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« Story | Main | Facts of the Day »

May 17, 2005

Fact of the Day

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

According to Bureau of Labor statistics, 5,559 Americans were killed by workplace injuries in 2003. 5,115 of these people were men.

Adjusted for the ratio of women to men in the American labor force, men are more than ten times as likely to be fatally injured on the job as women are. (Source: The American Enterprise.)

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at May 17, 2005




Comments

I call for mandatory fatality insurance for all men.

Wait.

Actually, it should be feminists who are doing that. It'd make it vastly more costly to employ men, and if they get killed on the job, who's getting their benefits anyway?

Ah, what a diabolical scheme.

Posted by: . on May 17, 2005 12:24 PM



So the traditional, American-Enterprise-style interpretation is that more men than women are choosing to be killed on the job, right?

Or were they after something else?

Posted by: Anon on May 17, 2005 01:25 PM



"." -- We'll probably see some such being proposed come next election-time.

Anon -- More or less. AEI's point was about how gals tend to choose physically more comfy jobs and guys tend to choose physically riskier jobs. Not that this echoes much in my life, snug as I am in my beloved little office ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 17, 2005 01:30 PM



And, of course, there is no justification for paying men more.

Posted by: Ralph on May 17, 2005 01:37 PM



Construction probably accounts for much of the difference. In other nifty buisness facts, I noticed 2blowhards made the latest Forbes. Congrats!

Posted by: zetjintsu on May 17, 2005 01:37 PM



We did? Thanks for letting me know. Is it online?

Funny: Forbes likes us, Artforum pays no attention. Sigh...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 17, 2005 01:58 PM



The real question is whether it corrects for the preponderance of men over women in dangerous jobs, statistics that already also provided by the BLS. I could do it myself but am much too lazy.

Posted by: Michael on May 17, 2005 02:32 PM



The article on blogs is online, but the sidebar with you listed as her choice for arts&culture blog is only in the print version. It's the 5/23 issue, featuring the "wonder" of CELLAVISION! on the cover (tv, on a cell phone? bleeahh, but I digress...) if you want to find a trophy copy:)

Posted by: zetjintsu on May 17, 2005 03:03 PM



Forbes likes you? Where's the link? That's pretty cool.

Posted by: annette on May 17, 2005 03:49 PM



Oh, I think it was Virginia Postrel's column, bless her heart. Hey, have I said recently that she's great? Haven't seen the paper version yet ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 17, 2005 03:52 PM



Something funny about human nature---we all dis "ten best" lists---what's the criteria? Why must we rank things? Right up until we are listed as one of the "ten best..." and then we all think they're great!! :)

Posted by: annette on May 17, 2005 04:12 PM



"And, of course, there is no justification for paying men more."

It does seem strange that people who are too dumb not to be killed on the job get paid more than people with more sense. But what do I know?

Posted by: anon on May 17, 2005 04:40 PM



Not much. Lots of guys get killed on the job not because they're dumb but because some jobs are inherently dangerous. Men as a group deserve more pay because they take on more of the dirty, dangerous work that needs doing in order to keep you in eating bon bons in safety and comfort.

Posted by: Bill on May 17, 2005 05:38 PM



Bon Bons?

A more bloodier occupation than that of raising 4 teenaged daughters I cannot fathom...

Obviously, Bill, you have never dealt with two sisters each planning on going to the prom with the same boy ( a boy who made the mistake of asking one, then the other without consent of the first...) Let's see, that would have been May 15th of 1998 - didn't you see the atomic cloud mushrooming over Cowtown on that ominous afternoon? I rose from the ashes fairly unscathed, due to my adaptability and ability to turn all things dire to something humorous. I gave each girl a frying pan and told them to beat the crap out of hapless date the minute he came through the front door...instead of going to jail for sibling homicide.

I don't believe this incident was in the statistic reports, however.

