The End of Love

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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32 Responses

  1. greginak says:

    Wow. Harold Ramis died. He was 69. Well that is one of those ” we’re all getting older moments.”Report

  2. NewDealer says:

    Lately I have been considering that the job market seems to involve a large amount of random chaos.

    This involves the various fates of friends who went to law school during the recession/law school crisis. Both at my own law school and others. Often of a middling rank or lower.

    Two people from undergrad went to the same Tier 3 law school on the East Coast. One graduated in 2008 and the other in 2010. The 2008 grad spent a few years as a perma-temp before giving up and going into real estate which she describes as more fun and more lucrative. The 2010 guy is a rare bird and landed at a major international law firm as an associate. Both graduated during murderous years for employee placement for their schools.

    In my case, I am so far going okay to well as a perma temp but getting an associate position as proved elusive. Same with getting interviews for associate positions. I sometimes wonder how much I am marked as a perma-temp. Meanwhile I know people who failed the bar, sometimes more than once, and are working at firms as associates. Sometimes prestigious ones and these people did not always have better GPAs than me.

    Going through the what makes someone employable or hirable or not seems to be a lot of paradoxes and puzzles.Report

    • Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

      it’s often the social things.
      Who do you know?
      And what do you know about them…Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Kim says:

        You made sense until the last sentence when you implied it is all blackmail.

        I’ve gotten jobs via connections. I don’t deny that and I’ve had the kind of connections that should land interviews/jobs but so far have not yielded normal full-time positions yet.Report

      • Kim in reply to Kim says:

        All blackmail? hardly.
        But it does exist, and the tighter the jobmarket is…
        (I do not delude myself into thinking I could pull that off).Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Kim says:

        You should try blackmail.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Kim says:

        It works in Wodehouse a lot, usually something like “If he won’t find you a position, remind him that at Eton he was nicknamed Stinky because he never bathed.”Report

    • j r in reply to NewDealer says:

      Chaos is good. One of the biggest problems I have with the notion of near universal post-secondary education and the proliferation of jobs that require more and more education credentials is that people get better and better at school, but less and less prepared for how things work in the real world.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to j r says:

        Change is inevitable but I question whether chaos is good or not.

        This is one thing that I’ve noticed as more of a potential difference between liberal and conservatives/libertarians. It is not that liberals are always pro-change and conservatives are always anti-change. Both the left and the right are pro and anti-change but for different issues. The left tends to be more pro-change when it comes to social issues and expanding freedom and civil rights for formally marginalized groups but are anti-change when it comes to gloablization, increased economic chaos for ordinary citizens, etc.

        Conservatives (at least in my view) seem to be the opposite.

        I’m not sure that chaos is good. As an agnostic, I am not sure whether an afterlife exists or not. All the evidence seems to point towards no. That means that we only have life on this world to live for and I think our purpose for that should be to reduce pain as a much as possible for the greatest number of people. I do not see how increased chaos and economic uncertainty equals reducing pain. It seems to be a good way to maximize psychological stress and anxiety and make everyone feel like they are walking on a precipice.

        I’ve brought up the increased schooling issue before and no one seems to want to answer my questions about how do you place the genie back in the bottle and also that the answered now seems that people are doomed to economic misery without higher education but higher education is also a gamble with 1/3 of all college graduates being worse off than people with a HS Diploma only according to some statistics I’ve heard.

        You are also dealing with the social status and class and prestige issues which are very complicated and hard to untangle. A Master Plumber or Electrician might earn more than a college professor but those are not seen as more prestigious careers. Is this snobby? Probably a bit.Report

      • Kim in reply to j r says:

        it doesn’t really matter. we have more pressing issues.
        What do you do with the people too stupid to be employed?Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to j r says:

        I’m curious how to read j r’s statement as well – what to think he’s really got in mind. I wrote some interpretations but fear being accused of misconstruing him uncharitably.

