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09/25/2005

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John Williams

corey: I am male, have a strong desire to do liberal public interest work, and am instead taking an offer to work at a large corporate law firm.

Here is the solution. Meet a nice woman at your law firm who wants to work as lawyer for a few years, then quit to have babies; tell her that you'll quit instead of her! Then you can raise then children and do liberal public interest work, while she can continue to work in the corporate world! Problem solved!

N.E.Hatfield

Monica, Don't be concerned with "Jackie", s-he is just insecure and in order ot prove how sophiticated and intelligent s-he may be, have ass-u-me-d the post of Grammar and Syntax Nazi. ;) Have a better one.

R

As with any tort, the harassment itself impedes business, probably more than any measures taken to stop it. That's why the measures are taken. I would guess the number of "otherwise productive" workers who just happen to enjoy harassing others is less than the number of of "otherwise productive" workers whose productivity is harmed by the harassment.

R

In general, the idea that a free market is one in which individuals are not given a means to address wrongs committed against them is a novel one, to say the least.

a.

University of Chicago Law School should only admit women who've had hysterectomies.

Anonymous

Dear Jack Sprat: What planet do you actually work on? You act like because a small fraction of U.S. corporations with more than 50 employees offer a paltry UNPAID maternity leave of less than
12 weeks that somehow the child-care dilemma of the U.S. is solved? Wow - that will be news to millions of parents!
The absence of quality, affordable child care; pre-kindergarten programs; and after-school activities is a daily concern for millions of working American parents professional or otherwise. The U.S. is one of only seven countries that do not offer some sort of PAID maternity/paternity leave to its citizens. The lack of quality, affordable day care is one of these most pressing issues young families face today. The U.S. system is a pathetic patchwork of Kentucky-fried day care at best.
Also, you apparently cannot read. I have never in any post advocated anything remotely similar to a "Marxist Utopia." I have only advocated for sensible work/life balance policies that despite your fanatsy are NOT readily available, enforced, or utilized (without repercussions) by the majority of U.S. workers (male or female).
Such policies benefit all employees (whether they have children or not)and they would also go a long way to help retain the employment of high-achieving professional women the original article was referring to. Should we screen out qualified men who want to leave the practice of law after 3 years as well? I've certainly met many disgruntled male lawyers in my day, many who did in fact leave their practice after only a few years. Maybe these male lawyers didn't change their mind to raise children but they still didn't put in your pre-requiste
10 years? So, should we simply change the graduate school admission process to only include those applicants of either gender who solemnly swear to remain in a particular profession in a certain capacity until death do they part? Or for at least 10 years? Should we charge retroactive higher tutition for a man who leaves the practice of medicine after less than 10 years as a an unhappy physician(as an aquantance of mine just did)? How absurd. And the next time you start spouting off your "free market" talking points you might want to actually dust off a little research about our own stagnant economy and Europe's actual ecomonic growth.

wilye

Posner: "which would discourage applicants who were not planning to have full working careers (including applicants of advanced age and professional graduate students)."

I applaud posner for pointing out that this would discourage 'applicants of advanced age' - which presumably would include all the 're-training' initiatives that Bush is offering to combat outsourcing - but does anyone who supports this logic support disincentives for disabled or ill students?

If a student has had cancer, and is significantly more likely to relapse than another student, why should he take the place of a healthy student? If one student has a P(.90) of 25 years of work, and the cancer survivor has a P(.50) of 25 years of work, 'total social welfare' gets an additional 10 years of service out of the healthy person (plus not covering the health insurance costs). Any takers?

Corey

"The point is that society is better off if qualified women attorneys work longer, and there is no reason why elite universities shouldn't factor market demand into their admissions decisions. That just isn't a sexist statement."

You are right, that statement is not sexist. That statement reflects the other criticism I made, namely, that shools should not get to impede the liberty interest of certain women who seek admission for a utilitarian social welfare goal. To repeat my example: Preventing your neighbor from having children will increase the market value of your house. (Sad but true) Do you seek the right to do so? Should society deter pregnancy on your behalf?

You have noticed that I have switched to arguing a liberty interest as a way to avoid discrimination against women in admissions, where before I was arguing for using race as a factor in admissions to avoid practical effect discrimination against certain minorities. How perceptive... it seems my goal might be to increase or maintain female or minority enrollment in college.

Have you also noticed that when the issue was practical effect discrimination against minorities, you defended the "objective" merit criteria that perpetuated it? And now that the issue is women in college, you advocate applying an ex post degree utilization study as an admissions factor that would also (in practice) reduce enrollment of women. What is your goal?
To increase abstract social welfare? Even if it means looking away from sex harassment? How technocratic of you.

