Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Did you understand the work for no pay poll?

  1. yes

    17 vote(s)
  2. no

    5 vote(s)
  1. Oct 18, 2005 #1
    Did you understand the "work for no pay" poll?

    Russ is saying you didn't understand what I was asking. I think some of you didn't, but most of you did.

    So did you? Private poll, answer yes or no.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 18, 2005 #2
    I don't understand this poll. I voted yes because I thought by "Private poll, answer yes or no" you were asking whether or not this was a private poll but now I'm not so sure. Perhaps more options are required, such as "What?" and "Oh no!" and "Mmmmm, tastes like mince". Have another poll and find out.
  4. Oct 18, 2005 #3
    I'll say that I more or less understood.
  5. Oct 18, 2005 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I understand and I agree. I further suggested some social structure ideas which I think would've benefited the humanity and the individual and greatly improved our societies
  6. Oct 18, 2005 #5
    That poll looked a little too serious to be in gd, so I refrained from posting :smile:
  7. Oct 18, 2005 #6
    I think it's bad GD is synonymous with levity. When I first joined it used to be primarily serious threads, on non-science topics of course. I hope people realize GD isn't supposed to be the "humor" or "junk" forum, despite the frequent appearance of being that. I would hope serious threads don't end up seeming out of place here.
  8. Oct 18, 2005 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    I understood what you were asking about, but I was participating in the P&WA thread that you were tangenting off from. <- Look ma, I invented a verb!
  9. Oct 18, 2005 #8


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    It wasn't that clear to me because you had this for the poll title: What community-oriented work would you do for no pay?

    I was in a hurry and responded based on that and thought it was about volunteer work.

    I tend to think if people here realized they no longer had to work to support themselves and could devote themselves to learning more about what they love...physics, math, etc... that they would do that. Isn't that what scientists want, to get grants that allow them to pursue their interests in science and not have to earn a living? I have a problem seeing all of the bright young minds here throwing away their scientific pursuits to do manual labor instead. But, if they say they'd rather do menial labor, then I guess I'm wrong.
  10. Oct 18, 2005 #9


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Hey now thats where you are wrong :biggrin:

    By farming you will obviously be conducting a scientific task with myriad of advanced concepts and tools. I dont think you'd just grow the plants, you would also perhaps conduct certain chemical engineering on them, isolating compounds of interest and processing them. Farming of the future is where its at :tongue2:
  11. Oct 18, 2005 #10
    The specific contention that prompted the poll was something like:

    "People won't work if the state provides for their needs."

    (leaving aside for the moment that the state can only provide for needs if the society is contributing in some fashion) I disagree with the contention. I think most people will work (even if there is no monetary compensation) because they enjoy working and/or contributing.

    Some people wouldn't work. We see that even in a capitalist society.

    I hope there'd still be room for science in any society. :smile:
  12. Oct 18, 2005 #11
    I mean, most of us choose to have kids. That's certainly (a) work (b) no pay (c) a contribution to society..... (d) counterintuitive.....

    I think people would rather feel productive than like bumps on a log.
  13. Oct 18, 2005 #12
    I can see where several of teh options in the poll could afford some opertunity for research and experimentation but not really quite as emersed as many scientists would probably prefer.
    Nikola Tesla spent days on end with little to no sleep just tinkering and experimenting. He also spent a fortune and used vast quantities of energy in the process with little viable use for his work at that time when all was said and done. In the described society I'm quite sure Tesla would have been rather constrained in his persuits, especially after blacking out parts of the energy grid a time too often. "Sorry old boy, no playing with the electrical outlets for you any more."
  14. Oct 19, 2005 #13


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    Come on, patty. As a biologist, you know as well as anyone that the drive to reproduce is one of the fundamental motivating forces behind all life. There is nothing counterintuitive about people having kids.
  15. Oct 19, 2005 #14
    I don't think experimenting on the food supply counts as "community-oriented work" :biggrin:
  16. Oct 19, 2005 #15


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Patty, can you guess what a poll in the old TD forum asking "do you understand physics ?" would have yielded ?

