Feed on
  1. It is commonly believed that workers are exploited, for a variety of reasons, by their employers. One retort of folks like me would be that if there are other options for you to work, then this really couldn’t be true. There are many other retorts. Let’s ask about one more: in how many jobs do you think workers have any room to slow down/slack off/etc? Right now, I am blogging this from my office when I should be prepping for my class. I suppose you could argue that this exercise is making me a better teacher and is really not slacking off, but is it? To the extent that there is ANY room to “slack off” at work, how can it be the case that you are exploited? And are there many jobs today where people are actually busting it for 8 hours per day? I’ll toot my own horn and argue my wife’s job is one such job, but outside of critical care units in hospitals I am not sure. I bet eBay auction activity peaks in the middle of the day, as does the filling out of tournament brackets and checking of sports scores.

  2. Related to the above, you know that about the only way you can “get”  a pay raise and get to keep 100% of that raise is … to … slack off at work. If you make a fixed salary, say, $10,000 per year. If you can manage to “get your work done” in fewer hours, while it may look like you are actually more productive by productivity measurements, you are actually not, since you are still on the clock for the same amount of time.. But if that time is spent daydreaming, listening to podcasts, planning vacations, e-mailing your mom, checking out college sports results, and so on, which I know NO ONE does, then of course you are taking higher pay home and it is not being taxed. I’d love to see some data on how such behavior (no one self reports that honestly however) correlates to marginal income tax rates and other effective penalties on work effort.

  3. I’ve been toying with fully “flipping” at least one of my classes. However, I think that in a room of 300 people that idea stinks. I also am having two other doubts. First, it’s that a flipped class is actually less effective than a well organized lecture and discussion, because I think the videos are far too canned to be as good as I’d want them to be – students cannot stop a video in the middle and ask my avatar a question, among other problems. Second, the more I think about it, the less I think “flipped” classrooms are innovative at all. If you have a well chosen set of readings, and require students to prepare for class by doing those, perhaps also by watching a few video supplements and a few podcast supplements, how is that any different than having them watch instructional videos? So, at any moment a classroom can and I argue should be flipped. I think some sort of hybrid model is probably right. But my new thinking on flipping is not that this is particularly innovative or educational, but perhaps more enjoyable form of delivery, or even an “easier” form of delivery for “millenials” who grow up not reading or liking to read, and who do not see value in struggling for a couple weeks on a brutal problem set or struggling on an exam with material that goes beyond rote memorization. I think the problem is not lectures per se, but huge classes that do not allow (me) instructors to spend time with all of their students, should those students actually want it.

  4. To this day, I’ve NEVER had a response to my point about our government collectively spending over $6 trillion per year and it still proudly parading around as if that’s not enough to do what they want to do. I’d make the additional observation here that if what the government were actually providing were true “public goods” then either (1) it would not have to spend nearly as much as the economy and the population grows, yet instead we’ve seen the opposite, or (2) if it were a pure transfer system that actually delivered benefits to the poor and needy and did not extract resources from the poor and needy and middle class and upper class to shower benefits on the chosen few, then the $6 trillion would perhaps be less of a “concern” since it would’t actually be all that costly. 


3 Responses to “Scattered Thoughts for the Day”

  1. Gabriel Wittenberg says:

    I am a beltway bandit, and I literally laughed out loud at 1) while I sat at my desk and enjoyed my breakfast (no scores to check yet). I can assure all of you that my firm need not exist. I can also assure all of you that no amount of money will ever satiate the beast. Not only is the ratchet effect a very real thing, but these agencies will never question their efficiency when a cry for more funds shirks all responsibility for sub par results (take public schools for example). Unlike the misleading statistics that place our healthcare system in the lower throngs of the industrialized world, there is nothing misleading about the ineffectiveness of our public schools (which are the most expensive in the industrialized world, per capita). When ones framework is totally off, they are searching for solutions in all of the wrong places. Just like Picketty.

  2. Alex says:

    I think a flipped classroom is less about how the students receive the lecture material and more about when. Lectures and readings at home, homework/problem sets in class. They still have to care, though

  3. Harry says:

    Does not “__ are exploited” beg the question?

Leave a Reply