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05 June 2015


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Let's quit the condescension. I've taught at an R1 university for almost 10 years and I am originally a trained mathematician. I am not mistaking Silicon Valley for IT.

It seems that we are seeing the same problem from the opposite perspectives. I spent first 5-6 years of my academic career trying to convince students that they should not mistake fancy script writing for the real thing--exactly what you are saying. Then it occurred to me that, at least the way the tech sector is working nowadays, "the real thing" is not THAT valuable. Given that my field, despite my background, is not mathematics (I've moved over to social sciences in graduate school, as I found the problems of organizations and teamwork much more fascinating) and the students I was dealing with usually did not have that much background in the science fundamentals anyways, it made everyone (except my conscience at the time) happier.

Have I become a part of the problem? Perhaps so. I certainly thought so for years, but what I was learning about the way the tech sector works, at least for now, I became convinced that it is not a bad decision. Most people, even in the tech field, do routine work, that do not "require" high powered skills (not the top people). Do I think it would be nice if they did have high powered skills? Sure. And I'd like to have RA's who could do specialized programming without being taught and work for free too. But if the firms are willing to hire them, who am I to say what they "really" need and fight everyone? And if the work is indeed just routine (again, talking about the middling jobs in the tech sector), importing middling trained foreign workers seems specious--it smacks of the same rationale as the importation of low wage illegal aliens, really.

What you are suggesting requires far more fundamental change in American attitude towards education, not just whether foreign tech workers should be brought in or not. I agree with your perspective more than not, but that seems besides the point, at least as far as this question is concerned.


@ Claud_Alexander

Stock buybacks are how upper management increases the value of the stock, and hence, their year-end bonuses. Cheaper than going through the agony of introducing a new product into an uncertain market. It's called finance capitalism, and it is now 40% of GDP.

As for this: "One sentence that struck me especially was, "MSV [Maximize Shareholder Value] is a theory of value extraction that lacks a theory of value creation."

That's true. An explanation is here: Ken Jacobson when he was editor of Manufacturing and Technology magazine (think that's the name): "Whose Corporations? Our Corporations!"

You'll might also be interested in this: "3 Corporate Myths that Threaten the Wealth of the Nation."

EVEN BETTER, listen to this interview first with Ken Jacobson. First hour. *Enjoyable and informative*. Chicago’s Sound Experiment WNUR 89.3 FM. April, 2012.


"Let's quit the condescension"
My apologies for the more caustic comments.


MRW, as a already wrote, I wish I hadn't mentioned it. It had nothing to do with Margret's example. ...

I can see that "full-budget costs" makes sense from a purely economical perspective. Your system sounds similar, or at least comparable, but I have yet to meet your type of savvy "temporal work agency employees" over here as far as pay rate is concerned. Would make no sense either since they would have a hard time to lease them and still make profit considering the competition in the field.

The advantage is that you can have a look inside different places, smell the 'work-atmosphere' and structures, and if you are good find a permanent job.

My impression was that you can make a lot more by working as a freelancer and lease yourself for specific projects.


Sorry to Ulenspiegel, my bad proofreading feels very, very impolite.
As I said, I shouldn't have mentioned it.
But I didn't invent the case. IT was discussed in one of the political TV magazines over here, and I would assume they investigated the story. They even went to Bulgaria for the story.

Babak Makkinejad

They save on social security taxes etc.

Moreover, these resources' are brought to US so that when they are back in India or in China, they can help build technical capability there.

Babak Makkinejad

I think I did not explain myself well; there is no disagreement about the origins of the Muslim Intellectual development during the Abbasid period. What I am saying is that the Muslim Intellectual History continued on within the Seljuk Synthesis and atrophied everywhere else.

I agree that the period of Sleljuk Empire was relatively short; nevertheless it is the most significant as the barbaric Turks, like the barbaric Germans, caused the creation of a new culture that different from the classical period of Islam.

Why that period could be so influential is a task for scholars to research and explain.

Babak Makkinejad

The Mathnavi of Rumi which is a commentary in poetic form on the Quran best exemplifies the weltanschauung of the Seljuk synthesis.

Lewis is wrong to make the distinction between contemporary Iran and Turkey as opposing civilizations; the entire text of Mathnavi is widely available in translated Turkish poetry in Turkey. Its world-view imbues, to this day, both countries.

Significantly, Shah Abbas always executed Sunni Uzbek PoWs while keeping the Ottoman POWs alive to be exchanged later.

And I think if you walk away from the bars and discotheques of Istanbul, you very quickly discover areas that are not that different from cities in Iran - just like Bologna versus Lyon - for example.

In my opinion, the Seljuk Synthesis is not broken between Iran and Turkey.

Used to be that if you were a woman in hijab you got into trouble in Turkey; in Iran if you are a woman out of it you will get into trouble. But the fundamental attitude which is the control of what women wear has not changed.

