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Guest Post: The Hidden Cost Of The "New Economy": New-Type Depression

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

The Hidden Cost Of The "New Economy": New-Type Depression 

Two decades of economic stagnation and rising insecurity have unleashed work-based "new-type depression" in Japan.

Today I continue to explore the theme that Japan's two decades of economic stagnation may offer guidelines for what lies ahead "for the rest of us" as the global malaise deepens in the years ahead. I have been a student of Japan for 40 years, having studied the language, history, literature, geography and art/film, in university and thereafter. We have many Japanese friends and have visited a number of times. (I have also been a student of the Chinese and Korean cultures.)

Japan is quite different from the U.S. and Europe, with a homogeneous populace and a culture rooted in Confucian values and social hierarchies. Despite the many differences, including definitions of depression, I think it is self-evident that the rising insecurity and workplace changes in Japan result from long-term economic stagnation.

I suspect "new-type depression" may have some universal aspects, as rising insecurity and new demands in the workplace characterize Western economies as well.

New-type depression--NTD--(also called modern-type) is not a classic depression. It does not respond to anti-depressant medications, and it is triggered by events in the workplace--usually criticism from superiors. Those who exhibit the symptoms--difficulty focusing at work, physical symptoms of stress, etc.--tend to be in their 20s and 30s.

With 26% of companies reporting NTD in their workforces, it is widely viewed as a threat to Corporate Japan.

Outside of work, the person with new-type depression continues their social life as before, even as they find themselves unable to go back to work. In other words, they do not suffer from generalized anxiety or anhedonia (inability to enjoy anything in life).

This leads older Japanese to dismiss the NTDs as lazy or spoiled, because the depression is often triggered by demands at work the young worker cannot meet.

Psychologists in Japan are struggling to understand and define new-type depression. Some feel it is a form of rebellion against a rigid society. Others believe it results from poor communication skills on the part of both the younger workers and their senior supervisors.

Why are poor communication skill suddenly an issue in hierarchical Japan? It turns out that Corporate Japan has adopted Western-style management techniques to cope with declining sales and profitability. Job security is no longer absolute in Corporate Japan, and high-level social skills are now required in the "New Economy."

This is also the case in America, where routine work that required only following orders has declined in favor of work that demands constant communication with work groups and and interaction with supervisors. This "New Economy" workplace places a premium on high-level verbal, written and social skills of the sort that females generally score higher on than males.(NTD does not appear to be gender-related, as both males and females experience NTD.)

The "New Economy" in Japan and the U.S. places great pressure on those with poor communication skills and who take their work seriously. Criticism or a failure to keep up pushes the anxiety-ridden worker into new-style depression.

According to Japan’s case of the office blues (Financial Times, free registration required), Corporate Japan has also flattened management levels, U.S.-style, diminishing the traditional mentoring relationship between senior supervisors and junior workers.

This relationship evoked certain aspects of the stern and demanding father-figure, the boss who might yell at you but who looked out for you and nurtured you within the corporate hierarchy.

“It is a generation that faces a situation in which the balance between responsibility and authority is broken,” says Mr Imai. “Also, in the past, there used to be a senpai-kohai [older worker, younger worker] system, where more experienced staff mentored their subordinates, but now everyone is equal, so everyone is alone,” he says.


More than 26 per cent of businesses surveyed last year by the health ministry said they had cases of workers resigning or taking leave of more than one month for mental health reasons. This was up from just 7.6 per cent in a survey conducted three years before. The bulk of those businesses, or 84 per cent of respondents, said problems of mental health affected their business performance negatively.

We can summarize the breeding ground of new-type depression: very demanding work that is beyond the capacity of people with poor social and communication skills and those who fear being left behind or failing. Fearing failure, they wilt under criticism that seems unfair and irresponsible given that they're doing their best. Facing an apparently no-win situation at work, they quit or take an extended leave of absence.

This doesn't solve the depression or its causes, unfortunately. What seems to help is counseling that raises the emotional maturity of the person with NTD so they can better handle criticism, and counseling the senior supervisors to become better communicators with younger workers.

Placing workers with low communication skills in jobs where they can work independently and productively also helps.

The demands on enterprises and employees alike are rising as the "New Economy" of pervasive insecurity and constant adaptation become the norm. The take-away from Japan's new-style depression is that we need to understand not all workers are cut out for the high-social-skill "New Economy," though in the right positions they are admirably productive. That will take a new level of management skills in Corporate Japan, America and Europe as definancialization and deleveraging unravel the global economy.


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Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:27 | 2898082 Cognitive Dissonance
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The social "spread" continues to widen between the classes.

<I seem to have misplaced the middle class. It was just here. Anyone seen it lately?>

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:30 | 2898089 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

It's been dismantled to help finance the meddling around in Middle Eastern affairs on behalf of particular interests...

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:32 | 2898095 pndr4495
pndr4495's picture

It was left in a basket at the orphanarium on the show FUTURAMA

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:30 | 2898250 Stock Tips Inve...
Stock Tips Investment's picture

Japan has been experiencing significant changes. Not only in its economy. Also in their way of life and their way to relate to the rest of the world. In some aspects, adopted the customs of the West. This is affecting the Japanese society. This type of depression can be one of those consequences.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:39 | 2898278 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Let's simplify.  There are two types of jobs in the new economy.

Gubbermint jobs..., or part-time, temporary, joke jobs.  What was that about depression?

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:49 | 2898477 daxtonbrown
daxtonbrown's picture

We are in a different type of depression, a biflationary depression, every bit as bad as the Great One. The difference is that the Fed manipulates the indicators to net zero by running simultaneous inflationary and deflationary schemes. But all the Fed can o is push on a rope.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:58 | 2898116 TruthHunter
TruthHunter's picture

I suppose the "New Type Depression" is mostly suffered by Narcissists. 

Maybe they haven't made that connection yet...

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 14:46 | 2898653 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

"I suppose the "New Type Depression" is mostly suffered by Narcissists."

That comment is clearly lacking in empathy for these people, which is a key trait of a narcissist.  

The issue stated here is something I agree with given my own experience and the experience of other people I know, but I disagree a bit with their conclusion ("poor" communication skills).  I think this shit naturally arises from abnormal interaction constructs.  The U.S. corporate model, especially with "information age" jobs, leads to situation where a lot of people literally can't even describe what the fuck they do, let alone any clarity in the heirarchy or any clarity of work product expectations (because, WE DON'T FUCKING PRODUCE ANYTHING).  The idea that women are better at these "information age" jobs is 100% correct, but that doesn't mean they're any less fucked in the head mentally by these constructs.  

Nothing less than a radical transformation in what the fuck we do with ourselves given partial or full automation of previously manual functions (for which we derived a solidly positive sense of accomplishment) is required, but no, instead we sit in these endless oceans of absurd physical constructs (cubicles) with fucking depressing lighting and no windows, doing shit that we can't quantify or describe, with relatively arbitrary assessments of success or failure (seriously, anyone had a "review" and had that internal empty feeling regarding the entire past year of your life, even if you got mostly 4's and 5's out of 5 on your assessment categories?).  CogDis' Insane Asylum, in living color.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 18:29 | 2899489 Ludwig Van
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P. Funk --

"...doing shit that we can't quantify or describe..."

