False consciousness / alienation / Transparency 2.0

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AOT
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby AOT » Sat Nov 22, 2014 10:29 am

Businesslady wrote:
alloverthat wrote:Arguing about whether or not 0L's are all strivers/victims of false consciousness seems kind of beside the point, other than the fact that that assumption has been used as an excuse for massive amounts of condescension ITT. Even interesting, non-soul sucking jobs are part of the system. The people who are writing all this theory are selling their ideas as well as their time, which I would argue is worse. The difference between living a meaningful life and an empty one is about way more than professional choices. There are an infinite number of ways you can create meaning in your day to day life to greater and lesser degrees.

I realise that the OP didn't assume either of these things, but it seemed to be the way the conversation was headed..


I know that I'm working with fairly unfalsifiable ideas. Because it's shorthand. That's how doctrine works.

For clarity, here are some of my assumptions:

1) Law students and lawyers are generally risk-averse
2) The application of doctrine in a manner deferential to "precedent" tends to favor existing power structures
3) A legal education model within an adversarial legal system often functions in terms of binary oppositions
4) Vested interests have none of the incentives of idealized scientists to properly weight evidence to reach consensus
5) Cognitive dissonance exists
6) We're working with objective manifestations of beliefs, not reading minds
7) Look at this fucking place and tell me it's not a bunch of strivers projecting mediocrity and rationalizing risk aversion with really cynical and self-defeating ideas about the entire world and just straight up ball-moving concern trolling while boomers light their cigars with burning wads of cash and laugh. Well, not actually, because I think gross systemic incompetence, in the form of a combination of social disincentives to empathy and mass inattention, is probably more at issue. In other words, false consciousness and alienation.


Edit: [Your reply] isn't directly relevant to the post you quoted, but thanks anyway. I wasn't trying to reason that lawyers/law students are or aren't all the things you say they are. I also wasn't concerned with the fact that you are basing your posts on unfalsifiable assumptions. I was questioning the single assumption that the best way to live a meaningful life is to work a meaningful job. Like I said, I think there are many ways to create meaning, and not everyone is in a position to do work which they enjoy or creates real value. Admittedly this point probably doesn't hold for most people who are considering legal careers. However it does allow for the possibility that even corporate lawyers are creating meaning in some areas of their lives outside of their jobs.

Anyway, I agree with lots of the things you've said here and appreciate you taking the time to post reading for people who are interested. I just wish your attitude was less patronising and combative, so that people other than posters you already know and/or agree with could be engaged in some sort of productive discussion.
Last edited by AOT on Sat Nov 22, 2014 5:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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utahraptor
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby utahraptor » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:20 am

EricHosmer wrote:
hill1334 wrote:Being miserable is not necessarily antithetical to finding significance. Obviously, it would be best not to be miserable, but I think, if I was forced to choose, I would prefer misery and significance over less misery and aimlessness.


I think that's where the OP's various posts come in and fill out what the allegory doesn't: It is possible for people to find significance in the social benefit they bring from being a a janitor (or whatever non-prestigious job) and their everyday lives. These things are just as necessary and, because they are attainable by basically everyone, lack the self-insufficiency that a preexisting significance may have. The striving for prestige and wealth is a product of the capitalistic system, and isn't likely to make someone happy.


This is also where it falls apart though. If folks actually followed through with this and became janitors-cum-artists there would be meaning to the discussion, but again, simply noting the nature of capitalism doesn't get you anywhere to a better life.

You could say the awareness itself is an end (and y'all tried that for a while) but that's pretty blatantly ignoring the actual Camusian point here—if the things that suck about [x] (where x is capitalism, existence, or some other immutable quality) there's no salvation. Awareness of the absurd doesn't let you escape the absurd. Yes, you get absurd freedom, but you're still stuck in the same world.

That's the actual Sisyphusian point—Sisyphus is aware and we can imagine him happy, but we need to accept that he's always going to be pushing the rock, aware or unaware. Camus thought that was the closest thing we got to an escape hatch. Nietzsche wasn't far off but was less bleak. Schopenhauer thought you should become a monk. But, most of the Marxist thought ITT doesn't push people to those actions.

The lack of an impetus to action or a real means to a better life is also why I think this thread is hella misguided. (and why the faux-intellectual pompousness is grating) You're not going to opt-out of class struggle. Even if someone doesn't go to law school, they're still playing the same game. No amount of mindfulness is every going to take you out of it. Alternatively, if mindfulness is actually the goal, the people who claim that law is their absurd choice have to be recognized as making a valid point. Until you give a criterion separating one set of absurd jobs from another set of absurd jobs, you're just saying "but Marx" and not actually moving the ball forward.

in more classical TLS styling: ITT people tell me what the OP leads them to do, or I laugh at them for being faux-intellectual betas

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:20 pm

Just off the top of my head:

Bid straight secondary markets and lifestyle firms? Do as much as you can while a student to influence the institution to encourage risk appetite? Try and disabuse everyone around you of the pernicious defeatism that comes from doing forecasting without working backwards from utopian distribution? Try not to internalize the disingenuous moral hazard pessimism that beta judges advance as "logic" when it's really just risk aversion? Remember that just because you learn how lawyers think doesn't mean you have to think like a lawyer?