Traffic in Tehran and in Istanbul demonstrate the same attitude toward man, machine, organization in both countries.

Lewis also does not go far enough in acknowledging the debt that all religions of Western Asia - perhaps even Confucius - owe to the deep religious insight of Zoroaster that there is a Moral Order in the Universe. Nor that the ancient Hebrews evidently could not bring themselves to admit that there exist an entire community of Believers in God that had predated them by thousands of years.

There is a problematic is Lewis and all historians that attempt to write about Iran - which is what is "Iran" or "Iran-ness", what is it, which quality of mind or culture (in the anthropological sense) the continuity of which could be pointed to as evidence of this elusive "Iran-ness" - in spite of very severe political and cultural changes over at least 2 millennia.

(Arthur Pope , an Art Historian, claimed to have discovered continuity while studying art objects from the Iranian Plateau; the Philosopher Suhrewardi stated that his philosophy of illumination was entirely based on an unbroken chain of oral transmission that had included both Plato and the Magi...)

For myself, I do not know the answer; I think provisionally, one may think the seed or source of the Iranian Tradition - if any such thing really has existed historically - must be sought in Zoroaster and the continuous argument over millennia over Religion.


Blowing my mind here that an H-1B visa holder is trying to hand wave the whole thing as overblown.


Guess it doesn't take much to blow small minds ;)


Is that regarding L-1? On H1-B social security.

Babak Makkinejad

I think the aim is to keep the wages down for the programmers and other IT types.

Babak Makkinejad

Those qualities are widely available among the Euro-American male crowd all over the United States. Their presence in operational and maintenance areas are lower - as you have observed - but not non-existent.



Of course it is. Its why programmer wages have stayed relatively low. Zuckerberg et al wanting to hire programmers at 40K v 70k is not a "lack of skilled employees" like they claim.

Farooq is being disingenous by hand waving the very detailed way companies do an end run aroubd H-1B regs by thinking posting a "regulation" and declaring anything else is simply not the case.



Coming from the guy who has been getting his intellectual chops wrecked all over this thread, that means absolutely nothing.

But thats what happens when you hire subpar talent from the subcontinent.


Thanks Babak,

"Nor that the ancient Hebrews evidently could not bring themselves to admit that there exist an entire community of Believers in God that had predated them by thousands of years."

as a kid I wondered about the age of the Patriarchs. Later I wondered occasionally to what extend religion shaped basic assumptions in my field, occasionally. I made the mistake of starting an essay with the question to what extend the outlook on a specific question would be different, if not quite a bit of evidence was lost to Time, or Ahura Mazda's father Zurvan, to leave out his twin brother.

I agree with you, its highly unlikely that the Jews can be imagined as completely uninfluenced and/or inspired by the religious context around them.

but to drop a topic on which we better agree to disagree,

is Bernard Lewis wrong in his statement that Iran more or less in its present borders only adopted Twelver Shi'a Islam under the Safavid dynasty? What relevance would this have for you, beyond the obvious West-East entanglements in this context?

On first sight the synthesis was mainly between Seljuk military might and Persian culture (language) in what you call the Seljuk synthesis. Your point could be the exchange of ideas between West and East without a reduction to pure crusade target or vassal mentality at that point in time? Ethnic diversity and religious tolerance?

Concerning: Mathnavi of Rumi, the present Iranian theo-political set up does not look particularly spiritual to me. But more or less troubled with the more theological-political aspects of times as, do I understand correctly decedents of Mohammed's prophetic capabilities and voices of the only one on earth?

By the way, one of my sister happens to house a Sufi master on her/his partners premises. He is Turkish has quite a few German followers and apparently fled Berlin to a very, very remote little village in the South.


Sorry meant to say that social security is deducted on H1-B salary.


The reason i linked you to DoL data source was because every H1-B requires labor certification from them as first step using a process called as PERM. This is not merely some regulation that DoL puts on a website as optional aside. DoL is responsible for enforcing these salary limits on each and every single H1-B application. USCIS processing comes after LCA has been approved by DoL.

If you needed information regarding process of obtaining driving license and someone gave you link to official DMV website, do you think that is being disingenuous?


95-99 percent of software life cycle consists of operations, maintenance and upgrades. Development is an extremely small part of that life cycle.

The hacker ethos is well and alive in industry and routine work. It is not referred to as hacking though and the euphemism used is POC or "proof of concept". There are so many disparate systems in most organization that finding ways to integrate them all requires such activity. Once a solution is found then the implementation is done using rigorous and well established industry methods.

You wouldn't want to travel in a commercial airliner using software built on the same principal as hacker ethos.


Who is Donny and what does where I live have to do with anything?

