Economics, Politics, recent, Tech

Video Games and the (Male) Meaning of Life

Virtual worlds give back what has been scooped out of modern life . . . it gives us back community, a feeling of competence, and a sense of being an important person whom people depend on.
—Jonathan Gottschall

When I was seven, my parents bought me and my brother an Atari 2600, the first mass game console. The game it came with was “Asteroids.” We played that game an awful lot. One night, we snuck down in the middle of the night only to discover my Dad already playing.

My brother and I loved going to local arcades and try to make a few quarters last as long as possible. It was the perfect set of incentives—you win, you keep playing. You lose, you’re forced to stand there and watch others play, hoping that someone is forced to leave their game in the middle so you can jump in. We became very good at video games. My favorite was “Street Fighter II.” I memorized the Mortal Kombat fatalities to inflict graphic harm on defeated enemies. On the PC, I was hooked the first time I played “Ancient Art of War” when I was 9. As I got older, real-time strategy games like “Warcraft” and “Starcraft” arrived to combine efficiently building armies and settlements with defeating live opponents. My friends and I would sit next to each other in a house with several networked computers taking on strangers and talking trash. 

The amount of time I spent on video games dropped dramatically after I graduated from college. I wanted to go on dates, and playing video games wasn’t helping. I developed a notion that virtual world-building and real-life world-building were at odds with each other. I started reading books on investing and financial statement analysis, which seemed to me to be the real-world analogue to becoming good at video games. By the time I started dabbling in games again and asked my brother-in-law to school me in Defense of the Ancients (“Dota”) over the holidays, they had leapt forward to a point where I felt old and slow. Memorizing key commands seemed beyond me.

That said, I still understand and appreciate video games on a visceral level. I even imagine that I could get into them again. They speak to a primal set of basic impulses—to world-creating, skill-building, achievement, violence, leadership, teamwork, speed, efficiency, status, decision-making and accomplishment. They fall into a whole suite of things that appeal to young men in particular—to me the list would go something like gaming, the stock market, fantasy sports, gambling, basketball, science fiction/geek movies, and cryptocurrencies, most of which involve a blend of numbers and optimization. It’s a need for mastery, progress, competition and risk.

As of last year, 22 percent of men between the ages of 21 and 30 in the U.S. with less than a bachelor’s degree reported not working at all in the previous year—up from only 9.5 percent in 2000. And there’s evidence that video games are a big reason why. According to a recent study based on the Census Bureau’s time-use surveys, young men without college degrees have replaced 75 percent of the time they used to spend working with time on the computer, mostly playing video games. From 2004 to 2007, young, unemployed men without college degrees were spending 3.4 hours per week playing video games. By 2011 to 2014, the average time spent per week had more than doubled to 8.6 hours.

The economists conducting the study, led by the University of Chicago’s Erik Hurst, strained to figure out whether men who were already detached were playing video games to pass the time, or whether video games were actually causing them to drop out. Evidence pointed to the latter. Their research indicated that improved technological entertainment options, primarily video games, are responsible for between 20 and 33 percent of reduced work hours. The trends are different for women, who have not seen the same increase in gaming at the expense of work hours and are more likely to return to school when out of work. For many men, however, games have gotten so good that they have made dropping out of work a more appealing option.

“When I play a game, I know if I have a few hours I will be rewarded,” said one 22-year-old who lives with his parents in Silver Spring, Md. “With a job, it’s always been up in the air with the amount of work I put in and the reward.” Jacob Barry, a 21-year old in Michigan, finds it easier to get excited about playing games than his part-time job making sandwiches at a local Jimmy John’s, particularly given the sense of community he finds online. He plays up to 40 hours a week, the equivalent of a full-time job.

How exactly are these game-playing men getting by? They live with their parents. In 2000, just 35 percent of lower-skilled young men in America lived with family. Now, more than 50 percent of lower-skilled young men live with their parents, and as many as 67 percent of those who are unemployed do so. More U.S. men aged 18-34 are now living with their parents than with romantic partners, according to the Pew Research Center.

Video games function as extremely inexpensive entertainment on a time-use basis. After one invests in a console or computer, the marginal cost is near zero. Gamers can log hundreds or thousands of hours for the cost of one game or rental subscription. Time spent gaming is what’s known in economic terms as an “inferior good”—the poorer you are, the more of it you consume. Recent studies found that households making between $25,000 and $35,000 a year spent 92 more minutes per week online than households making $100,000 plus a year.

