Guest Post: Our Fragile "Hothouse" Economy

Tyler Durden's picture

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The Deleuzian's picture

They're all broke...

Clueless Economist's picture

Sam Zello was excellent on CNBS this am.  To paraphrase Mr Zell, he says there are tens of thousands of jobs available that can not be filled due to the lack of qualifications.  There are plants in the Chicago area that has 10% unemployment that needs educated engineers.  There are plants running one shift designing capacitators and resisters that could be running 3 shifts if enough educated people were available.

He says the nitwits at Occupy Wall Street have $100,000 in student debt and a useless degree in Gender studies or African Literature or some such hogwash.  They have only themselves to blame as they treated college as a 4 year vacation, and now that they can't find employment, we are to bail them out.  Nuts to that 

Hard1's picture

Don't you dare banking/investing with FUKING PIGS.











Greece (again)


IBelieveInMagic's picture

The reserve currency (USD) and it's swappable counterparts (Euro, Yen, GBP) is holding the world to ransom -- it has allowed great deal of consumption that was never earned and now with MAD, the attempt is to keep it going. We can squeal howmuch ever we like but, the PTB are attempting to keep this going as net-net it has been a huge win against the rest of the world (freeloading). 

Raging Debate's picture

More silence the rape victim crap! I said send chess players to play the propaganda game! If you can't beat the crowd playing chess, what makes you think this 3d game will create success?

This time is never different? All time past, present and future is linear? Ok I'll fearfully bow down to the sun gods to avoid the oven... Didn't Daniel have to go through that episode? For hells sake even he could use fractional math to calculate the reformation of Israel which happened in 1947. Your priests decided to put the finger on the scale. Do you know the historic outcome?

Clueless Economist's picture

you forgot CANADA on your list...or CAMEROON

Hard1's picture

I think Cambodia is more appropiate...and I mispelled Kenya, but yeah, the idea is that France, the good 'ol USA and the european periphery are up there with Nigeria in terms of policy managment.

Phat Stax's picture

I totally agree... I sit next to the recruting dept. at a F200 company, and their ranks have exploded over the past 12 months b/c it is so hard to hire people.  They have more recruittersnow that in the early 2000's when everything was sweet.  I wil repeat that again - b/c it is so hard to hire people.  If they are not qualified, then they are not willing to re-locate.  There are thousands of job requisitions currently open there....

Raging Debate's picture

Phat - What's your credit score? Mine sucks. Ighuess im jest stupid. I dident git to go to a finazel coledge. Im a hobo that werks whaetevr job I can find for thee last ten yerz.

How about a remedy to your problem? Have you thought of one? What about altering HR's qualifying criteria and creating a new automated screening algorythem? Perhaps upper management could spend a day with HR interviewing, taking notes and gathering research? To have ouput, first you need input and if the tool collecting input is wrong? Well...

Shvanztanz's picture

How about the ever-present qualification known as "experience."

Translation: "we don't care how motivated you are, or how quickly you may learn, if you don't already know how to do the job that I want to leave behind, then the burden of training you is cost prohibitive."

Funny thing, before my first job in a restaurant, I didn't know how to mop, because I had no experience. Six months later, at 14, I could do any task in the place. 

The day I entered the Army, I knew exactly zero words of Arabic. Later, I was doing a whole list of shit that I can't repeat anywhere. 

I also visited many parts of the world and was shocked to learn that Americans might not be the mythological Germans, but they are at the opposite end of the spectrum from lazy and stupid which is the unquestioned dogma of the MSM.

By the way, do you know how the Germans feel about overtime? They believe it is an admission of inefficiency committed during the 37 hour work week. 

So, this notion of Americans being lazy and stupid is merely the projection of the person stupid enough to utter such tripe.

slowimplosion's picture

Working for a company that makes the same claim (we can't hire!) I call bullshit.  What has changed is employers now want a perfect fit for every job whereas in the past they were willing to deal with the FACT that most people learn a substantial amount about what they do ON THE JOB.  You hire someone able to grow into the job, and actiing like there is no one left out there that can do that is ludicrous.


This is not about qualifications it is about outsourcing,  wage-crushing and overworking the staff you have.  And it doesn't fool anyone but the stupid.

Shvanztanz's picture

Clueless, thank you for parroting yet some more MSM propaganda, which is selected and marginal at best. At the college I went to, there were those sorts of majors and they represented a literal fringe of individuals. Most everyone I knew of studied subjects they believed were interesting and would lead to gainful employment in a related field, where people were already drawing incomes from such study.