Nailed it. +1,000.



"I don't have a problem with any of this -- and neither do I."



Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:01 | 2898162 jayman21
jayman21's picture

"I seem to have misplaced the middle class. It was just here. Anyone seen it lately?"


Found it.  It was locked up with the unicorns for doing none violent crimes.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 14:52 | 2898666 GAAPpreNixon
GAAPpreNixon's picture

The problem goes beyond middle class straight to cognitive dissonance. As you are probably well aware of by your choice of handle, any society that demands respect and obedience to authority and simultaneously claims said authority can act irresponsibly and unaccountably without a consequent societal implosion is INSANE.

NTD is just the tip of the cognitive dissonance iceberg.

Institutionalized criminal negligence, sadistic treatment of employees and increasingly strident demands for respect voiced by these irresponsible authority figures from their victims of cruel predatory corporate practices will fail because they are the very definition of a dysfunctional society.



Wed, 10/17/2012 - 15:22 | 2898751 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

I like this line,

increasingly strident demands for respect voiced by these irresponsible authority figures from their victims of cruel predatory corporate practices will fail because they are the very definition of a dysfunctional society.

there's really no need to get into the false definitions of gender constructs to describe the decline of human interactions in employment, and the subsequent depression that can result - anyone that's able to listen to a "customer" or co-worker, and then interact with them based on what is discussed qualifies as a decent employee. 

the problems arise when the job setting is peopled with grade A bullies who need to be obeyed, and have enough job security to enforce their reality on others - who may have better ideas, but realise the whole top-down model is worth-less for aspirations. . . the feelings of entrapment, and debased interactions daily guarantee "depression" because any sane person would recognise the futility of said employment.

the whole "boss/employee" hierarchy is past its sell-by date.  like .gov, religion, etc., it has been based on unquestioned authority, (founding)father-figures, and that's long past due for re-thinking.

edifice crumbling. . .

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 19:13 | 2899563 Umh
Umh's picture

Your line "any society that demands respect and obedience to authority and simultaneously claims said authority can act irresponsibly and unaccountably without a consequent societal implosion is INSANE." wraps up modern life perfectly. 


P. S. do you mind if I use it?

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:28 | 2898087 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture


Retirement No Option for Older Workers in Europe’s Crisis

When Carl Camden joined global temporary work agency Kelly Services Inc. (KELYA) as a senior vice-president 17 years ago, the biggest age group placed in both the U.S. and Europe was younger than 30. Now the largest segment is over 50 on both continents, said Camden, chief executive officer of the Troy, Michigan-based company.

“I do worry about the social fabric tearing apart,” he said in a phone interview. “I worry about social dynamics when economies aren’t growing fast enough to provide jobs for the young. There is a risk of generational conflict.”

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:51 | 2898140 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

Unless "texting friends" becomes an occupation, the young will never be able to get a job.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:13 | 2898202 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Be thankful "the kids" text.......and have social media to vent........because when THAT is taken away from them (and free speech will, either by the government, or the firing), that's when windows start to get smashed.


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:35 | 2898267 Louie the Dog
Louie the Dog's picture

that's when windows start to get smashed.

I think they are texting to organize the window smashing.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:56 | 2898328 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:26 | 2898230 kito
kito's picture

@insanely-----there is always room in the domestic spy program for new employees, stop being so pessimistic:

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 15:25 | 2898768 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture


txtrs spy'g, gamers's pilot drones, all yr bases covered.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:30 | 2898090 Alcoholic Nativ...
Alcoholic Native American's picture


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:30 | 2898092 Calidreaming
Calidreaming's picture

According to Calculated Risk:  Recession averted.  

That McBride guy is a turncoat  - Bernake blinders on.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:49 | 2898303 kito
kito's picture

mcbride just regurgitates government propaganda stats.....i dont bother visiting his site anymore...............

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:30 | 2898093 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

This article kind of sucks. What is the point? This sounds like people discussing parental teaching methods while sitting on the titanic.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:34 | 2898440 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

The point?  The point is the current crisis is your fault.  It's in your head.  It's your failure.  If only you communicated better or were more emotionally whole.  Maybe if you just took your Paxil without complaint.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:55 | 2898503 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

wife? Is that you?

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 14:15 | 2898572 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 15:06 | 2898707 GAAPpreNixon
GAAPpreNixon's picture

wife? Is that you?

Yeah, and she's got a pair of emasculators in her hands waiting for you Corporate Game Theory worshippers to go to sleep.

The bossses have forgotten that respect must be earned by responsible and accountable behavior every fucking day!

Recruiting practices that promise the moon and deliver shit destroy societies.

  Rod Serling: Logic is the enemy and truth is a menace.  

But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.

Frederic Bastiat, 1850



Wed, 10/17/2012 - 14:53 | 2898667 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

This is pretty much it.  I'm curious as to the amount of emotional abuse in the workplace.  I suspect that it is rampant given the respective bargaining positions of the participants.  Essentially, I know too many people with bosses who are completely top down/authoritarian in their communications and style.  Often times this is completely two-faced in that the same people attempt to project a corporate atmosphere where everyone is free to communicate about issues, brainstorm and participate in discussions, and otherwise voice their opinions.  In reality, if anyone dare tries, he or she will be chastised and otherwise reprimanded for the insolence...  albeit in a passive aggressive manner.  If the employee withdraws, then the boss simply points to the "open" communication policy and asks what went wrong?  "You know you can always come to me if you have an issue."

The simple fact is that people who are adept at emotional manipulation and, often times, also fairly adept at emotionally abusing others, tend to excel in the workplace.  Needless to say, I doubt it stops at the workplace, although it might.  I have to think many of these managers tend to have unhappy spouses and families as well.  Maybe it all gets left on the field so to speak, but I have serious reservations about that.

When there is this notion of a "communication breakdown" between older and younger generations, I have to wonder what degree of this breakdown is simply emotional abuse by employers leading younger workers to feel as though they do not have the ability to communicate their misgivings or otherwise assert proper boundaries.  I also can't fathom that this does not present an intellectual drag on the company due to prohibition of fostering new ideas/innovation and communication thereof.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 15:06 | 2898704 pods
pods's picture

I would say that you have perfectly described many smaller companies from the top down.  

Longer term employees (>5 years) have learned to pretend to have ideas, but do not actually think about any new ideas. 

People learn that a good idea is one the boss likes, irrespective of the positive impact on the company.  And passive aggressive attitudes are rampant. Keeping records of time, etc always lowers productivity.  Once people get that "watched" feeling, they will do what is required to look good.  Not what is needed.

Treat people like kids and they will pay back the favor.  Toss in some token appreciation, two sets of rules,  and you seal the fate of the place.

And yes, I speak from experience.


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 15:37 | 2898847 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

unquestioned authority, pleasing the parent, emotional manipulation. . .  it's all very parental model, vs.  teenagers saying whatever they think is required by the parent, all the while having little/no respect. 

and because teens are dependent on the parents for food & housing *cough* there can only be passive aggressive acting out until they take full responsibility for their own lives. . . it's the corporate work environment replicating bad "family" modeling, with .gov moving in from behind to micro-manage the whole steaming pile when it inevitably results in failure.

it's a broken authoritarian model that is dis-abling humans.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 15:40 | 2898851 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Clearly I speak from experience too with my soapbox...

