False consciousness / alienation / Transparency 2.0

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:24 pm

Businesslady wrote: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.

Got it.

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utahraptor
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby utahraptor » Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:30 pm

Businesslady wrote:Smaug, did you read the Yves Smith link?

I'm guessing there was a takeaway that I missed. All I really got from it (or the portion I thought was cogent) was that some forms of jobs (of which I'm assuming you think law is a good example) exist because people found ways to exploit others, not because of a need for the position or for a need for the service.

My issue with that is although there are horrible inefficiencies and horrible forms of management, I'm not sure you can really get rid of them while still having a functioning legal system. Every attempt to streamline actual law on the lit side (like through arbitration) hasn't really worked/made it a cleaner system. I don't understand transactional work and probably never will, so I'm not sure how applicable/inapplicable it is to that.

To the extent it relates to partners grinding out work from people below them, I get it and agree with the concern. I just also think it's a problem without a real solution.

Businesslady wrote: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.


I'm not diminishing SCHOLARSHIP out of hand—I'm just pointing out that very very few people here are scholars, and very very few scholars have any impact, especially in law. So again, unless you envision yourself quarterback of a team of future legal Atlases, there's not much of a point here.

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Businesslady
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:49 pm

1) The thrust of the Yves Smith link is that not all "bullshit jobs" are bullshit and legal work needs to get done. The problem is the scale of the activity and the misuse of the scribe class - think about who's hiring whom to do what, and why, rather than whether being a cube slave is just putting on an Eichmann suit and heading into the slaughterhouse office. Being a lawyer is not per se undignified, and it can be helpful to view these things at scale, in terms of industries growing beyond the point of their social utility. From that perspective I'm not sure why you'd really want to take a shit on false consciousness or alienation.

2) Who knows? I just wonder how much of a flame "you can do anything with a law degree from a top school" is if you have the ascetic ideals of a starving artist, a liberal arts degree, and nothing left to lose but your chains going in. Or, see cotiger on 40% out of Duke with no debt. I think we're back to talking about risk aversion and the failure of imagination or curiosity, or maybe just whether it would be more interesting to talk here about what faculty and journals are doing and what ideas they have in a way that isn't loaded down with the marketingspeak of admissions. (From a practical standpoint, I don't know if it really sets people up to go into schools fully understanding their contours, which seems like an overlooked concern of "transparency" in the context of a scam or otherwise.) I guess I don't want to diminish jobs and costs all that much in the near term if people want them, but I also think it's weird and perverse to reify them to the point of keeping engaged and smart posters like cotiger, J#, and who knows how many lurkers out of the agon with a monoculture of strivery grinding, let firms get away with treating associates like dogs because people did their calculations based on a salary figure, and create spreadsheet jockeys out of admissions offices. It just doesn't seem like a good story arc for the last refuge of the lib arts major in society to talk about "employment" as a solitary axiomatic virtue.

If you have ideas other than SCHOLARSHIP for how to talk about the human side of institutions where big decisions are made by faculties of various levels of perceptible risk aversion, I think it would be interesting. I'm going off of SCHOLARSHIP because that's where the philosophies of people who vote on things are available and I want to stress the admissions&administration/faculty disjoint a little bit here. People can pick up the phone too, whatever.

I'm going off on a few too many fronts, but young thread.

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Businesslady
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:16 pm

I don't know how I left Tamanaha out of the WUSTL discussion. Obviously relevant, not just for the Failing Law Schools thing, but also

Image
https://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/sc ... manaha.pdf

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Businesslady
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:32 pm

@J That MIT/risk article is great. Here is an excerpted Shiller interview. Love this guy but I enjoy Marxist talk too much to stop.

RS: Median household income in the U.S. is already falling. That is a dramatic sign.


CS: You consider the social balance to be in danger?

RS: It is imperative that we remain an inclusive society, where every one of us has opportunity and a sense of belonging. Differences in wealth are better tolerated under those circumstances. A dramatic example: Joseph Stalin believed that he could use the anger of the simple farmers against the kulaks, the wealthier farmers, to his advantage. But the simple farmers did not want to shoot the kulaks. Why? Some of them were their friends. Society has to remain mixed. Everyone has to be included.


CS: You want to use financial instruments to contribute to a “good society,” a better world. That sounds, diplomatically speaking, rather bold.

RS: Not at all. During the last two years, many innovations in the sector have served to support the “good society.” Social impact bonds in the U.K., for example. Let’s take the Peterborough Prison in northern London, which has extremely high rate of recidivism. The non-profit organization Social Finance reached an agreement with the government for a payment of £6 million if recidivism declines to a clearly defined level within a certain period of time. Social Finance then issued a bond. Using the capital raised, measures were taken with the goal of reducing recidivism. If the goal is met, the £6 million will be distributed to investors. That is a private solution to a public problem. There are numerous other examples.


CS: Traditional theories of economics assume a rational, utility-maximizing person. One who is not necessarily interested in “good society.”

