Home > Ape Mind, Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > Neoliberalism Deliberately Wastes the Best Years of a Person’s Life

Neoliberalism Deliberately Wastes the Best Years of a Person’s Life

While trying to write a post about why generation categories such as Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z is utter bullshit clickbait invented by MSM hacks, I noticed an interesting trend. People born before the early-1970s in West had access to things such as long-term careers and jobs in addition to reasonably priced higher education, houses and cars. But people just born a few years afterwards (late 1970s-and afterwards) did not get to experience many of these things as adults or just had a fleeting acquaintances with them. So what caused this massive shift in quality of life between those born at beginning at 1970s and towards end of that decade.

Here is a clue- add 20 to their birth years. Those born before early-1970s reached adulthood before 1992. Those born in late-1970s and afterwards reached that point in late-1990s and beyond. But why does this matter? Well.. unrestrained neoliberalism (including “free trade”, “outsourcing”, “privatization” and large-scale financialization became the dominant ideology of western countries. And yes.. it has something to do with end of the cold war in 1991. But what does any of this have to neoliberalism deliberately wasting the best years of a person’s life. Surely such an impact cannot be deliberate.. or can it?

Let me start by telling you a story about changes in the likelihood of academics having children over the years. See.. as late as the mid-1990s, most newly minted PhDs from even supposedly ‘average’ universities used to get decent jobs in universities, institutes and corporations without too much effort. They also ended up marrying and having kids before they got too old to have them without medical intervention. The same used to be true for doctors, other medical professionals and professionals in general. I distinctly remember that those about 5-7 years older than myself somehow ended up in at least semi-stable jobs and careers which turned out to be OK. However very few of my age, or even a couple of years older, have been able to achieve that and this gulf is very obvious.

But how does this have any connection with neoliberalism? Well.. let me ask you a simple question- what is the defining characteristic of neoliberalism as far as education, jobs and lifestyle is concerned? What about intense meaningless “competition” based on bullshit proxy measures of performance for a few extra crumbs. And here is how this translates into real life. Until the early 1990s, it was normal for somebody with 2-3 publications during their science PhD to get a decent and stable job in a large corporation immediately after graduation. Even somebody with 3-4 publications could get a single decent postdoc which would lead to a tenure-track in a university or otherwise stable position in some institute. Let me repeat that this was the norm, not the exception.

Or consider the type of people who ended up in medical school, dentistry, law school etc. Until the early-1900s having a decent GPA, OK scores in entrance exams and a genuine interest in the subject was enough to get into those programs. Sure.. the top 10 or top 20 schools might be more “competitive” but that was it. Since then, people who who even apply for such programs require ever more curated resumes showing tons of “volunteer” and other self-promotion bullshit, exceptional GPAs obtained via grade inflation and other degrees. Today it is not uncommon for people to have masters and PhD degrees before they are admitted in medical school. But does this improve their ability to practice medicine? I don’t think so.

But all of this metric-driven bullshit fake “competition” does do a lot of harm to people who participate in these games. Today it is almost unheard of even “ambitious” young academics to have a semi-stable job and career before they are 40. Most tenured female academics are childless. The same is true for many younger female doctors because they too don’t have anything approaching a stable career well into their late-30s. Those who go into industry do no better since the jobs which are available are quite unstable and everybody knows it. And it isn’t the case that men are doing any better.

The median age for getting your first independent government research grant as an academic is now in the mid-40s. And all of this only applies if you are lucky enough to get a tenure track position. It is also no secret that those who go into industry understand that their jobs are very unstable and rearrange their life accordingly. Even doctors making a decent amount of money are frequently paying their student loans almost a decade after graduating medical school. The same is true for most people who went to law school or obtained other supposedly professional degrees. This problem crosses many fields and areas of economy.

Now let me ask another question- has any of this fake neoliberalism-inspired “competition” resulted in the production of more competent scientists, academics, doctors, dentists, lawyers or other professionals? On the contrary, most peer-reviewed research is not reproducible because it is either fake or based on cherry-picking results. We also haven’t seen a single large fundamental technological breakthrough with positive real-world impact in past twenty years. The lesser we talk about the quality of contemporary universities and academia, the better. The quality of medicine, as measured by effects on lifespan or health-life expectancy, has stagnated or become worse in past two decades.