But to expand on the issue, I think there is also rampant ageism in the workplace...  The younger generations tend to value work differently.  Pay is not so important as feeling a part of a viable and moral community and having a sense of true fulfillment from work.  [obviously hand sandwiches get old, so pay is certainly incredibly important, but I don't believe it's the primary motivator for production].  The allure of an organization with an "open" communication policy where everyone gets to participate and ideas brainstormed and thunderdome'd, the best idea for the organization coming out on top...  are simply naive fantasies.  In reality, it is a total smokescreen meant for nothing but appearance.  If a new employee comes up with a good idea, it quickly gets shitcanned...  if a new employee comes in busting ass, then he quickly gets woodshedded not to show up the old dogs.  It ends up leading to a feeling of total stagnation (much like the economy at large) and a waste of time.  These dynamics are common throughout all my school friends who've begun duking it out with the job market.

If we're supposed to do this for the next 50 years, then how the fuck is that a fruitful existence?  How is that fulfilling?  How is that worth the sacrifice of time?  The thing is, where older generations would be fine to pull the plow for no reason other than pulling the plow, I think younger generations desire a bit more.  The disconnect between their expectations and the actual workplace is causing some serious problems.  For some, it will simply lead us to find something different...  for others, it will lead to worsening symptoms, depression, suicide, lack of self worth, family issues...  as knowledge of these dynamics expand, we'll find a lot more organizations changing the way they do business (although, the whip is actually the most productive managerial technique, in the short run).

In the end, I think people need to shed away virtually all aspects of the workplace and simply focus on how it evolved and what it really is...  in this case, the simplest explanation is that it is a repository for work referrals and operates purely on wage arbitrage.  As a result, the question must be asked, why do I expect anything more from an institution utilizing wage arbitrage?  How could I possibly think that I could be a peer in this situation?  What about this even implied a fair shake or the ability to meaningfully participate? 

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 17:55 | 2899425 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

How is that fulfilling?

Where is it written that a job has to be "fulfilling"? I'm guessing a pretty small percentage of people have jobs that they find personally and professionally fulfilling? A job, first and foremost, is a way to pay the bills and provide for yourself and your family. If you have that and like your job too, so much the better. You were correct in suggesting there is a disconnect in the younger generation between what they expect a job to be and what the reality is. The cause of this disconnect, however, is that the younger generation has been fed a load of crap about how they should expect to find a job that "makes a difference" or whatever and swallowed it whole.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 00:10 | 2900120 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

No one says it does...  but the entire article is about the effects upon people, mentally, when this occurs for a prolonged period.  By saying "rub some dirt in it" or "walk it off" or whatever quip you like, I think you're missing the entire point...  which is to offer a viable solution. 

The modern work place is simply not working for people...  especially the younger generation.  I think we're at a point where people are finally second guessing the very essence and nature of work.  The question posed is whether or not it is worth it to kill yourself for someone else's amusement and profit.  I think the younger generations are going to answer this in the negative...  and we'll have plenty of time to ponder while waiting around in mom's basement for the baby boomers to retire, if ever.  

In short, there is some happy medium between keeping people employed for life and taking a shit on them every chance you get...  It's just another symptom of a broke dick society. 

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 21:08 | 2899719 Umh
Umh's picture

I agree with you completely. On a side note; I've noticed that kiss asses expect to have their ass kissed. Another way of looking at this is that they expect the same treatment that they give out, they are still assholes.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:32 | 2898097 centerline
centerline's picture

NTD is just the warm up act.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:32 | 2898099 Quinvarius
Quinvarius's picture

Sounds like a pay issue. 

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:58 | 2898166 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

As a young worker, part of pay.  If we were paid more, we wouldn't obviously be bitching as much and it would be easier to "deal with it".

But also, the demands, stress, and pressures put on by management to whip the slaves into optimal productivity in the name of keeping that stock price up.

Corporations and management wants more out of their workers, but won't reward those workers with more pay that doesn't keep up with "real" inflation. 

I'll get a raise next year, but it will only be 2.5% (based off of the manipulated CPI number).  I don't make that much where 2.5% is an significant increase into my life costs (food, rent, energy, public transit) and cutting into debt costs (student, CC).  The only young folk I know who are getting a mortgages for houses/condos, are those in high paying and safe positions (i.e. Eye Doctor or Engineers at BioTech firms).  It is essentially a form of "unnatural selection".  Ante off the workers who are expendable.  Fuck 'em.

And those "costs' are getting passed on to the bottom of the "employment chain" - the worker.  Especially the younger's really condescending to hear these baby boomers talk down to us while they make their high 5,6 figure salaries not understanding that the reason theyt have things that I don't isn't because they "saved" was because they had easier access to debt (and could pay it off as  they didn't deal with the inflation/deflation we deal with today). 

While I am working 2x's as hard as they did, and only making 1/3rd as much....not enough to save, discretionary spend, enjoy weekends as I am exhauted after 50 hours weeks (including commute)......and of course, afford college/car/house.

And after dealing with these assholes, especially my main boss (who is a micromanaging email tyrant), they have the gall to keep saying "thank you", thinking it's a polite courtesy while she oversees EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING I DO. 

Well guess what?

"Thank yous" don't pay the bills. 


To see the blinders they have on in their eyes, it really is fucking unbelievable. 

They have no idea what is coming once the bubble pops. 

The rubber band is being stretched to its limit. They'll never see the rise of progressive libertarian anarchism coming.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:07 | 2898183 Zadok
Zadok's picture

Superb summary Shizz! Good grasp on reality, try not to lose it, the grasp on reality I mean.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:12 | 2898199 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

That is a great summary. The key is that it's not going to change voluntarily.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:37 | 2898447 Zadok
Zadok's picture

Nope, this last play is 99 years old and on the verge of splendid execution, of course debt forgiveness will not be coming soon. That is the entire premise of the exercise, debt servitude. Almost there...almost there...

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 14:13 | 2898566 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

I can say for quite a few other professionals that this type of system is going to come to a screeching halt soon and it isn't all bad.  Believe it or not, the younger generations are vastly better at using technology to be productive, especially in marketing.  Realistically, every employer is simply a work referral entity gaming wage arbitrage.  What has happened is that in professional services, among others, the pay for new entrants is nil while the barriers to entry are likewise nil (commercial r/e is cheap as hell, telecommuting is cheap as hell, pre-packaged websites are cheap as hell, office supplies are cheap as hell, etc.).  This leads to there being very little opportunity cost in rolling your own.  The only issue is simply getting the necessary referrals/demands.  If you can set yourself up as a hub to get work referrals/client demands, then you're set...  that's it...  now you can even participate in wage arbitrage if you want.

Obviously you can't just build a multimillion dollar manufacturing facility for shits and giggles...  the above simply has nothing to do with that...  but we are primarily a service based economy (quickly shrinking)...  many employers, by taking advantage of wage arbitrage and the present economic conditions, have also opened the door for direct competition...  having trained their competition, no less. 