RS: Decades ago, the economist Kenneth E. Boulding showed how far removed we are from homo oeconomicus. People are much more dependent upon each other than the pure utility function would indicate. Generosity also seems to be an inborn trait, as Ernst Fehr at the University of Zurich has shown. People are generous and kind to people who they perceive as such. We want a society that reflects the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Of course, people aren’t always good, but when generosity is fostered, they become better. Financial instruments can help with this, too.


CS: What is your own contribution to the “good society”?

RS: I have educated at least 3,000 finance students. I hope that they are doing their jobs well and responsibly. I have never preached “greed is good” like some colleagues. That existed even before Gordon Gecko, the prototypical representative of “Wall Street” in the film of the same name. I tell my students: “Follow your passion but be aware of your responsibilities in society.”


CS: You have been teaching at Yale University since the 80s. How have the students changed?

RS: I have the feeling that they have become more capitalistic. When I started, the students were radically anti-business, and held demonstrations. That has to some extent reemerged lately. When banks come on campus to recruit students, there are sometimes protests again.


CS: What advice do you give students?

I can only respond with a banality. They should be true to themselves and realize their dreams. I wrote books as a child – I enjoyed doing that. Daniel Kahneman, who won a Nobel Prize, recently stopped by and talked about how difficult it was for him to write a book. It is a hobby for me. When I watch television, I am bored. When I write, I am happy. That is my niche in this world.

https://www.thefinancialist.com/economi ... -still-is/

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Businesslady
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:45 pm

Also the general idea that consensus attitudes about the future shape reality is not really all that New Age (see e.g.: liquidity crises)

Here is Steve Randy Waldman on Yves Smith, covering issues like UBI, risk-spreading, and opacity
http://www.interfluidity.com/v2/4063.html

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utahraptor
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby utahraptor » Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:48 pm

Businesslady wrote: Who knows? I just wonder how much of a flame "you can do anything with a law degree from a top school" is if you have the ascetic ideals of a starving artist, a liberal arts degree, and nothing left to lose but your chains going in.

I think it's still pretty much flame. I know people who want to do the starving artist thing and can't. (Graduated students.) I guess it depends on what you mean, but pretty much everything legal is highly competitive unless it's absolutely awful. I don't think you're talking about becoming a solo practitioner here, or magically providing legal services with zero pay. There's room for lawyers to do more good things (on the criminal side) if there was more funding to pay for them. We just don't have that. Society doesn't value those people enough to expand the services.

Businesslady wrote: maybe just whether it would be more interesting to talk here about what faculty and journals are doing and what ideas they have in a way that isn't loaded down with the marketingspeak of admissions. (From a practical standpoint, I don't know if it really sets people up to go into schools fully understanding their contours, which seems like an overlooked concern of "transparency" in the context of a scam or otherwise.) ... It just doesn't seem like a good story arc for the last refuge of the lib arts major in society to talk about "employment" as a solitary axiomatic virtue.

I'm not sure that law is the last refuge of the liberal arts. It's a professional school. The decision to go to law school should be a pragmatic one. There's no real value-add to studying the law if you're not a lawyer. Law school doesn't give someone any real skills, a real knowledge of the law or much of anything else. It's part academic bloodsport and part credential conferring hazing ritual. Nothing more.

Businesslady wrote:If you have ideas other than SCHOLARSHIP for how to talk about the human side of institutions where big decisions are made by faculties of various levels of perceptible risk aversion, I think it would be interesting. I'm going off of SCHOLARSHIP because that's where the philosophies of people who vote on things are available and I want to stress the admissions&administration/faculty disjoint a little bit here. People can pick up the phone too, whatever.

I'm going off on a few too many fronts, but young thread.


I guess I also don't know what this is/would be. What "big decisions?" The decisions made by career services professionals at top schools? I don't think there's much to discuss there.

My basic premise is that you're going to work. You and I disagree as to whether jobs are intrinsically bad (I get you're saying law is worse, I think I want to say it's all the same) but if the statement is "biglaw is horrible" then, for most people who come to this website, the pragmatic takeaway is just "don't go to law school." I agree with that (I had a post somewhere but I can't find it) but I get that you probably disagree with that as well.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:48 pm

Businesslady wrote:2) Who knows? I just wonder how much of a flame "you can do anything with a law degree from a top school" is if you have the ascetic ideals of a starving artist, a liberal arts degree, and nothing left to lose but your chains going in. Or, see cotiger on 40% out of Duke with no debt. I think we're back to talking about risk aversion and the failure of imagination or curiosity, or maybe just whether it would be more interesting to talk here about what faculty and journals are doing and what ideas they have in a way that isn't loaded down with the marketingspeak of admissions. (From a practical standpoint, I don't know if it really sets people up to go into schools fully understanding their contours, which seems like an overlooked concern of "transparency" in the context of a scam or otherwise.) I guess I don't want to diminish jobs and costs all that much in the near term if people want them, but I also think it's weird and perverse to reify them to the point of keeping engaged and smart posters like cotiger, J#, and who knows how many lurkers out of the agon with a monoculture of strivery grinding, let firms get away with treating associates like dogs because people did their calculations based on a salary figure, and create spreadsheet jockeys out of admissions offices. It just doesn't seem like a good story arc for the last refuge of the lib arts major in society to talk about "employment" as a solitary axiomatic virtue.