        Chaos in the job market doesn’t seem inherently good to me. At best it’s good in the sense that it means that if there’s an underlying (fixable) problem, then at least we have a situation in which we can receive a signal about that via observing the chaos – as opposed to something where things appear to be moving along smoothly but are in fact not good. So my sense is that he takes chaos to be an improvement over a situation in which, before, things ha been somewhat smoother, but in his view not altogether favorable. But a seemingly smooth labor market that seems to be meeting people’s needs is something that in my view has a high standard of evidence to be proved to in fact be dysfunctional. In my few, if people are getting out of college and don;t seem to be the most prepared on the job for a bit, but are able to retain employment, that beast a situation where people come out of college and are not finding jobs at all, producing chaos. I’d need to hear a good argument why the former is actually worse than the latter.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to j r says:


        One of the most overly used and also derided phase in the Tech 2.0 economy is the word “disruption”.

        The new start-up CEOs see that they are disrupting traditional industries that have grown complacent and lazy. Sidecar, Uber, and Lyft are “disrupting” the Taxi industry out of complacency. Air B n B is disrupting the hotel industry by creating a forum where people can rent their rooms directly
        to tourists. Legal Zoom is disrupting the legal market by helping people represent themselves pro per instead of going through lawyers.

        Yet I know a lot of lawyers who seem to love legal zoom because it seems that more often than not ordinary people fuck up in representing themselves or doing something and they needed up needing a lawyer more to fix the mess. There are probably many things wrong with the other industries but there also good reasons for regulation.

        This seems to be the constant fight between liberals and libertarians on this site and we get into every few weeks or months at a time with no one changing their mind.

        It seems to me we live in live in an age where a good chunk of the chattering/pundit classes thinks that Economics can solve all of our problems or the Economics knows all. I don’t think any age has seen such an unquestioning support for economics since Adam Smith wrote the Wealth of Nations and the start of the Industrial Revolution. The Libertarians and Neo-Liberals seem to think that all you need to create utopia or explain everything is economics. A proper set of incentives to create perfect supply and demand. I don’t know how this came up but everyone seems only interested in economics. No one is interested in adding complicated and gray questions about morality and ethics or anything else that might be relative and murky.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to j r says:

        It seems to me that there is a balance between “extreme disruption” and “extreme stability.” The problem with the former is that people value a degree of reliability, while the problem with the latter is that it leads to stagnation. This isn’t a profound point, as I would expect that most people would recognize the limitations of each direction.

        In comparison to where we are now, I think that we are probably in about the right ballpark. I’m tempted to say that we’re in a period of perpetual disruption, but I hold back on that because it seems to be to be a fear of the unknown as much as anything. As we move into an era of greater chaos, it seems to make sense to place more value on the stability. If we were moving into an era of greater stability, I might be more worried about the other.

        Either way, I look at with delight some of the things that ND looks at with skepticism. Especially when it comes to protecting incumbent job-holders (taxi drivers, hotel managers, etc). Where I waiver is in a degree of openness towards a greater welfare net that is higher than it was ten years ago.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to j r says:

        A Master Plumber or Electrician might earn more than a college professor but those are not seen as more prestigious careers. Is this snobby? Probably a bit.

        A doctor hires a plumber to fix the pipes in his office. When the plumber gives him the bill, the doctor says, “Jesus! I don’t even bill that much for my time!” The plumber says, “Yeah, I didn’t bill that much for my time when I was a doctor either.”Report

      • j r in reply to j r says:

        Any libertarian talking about creating utopia is doing it wrong. Whether chaos is good from a metaphysical sense is a conversation for another time. My comment speaks more to an acceptance of the way the world is as opposed to a desire to impose an artificial order onto it. That being said, it was a bit of a throwaway line. The meat of what I was expressing is everything that comes after.

        Hiring good people is a paradox. It’s equal parts science and art, skill and intuition. The fact that it doesn’t always make sense from the outside looking in is probably a good thing. Otherwise, you have a situation where companies are unreflectively hiring the most obvious candidates, in other words the ones with the shiniest credentials.

