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Your honor,

I look forward with great anticipation all week to your and Mr. Becker's blog posts. And today's, like all, was quite interesting. However, with a major constitutional issue raised by the actions of the House this week, with Fed using $1 trillion to buy long term treasury notes (a fairly complex game of chasing its own tail), I must admit I am a bit disappointed to find that the topic of the week is internet marriage matching. I know its poor manners for a beggar to be a chooser, but all week I wondered which of the myriad of great interst topics of the week the blog would cover with its posts today. I'm sure others who read regularly must be similarly disappointed. Til next week....


Yes, Internet brings tremendous conveniences to people, mariage matching, job matching, information sharing... It is a great and efficient platform for more people to communicate at low cost. Thanks to modern technology! Though it's a double edged sword, so what?


Matchmaking by internet has brought new problems. One of them is the ease by which software is stupidly employed to search resumes to pick out the "skillset" of a person by looking for key words.

Just try submitting a resume that contains,

"Don't know much about history
Don't know much biology
Don't know much about a science book
Don't know much about the French I took"

and see what kind of strange job offers you will get.

Another problem is that nobody manages to state some really important requirements. In my job searches, for example, I am met with tremendous difficulty finding an employer who does not do drug screening of any kind, since I will not take a job that offends my libertarian and privacy principles.

But for obvious reasons, I can't put in my resume that I don't sit for drug tests. I expect every employer to be explicit regarding such strict requirements, but after undergoing a typically rigorous pre-employment screening on my qualifications, etc., I have actually twice showed up for the first day of work and walked off after being informed of the drug screening for the first time. I once left a job I'd already started for the same reasons.

The same sorts of problems no doubt arise in personal matchmaking, certainly regarding such important things as snoring and farting.


Dear Judge Psoner:

I agree with BMC's comment above, no disrespect intended, as I consider you extremely erudite and accomplished. I would love to see a Becker-Posner post on whether Obama is invoking the Cloward-Piven Strategy in his governing and if so what economic consequences there may be. If not, what is his intellectual framework and where did he get it.

Maximum Liberty

Dear Judge Posner:

Your point about homosexuals not being able to match as effectively at school or work might have partial explanatory power on why homosexuals seem to cluster in certain types of industries and in certain companies regardless of industry. I say "partial" advisedly -- I can see other benefits for a homosexual to choose an employer where other homosexuals work (the apparent lack of discrimination being a big one). But the idea that they might also be choosing employers for social reasons was an interesting implication of your peice.


Michael Hochster

Wow, you guys really know how to state the obvious.


Judge Posner,

Any thoughts on the signaling effect or the selection effect present in the fact that those individuals who "need" the online search mechanisms are likely less desirable than the rest of the pool of available mates/applicant. That is, mates/firms might know there is "something wrong" with the mate/applicant if they had to resort to the online search process. Wouldn't that be a drawback of the online system that in some ways negates the efficiency benefits of the streamlined search process?



At the risk of contradicting a couple of commenters above, I applaud Prof. Becker and Judge Posner for posting on a topic that by no means is frivolous. Good heavens, readers need not look far these days to find commentary on the new administration's struggles to cope with the ongoing financial debacle in our Nation. For that matter, last weekend's edition of the WSJ published an interview with Prof. Becker that addressed current economic policy to a considerable degree.

All that said, Posner is correct that the workplace is a feasible and oft witnessed substitute for Internet matchmaking. Flirting with a potential mate on the job is risky, however, given employment discrimination laws.


Jimbino, Libertarian principles just don't fly in today's modern corporate world. For my jobs I've been Inspected, Detected, Probed and Neglected. The first was Lie-Detector Tests, Drug test which have now expanded into the pit of bottomless random testing. Clearance checks by in Plant Security, State Police, FBI, Justice Dep't., Coast Guard, Interpol, too name just a few. All of this in just the last eight years ( the Bush/Cheney legacy so far has been one of FEAR & PARANOIA, perhaps Humter S. Thompson was right after all).

Meanwhile, the malfeasance continues unabated in the Corporate Boardrooms. No wonder the U.S. has got problems. When I was eighteen I swore an Oath, "to defend the Nation against all enemies
Foreign and Domestic" and they promptly sent me out to guard the weapons of Mass Destruction. Without even a Lie-Detector test or even a drug test. ;)


Neil: Our bloggers mention primarily "matching" in terms of spouse and job finding. Obama has, in a way, taken it to matching with a political constituency.

The "real world" seems to isolate us more so than in some of our past history; locally owned cafes with counters seem to have yielded to franchise places where even the staff changes twice a year and their layout does not lend itself to a sense of community or chat.

So perhaps the tech of "matching" is not fully developed and will play a role in getting those of us who are disgusted by such as Jimbino and you lament.

I see all these "friends" that younger folk have on Facebook et al..... but, (hopefully I'm wrong) that seem simply names, as shallow as People Magazine and wonder what sort of "community" it all amounts to with the perpetual "texting" etc.

Ha! Hillary made use of the net, ala Joe Trippi and Dean? in perhaps the last great top down campaign, Obama used it in a very different manner. As his E-townhall shows it will be used even more to return power to the people. Linking blogs and bloggers, as here, may be even another force they've yet to contend with!

In the "real world" you and Jimbino would have few chances to lament the creeping (galloping?) corporate fascism without blowing someone's job or position in society.

Let the games begin?


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