this “FDR was a Commie” business, let’s not forget that he got America out of the Great Depression, which was largely caused by Libertarian business practices.