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Link: The Sliding Scale of Bullshit Jobs

VoiceOfRa          22 March 2016 08:07 PM


Much of the economic demand is artificially created by government, thus even many private companies are ultimately in the business of supplying government demand, especially in sectors like defense, health, and education. Thus a lot of effort gets spent optimizing towards government requirements rather than the ostensible purpose of those sectors, e.g., doctors spending lots of effort doing things in a way that medicare will reimburse them for. This effort is frequently mixed in with non-bullshit work in complicated way.
Letís take the example of the Joint Strike Fighter, (..) the program has been plagued by absurd cost overruns. Now, if we look at the engineers working on the project, they seem to be doing serious, non-bullshit work. (..) And yet, if we had a government that was competent at planning a project like this, four out of five of them would be out of a job.




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ChristianKl 28 March 2016 11:48 AM
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I don't think Medicare reinbursement is fundamentally different than reinbursement by private health insurance. Any organsiation that pays has it's burocracy. Simply relaxing the rules would mean more fraud and ineffective procedures.

It's also not like the privately payed homeopathy treatement is somehow less bullshit because it's not payed for by Medicare.

The Joint Strike Fighter is a different problem. It's created by Lockheed Martin which is likely payed cost-plus.


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VoiceOfRa 23 April 2016 08:28 PM
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It's created by Lockheed Martin which is likely payed cost-plus.


So? Most corporations make a profit. Most of them don't have its problems. Heck, earlier fighters didn't have cost overruns of anywhere near this magnitude.


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ChristianKl 26 April 2016 06:37 AM
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Cost-plus is a contract where a company isn't payed a predetermined price. Instead they have to report the costs they had to fulfill the contract and then get payed costs+X%. That means that the company doing the contract profits financially from cost overruns.

When companies are payed a market price, companies try to keep their costs as low as possible because they make a larger profit when they have low costs.

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youzicha 27 April 2016 11:33 AM
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Exactly. The article correctly notes that government is wasteful, because everything needs to be legible etc, but then it somehow assumes that private enterprise could do better. But e.g. in the software industry, "enterprise" sales is a byword for "total bullshit": everything is done at a large scale, so the people you are negotiating with have no idea what the actual requirements are, and everything is based on meaningless checkpoint-lists. Legibility!

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VoiceOfRa 27 April 2016 07:22 PM
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But e.g. in the software industry, "enterprise" sales is a byword for "total bullshit":


Yes, and companies that get to "enterprisy" wind up going bust. Government programs that get too "enterprisy" get to argue for a bigger budget next year.



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