July 21, 2008

SWPL: Internships

Christian Lander writes:

In most of the world when a person works long hours without pay, it is referred to as “slavery” or “forced labor.” For white people this process is referred to as an internship and is considered an essential stage in white development. ...

You would assume that the most sought after internships would be in areas that lead to the greatest financial reward. Young White people, however, prefer internships that put them on the path for careers that will generally result in a DECREASE of the material wealth accumulated by their parents.

For example, if you were to present a white 19 year old with the choice of spending the summer earning $15 an hour as a plumbers apprentice or making $0 answering phones at Production Company, they will always choose the latter. In fact, the only way to get the white person to choose the plumbing option would be to convince them that it was leading towards an end-of-summer pipe art installation.

It's interesting how the upper middle class has increasingly barricaded off entry into a lot of different occupations by insisting upon unpaid internships, which discourages young people who need the money from a summer job.

Now that his Stuff White People Like book has been on the NY Times bestseller list for a couple of weeks, I'll finally mention that, not surprisingly, Christian was a veteran iSteve.com reader from way back.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

Some liberals waste time and money chasing stupid dreams like become and artist or actor. Ho ho ho, what a funny observation! No other people do that! There are no washed-up ex-high school and college jocks! And when a black people realize they won't become a baller or rapper, they just start robbing people. Ha ha ha!

Stuff White People Like is just so fucking insightful and hilarious!

Sleep said...

The fact is that plumbing and other blue collar jobs just arent for everyone. If youre female, for example, you can pretty much write off most blue collar jobs. And then there are people who are male and able-bodied but just not very good with their hands. Plumbers, welders, electricians, etc dont have easy jobs, and you have to be good at it if you want to make money. In fact in my experience it's hard enough to just get accepted to an apprenticeship .. the local navy shipyard here hires only 30% of its applicants to the apprentice program, and of those fewer than half stay on to hold full time jobs for one year or longer.

Im much more comfortable with the world of white-collar office work where I dont have to be quick with my hands or fast on my feet. No it doesnt pay particularly well ... most call centers seem to pay about $7 or $8 an hour ... but on the other hand, I've never heard of an internship position for customer service. Once you're hired, you're in and you can start making money. I assume clander is either mistaken or is thinking of some other kind of work.

Humorless Head Scratcher said...

"Some liberals waste time and money chasing..."

"The fact is that plumbing and other blue collar jobs..."

Ugh, will you guys become like the bizarre, post-modern tools who post at SWPL, stripping all humor to its bare bones in the most reductionist way possible?

Hail to Christian Lander, who's tapped into the essence of what is, in reality, our opposition - that they're pathetic. He's taken and run with Goethe's assertion the the existence of the crowd is inevitable, and the best thing to do is to mock it.

For more than half a century we've faltered every time we've tried to point out their hypocrisy, their laughable conformity, their muddled thinking. Christian, with great wit, has succeeded.

Peas Corps said...

"I'll finally mention that Christian was a veteran iSteve.com reader from way back."

Really? A twentysomething white male from inner city Toronto was an iSteve reader? That is reeeeeeeeeeally hard to believe, I means spectacularly astronomically hard to believe.

I did a peace corps gig. Long story short is that the women loved the experience (blondes going to Africa: what do you expect?) and the men (i.e. me, my buddies) tended to get robbed and were generally not very welcome. I quit a six figure consulting and teaching gig to do it.

Yes, I are dumb, but I blame you stinky hippies for telling me all I need is love and that money doesn't make you happy. Goofs.

Cabrolet said...

Steve, you must be aware of this Open Letter. It reads like it might be written with you (and your "ilk") in mind.

Open letter

The ethics of characterizing difference:
guiding principles on using racial categories in human genetics

Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, Joanna Mountain, Barbara Koenig, Russ Altman, Melissa Brown, Albert Camarillo, Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Mildred Cho, Jennifer Eberhardt, Marcus Feldman, Richard Ford, Henry Greely, Roy King, Hazel Markus, Debra Satz, Matthew Snipp, Claude Steele and Peter Underhill


(this is a slow loading website)



We are a multidisciplinary group of Stanford faculty who propose ten principles to guide the use of racial and ethnic categories when characterizing group differences in research into human genetic variation.

