Thursday, October 08, 2015

When the lawless write the laws ...

"Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?" - Proverbs 27:4

The California government just passed a bill requiring equal pay for women in a way that was intentionally designed to make finding out relative pay easier along with litigating over that differential.  Yes, the women of California are oppressed!

What has me baffled about this bill is that it refers to the "opposite sex". If there were an even number of genders, then they could be divided up into pairs of "opposite sex", but the official number is 51, so I am not sure how this works, unless opposites now come in 3's and there are 17 sets of them, which wouldn't surprise me since it now takes 3 to produce a child here in California.  According to my older, simplistic strategizing, however, if another man is earning more than I am, I can just change my gender to female and then file a lawsuit.  What I am wondering is if a male can file a discrimination suit if the females earn more than him, such as for a waiter at a Hooter's restaurant.  Happily we can be confident that the lawyers will work hard to earn their gender neutral pay as they diligently litigate out all the nuances to this bill.

12 comments:

Rummuser said...

You have just reminded me of a remarkable film. I shall send for a DVD and watch it again. Very topical now with Russia entering the ME in a big way. Thank you.

Rummuser said...

Please read the above comment as for your earlier post on Dr. Strangelove.

I am surprised that you have to enact this now. I can't help crowing that we don't have to here because there is no difference in pay between the genders here. In fact it has been illegal for decades to differentiate.

Looney said...

Rummuser, you just inspired me to do a search on the pay gap in India which produced this link:

http://www.paycheck.in/main/world-map-gender-pay-gap/gender-pay-gap-in-india-1

and

http://time.com/14153/global-gender-pay-gap-map/

My general instinct is that the more we litigate over the pay gap, the more jobs will be outsourced, but if the entire world is equally immersed in litigating over pay gaps, then maybe I don't need to worry!

Rummuser said...

While I stand corrected, the actual practice for white collar jobs is what I had in mind and obviously the other areas of employment here do show disparity. The gladdening feature is that the gap is narrowing down. Legislation and constitutional protection already exists.

Looney said...

There is one more article on gender bias from The Economist which illustrates more of what I have seen first hand and is a bit contrarian:

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21648632-recruitment-academic-scientists-may-be-skewed-surprising-way-unfairer

Since I am involved in the recruiting, there is definitely a strong bias for hiring females into my high tech organization. The number of those who reach higher positions also seems disproportionate. But we have never had a female director.

Max Coutinho said...

Hey Looney,

51 forms of "opposite sex"? How does that work exactly? I'm confused.
About equal pay: if men and women do the same job, for the same amount of hours, they should get paid equally. Now, if a company offers productivity bonuses, then whomever produces more in the same amount of time deserves to get that additional income - regardless of gender.
Now I remembered that, for instance, in the film industry women expose themselves more, they draw more public, and yet in the end they earn less just because they are women. It doesn't make any sense. The same goes for the fashion industry: men should not earn less than women just because they are men.

Cheers

Looney said...

Hello Max,

While on the surface I might agree with the equal pay for equal work, there is something else to ponder: The target here is high paid tech jobs, and as one observer said of these, "the productivity difference between two individuals varies by more than ten to one, and there is nothing you can predict from the resume". A high school dropout sometimes out performs a Ph.d. Equal pay for equal work only considers credentials and hours worked, but it is impossible for the principle of "equal pay for equal work" to even acknowledge the concept of productivity. I am not saying that women are less productive, but only that the concept of merit pay must be eliminated if there is any hope of achieving "equal pay for equal work", since we probably all know instances where the less productive person earned more. Yet overall, Silicon Valley thrives on paying people more to be more productive, which is a criminal act in the "equal pay for equal work" world view!

Max Coutinho said...

Looney,

Very good argument: you are correct, productivity must be taken into account (that's why I mentioned it) and, yes, the language used in the slogan is pervasive to a series of injustices - and even I was falling for it. This is why making laws require several intelligent people with different points of view to shed light on loopholes.

So let's attempt to rephrase it: basic wage should be the same for both genders (where productivity is not necessarily a factor: cleaning, watching over a house, etc) but they can differ as productivity rates increase (and thus differ among individuals) regardless of gender. Would that work?

Have a blessed weekend.

Looney said...

@Max, I am in agreement at some level, but also am quite uncertain what would be the wisest way to approach this in a legal sense. One other thing to note is that any law regarding gender will be used as a precedent for requiring laws based on any other kind of group distinction that can be arrived at. Training a manger in the US now requires a long list of such groupings to be itemized followed by instruction on how to behave in a manner that will not cause a grievance.

Max Coutinho said...

Looney,

Then the US shouldn't discuss "equal work equal pay" without sorting out issues that prevent a suitable environment for anyone to apply it. Would you say that the business environment is becoming unbearable in the US?

Anyway, what would you suggest to make it wise in a legal sense?

Cheers

Looney said...

Max,

I would not say things are unbearable in the US, although the overall position in the "Economic Freedom Index" rankings has fallen over the last few years. The bigger problem is that the US is likely to have the largest debt to GDP ratio in the world before long, and eventually the bill will become due.

As for gender laws, since I just put a boy and girl through college and into the work force who both studied Chemical Engineering and both did quite well academically, I can tell you first hand that there is systematic discrimination in favor of females at the moment. This includes admission to universities, scholarships, access to internships (which are necessary for early resumes), hiring and promotion. But then my daughter made a "mommy choice", so she is temporarily out of the high tech work force with my grandson. It is the "mommy choice" that accounts for the income discrepancy, since it causes some females to drop out for a time and others to cut their work hours short. Thus, I truly believe that any law produced to forced equality will do harm to women, to children and to families. In the end, he differences between male and female are more than just simply a label backed by tradition. Biology is real!

Max Coutinho said...

Looney,

Got it (thank you for explaining me about things in the US).

"I can tell you first hand that there is systematic discrimination in favor of females at the moment."

So I heard. One would think that after years of talking about equality (the Left's favourite mantra) our society would be moving towards that end, but it seems like that we are swaying further away from it by creating laws that violate the principle of equality (making thus a mockery of the law).

I will have to think better about the "mommy choice" concept because I don't see how it can promote wage inequality and how it can harm women (I'm thinking: why should women who do not opt by having children be penalised by those who do?). But I do agree with you that biology is real (though not necessarily a limitation). Ah, this is a much more complex issue to deal with than many of us think.

Have a blessed weekend.