What killed decent jobs is NOT sophistication


“How did we decide that professors don’t deserve job security or a decent salary?”, he asked. Me: not by increasing sophistication, for sure.

What killed decent jobs is NOT sophistication /img/how-you-kill-a-profession.jpg

Once upon a very recent time, being college faculty meant stable employment, a good salary and high social standing too. That (at least for those starting now) is not the case anymore, is it? The article titled “This Is How You Kill a Profession” argues that the dismantlement of college faculty followed the same procedures used to discard:

  • medical general practitioners
  • magazine and newspaper writers
  • bookkeepers
  • cab drivers
  • local auto mechanics

As far as cabs are concerned, my own experience of the cab system is that it did need a real reboot, from the ground up. Not in the Uber way, of course, but did need a real reboot. But I digress.

Much of that article is very good, but this specific point doesn’t hold at all:

“We discarded college faculty in the same way that we discarded local auto mechanics: by making all of the systems and regulations so sophisticated that they now require an army of technicians and specialized equipment.”

This is just wrong. Exclusion does not happen with sophistication. Not in this case for sure. If this had any substance, kids in primary school could not even begin to understand practical robotics. Exclusion happens by exclusion, that is making a system (cars in this case) locked with proprietary software with proprietary interfaces, and making it illegal to hack it. Ask any advocate of Right to Repair. What killed college faculty, or any other decent jobs, is not sophistication.

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