If employers wanted to give a little more of a fair shake on things, then they could really, really ring that cash register much more over time.  What they're going to do is force young, disgruntled and similarly situated workers to break off and create competitive businesses.  The opportunity cost for doing so is too low not to try...    

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 18:45 | 2899514 geoffb
geoffb's picture

"The opportunity cost for doing so is too low not to try..."


That sums up how I feel about it verbatim. Said the same words to my wife who is lamenting my starting a business instead of trying to get a different job that gets more hours. When I get a raise its basically a joke, because my hours get reduced so I never make more than a certain amount. I don't blame the company, they do what they've got to do, but my business startup is to automate my job. If I don't do it, someone else will. Then I'll be out of a job. Companies who are racing to the bottom of the cost structure won't be a going concern soon, imo. So no use going anywhere else.



Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:08 | 2898190 Uber Vandal
Uber Vandal's picture

Have you ever sat back and wondered how people from 1975 to 1983 paid anything off when interest on mortgages were around 15+%?


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:32 | 2898235 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Good question. Let's use my Dad as an example. He bought his house for 35k in 1975. His wages rapidly rose through the 80's. His home price appreciated during the same period. Also his brokerage account appreciated with the stock market bigtime during the same period while at the same time the dollar was stronger. Therefore prices of goods stayed low, therefore not eroding his wages.

As opposed to me, who bought in the same area in 2007. My mortgage rate is 4.625% as opposed to 15% but I paid $515k for a similar house. I have to contend with this stock market, this housing market and the dollar shitting the bed. Stagnant wages and this employment environment to boot.

Which situation would you prefer? I am not crying a river. It is what it is. I bought my ticket and and digging my way out.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:59 | 2898338 kito
kito's picture

dont worry fonz, all of the experts now say housing has turned the will be fine...your house value will soar over the next 15 years....dow will be at $30,000 soon enough..........downturn---its only cyclical.....thats what cnbc says.............

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:04 | 2898360 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Yeah I agree. Bernanke must be in panic mode knowing he better start raising rates asap to put a lid on this exponential growth.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:33 | 2898439 kito
kito's picture

HAHAHAHAHAHh RAISE RATES YOU SAYYYYYY HAHAHA HAHAHH------ imminent implosion in 1) shadow banking 2) housing 3)u.s. debt ------yep raising rates will be welcomed...i hope romney wins if only so i can shut the imbeciles up ---the ones who keep harping on the fact that he will be fiscally responsible, balance the budget, bring in a fed hawk.....its laughable how naive the herd is....................

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 15:12 | 2898729 Uber Vandal
Uber Vandal's picture

I suspect your dad was not out of work for 2 years due to being in the construction trade, and lost all of his seniority, and had to start over again, during the 1980-83 recession?

When you start at the bottom of the wage scale again, or the only jobs you are "qualified for" pay $3.35/hr, things got a bit dicey.

A lot of people tend to forget that recession, and of course, everyone's experience and view points will differ greatly on anything.

However, all of that was not all bad, for I vowed to never make the mistakes my parents did, such as presume you will have a job, presume you will be healthy and not blow your knee out working a new job and then be let go, presume the money you have will last, presume your relatives or friends will help you when things get dicey.


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:33 | 2898260 pods
pods's picture

I'd take 15% on a $60k note back then over 4% on a 300k note now.  Toss in decent wages, low property taxes, and access to credit before everything and anything was financialized and fuck yeah I would take it.

In the beginning of a ponzi everyone does well.  If you can point to this time as starting in 1971, then yes, people were able to do stuff back then, especially since "free trade" had not entered the lexicon and the majority of items were not financialized.  

Now everything has been financialized, increasing the price, and salaries are in the toilet. Toss in higher taxes/fees and burdensome regulation and you can see how shitty things are.



Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:38 | 2898275 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Even better pods I deal with that generation all the time. They bitch about recent home values and disregard that they bought their 60k house and have since pulled the equity out of it 2 or 3 times since. I forgot what equity was about 3 years ago.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:44 | 2898285 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

On par with pods usual "anti-taxes" meme, this plays a huge role as well.

I also notice the areas with high employment rates (MA, NY; city wise: NYC, SF, Boston) have high taxes (unless you are ND or that case, the low UE rates are due to the fact they have their own bank on top of a low population level). 

This breeds a problem as more welfare for both individual and corporates bleed the system.  And, the government needs to pay those bills somehow - and it won't be the mega corporate, who can afford lobbyists and barter politicians with "jobs" in exchange for low to no tax rates.

Guess who in the end foots that bill? Yup, the low man on the totem poll (I barely make 30K a year, and have 25-30% of my income taxed....and the only thing I get back from it is unemployment insurance as a safety net.....which like social security will be a thing of the past, soon).

Property taxes play a role as well, as they usually lead to higher rents (as well as vacancy rates).  So, higher rents, higher taxes, yet stagnant pay.....yeah, really fucking sustainable.

Want to stimulate the economy, Barack? How about getting rid of the income tax for workers making under $35K?  Oh wait, you can't, because we are the ones who pay for the TBTF bailouts.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:10 | 2898381 pods
pods's picture

I grew up in upstate NY and then moved down to the land of milk and honey.  

Talking to a friend still up there, he was happy to get his property taxes reduced to $6k on about $200k of assessed value.  Would have been almost $9k I think.  Also knew of someone who built a house only to have to sell it due to seeing their property tax bill and they could not afford the taxes. I think old property has limits on increases, but new construction is reamed to make up for it.  

And the services ain't that great.

So the young move away while the old get older.  And the area slowly dies a painful death.  I could not stomach if my property taxes were close to what my mortgage is.

Every time I read a paper up there, budgets are talked about, and about how things have been cut to the bone.  If those people were to move somewhere where services were not entrenched, they would see how fucked they really are.  But when you are stuck in that life, you cannot see another way but to cut more, deliver less, and try to sell more bonds.  Quite tragic.


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:40 | 2898460 Zadok
Zadok's picture

Even more basic, there were jobs to be had that actually paid a wage you could live with, as opposed to now, way too few jobs and 90% of them pay less than it takes to exist let alone live!

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:23 | 2898399 socalbeach
socalbeach's picture

They got mortgages before interest rates and inflation shot up.  The decline in the real value of their debt was a tax-free benefit.  Daniel Amerman explains it in his free mini-course.  One reading:

How Millions Turned Inflation Into Wealth

in answer to,

"Have you ever sat back and wondered how people from 1975 to 1983 paid anything off when interest on mortgages were around 15+%?"

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:11 | 2898196 resurger
resurger's picture


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:41 | 2898283 Offthebeach
Offthebeach's picture

Just buy a job.
Example, 5 $100 donations to your towns selectman. Get on Public Works Dept. Typical day,
8:00 - 9:00 arrive, joke get assingments, find truck keys waemup.
9:30 Arrive at coffee shop, morning break. Get coffee to go, news paper go to beach/back of cemetery, read nap text
11:30 head to lunch.
1:00 head to assignment. Realise critical tool, supply missing. Dick around until break time.
2:00 -2:45 coffee
3:30 return to barn, load missing tool/ supply for tomorrow. Fill empty fuel, perform truck maintenance ( empty coffee cups, newspapers, check tire pressure.)
4:30 punch out.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:51 | 2898312 Binko
Binko's picture

Nice summary of the modern workplace. Young workers are getting completely screwed these days because the system has been completely gamed so that it 100% favors management and investors. Workers are just post industrial cannon fodder. Imagine those World War I battles where the troops would charge into the Machine Guns and Barbed Wire and take horrific losses while the Generals lounged far behind the front in luxury. That's the modern work place. 