    It makes little sense to ask people if they understood something without telling them what they were supposed to have understood.
  17. Oct 19, 2005 #16
    Since I've been here (April this year) GD has seemed primarily about silliness, which suits me down to the ground. However, it would be a shame if other people are losing out because of it. Is the serious aspect of GD covered by the subforums, do you think? If not, perhaps a 'PF gay banter' subforum could be created to contain the less serious discussions?
  18. Oct 19, 2005 #17
    It seems I can't win, can I?

    Russ said that I phrased things in a confusing way, and suggested how to fix it. I disagreed. To ask who was right, I posted this poll. If even half the respondents said that they had been confused, then I would acknowledge that people were more confused than I realized, as Russ seemed to fear. I kept this poll short - because, you know, I didn't want to 'confuse' anyone (and the guidelines on the poll form say to keep things brief.)

    So now you're saying that this poll is too confusing. Are you just trying to wind me up?

    Do you *really* think that the original poll was as complex a thing to understand as Physics?

    Do you really think most people didn't understand the concept? Don't you think most people are a *little* more capable than that?

    Here's a fun activity. Below are some of the people from the first poll. Now, you tell me, which of these people are so dense that they failed to understand both the first and the second poll? (Or is this concept too complex for you? I happen to think you're bright enough to understand the point.)

    Alpha, Astronuc, cronxeh, Evo, hypatia, Knavish, laminatedevildoll, loseyourname, pattylou, Smurf, Andy, BobG, cefarix, Danger, eax, Gale, Smasherman, SpaceTiger, TheStatutoryApe, vanesch, yomamma, 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21, hypatia, Mk, Pengwuino, Zantra
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2005
  19. Oct 19, 2005 #18


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Mmmm... dense :tongue2:
  20. Oct 19, 2005 #19


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    No, I would not work for no pay. :grumpy:

    (Please, please, be the right answer. I don't want to be the answer to pattylou's last question. :frown: )

    Okay, actually, I thought the first poll was about what community service you would do in your spare time - in addition to your normal job, in other words.

    (Had I answered this poll before reading the posts, I would have answered yes.)
  21. Oct 19, 2005 #20


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    You tend to ask questions with preferred answers, patty - such as this one, as Gokul pointed out. But that isn't the only flaw in that poll. More:
    Yes, exactly! That's one of the fundamental flaws in any system where you are not rewarded for performance. I call it the "death spiral of medicrity". Such systems eventually fail (ie, the USSR) because they breed mediocrity. I visited Lithuania with the Navy a few years ago and you can practically taste it. As we pulled into the shipyard, one look at the rows and rows of rusting cranes and abandoned ships and I said, "yep, that's what I'd have expected from communism".
    Yes, I know - but it sounds a lot less enticing the way I put it, doesn't it? You and Smurf both just assume that such a system will work and you tried to imply that people who don't work within the system are lazy. Well the USSR did not work and it wasn't because Russians are lazy, its because a system where you are not rewarded for individuality and performance crushes your spirit and does not work. You're the one pursuing the contradiction, not me.

    The way you asked the question assumes the existence (or potential existence) of a fantasy world.
    Maybe I emphasized the wrong word there. What I said was: the conclusions you drew cannot be drawn from your poll. You set up the poll question in a way that ensured that you'd get the answers you were looking for and as a result, the conclusion you drew is meaningless.

    There are, however, some conclusions that can be drawn from it. Most importantly, you'll notice that people said they'd do things that make them happy or feel good. Not a lot of people will choose to be sewer cleaners, or janitors, or fast-food workers, or mindless office drones. That highlights one of the major flaws in the system you envision: people will not do the work that sucks but still needs to be done unless you force them to.

