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> Price of Education and Labour, Why are there still so many educated people in 2070?
Gast
post Sep 15 2008, 05:58 PM
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The policlub thread led me to an interesting question: Why should there be a large number of people with higher education from developed countries left? As you cannot undercut the living cost of countries who are underdeveloped, megacorps should act like locusts and always hire the doctors and scientific minds from these countries first. And as finding a job with a diploma is really improbable if you're from a developed country and thus have a high cost of living, few people would invest. There would always be stipendiate programs for the obviously gifted, and the children of the ultra rich who don't have to care about that kind of money (assuming government funding to universities et al. has declined or stopped, in accordance with the NWO), but that's it. That should lead to some cycle of human resource crop rotation, where the living standards of all countries on Earth except for restrictive authoritarian regimes get on the same level. Is that level reached in SR? I'm not certain about that.

Also, there is no language barrier anymore. Speech chips are relatively cheap compared to the cost of quality labour, and the employee can still have to take an advance on his salary to finance the implants. And through the vast and infinite web called Matrix, there is absolutely no trouble in finding and interviewing people in even the most remote corners of the Earth, and megacorps are vlose to ominpresent anyway, so they can easily interview, test and hire these people without costly travel procedures.
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Ol' Scratch
post Sep 15 2008, 06:06 PM
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You assume everyone cares about money. Not everyone does. There are countless examples today of doctors, scientists, and teachers who forgo wealth in lieu of doing charity work in third world countries. Not because it's in their best self-interest, but because they want to.
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Gast
post Sep 15 2008, 06:12 PM
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True, but I was thinking about the high prices of education in the future that raise the entrance barriers for higher learning a lot. That is because I assume in the world of Shadowrun, Universities run on a completely economic model, just like everything else. That means, if you get out of your place of study, the normal person would have accumulated such a debt that a lot of people would now have to take the best paid job to get rid of their debts (another possibility would of course be to discard the SIN ^^). Of course there would also be those people you describe, but they'd have to be wealthy enough to be able to afford that kind of charity.

Following that, I assumed that due to the cost of living in developed countries, where the soy/fuel/housing is more expensive than in developing countries, most people from lower to middle income society would see that their chance to pay off such a debt is so small that they wouldn't bother with an academic career in the first place. Let's not talk about soft sciences like sociology, philosophy and such.
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CanRay
post Sep 15 2008, 06:12 PM
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This is actually why Scientist Extractions are able to work.

Scientist Sam is an expert in Transdimentional Physics. But, while working at Renraku, they got him working on Paradimentional Physics as if it's the same thing!!!

Mitsuhama offers SS a chance to jump ship and do what he actually wants, all he has to do is go with the JoyToy Elf that offers him a blue carnation.

Enter the 'Runners.
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Ol' Scratch
post Sep 15 2008, 06:16 PM
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You're also forgetting the existance of Tutorsofts. Or the fact that it's kind of useless for a megacorp to scoop up all the brilliant minds around the world and leave those areas to rot when the Next Great Mind might be found in those self-same areas.
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Gast
post Sep 15 2008, 06:19 PM
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Yes, but extractions take place for the upper crust, the scientific elite. Not for your run-of-the-mill DocWagon doc who's happy if he can afford a middle sized apartment and maybe something above the cheapest commuter cars. Those people have to have a pretty good education, too.
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The ubbergeek
post Sep 15 2008, 06:20 PM
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Maybe on the cynical side, there *is* profits to be made yet still? The corporations are not also the only players there, and freelancers/independant workers still exist...
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Gast
post Sep 15 2008, 06:24 PM
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Yes, I was forgetting tutorsofts. So, how do you think they'd fit into the picture? Instead of going to university, Fritz Everyork runs those things while flipping Schnitzel and Pommes at the local fast food joint? I like that thought.