Statement 1: We believe that there is no scientific basis for any claim that the pattern of human genetic variation supports hierarchically organized categories of race and ethnicity

The equality of rights of all human beings is an unquestionable, moral claim that cannot be challenged by descriptive, scientific findings [9-11]. As a normative commitment, equality is fundamental to our conception of human rights, and is not open to debate. Classification by racial and ethnic categories has, at particular moments in history, been used to further racist ideology [12]. In view of concerns that linking of emerging genetic data and race/ethnicity categories may promote racist ideologies, we emphasize that there is no scientific basis for any claim that the pattern of human genetic variation supports hierarchically ranked categories of race or ethnicity. Furthermore, we abhor any use of genetic data to reinforce the idea of between-group difference in order to benefit one group to the detriment of another.

Statement 2: We recognize that individuals of two different geographically defined human populations are more likely to differ at any given site in the genome than are two individuals of the same geographically defined population

Research in human genetics has highlighted that there is more genetic variation within than between human groups, where those groups are defined in terms of linguistic, geographic, and cultural boundaries [3,5,13,14]. Patterns of variation, however, are far from random. We recognize that human population history, including major migrations from one continent to another as well as more short-range movements, has led to correlation between genetic variation and geographic distribution [14-17]. This finding is particularly true of indigenous peoples; populations characterized by a high degree of interaction with neighboring groups adhere less to these patterns.

etc. etc. etc. there are 10 statements in all.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

There is a conspicuous consumption aspect to being able to afford to send your children to jobs that provide "experience" rather than "mere money."

Anonymous - it's a tendency, not a hard-and-fast dichotomy. Some of us grew up with it and recognise it.

Anonymous said...

Undergraduate engineering students typically get paid nicely for summer internships...

Svigor said...

If youre female, for example, you can pretty much write off most blue collar jobs.

LOL! You have that ass backwards. If the job is blue collar, you can pretty much write off all females. That's why I laugh at people who bring up that "gender" equality crap. In their faces.

Half Sigma said...

He's stealing stuff from my blog. Unpaid internships is something I've written about a zillion times.

SFG said...

How do you know he read iSteve? You logged his IP address?

Scott said...


Lander's stuff is great, you deserve a book deal more than him.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

cabrolet - interesting. The first point seems to be that there is no scientific evidence for races because historically it has been a bad thing when people say so.

Not very persuasive.

Open letters signed by many luminaries have some value in understanding a question, but are not especially reliable. Such letters only get written when there is a perceived challenge to the traditionally-accepted doctrines. You can always count on finding someone from the old guard to defend the status quo, and you can always find some self-styled maverick who will support the new idea just to show he is not beholden to the status quo. The letter in itself seldom brings us nearer to the truth. See also, letters by Catholic bishops on political matters; letters by scientists in unrelated fields on climate change; letters by historians on foreign policy. These have some value, but not an overwhelming one.

jmr said...

The best thing about the "whiter people" is that they have a low birthrate. Maybe someday they will be extinct. We can only hope.

Peter said...

The fact is that plumbing and other blue collar jobs just arent for everyone. If youre female, for example, you can pretty much write off most blue collar jobs.

The building where I work also houses a training academy run by the carpenter's union, which trains people as carpenters and possibly for some other skilled trades. On occasion, if I leave work early there'll be 200 or more mostly young people leaving the academy. It's hard to say for sure, but I'd estimate that they're 10% to 15% female, clearly a non-trivial proportion.

Martin said...

"Svigor said...

If youre female, for example, you can pretty much write off most blue collar jobs.

LOL! You have that ass backwards. If the job is blue collar, you can pretty much write off all females."

Except perhaps lesbians. For a time I lived in Seattle, and I'd have sworn that every other plumber and cable installer was a butch lesbian. I'm surprised the two terms didn't become synonmous, as in "The toilet's backed up again. I'll call a lesbian."

Regarding the whole internship thing: I had never thought of Steve's interperation before, but it does make a certain sense. The best way to screen out the riff-raff for jobs in the culture elite is to require them to undergo a lengthy and unrenumerative apprenticeship. Who can afford that other than trust-fund kids?

It has the added benefit that it attracts wealthy kids and their wealthy parents. If you're a museum or opera director, who do you want working for you? Some lower middle-class kid who just loves art, or a rich kid who loves art and has the sort of connections that might pay off for the institution?

Anonymous said...

A lot of brokerages have the equivalent of poorly-paid internships -- trainees getting paid $300 per week for $60 hours of cold-calling while they study for their series 7 exam. These trainees are mostly not wealthy -- just desperate to become so.

- Fred

guest007 said...