    But it gets worse: in a system where you have a chocie, you can be happy being a janitor because of the knowledge that you have some level of control over your situation. A system that does not reward performance crushes the spirit of the brain surgeon who makes $8 an hour because he isn't being rewarded for his skills and it crushes the spirit of the garbage truck driver because he's being forced to be a garbage truck driver and there is nothing he can do about it.

    It is no coincidence that the USSR had one of the highest rates of alcoholism in the world. But that isn't the cause of the medicrity, it's just one more effect of a system where people know they will not be rewarded for performance.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2005
  22. Oct 19, 2005 #21
    I don't think your position is completely wrong, and I don't think mine is completely wrong. (I think I'm more right than you :tongue2: but now I'm splitting hairs.)

    I do think people understood the poll. (It would seem that over 80% of them understood the poll.)

    So, which of the people on the list do you think didn't understand *this* poll?

    You, Townsend, Smurf, I, and everyone else on that capitalism thread *agree* that pure systems are flawed. No one here is so stupid as to think that a pure socioeconomic system is flawless. On the other hand, specific *absolute* contentions that are made - like the contention that *no one* would be a janitor - are trivial to test. I clean house daily. I occasionally enjoy it. Just how many janitors do we need? We need far more farmers, and the numbers on the poll indicate that we'd have that. The contention that I was interested in testing, was "No one would work if they didn't have to." Period. That was the contention, and it's wrong. People work for enjoyment. Period.

    I never said money does not allow some people to work at jobs that they wouldn't choose otherwise. I never even said we should do away with capitalism. I siomply took issue with the idea that people are lazy and won't work if they don't have to. There is really nothing in that - nothing - that should spark an argument between us. You seem to think I am arguing for an idyllic commune, when I am merely making the point that *of course* people will work for pleasure.

    I am content with the results of the polls I posted. If you'd like to put one up, perhaps addressing whether the results on these polls are misleading, go for it.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2005
  23. Oct 19, 2005 #22


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Not at all.

    1. I didn't ever say that the first poll was hard to understand. It seems, however, that there were a few people that didn't get what that poll was really about - and these were most of the folks who likely were not participants in the Capitalism thread. But this was not a point made by me.

    2. I made two points about this poll.

    First, if you're trying to find out who understood the other poll, it would help to clarify what was intended by that poll before asking people whether they understood it. How do you know that those respondents that said they understood, did understand ? If there's a statement explaining the other poll, then respondents have something to check their understanding against. It's like asking students to solve a problem and then asking them if they got the correct answer without giving them the solution. I was merely suggesting that it would have helped if you'd provided the solution first.

    Second, it appears to me that from the responses of some respondents (eg: Evo, BobG to name a couple), that they were perhaps not talking about what they would do purely for the benefit of the community, but rather, what they would do to satisfy their own spirits.

    And as a final word, it's one thing to have people say that they will work for the benefit of the community, and another thing entirely to say that the community benits more from this sytem that one where people work for their own selfish gains. But this is just an outside comment, as the poll was not intended to address this question.

    Having said the above, I believe what comes next is irrelevant, but I'll answer them if you still want me to.

    Last edited: Oct 19, 2005
  24. Oct 19, 2005 #23


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I share this same opinion, but ...
    ...that's purely anecdotal, and hardly statistically significant to support as broad a statement as you made above.

    Is it ? Is this your opinion or a fact ? It certainly sounds plausible but that's a powerful claim to make without supporting evidence.

    I've seen studies that show that alcoholism and drug use in Russia have only increased since it turned capitalist (and this has become a giant headache for the ministry).

    http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/7189-9.cfm [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  25. Oct 19, 2005 #24


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I misunderstood the first poll :redface: But I have the flu, so I am operating on reduced capacity.

    Poor pattylou, you are being picked on a bit too much.
  26. Oct 19, 2005 #25
    'Sokay. (After all, I have data. Muahahaha!)

    But thanks! And I hope you're better.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook