Reihan Salam Has An Interesting Take On The New Economy

I would go further than Biggs. McDonald’s and other low-wage employers aren’t just not bilking taxpayers. Rather, they are taking on a task that many American families and schools are failing to perform. To put it bluntly, McDonald’s is a company that hires large numbers of people with limited skills, many of whom are teenagers and young adults, and it introduces them to the ways of the workplace.

There are many bright young people in this country who lack the non-cognitive skills — like grit, self-regulation, motivation, and the ability to work constructively with others — that one needs to climb the economic ladder. Schools generally rely on parents to impart these skills, and for good reason.

Parents who don’t have the presence of mind to provide a stable environment for their children expect the schools to pick up the slack. The result is that children who don’t have stable families that impart the habits and skills necessary for steady employment can find themselves struggling in the labor market, if not locked out of it entirely.

Source: “Facebook, McDonald’s and the divided American workforce” over at Reuters.

There is an inverse relationship between willingness to proclaim that everyone should learn to code, and actual involvement in the technology sector.

Managing multi-national, multi-firm supply chains requires enormous investment in training, systems, processes and technology.

Under-estimating the level of cognitive ability necessary to solve complex software engineering problems is common. The coding itself isn’t valuable – understanding the limits of different languages, technology stacks, integrating with legacy systems and overall architecture that achieves a good cost/benefit ratio for profit maximising firms is where the value lies in my opinion.

There’s a reason why wage differentials will persist between high skill and low skill workers independent of any efforts to close the gap. And there’s a reason why columnists consistently fail to see how they contribute to the “problem” – no one will do anything that harms the chances of their kid getting a job at Facebook or another high wage employer.

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