04 April 2014

Slightly Past the Sell-By Date

These sausage leavings — all based on invalid economic assumptions — are a bit ripe, so I'm clearing out the cooler before heading off to parts unknown...

  • An article at Der Spiegel gets the e-book/library "problem" horribly wrong because it assumes the publishers own the rights (trans. Der Spiegel). The assumption underlying the entire article is that the publisher's interest and the author's interest are completely and fully aligned, and that the publisher's decision is identical to that the author would/does make. Wrong, especially in the instance of academic publishers.
  • Or, for that matter, Canadian magazines that don't pay essential workers masquerading as "interns". This is a serious problem throughout the entertainment industry, ranging from "big agencies" to publishers to film to music to theatre to fine arts: The presumption that entry-level labor must, in essence pay to work instead of be paid to work.
  • Then there's the (alleged) value of various college degrees, an "analysis" with more unstated and invalid assumptions than one can conveniently count. Perhaps the most insidious one is the hidden time-value methodology behind creating a single "economic value" for careers; a second one is that the job market in even five years will be so similar to that of today that the predictions are at all meaningful (and that leaves aside the strong tendency of entrepreneurs — who, after all, don't have "jobs" as tracked by these kinds of studies — to work outside, but nonetheless inspired by, their formal degree fields). Even the math is wrong! The less said about presuming that an average (median, mode, mean of some kind) experience is actually representative without discerning the range and variance, the better. Finally for now — I could go on for quite some time — there's an unstated assumption that one's undergraduate degree is terminal. Yeah, right, says the holder of a couple of graduate degrees (one of which is in a field far removed from one of his undergraduate degrees). This piece gets a D- ... on a US grading scale, of course.