Sunday, October 03, 2010

They're coming to get you, fatty!

Now, we all know that the Japanese are a race with their own customs and values. Frankly, I find aspects of their culture more than a little odd. But this is just appalling.


Japanese Fatbusters

As Dick Puddlecote says, if companies are going to face massive fines—19 million in the case of NEC, the company featured in the video—because their employees do not meet entirely arbitrary government-mandated waist sizes, then fat people are going to find it pretty damn difficult to get a job.
As a business owner, if forced to pay fines for overweight staff, I wouldn't see any other option but to not employ them at all.

It might be in the interest of porky Breckland Council employees—who this week voted for smokers to be singled out for punishment—to re-think their attitude towards overweening health bullies, doncha think?

Unfortunately, I am sure that they won't. So cowed are the British people, that they will mutter miserably about how it's probably for our own good, and that the government is doing it to make us all fitter and happier.

That's if the idiots don't actively vote for it themselves, of course...

17 comments:

countdruncula said...

FFS, DK, I can't view the video on my crippled Jobsian device. I'll have to pop back later in the month with my new Android aquisition. :)

Katabasis said...

So let me get this straight, our wonderful caring states support:

- Threatening to blow us up for not genuflecting before their ex cathedra climate pronouncements.

- Executing us and hiding the reasons and evidence (hah!) behind "state secrets".

- Forcing us out of work if our waistline goes up a couple of inches thanks to comfort eating, insufficient time and energy to sleep or exercise properly on account of having to work twice as hard as I would otherwise (at least) just to support the shit-sucking convention of genetic defectives that is our government and their client state of voters.

Devil's Kitchen said...

countdruncula,

"FFS, DK, I can't view the video on my crippled Jobsian device. I'll have to pop back later in the month with my new Android aquisition. :)"

Don't worry—if you click the "Japanese Fatbusters" link, you can switch to DailyMotion's HTML5 beta and watch the video on your Jobsian device...

DK

Suboptimal Planet said...

Good post, DK. Apparently this law has been around for some time, but I'd never heard of it until today.

One of the most disturbing aspects of this story is that the Japanese government chose to hold corporations responsible, rather than individuals. They blurred the line between private companies and government agents.

One of the best arguments against socialised healthcare is that it can be used as an excuse for this sort of meddling.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely fucking brilliant. All the fat people end up jobless and the state then starves them, presumably.

And you thought the State was good for nothing!

Onus Probandy said...

It's a stupid idea that will die in any practical world. Especially for technology companies like NEC.

Faced with this choice:

- Fat genius

- Thin idiot

Which person does the company employ?

Companies don't employ people out of the goodness of their heart, they do it because those people have a set of skills that the company values. If they start employing people on criteria other than their suitability for the job, then that company will find itself at a disadvantage compared to its competitors who will use a more rational basis for employment.

By extension, the same will be true for countries. If Japan makes it impossible for NEC to employ the workers that NEC wants, then NEC will move to country that does let it do so. If it doesn't then, again, its competitors will have an advantage.

I've argued using similar logic that racist hiring practices don't necessarily have to be illegal. The company that refuses to hire the perfect employee because of their skin colour (or gender) is at a disadvantage compared to its more enlightened competitors.

Stephen said...

I've argued using similar logic that racist hiring practices don't necessarily have to be illegal. The company that refuses to hire the perfect employee because of their skin colour (or gender) is at a disadvantage compared to its more enlightened competitors

Unfortunately in the real world it doesn't seem to pan out like that. Racist employment practices continued in the US for generations. Businesses in Northern Ireland continued to hire on sectarian grounds for decades. In both cases, such practices seemed to have stopped, or at least reduced significantly, after laws were introduced banning them. No doubt that was complete coincidence.

In the case of discrimination against fat people, it seems pretty unlikely that any company would move simply to circumvent the law. The reality is that most people are not hired because they are the 'best for the job' but because they are good enough. Fat 'genuises' might be largely unaffected, but most fat people would become near unemployable.

Stephen said...

Faced with this choice:

- Fat genius
- Thin idiot

Which person does the company employ?


Except the choice will rarely be as stark as that. The choice may be between a fat person who has 1 year's more experience than the thin guy, or has better qualifications. What the 'fat law' would do is skew employment criteria so that the rational criteria - experience and qualifications - are replaced by entirely irrational and irrelevant criteria - the size of the applicant's waist. That is not a good thing.

Suboptimal Planet said...

Stephen,

I find the position expressed by Onus Probandy both plausible and comforting, but it doesn't really matter whether he's right that bigots will suffer financially.

Nobody has a right to a job.

Everyone should have the right to choose with whom they associate.

True rights don't change when money is involved. All that matters is whether relationships are voluntary.

There are two sides to an employment contract; neither hand should be forced.

Onus Probandy said...

@Stephen:

Except the choice will rarely be as stark as that. The choice may be between a fat person who has 1 year's more experience than the thin guy, or has better qualifications. What the 'fat law' would do is skew employment criteria so that the rational criteria

I entirely accept that. I was presenting the extreme case to demonstrate the point. It's still true even in the grey areas though; you've touched on it yourself when you say that the employment criteria are skewed. This is exactly my point. When employment is not on the basis of merit, then your competitor has an advantage.