This is different for everyone; it's not a thread to tell people how to live. I'm probably going to be reposting this a lot:

Businesslady wrote:"Hurr durr I don't see a grand design for society with prescriptions for everyone in critique I haven't actually read but like where are your SOLUTIONS. Checkmate libs" isn't really a constructive response to "if you're going to spend 3 years reading cases and trying to extract the reasoning behind them, you may as well read theory and save yourself the cognitive dissonance of wondering whether you should actually be internalizing capital's bullshit lawyerly sophism as if it were actually anything but specious nonsense you get points for acknowledging exists; here's some."

I think on a macro level just do socialism / UBI+UHC, but I'm not really interested in handing out individual life plans.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby J3987 » Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:38 pm

Let's take a step back and look a bit more closely at alienation and the psychological impact it has. It has been said or implied multiple times that all "white collar" (for lack of a better term) modes of working are equally alienating. People have been treating the question as if it is a simple binary (either a job is alienating or not alienating) when really it is a matter of degree imo.

I am not a Marxist nor a socialist. But the Marxist concept of alienation applies more closely to a law firm associate working within the steep pyramid of a high-leverage partnership business model based on serving large clients and charging on an hourly basis than to other jobs. There are also jobs that are more alienating than being a biglaw associate. Here are a couple off the top of my head that I think would be less alienating: equity research (despite boring plug and chug aspects the work product is more self-directed, hours more predictable so that the worker has clearer boundaries insulating personal life, variable comp component means that he can get paid more based on quality of work), Management consultant (In many ways acts as more of a functionary capitalist for hire which outweighs the travel burden and lack of control of where they will work), etc.

Working at a law firm may be more desirable for other reasons based on personal pref, I'm only talking abt alienation. I'm not convinced that being a janitor would be less alienating than the rest of these.

Here are some aspects of being a lawyer that are not alienating -- high wages, ability to specialize in practice group and with particular clients, some control in the case-staffing process.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:47 pm

@utahraptor:

Also, over the course of this thread, I have cited to Arendt, Plato, Socrates, Adorno, Debord, Althusser, Joyce, Keynes, Pikkety, and yes, Camus. Plus a bunch of others. If after spending pages on pages here, you want to roll around in your learned helplessness like a pig in shit, go for it, but I'm going to consider you a data point for it.

Your first paragraph: pissy conclusory defeatism
Second and third: pissy nitpicking over an interpretation of Camus
Fourth: pissy combative reductive mischaracterizations and conclusory defeatism ignoring substance of thread.

You're kind of being a dickbag.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:49 pm

@J I think sell-side work is alienating in a social (not necessarily personal) sense because of Marxist/capital concentration reasons but the actual process of evaluating investments is an activity that dates back millennia.

e: but yes, there is a question of degree (as well as quality) of alienation

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:56 pm

Businesslady wrote:Bid straight secondary markets and lifestyle firms?

This is going to sound nitpicky, but is there anything about these that would really escape the system that's been identified as the problem?

I'm curious too how public sector work fits - not that I think it's exempt from these concerns, just that much of the conversation about capitalism seems to address firm work most directly.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:03 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Businesslady wrote:Bid straight secondary markets and lifestyle firms?

This is going to sound nitpicky, but is there anything about these that would really escape the system that's been identified as the problem?

I'm curious too how public sector work fits - not that I think it's exempt from these concerns, just that much of the conversation about capitalism seems to address firm work most directly.

I have no idea, I was just tossing them off. My personal answer is fuck jobs but apparently that's not good enough. The prompt was for something actionable by betas, I thought. Public sector is still probably a question of boomers-as-rentiers but the administrative state is a whole other animal because it's not really as clear-cut of a labor-as-commodity question as market-paying firm work.

e: Well, maybe it is? There are, like, "levels," right?
e2: tl;dr I feel like I kind of get how MFH is fucked in the head but I can't even begin to comment on D.C.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby J3987 » Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:14 pm

Businesslady wrote:@J I think sell-side work is alienating in a social (not necessarily personal) sense because of Marxist/capital concentration reasons but the actual process of evaluating investments is an activity that dates back millennia.

e: but yes, there is a question of degree (as well as quality) of alienation


That is fair in that there are social/risk-averse conformist pressures that make the sell-side an echo-chamber and in practice greatly limit the creativity of the process and quality of the work product. Independent equity research might be marginally better.

Well then maybe it's worth thinking about what aspects of modern labor relations in a knowledge economy b/w employee/employer are alienating and how to mitigate them. This seems like a necessary precursor to any "collective action" on the part of labor as well.

e: your response to Smaug actually starts to deal w that question.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:22 pm

As far as the law school to law firm pipeline goes, maybe the perception of "this associate costs $400/hr or whatever because law review" could be attacked by an ABA/LSAC/whoever makes up these rules policy that schools can give out enormous scholarships in exchange for waiving OCI? I know there would be all sorts of gamesmanship and posturing associated with that; I'm just making shit up FTR. But decoupling academic excellence from the vocational prestige shell game seems in order somehow.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 6:09 pm

I mean, speaking practically, a lot of these are institutional questions, and that's why I get pissed off at the "biglaw + clerkships" meme here, because it puts schools in the position of catering to what applicants think they want without ever having spent a day in law school.