Secondly, because a handful of industries bemoan the lack of "qualified" participants, you blame the student for not being omniscient, and knowing the destination coordinates from the onset. The US Military, for all its shortcomings realizes the potential of inexperienced youths through training programs. A semi-athletic youth with mediocre academic performance becomes an instrument of deadly precision on a battle field as evidenced in our most recent conflict where our troops generally exchanged 10 casualties to 100 of the enemy, who were more determined and had home field advantage.

So, if the prophet Mr. Zell were anything but a chattering ninny, he would be discussing his revolutionary, innovative training program, whereby he brings in trainees with aptitude who may have studied "the wrong subject". He would recognize their dependability and determination which had been certified on paper or not. He would offer a two year training program which would be contractually attached to a commitment of so many years of service at his "understaffed" company. 

My sister had only a year of college when she took work as a receptionist at Quest, only later to perform the duties of an actual engineer through persistent attempts to take on more responsibility and educate herself on her own time. She went from 8$/hr to 60/hr and survived two house cleanings becoming one of two "engineers" out of 10 at the company, after painful cutbacks circa 2000.

Mr. Zell wants the cake, but he doesn't want to have to bake it or ice it, or shop for ingredients. He is the essence of blue blooded aristocracy, who through a lack of imagination and effort, has reaped the benefit of today's crop without any regard for tomorrow's. 

Shvanztanz's picture

What is more so, a few thousand jobs? We have been losing 1.6 MILLION jobs a month. These are jobs which existed, despite the apparent "lack of qualifications" that everyone supposedly has.

A few thousand here, a few thousand there, does nothing to explain why for three years, we have been losing 400,000 A WEEK.

If that is not a product of policy, greed and short-sightedness, then what is.

Blaming graduates for not being suitable is like a parent blaming the children for being unable to clean the house. It's not the child's job to be maestro, it is the parent's job to teach and motivate, and the child's job to do his/her best. Graduates have done their best and that is why they are graduates! Give them a task, and they will complete it! 

This entire mentality is like blaming immigrants for being poor, cattle for being beef and iron ore for sitting in the mine.

Shvanztanz's picture

Greed is just another word for short sightedness.

Has anyone called a help line for a technical problem in the last decade and spoken to an American? I don't mean Jenny and Harry, who really have eight syllable names that we can not pronounce.

Why is this? Because shortsighted number cruncher realized it cost less (in the short term) to open up a call center in some far away country and to use automated systems than to pay graduates from American colleges who could read the cue cards and direct the calls with more ease and effectiveness than any group of foreigners.

Yet, in the short term, it made more sense to ignore the youth, and hire people elsewhere to do these jobs drawing from the strength of the economy as it was.

Now, it is becoming clear that ignoring the youth comes at a price, because they are out in the streets and they have NOTHING BETTER TO DO.

And the economy has been steadily pilfered by people who were happy to profit from it, but had no intention of investing in it SO IT WOULD CONTINUE TO WORK.

If you do not water your field, it withers and dies.


Jack Burton's picture

Agree. It is not that hard to take a basically educated young person and get them up to speed in a high tech work world. Not everyone is the design engineer, there are lots of those mid level skilled workers.

As to the military. Sure, I was 17 years old and failed a lot of the higher math classes in High School. I took the Navy's aptitude tests in boot camp, scored in the top 1%. Was asked to enlist for 6 years and go through the Navy's advanced electronics program, then Submarine School.

The entire 2 years of schooling was second to none and imparting knowledge was the prime directive. 90% made it through and moved into the highest Tech the Navy had to offer. Once I went back to the civilian world, you would swear I did 6 years as a mess cook. The private sector didn't care what I did in the military. I was forced to return to school and repeat all my training, at an advanced rate, and then apply in the private sector. Total stupidity. Corporations are run by total idiots, TOTAL! But then they are probably business school grads, No?

The trend is your friend's picture

Clueless,  Did you ever consider that the system might be a bit broken if a college student has to go into that large of a debt irrespective of the major one has studied.  Do a little research.  you'll find it is all by design  

wisefool's picture

I keep hearing we need more engineers. Change the incentive model and you will get them. I garentee the typical accountant who works on G.E.s' taxes makes far more than the typical engineer that works on G.E. electrical grid components.

And no dig on accountants, but the last 4 years have shown us that accounting is really more about those "soft" studies than it has to do with even Keynsian economics. Much less Adam Smith.

These kids are being told by their college professors to riot in OWS, untill they are rewarded for studying "gender studies" or "Middle Eastern Literature". And they will get it. Any history major can tell you that, even if just the last 4 years of history.