The image of legions of men in their parents’ basements playing video games for hours on end may seem pathetic or sad. But their satisfaction level is high. “Happiness has gone up for this group,” says the University of Chicago’s Erik Hurst, despite the high rate of unemployment. Hurst describes his findings as “staggering” and observes of his own twelve-year old son, “If it were up to him, I have no doubt he would play video games 23 and a half hours per day. He told me so. If we didn’t ration video games, I am not sure he would ever eat. I am positive he wouldn’t shower.”

Video games are fun and communal. Nowadays they’re also so well-designed that many almost simulate jobs if a job’s progress were measured in minutes and hours instead of weeks and months. In many games, you perform a variety of mundane, repetitive tasks in order to build points or currencies or accrue items. You then use these items to make yourself more capable. You complete quests with your friends or against the computer. You experience a continuous feeling of progress and accomplishment.

As one can imagine, the problems come later. Playing video games as a pseudo-job that doesn’t pay can be fun, social and even cool in your teens and twenties. By the time you’re in your 30s, your friends may have moved on and you become the loser shut-in who lurks around the local GameStop. “There is some evidence that these young, lower-skilled men who are happy in their 20s become much less happy in their 30s or 40s,” says Hurst. Their work skills and prospects will be limited, and competing in the workforce will be harder and harder. To the extent they ever wanted to go out and start a family, it may seem more and more unrealistic and out of reach. They are likely to stay detached, and may drift from video games to gambling, drugs and alcohol.

Indeed, the most recent General Social Survey showed that 31 percent of working age men who are out of the workforce admitted to illegal drug use in the past 12 months. The Annual Time Use survey in 2014 indicated high levels of time spent “attending gambling establishments,” “tobacco and drug use,” “listening to the radio,” and “arts and crafts as a hobby,” with over eight hours per day spent on “socializing, relaxing and leisure.” The same surveys showed lower likelihood of volunteering or attending religious services than for men in the workforce, despite having considerably more time.

“Every society has a ‘bad men’ problem,” says Tyler Cowen, the economist and author of Average is Over. He projects a future where a relative handful of high-productivity individuals create most of the value, while low-skilled people become preoccupied with cheap digital entertainment to stay happy and organize their lives. 

Games have come a long way since I was a kid, and they’re about to take yet another leap forward. Virtual reality headsets are creating experiences that will take simulations to a whole new level. Digital entertainments will get better and better. The analogue and the real world will become less and less appealing.  Before long, video games, virtual reality and pornography will merge into new forms of immersive experiences that will be more and more compelling. On a pure enjoyment basis, it’s going to be hard to beat.

Imagine a 21-year-old college dropout who is not excited to make sandwiches at Jimmy John’s and prefers his gaming community. 

You could say to him, “Hey, this Jimmy John’s job could go places. Sure you make $8 an hour now. But maybe if you stick with it for a few years you could become a manager. Eventually, you could make $35,000 or so if you really excel and are willing to work long and hard hours, including waking up at 5 a.m. to slice up tomatoes and cucumbers every morning, and commit to it.”

The above is possibly true. Or, the retail district around his Jimmy John’s could shrink and a management job might never open up. Or Jimmy John’s could bring in an automated system that gets rid of cashiers and front-of-house staff two years from now. Or his manager could just choose someone else. 

I can’t really say that the food service job is more intellectually stimulating or social than playing video games. The main virtues seem to be that it pays money, imposes discipline, has face-to-face contact with other real humans and might lead somewhere. In previous eras of growth, it really might have. 

I sympathize with this kid in part because I feel like the trade-offs are more difficult than most people realize. If I was given the choice between a dead-end low-end job for months on end or hanging with my friends playing video games, it would be very easy to choose the latter. The consequences are somewhat vague and down-the-road. Men imagine themselves to be kings, warriors, CEOs, athletes, ladies men, geniuses, soldiers, workers, achievers and part of a band of brothers. All of these things are possible online. 

Of course I believe that people should go out into the real world, get a good job, fall in love, get married, become a homeowner, have a child, be a good parent, leave the world a better place and do all of that stuff. I’ve tried to do it myself. It’s the substance of life and humanity. It requires a degree of evolution and positive social reinforcement—particularly trying to be a good parent.

But this version of achievement is not going to be sustainable for more and more Americans. The jobs are going to lead nowhere and then disappear. There will be very limited social reinforcement. The incentives to stay immersed in the virtual world will rise as the world outside gets harder and less welcoming. Billions of dollars will be spent facilitating their immersion.

A number of my guy friends have gotten divorced in their thirties and forties. Others have become detached from society. Male dysfunction tends to take on an air of nihilism and dropping out. The world and relationships take work. You gird yourself for the workplace in a suit of armor. If you ever take it off and stop working, you get swept away.