Putting jobs numbers up is definitely a good move from the scamblog perspective, and transparency in that regard is important in the sense that the overwhelming majority of schools are vocational programs, and aren't ready to buy into my socialist utopian vision (PAYE should be extended to "don't pay for education, food, housing, or health"). But a lot of the academic aspects of schools are already transparent, and never discussed here. The disjoint between the name of this website and its content is just depressing.

Anyway the most interesting loci to me in terms of the "crisis in legal education" (subcrisis in capitalism / democracy) from the perspective of this site and from my limited reading to date are:

UCI (this is Chemerinsky straight up building an institution in real time with a bunch of money in response to what he thinks the market/world wants/needs while everyone screams SCAAAAM and misses the causality factor on talent/clerkships - it's seriously a real-time example of how expectations shape reality, and I'm curious how they'll deal with the debt loads on the back end. From the perspective of SCAAAAM I can't stress enough that I think the tax bomb is the bastard here, not creating an academic powerhouse in Orange County that would in a better reality put someone down 15% of discretionary over poverty for 20 years for 3 years in it. The scam is capitalism and intralumpenproletariat resentment. I still think if someone wants to clerk and they're actually excellent at thinking they should maybe feel pretty OK about getting in this pipeline at a discount because stats and "rankings" fail here for fairly obvious reasons. "Institutions" are really just faculty in buildings and what you interface with as applicants with is the administration, which is not the locus of power. This is a faculty that left elite schools for OC and one dude's ideas about an institution. I don't know why neoliberals are so willing to freak out over the idea of vision-as-value from Elon Musk or Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos but when it comes to law schools, totally balk. Oh right, because lawyers. Anyway, schools are collections of people. This one's in a strip mall of a city with good weather. Get money from it maybe? I have no idea)

Northwestern (you go for free if you get in ED, lots of people have worked so they know it's real, the dean seems like a badass who writes really interesting papers in collaboration with cutting-edge social scientists and young researchers, the only *aggressively* futurist-branded T14 still working out its identity in plain sight, but still places like crazy into biglaw and it's not clear whether admissions or anyone else knows just how subversive the school could be if it treated professionalism as camouflage. Is splitter-friendliness a proxy for risk appetite in admissions? It's not a very good one, but people certainly read enough into these things all day. They need to figure out how to square the ED 150k with the JD/MBA. The rational conclusion of ED 150k is a name-your-price ED, by the way; NU is maybe the only school that I think has the nuts/unapologetic market-based approach to pull that off. I guess you bid on everything else once you get there anyway)

WUSTL (a private institution with a fuckton of money and a "well-ranked" UG going into a potentially short-term Koch Bros America riding the Syverud vision of giving the house away so people don't start trying on chains from day 1, definitely interesting and engaged with this aggregation of applicants to its probable benefit. I would like to look more into this but I feel like if anyone wins on "fuck jobs" outside of HYSMI - and NU in my futurist dream world - it's WUSTL)

YS (only need-based aid and beasts of loan repayment programs as a natural price discrimination tool after the fact instead of through "merit" aid because they're explicitly selecting combatants for the agon - I only think policy makes sense working backward from utopia and not piecemeal, so I wonder if elite legal education only makes sense based on a hypo stripping money in large part from the discussion - read: comparing to YS loan repayment, sort of.)

Penn (It seems fine. It's just there. Wharton is boring to me. It doesn't seem like it would be as entertaining to bang against the walls at Penn as at somewhere like YS, NU, UCI, or WUSTL. Seems like it's just casually cruising up to CCN-"tier" by placing a shit ton of students in biglaw and it's Ivy so there's no NU identity crisis or anything but I guess you can probably do what you want. I don't get the sense you really get to do the whole liminal freakout thing but maybe talking Pikkety with the JD/MBAs in your Torts class would be entertaining. Here's a paper from the dean paying lip service to adapting - https://www.law.upenn.edu/cf/faculty/mf ... 010%29.pdf - it's cool and all but like, you know, it doesn't have the urgency or the sense of radicalism implicit or explicit in the mission statements of the rest of the schools listed above. It's generic. Plus, it isn't really about the future and it doesn't acknowledge crisis in any shape or form. From another, more recent paper:
Image
I mean, just like, whatever. Have fun feeling safe.)

H (I just think Larry Lessig is cool, this school is too big to be that interesting to me, but I like thinking about *the idea of Harvard* and I think that Esquire article is a cool juxtaposition. There are enough of you H motherfuckers here that you can talk about it yourselves. I wish KB would just straight up dish)

NYU (the "self-selection into public interest" meme and the value proposition of going to school in lower Manhattan, but also too big to be interesting to me. I don't really see anything crisis-like but I don't care enough to look into it.)