Your other point was what I wanted to get at with this thread. Yes, it would be bad for the corps. But corps cannot allow themselves to think like that. Investing in the national education system means they are keeping a resource healthy from which everyone may draw. Net loss for the mega who does it, net gain for those who don't. It's a typical prisoner's dilemma situation, really.
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hyzmarca
post Sep 15 2008, 06:55 PM
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Automization has reached the point where the only good use of unskilled labor is to make sure hackers don't steal your stuff. A drone can flip a burger for substantially less than a person can, for example. And drones don't need pee breaks or employee discounts.

Stuffer Shacks can work fine with just an automatic checkout system and an automated sentry gun to make sure that people don't steal stuff. When you walk it it scans your credstick if you try to walk out with more stuff than you can afford the exist closes and the ED-209 calmly asks you to return the extra merchandise.

In essence, skilled and educated jobs are the only jobs left anywhere in the world, unless you want to sell body parts to Asamando.
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Gast
post Sep 15 2008, 06:58 PM
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Drones need to be repaired, replaced, they need maintenance and parts from the supplier. Ever bought replacement parts for a car? They drain you on those.

Employees don't need all that. They get their money and if they go kaputt, you get another one. IMO, in most really low paid jobs, human labour can not be replaced cost effectively, because it's cheaper to hire 3 lowlifes than one mechanic and drone fuel. Because there's so many lowlifes, you know, and they're willing to work for practically anything.
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raverbane
post Sep 16 2008, 02:27 AM
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Yea, corps luv the indentured worker approach over the auto-drone worker in my game.

The corp employees you (paying you said wage)

You pay the corp rent.
You buy the corp's recreational goodies.
You buy the corp's food.
You pay to ride the corp's public transportation or pay to lease a car from the corp..

It pays to still have unskilled schmuks flipping soypatties at the Stuffer Shack.
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Cain
post Sep 16 2008, 02:41 AM
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You forget that a lot of corps run the schools. They want to raise good little corporate drones as well as looking for the next great mind. If the corps are offering free education, along with promotions for those who do well, people will be inclined to educate themselves.
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The ubbergeek
post Sep 16 2008, 02:48 AM
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Albeit, the education of course will be.. sterilised. And some knowledges and ideas.... Indexed.

After all, you don't want them too free-minded and criticaly thinking, that wouldn't do. No.
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hyzmarca
post Sep 16 2008, 02:56 AM
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QUOTE (raverbane @ Sep 15 2008, 10:27 PM) *
Yea, corps luv the indentured worker approach over the auto-drone worker in my game.

The corp employees you (paying you said wage)

You pay the corp rent.
You buy the corp's recreational goodies.
You buy the corp's food.
You pay to ride the corp's public transportation or pay to lease a car from the corp..

It pays to still have unskilled schmuks flipping soypatties at the Stuffer Shack.


If they live on corp property and get paid in corp scrip, yeah. If they work at Stuffer Shack and live in a crappy Seattle apartment, then no because the corp can not control where they spend. A Burger Flipper Gets paid 5.15 an hour. Over a year that's 45,115 nuyen. They also work in three shifts and if one fails to show up then you've got a choice between offering time and a half to the one who should be going home or or having an empty position.

Combat drones cost 5,000 nuyen. These are highly sophisticated machines that shoot people. A device that moves a spatula up and down, I would imagine, costs significantly less. Lets say our burger drone costs 3,000 and that it can do everything required to make a burger. It uses electricity but it also doesn't need air conditioning, so that's a push. If it only lasts for a year then you've saved 42,115 nuyen per position.

And even in a corporate controled envirement there is the issue of actual cost of the employee vs actual productivity of the employee drones work faster and they work more efficiency, and though employees pay for your resources it is still true that they're using your resources. If you replace all of our people with robots that can be the same work in half the time, you not only increase your productivity but you can turn their crappy low-rent living spaces into posh condos and make a small fortune on them.
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jago668
post Sep 16 2008, 03:00 AM
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I imagine a good many of the universities are more like technical schools. You still have some traditional schools, but a fair number would be trade schools. The corporate run ones would be that way also. They (the corps) wouldn't care if you had UCAS history 1 & 2, they would just want you to be able to do a certain job.
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Cain
post Sep 16 2008, 03:56 AM
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QUOTE
Combat drones cost 5,000 nuyen. These are highly sophisticated machines that shoot people. A device that moves a spatula up and down, I would imagine, costs significantly less. Lets say our burger drone costs 3,000 and that it can do everything required to make a burger. It uses electricity but it also doesn't need air conditioning, so that's a push. If it only lasts for a year then you've saved 42,115 nuyen per position.

