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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Which raises the question: into which model do men and women fit? As I said before, women seem to prefer working in sprawling bureaucracies masquerading as support functions in huge companies. Men tend to drift towards the sharp end of the business where the core function is carried out and the most value added. I am also fairly certain that it will be men who are setting up the small, nimble businesses that aim to cash in on technologies such as the Internet, drones, and 3D printing. There will be female entrepreneurs, but their numbers will be dwarfed by those who are men. For whatever reason, young men in their twenties have a habit of risking all for a big reward instead of seeking security and certainty, at least in comparison to their female peers.

Tim Newman

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16 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • PapayaSF

    It’s almost as if men and women have different hormones that are known to cause different behavioral tendencies. No, that can’t be it, because as we all know, gender roles are 100% socially constructed.

  • Old Misfit

    “2. A person of the same age, status, or ability as another specified person.
    ‘he has incurred much criticism from his academic peers’ ” https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/peer

    For whatever reason, young men in their twenties have a habit of risking all for a big reward instead of seeking security and certainty, at least in comparison to their female peers.”

    I would have prefered another word rather than “peers”. Colleagues? Contemporaries?

    It seems to me that as they do not, so they are not.

  • James g

    The irony is those sprawling female friendly bureaucracies will be the ones pushing the equality and diversity initiatives. They will be basing these agendas on looking at data across the whole business world and then lecturing their male employees on how they have unconscious bias and privilege which prevents female advancement. Those men will sit there meekly listening, surrounded by their female bosses in large part.

  • The OP’s assessment may be true, or not true, or a bit true. Of one thing we can be sure, models constructed by SWJs will be garbage, ratios implied by those models will be wrong, the surprise SWJs show when said ratios are not found in the real world will be ridiculous, the rage they display about it will be acted, self-indulged and insolent, and the force they use to make the real world pretend to be like their silly expectations will do harm, and most especially to the groups they pretend to favour.

    I observed a little of this at 2nd hand last year. At a computer conference in the UK, two ‘researchers’, after indulging standard PC abuse of the beta-males they’d got to join them on the panel, explained that their research had proved that women were more comfortable with stories whereas men were more comfortable with lists therefore to get more women into IT it had to become lest list-oriented, more story-oriented. They then set about bullying all present into saying they would exert themselves to achieve this (the implication “or you’re a bad person” was not hidden 🙂 ).

    Both I and the female IT colleagues I discussed it with were cautiously sceptical of the claimed story/list dichotomy and contemptuously sceptical of the idea that these women’s research could have proved their hypothesis, but I found myself thinking their logic was self-contradictory even in its own terms.

    Suppose, for the sake of argument, the story/list dichotomy were true. There are many jobs where ability with stories is valuable and well-rewarded with money and influence. (Niall ruthlessly suppresses jokes that will occur to readers as quickly as to him, and instead offers the example that any computer product has to be sold, so needs strong and clear user stories of how it will help its purchasers.) Writing code is not one of them. Overwhelmingly, a computer programme is a list of instructions. You, do this; then this; then this. You, do that. You, do this if something’s true, else do the other thing. You, do or this or this depending on that or that or that. Etc.

    Thus, by their own logic, these social ‘science’ women were seeking to direct other women away from spheres in which their gifts were more valuable into a sphere where their gifts were less valuable, violating the basic rule of comparative advantage / arbitrage.

    The OP may be right, not so right, or wrong in his opinion. Where he is incredibly right is knowing it’s just an opinion – that he should not by intimidation, force and/or law try to make the real world look like his opinion of what it should look like, but instead should prevent others from doing so.

  • CaptDMO

    Here’s the list of what need’s to be done to get a venture up and running.
    Here’s the list of things to do to put it on a continuing profit growth track.
    OK, Now my back hurts from the heavy lifting.
    Here’s the story.
    “NOW, you must weigh applications, and hire, some(ie)woman to figurehead the big desk, comfy chair, parachute, job, because diversity, fairness,affirmative action quota, and social justice dupe extortion .
    Too bad for the OTHER candidates (of ANY “status”) being sought out due to demonstrable productivity merit.
    I’ve seen it first hand.

  • jim jones

    The NHS is the classic example of a female-friendly organisation, perhaps that is why it is so inefficient

  • Andrew Duffin

    The entire (British) public education system is another classic example of a female-friendly organisation, largely staffed with females.

    Which is why it’s no surprise that it works fairly well for female victims/clients, but dreadfully for male ones.

    As it demonstrably does.

  • jim jones (March 10, 2017 at 11:41 am), in the early days of the NHS, matrons ran their wards according to the strict standards they’d inherited from Florence Nightingale, nurses worked hard and effectively – I can think of several 1930s books contrasting British nurses and hospital standards with foreign standards and/or commenting with admiration on the professionalism of British nurses, etc. Things were much the same at the 1948 takeover of all those hospitals by the NHS and for a time thereafter. I would not call the NHS a female-unfriendly organisation in those days. Then and now, it reflected its society, now with exaggerations of that society’s vices as it is state-run, huge and bureaucratic. It is more SWJ-friendly now – and more costly and less efficient and etc. But if the fact that so many more nurses than before seek to become agency nurses means anything, it implies that the NHS has not become more female-friendly down at the coal-face.