        The whole love affair with disruption is an interesting phenomenon. Disruption is good. It’s a necessary part of creative destruction. However, all to often disruptive events happen and then are quickly assimilated into the status quo. There’s a reason that Goldman Sachs was in on the ground floor of Facebook’s efforts to raise capital.

        My comment was a statement about credentialism, which I think is corrosive to equal opportunity and leads to an elite full of people who all think the same way and who are very good at school, but maybe not so good at dealing with the chaos of life outside of school.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to j r says:

        It seems to me that the choice is failing catastrophically or failing incrementally (e.g., failing the way that glass fails vs. the way that metal fails).

        A system that dents at the slightest provocation may feel far too dynamic but it’s better than a system that can only take but so much pressure before it becomes unusable.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to j r says:


        I agree that there is a balance but perpetual disruption leans towards too much balance. You are right that too much stability equals stagnation and that is not good but a life of a roller-coaster is not great either.

        I am not completely anti-Uber or Sidecar. I do use the services. I am against how unblinking the founders seem to be against moral questions on stuff like surge pricing and price gouging. I know economists love surge pricing because economists hate it when “money is left on the table” but there are valid moral and ethical arguments against price surging.

        Is there good in disruption and innovation? Yes. Is there good in having people with stable lives? Also yes. What is wrong with the idea of economy with morality and ethics? Not everything has to be at maximum innovation and maximum efficiency if efficiency means that people will suffer.

        I would say we are at the part of the industrial revolution where the jobs have been lost but new jobs have not emerged. It took 40-50 years before the initial lost jobs were replaced by higher paying jobs. There was a lost generation and might be another one this time around.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to j r says:

        @newdealer The thing about price gouging laws is that they don’t actually alleviate the underlying problem: scarcity. Having laws against it or not, there are winners and losers. It’s not clear to me that (for instance) having hotel rooms cheap enough during a hurricane evacuation so that you have people renting out separate rooms for the kids is any more ethical than higher prices that encourage people to conserve (rent fewer rooms). The best argument against surge pricing for tolls, for example, is as much utilitarian as moral (I get frustrated with economists who fail to appreciate the actual value in predictable pricing). You seem to be assuming the moral and ethical high ground when the argument is, in my opinion, quite shaky.

        With regard to the industrial revolution, what would you have us have done? I assume not “cancel it.” Slow it down? Arguably, the windfall provided to us is what lead to the wealth that provided the job recovery. Slow down the industrial revolution, slow down the economy, slow down the jobs that later do appear.

        Now, going forward we have some common ground insofar as neither of us is certain that we’re not looking at a post-employment or reduced-employment future. I’d rather address that through alternate means rather than protecting jobs that, by virtue of the fact that they have to be protected, aren’t actually necessary.Report

      • greginak in reply to j r says:

        Two points: Most of the people who profit from “disruption” or “creative destruction” are those either profiting from it or largely immune to the negative consequences. They then call the people suffering or at risk, ignorant for not seeing all the good parts.

        Second, of course we will have some degree of chaos and disruptive change. That is a given i think. The question is what sort of social system do we have to provide a safety net for the biggest losers and how do we offer options for them to get themselves back up. Also how much do we favor/ help change without concern for those who don’t benefit.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to j r says:

        I think “creative destruction is good, but we need to mitigate the effects through more and better social welfare programs because rewards and costs are so unevenly and amorally distributed” is a quite sensible argument.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to j r says:


        I am not nor have I ever been a utilitarian. Jeremy Bentham might have been liberal in some aspects for his times but some to many of the conclusions he reached in the name of Utilitarianism strike me as a being sadistic and almost certainly unethical and immoral. The idea between Utilitarianism sounds nice in theory but like many platonic ideal philosophies becomes quite horrible and unbearable in practice. Just like Communism did.

        The issue with Air B n B is not that it exists but that it is create a whole new perverse set of incentives for landlords to take units out long-term housing stock and turn them into Air B n B units.