Michigan (state school going into neofeudal times, seems the least compatible with USNWR after S and doesn't need to give a fuck in some ways, admissions dean is a JD who straight up just posts her philosophies, people here kind of love the vibe and sometimes it seems like pigs going to the slaughter but other times it seems like people choosing based on life itself instead of "jobs" so that's cool; I don't know anything about the institution or its character but seems elite or whatever. The dean is a weeaboo judging from his CV so maybe he is interested in the Kaminska Lost Decade economic singularity thesis we talked about in the off-ts once)

UCLA (always a shitshow culturally, also too big and GPA-focused for me to care that much in light of the splitters I talk to on this website, but the admissions dean seems like a pretty blunt dude when it comes to discussing scholarships for whatever that's worth. Just comically literal in interviews about negotiations. I love it)

Anyway, academic institutions are made of people, administrators take orders from faculty in theory I think, faculty writes its philosophy down and publishes it in readily available form online, and "biglaw + clerkships" is a self-defeating starting point. Just because it's historically the most outrageous part of the "law school scam" doesn't make it the cardinal metric. I really think it's hard to win at life if that's the extent of someone's research on one of the most substantial investments he/she'll ever make. You can't just run numbers. Real analysts ask the management long-term vision questions on calls. Real lawyers read things.

Tl;dr Rationalizing oversimplified conclusions arrived at with basic math and no real critical thinking is at the heart of why law sucks.

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utahraptor
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby utahraptor » Sat Nov 22, 2014 6:28 pm

Bid straight secondary markets and lifestyle firms?
Not a real option for most people/not a real thing.
Do as much as you can while a student to influence the institution to encourage risk appetite?
I don't know what this means, but I doubt a student can "influence the institution" in any meaningful way, so that's probably OK.
Try and disabuse everyone around you of the pernicious defeatism that comes from doing forecasting without working backwards from utopian distribution?
pompousness without any substance
Try not to internalize the disingenuous moral hazard pessimism that beta judges advance as "logic" when it's really just risk aversion?
projection of this on people you've never met/no idea what you're saying with "beta judges"
Remember that just because you learn how lawyers think doesn't mean you have to think like a lawyer?
people don't really learn how lawyers think and I don't think people are "thinking like a lawyer" in any real sense when you're talking about the decision to attend law school

Businesslady wrote:"Hurr durr I don't see a grand design for society with prescriptions for everyone in critique I haven't actually read but like where are your SOLUTIONS. Checkmate libs" isn't really a constructive response to "if you're going to spend 3 years reading cases and trying to extract the reasoning behind them, you may as well read theory and save yourself the cognitive dissonance of wondering whether you should actually be internalizing capital's bullshit lawyerly sophism as if it were actually anything but specious nonsense you get points for acknowledging exists; here's some."

I think on a macro level just do socialism / UBI+UHC, but I'm not really interested in handing out individual life plans.

Cool, but what does "doing socialism" do for a person here. I agree that UBI should be a thing. Doesn't mean shit to an individual, and if there's nothing that can be individualized about this, you're probably not saying much. Yes, capitalism has some shitty elements. Got it. Unless you're actually advocating for heads on pikes, that's what we've got, though.

Businesslady wrote:@utahraptor:

Also, over the course of this thread, I have cited to Arendt, Plato, Socrates, Adorno, Debord, Althusser, Joyce, Keynes, Pikkety, and yes, Camus. Plus a bunch of others. If after spending pages on pages here, you want to roll around in your learned helplessness like a pig in shit, go for it, but I'm going to consider you a data point for it.

Your first paragraph: pissy conclusory defeatism
Second and third: pissy nitpicking over an interpretation of Camus
Fourth: pissy combative reductive mischaracterizations and conclusory defeatism ignoring substance of thread.

You're kind of being a dickbag.


Yeah and half of the things you've posted have had little connection or thought behind them, or, alternatively, have been part of the same general schema.

The Schopenhauer/Nietzsche/Camus strand is a pretty great response to that shit, both from a historical standpoint (with the divide between Schopenhauer and Hegel being the salient point) and from a direct "oh hey, these are people who have spoken directly to the absurdity of existence, had a very pessimistic worldview, and still had something to say about it.

I'm being a "dickbag" in that I'm directly saying that (1) you're dead wrong about one of the (admittedly many) things you're talking about, but more importantly (2) pointing out that there's some actual SCHOLARSHIP on this shit that people have been pointing to off and on that you dismiss with "oh, you're being a dick" or "oh, you're nitpicking." Again, my contention isn't "oh, you're kinda off the mark" it's closer to "lol, have you actually read what you're talking about, because you're flatly wrong."

Finally, it's not defeatist to ask "what's the point?" It's an earnest question, not just a "lol, libs have no answers" rejoinder. The absurdists would say it's OK to lean into the suck. Why are they wrong?

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 6:29 pm

Ludo! wrote:And the crazy thing is (as if not all of this shit is crazy) right next to these abandoned skyscrapers are beautiful brand new buildings. We drove by this huge slick looking AT&T tower. Right across the street from the AT&T building is a fancy looking public transit station. We thought of how many people must work in that building and take that train in to work. The walk across the street must be absolutely terrifying. If I worked there I would worry every day that I would get stabbed or robbed in that two minute walk from the station to the fancy building.