Posted by: Cowtown Pattie on May 17, 2005 06:27 PM



"Lots of guys get killed on the job not because they're dumb but because some jobs are inherently dangerous."

Clearly you have a hard time understanding when someone is poking at an ideology with a sharp stick. It's called irony. Look into it.

*Yes*, some jobs are inherently more dangerous. The conservative view of employment patterns emphasizes individual choice over large market forces. Women typically don't work in high-paying careers, the argument goes, because they choose not to.

Let's take that position to its logical extreme: men die on the job at higher rates because they are choosing to do so. One might say that this in a different way as follows: more men are choosing dangerous jobs. It still doesn't make them sound very bright.

And no, I'm not really arguing that men who choose dangerous jobs are not very bright, but rather that the conservative view of employment patterns is deeply flawed.

Got it?

Posted by: anon on May 17, 2005 08:46 PM



Children, children ... Let's not have too much of a food fight. It's naught but a fun fact, for each of us to contend with as he/she sees fit. Amiably and civilly, of course.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 17, 2005 08:54 PM



Yep, it was Virgina's column; here's her blog link where she mentions the Forbes column. Shame they left out the sidebar featuring 2blowhards in the online copy:(

Posted by: zetjintsu on May 17, 2005 10:04 PM



I recall reading some years ago that most on-the-job deaths involve motor vehicle accidents rather than workplace mishaps _per se_. If that still holds true, and I see no reason why it wouldn't, it's not surprising that most work-related deaths are of men. You don't often see women driving trucks or delivery vans.
In addition, about 250 police officers and firefighters die in the line of duty each year, and for obvious reasons most of them are men.

Posted by: Peter on May 17, 2005 10:23 PM



Actually, the situation is probably worse than those statistics say. They probably do not take into account the number of men that die because of their job, but not while they are on the job. I am thinking of Coal Miners (and other jobs like that) where they will most likely die fairly young, but they will not die on the job. Of course, we could also count jobs that are more stressful that help cause heart attacks and strokes, but I will leave it at that.

Posted by: Ian Lewis on May 18, 2005 09:23 AM



Maybe more men die on the job because of Cowtown Pattie's story than the danger of the job! Just who are they asking out? I think Cowtown Pattie's solution was commendable. And...I'm just kidding about the death statistics. I'm sure it is just as simple as they do more heavy lifting and highrise construction work, which are physically dangerous.

Posted by: annette on May 18, 2005 11:04 AM



Follow the link on my site to Warren Farrell's site. He's been writing about this for years. Men take on the "death occupations" precisely to earn higher wages, out of a sense of obligation to their families.

Lost in this discussion: The reason women can compete with men in the modern workplace is that men reshaped and reinvented the workplace. Most jobs are now safe and most work environments are comfortable. Without this dramatic change in the work environment, women would not be able or want to compete, with men.

Farrell also writes about the reality of how men, through goodwill (and the desire to profit) have remade the world in order to free women from the domestic sphere. The mechanization of housework was entirely the work of male inventors. The Pill was invented by men.

In other words, the notion that men were hostile to the entry of women into the public sphere is a myth. Farrell argues, correctly I believe, that the invention of the the mechanical washer and dryer, and the Pill, were the real drivers behind the emancipation of women. I tend to agree. As a friend of mine once remarked: "Feminists have taken credit for the sun rising in the morning."

Posted by: Stephen on May 18, 2005 11:11 AM



More abortions of female vs. male fetuses in India...more male vs. female on-the-job fatalities in US...
They catch up, in time if not geographically.

Posted by: Tatyana on May 18, 2005 11:13 AM



Men PHYSICALLY reinvented the workplace. They didn't emotionally reinvent it. Because they made it physically safer and more possible for women to take certain jobs (and I'm sorry, but my dad's corporate job with a Big Three carmaker, which he took in 1957, was NEVER physically dangerous---and there were NO women hired as engineers then) doesn't mean THEY get full credit for women's entry into the workforce, either, and women's "entry" doesn't mean women's "success."