Great examples of interships are Cate Edwards, daughter of John Edwards, and Luke Russert, son of tim Russert. both of tem intern with NBC in NYC. Not only did they work for free but their parents had to subsidize the cost of living in NYC. The same thing happens everyday in Boston, DC, SF, LA. Parents of the rich get their children unpaid intership jobs in expensive places to live.

neil craig said...

It is also that people prefer jobs they can do sitting down & without getting their hands dirty. These, irespective of the money thus have more social cachet.

Anonymous said...

unpaid internships are a form of discrimination. few if any poor people would bother applying because the odds are so bad. notice that these are mostly for lefty fields like movies, fashion. finance pays dearly for interns.

Byrne said...

Fred: those are small brokerages. The big ones have internships that pay very, very well, as do large law firms. I think we ought to draw a distinction between the 'aristocratic' internships (save the whales for the summer, get free takeout) and the ambitious middle-class internships (spend the summer flogging excel or studying Antiguan tax arbitrage schemes, make enough money to live pretty well).

Engineering internships probably fall into the latter category, but programmers are a special case altogether. That seems to be one of the few professions in which fairly bright teenagers get hired for grown-up jobs at decent wages. Perhaps this explains why technology companies are so successful -- not that it's a good business, just that if you're a brilliant stockbroker you won't work until you're maybe 22, but if you're a brilliant programmer you start picking up coding gigs at age 14. At age 30, the programmers have twice as much professional experience as most jobs that require a degree. So of course they know more about running a business.

Anonymous said...

Good article on elite universities and their alumni you might be interested in commenting upon here on your blog: http://www.theamericanscholar.org/su08/elite-deresiewicz.html

Anonymous said...

Right you are -

the fact is that stock brokerage provides a tremendous ladder up in the world to ambitious hungry young people.

Fact is, you don't have to be that smart in order to make big money in stock brokerage, you simply have to have the hunger to make thousands of phone calls and network like mad.

of course brokers don't add any value to society

Anonymous said...

"of course brokers don't add any value to society"

Sure they do. Some of the securities they sell raise money for things that benefit the rest of society. For example, they sell muni bonds that are used to build hospitals, roads, and bridges. They also raise money for companies by selling stock in their IPOs. Some of those companies are biotechs that use that capital to discover new cancer drugs. Other companies are in more mundane fields, but use that IPO capital to build factories, hire more workers, etc. That IPO money doesn't just flow to unknown companies by magic; the IPO needs to be sold by brokers.

That doesn't mean that brokers don't sell crap too -- the stock market is a mechanism for sorting the gems from the crap, and allocating more capital to the gems. But to say that securities salesmen don't add value to society is simply false.

- Fred

Concerned said...

I don't see anything wrong with the children of the upper classes not taking jobs as blue-collar apprentices.

I DO think there's something quite wrong with young black men disdaining these occupations, or worse yet, being forced into the academic track where they will undoubtedly fail.

David Davenport said...

Perhaps this explains why technology companies are so successful

Technology companies aren't successful because of teenage computer programmers. That's a media myth.

Oh, and doesn't one have to have a superior IQ in order to be a succesful broker?

Martin said...

"guest007 said...

Great examples of interships are Cate Edwards, daughter of John Edwards, and Luke Russert, son of tim Russert."

And, of course, the most infamous intern of all time......Monica Lewinsky.

Anonymous said...

The comments are drifting away...from the point of the article...as usual.

People seek high-status and high-pay jobs. Plumbers and electricians are paid well and can't be outsourced, but they are low status and don't compare in pay to law, finance and medicine or other 'protected' fields which require high up-front costs in schooling and unpaid internships. Not to mention: as Mexicans move from declining construction jobs into the higher-paid blue-collar trades, wages in these fields will start dropping fast...

50 years ago you could go straight from college to a well-paid white-collar job; nowdays they are far more candidates and fewer jobs.
So SWPL is wrong-the internship racket is not about dumb white kids chasing unrealistic expectations. It's about the rich and upper-middle barricading the (few remaining) desirable careers for their kids. This kind of institutionalized corruption raises too much cognative dissonance for many Conservatives to accept-not surprising as they are often its direct beneficiaries (just look at the family tree of the National Review or Weekly Standard contributors...too bad their parents didn't raise them to become plumbers...)

The Culture-Cons are the worst of the lot-people like Tom Wolf or SWPF are stuck in some 90s time-warp, joking about what a wonderful prosperous society we are, where plumbers vacationing in St.Kitts at 5-star hotels, while rich kids slave away at unpaid internships. These guys are full of it.