RichardENixon's picture

Try taking intermediate or advanced accounting at a decent school and then come back and tell us how "soft" it was.

wisefool's picture

I spent the last 2 out of 3 years watching CNBC. (I cant aford cable any more) Does that count? For my encore I hoping one of the major media conglomorates starts a new channell dedicated to the tax code. Then after a couple more years I will be the uber elite. I can run the fed doing both monetary and fiscal policy.

Movember: Do men with mustaches deserve a tax break?

MachoMan's picture

Intermediate is generally where they try and separate the men from the boys...  (or, in my courses, the semi attractive women from the fuglies)[the fuglies getting to stay].  UGGG  wouldn't do another freaking consolidated statement evarrr...  advanced sucked ass.

I think this guy is getting the politicization of accounting mixed up with accounting...  there's not much arguing with the soundness of debits and credits...  but it can get quite convoluted from there...

PS, the CPA exam is a helluva lot harder than the bar... 

wisefool's picture

I am not trying to be adversarial with accountants. But why did the profession not protect us from this cluster? Maybe it would help me if you explained the relationship between an accountant and an economist? I have already been educated on the difference between accountants and financiers.

MachoMan's picture

Accountants read a bible for guidance whereas economists read a bible with a cutout for a whiskey bottle for guidance (while sipping on the spirits).

Joking aside, the real differentiation is in what is attempted with the data...  generally speaking, all of the data/inputs for a particular entity are known to an accountant...  revenues, expenses, etc.  When this information is merely repackaged in some other form, you're still dealing in the realm of reality.  However, it becomes a faith based system when you: no longer have to report these metrics; or attempt to characterize them in some unrealistic way.  In other words, the meat of the coconut is how to treat the data for purposes of reporting and whether this is a fair representation of the data.  Discretion in this department was, at least arguably, with the profession prior to sarbanes oxley.  At this point, the reporting requirements are de facto, if not de jure, governmentally mandated.

In short, at its core, there is some factual, mathmatical basis for an assertion (although some negative aspects might be omitted).

Economics on the other hand may never have ever been rooted in anything nearing math, debits/credits, or facts.  Essentially, accounting is limited in the scope it attempts to purport...  whereas the questions economics attempts to answer are often so complex that variables cannot be limited in any meaningful way...  and, as a result, any hope of a scientific method is eliminated.  I certainly believe in the philosophy of economics, e.g. self interest motivates us, but the science of economics?  Not so much.  If the factual root of economics is actually pawned off of another discipline, then economics ends up being the speculative derivative...  a religion of sorts.

In short, economics is limited in its predictive capacity and practical purpose just as any other social science...  Don't get me wrong, there are fundamental understandings of humans that lead to economics borrowing its "laws" from other disciplines, but economics doesn't end there...

In terms of "how we got here" accounting is the vehicle (suspension of reasonable reporting requirements, among others) and economics is the fuel (the management of perception via monetary religion)...  and you can take your pick as to who is the maniacal driver...  needless to say, the motherfucker is lost or has some lime and a pick axe in the trunk...  maybe both.

EDIT: to actually answer your question, (I billy madison'ed the shit out of it), the accounting profession doesn't have self governance since sarbanes oxley...  so it's basically uncle sugar from there...  the other aspect is that even if you have whistle blowers (and there are plenty), you still need to have regulators and prosecutors who are willing and capable of going to bat.  You also have the private equivalent of regulatory capture...  kickbacks...  whatever.  I blame, in large part, the suspension of realistic accounting metrics and the consolidation of the industry...  but admittedly this is wild speculation.

wisefool's picture

Billy Madison part included. Thank you. I stopped getting my Econ lessons from CNBC along time ago and now I am learning from generous folks like you on ZH for that education now. I am pretty serious though, in that moving forward, I would benefit if they would develop a television network for the tax code until I can hang out on the ZH equiv for that topic.

Flakmeister's picture

Economics is the continuation of Ideology by other means.....

With apologies to Clausewitz

MachoMan's picture

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO LEARN THE TAX CODE.  Rather, go out and find the WORST accountant you can find.  Get him to sign off on all your returns.  He will not have a clue as to all of the taxes you will likely owe (neither will the IRS, but that's another issue).

Now, if you don't have a pot to piss in, go to a medium tier accountant and get all the deductions you can...

If you're uber wealthy...  then get the best possible...

But don't waste your time learning the tax code...  it's just gonna change next year.  The trick is to get good at looking up issues when they come along...