But isn't the response to this not "get a law degree and do anything with it," but just "do anything"? Not in the risk averse sense where risk = debt/not getting a job, but in the sense that going to law school shapes you to occupy a particular position in the system that this thread seems set up to critique. (PhD programs have a similar program - there are a lot of people who describe them as cult-like, which is simplistic, but they do instill a very particular view of success/value.) I'm underread in theoretical stuff, but am a little suspicious of higher ed based on Bourdieu's writing about social capital/the role of education in replicating power structures.

I guess I'd disagree that law school is the last refuge of the liberal arts major in society - I don't think the liberal arts major should need law school, or grad school, at all. But maybe it's just being defeatist to prefer disengagement over engagement intended to change an institution.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby J3987 » Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:51 pm

I'm not diminishing SCHOLARSHIP out of hand—I'm just pointing out that very very few people here are scholars, and very very few scholars have any impact, especially in law. So again, unless you envision yourself quarterback of a team of future legal Atlases, there's not much of a point here.


Large-scale institutional change begins with ideas who's adoption is catalyzed by events. This is an important assumption. Broadcasting ideas and framing the conversations our society engages in is in large part the province of the academic elite. When it comes to this process of systemic change, they are critically important as a group. They do not directly create change, however. Events outside of their control and over which they have no influence prompt action. But the ideas that they bring into the public consciousness guide that action. Other contributors to the conversation are corporate elites, judges, politicians, etc.

Let's think about some events that have taken place recently that create a fertile backdrop for systemic change. Oh yeah, yesterday the President of the United States granted amnesty to 5 million people and flipped off the legislature on national tv. People have almost no confidence in the Executive Branch and even less in Congress, and the boundaries b/w the two are beginning to blur. The HC overhaul passed a 5-4 vote w a self-defeating, transparent rationalization to maintain court legitimacy. Polarization is growing, dividing the country into extreme camps but no one is happy. We are reeling from an extremely severe global financial crisis. The Euro is breaking. Japan is throwing a devaluation hail-mary. Decentralizing forces are breaking up corporations. Technology is revolutionizing once-stable industries. Uncertainty has never been higher. Emerging market growth spreads global wealth. Interconnectedness binds economies in complex ways. Oil is crashing. Entitled Boomers are giving way to optimistic millenials who embrace innovation.

This very well could be a crisis-moment where fundamental changes in social values can take place.

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utahraptor
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby utahraptor » Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:54 pm

Large-scale institutional change begins with ideas who's adoption is catalyzed by events. This is an important assumption. Broadcasting ideas and framing the conversations our society engages in is in large part the province of the academic elite. When it comes to this process of systemic change, they are critically important as a group.

This group is not to be found on this website, though.

They do not directly create change, however. Events outside of their control and over which they have no influence prompt action. But the ideas that they bring into the public consciousness guide that action. Other contributors to the conversation are corporate elites, judges, politicians, etc.

Yeah, again, we're not part of this discussion.

Let's think about some events that have taken place recently that create a fertile backdrop for systemic change. Oh yeah, yesterday the President of the United States granted amnesty to 5 million people and flipped off the legislature on national tv. People have almost no confidence in the Executive Branch and even less in Congress, and the boundaries b/w the two are beginning to blur. The HC overhaul passed a 5-4 vote w a self-defeating, transparent rationalization to maintain court legitimacy. Polarization is growing, dividing the country into extreme camps but no one is happy. We are reeling from an extremely severe global financial crisis. The Euro is breaking. Japan is throwing a devaluation hail-mary. Decentralizing forces are breaking up corporations. Technology is revolutionizing once-stable industries. Uncertainty has never been higher. Emerging market growth spreads global wealth. Interconnectedness binds economies in complex ways. Oil is crashing. Entitled Boomers are giving way to optimistic millenials who embrace innovation.

This very well could be a crisis-moment where fundamental changes in social values can take place.


I realize that this is going to be dismissed because it's coming from me, but just lol. THIS IS THE MOMENT, Y'ALL. SOMETHING IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN.

J#/BL—were either of you involved with OWS? Just wondering/would be interested in your take on it.

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Businesslady
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:57 pm

@Nony I haven't got to Marcuse or even that semiotext(e) book that's explicitly about schools and the art world yet so not 100% myself. I am romanticizing LS a lot but I think it has a unique kind of social if not revolutionary potential that is hampered by risk aversion.

Per J's post, I do believe that there is an ongoing crisis of American democracy and capitalism, and that it would be a waste of the law school infrastructure not to shift it to that front, or at least to recontextualize the legal education crisis in terms of the society in which it exists and maybe even to teach a generation to make use of the power of framing and storytelling in a way that HBS/GSB only pretend to. It's hard to do that when it bankrupts people going in, but some administrations look more willing than others to hand out money and know what kind of world they're in.