The same is true of fields such as law where all the extra work has not made things better- even for those who charge all those billable hours. In other words, all of this talk about “competition”, “meritocracy”. “hard work” etc making things better or more efficient is smoke and mirrors. What this neoliberal bullshit has achieved is a large reduction in rates of stable couple formation, fewer or no kids and people working hard on stuff that is useless or worse. My point is that by deliberately Wasting the best years of a person’s life, they have created entire generation of deeply unhappy and mentally-fucked up people. On the bright side, they won’t have enough children to sustain this charade for much longer.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. P Ray
    April 2, 2021 at 9:56 am

    The other thing that all this “volunteering” does, which is obscured from a lot of people …
    this sacrifice of time to “do things for others” rather than “earn money for yourself” …

    ensures that only the people coming from backgrounds that can afford to “do things for others” rather than “earn money for yourself” get ahead.

    And of course, all this “liberalism” has not forced women to be partnered monogamously with men who are less educated, earn less, and are shorter than them.

    So basically it looks like a shit test for a lot of men, and a “lesson in indoctrination” for young people who parents are very concerned about what other people think.

    A perfect trap for those who are covertly not-wanted, but are asked to “put in extra work for free” to be “accepted” (in quotes, because you will be invited to pay the bill … but you didn’t get the goodies that were given to others earlier … and they may not even have had to pay anything)

    As an analogy, see the Kafka segment “Before The Law”.

    • P Ray
      April 2, 2021 at 10:11 am

      The rise in “neoliberalism” has also led to a lot of “cancel culture” where even publishing of studies showing a non-politically correct outcome gets a person erased from future career advancement.

      And yet for a long time that didn’t stop Harvey Weinstein, Hugo Schwyzer, Peter Nygard, Richard Qiangdong … off the top of my head – as the SJWs try to deny their prolonged blind spot for these people who actually committed crimes

      Again, it seems that “cancel culture” is only to restrict or to create barriers to entry for future competitors to wealth or achievement … those already there have no scrutiny upon them unless they suffer business reversals or are on the outs with their political masters.

      So I would say “cancel culture” is simply … “culture that cancels those who are no longer useful” (The people in power take care of their own)

    • April 4, 2021 at 1:57 am

      So basically it looks like a shit test for a lot of men, and a “lesson in indoctrination” for young people who parents are very concerned about what other people think.

      You’ve actually nailed what’s causing a lot of the disfunction we’re seeing – people wanting to fit in, worrying about being outcast. The crab bucket mentality at work.

      On a mass scale people are suffering abandonment issues and it’s leading them into all kinds of strife – depression, suicide, addiction.

      Young men who can’t get laid/a girlfriend – destroying themselves in despair. I understand they’ve got a fire in their loins, but wanting a girlfriend or a notch just to fit in and so people will respect you is the wrong reason and a waste of valuable time.

      The final nail in the coffin for me caring what other people think was the way they carried on when the rona bullshit hit the scene. I used to be naïve enough to think that people would never be that gullible. Now I know better.

      • P Ray
        April 4, 2021 at 4:08 am

        The funny part about how society sees a lot of young men –

        is that the guy who is unwanted by women is automatically the target of suspicion as other people won’t defend him …

        but a popular guy escapes scrutiny because “popular guys don’t need to rape” …

        and yet, the majority of “rape” (in quotes because it was never reported when it happens, so looks a lot like regret sex) cases in college are via the popular guys.

        Every day is a new experience with irony especially when it involves social justice warriors.

      • April 4, 2021 at 4:33 pm

        Yeah it’s classic scapegoating. Not much has changed since Salem.

  2. April 2, 2021 at 11:17 am

    What deliberately caused ME to waste time is “conservatism” and seeing how conservatism is experiencing a huge decline and blowback, like you’ve said before, makes me happy and causes me to focus on ME. Not society. Fuck society – you don’t owe society shit. They demand all of your services, labor and respect, but don’t give you jack shit in return. Like slavery or idiotic patriotism!

  3. miofio
    April 3, 2021 at 11:47 am

    isn’t this caused by a surplus of labour which is caused by globalization? If you have 500 people apply for one job, then of course the employer can pick only the Phds.

  4. doldrom
    April 3, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    Not PC to say, but a lot of the extra competition for houses and jobs have coincided with the wave of women into the work force. People with two incomes may get a mortgage, but a large proportion has been left out. Couples tend to sort out into those with double incomes and those with none.
    Where I work (outside the USA), the academic work force is basically divided in two: All those under 40 (5 years ago 35) work on contracts and have to find new institutions when they are not offered a permanent position (law limits contracts to 2 years), all those above tend to have permanent positions. This split is reflected to some extent in all kinds of other organizations, public and commercial, as well, not to mention the many kinds of precarious work (zero-hour contacts, ‘self-employed’) and the like that have been invented.