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:39 | 2898451 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

This is one aspect of financial repression.  I lived it in the 1970s.  Another aspect is negative interest rates.  I'm living that now.

TPBT made a lot of mistakes and we're all going to pay for them.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 15:50 | 2898922 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

"TPBT made a lot of mistakes and we're all going to pay for them."

Not sure whey you're labeling their intended actions/results as mistakes.  Kind of lets them off the hook, doesn't it?  "Hey, I fucking screwed your country hard in the ass, whoops!  Forgive me?"

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 14:13 | 2898564 dolph9
dolph9's picture

I hear you.

The most you can do is be "passive aggressive" back.  Play with their minds even as you angle to protect yourself.

I quit my job last week (knew I would do so since March), they can shove it up their ass.  But fortunately I have savings in metals and can do temp. work for a long time.  I do have sympathy for people who are stuck.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 15:59 | 2898991 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

One thing that I have caught on to is the fact that the sub-$40K a year crowd is often more expensive to replace than it is to continue to accept their bare minimum effort.  Make sure to always calibrate your work effort to meet your level of compensation.  If you're doing $80K worth of work, and only getting paid $40K, you are fucking it up for yourself and everyone around you.  I know this is an "exceptionalist" society, but individual exceptionalism in the face of institutional retardation is folly.

These ads are often used to give you the idea that there is an alternative to this institutional retardation.  There is not.  The real trick is to "be the monkey".   

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:29 | 2898242 aerojet
aerojet's picture

It's more than just pay--Japan is a very broken society.  Women can't find men to marry because the men can barely support themselves and have to live in micro-apartments unsuitable for raising a family.  Japan is currently the ultimate expression of what stagnation means for the younger generations.  The older people are sitting on the young until they literally cannot breathe (or breed, haha).  It's bad and the only way out is a social revolution, which will never happen in a society as rigid as Japan, so instead you get depressed people who commit suicide by the millions.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:51 | 2898304 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Excellent point here, as stated by Lynn Parramore's article on Alternet...that is happening here, too:

When you’re underemployed, when your job is below your skill level, when you fear the next pink slip might be yours, frustration and fear follow you everywhere. The tentacles of anxiety and depression can shoot out suddenly, seizing both partners in the grip of despair.

Erin, 33, works for a non-profit in Boston. Since the economic crash, funding for her organization has become increasingly scarce. She searches frantically for a more secure position and has launched a video business on the side, just in case the other shoe drops.

Erin met her boyfriend on a film production set in Arizona. In 2010 he moved to Boston to be with her. “I knew it might be hard for him to find work, and I figured I could help support him for a while. He’s not lazy. He looked hard for a good job.” Even so, Brandon, 38, has only been able to land a part-time gig at a shoe store.

Brandon is plagued by anxiety. “He’s told me that as a man it hurts him not to be able to help more,” says Erin. “Our relationship isn’t bad,” she points out. “We love each other. But your emotions get tied up. Sometimes I fly off the handle if he doesn’t do the dishes. And I know it’s about more than the dishes. It’s hard for me to support him financially.”

Erin isn’t sure that their relationship can outlast hard economic times. Her own work situation has made her irritable and anxious. She suffers from some of the symptoms researchers have found to trouble women in insecure jobs , including low morale and a bleak view of the future.

Erin questions whether it’s time to break up, but she hates to think about the consequences. “Will he be out on the street?” she wonders. If things continue the way they are, she's afraid she will have to move back in with her parents.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:59 | 2898337 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

We are rapidly becoming an eastern european type situation. The divorce rate will continue to drop. People will stay together and be miserable because they can't afford to do anything else.

Long government sponsored therapists.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 16:34 | 2899180 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

perhaps people will continue to forego marriage, and realise the benefits of larger house sharing - it certainly worked in Britain when faced with large mansions sitting empty or creating "bedsits" (bed-sitting room combos, perhaps a small kitchen set-up, shared bathrooms) for single workers so as to combat the high costs demanded by the rentier class.

there's really no need to marry unless you have religious rules occupying your mind.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:42 | 2898466 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

10 years ago the answer was "get out of Boston".  I have no idea what it is now.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 23:51 | 2900095 merizobeach
merizobeach's picture

Think of Boston as a microcosm..  If the national economy is fucked and working for companies anywhere in the nation is hell..  The thing to get out of might be the nation...

Doesn't anybody run their own small company these days?

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:55 | 2898322 Binko
Binko's picture

You do know that the same thing is happening here? Young guys making minimum wage or barely above minimum are rooming up 2 to an apartment or 3 to a house. They spend all day playing video games and eating cheap pizza. They have some dim desire to "meet chicks" but don't have the money or the social skills. They drug themselves with endless entertainment and just live through the computer and TV screen. 

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:02 | 2898354 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

They are not getting chicks and they are not getting angry and revolting. They are slinking away in fear.

“What a fate: to be condemned to work for a firm where the slightest negligence at once gave rise to the gravest suspicion! Were all the employees nothing but a bunch of scoundrels, was there not among them one single loyal devoted man who, had he wasted only an hour or so of the firm's time in the morning, was so tormented by conscience as to be driven out of his mind and actually incapable of leaving his bed?”
? Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 16:50 | 2899247 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

they're not getting chicks because they don't want to get chicks, they are choosing each others company - which is why they're not angry or revolting, they've made a choice that is working as intended. . . until it doesn't of course. 

these young men are content to hang with their bros, in the same way career military men are, or frat house boys, even corporate execs - it's a different version of the same model really.

Frat claims “No Homo Bro!! No Homo” to the Butt Chugging Charges

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:44 | 2898105 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

The high order communication skills are necessary to maintain the bullshit train.

"Human Resources" departments that attempt to explain why people are paid less to do more and fund ever increasing deductions from paychecks to support the sick-care industry and funnel money into the stock markets.

After a time workers realize they are getting the shaft, and lose allegiance to the companies and countries that are screwing them over.

The "high social skills" are necessary to maintain the hierarchical Ponzi where you rise up in the ranks by:  lying, equivocating, back-stabbing, stealing, and most importantly continuing the advancement of the kleptoligarchial system.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:49 | 2898134 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture


Could not of said it better.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:50 | 2898136 Manthong
Manthong's picture

“Facing an apparently no-win situation at work, they quit or take an extended leave of absence.”

They need to start reading “Dilbert” and take lessons from Wally about Olympic class quitting on the job vs. walking

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:56 | 2898154 resurger
resurger's picture

You just fired a 50-Caliber to the throat!




Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:59 | 2898168 Zadok
Zadok's picture

An excellent summary EB! The bottom line impact is how much can you take to keep your increasingly crummy job. It would seem we have more than touched the edges of this paradigm. A trailing indicator for sure, it only goes downhill from here. Early level of conflict, internal before it goes external.