If you want some cheap learning tools, you might want to google for CPE course materials...  probably as cheap of stuff as you're likely to get...  I'd also hit up old textbooks on ebay or amazon...  as cheap as you're gonna get for education...  good luck staying awake during the reading though.

DOT's picture

GE's taxes are done by lobbyists.

wisefool's picture

Those zany folks who study A.I. would call it backward chaining.

  1. Set the goal=pay zero taxes
  2. go to K-Street with gift cards to gucci, cartier, mazzeratti dealerships (what ever $3000/hr hookers want to spend their tax free money on)
  3. Iterate until you get the exact combination of gift cards right. for desired output on #1.
blunderdog's picture

Don't mistake "financiers" with "accountants."  They're totally different animals.

"Financiers" are salesmen who claim to know calculus.  "Accountants" are bookkeepers who do know arithmetic.

The two groups couldn't be more different.

oceanview76's picture

Clueless, I call BS on that entire argument that Zello offered up.  That's the battle call of every CEO so they can publicly justify the outsourcing of highly qualified positions to India/China/Argentina/Western Europe.  The same reason GE outsourced 500 corporate lawyers to India years back, and why outsourcing just about every position possible to India over the last two decades has been in vogue.  IT companies here in the US like IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, HP, etc., continue to flood the government with requests to increase the number of H1B visas to allow more immigrants into the country.  It accomplishes the same goal of outsourcing which is to drive down the average cost of their portfolio of employees, and increase the wages in top management and simultaneously the underlying shareholders investment.  IMO it has nothing to do with an absence of educated, willing, trainable, unemployed and potentially relocatable workforce here in the US, and it has everything to do with the overriding desire and executive need to arbitrage labor markets' costs internationlly.

trav7777's picture

the shareholders don't benefit from H1Bs.  Only management does.

Look at the stock is POCKETING all of the profits

Flakmeister's picture

Hey Trav, that is the corporate equivalent of Droit de Seigneur

Jack Burton's picture

Bingo!! We have a winner! You nailed it! This same song and dance from business goes on in the UK, liars claim no Brit has the skills. BS! BS! They want guest workers at low wages, and lie in order to get them! Same here in the US. It is an old, tried and true trick! It is all BS!

Syrin's picture

Looks like the Gender Studies majors don't like the cold spash of reality you threw in their faces.  Ask any employer, and they'll tell you the same thing as you posted.   Don't you love the idiocy?


"Why should we hire you?"


"As you can see, I achieved highest honors with a Women's Rights degree"


"How will that help our business?"


"Well, it seems to me that there aren't enough women working for your business which a very very serious issue.   Perhaps there isn't equal pay or benefits.   Do you all have a designated breast feeding area?"


"How does that help our business become profitable?"


"Profit?  No business should focus on profit.   That's immoral and greedy.   First you need to treat your employees with the dignity they deserve and the profit will come."  (see the Underpants Gnomes)

"So what would you like from a position with our company?"


"I would like a starting salary of $60,000 with full benefits and pension and 8 weeks paid vacation.   I am flexible about working 8-4 M-F OR 9-5 M-F".  (notice, this is NOT considered greedy)


"Thank you for applying to our company.   We'll contact you if we have a psoition you described".



wisefool's picture

Could you rework this post for the role models people have today going through the hiring process? Timmy, Ben, the presidential candidates including Obama, etc. Also you'd need another stanza to accomodate "Winners" like donald trump and the solyndra boys.

Shvanztanz's picture

I was in college with thousands of women. Though I didn't know them all, I did not know one who majored in "Women's Studies." They majored in things like International Studies, Biology, Pre-Law (Political Science/History), the list is long and I believe all of THEM would find your stereotype both completely inaccurate and offensive.

By your mentality, minorities are unemployable because they spend too much time dancing and listening to hip-hop.

That's the tip of the iceberg as far as lists of offensive slurs go, and I won't continue because some inept reader will assume I support such hogwash.

Syrin's picture

Yeah keep projecting there Spanky.   You have never been in a position of interviewing or hiring someone.   Funny how quickly you are to interject race.   Typical for the bigoted. Hell, you made the assumption that the person being interviewed was a woman!   Seems awfully bigoted to me.   Are minorities the only ones who dance and listen to hip-hop?   You are being a bigot!   YOU interjected on your own accord whatever "offensive slurs" you cared to fabricate.  Amazing hypocrisy on full display.  I am critiquing the degree, you look for a stereotype.  Explain to me how a women's studies major would help a business then.   Please, educate.

