Quantity doesn’t dictate quality

Now that the double-digits and illiterates have shrieked themselves hoarse, we return you to your original programming… and a belated response to Daniel’s substantive critique on women in the workforce and their effect on the economy:

I still stand by my assertations that: (A) women in the workforce give employers more choice in selecting employees and allow for better overall employee value (in the absence of government interference in selection of employees or amounts paid to them), and (B) any drops in wage rates are compensated by drops in prices and better selection due to the increased productivity of having a larger worker pool in a free market.

The obvious short response is that this is a purely theoretical argument with no relation to an actual economy. An “absence of government interference” indeed! But that’s too easy, so let’s cast about and see if we can find a practical example that doesn’t involve hard-to-find statistics as a metric.

In 1937, the National Socialist regime employed 45 percent women in its agencies… okay, actually I have no idea who they hired nor is it relevant to Daniel’s question, I was just amused by the notion of seeing the usual morons get in a lather over another Nazi analogy. I’m a little confused, though. Is it “Bush is Hitler” or “Milosevic/Hussein/Ahmadinejad/Insert Next Neocon Target Here is Hitler” that is the acceptable Nazi analogy?

Actually, the historical example I have in mind is the American professariat. “According to a study done by the American Association of University Professors, about 26 percent of all tenured professors nationwide are women.” This was the case in 1999. I don’t have any precise dates on when the first female professors began being hired en masse and began to receive tenure, but various searches tends to show up relevant “first” dates ranging between 1969 and 1985.

According to Daniel’s theory, this broadening of the pool of potential professors should have increased the quality of the professors being hired and granted tenure. With the exception of the politically correct Left, however, few would agree that this has been the case. Certainly the results produced by those professors, as measured by the quality of their graduated students, have declined appreciably over the last 30+ years by nearly everyone’s measure.

The same holds true for other aspects of the workplace. If Worker X is 5 percent more productive than Worker Y, but reduces productivity by 10 percent in Workers A through S, hiring Worker X will be a disaster for the employer. The further inaccuracy of the theory stems from its reliance on the idea that the productivity of a worker can be ascertained prior to hiring.

B is too complex a matter to discuss here without first settling on agreed values regarding prices and productivity. As I am a confirmed CPI cynic, this promises to be difficult but I am open to suggestion.