Good luck, we're all going to need it!

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:02 | 2898174 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

"Human resources" are basically just the modern day plantation managers.....with a smile.

They'll smile at you one day, and be the one to fire you the next.  And it is really not their fault....they are just the messenger for the CEOs who don't have the fucking testicle to lay off people to their faces.  So they pay HR people to do it for them.  CEOs don't have the balls to tell workers why they have decreasing benefits, less say in work related issues, and stagnant again, they pay HR people to do this for them. All while the CEO bumps out early to make his 11am tee time.

Hedge accordingly, slaves.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:35 | 2898441 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Really?  I'm trying to get a guy fired right now because he doesn't do any work at all and the hoops we have to jump through to actually get that done are unbelievable. 

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:49 | 2898479 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

What state are you in?

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 14:05 | 2898541 kito
kito's picture

state of anger.........

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 14:46 | 2898655 RKDS
RKDS's picture


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 14:44 | 2898643 pods
pods's picture

Don't take this personal aerojet, but I hope we don't know each other.


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 16:06 | 2899036 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

So, he's appropriately incentivized to work then?  Action/Reaction, it's a scientific law.  I'm assuming you're a manager here.  If your employees are not working, it's usually one of two things:

1.  You didn't screen properly in the interview.

2.  You personally suck at managing human beings.

See how both of these things are your fault?  Fucking dipshit.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:25 | 2898228 Acet
Acet's picture

Actually all this dovetails with a book I've been reading about Introversion.

As it turns out, at the moment Western society places more value on characteristics such as communication skills, networking skills, being "popular" and in general anything that has to do with appearences which are typical of Extroverts while in the past it placed more value in characteristics such as moral rectictude, honor and strong ethics which were general to the whole population.

Unsurprisingly, the modern corporation has changed to more and more promote and rewards people with those skills (i.e. Extroverts). This is actually quite inneficient for most companies: people are selected on the basis of traits which are barelly relevant for their work, leaving behind people who would likelly be better at that job (and interesting tidbit is that companies whose CEOs are Introverts tend to be about 30% more profitable - guess that CEOs who are not busy with self-promotion all the time are actually better managers).

Anyways, the point is that Eastern societies still value characteristics associated with Introvertion a lot and people are not trained as kids to be fake-Extroverts when they are actually Introverts (Introversion/Extroversion can be detected in babies and is apparently mostly due to genetics).


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:49 | 2898287 Louie the Dog
Louie the Dog's picture



Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:37 | 2898448 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Yes--making software developers do agile development drives them insane because introverts just do not want to work that way.  The cognitive dissonance is incredible.  It is not humane to ask introverted people to behave a certain way just so they can meet some arbitrary concept of what doing good work means.  And then all the best guys finally give up and quit and the only ones left are the shithead imbeciles who can't code. 

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 14:20 | 2898584 dolph9
dolph9's picture

Yeah, Western society is completely decadent, it's obvious.

But remember, this is worldwide since these values are spread everywhere.  And the collapse will be worldwide.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 15:12 | 2898727 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

It's the eternal struggle between leaders and managers...  through the 80s and 90s, everyone has been nothing but a leader nuthugger...  ultimately, the proof is in the pudding...  managers are better for organizations...  cheerleaders are for fucking the football team...  in the real world, we need people who are willing to get their hands dirty on something other than cock...  and get to work doing something other than the shakeweight exercise while kneeling.  There is no substitute for real world experience...  and, in the end, it always trumps Machiavellian aptitude.

I think the corporate atmosphere of the future will be much more geared towards full distribution (nothing but independent contractors, largely working out of de minimis spaces including personal residences) or the campus approach, where all of an employee's needs can be met with onsite facilities.

The battle of introversion vs extroversion will never be over...  it's simply an eternal struggle.  There will always be incentive for people to politically maneuver in bureaucratic institutions through chicanery and manipulation rather than actual production and merit.  In small organizations, these people are easily removed...  in larger organizations, they're already entrenched and will stay there until the organization implodes.  It's simply something that is always going to happen...  people hire the guy that will go out drinking with them and strike out hitting on the jail bait at the bar...  having the nerdy and socially inept new guy show you up is simply too bruising for the ego to digest.  Peter principle, among other things. 

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 18:58 | 2899544 geoffb
geoffb's picture

I believe the desired "skill' is influence.  Yes, the BLS numbers are true, no we are not printing money, yes we have plenty of loan loss reserves, yes facebook is the buy of the century. Thats all you need to know about the "advanced" skills of "extroverts".

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:35 | 2898108 mess nonster
mess nonster's picture

New Style Depression- soon to be replaced with old-fashioned rage.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:44 | 2898126 centerline
centerline's picture

lol.  Said it better than I could have.  I really am shocked that so far more people haven't gone postal... either at work, or on banker/Wall Street types.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:48 | 2898131 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Wait till another year goes by when their wages stay put and their workload increases and inflation eats up any/all discretionary income. This is a pressure cooker.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:04 | 2898176 BLOTTO
BLOTTO's picture

I think 'they' are miffed also as to why the masses in NA havent ~snapped~ more.


IMO, its in part due to the illuminati controlled main stream media.

When they show those images of the violence in the MENA region and the financial shit going in Europe- the masses over here think,

'Fuck that, i dont wanna be like those guys over there...we got it good over here in comparison' while waking up in debt to the sound of the Monday morning 6:30am alarm clock.


I also as well think its just a matter of time...





Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:03 | 2898177 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

That is what religion is for.

Make people fear an imaginary guy in the sky, suddenly, it becomes easier to manipulate currency and wages.

"In God We Trust".........well, Federal Reserve....which GOD are you talking about, hmmmm?

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:39 | 2898455 aerojet
aerojet's picture

That's just the thing--it happens every day all over the US. People going crazy and shooting themselves, their co-workers, and the police are so common that the media msotly ignores the phenomenon. 

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 14:50 | 2898662 pods
pods's picture

Yep, you see it so much it is commonplace now. Horrific crimes, usually done to those closest to the perp.

That is the thing, people always wait for people to "get it" so as to help fix things.

People are getting it.  They usually do not focus their anger and effort at the right people.

Or, even worse, they DO go after the people causing them anguish and their act is twisted and they are belittled and or marginalized.


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 21:34 | 2899782 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Oh LOLGovernment:

An additional $1,236,634 was spent on a security risk assessment to be performed by the private Georgia based logistical and engineering services firm Unified Consultants Group, Inc. A July 25, 2012 audit, released shortly after the indicent cost analysis, performed by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration determined that the contract was mismanaged by the IRS [44][45] The security review process was determined to have had multiple problems and many of the sites were not inspected by the contractor. The audit placed the blame on the IRS agency's individuals responsible for defining, negotiating, and administering the contract with potentially 100% of funds being used inefficiently and security improvements of IRS sites may not have been ineffective.[45]

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 17:03 | 2899293 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

the "people going crazy" and shooting their co-workers, etc. are mostly men, and often target a partner in their workplace, before also shooting others, and themselves, or suicide by cop.

the demographic is rarely mentioned, despite it being so prevalent - because to acknowledge this would require a need for a solution, and we know that's not going to happen. . .