        From what I can tell, there is no good ecnonomic solution to promote stability among people. Economists decry the 30 year fixed mortgage and think that home ownership should not be encouraged. Yet they also decry rent control and any other policy that favors stability in the lives of the ordinary citizen. I often see that those with the greatest amount of wealth and security are the people who think that the economy needs more uncertainty and chaos and they do this with a know-it-all glib kind of arrogance.

        “Now, going forward we have some common ground insofar as neither of us is certain that we’re not looking at a post-employment or reduced-employment future. I’d rather address that through alternate means rather than protecting jobs that, by virtue of the fact that they have to be protected, aren’t actually necessary.”

        What are those means beyond an advanced welfare state? It seems to many that many Republicans mythologize the idea of the rugged individual and self-sufficient yeoman and incorrectly so. “No man is an island” as the cliched line of poetry goes. There was never a time when most people were self-sufficient yeoman farmers but a good deal of GOP economic policy seems aimed at cutting welfare benefits and other safety net features. This long seems to be a divide between the left and the right. In the Rise of Victorian Values: Decency and Dissent in Britain, there were a lot of conservative politicians who moralized against the idle poor and unemployed and spun fantasies about how they lived like kings off of charity and beggars earnings. These stories were very much like what stories about people buying steaks and lobster tail with food stamps.

        I fear we are headed to an age with radically reduced employment, the potential spector of a lost generation for reasons not of their own fault and making, and with radically reduced social safety nets.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to j r says:


        The issue with Air B n B is not that it exists but that it is create a whole new perverse set of incentives for landlords to take units out long-term housing stock and turn them into Air B n B units.

        That’s not a problem with AirBnB. That’s a problem with scarcity. AirBnB alleviates one scarcity (affordable hotels) at the expense of another (apartments). I don’t see why the conversion of apartments to hotels is a moral issue. Preventing people from doing that doesn’t actually address the underlying problem: too few units overall.

        What are those means beyond an advanced welfare state?

        I was referring to an advanced welfare state. If we are indeed looking at a post-employment or reduced-employment future, I’ll be pretty supportive of more policies to help those who can’t find self-sustaining work.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to j r says:

        The thing about price gouging laws is that they don’t actually alleviate the underlying problem: scarcity.

        Worse than that, they aggravate the underlying problem. As you point out, low prices encourage overuse and high prices encourage conservation, but that’s only part of the problem. High prices increase the quantity supplied, and this doesn’t happen when prices are constrained by price controls. The price of hotel rooms is less elastic, but with stuff like supplies after a natural disaster, these can be shipped in from outside, and will if the price is high enough to make it worthwhile. With price controls, not so much.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to j r says:

        The left tends to be more pro-change when it comes to social issues and expanding freedom and civil rights for formally marginalized groups but are anti-change when it comes to globalization increasing opportunities for people who don’t have the privilege of living in a rich country.

        Fixed that for you. Let’s be clear here: When the left fights against globalization and outsourcing, they’re fighting for the privilege of first world workers to be insulated from third-world competition, and fighting against changes that have reduced global inequality by creating new economic opportunities for the truly underprivileged.Report

  3. NewDealer says:


    @greginak brings up good points. Our elites have managed to get into a position where they rewarded for success and rewarded for failure. The rewards for failure come under the guise of steering a company through “dark times”.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

      That’s certainly objectionable, but the latter (that they are rewarded for failure) is a matter of politics and not economics. Rewarding people for non-productive and counterproductive behavior is something a lot of economists complain a great deal about. Politicians, too, though the politicians are largely responsible for it. As are we, the voting public, of course.Report

  4. zic says:

    Hey, I just want to say thanks, all, for having me here. There are few places I could have told that tale on the internet.

    That’s saying something about what you’ve created here. You should all be proud. I know I am proud to be a small part.Report

  5. Miss Mary says:

    Leaguefest!!!! Don’t change the name.

    This was my favorite symposium. <3

    Now if you would just fix it to where I get an email each time there is a new post, I'd be one happy girl. 🙂Report