Drones don't recirculate money. People do.

Let's say that said person makes 45,115 per year. Now, he spends 95% of that, but only 80% on stuff owned by his home corp. That means the company made back 36,092 on that guy. That's a difference of 6,023 over a drone. So, if he works for more than 3 years, the corp will have made a better investment.

Not to mention, humans are more adaptable than drones are. If you replace one human's job, you can teach him a different one. Not all drones can do that. So long as the corp wisely invests in education, they can have a docile and trained workforce that cycles 80-90% of the payroll back into the corp coffers.
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Gast
post Sep 16 2008, 09:41 AM
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I don't like the idea that drones are actually cheaper than human labour of the lowest category. IMO, the fuel cost for the robot together with maintenance of the robot should more than cover the price for hiring one guy, even if the drone got an electric drive. And you cannot afford not to make a maintenance contract, except if you hire a mechanic yourself. As Cain also pointed out, you'd have to update the software regularly. Maybe the drone is more effective, but really, we are talking about a fast food joint here. Effectivity is rarely a factor, only in meal time hours.
I can imagine it for big fast food chains though, they could buy and maintain giant drone fleets comparably cheaply because of economies of scale.


But I want to stay open to the idea. Let's say 95% of the working poor can be conveniently replaced by drones. 30-40% of the population lose their job. These is no social security net. The results would probably be an authoritarian state with protected markets through overwhelming support for political extremists, or straight civil war maybe.
Maybe you have another idea of what could happen. I am just really not ready to let drones do the cheap labour, because I can not imagine a working social structure with that. The biggest irony is that without the sales to the working poor, fast food joints would go bankrupt.

It's another prisoner's dilemma we have here. We maybe need an international accord from the Corp Court here, to restrict drone labour and support the education market. Without that, both the labour and the education market would get seriously fucked up, which isn't in the Megas best interest, they need educated people and customers.
The other possibility is that all but the very best unversities go broke and higher education of low to middle income classes is mainly handled over tutorsofts and AR/VR, or extended training courses on the job as well as corp owned education systems. And drones are not cheap enough to handle the jobs of the working poor, so we don't need an intervention of a higher power like the Corp Court to resolve the prisoner's dilemma (the court probably would not act on something like that without some serious incidents anyway).

Still, I already got some nice ideas out of this thread - children getting datajacks and tutorsofts from their parents instead of visiting school; a day in an automated McHughes where former employees storm in and baseball bat the service drones to trash; Ex-students turned sinless to escape their college and university loans...good material, I guess.
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Cain
post Sep 16 2008, 02:03 PM
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QUOTE
But I want to stay open to the idea. Let's say 95% of the working poor can be conveniently replaced by drones. 30-40% of the population lose their job. These is no social security net. The results would probably be an authoritarian state with protected markets through overwhelming support for political extremists, or straight civil war maybe.
Maybe you have another idea of what could happen. I am just really not ready to let drones do the cheap labour, because I can not imagine a working social structure with that. The biggest irony is that without the sales to the working poor, fast food joints would go bankrupt.

Not to disagree with you, but what you've described sounds an awful lot like the lives of the average SINless people in Shadowrun. The line between the Haves and Have Nots is more clearly drawn; the class war is over, the poor lost. The corps are still looking for a way to make money off the working poor, though, so they do need to inject enough education and money into the system to keep it going.
QUOTE
Still, I already got some nice ideas out of this thread - children getting datajacks and tutorsofts from their parents instead of visiting school; a day in an automated McHughes where former employees storm in and baseball bat the service drones to trash; Ex-students turned sinless to escape their college and university loans...good material, I guess.