"Right. Person. Meaning...it could be a woman."

Right, except it will be: "(usually a man) whose place she took"..."in most cases it is indeed the wife"... and the final sentence Posner writes:

"Were admission to such schools based on a prediction of the social value of the education offered, fewer women would be admitted."

I agree with Posner that the effect of using social value (defined in his narrow L&E way as he does in the text) would be to admit fewer women. He admits it. In fact, he clearly designs his subsidy to avoid being overturned by courts narrow "practical effect discrimination" jurisprudence.

The declaration that this is a L&E website does not exempt discussions here from critique. In fact, it invites mention of the widely known and difficult to refute concerns with L&E method.

nate

It would be interesting to consider a tax cut targeted or specific to people downsized at legacy corporations or companies that lost in deregulation. This might stabilize things and help people transition to new jobs.

Also, on the logic of not admitting older people due to concerns over donations to a university and lifetime earnings: you may need to consider strength of good feelings toward university in addition to lifetime earnings. A lot of 20 year olds who get a law degree like all their undergrad classmates may not appreciate the opportunity as much as a more mature person with more unique work experiences. This appreciation may translate to higher donations, more unique or differentiated success and thus desirable notoriety for a university, etc

Corey

You must work in your profession 10 years in exchange for a professional education.

You must work on my plantation 10 years in exchange for passage to this country.

Smells like... indentured servitude!

nate

one more thing on older students: they may have lots of real-world experience and situations that may be valuable to young people. young people's education (and possibly earnings) may be enhanced through interactions with these people.

anonymouse

So someone takes a few years out to raise children. Are you jealous that person had the opportunity to do so? Big deal. Raising children is damn hard work.

I've worked all my life without a break and I don't know a single woman who has NEVER worked. Not one. Almost every woman I know went back to work six weeks after the birth of a child. Of the few women I know who stayed home to care for children -- every single one, including the wives of some very rich and hardworking men -- went back to work mostly after said children started first grade...although I do know ONE woman who waited until one of her kids could drive before she went back to work.

I didn't see any kind of actual research in that NYT article by the way -- you guys are going to have to have numbers to present this as really being a problem. And then you'll also have to present numbers on everyone else who doesn't actually go on to work in their degree field, and why, and was that a waste of their education?

I wonder how many of you sour grapes people couldn't get into an elite school and therefore want to keep someone else out of one?

I am VERY tired of people who wish to make things even harder than it already is. Yes! Let's make MORE rules, shall we? There aren't possibly ENOUGH RULES in life!

Of course, we're going to make those rules for people who ARE NOT US. Because WHITE GUYS DON'T NEED MORE RULES! NO! Everyone ELSE needs rules!

Sheesh! Okay, enough ranting. Normally, I'm pretty reasonable but this is just silly. Bunch of misogynists wrapping yourself up in the flag of "public interest".

Thanks to the few of you who are voices of reason in a sea of idiots.

anonymouse

So someone takes a few years out to raise children. Are you jealous that person had the opportunity to do so? Big deal. Raising children is damn hard work. And of course the person spending the most time with the children shouldn't have any education, right? That'll benefit those kids!

I didn't see any kind of actual research in that NYT article by the way -- you guys are going to have to have numbers to present this as really being a problem. And then you'll also have to present numbers on everyone else who doesn't actually go on to work in their degree field, and why, and was that a waste of their education?

I am VERY tired of people who wish to make things even harder than it already is. Yes! Let's make MORE rules, shall we? There aren't possibly ENOUGH RULES in life!

Of course, we're going to make those rules for people who ARE NOT US. Because WE DON'T NEED MORE RULES! NO! Everyone ELSE needs rules!

Sheesh! Okay, enough ranting. Normally, I'm pretty reasonable but this is just silly. Bunch of misogynists wrapping yourself up in the flag of "public interest".

My thanks to the few of you who are voices of reason in a sea of idiots.

DP

"Although not rigorously empirical, the article confirms..."

I can't believe that a professor at any respectible university, much less the University of Chicago, would write such a ridiculous phrase. A study that is not rigorously empirical can not, by its very nature, confirm any finding. It could, perhaps, suggest directions for future research, but to confirm a result, a study must be rigorous and comprehensive. You make me embarrassed for my alma mater. U of C used to have academic standards.

