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Oversaturated fields

  1. Dec 30, 2014 #1
    I hope this isn't deleted for "personal theory" reasons because it's really just a discussion point. I just have to give two paragraphs of preamble before getting to the point.

    To me, an oversaturated field is one in which there are too many qualified people for the number of quality jobs available. There is also another level of oversaturation, such as in the entertainment industries, where "success" is defined by becoming the next Beyonce and anything else is failure, so that only one in about ten million qualified practitioners considers themselves succesful.

    I see oversaturated fields as suffering from two magnified problems (which are problems in all fields but especially pronounced in oversaturated ones). First, sociopolitical factors are what decide success, and technical competence is nearly irrelevant. Second, success requires bloody-minded ruthlessness, and any ethical qualms a qualified practitioner has about stooping to any evil action makes her success unlikely.

    So here's my discussion point: has the video game design industry become oversaturated to the extreme extent that the entertainment industries are? I see several similarities between them, but would like to see what other people have to say.
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  3. Dec 30, 2014 #2


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    1. I disagree with that first point. Sociopolitical factors can play a role in a person's success, of course. But in a technical field, my experience is that the incompetant are quickly weeded out. Instead, what I see is that a base level of technical competence is necessary, both to get hired and stay hired or promoted. Once you're over a threshold though, other factors start coming into play. This can be frsutrating to those who have a very high technical capacity but minimal skills or opportunities in other areas.

    2. I disgree with that second point as well. In my experience those with "bloody-minded ruthlessness" only get so far in their careers and don't make a lot of friends getting there. Questionable ethics and "evil actions" tend to get people in a lot of hot water. Maybe that's because I work in a fairly transparent and publically scritunized field.
  4. Dec 30, 2014 #3
    I didn't express myself very well. The way I described those two factors was as they exist in extremely oversaturated fields, such as the entertainment industries. In a field that is not saturated, technical competence does matter; and even in mildly oversaturated fields, there is a possibility of a technically proficient but socially and politically inept practitioner to find a place that suits them. In terms of ruthlessness, the need for ruthlessness arises only at a certain point of oversaturation. Sub that point, there is still room for some ethics on a scale where the number of ethical proscriptions increases as approach to saturation decreases.

    Anyway, what is your take on my discussion point?
  5. Dec 30, 2014 #4


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    I can't comment on the video game field specifically. It wouldn't surprise me to learn it meets your definition of "over saturated", though. It's been a magnet for employees for some time. Like all new fields where there is good money to be made, they mature pretty quickly. It's a market thing. Eventually a balance point is found.

    I can't comment about ruthlessness being required, but even if that's true it's a lot more complicated than that. People who are above a certain age will often tell you there is a *huge* component of luck involved in many careers. That should be no surprise - such is life. Plenty of jerks make it to the top but many fail, too. Same can be said for the nicest of people.

    Still, it's a good idea to turn good luck your way. Education, hard work, and being a good person will get you somewhere (hopefully a good place!), and when you get there you can at least feel good about yourself.
  6. Dec 30, 2014 #5

    I've heard grumblings from within the video game industry that there is not always good money to be made. One person said that there are video game development sweatshops in countries such as India where overworked employees are paid less than taxi drivers despite the fact that they have a university education and considerable professional skill. Such outsourcing is allegedly more and more common. On a related note, some geriatric nurse jobs in small, private care facilities pay minimum wage to perfectly qualified R.N.s, so that field might be oversaturated as well.

    As for ruthlessness, sociopolitical capability and talent also matter. A ruthless but sociopolitically inept person won't make it as far as a more sociopolitically apt person who does impose limits on what she will do. But with capabilities being equal, the ruthless person will ALWAYS defeat the ethical person. That's not a matter of such is life but is something built right into the necessities of the physical universe.

    "Luck" is actually a notion of Far Eastern origin that implies some intelligent agency behind happenstances. The equivalent Western Tradition concept is "randomness," which is completely lacking in intelligence or agency. We are all confused about that because Machiavelli fused the two to create "Fortuna," and, as we all know, Machiavelli is the secular Mammon of the 21st century. I, however, don't believe the English word "luck" has any coherent meaning, just as the word "phlogiston" has no coherent meaning.
  7. Dec 30, 2014 #6


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    Not sure where you're getting that information, but it's totally, completely wrong. There is nothing in the "necessities of the physical universe" that requires humans to behave in any way, ruthless or kind or whatever. If you think I'm wrong, please post a credible link showing so, otherwise your notion teeters on being a personal theory which - as you noted in your first post - we don't allow here.

    I'm happy to let you know, the word "luck" does indeed have a quite well accepted meaning in English. Please consult a dictionary for more information.

    The rest of your post is philosophy, which we don't discuss here. We are simply a mainstream physics forum.
  8. Jan 1, 2015 #7


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    Personal Rant closed.
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