  • Cristina

    The push for more women everywhere is the irrefutable proof of our incapacity to compete on a leveled playfield with men.

  • Paul Marks

    Historically most sprawling bureaucracies were dominated by men – indeed women were often excluded from them.

    Women tended to work directly – running market stalls, being midwives, and so on.

    Of course the rise of guilds excluded women from most trades – leading to the gloating reference of the late German theologian that women should be “wives or whores” (nothing else).

    Unions (both blue collar and white collar – such as the medical “associations” and the “Bar Associations”) also tended to exclude women.

    As Niall points out – the state takeover of nursing did not do women any favours (the new managers in the bureaucratic structures tended to be men) the same is true in Social Work and so on.

    When things were charitable (Octavia Hill and so on) women dominated – when things became “professional” (read state bureaucracy) men took over.

  • Watchman

    Two observations.

    One – men tend to work where the power is. Compare China or India, where bureaucracy is male-dominated and entrepreneurship much more female-dominated (I will acknowledge this might be because spheres of activity in which you can do enterprise in this sort of economy are often “women’s work”), to the west, where private enterprise is male dominated and bureacracy a female career. Not sure on the cause of this, but it is observable (it also explains why there is male domination in democractic politics, a field where the female disadvantage incurred by child-raising should logically be a non-issue).

    Secondly, men are biologically prone to risk taking – hence the fact male teenagers are not exactly the most sociable creatures. This is argued by evolutionary pscyhologists (an interesting field which seems to be avoiding the traps of social psychology) to reflect an ancestral tendency to form groups (not nuclear families) dominated by a small number of males and with a larger number of females (the gender of the alphas in the group seems to be more debated) – sort of like Chimpanzees. So to become one of the small number of males with access to the females, you need to take risks to get ahead of others. Females biological drive however is on this logic a desire to find a strong and reliable mate, so risk-taking is not necessary. Even if we note that we can overturn any such inherent tendencies in our DNA (we’re quite good at thinking, us humans) then something like this underlying different patterns of behaviour across biological sexes is going to cause tendencies towards different behaviours.

    Mind you, you could just explain the differences in western society by the fact large bureaucracies make it easier to work part-time. Fun this ascribing differences thing.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Niall Kilmartin, in my experience, women tend to be better at writing out lists and using that as a form of discipline in managing workflow than men. (I am a 50-year-old professional financial journalist and therefore this is a very, very narrow sample!)

  • Lee Moore

    For whatever reason, young men in their twenties have a habit of risking all for a big reward instead of seeking security and certainty, at least in comparison to their female peers.

    The reason is simple – evolution. Eggs are scarce and sperm is plentiful. Hence males compete for access to females. Successful males can mate with lots of females. To be successful they have to stand out from the crowd – and so they usually have to take risks. Behaviour that trebles the number of offspring you can expect, but doubles your risk of dying without offspring is, statistically, a winning strategy. A conservative approach has a very low reproductive payoff for males. The opposite applies for females. There will always be males aplenty after your eggs. Taking risks reduces the reproductive pay off for females. Stay alive and the sperm will come to you.

    A couple of hundred million years of evolution (this sex difference in behaviour is not peculiar to humans) and bingo – men take more risks than women.

  • […] also today’s QOTD here, which points towards the same intellectual territory and the same battles. Before posting […]

  • Jim

    @Niall Kilmartin: My mother trained as a nurse in the 1950s at St Thomas’s, so in the period when the NHS, while publicly owned, was still run largely as hospitals had been when private. As such it was a very hierarchical organisation, ie very male, almost run like the army or police force. All the people in charge above Matron would have been men. And Matron was chosen as a surrogate man, Sergeant-Major if you like. The female temperament was purely restricted to the dealing with the patients one on one, everything else was very structured.

    Its the loss of that male dominated structure that has resulted in a good deal of the collapse in functionality of the NHS (it of course is also a pure socialist organisation and as such suffers from all the detriments that pernicious ideology brings). Were one to replace all the women in the NHS above nurse level with men there would be a step change in its efficiency. It would not be perfect, but it would function better than it does today.

  • Fraser Orr

    Honestly I think that is a gross simplification to the point of being not valuable. The fact is that nearly every person, male and female, seem to want to be functionaries in a large bureaucracy, due to culturally enforced illusions about security and lack of accountability. The “glass ceiling” narrative, common in many businesses, is just part of a broader narrative, what I call the curse of the HR department, where businesses are organized for the benefit of the 80% who do 20% of the work. Why? Because HR departments generally don’t have much to contribute to the bottom line of a business, and so, busybodies that they are, they make work to make themselves seem important. And leverage some of the cultural narratives to do so. The lectures on “treat women as equals” that I used to endure (which is kind of like saying “be a human being”) are no less stupid or value signalling, than the lectures on “company values” or bribery avoidance, or the pointless annual rituals surrounding “performance appraisal”. Remember say two positive things for every negative thing you say….

    What the 1% do on the margins doesn’t tell you much about men and women in general. The 1% are freaks, and freaks are, by definition, not representative.