Which sort of made us think – who are these people? Who are the people in Detroit that have money? Why are they there? Why would you stay? I totally get why the poor and middle class that live there are stuck there. But why are rich people there? Everybody else is fleeing this dying city (the population has dropped 60% since it’s peak in 1950. That’s part of why it’s so eerie) so why would rich people still stay? My theory is that it’s because being rich is so great that it doesn’t matter that much where you live. Better to be rich in Detroit than be a poor anywhere else. My wife’s theory is more radical, and much more interesting. She thinks there’s a certain type of person that probably likes seeing the misery around them. They probably drive by the slums in limousines eating Grey Poupon and saying ‘look what the poors have done to themselves.’ We drove by incredible mansions up in the suburbs and it was sickening. Like a modern day urban plantation system.

Back at our ritzy wedding, stuffing our faces with stinky cheeses and drinking wine, we told some people about what we saw in Detroit. “Is it as bad as people say?” one older woman asked us. “It’s worse,” we said. And she kind of shrugged and went back to her wine. And who could blame her. What is she supposed to do about it? Detroit is a shithole and the people are doomed and that’s a drag but oh is the DJ playing the Cupid Shuffle? Is this raspberry filling in the cake? Delicious. I don’t know what to do about it either.

The one thing I kept thinking – not so much when I was looking at the burned up and boarded up buildings of the city but more when I was looking at the nice houses in the suburbs – was why do people think this is OK? How can people think there’s no problem with some people having so much and other people having so little. I know this is some commie shitlib talk, but Jesus fucking Christ. I kept thinking back to those two little kids walking around the neighborhood near the Packard Plant. What kind of society is this that those kids have to walk to school every day past that kind of devastation. And some other kids in some other neighborhood like Grosse Pointe or some shit will never want for anything in their entire lives because they were lucky enough to pop out of the right vagina. And not only do the Packard Plant kids not get the same life growing up, but they don’t even have the chances or opportunities or hope to get anywhere close to the lives of the Grosse Pointe kids. There are more obstacles in their path to even making it to the middle class than there are abandoned homes on their street.

I just don’t get why people think that’s OK. How could people be fine with that kind of inequality. I don’t know what to do about it, but fuck, at least care. Care that the rich keep getting richer and the poor get poorer and even just hoping to wind up in the middle seems impossible these days. Fuck man.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 6:33 pm

You're not wrong, Smaug, you're just an asshole.



LYLAS

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby twenty » Sat Nov 22, 2014 6:50 pm

PAYE


consequently, embrace/make your own socialist paradise where, for the rest of your life, you stay in school at least part time taking out Cost of Attendance loans, you never owe anything because your loan will always be deferred while you're in school, and when you die your loans get discharged so as to avoid burdening your spawn with tens of millions of dollars of student loans.

basically becomes where someone gives you 28k/year tax free to take four classes a year for the rest of your life

the ultimate "fuck capitalism" is living your life as a project I would think.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:15 pm

twenty wrote:
PAYE


consequently, embrace/make your own socialist paradise where, for the rest of your life, you stay in school at least part time taking out Cost of Attendance loans, you never owe anything because your loan will always be deferred while you're in school, and when you die your loans get discharged so as to avoid burdening your spawn with tens of millions of dollars of student loans.

basically becomes where someone gives you 28k/year tax free to take four classes a year for the rest of your life

the ultimate "fuck capitalism" is living your life as a project I would think.

Damn, this is balls-out. I'm cracking up at the evolution of theory into practice here. But doing productive research as a 30th-year grad student is probably easily worth 28k/year to society, so as comically fraudulent as this must seem to some on paper, it is easy to imagine situations in which this amounts to the public underpaying a lifetime academic. This is actually almost Hayek in how distributed-calculation-of-preference it is.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby J3987 » Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:30 pm

Smaug, imagine that institutional risk-aversion is a major problem in our society standing in the way of innovation and progress. I think a lot of reasonable people who have thought about it would agree that this is the case.

What happens if more lawyers and law students become aware of this? Hmmm. Well aren't lawyers the group that shapes, or modifies, the legal doctrine and precedent that calcifies the superstructure of incentives that corporations and institutions respond to over years and decades? Wouldn't awareness help lead them, as they become judges, influential attorneys, and legal scholars, to prune some of the awful, counterproductive ideas that currently prevail in our legal system and to advocate for sensible change?

Look at patent trolling, where leeches buy absurd patents and threaten companies trying to innovate with burdensome and ultimately fraudulent law suits for rent? Maybe lawyers should more proactively think about reforming our patent system, discouraging this kind of activity, creating a stronger international legal framework to adjudicate patent disputes, etc etc. Maybe that would be a good thing. Or maybe look at tort law. Or the DOJ and the way it chooses to use its scarce resources. Consumer Protection. Corporate Governance. Tax Reform. Banking. These are also important things.

