Kicking job seekers when they’re down

Imagine you are a so-called human resources manager.

In an economy where there are many more job seekers than jobs, and in which it is possible that there will never ever again be enough jobs to employ people who want or need work,[1] your boss is thrilled because competition between job seekers can reduce wages, but you are inundated with applications and résumés and cover letters with no relief in sight. Moreover, because so many people are desperate for work, a fair number of these documents come from people who are not only not qualified but who are not even remotely qualified for any of the few positions you have to offer.

Read more

  1. [1]Paul Krugman, “The Big Shrug,” New York Times, June 9, 2013,; Paul Krugman, “Sympathy for the Luddites,” New York Times, June 13, 2013,

Why you should be scared shitless

It’s time for a conversation about that oh so scintillating topic: research methods.

I know, if you made it to the third year of a four-year university program, you probably took such a class. And slept through it. And I don’t blame you. I really don’t. In fact I remember lying in bed, reading a paragraph from the textbook, nodding off, waking up, reading another paragraph, nodding off again, ad nauseum until I finally made it through the assigned reading. So believe me, I get it. Research methods are boring.

Read more

My disillusionment

This post has been revised here.

I grew up with an image of the United States as a country governed in a democracy, where the individual vote mattered, where politicians represented voters, where laws were passed in the public interest, where courts rendered justice, where everyone had economic opportunity.

This image is, of course, a naïve view of the country. I also grew up during the Vietnam War, and believing that “liberty and justice for all” didn’t just mean people in this country, that it should apply as well at least in any country we fought for, and thus that it should apply for the Vietnamese as well. The contradiction between that belief and the fact of the Vietnam War led me to stop saying the Pledge of Allegiance, led me, even then, to adopt an antagonistic view toward this country’s foreign policy.

Read more