    Have known lots of STEM graduates (even 20 years ago) who subsisted from highly competitive and even prestigious research grants, etc., roughly from the time they got their PhD to hitting 40-45, after which many finally managed to get a permanent job at some institution of higher learning which nobody has ever heard of. Come to think of it, developer courses I have attended were filled with the ranks of STEM graduates who had caved in and moved into IT. Most probably regretted not taking the easy path of a business degree (or labor psychology, or whatever) and moving into some kind of BS management/policy position.

    • P Ray
      April 4, 2021 at 4:04 am

      Women of this generation have effectively neutered any opposition to a lot of their ill-thought out ideas by calling them misogynist and sexist …

      but still want the majority of guys to ask them out on dates and pay for it all,
      while she reserves the right to see other people at the same time “so that there is a better future for her children.”

      I don’t think such opportunism deserves the label of “politically correct”, just called it “gender-allowed greed” or GAG.

  5. April 4, 2021 at 1:27 am

    I’m actually glad I haven’t have it as good as the boomers (born pre-70s). After seeing what having a big pile of disposable income that they did fuck all to earn has done to their minds – made them entitled, gullible, lazy, conformist, and most of all narcissistic – I would never trade places with any of them.

    Not to say that I think the shitopia we find ourselves in today is good or right. While nothing should just be handed to anyone, it shouldn’t be that difficult for a young adult to get their first stable job where several shitty conditions aren’t imposed on them. Buying a half-decent house in a safe neighbourhood shouldn’t plunge a young family into debt slavery. It shouldn’t be impossible for lower class men to put in a bit of work and move themselves out of the trailer park/hood/projects/their parents’ house.

    • P Ray
      April 4, 2021 at 4:11 am

      The problem is opportunities are not handed out blindly, they are “earned” by connections or even qualifications – faked or not.

      And that’s even before you bring in race or gender.

      Don’t forget people also want to hire those they can boss around or people they are confident won’t take their place.

      It’s a lot like the dilemma a lot of women face … for their long-term relationship they want a man smart enough to show off to her friends, but stupid enough to be easily manipulated.

  6. Jack
    April 6, 2021 at 9:06 pm

    PhD salaries began going down once the National Science Foundation created a fake paper crying that there’s going to be a shortage of STEM workers so we need to bring in more foreign students into the country to pursue PhDs. That naturally decimated salaries for PhDs. It’s a useless endeavor to pursue a PhD, let alone a Masters.
    Ever since we have issued millions of H1B visas, has innovation even gone up? Nope.

    • Poopface McShitstain
      April 8, 2021 at 5:31 am

      I’m glad to hear people here are becoming woke about the ॐ ॐ ॐIndian Questionॐ ॐ ॐ.

  7. MikeCA
    April 8, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    ” See.. as late as the mid-1990s, most newly minted PhDs from even supposedly ‘average’ universities used to get decent jobs in universities, institutes and corporations without too much effort.”

    This is basically BS. I got a science PhD in the mid-70s, and there were no jobs in universities or institutes at the time. After Spunik was launched, there was a panic in Congress that the US was falling behind in science and engineering. In the 60s there was a drive to expand science and engineering in US colleges. Lots of new faculty positions were created. By the late 70s US college science faculty were mostly in 30-40s and 20 or 30 years from retirement. To justify the larger staff, they had to pumps out more PhDs, but there were no jobs for them in US Universities. I actually do not know anyone I went to school with that got a tenure track faculty job at a college.

    That is why I wrote ‘universities, institutes and corporations’. Also, until the mid-1990s there were far fewer students in grad school than nowadays.

    Employment is about the laws of supply and demand. Maybe a science department has 20 faculty and they each produce a PhD every 4 years. Over their 40 year career each faculty produces 10 new PhDs but a faculty position only opens up when someone retires. Unless new colleges are being built, 9 out of 10 PhDs are not going to find a job working in a college.

    I managed to get two good temporary positions at prestigious institutes, but then it became clear I wasn’t going to get anything permanent because I could not walk on water and there were so few real opening and so many PhDs any place with a real opening was looking for a miracle worker. It was just the laws of supply and demand.

    I moved to Silicon Valley where lots of small companies were desperately looking for smart people. They were trying to develop new products that had never existed before, so no way to hire people with experience developing that product. A science PhD helped convince them I was smart and get my foot in the door, but it was what I accomplished that kept me employed for close to 40 years. Companies grew and failed, but I was always able to move on to something new. Employees flow between companies all the time so any company you apply to probably has someone who knows your work, knows who actually developed something and who just occupied a cubicle.

    In my years in Silicon Valley I worked with lots of PhDs. A few of them were great, but some of them were just not cut out to work in Silicon Valley or probably any company. They basically just wanted to write papers to show how smart they were, not develop products that ordinary people could use and would pay money to buy. That is the difference between working at a university and in business.

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