You're being a bit of a pedant here.

edit:
To succeed in the innovation era, says Daron Acemoglu, a prominent M.I.T. economist, we will need, above all, to build a new set of institutions, something like the societal equivalent of those office parks in Sunnyvale, that help us stay flexible in the midst of turbulent lives. We’ll need modern insurance and financial products that encourage us to pursue entrepreneurial ideas or the education needed for a career change. And we’ll need incentives that encourage us to take these risks; we won’t take them if we fear paying the full cost of failure. Acemoglu says we will need a far stronger safety net, because a society that encourages risk will intrinsically be wealthier over all.

History is filled with examples of societal innovation, like the United States Constitution and the eight-hour workday, that have made many people better off. These beneficial changes tend to come, Acemoglu told me, when large swaths of the population rally together to demand them.


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/16/magazine/welcome-to-the-failure-age.html?_r=0
Last edited by J3987 on Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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twenty
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby twenty » Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:35 pm

Only if you're operating from the assumption that a student is contributing in some way to academia beyond filling a seat in a classroom. I guess the fact that you're paying tuition is a benefit, but considering the opportunities one can take in the name of school it's probably one of those things that directly rewards a particularly imaginative individual to be involved in as little (academic) drudgery as possible

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Businesslady
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:47 pm

Again, my contention isn't "oh, you're kinda off the mark" it's closer to "lol, have you actually read what you're talking about, because you're flatly wrong."

Finally, it's not defeatist to ask "what's the point?" It's an earnest question, not just a "lol, libs have no answers" rejoinder. The absurdists would say it's OK to lean into the suck. Why are they wrong?

I am really more inclined to point to context here. I am discussing a kind of vague and admittedly Gladwellian observation with variable degrees of care taken in my cites. I am here to talk about top law schools on a website called Top Law Schools where people talk about going to top law schools. Is that not praxis enough for the moment? I am kind of glad you actually wanted to be extra-combative about a relatively fine point because it does speak to a broader frustration I have experienced on this website and in reading policy discussions: conclusory piecemeal shortsighted perpetuation of learned helplessness / a collective action problem. The magnification of absurdism/existentialism is overrepresented on JDU and XO and every other website about the subject and it doesn't stop people from rushing into the mouth of the animal so I propose to stop and think for a minute and just say "maybe fuck jobs" and see where that goes. Can we roll like that for a minute?

utahraptor wrote:
Try and disabuse everyone around you of the pernicious defeatism that comes from doing forecasting without working backwards from utopian distribution?
pompousness without any substance

This one actually pisses me off because I cited to the Samuelson calculation/paper, Keynes, Smith vs Frase, and various other pieces that kind of point out the poor logic of losing sight of ideals. The substance is throughout the thread. It makes me mad how much better you should be than this. This is just lazy. Would you be satisfied if I said I read Camus reading Sisyphus like Harold Bloom reads Joyce reading Shakespeare, or are you too married to Hell as an axiom to agree to stay out of the weeds? You're "right" in the sense that you want to be and not really an asshole probably. I don't know if I can tone this down. I want to advocate rage, but a kind of principled and slow-burning rage against rentiers with the clarity of purpose of casual Marxist doctrine. Does that still strike you as useless? I'd think not.

I doubt we disagree on most things and we are probably too combative to be making our points properly. I just feel more comfortable making conclusory statements against the culture of law than I do entertaining conclusory statements against the idea of critique itself from the likes of you of all people.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby utahraptor » Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:52 pm

Smaug, imagine that institutional risk-aversion is a major problem in our society standing in the way of innovation and progress. I think a lot of reasonable people who have thought about it would agree that this is the case.

What happens if more lawyers and law students become aware of this?

ok i'm with you here
Hmmm. Well aren't lawyers the group that shapes, or modifies, the legal doctrine and precedent that calcifies the superstructure of incentives that corporations and institutions respond to over years and decades?
jesus christ no
Wouldn't awareness help lead them, as they become judges, influential attorneys, and legal scholars, to prune some of the awful, counterproductive ideas that currently prevail in our legal system and to advocate for sensible change?
again, fuck no.

How many people do you think have actual influence on things like these? Do you actually think you're in some kind of seat of power? I have no idea where you think that lawyers have actual influence on things like that. And, to the extent that we care as normal people, again, what are we going to do? We've got a great UBI thread. That's a good policy argument. If you'd like, you could make an actual heads-on-pikes thread. That would be a (poor) policy argument. But, this thread is just masturbatory snippets of vaguely coherent BS—an assemblage constructed so that you can go "yes, false consciousness, yes" but if you pull on a specific thread the whole thing becomes unraveled. Just like it did above.

Look at patent trolling, where leeches buy absurd patents and threaten companies trying to innovate with burdensome and ultimately fraudulent law suits for rent? Maybe lawyers should more proactively think about reforming our patent system, discouraging this kind of activity, creating a stronger international legal framework to adjudicate patent disputes, etc etc. Maybe that would be a good thing.


I guess, (1), do you think most lawyers actually are the ones who do those things (outside a small group called "the legislature")? (2) Are you suggesting that lawyers as individuals should stop doing that? I mean, people could only do things that are in line with their personal moral compass, but then you're going to have to argue for a sea-change where most lawyers act that way, and most lawyers agree on which things would be desirable in terms of efficiency/efficacy/the role of patents &c.