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:29 | 2898246 Acet
Acet's picture

Yupes, the sheeple are not sheeply 'cause they are smart and think, they're sheeple 'cause they're stupid and easy to lead:

They'll turn on each other, not on the wolves.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:52 | 2898315 Jugdish
Jugdish's picture

Don't forget DHS recent ammo purchases, .308 and hollow-point. Also, Social Security Admin ?? (What the F ?) Also, US Dept of Forestry and of course IRS purchases 400 shotguns.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:39 | 2898459 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Those are just for the IRS skeet club, there's nothing dark going on there at all.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:45 | 2898128 tooriskytoinvest
tooriskytoinvest's picture

Global systemic crisis – Autumn 2012: Welcome to the weeks of the big swing / Geopolitics, trigger of a big new global shock

Some BEAST Storms For the MidWest Tonight

It's A Very Critical Moment: The Euro Zone Is Now Facing The 'End of World' Risk. When You Look At What Happened In The Last Days Of Lehman Brothers, The Similarity Between Greece And Lehman Is Frightening! When All Negotiations Break Down, Everything Collapse!!

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 11:49 | 2898133 fuu
fuu's picture

Nothing a little radiation can't fix.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:08 | 2898189 centerline
centerline's picture

That is funny!

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:10 | 2898193 pods
pods's picture

That is awesome.  

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:00 | 2898167 Uber Vandal
Uber Vandal's picture

A sentence from the article that caught my attention:

Those who exhibit the symptoms--difficulty focusing at work, physical symptoms of stress, etc.--tend to be in their 20s and 30s.

Imagine that, the generation that was told they were special and everyone gets a trophy, find out they are not special, and 2nd or lower place seldom even has a ribbon.


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:11 | 2898197 centerline
centerline's picture

The generations behind them have it even worse... the sentiment swinging from that to the "kill or be killed" mentality as parents feel the American Dream slipping away.  Either way, from Gen X on it is has been a downhill run into apathy and frustration.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 16:34 | 2899176 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

Apathy is such an ugly word.  I prefere "rightsizing participation".  

In a society that is rapidly approaching either full automation or an off-the-fucking-rails "back to Amish" lifestyle, what exactly would be the point in trying hard at a job that doesn't actually produce anything (which is pretty much every job available).  How exactly should we recalibrate in order to be motivated to achieve here?  

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:00 | 2898169 wagthetails
wagthetails's picture

Lots of reasons for this. The boomer generation is the largest age demographic throughout the world. Age distribution in an organization used to be evenly distributed, if not a pyramid. However, today it is an inverted pyramid. With more older, experienced workers in companies (also higher salaries), there really isn't any chance of moving up. Additionally, with so many boomers controlling management, they reinforce their somewhat outdated management strategies. Basically, a 65 year old will never really be able to identify with a 25 year old and visa versa. Secondly, there is also a lack of vision in middle mgt boomers. Is someone 60-65 years old, really thinking about a 10-15 year strategy? or just hitting next quarters numbers at any cost? this is also why there isn't any mentoring.

Boomers are working longer as their nest egg isn't there. this is a good thing, as people should work their useful lives, but the pain of the shift is felt by younger workers. There is no real chance of promotion, advancement or new ideas until the boomer generation starts to cycle out of the workforce. So this NTD is really younger workers losing motivation. Everyone should be self motivated, but that is never the case, so managers have to figure out how to motivate as the article notes. unfortunately, this problem takes real leadership...and true leadership (not just management) is a very rare talent.


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:00 | 2898341 Louie the Dog
Louie the Dog's picture

Is someone 60-65 years old, really thinking about a 10-15 year strategy? or just hitting next quarters numbers at any cost?


They didn't have a 10-15 year strategy when they were 40 either.  Nor do the current crop of mid-age managers.  That's been a problem in American business for decades.


As a 64 year old manager I don't have a problem identifying with 25 year olds.  They are much like I was at that age only I didn't have an iPhone to play with all day.  

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:39 | 2898452 wagthetails
wagthetails's picture

sounds like you are one of the good ones Louie!

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:56 | 2898504 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

As a 55 year old manager I see a lot of my young self in today's young workers and I have no problem indentifying with them.  But I still don't have any money or advancement to give them. 

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:01 | 2898171 Hedgerow-
Hedgerow-'s picture

It doesn't matter what kind of depression, happiness or personality you got. They just want to sell the pill for it.

As well this "New Economy" I've witnessed first hand. The social talkers talk themselves up, get promotions and rake in all the cash, still being useless at everything, even talking.

The circle is complete. Theres now a talker at the helm in every company and they cannot hire/promote anybody competent for obvious reasons. So we got the high-social-skill "New Economy" with "The Best People" working in every company and in every position. "New Economy - full of shit" that is.

No wonder people get depressed.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 15:54 | 2898957 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Nepotism is rampant, too.  I've seen harder workers at my company get passed on by promotions because the person who gets that promotion happens to have daddy on the corporate board.

BTW, 60% of companies that have nepotism......eventually fail.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:06 | 2898181 JohnFrodo
JohnFrodo's picture

Go long on carboard bikes. For the cost of a 7 series you can buy 10,000. Be your own bike warlord.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:06 | 2898184 pods
pods's picture

I can see this as a valid phenomenon.  Kids are having to deal with more insecurity, less pay, and more hoops to jump through.

Toss in all the HR words about "human resources", "metrics" etc and people don't want to come in to work.  Or go in and spend half the day planning on how to get something done faster.
Why work yourself to death when tomorrow you may come in and find you have been replaced by someone who accepts 2/3rds of your pay?

 Just a big giant clusterfuck.  

Couple this with the fact that most people do not actually do anything tangible in their job and you can see how shit gets bad quickly.


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:28 | 2898232 slackrabbit
slackrabbit's picture

Don't you love the usual ' its the workers fault' - who is the one who suffers rather than the fact that high staff turnover is mosly a cause of bad management - which results in 90% of firm failures.

Perhaps it is management that is refusing to change.

Young people 'generally' are pretty adept at change....senior managers...not so much.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:39 | 2898277 Binko
Binko's picture

All this talk about a new economy requiring workers to be flexible and mobile and update their skills is complete and utter bullshit. It's a warped way of saying that business wants workers to take less pay and benifits while doing more on whatever schedule best suits the company. 

My stepson has one of these "new economy" jobs. A team of workers go off to various stores and do inventory management. They are paid minimum wage. They show up at the company office and travel in company vans to the work place. They get paid a token milage amount during the drives which are often two hours or more each way. Factoring in the drive time they end up with sub minimum wage pay for the time they put in after reporting to work. 

In return for less than minimum wage they have to do rapid fire inventory, run a hand-held computer, know the merchandise of the store and work under pressure with minimal breaks. They also get called out any time of the day or night and have absolutely no regular schedule.

In addition (and this completely blows my mind) the company will send these minimum wage workers off on 2 or 3 day trips to work at distant sites. They are bunked in the cheapest hotel around, get twenty bucks a day for food and still only minimum wage for their actual work time. Has anybody else actually heard of minimum wage workers getting sent off on business travel?