@Smaug I, um, spent a lot of time in the financial district, and never thought much of it at the time. It was loud. It grew on me.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby J3987 » Sat Nov 22, 2014 10:05 pm

Smaug, I lol'd at your q. My buddy went to an OWS rally with a "Deregulate the Derivatives Market" sign. I thought that was funny.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Nov 22, 2014 10:21 pm

Businesslady wrote:@Nony I haven't got to Marcuse or even that semiotext(e) book that's explicitly about schools and the art world yet so not 100% myself. I am romanticizing LS a lot but I think it has a unique kind of social if not revolutionary potential that is hampered by risk aversion.

Per J's post, I do believe that there is an ongoing crisis of American democracy and capitalism, and that it would be a waste of the law school infrastructure not to shift it to that front, or at least to recontextualize the legal education crisis in terms of the society in which it exists and maybe even to teach a generation to make use of the power of framing and storytelling in a way that HBS/GSB only pretend to. It's hard to do that when it bankrupts people going in, but some administrations look more willing than others to hand out money and know what kind of world they're in.

On a totally personal/anecdotal note, I'm maybe a bit pessimistic about this because I've spent a ridiculous amount of time in academic settings, working my way "up" from undergrad to grad to professor, and then back to being a student again in LS, and have come to the conclusion that it's really really hard as an individual to escape the sort of object-position of being subject to an institution of higher ed. Being a student leads you to adopt certain kinds of behaviors even when you don't want/intend to, when you know "better," if that makes any sense. (Or at least, it did me, so yeah, anecdote.)

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 10:33 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Businesslady wrote:@Nony I haven't got to Marcuse or even that semiotext(e) book that's explicitly about schools and the art world yet so not 100% myself. I am romanticizing LS a lot but I think it has a unique kind of social if not revolutionary potential that is hampered by risk aversion.

Per J's post, I do believe that there is an ongoing crisis of American democracy and capitalism, and that it would be a waste of the law school infrastructure not to shift it to that front, or at least to recontextualize the legal education crisis in terms of the society in which it exists and maybe even to teach a generation to make use of the power of framing and storytelling in a way that HBS/GSB only pretend to. It's hard to do that when it bankrupts people going in, but some administrations look more willing than others to hand out money and know what kind of world they're in.

On a totally personal/anecdotal note, I'm maybe a bit pessimistic about this because I've spent a ridiculous amount of time in academic settings, working my way "up" from undergrad to grad to professor, and then back to being a student again in LS, and have come to the conclusion that it's really really hard as an individual to escape the sort of object-position of being subject to an institution of higher ed. Being a student leads you to adopt certain kinds of behaviors even when you don't want/intend to, when you know "better," if that makes any sense. (Or at least, it did me, so yeah, anecdote.)

It makes a metric shitload of sense. I know the OP is dense but what you're describing is a big part of why I want to rail on the subject in this subforum before people go in, and then feel somewhat demoralized and thrown in the deep end as a starting point, and why I marked the passage in the OP regarding the liminal state as "essential."

There are explicit and overt moves on the part of actors within institutions to acknowledge the sentiments expressed on this website and I think it's very interesting to think about what would happen if people went into the machine with a more fully developed understanding of certain doctrines (beyond just "golden handcuffs" and "fucking boomers") that don't show up so much by their most precise names outside of the post-Marxist literature.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:18 pm

I think maybe another thing that bothers me about cursory quantitative methods employed here is the fact that there really is a lot of power in the intersection between law/narrative and statistical analysis that's not being put to use at a time when the stakes are really high (after undergrad). I understand law school to be a type of analogical reasoning boot camp that attracts a more verbal than mathematical type. There is a business school website called "Poets & Quants" that pitches the GMAT as a hybrid measurement instrument.

From here I will switch into "fucking TED talk" mode and apologize in advance.

In "business," people are constantly engaged in telling stories about the future of their own and others' undertakings with numbers. Again, think of an earnings call. This site is engaged in a form of equity research that does not seem to be particularly interested in looking beyond the most generic parts of the 10-Q (I understand that getting job and scholarship and other numbers has been hard-won and will continue to be discussed through the lens of transparency).

Critical information about the whole enterprise of any given "law school" - the institutional structures, the quality of management, the philosophies of its stakeholders, and any depth of how to speak with admissions administrators about it - is not much discussed by people here trying to buy in. It is treated as a form-filling exercise. No doubt the world needs form-fillers, but how many more is pithily put in discussions of "the market" just fine.

I continue to maintain that a class of people hoping to be trained in the law and given the social capital of an elite law degree should probably do what they can to understand what it is that they are engaging with, who is making decisions, what the reasoning behind these decisions are, how the people at the very top think about the future, and for that matter, the present.

