What to do with stupid people?

Why is everyone talking about the stigma of blue collar jobs? Dinsdale isn’t asking about what to do with people who are uneducated or unskilled, he’s asking about people with low intelligence. Those are not the same groups.

Thanks for stating this so clearly. ISTM that this is at least one of the many possibilities. And I wonder how people will wish our society to address it.

If we accept option A - a permanent underclass - how do we maintain them? Do we simply give them cash payments, or do we provide them subsistence-level housing, goods, and services?

One possibility I remember tossing around with some co-workers maybe 20 years ago was to institute some low-level universal assistance from birth. The trick is to set it at a level that will be high enough to allow survival, but be low enough that gainful employment will be more attractive to anyone with the motivation and/or ability. Then you ramp up the IRS to recoup the benefits through withholding from wages.

I say we dupe them into spaceships and send them to the sun.

We can tell them they’ll be safe cause they’ll land at night.

Start with $ 12,500 for every man woman and child regardless of income. Any work they do will be to get themselves out of poverty. Index the rate to inflation. But then of course you’d have people railing about the rights of the poor to be comfortable. If they can’t be comfortable in a basement studio apartment then they should go out and get a job. Under such a system you could no longer excuse people for not having enough time to study a new trade as their government stipend would cover their basic necessities. You wouldn’t be able to live in Manhattan, but you wouldn’t starve either.

Pharmaceutical corporations can buy them to be drug-testing lab rats. Drugs that cause hearts to explode and tennis ball sized tumors take out stupid genes, drugs that work save the useful lot. Win/win.

I don’t think that’s actually a “sizable portion.” If there are ten different kinds of intelligence, & (number from out my hat) 1/3 of the populace are meaningfully below norm for any one of those, then 1 : 59 000 are going to be below norm in all of them.

I’m not sure “slightly above average” means what you think.

I’m sure they face exciting careers in finance. Go away.

Basically, this confirms something I’ve long suspected. The futurologists who predicted absurdly short workweeks in the developed world by the 21st century evidently didn’t foresee the veritable tsunami of cheap labor and that this would retard the progress of automation. I can’t help but wonder if the ready availability of slave labor in Imperial Rome didn’t also hinder the development of automation there.

You assume that there is an equal probability that the randomness will reach across intelligences, so that someone scoring low on social intelligence would be just as likely to score high on spatial intelligence as anyone else.

Well, he wrote a different book than what I’m asking. :wink:

But I believe the model he is using has seven different "intelligences. What does that do for your numbers?

And one doesn’t need to be below average in every area to have their opportunities severly restricted. I’d suspect someone who is at 55% or below in all categories has few prospects unavailable to the guy who is 45% or lower across the board.

More importantly, I think people benefit from excelling in one or more areas. If you are great with spatial relations, sure, it might be better for you to be an excellent carpenter than a mediocre manager. But what if you have NO area in which you excel? What would your calculations say for the percentage of folk who would not score above 75% in any single area out of seven?

And even if most people have one of more areas in which they exhibit aptitude and ability, the issue becomes how to we match them up with the appropriate jobs. I believe one of the author’s main points is that our current educational system does a lousy job of accomplishing that.

Most jobs in this country, or any civilized country, are not high-achievement jobs. Even those that are often involve little more than rote thought. Economically, your high-status, high-earning, ostensibly “smart” meritocrat is a minority.

And the sort of person who has to be highly cognitive to do his job at all is an even smaller one.

You don’t have to be terribly smart to be a decent plumber, you just have to work at learning plumbing. And people need plumbers.

Ditto roofers, electricians, maids, glass cutters, auto mechanics, etc.

And think of all the people who work retail & food service. Or the manufacturing side of aerospace (which is friggin’ huge in this country), where ten brilliant engineers may have two hundred people working to make the stuff they sell. The reality is that there aren’t enough high status non-menial jobs too go around.

On the other hand, a bond trader may be stupider than his plumber, truth be told. It really is the “little people” who make the world go round.

Well, they may be uneducated or unskilled because of low intelligence. Some people simply cannot learn stuff that other people can. In that case, they are one and the same.

I don’t think we’re talking about moderately retarded and below. We’re talking about the low end of normal (and maybe the high end of retarded).

I always thought average was the same thing as mean and that median and mode were just median and mode. Oh well.

I get what you’re saying and I don’t believe we should live in a totally cut throat society. But should those who don’t have as much ability, drive or ambition be afforded the same benefits as those who do? Ultimately the question is what is the lower standard of living we as a society decide is acceptable?

That’s the group of people who live modest lives, from start to finish. They work multiple jobs, save up for the things they have, they’re master recyclers, they work after retirement age, and they rarely use credit. There are lots of them. They’ll continue to struggle, but they are what they are. They’re not going anywhere.

That was absolutely uncalled for. Shame on you.

Now that you mention it, I can’t recall any treatment of this that considered low income third world workers. Before the Internet, communications barriers probably made it seem unlikely that you could control a factory that far away.

Mack Reyonolds had a lot of stories set in a post industrial future, where automation was rife and most people got a dole in the form of basic stock dividends. I know he had one book set in Africa (still in my to read queue) but I don’t remember how he considered this problem in general. I don’t think he considered low cost labor though.

I see a certain attitude about certain jobs right here on the SDMB.

How many times has one of our very intelligent posters been berated - no - taunted - by some, because of his job in a video store?

I’ve read posts regarding service people that have been frankly disrespectful. I don’t find this as much IRL.

Jars are labeled, I believe.

“Average” is often used to mean “arithmetic mean”, as in, “the average family has 2.4 children”, rarely used to mean median (like when measuring house prices, although they specify “median” most of the time), and sometimes used to mean mode, especially when discussing discrete things, as in “the average family has 2 kids, a dog, and lives in a suburb”.

English is just not very precise.

I’d go with handing out money; as the Soviet Union demonstrated, governments aren’t very good at providing most goods and services directly.