Saturday, April 07, 2007

Fix it, unless it is already broken

Whilst I was waiting for an episode of Kenny vs Spenny to load on youtube (my favorite episode). I started to fiddle with a used then discarded twist-tie that was left on the table from my breakfast. Since I had nothing better to do and I exhibit traces of OCD, I began the process of trying to return the twist-tie to its original shape. I was quickly derailed by my limited attention span. I only spent a few minutes trying to make the twist- tie perfectly straight. In that time the thought crossed my mind, was this "correct?" Was the twist tie perfectly straight to begin with?
Women's rights... the feminist movement. At least in my experience the loudest heard proponents of women's equality want men and women to be 100% equal in every way: wages, the monotonies of life, intellectually, socially. In a discussion with my roommates from Portugal (which appear to me to have a very male dominated relationship), I knocked at the flood gates by asking, "how are women's right in Europe, anyway?" I'll admit I don't know much about the culture in Europe right now. Women only gained the right to vote in Portugal in 1976. Ana and Bruno both agreed that was a good step in the right direction. Ana then went on to the common statement that women are not paid equally with men; and that she felt women should be paid equally. Somebody brought up the topic of construction workers and Ana stuck to her guns... that was a mistake. To clarify, Ana stated male and female laborers should be paid the same regardless of output. The immediate response was that if a male and a female aren't outputting the same they shouldn't be paid the same. Her rebuttal was something about equality being more important than economics. Here was my example to bring her up to speed:

Assume: We have one average male and one average female that work for a company providing a heavy labor based service. When based on productivity we say (using numbers only suggested to keep it easy):
Male salary = $30k; Female salary =$15k; Total = $45k; business profit from labor = $300k

Now Ana is elected dominatrix of the world and women's wages are equaled (with no regards productivity). Now:
Male salary = $30k; Female Salary = $30k; Total = $60k... but because productivity has not increased profits due to labor will be reduced by the ratio {Total1/Total2}... new profits due to labor are $225k.

The laws of economics suggest this will lead to either: an increase in inflation to compensate for the loss of profits, or a decrease in wages(both have the same effect on the consumer). Using the latter because it's easier:
Male and female wages (still equal) are reduced so per "dollar of labor" the business receives the same number of dollars of profit - i.e. Male's and Females make $16,875 each; Total of $33,750
Now women are happy because they have "equality," but husband and wife couples now have to live on 25% less buying power (notice 25% was the increase in total wages).

After I explained this, Ana's face dropped and she didn't have anything to say. Bruno was happy. I digress... while I'm pretty sure this argument is economically correct it can also be used against increases in minimum wage, which I voted in favor of a few months ago (a different topic altogether).

Am I saying that women deserve to be paid less than women? If they are less productive, yes. However, paying a female accountant less than a male accountant because she's female is wrong. I'm actually a feminist (libertarian or individualist feminist to be exact). Likewise, if a woman can produce more in any situation, she should be paid more.

Re-enter the twist tie. Perhaps the twist tie wasn't perfectly straight to begin with. Maybe, in manufacturing the twist tie is created slightly curved. Theoretically, I could straighten it out perfectly, but this would not actually be "fixing" it. Making it perfectly straight would still leave stress on the twist tie because it wasn't in its original position, even if I don't think it's orginal postision is "correct"

The goal of feminism should be to eliminate cultural difference. It can be agreed upon that men and women are scientifically/naturally/physically different; for the world to be optimal, these differences must be accounted for. Otherwise, we could still reach a "utopia"... but it would be suboptimal, I don't think that's a very good utopia (bad utopia...definately an oxymoron).
How do we do this? Well we're on the right track. It's a culture change that has to continue happening in males. It also requires women that are driven and motivated and don't feel entitled to something because of eons of patriarchal oppression. Some feminists say it's moving too slowly, they want legislation to speed up the change. I say change is happening slowly, but it is helping and getting better all the time. Why? Now this isn't backed up scientifically, but gender bias seems to be getting better with every generation... and it takes time for antiquated people and ideas to die. Legislation will not speed up the change of ideas, it will force grumpy old men to promote a woman over a man and then resent her because of it. When comparing economic characteristics you can bet factors indicating sexism are a good 15 - 20 years behind the culture change that's actually causing them. It takes time for male favoring fathers to die and be replaced with fathers that want their daughters to be lawyers just as much as they desire the same for their sons. It takes time for that population of daughters to graduate college and rise through the ranks. Populations shift slowly, and ours is shifting in the right direction (in the US anyway).

Don't fix if it it's not broken... well it is, but it was broken to begin with and we need to embrace the situation's brokenness and use that to our advantage. On average, men are better at physical labor, so more men should do that than women. Women are better than men at many things, society needs to embrace that as well.

Closing comments:
-Remeber the twist-tie.
-I will be stay at home dad, if that is the best thing for the fam.
-While I wrote this post, Ana (the feminist?) has burnt breakfast, ordered delivery for breakfast, washed clothes, cleaned the kitchen and the floors in the aparment, while Bruno plays soccer on his laptop.
-Pregnancy in the workplace is tough. An employee being gone for several months definitely decreases productivity; I don't really see how we can hold that against women, a paradox.

Page of pertinent statistics: Women's Bureau division of Department of Labor
What type of feminist are you: from
Minimum wage Wiki: Fast linked to the economic analysis section
Perfection from Wikipedia : Related in the idea of what the answer is, but also interesting.


Blogger Lanky said...

YOu need to print all this out when you get back and send it to a cheap printing plant and make books to sell for $5 or something. These entries are great.

6:36 AM  
Blogger Brady said...

I wish they were a little shorter... I apologize for the length... but thanks man.
What type of feminist are you?

7:00 AM  
Blogger Cassy said...

Props for calling yourself a many people, women included, are afraid of the word. I think it takes about 45 solid years for real social change to occur...a couple of generations. And yeah, women and men have different strengths. I've read things back in my psych days about women being better multitaskers (gatherers while tending babes) and men are better at powerful singular concentration (shooting the animals). Who knows? Interesting assessment though.

2:04 PM  
Blogger mikemertz said...

That pic is art for sure!

9:25 PM  

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