Monica

Thank you anonymous! I couldn't agree with you more. Posner & company do have a misogynist undercurrent in their proposals.
The fact is that most families rely on two incomes, and they will only continue to do so. A woman's professional education therefore will be an important component for sustaining the family's income throughout a lifetime. Spouses die, get sick, lose jobs, and a woman with a professional education (even if she has to dust it off from staying at home for a few years) is in a better position to take the family's financial reins if or when that situation arises. So really- what is the big deal if a woman with a professional education takes some time out of the workforce? She will lose a portion of her potential lifetime earnings, but that is a sacrifice felt most severely by HER and her own family. Most women do end up having a more fluid career track than men because they are more likely to do the 24 hours a day seven day a week unpaid labor/service of a parent. Rather than punishing women for picking up the incredibly difficult task of raising the next generation of lawyers, maybe Posner should advocate that more professionally educated men return to the home to relieve their wives (at least for a few years).
If there was more give and take among men's career tracks then both parents could trade some time out and then return back in to the workforce. Just making such transistions more palpable to men and women and their employers would help. After the Women's movement women flooded the into the workforce and into higher education, but there was never any equivalent simultaneous flood of men into the home to take on full-time child care duties. That's why we are all in this predicament some 30+ years after the women's movement.
I took 18 months off to stay at home with my child and then I went back to work full-time. Is my professional education worthless because I took a mere 18 months out of the workforce to raise an infant to pre-school age? Was my law school attendance a "waste of time" with no value? I guess in Posner's eyes it would be. I didn't know at the time that I would take that particular amount of time out- it could've been more - it could have been less- it was not predictable as a starry-eyed law school applicant.
That is the real fallacy here. Very few people can predict with absolute certainty where their life will take them. Ask around any cocktail party and see how many people did anything remotely similar to what they first selected as their undergraduate major. There is no way to come up with a system that can "guarantee" who will stay with a particular profession in a narrowly defined context for a certain "acceptable amount of time" defined arbitrarily by a cabal of Ivy League alumi. If I were applying to law school today should I be quizzed about my intention to have a child? Should male applicants be quizzed about their intentions to sire children and demand a detailed plan for whom will raise them to school age? Let's concentrate on making it easier, not more difficult for eveyone to balance work and family. While we are at it, maybe we can acknowledge that the value of a professional education is best determined by the actual individual who obtained it.

Bernie Butler

Three brief points: (1) Posner must surely recuse himself from any discrimination cases. He displays such bias against women in the work place that his attitude creates a presumption that he will not afford any female litigant a fair hearing. (2) Posner argues about the drop-out rate from the profession. Well take a look at the "Law firm X welcomes it's 2005 Associates" adverts. It is clear that over two-thrids of the available jobs are going to the 50% of male graduates. Thus having female graduates has made it easier for the guys. It logically follows therefore that only one-thrid of the jobs are available for female candidates. Fact: Women still are discriminated against before they even land their first professional job!! Never mind the glass ceiling, it's a struggle to make it to the ground floor. (3) All women suffer from the presumption that they will leave the profession to marry a wealthy professional and live happily ever after in luxury provided by a man. NOT TRUE. There are women out there who are DEDICATED to the legal profession, who can't get an opportunity to practice in the first place thanks to this arachaic attitude!!!! Kind regards to ya'll. From a truly irritated, frustrated, dedicated and potentially fantastic lawyer.

Jack Sprat

COREY: That statement reflects the other criticism I made, namely, that shools should not get to impede the liberty interest of certain women who seek admission for a utilitarian social welfare goal.

If you truly believed that, Corey, then you wouldn't support affirmative action, because it rests on granting elite universities the same broad, sweeping authority. That affirmative action rests on the same sweeping authority was was pointed out by the dissents (and conceded by the majority) in the case! Try not being a hypcrite for a day.

Jack Sprat

COREY: In fact, he clearly designs his subsidy to avoid being overturned by courts' "practical effect discrimination" jurisprudence.

Then it isn't, in all practical effect, discrimination. So what are you complaining about? That Posner isn't sexist?

Jack Sprat

COREY: When the issue was practical effect discrimination against minorities, you defended the "objective" merit criteria that perpetuated it? And now that the issue is women in college, you advocate applying an ex post degree utilization study as an admissions factor that would also (in practice) reduce enrollment of women. What is your goal?

I don't have a "goal." Unlike you, I am not a raving ideologue.