This is the reality of the jobs that are being created in the "new economy". And this is the reality of the flexiblity that is demanded of workers. Basically it means the worker has to be flexible enough that he can contort himself as required so he can be screwed up the ass in a great variety of new and creative ways by his business masters.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:48 | 2898298 edifice
edifice's picture

He wouldn't happen to work for RGIS? It's a physical inventory management company, like the one you describe. I did this high-speed physical inventory job, with a hip-mount computer, back in the 90's. The starting pay then was $8.25 an hour.

The shifts varied from 4 hours, counting Mom&Pop stores, to 20 hours, counting 3-story Sears stores. You'd start at 2AM or so, and sometimes not get out until 10PM that night. It was tough... But it taught me very quickly that doing whatever was necessary to get out of these jobs was a must.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:04 | 2898358 Binko
Binko's picture

It's a different company but the same concept. $8.25 back in the 90's would have been double the Federal Minimum wage.

Now they just pay straight minimum. What is really depressing is that management will pay minimum wage and then still do everything in their power to bend the rules so that they nickel and dime the workers down ever further. 

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 17:15 | 2899330 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

comparing the example of an RGIS inventory servicing job, and the latest incarnation you graphically describe is the new model economy, which continues to undercut existing business, resulting in an exploited workforce (usually younger, but increasingly anyone who needs the income).

but I'm (genuinely) curious as to how this fits into the ideal "capitalism" model, in that everything remains competitive, and people supposedly have "the choice" to not work these jobs. . .

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 14:08 | 2898553 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

"But it taught me very quickly that doing whatever was necessary to get out of these jobs was a must."

That's what I learned from my post-college menial bushshit jobs.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:57 | 2898330 fuu
fuu's picture

Is he doing resets/retail ops?

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 15:52 | 2898937 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

All this talk about a new economy requiring workers to be flexible and mobile and update their skills is complete and utter bullshit.

This is corporate speak for "being available 24/7."

I wanted to go to the Patriots home opener 4 weeks ago with my immediate boss (a guy 4 years younger than I, which trememdously respect and enjoy working under....we basically are the help desk for the company.....and constantly complain about our pay). 

We ended up having to sell our tickets....because our superiors made us come in on a Sunday (no overtime none the less for him b/c he is salary) to move stuff into production (we can't program new stuff while the company users are in the system).

Yet, we'll get no bonus at the end of the year. 

Totally sustainable.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 17:16 | 2899329 Binko
Binko's picture

I feel your pain. I got out of the tech side of things because I literally could no longer stand the concept that the company had a hook into me 24 hours a day / 365 days a year. They want you on call every minute of your life but they don't want to compensate you for this massive loss of freedom.  

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 17:18 | 2899339 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

they don't want to compensate you for this massive loss of freedom. 



Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:41 | 2898279 Binko
Binko's picture

Duplicate post. 

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:53 | 2898319 icanhasbailout
icanhasbailout's picture

Guess the human race needs to re-learn the lesson that slaves are not very productive workers.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:01 | 2898349 i_fly_me
i_fly_me's picture

Rogerian, esteem-based education: 

  • Never discipline or criticize. 
  • Positive reinforcement always, even when the child is incorrect or fails.
  • Worry about how the child feels he/she is doing rather than actual results.
  • Lather, rinse, repeat through college graduation.

Their first taste of reality and the consequences of their own failures is in their first job.

And ... you say it isn't working?  Odd.


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:04 | 2898357 americanspirit
americanspirit's picture

I've always wondered what would happen to American children who have grown up in a system where everybody gets to play regardless of their abilities, where nobody ever loses because losing isn't allowed, where everyone is an honor student no matter how dim their bulb, and where no child is ever left behind even the ones who can't keep up. Also where no child is ever out of sight of supervising adults, where no child ever gets to wander through the woods with a .22, and where no child ever gets their ass in a serious crack and has to figure out how to save themselves without help. All this has been abbreviated in the phrase "nanny society", and I've had my doubts about the kind of adults this system would produce. I guess that Japan is showing us an advance view. Somebody yells at you and you immediately plunge into a deep depression and can no longer work. How pathetic.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 14:33 | 2898594 dolph9
dolph9's picture

I agree and disagree.

It's more like nanny state in school and college, and then, being shoved into a collapsing society being pillaged by the remaining boomers, and then being told you aren't working hard enough, that there's no inflation, that everything will be right with the world if only you take on more debt.

Let me tell you...when these kids finally do grow up (and it happens to everyone), the boomers will be shitting in their pants, and nobody will be around to clean it up.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:11 | 2898388 Let The Wurlitz...
Let The Wurlitzer Play's picture

I think Barry Obama has this condition.


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:20 | 2898406 AldoHux_IV
AldoHux_IV's picture

Like trying to fit a square into a circle and wondering why it don't fit like a glove it is.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:46 | 2898471 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

I think high order communication skills means a bunch of people sitting in a room saying Holy shit wtf do we do now?

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:54 | 2898500 Mr. Hudson
Mr. Hudson's picture

According to the movie "Happy" the happiest people are the Danes, while the most depressed people are the Japanese. Maybe Japan should model their government and work environments to that of Denmark instead of Attila the Hun.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 15:56 | 2898964 Elzon1
Elzon1's picture

Originally, Japan had a high respect for introversion and seriousness of work in a way that was strong and quiet.


Now they have decided to go with the western verision of business that want constant observance and interrpution along with high to extreme extroversion. So now they want the introverts they created to become extroverts and yet don't expect a drop in performance. I already knew trying to turn an introvert into a extrovert and vice-versa was a bad idea, so this is just plain stupid of them and they know it (well, at least they should).

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 16:16 | 2899087 backhandtopspin...
backhandtopspinslicer's picture

I HAVE VERY HIGH SOCIAL SKILLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 19:35 | 2899596 Shigure
Shigure's picture

A commenter posted this link on ZH recently, which I found interesting.

It is an experiment using mice who had access to plenty of food and water but limited space. Eventually there were more mice than meaningful social roles. Their behavior changed: some became violent, some dropped out altogether, became narcissistic or isolated themselves, they lost social skills and eventually the mouse society collapsed.

Of course humans are different to mice, but some things did chime.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 22:07 | 2899872 girl money
girl money's picture

If you are a young employee reading this post and complaining about your job, STOP.  Instead, be a blessing to your employer.  Show up on time, get the work done right the first time.  Why?  There are many people who would love to have that job and are waiting to take that job from you. 

I was an employee for 17 years, have been a small business owner for 15.

Until employees become business owners, they'll never "get it."

A business owner hires because there is a job to be done.  There is no other reason.  It's either to fulfill compliance (HR, accounting), or because the sales from customers can support the hiring (cashier, helpdesk, repair shop, etc.). 

The decision to hire has opportunity costs, because while an employee is sometimes described as an "asset," in truth, he/she is a financial liability.

As soon as a business owner hires, he/she pays for...

payroll taxes

health insurance (premiums up 15% two years ago, another 20% this past year)

life insurance

disability insurance

state unemployment

federal unemployment

workers' compensation insurance


You have NO IDEA what stress is, young employee.  NO IDEA. 

Quit your job and try this. 

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!