Or maybe look at tort law. Or the DOJ and the way it chooses to use its scarce resources. Consumer Protection. Corporate Governance. Tax Reform. Banking. These are also important things.
Yeah, they're important things. Things that are important enough for us to make laws about. Most lawyers aren't making laws. Most lawyers probably shouldn't be making laws. I can't tell if you're just a poli sci person who doesn't know that yet, or if you're imaging a bunch of Atlas lawyers literally changing the world with their scholarship.

You're being a bit of a pedant here.


Yeah, no. I'm pretty directly calling many of the arguments in this thread asinine. Your post was asinine. You can call it dickish to piss in the sandbox, but just disagreement doesn't entail pedantry, especially when that disagreement goes to the main thrust of what someone is saying.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby utahraptor » Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:02 pm

@BL, I'm just going to be direct because I don't really see the point in being prolix:

My point, as big or as small as you want to make it, is that leaning into the suck—making the absurd choice to do something despite acknowledging the shittiness of it, is something that goes to the core of the Schopenhauer/Nietzsche/Camus strand of philosophy. It's something that's been noted by people critiquing your point in this thread (e.g., the Tetris example) and is a coherent point, because, again, if things are intrinsically shitty you lack a criterion for explaining why THIS shitty thing is worse than THAT shitty thing.

If the point is just "maybe fuck jobs" great. Wonderful. Have fun fucking jobs. Most people can't be cavalier about that/see that as a real option. The best they can do is recognize that working intrinsically sucks. I don't disagree with any of that. But, if it intrinsically sucks, why not lean in? OR, alternatively:

in more classical TLS styling: ITT people tell me what the OP leads them to do, or I laugh at them for being faux-intellectual betas

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:09 pm

I definitely acknowledge that "fuck jobs," full stop, is maybe not the most productive avenue if someone wants to make a dent in case law (or many other areas of life).

Regarding your response to J, of course not many people are personally responsible for writing laws, or restatements or opinions for that matter. The world is made of people who interact with each other and share ideas. Some of them attach to institutions. Some of them read applications and make decisions on what the shape of the legal noosphere will look like. That is the logic of exploring elite theory and the utility of critique within this context. Is it wrong to speculate that a percentage of visitors to this site seriously consider things like clerking and "elite public interest" litigation and sometimes make major decisions based on not much more than percentages? I don't understand really why J's general point is so upsetting, or why diminishing SCHOLARSHIP virtually out of hand, for that matter, is appropriate in a thread that fully acknowledges the utility of the scamblog paradigm.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:09 pm

Businesslady wrote:UCI (this is Chemerinsky straight up building an institution in real time with a bunch of money in response to what he thinks the market/world wants/needs while everyone screams SCAAAAM and misses the causality factor on talent/clerkships - it's seriously a real-time example of how expectations shape reality, and I'm curious how they'll deal with the debt loads on the back end. From the perspective of SCAAAAM I can't stress enough that I think the tax bomb is the bastard here, not creating an academic powerhouse in Orange County that would in a better reality put someone down 15% of discretionary over poverty for 20 years for 3 years in it. The scam is capitalism and intralumpenproletariat resentment. I still think if someone wants to clerk and they're actually excellent at thinking they should maybe feel pretty OK about getting in this pipeline at a discount because stats and "rankings" fail here for fairly obvious reasons. "Institutions" are really just faculty in buildings and what you interface with as applicants with is the administration, which is not the locus of power. This is a faculty that left elite schools for OC and one dude's ideas about an institution. I don't know why neoliberals are so willing to freak out over the idea of vision-as-value from Elon Musk or Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos but when it comes to law schools, totally balk. Oh right, because lawyers. Anyway, schools are collections of people. This one's in a strip mall of a city with good weather. Get money from it maybe? I have no idea)

Northwestern (you go for free if you get in ED, lots of people have worked so they know it's real, the dean seems like a badass who writes really interesting papers in collaboration with cutting-edge social scientists and young researchers, the only *aggressively* futurist-branded T14 still working out its identity in plain sight, but still places like crazy into biglaw and it's not clear whether admissions or anyone else knows just how subversive the school could be if it treated professionalism as camouflage. Is splitter-friendliness a proxy for risk appetite in admissions? It's not a very good one, but people certainly read enough into these things all day. They need to figure out how to square the ED 150k with the JD/MBA. The rational conclusion of ED 150k is a name-your-price ED, by the way; NU is maybe the only school that I think has the nuts/unapologetic market-based approach to pull that off. I guess you bid on everything else once you get there anyway)

WUSTL (a private institution with a fuckton of money and a "well-ranked" UG going into a potentially short-term Koch Bros America riding the Syverud vision of giving the house away so people don't start trying on chains from day 1, definitely interesting and engaged with this aggregation of applicants to its probable benefit. I would like to look more into this but I feel like if anyone wins on "fuck jobs" outside of HYSMI - and NU in my futurist dream world - it's WUSTL)

YS (only need-based aid and beasts of loan repayment programs as a natural price discrimination tool after the fact instead of through "merit" aid because they're explicitly selecting combatants for the agon - I only think policy makes sense working backward from utopia and not piecemeal, so I wonder if elite legal education only makes sense based on a hypo stripping money in large part from the discussion - read: comparing to YS loan repayment, sort of.)

