Competency standards and industrial accidents
Complex Systems Won’t Survive the Competence Crisis, by Harold Robertson, a link and discussion.
Random thoughts section
This Tweeter muted the Thread after sharing a story she had felt good about - with ‘weird replies’ as a comment. I agree. I was also astonished by the replies. There were positive replies, but many were quite negative asking why the mother couldn’t buy her own baby supplies - why did she have a baby if she couldn’t afford it? - or … she was just stealing to sell on the black market for a profit - why did you pay for it?
“Just saw a woman getting caught stealing pampers and baby milk in Tesco. I paid for it. If you’re having to steal baby milk and Tesco brand pampers at 8:15am, you defo had a hard night. She cried, and just said thank you over and over again.” - Soph, April 4, 2022, (twitter.com/Signedbysophiee)
When your baby is hungry, it cries. That is an emotional pain to the listening mother, who will try to help her baby however she has to - instincts to nurture and protect and defend. Why did the father impregnate a woman if he couldn’t afford to feed and diaper the baby? Why is the onus on the woman?
Why a woman is poor in the US with a baby is the really silly question. Over or close to half of the children in the US are in poverty, so it is statistically simply, very good odds that any one random baby will be living in poverty. The US has become a third world nation tucked alongside a decaying megapolis.
If the US cared about children, you would think we would do something about that . . . yet what we have done, is what seems to have promoted it.
It is also good odds that the poor mother will be single. The Welfare system really does disincentivize or have a penalty for traditional marriage. The system supports single mothers and kids more than a family with two adults, even if one is working. The aid that is given will be cut off pretty quickly if a little more income is earned. There is not a good transition promoting ‘lifting oneself up’ - get up a little and then have all the help that you had yanked away. That promotes earning on a black market and not reporting any real wages. That means the person isn’t then adding to their Social Security work history which can add up to a better retirement or disability aid later in life. And black-market work might be legally helping an elderly neighbor with chores, or it might be working in the drug or adult industry.
*The international move towards a ‘digital currency’ would make working for some extra money mowing lawns illegal, unless a digital transaction could occur. That would then be traceable and not ‘black market’ hidden from a Welfare review agent.
Lots of jokes about Welfare Queens are made, and some likely are scamming the system and not caring for their children well, but over all it isn’t a lot of money and hunger is real and present and so is odor and dirt. Food stamp money does not pay for laundry soap, shampoo, or garbage bags.
Our national policies promoting more diversity in the work force has led to a reduction in skill standards in work and academic settings. In order to meet government hiring or student acceptance requirements the standards for entry have been reduced and then reduced more, and on. See, a long read: Complex Systems Won’t Survive the Competence Crisis, by Harold Robertson, June 1, 2023, (palladiummag.com) via (twitter.com/charlesmurray)
Excerpt of some summary points near the end:
In straightforward work, declining competency means that things happen more slowly, and products are lower quality or more expensive. In complex systems, declining competency results in catastrophic failures.
To understand why, one must understand the concept of a “normal accident.” In 1984, Charles Perrow, a Yale sociologist, published the book, Normal Accidents: Living With High-Risk Technologies. In this book, Perrow lays out the theory of normal accidents: when you have systems that are both complex and tightly coupled, catastrophic failures are unavoidable and cannot simply be designed around. In this context, a complex system is one that has many components that all need to interact in a specified way to produce the desired outcome. Complex systems often have relationships that are nonlinear and contain feedback loops. Tightly-coupled systems are those whose components need to move together precisely or in a precise sequence.
The 1979 Three Mile Island Accident was used as a case study: a relatively minor blockage of a water filter led to a cascading series of malfunctions that culminated in a partial meltdown. In A Demon of Our Own Design, author Richard Bookstaber added two key contributions to Perrow’s theory: first, that it applies to financial markets, and second, that regulation intended to fix the problem may make it worse.
The biggest shortcoming of the theory is that it takes competency as a given. The idea that competent organizations can devolve to a level where the risk of normal accidents becomes unacceptably high is barely addressed. In other words, rather than being taken as absolutes, complexity and tightness should be understood to be relative to the functionality of the people and systems that are managing them.
Complex Systems Won’t Survive the Competence Crisis, by Harold Robertson, June 1, 2023, (palladiummag.com)
The unspoken elephant in the room is that the diversity policies are based on a flawed assumption - that any skewing of diversity rates within a job or company will be because of hiring bias and not because of differences in applicant skill levels. All men, all women, all ethnic and religion and age groups, - all are expected to be equally able to do any job on average - statistically no difference between any of them for any job. That is simply wrong, and yet the nation’s ability to function is now resting on that flawed assumption.