I also get the impression that besides learning how to do more than read numbers as numbers, people would do well to begin to think in terms of power and what defining relationships through debt this way means for society, and to treat the application process as an exercise in telling stories with their own numbers and acknowledging power relationships and the human quality of judgment. This means learning about the people reading application materials, and learning about the philosophies of the people who run the institutions applicants will pay to attend (through their published work or blogs or whatever - deans do this). I would be interested to know how cotiger feels about his time in the application process and whether it was a net positive experience in and of itself.

These are concentrations of influential people, and probably a lot of their kids. Business school students know how to operate within networks and that the value proposition of their community translates into the price tag as much as the cachet and recruiting. It seems like setting money on fire not to put oneself in the position to take advantage of proximity to and interaction with really well-networked people. What does "biglaw + clerkships" tell you about a school? The cynical answer is "more than most schools want you to know," but this breaks down at a certain level.

People only know how to talk about risks here, and talk about optionality in terms of doors closing. This is a sick mindset for the class of people charged in the aggregate with making up and discussing the reasons for the rules we bind each other by. It makes us all poorer. Fuck capital's bullshit excuses and fuck capitulation to that ideology. Fuck being worn down by outdated disingenuously applied economics, resentment, and moral hazard reasoning.

Image

Why? Bullshit pedantry. "Efficiency" divorced from distributional justice. Artificial scarcity. Constructive slavery. Fuck it up.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby bjsesq » Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:14 am

Smaug is killing it itt. I agree with much of what you are saying, dude. Too much puffery in the name of of fuck the powers that be. Its not reasonable.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:40 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:But isn't the response to this not "get a law degree and do anything with it," but just "do anything"? Not in the risk averse sense where risk = debt/not getting a job, but in the sense that going to law school shapes you to occupy a particular position in the system that this thread seems set up to critique. (PhD programs have a similar program - there are a lot of people who describe them as cult-like, which is simplistic, but they do instill a very particular view of success/value.) I'm underread in theoretical stuff, but am a little suspicious of higher ed based on Bourdieu's writing about social capital/the role of education in replicating power structures.

I guess I'd disagree that law school is the last refuge of the liberal arts major in society - I don't think the liberal arts major should need law school, or grad school, at all. But maybe it's just being defeatist to prefer disengagement over engagement intended to change an institution.

Image

I lol'd at "erotic" and feel bad about not finding this before bjsesq could get impatient about the puffery to fucking power ratio ITT.


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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sun Nov 23, 2014 2:21 am

@Smaug I also want to note that at the time I sort of thought OWS was goofy and that people ought to be familiarizing themselves with the financial system and its culture (lol just lol) and trying to have conversations within that context. I also thought it was kind of dumb that they weren't on Park Avenue where most of the real power is. Anyway, I didn't consider it very financially literate. It wasn't, for the most part; some subgroups like "Occupy the SEC" got some press, but it was hard to really ID any actual conversation at the start. I met some raver kids who "lived" there and sold ecstasy. Then IIRC a weird thing started happening in financial writing as recession-period analysis more and more started discussing things in terms of an aggregate demand crisis (so the distributional thing got put into pretty sharp relief for people as explicitly capitalist as Shiller above, though he's of course always been focused on households), Graeber put out Debt in 2011 and lots of good finance/econ writers put thought into it (Noah Smith has been writing on it as recently as this month, if unfavorably), Jacobin kind of got more and more prominent and by 2012 had articles like this, then in 2013 Pikkety came out in French and this year in English so it's been a thing and I like it now.

I guess if it took drum-banging, meme-forcing, lots and lots of mad people who didn't and still don't know how banks work, and overall a hollow and distant echo of Paris 1968 (honestly, it felt kind of Berlin 1938 at the time, because everyone loved a good shot of Lloyd Blankfein's face smirking Jewishly on a poster and singling out Goldman while HSBC was moving actual murderers' money around) with worse clothes (I think that was the full extent of my review of the movement in the off-topics - that I was displeased with their failure to properly glamorize radicalism) to set the media groundwork to make Pikkety's (super-important) work a bestseller and to make "the 1%" a thing for everyone and not just economists, then that's what it took. I continue to believe that they should have worn better clothes and written flashier theory on par with the Situationists (600 pages? Nice try, Graeber. Nope) because I resent having to feel guilty for not being more sympathetic from the start.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby MarkinKansasCity » Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:52 pm

Businesslady wrote:@Smaug I also want to note that at the time I sort of thought OWS was goofy and that people ought to be familiarizing themselves with the financial system and its culture (lol just lol) and trying to have conversations within that context. I also thought it was kind of dumb that they weren't on Park Avenue where most of the real power is. Anyway, I didn't consider it very financially literate. It wasn't, for the most part; some subgroups like "Occupy the SEC" got some press, but it was hard to really ID any actual conversation at the start. I met some raver kids who "lived" there and sold ecstasy. Then IIRC a weird thing started happening in financial writing as recession-period analysis more and more started discussing things in terms of an aggregate demand crisis (so the distributional thing got put into pretty sharp relief for people as explicitly capitalist as Shiller above, though he's of course always been focused on households), Graeber put out Debt in 2011 and lots of good finance/econ writers put thought into it (Noah Smith has been writing on it as recently as this month, if unfavorably), Jacobin kind of got more and more prominent and by 2012 had articles like this, then in 2013 Pikkety came out in French and this year in English so it's been a thing and I like it now.

