Boundless Reads #97
#1 Bonuses Are Dumb, Vol XIV: I've written about how bonuses at their worst are straight up manipulation and coercion, but new evidence from Norway found that after a new bonus program was created for insurance salespeople:
the bigger the bonus, the more employees became extrinsically (money) motivated, while meaning and enjoyment for the work decreased. They did report putting a bit more effort because of the bonus, but not a whole lot more. However, the bigger the bonus, the more they wanted to leave!
#2 Pay Gap: Research on the drivers of the pay gap of the MBTA in Boston:
Even in a unionized environment, where work tasks are similar, hourly wages are identical, and tenure dictates promotions, female workers earn $0.89 on the male-worker dollar (weekly earnings)...the weekly earnings gap can be explained entirely by the workplace choices that women and men make. Women value time and flexibility more than men. Women take more unpaid time off using the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and work fewer overtime hours than men.
If this is true, legislation to criminalize pay discrimination is likely not helpful. For years, I've been a fan of putting a cap on the number of hours people can work as an experiment to see what might happen to pay. At consulting firms, where I formerly worked, I witnessed men work like absolute maniacs (and some women of course). I was definitely paid less than these men (and gladly), but it always seemed like the problems were that men paid less of a cost for abandoning their families and life than women than any sort of discrimination. This is not to say discrimination does not happen, but perhaps we are framing the problem wrong?
#3 Yuval Mania: A fascinating profile on Yuval Harari and the tech world's love of him, despite him warning of their likelihood of enabling immense harm in the world:
He went on to argue that the liberal world order has relied on fictions like “the customer is always right” and “follow your heart,” and that these ideas no longer work in the age of artificial intelligence, when hearts can be manipulated at scale.
#4 Sacred Beliefs & UBI: I wrote a short article on the three sacred beliefs we need to question to accept an idea like UBI. It was more an exercise in examining our deeply held work beliefs (worth is virtuous, leisure is passive, money = value) than supporting UBI or not.
#5 Harvard: Interesting take on the Harvard/Asian lawsuit and the left's comfort with institutional power:
The Right/conservative project would abolish Harvard as we know it on a far deeper level than the Left/liberal/progressive posturing cultural radicalism, which at the end of the day has no problem bowing before neoliberal capital so long as lexical modifications are made.