I just had an inspiration. Food Fight 2! (IMG:style_emoticons/default/cool.gif)
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Gast
post Sep 16 2008, 02:44 PM
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QUOTE
Not to disagree with you, but what you've described sounds an awful lot like the lives of the average SINless people in Shadowrun.


True, but if you lose your job, you don't lose your SIN. And in my picture of SR, there are a lot more working poor people than there are SINless people. And between SIN and SINless, there's a lot of differences to me. Also, if you rob ~35% of the population of their basic means of existence, brother we might have another go at the class war thing.

And personally, I really enjoy including the occasional commie policlub subplot or ghetto riot in my campaigns - in the world of Shadowrun, one of these powder kegs should be bursting every hour anyway. But with unemployed numbers like the drones would produce, we'd be down to one keg per second, and even a trained military rule would be overthrown pretty quickly by a mob like that IMO.
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CanRay
post Sep 16 2008, 02:57 PM
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Actually, gives me an idea of a Moralistic game where the Shadowrunners have to break up a Union trying to get Worker's Rights going again.

Against a Non-Rated or an A-Rated Corp, of course. AA-Rated and above simply make Unions Illegal in their "Country".
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hyzmarca
post Sep 16 2008, 03:17 PM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Sep 15 2008, 10:56 PM) *
Drones don't recirculate money. People do.

Let's say that said person makes 45,115 per year. Now, he spends 95% of that, but only 80% on stuff owned by his home corp. That means the company made back 36,092 on that guy. That's a difference of 6,023 over a drone. So, if he works for more than 3 years, the corp will have made a better investment.


What a second? Losing six grand for three years is somehow a better investment. That doesn't make any sense.

Anyway, recirculation is marred by economic entropy. Goods generally cost what the market will bear. That usually isn't very much over cost, due to competition. Lets say that the Corp makes a soyburger value meal for 2 nuyen and charges 3 for it. When an outside customer eats that soyburger value meal its entire cost is returned in addition to the profit. When an employee eats that soyburger value meal 2 nuyen vanishes into the aether, resulting in a net loss of 1 nuyen for the Corp.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics, in a closed system entropy always increases. Economic entropy is the reason why Socialism in one Country failed miserably. Without a constant influx of new resources any economy is doomed to failure.


The actual cost of labor is measured in actual resource costs taking into account economic entropy - actual value of production. For humans, actual resource costs include things like lights, air conditioning, equipment, safety gear, and other necessities in addition to wages - (recirculated wages - economic entropy) while actual production is reduced by things like lunch breaks, smoke breaks, shift changes, sick days, slowdown, and ect.

Drones do cost electricity, but they also don't need environmental conditioning, or safety gear, except in the most extreme environments. Furthermore, drones can go into power-saving mode when there is no work for them while you have to pay metahumans full wages to stand around and do nothing. Furthermore, drones tend to work more quickly and more efficiently than metahumans do, increasing overall production. Remember the tale of John Henry. the greatest steel-driving man to ever live. Though he was able to keep up with his mechanical replacement for some time, he died from the extreme exertion of performing at that level. And he was the greatest steel-driving man who ever lived. Most people wouldn't have been able to come close to matching him and, by extension, most wouldn't have come close to matching the steam hammer.

And, of course, if you have to buy hammers for all of your employees anyway, there is little reason not to fire them all and buy robot hammers instead.

There will, of course. always be jobs that require a level of adaptability that specialized drones don't have, and metahumans will be necessary for these jobs. Customer service in a posh restaurant is a good example. You'll want actual people instead of robots simply for atmosphere. Manning the desk at an upscale hotel to deal with customer complaints is another (low-rent motels have ED-209s to handle customer complaints). Anything that requires direct friendly interaction with metahumans benefits from a metahuman, actually, as does anything that thinking outside the box.
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CanRay
post Sep 16 2008, 03:34 PM
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That's your answer to everything, isn't it?

Just pull out the ED-209 and let them go nuts.

...