H-1B's are not being brought in by Disney/Infosys for illegal immigration purposes. They're being brought in so sometime down the road companies like Disney won't be able to lay off just some local IT workers. They're being brought in so they can gain the experience to manage the IT workers when Infosys has the people in place in India to allow Disney to move their entire IT operation over there at a fraction of the cost it costs here. It's only a question of bandwidth and the cost of that bandwidth.

If you are going to be mad at something at least be mad at the right thing.


Can't say there is anything here with which I disagree.

William R. Cumming


William R. Cumming

Wall Street always looking for quants IMO!

William R. Cumming

Well IMO the battle is on and should be a subject for the 2016 Presidential election!


IMO the answer to this question is not simple but as to this post and thread almost all Americans know that native-born citizens and residents are being actively discriminated against by the US Immigration system unless you have the personal wealth to protect yourself and family against this discrimination.

We have always used the Immigration Laws to shape America. What is not available is a readable history of these laws and administration of them. Few Americans know that Asians were discriminated against by law from 1924-64 from becoming US Citizens. The PEW Foundation in its studies has concluded that since 2010 Asians not Hispanics are the largest immigrant group but more importantly it has concluded this will always be the case forever.

Oddly the best enforced immigration law is screening US citizens from being involved in fraudulent marriages.

I had a close friend now retired that screened academic credentials of foreigners for admission to American Colleges and Universities. The majority were in error if not fraudulent. And even for Americans use of fraudulent credentials are at an all-time high.

Our current President promised immigration reform yet almost know suggestions for legislation have been submitted. And the stay by the Courts of the President's administrative actions has been conceded by the Administration IMO.

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your comments.

I do not believe there was any interest in exchange of ideas with West (assuming you meant Christendom) or the (multiple) Easts (China, India) during the Seljuk period or even under the Safavids and Ottomans.

It was only when the Ottomans were defeated militarily by the Europeans and then repeatedly, they tried to learn from them. And the Safavids, in turn, when defeated on the field of battle by the Ottomans - tried to do likewise.

But just like contemporary times (say the last 100 year) when non-Europeans tried to learn the European Technology and Applied Sciences in order to bridge the gap, the Ottoman and Safavids concentrated their efforts on military and related applications.

There were some attempts at understanding of Hinduism and per chance accommodating it during the Mughal times in India but - like Farooq says - was an outlier that was not taken up by anybody in Seljuk lands.

I am not familiar with intellectual environment of Turkey, but in Iran, serious study of Western European philosophy started after WWII; Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Habermss, Moore, Russell, Sratre, Descarte and many other Modern philosophers having been translated (to varying degrees of success) and discussed.

Significantly, there is no attempt in Iran - I do not know about Turkey - to study the History of (Western) Empirical Sciences or ideas. In fact, I do not believe that there has been any attempt at the translation of the works of William of Ockham, Dons Scotous, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas and others into Persian - Iranians are under the "ideological hegemony" of Western historiography which consigns Medieval History to the "garbage bin" of history (of ideas).

Even men like Vico are unknown in Iran.

Nor do I think any recent Christian Theology texts are translated into Persian - the interest is not there since they do not think there is anything of value in all that "obsoleted religion".

Iranians, like other non-Western people, only very reluctantly would study foreigners' histories and ideas - and even then they are ruled by the prevailing intellectual fashion of the NATO states.

IZ might be able to shed more light on the intellectual situation in Turkey.

Safavids started as a Sufi order that was Twelver Shia. That Sufi order transformed itself into a state and forced Persians to convert to Twelver Shia. As part of that campaign, they brought Shia Doctors of Religion from Lebanon - Al Jabal Amal - to teach the new converts the religious doctrines and laws.

When Israelis invaded Lebanon, they evidently were ignorant of this 500-year old relationship or they did not care one whit about it.

Simultaneously, a very serious effort was made to denigrate the first 3 Caliphs of early Islam as usurpers. To this day, even among the Sunni Iranians, you cannot find anyone called "Osman", "Abu Bakr" or "Omar".

The Safavids did something else and that was they revived the name of ancient Iran/Eran and identified themselves with Eranshahr of Sassanid Empire. At the peak of the Safavid expansion, their holdings roughly corresponded to the lands of that ancient empire.

What cemented, in my view, the Shia hold on the Iranians' mind was repeated invocation of religious war against them prior, during, and after the Safavid period. From the time of the Timur the Lame all the way to the present time.

In regards to Sufis, while I respect them, I also think that they are failures in not having developed the systematics for dealing for Orthodxy - among the Shia or the Sunni.

One can pose the question to them, "What is the Sufi view on Freedom?" , "What is the Sufi Doctrines of Islamic state?" etc.

Sufis aim was to experience unity with God. That is fine for a few who can experience the "Beatific vision" because of talent and work. What about others?

Any way, Khomeini was a Sufi as well but he actually struggled with the world that he found himself in, rather than taking refuge in a few second or minutes of experiencing the Beatific Vision.

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