And men may have "invented the Pill" (although that too is circular, as there weren't many women entrusted with research budgets in those days, so they wouldn't have been able to "invent" it)but they sure as hell didn't do it to "allow women to go back to work" if you follow my drift. The truth is, washers and dryers and the Pill sold, and made people rich, and money went toward inventing what would "sell"---not altruistically.

Posted by: annette on May 18, 2005 11:18 AM



Men PHYSICALLY reinvented the workplace. They didn't emotionally reinvent it. Because they made it physically safer and more possible for women to take certain jobs (and I'm sorry, but my dad's corporate job with a Big Three carmaker, which he took in 1957, was NEVER physically dangerous---and there were NO women hired as engineers then) doesn't mean THEY get full credit for women's entry into the workforce, either, and women's "entry" doesn't mean women's "success."

And men may have "invented the Pill" (although that too is circular, as there weren't many women entrusted with research budgets in those days, so they wouldn't have been able to "invent" it)but they sure as hell didn't do it to "allow women to go back to work" if you follow my drift. The truth is, washers and dryers and the Pill sold, and made people rich, and money went toward inventing what would "sell"---not altruistically.

Posted by: annette on May 18, 2005 11:18 AM



Oh, poor, underappreciated, full of selfless benevolence and altruistic goodwill Men!

Forgive me, I have to go wash away tears: I'm not allowed to cry on the job by my male boss.

Laughter tears, as it happens.

Posted by: Tatyana on May 18, 2005 11:38 AM



Men tend to be pioneers, while women rustle along behind, filling up offices with the complex bureaucratic procedures, pot-stirring, and "ass-covering" they do so well. (I know whereof I speak. Every business I've worked for in the past 15 years - in finance and medicine - has been 85% women. In HR, 100% women. The men were either founding or running the company, or running their own lawn service business.)

Pioneers tend to get killed - whether in mine shaft collapses, oil rig accidents, on the front lines in Iraq, or just from a early-death massive coronary brought on by working 80-hour weeks to provide dance lessons for his daughters and another giveaway house to another ex-wife...

Of course, since men are doing this presumably because they are motivated by their benefit, too, it follows that they are not as purely altruistic as some women would like them to be, and therefore their efforts are laughable insufficient and ignoble.

Posted by: anono on May 18, 2005 01:21 PM



"Giveaway house" did it. I think they have to call the ambulance, now that something snapped inside while I was ROFLH.

Posted by: Tatyana on May 18, 2005 02:03 PM



Anono -- I love the idea that women preceded the passing of the buck and the growth of bureaucracy, not to mention the implication (i.e., straw man) that all men are perfect seekers of self-interest while all women are altruists, as well as your simply laughable generalization of man-qua-pioneer. Why don't you come up with something that looks more like logic or argument and less like a pathetic recapitulation of your own unfortunate history?

Or maybe you should just see a therapist. Preferably a man, I suppose.

Posted by: Michael on May 18, 2005 02:05 PM



It's thanks to the selfless benevolence and altruistic goodwill, and the physical courage, of thousands of dead guys over the centuries who just weren't bright enough to know better then to risk their lives spearing mastadons, sailing the sea, mining coal, stringing power lines, and confronting the criminal element, that you ladies can ponder gender equity issues in a safe air conditioned room.

Sipping herbal tea. Probably from one of those tiny little cups and with your pinkie extended.

Posted by: Bill on May 18, 2005 02:29 PM



Shivalrous Bill, get off your high horse, or I'am going to faint. Not forgetting to extend my adorable pinkie, of course.

Posted by: Tatyana on May 18, 2005 02:59 PM



So, Bill, how many mastodons have you speared, or frontiers explored, or power lines strung, or seas explored, or criminal elements confronted, or babies birthed and raised? Give me a break. I doubt that you're any more man than most other online wannabe pundits.