I guess if it took drum-banging, meme-forcing, lots and lots of mad people who didn't and still don't know how banks work, and overall a hollow and distant echo of Paris 1968 (honestly, it felt kind of Berlin 1938 at the time, because everyone loved a good shot of Lloyd Blankfein's face smirking Jewishly on a poster and singling out Goldman while HSBC was moving actual murderers' money around) with worse clothes (I think that was the full extent of my review of the movement in the off-topics - that I was displeased with their failure to properly glamorize radicalism) to set the media groundwork to make Pikkety's (super-important) work a bestseller and to make "the 1%" a thing for everyone and not just economists, then that's what it took. I continue to believe that they should have worn better clothes and written flashier theory on par with the Situationists (600 pages? Nice try, Graeber. Nope) because I resent having to feel guilty for not being more sympathetic from the start.


OWS always seemed like a really bad joke to me. It was an aggregation of a bunch of people who were pissed off about life being shitty in various ways, but there didn't seem to be a unifying factor other than "We don't have enough, and other people have more and should give us some of theirs." Being pissed off about other people being rich has always seemed petty to me.

Also, I get the instinct to get all outraged that .1% of the population has 30% of the wealth so we should tax the fuck out of them, but the logic there is dumb if you think it through. If you're pissed off about people living in mansions and buying yachts, then move to a consumption tax that actually penalizes these activities. Taxing income, capital, and wealth is dumb because that capital, fundamentally, represents the seed corn of modern society. A billionaire doesn't have a billion dollars in cash. He has factories, warehouses, mortgage obligations of others, retail stores, and the rest of the shit that makes modern society possible. If you want to get a piece of the Walton's fortune when they buy another private jet, then go ahead, but taxing capital investment is fundamentally counterproductive.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby ymmv » Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:59 pm

MarkinKansasCity wrote:
Businesslady wrote:@Smaug I also want to note that at the time I sort of thought OWS was goofy and that people ought to be familiarizing themselves with the financial system and its culture (lol just lol) and trying to have conversations within that context. I also thought it was kind of dumb that they weren't on Park Avenue where most of the real power is. Anyway, I didn't consider it very financially literate. It wasn't, for the most part; some subgroups like "Occupy the SEC" got some press, but it was hard to really ID any actual conversation at the start. I met some raver kids who "lived" there and sold ecstasy. Then IIRC a weird thing started happening in financial writing as recession-period analysis more and more started discussing things in terms of an aggregate demand crisis (so the distributional thing got put into pretty sharp relief for people as explicitly capitalist as Shiller above, though he's of course always been focused on households), Graeber put out Debt in 2011 and lots of good finance/econ writers put thought into it (Noah Smith has been writing on it as recently as this month, if unfavorably), Jacobin kind of got more and more prominent and by 2012 had articles like this, then in 2013 Pikkety came out in French and this year in English so it's been a thing and I like it now.

I guess if it took drum-banging, meme-forcing, lots and lots of mad people who didn't and still don't know how banks work, and overall a hollow and distant echo of Paris 1968 (honestly, it felt kind of Berlin 1938 at the time, because everyone loved a good shot of Lloyd Blankfein's face smirking Jewishly on a poster and singling out Goldman while HSBC was moving actual murderers' money around) with worse clothes (I think that was the full extent of my review of the movement in the off-topics - that I was displeased with their failure to properly glamorize radicalism) to set the media groundwork to make Pikkety's (super-important) work a bestseller and to make "the 1%" a thing for everyone and not just economists, then that's what it took. I continue to believe that they should have worn better clothes and written flashier theory on par with the Situationists (600 pages? Nice try, Graeber. Nope) because I resent having to feel guilty for not being more sympathetic from the start.


OWS always seemed like a really bad joke to me. It was an aggregation of a bunch of people who were pissed off about life being shitty in various ways, but there didn't seem to be a unifying factor other than "We don't have enough, and other people have more and should give us some of theirs." Being pissed off about other people being rich has always seemed petty to me.

Also, I get the instinct to get all outraged that .1% of the population has 30% of the wealth so we should tax the fuck out of them, but the logic there is dumb if you think it through. If you're pissed off about people living in mansions and buying yachts, then move to a consumption tax that actually penalizes these activities. Taxing income, capital, and wealth is dumb because that capital, fundamentally, represents the seed corn of modern society. A billionaire doesn't have a billion dollars in cash. He has factories, warehouses, mortgage obligations of others, retail stores, and the rest of the shit that makes modern society possible. If you want to get a piece of the Walton's fortune when they buy another private jet, then go ahead, but taxing capital investment is fundamentally counterproductive.