I am smart, but I do not have the pattern recognition of a computer programmer type of person. I never do well on those questions on intelligence tests as I do with the folding shapes in your mind questions - I am really good at those. I excelled the most at recognizing where level is - the horizon line and other angles and which angle is similar to another. That part of the intelligence test helped explain why I am a good photographer - key to get the horizon line level so looking at the photo doesn’t make you feel seasick. (*Any picture hanging on the wall wrong will irritate me and I will straighten it.) As a magic power knowing what level looks like is helpful but would it help me change a flat car tire? No. I am not strong enough to loosen the bolts.
The elephant in the room - The Bell Curve, intelligence and other differences between racial groups.
The thing we aren’t supposed to talk about is that intelligence and some other skills varies between racial groups significantly enough that the averages do not overlap. We aren’t supposed to talk about a book because of ‘sensitivity’, not because it was poorly researched. If industrial accidents become normal and plane crashes and other problems, because competency standards were reduced too far, then is that really ‘sensitive’ to all racial group’s needs? or just protecting some feelings?
*The Bell Curve, by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray - read it. Nutshell synopsis - on average Asians were superior at math, with Whites slightly better at verbal type skills, and blacks were superior at mental processing speed for cognition or physical skills - faster - literally able to move and think faster than other ethnic groups on average. (*On average means that any one individual might be a standout, but the group average has a Bell curve that is different than the other group’s averages). Data about Hispanics didn’t have a large roll in the book that I remember offhand.
Excerpt from older post with an alien or psy ops stuff warning label:
The book that we are not supposed to talk about (The Bell Curve, a review that shares the controversy, 552 page book - I read it all) pretty clearly shows that ethnic groups are so different from each other in some areas that our Bell Curves show significant differences. This has been shushed and politicized into “equity” type talk and “privilege”. Scientifically what it says to me is that we are as groups, significantly, not the same.
The unmentionable information was about intelligence - the average Bell curve for blacks was not even really close to that of the Asian or White group’s curves. Bluntly, what that means, is that practically most Asians and Whites test higher for intelligence than most black people. I think Hispanics and other indigenous groups fall somewhere between Whites and Blacks or are closer to blacks for some underdeveloped nations. Nutrition does count. Being low in iodine can reduce IQ by 15 points and that can be reversible with supplementation or seaweed or rhubarb or other sources of iodine.
Accident proneness is skewed by IQ differences.
The Bell Curve is a big book with a lot of graphs, about many topics. I think it is criminal to suppress it. As a person of above average intelligence, from a family with above average intelligence - being a nerd/geek was what I grew up with. Being a smart kid can get you picked on too. I had my older siblings to break ground for me with the school teachers though. The graph I found very interesting was one about accident proneness - compared to people of average intelligence (a couple brackets), people of low intelligence were most likely to suffer accidents, but the smartest bracket was second most likely to have accidental injuries. I could totally relate as somone who has walked into telephone poles, more than once, and rode my bike into an oncoming car. The car slowed, it had seen me. I was clueless and fell on its hood. I was bicycling the wrong way on a one way city street. My bad.
I seriously, count myself lucky to have not had worse injuries from my clumsiness or absentminded professor head in the clouds-ness.
Equal pay for equal HOURS of work, needs to become more normalized.
Caregiving is as important as other jobs or more so, we just need lots of caregivers, so no one wants to pay them enough or at all. Women are disrespected because mothers are disrespected. Men traditionally were considered to be needing pay to support a wife and children and are still paid along that trendline. Mothers are not given that families need support bonus of more pay on average. The difference in gender pay on average was found to be not for all women - it was mothers who tended to make less. Theory was they have more gaps in their career and less opportunity for promotion or possibly weren’t promoted because of having kids and needing more flexible time off. Fathers on average do not have lower wages than single men.
Embracing diversity needs to be about recognizing the value in diversity and seeing its strengths - and paying workers equally for »time«. Why should a CEO who tanks a company get millions of dollars while competent workers get nothing or wages that aren’t much different than the 70’s when inflation is included? Somebody with a very responsible/dangerous if screw-ups occur job, should be paid extra for the diligence required - but are they? or are mid-level managers and up paid well and the critically important workers paid closer to the 70’s inflation adjusted wage?
Men do die or get injured on the job more than women and pay for risking danger seems reasonable - female hospital aides who clean up are also facing risk too and tend to be paid minimum wage or close to it.
The big issue is really that top level management is overpaid and over-populated compared to critically important jobs like preparing healthy food from scratch - in addition to the change in skill or work experience or testing requirements.