Others: are heterosexual men really this bone-headed? I try to avoid associating with them, to be honest, so I can't be sure whether this sample represents the population very well. Regardless, I thought that the selections process (i.e. perhaps being regular readers of 2blowhards.com) would skew it the other way! Maybe it's the arrogance of the educated transposed against more personal issues of inadequacy when confronted by a history of Great Men.

Posted by: Michael on May 18, 2005 03:00 PM



I was going to volunteer that in my view the history of male-female relations is too often written as antagonistic, and that it's been much more a history of cooperation than antagonism. We work together and pull for each other more than we squabble. But, hey, maybe I'm wrong.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 18, 2005 03:04 PM



I tend to agree with Mr. Michale Blowhard. Men and women are, and want to be, complementary.

And, Michael, I'm hetero and my closest friend of the past 25 years is a gay man. A gay Filipino man cuts my hair and invites me to his drag queen parties, where I play piano so that the boys(?) can sing show tunes.

I'm not sure why the advocates of antagonism seem to predominate, because in my personal life racial and sexual antagonism are just about entirely absent. Perhaps, it's because conflict seems more exciting, and we just naturally pay more attention to the angry and aggrieved.

Was just down to Atlantic City for the weekend at the casino. Asians, blacks, whites, hispanics, gays, straights and otherwise all having a great time and completely uninterested in discussing politics or gender or race.

I prefer the company of those who really don't give a damn, and I am suspicious of all of those who have a cause.

Posted by: Stephen on May 18, 2005 03:48 PM



I wonder how many women were killed on the job in America during WWII while doing the jobs of men who were overseas? Iím asking this because I suspect that women might be more cautious with their safety. Men drivers are killed more frequently than women drivers even though men apparently invent, build and repair these vehicles. The same might be true for roofers, framers, electricians, etc (these fields, btw, have been attracting young women for quite some time now). I donít think weíll hear very reliable statistics on this for many years to come because women have only been in the traditional American workforce for relatively few years compared to men.

As for the guys eating bananas in the treehouse over there, itís hard to ignore them sometimes. They are worth the aggravation because in the relatively few years feminism has been around we have found many men who truly welcome women and encourage women to contribute to our time and our history in whatever way we can. Itís easy to stay ignorant, but once men have the knowledge of womenís abilities and possibilites, we become even better friends. As for the competitive implications, let whoeverís doing the best job keep doing it. (There is a very large city I know of where crews of all women sheetrock hangers and tapers are preferred just because they do a more perfect job and leave the place clean.)

Posted by: bridget on May 18, 2005 04:08 PM



bridget,

You are engaging in the ultimate deception of feminism... pretending that most women are feminists and that feminists speak for most women.

In most polls, less than a quarter of women identify themselves as feminists. That number seems to diminish every day.

You've engaged in the ultimate distortion... men who don't embrace feminism (according to you) "don't welcome women."

I loathe feminism, bridget, and I've raised two daughters who both have advanced degrees and work professionally. In Woodstock, NY, where I own a summer home, my dear departed Filipina wife was regarded by the leftists as "not really a woman" because she loathed feminism.

Feminists made a habit of assuming that this meant that she was submissive and backward. In fact, she was almost always smarter and more accomplished than them. At various times in her life, she succeeded as a actress, model and musician (working with me for 13 years). At the time of her death, she was training manager for an international corporate law firm. She brought home a big pay check.

And, yes, she hated feminism with a passion. I won't go into it in any detail, but she regarded feminism as inherently and inescapably racist (and I came to agree with her). She also viewed feminists as the new Conquistadores... the latest arrival of the meddling, smug and self-satisfied missionaries to her native Philippines.

You are engaging in self-deception, and not a little contempt for other women, with your high handed belief that feminists speak for women. Women who disagree with your politics are still women, bridget, believe it or not.

In fact, you are in the decided minority of women. Perhaps, it is you who is "not really a woman."