 By the way, if ANY PERSON just danced and listened to hip-hiop, then yes they WOULD be unemployable.   care to educate me as to how listening to hip hop makes a business profitable?   Seriously, intellectually immature and bigoted are not the way to leads one's life.

Shvanztanz's picture

"Do you all have a designated breast feeding area?"  Your words. 

Your entire dialogue was cast as an aspersion to a woman seeking employment.

And, given the state of the joblessness in this country, it is plain to see who has been turning people away at the door: you and your like-"minded" colleagues.

I made it clear that stereotypes are a blight and I was comparing your ludicrous dialogue to such slurs, because it was clearly a slur against women.  

"care to educate me as to how listening to hip hop makes a business profitable?" Your words.

So, your argument is that listening to hip-hop precludes a person from making a business profitable?

How many people have I hired? How many people have you hired? We all know the answer to that. We see the report every Friday.

LasVegasDave's picture

Offensive slurs?


surely you jest

Shvanztanz's picture

Further proof of the completely isolated source of your reference is the fact that statistically, American women are waiting longer and longer to have children, based on all existing statistics and FACTS, than any other group of women on the planet. These are the professional American women. I trust any who read this will verify that having children and doing so at their comfort and leisure is an elusive dream. 

Our "native born" growth rate is on the decline. This is because American women are far too busy working at jobs on someone else's terms than to dictate their own reality as you depict it. 

They are putting their careers first and those that do have children are often working TWO jobs and paying a sitter to watch the child(ren) so they can keep on working, just to survive.

New World Chaos's picture

This is part of a NWO program to reduce our dangerous traits of intelligence and integrity via selective breeding.  They perfer good, dependent sheeple who go on the dole, watch TV, and keep the productive middle class afraid of crime and social collapse. 

Raging Debate's picture

Correct effect but completely leaving out cause. A bummer the men in our society were neutered. As a consequence, family formation was destroyed. Sure, it let criminals plunder with abandon! But now there is no global growth and no reason to defend or support current Status Quo so the pyramid collapses with a whoosh. The top of the pyramid collapses into what some consider rabble. However, these are citizens shut out of the ability to compete for themselves. Fascism as a government model is 3d. Triangulation is only now useful for real national disaster but it was trumped out and celebrated nonethless.

I don't hate the women at all. But now try to defend them and tell them so. It is almost a near F-U to your face. Where do you think all of these women now becoming scorned will go? They don't have to go anywhere, they don't me to defend them they will go right to the source and that gentlemen is where you really screwed up the most in intentional planning of destroying the family structure. Second is what Tyler mentions about fractions. 6667 is so yesterday. Somehow, we can't collective square numbers? Gimme a break.

earleflorida's picture

yep,... all over qualified and quite rightly so - ineligible competitors vis-a-vis H-1B's

great read , thankyou

Uber Vandal's picture

When I graduated from Tech School with an Associates Degree in management in 1990, I had student debt, and a lousy economy to deal with.

Quite often when I applied for a job, though I had a Degree, the employer wanted experience as well.

I took the first job offered, hoping I could work my way up the ladder, and when a position opened I had the degree, and some on the job experience for, the manager told me I did not have what it took to be a parts manager for a dealership, and he hired his drinking buddy instead.

I quit that job soon thereafter, and 20 years later, the  job I last held was shipped to a low cost country (read China).

I now have 20 years of experience, a proven track record of advancement from production worker, to lead person, to supervisor, and 11 years of specific experience in warehousing, yet when I interview for jobs, and emphatically tell my potential employer that I do not mind bouncing between the two warehouses that are 40 miles apart, do not mind low wages, do not mind no benefits, do not mind a schedule of 0 to 30 hours, do not mind being on call, went through two interviews, I STILL did not get the job.

But, I guess I am just a lazy American who wants too much.

CompassionateFascist's picture

It's simple math: there's at least 80 other people applying for that job, so your chance of getting it is 1/80. Try for a job in a meat-packing plant/slaughterhouse. As bad as it gets. It'll still be 1/80. That's the real employment/unemployment situation, not the crap stats the gov't and MSM put out.

Island_Dweller's picture

Hey "Clueless Economist" You are clueless enough to actually be an economist.  Did you get your Phd at Princeton or the University of Chicago?

PaperBear's picture

“if the Federal Reserve and Federal government ever crimped the dripline of "easing" and bailouts, America's financial sector would promptly roll over and expire” - perhaps it should expire.

Syrin's picture

Isn't it inevitable at this point?   It's just a matter of when.