I wouldn't even know where to begin to address everything factually wrong with this paragraph.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:10 pm

Mark, I guess your views on OWS as stated above are actually very germane to the discussion of false consciousness and alienation, and don't take this the wrong way, but I can't imagine Smaug really meant to solicit them. Notwithstanding the fact that I can't help but point out that I don't see how billionaires having a lot of wealth in the form of other people's mortgage obligations is anything close to a Checkmate Libs here, I am going to be pissed if this devolves into a Lounge-style politics thread.

e: This is a post directed at everyone else more than you, honestly

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby utahraptor » Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:20 pm

Critical information about the whole enterprise of any given "law school" - the institutional structures, the quality of management, the philosophies of its stakeholders, and any depth of how to speak with admissions administrators about it - is not much discussed by people here trying to buy in. It is treated as a form-filling exercise. No doubt the world needs form-fillers, but how many more is pithily put in discussions of "the market" just fine.

The issue is that law schools are fungible. Maybe there's ?something? to be said about Georgetown's alternative curriculum (no clue) but it's not like different law schools are providing meaningfully different experiences or producing different kinds of lawyers. In fact, if they were to do so, it would damage the academic bloodsport element of law school and end up breaking the system. Thus, the best way to judge a law school is to see how well it operates in its purpose—putting people into jobs. You might not like that this is a strictly analytical exercise, but unless/until law schools not called "Yale" provide meaningfully different job opportunities for students, that's what we have. We use numbers because the qualitative aspects of the experience are completely fungible.

I continue to maintain that a class of people hoping to be trained in the law and given the social capital of an elite law degree should probably do what they can to understand what it is that they are engaging with, who is making decisions, what the reasoning behind these decisions are, how the people at the very top think about the future, and for that matter, the present.

Here the problem is that "elite law degrees" don't actually confer social capital. They don't. Maybe a small handful of people at each top school will have real social capital, but again, outside of Yale, you're not really dealing with the future movers and shakers of the world. You're not dealing with future Senators. We're just lawyers.

I also get the impression that besides learning how to do more than read numbers as numbers, people would do well to begin to think in terms of power and what defining relationships through debt this way means for society, and to treat the application process as an exercise in telling stories with their own numbers and acknowledging power relationships and the human quality of judgment. This means learning about the people reading application materials, and learning about the philosophies of the people who run the institutions applicants will pay to attend (through their published work or blogs or whatever - deans do this). I would be interested to know how cotiger feels about his time in the application process and whether it was a net positive experience in and of itself.
Again, if you look under the hood of law schools, you're going to find the same machinery everywhere. "Elite" schools and less elite schools will look the same. They'll have the same mix of fuck-the-system lawyers for change, somewhat respectable academics (though more of these on the top), and people who are actually interested in teaching law well. But, if someone were to choose Harvard for Lessig or Manning, or choose NYU for Dworkin (RIP) or Nagel, or choose CLS for Wu, they'd probably be disappointed. I'd wager that there are professors at each school who are anti-capitalist and who would like to change the nature of the legal profession. The problem is that they're utterly impotent. (And, honestly, most of them are shit scholars when it comes down to it.)

These are concentrations of influential people, and probably a lot of their kids.

lol

Business school students know how to operate within networks and that the value proposition of their community translates into the price tag as much as the cachet and recruiting. It seems like setting money on fire not to put oneself in the position to take advantage of proximity to and interaction with really well-networked people. What does "biglaw + clerkships" tell you about a school? The cynical answer is "more than most schools want you to know," but this breaks down at a certain level.

What level does it break down at?

Here's part one of my problem with what you're talking about: every ends up in the same places. Let's look at some of the top firms in the country:

(you're going to hate that I'm using basic math for this, but just deal with it for a second)

Cravath: 95 summer hires
S&C: 124 summer hires
Skadden: 128 summer hires
DPW: 126 summer hires
STB: 63 (NYC) summer hires
Cleary: 98 (NYC) summer hires
Weil: 93 summer hires
Kirkland: 126 summer hires
Latham: 36 (NYC) summer hires
GDC: 37 (NYC) summer hires
PW: 82 (NYC) summer hires
_________________
Let's stop there. (n.b., I don't draw this line to distinguish these firms from others or to make any real point, I'm just grabbing the numbers of many "elite" firms that would be desirable outcomes and that aren't really super special in any way). That's about 1000 (a touch more) jobs that people from "elite" law schools will entire into. Because there's a solid 1000 jobs there, here's the not-so-shocking truth revealed by the numbers—the law schools are all pretty much the same, because no one school can satisfy the needs of "top firms." Again, you'd probably hate this for various reasons, but we could compare the 1000 "elite" (lol) jobs here and compare them to the number of desirable not-Biglaw outcomes for students at top law schools. My guess without data is that you're talking about something closer to 100 very desirable jobs/fellowships/whatever else's a year. Somewhere around less than a tenth of the "elite" (lol) biglaw jobs and an even smaller portion of the whole.