I also accept that anti-racism laws have proved to be needed. However, I did say "racist hiring practices don't necessarily have to be illegal.". What I meant with the "don't necessarily" was that it's possible to imagine that they are not necessary, and that the free market will sort out those who foolishly judge on skin colour.

My argument is shaky when it comes to a certain class of job: namely "body-in-a-uniform" type of jobs. What I mean here is that low-skilled, anyone-will-do type jobs. In that case, the employer can judge on skin colour with no concordant disadvantage. I could argue that "skills" still exist: reliability, conscientiousness, etc, but it's a much weaker argument (IMHO).

Stephen said...

I find the position expressed by Onus Probandy both plausible and comforting

I find it utopian and utterly implausible.

Nobody has a right to a job

Since I never claimed that anyone does have a right to a job, you might have just as sensibly announced that no one has a right to a walnut whip. But people do have a right to be treated fairly by employers within certain categories defined by law.

There are two sides to an employment contract; neither hand should be forced

You may choose not to employ Jewish person. But if you choose not to employ them because they are Jewish then the law says you cannot. If that amounts to 'forcing' someone's hand then so be it. Societies that wink at such things usually end up in a very nasty place.

Stephen said...

This is exactly my point. When employment is not on the basis of merit, then your competitor has an advantage

Theoretically yes. But unless, for example, the most skilled software engineers are overweight, the practical commercial consequences of not employing fat people are likely to be miminal. However the effects on society may be far more serious.

What I meant with the "don't necessarily" was that it's possible to imagine that they are not necessary, and that the free market will sort out those who foolishly judge on skin colour

OK< I apologise. I misunderstood your position. I would certainly agree that in an ideal society market forces might well be an effective corrective against prejudice and in such a world, the law might not need to involve itself. However I think it is clear that we don;t yet live in such a world

Suboptimal Planet said...

"You may choose not to employ Jewish person. But if you choose not to employ them because they are Jewish then the law says you cannot."

I'm sure it does. But we're not talking about what the law says, we're talking about what it should say.

"If that amounts to 'forcing' someone's hand then so be it. Societies that wink at such things usually end up in a very nasty place."

No. The societies that end up in very nasty places are those that get carried away with state coercion.

Non-violent private discrimination does not lead to societal breakdown.

Onus Probandy said...

Theoretically yes. But unless, for example, the most skilled software engineers are overweight, the practical commercial consequences of not employing fat people are likely to be miminal. However the effects on society may be far more serious.

I agree that we should be more concerned with the precedent. So I'll leave that point -- we agree.

However, assume that there are an equal number of competent overweight and thin engineers (i.e. competence and weight are uncorrelated). Assume also that software engineers are in demand. All the thin engineers get hired first. What are you left with?

- Fat competent engineer

- Thin incompetent engineer

Which is where I started. So I still say that market forces would solve this problem. I'm exaggerating to make my point again -- but if anything, reality makes my point more true -- it can't be that every thin competent engineer in the world has to be hired before a fat one gets a look in. It also isn't true that competence and incompetence is a simple binary state, so there will be employers faced with the choice of employing a mediocre thinny or a good fatty (and vice versa of course, but that case is not contentious in the world of tax-the-fatties).

I would certainly agree that in an ideal society market forces might well be an effective corrective against prejudice and in such a world, the law might not need to involve itself. However I think it is clear that we don;t yet live in such a world

I understand your point -- I am talking about some imaginary utopia when we speak of race issues. However, it's not as far away as it was fifty years ago. There is justification (I think) for saying that race laws could be phased out at some point, even if racism still exists.

Stephen said...

I'm sure it does. But we're not talking about what the law says, we're talking about what it should say

It should say that discrimination on the basis of race or sex is illegal.

No. The societies that end up in very nasty places are those that get carried away with state coercion

No doubt. But protecting the rights of Jews not to be discriminated against on the basis of being Jews, or blacks, or any other racial group, is not getting 'carried away with state coercion'.

Non-violent private discrimination does not lead to societal breakdown

I have no idea what 'societal breakdown' means.

Suboptimal Planet said...

I have no idea what 'societal breakdown' means.

I think it's an improvement on 'very nasty places'. Perhaps you're trying to avoid Godwin's law?

I'm happy to be more explicit. In a properly-functioning society:

- property rights are respected

- citizens are free to engage in mutually-beneficial relationships, provided these do not harm the property or person of third parties

- the law protects citizens from aggressive acts by their fellow citizens, including the agents of the state.

If we find that we have lynch mobs or gas chambers, it's safe to say we've experienced 'societal breakdown'. You might also say that we've arrived at a 'very nasty place'.

My point is that by refusing someone employment, you take nothing away from them. It doesn't matter what your reasons are. You have done them no wrong, because you owe them nothing. This is why I stressed earlier that nobody has a right to a job.

By contrast, if the government mandates separate dining areas for blacks and whites, fails to protect citizens equally from aggression, or sets about exterminating a portion of its population, it is infringing upon the genuine rights of its citizens.

The law should be silent about race and sex.

Grimy Miner said...

And this policy is from a country whos national sport is Sumo Wrestling!

Last time I looked these were IMMENSELY fat fuckers!

So - what are they going to do? fine the companies who employ and stage Sumo, and simultaneously award them medals for winning because they are larger than their opponents?

Utterly, utterly crackers, and just another example of a state gone mad.