The elephant in the room - IQ and training manuals for workers.
Regarding the difference in ‘intelligence’ - as a public health educator I have had some training on adult education and I had to try to produce handouts at a 6th grade reading level. I generally could only hit about an 8th grade reading level based on syllable length of words used (a way to estimate the difficulty). Cereal is a three-syllable word and any three or more syllable words count against you when trying to hit the 6th grade mark.
Examples of differences in educational level of training material can be seen in my pdf collection for beekeeping: Gardening with Bees in mind. (substack.com)
This example is a 4H guide - written for US children and their parents or 4H club leaders to follow and learn from.
4H Beekeeping, Division 1, Purdue Extension, 4-H-571-W, (29 pages) (pdf) Its language is fairly simple, and it is written with grade school like question sections to assess learning or practice concepts.
This guide is written by the Alabama Extension Service - which would be for US households or small farms. It uses fairly simple language but goes into more detail about bee types, history, cost of a backyard setup, how to build a hive, process honey and other details to start and maintain beekeeping.
Backyard Beekeeping, James E. Tew, Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, (54 pages) (pdf)
This guide is fairly simple language but organized in an academic style with numbered sections and includes bee species detail and other scientific info in addition to how to build a few types of beehives and care for bees. It is black and white with line drawings for the beehive guidance.
Beekeeping in the Tropics, Agrodok 32, by P. Segeren, (90 pages) (pdf) This is an extensive guide but it is written in a fairly simple style, user friendly.
This guide is shorter and was written for small farmers in Africa. It covers very similar information but in a much more compact way with a lot more, a lot, of colorful photographs and shorter blurbs of text - few text only areas.
Practical Guide for Organic Beekeepers, June 2006, EPOPA (Export Promotion of Organic Products from Africa) (15 pages) (pdf) *Easy intro level guide with pictures and a basic overview of bee types and care in a small farmer in Africa setting.
This guide is another US extension service product, of California, with U of California. It is written in an academic style with Tables of detailed feeding recommendations and some other data Tables and goes into greater detail about genetics and rearing queen bees and more.
California Beekeeping, Pub. 21422, by Mussen, et al., 1987, U of California, (78 pages) *the legal information maybe out of date, check current laws or guidance. (pdf)
We, all, collectively, as a great and diverse nation or globe, need to recognize that differences matter. If your systems and your training manuals look like a 78 page academic textbook but your employees can only really use a 15-page, short blurb, lots of pictures, guidebook, then are you going to be getting the job done the way you expect it? or will the too long academic like guide have to be rewritten in a simple format as fast as possible? And who is going to write that if you can’t find workers?
Many businesses have had to move towards simpler and simpler training materials and videos, and even then we frequently hear that “you can’t find good workers…so I left the business.” Simpler training materials can be written and will work for getting the basic job done but the more complex information? Will it just be discarded? Will the job not get done when the bees have an illness that was not covered in the 15-page picture guidebook? Can you teach air traffic controlling with a picture book?
For whatever reasons, our bigger issue does seem to be that the governments are working together in a move towards digital IDs and currency and more control over individuals - and seem to be killing us on purpose. That is a flaw in a government, in my opinion.
Bringing Perrow’s theory of normal accidents to methylation cycles, in a recent post, works too:
“when you have systems that are both complex and tightly coupled, catastrophic failures are unavoidable and cannot simply be designed around. In this context,
a complex system is one that has many components that all need to interact in a specified way to produce the desired outcome.
Complex systems often have relationships that are nonlinear and contain feedback loops.
Tightly-coupled systems are those whose components need to move together precisely or in a precise sequence.” Complex Systems Won’t Survive the Competence Crisis, by Harold Robertson, June 1, 2023, (palladiummag.com)
The one carbon methylation cycles are each a system, tightly coupled together in multiple ways that need to move together in precise sequence, or the whole kajob, goes kaput. One nutrient lacking, and the chemical sequences can no longer efficiently flow from one form to the next with a ready supply of enzymes and cofactors keeping them buzzing along.
That graphic would not be easily explained in a fifteen-page photo-based simple word text guidebook. We need to see diversity as a value and also as a reality. We have some nice things because someone working collectively built it and they probably used more than a picture book in the process.
Great things can be done simply and often greatness requires simplicity, however complexity is also present.
Facts matter. We need to accept them. Like our government seems to want to do away with us in any way possible. Hmmmm.
Thoughts to think about.
Disclaimer: This information is being provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of Fair Use and is not intended to provide individual health guidance.
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