This is why people fixate on the biglaw numbers. They're jobs that people can actually get. It would be ludicrous to plan your life around one of the special snowflake jobs. These kinds of jobs are the attainable "good" outcomes for law students.

part two
Let's think hard for a second about what the "special snowflake" jobs are: you have people who manage to get into some sort of PI fellowship, you have people who end up doing elite crim work, you have people who pursue IHRL, and you have people who end up directly in gubmint. That's about it. No really, that's about it. Those are the things that lawyers at top schools do if they don't do biglaw. Going through each, (1) the PI fellows often have overlap with people who do a biglaw summer and there are too few of them to choose a school planning on it (unless you interview for the NYU RTK or something similar), (2) the elite crim people can find work, but I don't think the people who want that work are the targets of this thread (3) I'm just going to point to any WT thread about IHRL and move on and for (4) gubmint, gubmint is great, but there have been so few positions post '08 that you'd be a fool to count on it.

That's what people actually do with their law degrees. It's not about a "lack of creativity" it is about those being the options. If you know of great opportunities that everyone is missing out on, put them forward. But, unlike in business or anything else, you can't make your own opportunity here. Hanging a shingle as a solo practitioner is an option, but it's risky. Most of the people who I know who have pursued that route (or something similar) end up in the 30-40k a year range. They would almost assuredly have been better off not going to law school. (unless they just really fucking love BIG DIVORCE LAW). I'd direct people to the Something Awful law thread if they want to read more about what it's like to be a solo practitioner, because they have a few who post and they're pretty rad.

People only know how to talk about risks here, and talk about optionality in terms of doors closing. This is a sick mindset for the class of people charged in the aggregate with making up and discussing the reasons for the rules we bind each other by. It makes us all poorer. Fuck capital's bullshit excuses and fuck capitulation to that ideology. Fuck being worn down by outdated disingenuously applied economics, resentment, and moral hazard reasoning.


Except we aren't "charged in the aggregate with making up and discussing the reasons for the rules we bind each other by." Lawyers aren't legislatures. We're really not. Maybe, at the fringes, lawyers can push on the law through restatements/practice guides/specialized rules, but that's not what most lawyers should do or really want to do. If you want to talk to the people who actually figure out the rules, you're going to need to find a forum of US Representatives or something similar. We're just mercenaries who argue about the things that legislatures decided or that have been the rules of business since (seemingly) time immemorial. We're not artists and we sure as hell aren't the Atlases you think we are.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby MarkinKansasCity » Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:21 pm

Businesslady wrote:Mark, I guess your views on OWS as stated above might be germane to the discussion of false consciousness and alienation, and don't take this the wrong way, but I can't imagine Smaug really meant to solicit them. Notwithstanding the fact that I can't help but point out that I don't see how billionaires having a lot of wealth in the form of other people's mortgage obligations is anything close to a Checkmate Libs here, I am going to be pissed if this devolves into a Lounge-style politics thread.

e: This is a post directed at everyone else more than you, honestly


Sorry, not trying to derail your thread.

Marx on alienation wrote:Let us suppose that we had carried out production as human beings. Each of us would have, in two ways, affirmed himself, and the other person. (1) In my production I would have objectified my individuality, its specific character, and, therefore, enjoyed not only an individual manifestation of my life during the activity, but also, when looking at the object, I would have the individual pleasure of knowing my personality to be objective, visible to the senses, and, hence, a power beyond all doubt. (2) In your enjoyment, or use, of my product I would have the direct enjoyment both of being conscious of having satisfied a human need by my work, that is, of having objectified man’s essential nature, and of having thus created an object corresponding to the need of another man’s essential nature... Our products would be so many mirrors in which we saw reflected our essential nature.


It seems like this criticism applies to mass production (and hyper-specialization) rather than something specific to the proletariat/working class. Having worked in an industry where the products of my labor (houses) were immediately and permanently visible, I can certainly understand the psychological rewards that come with a connection to the product of your labor. This type of craftsmanship is generally horribly inefficient compared to mass production, and if implemented broadly would certainly lead to a huge decrease in the standard of living for everyone. De-skilling work may be somewhat dehumanizing, in that it treats a man as a machine, but it is also incredibly efficient. I'm not sure how you can have your cake and eat it too here.

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby utahraptor » Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:22 pm

I'll return to the OWS point later. The short version is "lol modern social movements, just lol."

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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:48 pm

@Smaug On one level - fatality. On another - is it worth thinking about why Yale / RTK / Georgetown alternative curriculum are compartmentalized? Is it the demand of "employers," what students actually want out of law school, what schools think students want, some combination of that and something else I'm oblivious to? I can't shake the 40% of Duke debt-free figure and the "entrepreneurial" fixation at HSW. I guess there's the whole "easier access to pools of capital thing" going on in that community.

[I]t's not like different law schools are providing meaningfully different experiences or producing different kinds of lawyers. In fact, if they were to do so, it would damage the academic bloodsport element of law school and end up breaking the system.

This sounds cool to me. Why is it a foregone conclusion that this won't happen? I mean, I get "vested interests" but like




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