Posted by: Stephen on May 18, 2005 04:19 PM



Men reinvented the workplace to include more women to increase the availabilty of nookie. Especially to include more woman in higher status jobs to increase the availabilty of classier nookie. Prior to the 60's, lower status men often worked around women of similar status. But higher status men normally worked around vanishingly few women of similar status, if they did so at all. Most women they would habitually encounter at work would be several status grades below them. That was fine for generic fornication, but for sex with someone on their own level, most were stuck with their wives or with committing adultry within their own social set (most perilous). Alternatives tended to be inconvenient. Even the choicest hetarai were still prostitutes (and expensive). This arrangement probably suited many high status men just fine, but many such men longed for liasons with woman of their own background (or at least much closer to it)on the same easy terms they enjoyed with with their wage slaves, waitresses, shop girls, etc. Somebody with whom one could share a postcoital commiseration about mutual lousy Ivy educations before repairing to seperate abodes (which a female fellow professional could afford). Sleeping with professional or otherwise successful women could pay other dividends, such as a much lower tendency for a man to be pressured into matrimony (or even an attachment), some sharing of expenses, and her ability to pay for her own abortions (were she really top drawer, one would never even know). The pill, of course, made this all possible. It enabled this longing for women who were reasonably available sexual equals to become a practical program. The longing must have been around for some time (most of the 20th century, at least), but gratifying it on a mass scale awaited the revolution in contraception.
Since the scheme required a certain degree of financial independence and career development for these woman in order for them to be the goods (and since the men in question spent so much of their time at certain types of workplaces), a major part af the scheme necessarily required getting woman into successful careers... with all that implied (coeducation, abortions to backstop the pill, neutralizing counterforces, etc). The scheme largely has been successful. Economic parity between the genders may not be total, but it has proved adequate to the task. The availablity of abortion is protected by supreme judicial fiat; forces often antagonistic to the scheme such as religion (of the sort taken seriously, that is), tradition, and family have been seriously undermined. The scheme advances social atomization, which in term increases the availabilty of sexual partners for the scheme.
However, the scheme has a way to go. The West operates largely as one vast brothel now, with vast numbers of women of all status levels willing to play the current game: the ex-wives, not-so-ex-wives, & daughters of other men. The last mentioned, for at least a generation now, typically spend a 10-15+ year period of sexual adventurism before cashing out before too much asset depreciation occurs, or to have children. Then many women opt out (at least partially), or try to. A few women resist the scheme entirely. Surely this is not as far as it will go. The logical endpoint of the scheme would not be to turn North America into one vast brothel, but rather into one vast bathhouse. The scheme should not be considered mature until all higher status heterosexual men can operate as homosexual men do, but with higher status women. Despite occaisional setbacks, this trend seems alive and well.
So far, this analysis has placed great emphasis on higher status men promoting the scheme. Obviously, many higher status men have opposed it, and many lower status men have supported it, but the initiation of the scheme and most of the credit for it's success belongs to this key group. Not to femnism, not to the unflowering of late industrial society, not to cultural senescence, not to capitalism working out it's demise in history. Whatever supporting role factors such as those may or may not have, the driving engine for the current scheme, and for essential parts of it such as feminizing the workplace beyond the traditional drudges, is the convenient provision of higher status nookie for higher status men.

Posted by: bald cypress on May 18, 2005 04:30 PM



Are there two different Stephens posting here?

Posted by: Bill on May 18, 2005 04:36 PM



Hello Bill,

Funny. Only one Stephen.

The answer to this dilemma is the newer post about storytelling, which I appreciated. I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one who thinks that storytelling beats having message.

I am a storyteller. Not a politician. I tell the truth from the perspective of my own life, and nothing more or less.

Only one Stephen, but many facets... just like a story.