Penn (It seems fine. It's just there. Wharton is boring to me. It doesn't seem like it would be as entertaining to bang against the walls at Penn as at somewhere like YS, NU, UCI, or WUSTL. Seems like it's just casually cruising up to CCN-"tier" by placing a shit ton of students in biglaw and it's Ivy so there's no NU identity crisis or anything but I guess you can probably do what you want. I don't get the sense you really get to do the whole liminal freakout thing but maybe talking Pikkety with the JD/MBAs in your Torts class would be entertaining. Here's a paper from the dean paying lip service to adapting - https://www.law.upenn.edu/cf/faculty/mf ... 010%29.pdf - it's cool and all but like, you know, it doesn't have the urgency or the sense of radicalism implicit or explicit in the mission statements of the rest of the schools listed above. It's generic. Plus, it isn't really about the future and it doesn't acknowledge crisis in any shape or form. From another, more recent paper:
Image
I mean, just like, whatever. Have fun feeling safe.)

H (I just think Larry Lessig is cool, this school is too big to be that interesting to me, but I like thinking about *the idea of Harvard* and I think that Esquire article is a cool juxtaposition. There are enough of you H motherfuckers here that you can talk about it yourselves. I wish KB would just straight up dish)

NYU (the "self-selection into public interest" meme and the value proposition of going to school in lower Manhattan, but also too big to be interesting to me. I don't really see anything crisis-like but I don't care enough to look into it.)

Michigan (state school going into neofeudal times, seems the least compatible with USNWR after S and doesn't need to give a fuck in some ways, admissions dean is a JD who straight up just posts her philosophies, people here kind of love the vibe and sometimes it seems like pigs going to the slaughter but other times it seems like people choosing based on life itself instead of "jobs" so that's cool; I don't know anything about the institution or its character but seems elite or whatever. The dean is a weeaboo judging from his CV so maybe he is interested in the Kaminska Lost Decade economic singularity thesis we talked about in the off-ts once)

UCLA (always a shitshow culturally, also too big and GPA-focused for me to care that much in light of the splitters I talk to on this website, but the admissions dean seems like a pretty blunt dude when it comes to discussing scholarships for whatever that's worth. Just comically literal in interviews about negotiations. I love it)

Anyway, academic institutions are made of people, administrators take orders from faculty in theory I think, faculty writes its philosophy down and publishes it in readily available form online, and "biglaw + clerkships" is a self-defeating starting point. Just because it's historically the most outrageous part of the "law school scam" doesn't make it the cardinal metric. I really think it's hard to win at life if that's the extent of someone's research on one of the most substantial investments he/she'll ever make. You can't just run numbers. Real analysts ask the management long-term vision questions on calls. Real lawyers read things.

Tl;dr Rationalizing oversimplified conclusions arrived at with basic math and no real critical thinking is at the heart of why law sucks.

I'm confused by this, because it seems to be focusing on faculty and faculty philosophies when (1) law faculty engagement in research (and accordingly their legal philosophies) has almost no connection to what goes on in law school classes and 2) there's a reasonable argument to make that law, as an academic field, doesn't really have its own metholodogy or philosophies - it borrows fairly randomly from a lot of other fields without particular training in those fields (leaving aside individual faculty who have advanced degrees in other areas). I get that part of the point of this thread is that (1) doesn't have to be the case, depending on what a student chooses to do - but I don't think the issue is only students, I think it's also faculty. To the extent the above seems to exempt some law faculty from the system that's being critiqued, I don't think that works.

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Businesslady
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:14 pm

Smaug, did you read the Yves Smith link?

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Businesslady
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:23 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I'm confused by this, because it seems to be focusing on faculty and faculty philosophies when (1) law faculty engagement in research (and accordingly their legal philosophies) has almost no connection to what goes on in law school classes and 2) there's a reasonable argument to make that law, as an academic field, doesn't really have its own metholodogy or philosophies - it borrows fairly randomly from a lot of other fields without particular training in those fields (leaving aside individual faculty who have advanced degrees in other areas). I get that part of the point of this thread is that (1) doesn't have to be the case, depending on what a student chooses to do - but I don't think the issue is only students, I think it's also faculty. To the extent the above seems to exempt some law faculty from the system that's being critiqued, I don't think that works.

If nothing else you can take that braindump as evidence of the fact that I would like to see points like this discussed more here so I don't have to make blanket statements about things I don't know very much about. So much of what happens here is just about the interaction between applicants and admissions offices, and then OCI and the like. I meant to point out that, for people wondering what it is they're buying, "transparency" in terms of jobs is maybe a limited concept. It would be interesting to see more stuff like 529s or whatever. I don't mean to consciously "exclude" anyone, but it seems worth it to try to think in terms of people rather than amorphous entities, if that makes sense?

Those are just the institutions that kind of intrigue me in the way that their identities interact with the population this site represents.
Last edited by Businesslady on Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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