Anyway, in the case of race, my concern was with admitting to universities objectively qualified minorities who were willing and capable of doing the work and pursuing long-term careers with their degrees. In the case of gender, my concern is with admitting to universities objectively qualified women and men who are willing and capable of doing the work and pursuing long-term careers with their degrees. What is at issue here is the "pursuing long-term careers with their degrees" part. Using objective testing ensures that the candidates are qualified in both the context of gender and race, but, as is relevant here, preferring qualified women who intend to work for 10 years over qualified women who intend to work only for 3 is an objective method of ensuring that qualified female graduates work for a long time.

R

Corey admits that he is adopting inconsistent positions in order to increase the number of women and minorities in universities. That's his goal. To call him a hypocrite on that basis is to be deliberately obtuse.

What is more interesting is the reverse positions (which many on this thread hold). Sprat, you oppose Corey both in this thread and the affirmative action thread, on seemingly inconsistent grounds. Where the inconsistent positions each result in keeping women and minorities out of universities, how can the inconsistency be explained, except that you are motivated by the purpose of keeping women and minorities out of universities? Is that your position, Sprat, or are you just a hypocrite?

John Williams

MONICA: If there was more give and take among men's career tracks then both parents could trade some time out and then return back in to the workforce.

Or, instead of completely revamping our society, admissions policies to elite universities could favor women who intend to work a long time over women who plan to make their career into a pit stop. How in Mother Teresa's name is that sexist? It rewards those women who work hardest!

Jack Sprat

R: Where the inconsistent positions each result in keeping women and minorities out of universities, how can the inconsistency be explained, except that you are motivated by the purpose of keeping women and minorities out of universities? Is that your position, Sprat, or are you just a hypocrite?

Actually, if you read my posts on affirmative action, you would have noted that I am a "minority". I certainly have no intention of keeping minorities out of elite universities. In fact, part of my point in supporting objective evaluative methods -- SATs and unweighted gpa -- is to deprive admissions boards of unfettered discretion, which leads to arbitrary and capricious decision-making. I didn't propose that elite universities should have unfettered discretion in any posts here. What I did is note that Posner's proposal is neither abritrary nor capricious.

Additionally, part of my post on race was that extreme Leftists (at least the ones who post here) consistently assume that minorities need help to get into school, as if they aren't smart enough to pass standardized tests. I see the same biases here: that women simply can't do the work, that women simply won't rise to the challenge of higher standards, that there won't be enough intelligent women to enroll if women are asked to work longer. That isn't true. And no one who believed that women and minorities possessed equal intellectual and moral capacities would oppose using objective methods to evaluate work performance or incentivize productivity.

Frankly, I think Corey is a bigot. All you have to do is check the archives of this page to see I'm not the only one who thinks so.

N.E.Hatfield

What? The race and gender card again? How blase'! How about setting it up like the Service Acadamies, each State gets to enroll the top two applicants on a yearly publically administered test. Irregardless of race, gender, creed, or sexual orientation. What could be fairer than that? To those who didn't make the grade, tough luck, and enjoy the rest of your life.

N.E.Hatfield

Oh, BTW, as for the use of the education, a stipulated requirement for enrollment is required. That is each graduate must work or serve X number of years in the profession.

Palooka

PALOOKA: I am saying that introducing criteria which favors men over women will result in more men in the class.

Anonymous (Jack Sprat?):Who says it favors men? It favors persons with a certain work ethic. The point is that you don't know how many women out there who posess such a work ethic aren't getting into elite universities because they are being edged out by the slightest of margins by women without it.

Me: Still, in any one group of women (law school applicants) a subgroup within that group of women is smaller; in this case those elite law school applicants who wish to work longer than 8 years is smaller than all women elite law school applicants.

A few law schools could probably implement some of the policies here and still manage to maintain their balance of women and men. They could conceivably do this by appealing to those women who wish to work 8 years or more, even if they lose those who wish to work less. However, if the policies under discussion here were systemic, I think it's unavoidable that fewer women would attend law schools (unless those who decide not to apply because of the contraints are replaced by those who choose to apply because of them). I just don't see the former group being smaller than the latter, however, and therefore conclude that the policies under discussion will result in fewer female applicants and fewer female admittees to elite law schools.

I agree with you in your objection to the criticism the policy as "sexist" or whatever. Disparate impact does not imply an invidiousness. Requiring upper body strength of police officers has disparate impact on women but it seems to me a reasonable qualification of the job. Likewise, Posner's suggestions can be defended as based on legitimate, rational reasons, even if I personally feel that reasoning in this case is particularly weak. I think Posner over-estimates the social value of elite education, and under-estimates the benefits of the behavior (even on one's career and social contribution through that career) he is wishing to discourage.

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