Good answer.
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Cain
post Sep 16 2008, 04:32 PM
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QUOTE
Anyway, recirculation is marred by economic entropy. Goods generally cost what the market will bear. That usually isn't very much over cost, due to competition. Lets say that the Corp makes a soyburger value meal for 2 nuyen and charges 3 for it. When an outside customer eats that soyburger value meal its entire cost is returned in addition to the profit. When an employee eats that soyburger value meal 2 nuyen vanishes into the aether, resulting in a net loss of 1 nuyen for the Corp.

That presumes the employee gets to eat the soyburger for free. That's not necessarily the case, some restaurants don't even offer employee discounts. And even when they do, sometimes you're only allowed leftovers, which would otherwise go to waste. By doing that, the corp gets say, 50% of the value; a good deal for them, since otherwise they'd get 0%.

While I understand economic entropy, I did factor that into the equation, by calculating a 80% return rate instead of 100%.
QUOTE
Drones do cost electricity, but they also don't need environmental conditioning, or safety gear, except in the most extreme environments. Furthermore, drones can go into power-saving mode when there is no work for them while you have to pay metahumans full wages to stand around and do nothing. Furthermore, drones tend to work more quickly and more efficiently than metahumans do, increasing overall production.

Drones also require regular maintenance, and metahuman oversight. Keep any machine going 24/7, and you will start getting errors. And even when things are working correctly, you need someone on hand in case of a breakdown, or other error. (Like not getting the new cooking protocols, and instead continuing to use the old ones.) At any event, you can't completely remove the need for regular employees, and your foreman and mechanic will need to be educated.
QUOTE
And personally, I really enjoy including the occasional commie policlub subplot or ghetto riot in my campaigns - in the world of Shadowrun, one of these powder kegs should be bursting every hour anyway. But with unemployed numbers like the drones would produce, we'd be down to one keg per second, and even a trained military rule would be overthrown pretty quickly by a mob like that IMO.

True. I can see how keeping things one step shy of the revolution would make for a fun and exciting game. However, don't underestimate bread and circuses. That's been a very successful prescription for a very long time.
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hyzmarca
post Sep 16 2008, 04:59 PM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Sep 16 2008, 11:32 AM) *
That presumes the employee gets to eat the soyburger for free. That's not necessarily the case, some restaurants don't even offer employee discounts.


Actually, that assumes that the employee is paying full price, no more than what any other customer would pay. It also assumes that the corp is marking up its soyburger value meals by 50%, which is a rather high markup which is certain to be driven lower by market forces.

Corporations get keep the profit from their sales. However, there are also costs which must be paid before one has profit.

Lets say you pay a guy 3 nuyen for 36 minutes of work. He then uses that 3 nuyen to buy a hamburger that cost you 2 nuyen to make. You've just paid the guy 2 nuyen for 36 minutes of work, in essence. The corporation must always pay the cost of the resources that its employees buy from it. It does not get that cost back, unlike when outside people buy from it. The real cost of employee salaries in a closed corporate economy where they can't buy from anyone else is thus equal to the actual cost of the goods purchased.

Thus, cost for a salaried employee who can be expected to buy some corp goods equals (Actual Cost of Corp Goods Purchased) + (Money not spent on corp Goods).

And you always need metahuman managment, even when supervising metahuman employees, so that really doesn't change anything.
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raggedhalo
post Sep 16 2008, 05:16 PM
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Educated people are generally more productive. Corps like productive. Similarly, happy people are generally more productive, which is why the corps don't just step on everyone's neck.

Education is also a key aspirational goal for the underclass (cf. Orkland!) and promotes freedom. So it's not like there's not a market for education; Shadowrun economics therefore make it a bit of a no-brainer as to why education still operates.

Also, drones/skillsofters aren't creative. They can only follow very clear instructions.

Finally, corporate domination (at least in my view of Shadowrun) isn't absolute; it's pervasive, certainly, but it's not like they're the only game in town. There are plenty of employers without extraterritoriality.

Plus, y'know, people object to being viewed solely as economic units.
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