Posted by: Stephen on May 18, 2005 04:56 PM



Stephen -- given your comment here and your comment further up, I think you've added a little more meaning to my words than was originally intended. My life is far from segregated -- my closest friends are lesbians, straight women, and gay males. I've had heterosexual male friends in the past, but to be honest it's been a while. I haven't been very good about keeping up with people as I've moved around repeatedly, and most of the heterosexual males in my psuedo-MBA program seem stuck back in high school. But, ceteris paribus, I'd not avoid someone simply because he or she were straight. (Both of my roommates are straight! And one of them is even male -- though he usually calls women "broads" or "bitches".)

At any rate, I certainly don't consider myself an "advocate of antagonism", but then that doesn't seem too self-identified a category, anyway. Maybe "label" is a better word.

Finally (phew!), as for your antipathy to feminism -- well, I can't say that I'm too familiar (beyond a bit of dabbling) with feminist theory or the activists themselves, so I hope you're not lumping me in either way. I can't even make up my mind on abortion!

Posted by: Michael on May 18, 2005 05:14 PM



Well Stephen, I don't think most women are feminists and I don't think feminists speak for all women. I don't believe that if a man is not a feminist that he doesn't or wouldn't "welcome women". There are many men who are not feminists who are progressive with respect to women in the workplace. I think you narrowly generalize feminists and I think we have different definitions of feminism. It would be like me saying about you that because you aren't a feminist you think all women belong uneducation and should stay home, which is obviously not true about you. I have given my opinion on this interesting fact of the day. For me to give you my idea of feminism I'd have to start my own blog. When I do I'll invite you over, by letting 2Blowhards know.

Posted by: bridget on May 18, 2005 06:38 PM



Well Stephen, I don't think most women are feminists and I don't think feminists speak for all women. I don't believe that if a man is not a feminist that he doesn't or wouldn't "welcome women". There are many men who are not feminists who are progressive with respect to women in the workplace. I think you narrowly generalize feminists and I think we have different definitions of feminism. It would be like me saying about you that because you aren't a feminist you think all women belong uneducation and should stay home, which is obviously not true about you. I have given my opinion on this interesting fact of the day. For me to give you my idea of feminism I'd have to start my own blog. When I do I'll invite you over, by letting 2Blowhards know.

Posted by: bridget on May 18, 2005 06:38 PM



More man/woman stuff, from The New York Times' John Tierney today:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/24/opinion/24tierney.html?ex=1274587200&en=067959eb26ebab04&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

Posted by: anono on May 24, 2005 02:35 PM



Michael,

I did not say men were perfect seekers of self-interest while all women are altruists. Read my last paragraph more carefully. I said that men were being criticized unjustly for their pioneering actions on the grounds that these actions were not fully altruistic and self-sacrificial. (E.g. "Sure, he mowed our lawn. But that's no good, because having a neat yard redounds to *his* benefit as well. Unless an action has no trace of personal benefit, it has no moral import. Only sheer, suicidal self-sacrifice makes an action worthy of praise." That this nasty attitude is a gloss on Kant only proves the nastiness of Kant's moral philosophy.)

As to my personal history, it's the only one I've got. Don't expect me not to draw conclusions from my observations. If you approve of ad hominem as apparently you do, then there you have my own version of it.

And don't be too sure you know what my conclusions are: women are great, but feminism is the pits. It is the instigator of recent sex divisiveness, *not* the solution to it. Reference the Larry Summers tiff. The point of purchase there was the claims feminists made that perfect gender parity should be the goal in every endeavor: since numerically there are fewer women than men in certain fields, that is primae facia evidence of "discrimination." Summers patiently explained what every good contemporary economist (from Thomas Sowell on down) knows: counting noses to gauge discrimination is bunk. (Should white men picket the NBA to protest their underrepresentation?) For this, the harpies descended on Larry, and he unfortunately capitulated. But let's be clear: feminists' equalitarian focus on numerical representation as opposed to the standards and facts in play started that mess...and started most of the modern unpleasantness.

Best,

Posted by: adorno on May 24, 2005 03:01 PM






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