Many men have within us the man-child who’s still in that basement. The fortunate among us have left him behind, but we understand his appeal all too well. He’s still there waiting—ready to take over in case our lives fall apart.


Andrew Yang is a candidate for President of the United States in 2020.  He is the founder of Venture for America and the author of The War on Normal People, of which this is an adapted excerpt. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewYangVFA 

206 Comments

  1. Farris says

    The language of the article is somewhat euphemistic. It describes living in parent’s basement. How about “sponging off parents”? The video games are just too tempting, according to the author. Baloney! This is nothing new or even unusual. There have always been guys who preferred to perpetually hang out and shoot pool or dice, figure out ways to beat the ponies or patronize bars and strip clubs. What has changed is the tolerance and pity these people receive. The author throws shade on the video games not the dreck that prefers to loaf. Dead end jobs? Compared to what, not working? The author describes this as a male phenomenon. He is correct because these losers are not men. He describes the situation as sad. A contemptible waste would be more apt. The correct term for these individuals is bums.

    • Morgan says

      Oh, I almost thought you were going to mention the unemployed housewives that used to exist..

      It’s perfectly rational to waste away in pleasure if the world is telling you you’re worthless, and if no one cares if you live or die, if no one is depending on you. If people are doing things like calling you ‘not men’. Purposeless people will always behave this way, you’re right. Maybe it’s a problem that’s been going on longer than we like to admit. Maybe it’s a problem with our whole system, what do you think? People who have their own families, people who are needed, are unlikely to behave this way. Sure there are always some who still will, but not this many. And now that we’ve taken away every rational incentive to work, besides base animal greed (which I assume is working for you) why are you surprised that it’s happening even more?

      You’re following that old animal instinct of barking at the weakest. Like a good little rabid doggie.

      • Farris says

        Yes coddle them. That’s exactly what got them where they aren’t.

        • The only point he has is that this phenomenon isn’t unique to gamers. The rest of his diatribe is unhelpful at best.

          • curiositas says

            It’s easy to just ascribe the whole phenomenon to laziness, I suppose. But that, in itself, is a somewhat lazy explanation. Most complex social problems are not uni-causal. Might increased social coddling play a role in it? Sure! But even if one cause explains most of it, that still doesn’t make it unhelpful to suggest we try for a more nuanced understanding of the issue. Viewpoint diversity is always helpful. Even when a person is wrong about something, it can spur others’ thinking to greater heights.

      • The term unemployed housewife makes no sense. She is employed, no? Now if you are referring to one who isn’t doing her job, that’s another thing. But she’s still employed. Cleaning, cooking, shopping, taking care of toddlers – that’s work.

        • No, she’s not employed. She’s doing what is called “life”. Same for any man who happens to be the one to stay at home. Whoever makes more money, they should be the one to work if no support structure is available. Maybe both people work but they don’t get to say that doing the everyday things necessary in life, keeping your house clean, washing your clothes, fixing the house, shoveling the driveway, is equivalent to employment. If so, where the hell is my check? Its called life.

    • “Tolerance or pity” Perhaps it’s also a void of moral precedent, and society’s waning appreciation or strive to maintain values. Men do need guidance, and we need to understand why it’s important. It’s complex, and not easy. Society has steered toward unrestrained individual self choice. Eschewing the inherent discipline which accompanies maintaining higher standards and personal responsibility has a cost.

      • Robert Paulson says

        Farris, its attitudes like yours that are contributing to the creation of a society that people find so alienating they would rather be shut-ins.

        Say Johnny decides to “do the right thing”, get out of the basement and get one of those low-skill jobs. Then two years later that job is automated, or the next recession hits and gets laid off. What would you then say? “He’s still a loser since he can’t compete in the global economy?”

        • Farris says

          @Robert Paulson

          If someone is down or their luck, I will be the first to help him or her. But when that person becomes one for whom it is beneath their dignity to work at Jimmy Johns, I have nothing but contempt and scorn. Don’t work, just quit because your job may or may not be automated in 2 years? These people are quitters and often what they most need is a good swift kick in the pants. To with hold that kick and allow them to wallow in the mud of self pity and excuses is actually more cruel.

          • HelloChito says

            What’s possibly ironic about your tough-guy, I’m-the-real-deal comments, Farris, is that you’re engaging in a digital space (much like the virtual social sphere of video games) to simulate face-to-face confrontation with a bunch of strangers you’ve never met (and likely never will meet), which I view as energy and time wasted that you could otherwise spend on your presumably successful, meaningful, real-world, git-er-done lifestyle.

            Are we supposed to take it on faith that you’re actually the real deal or is the primary function of your comments to help you delude yourself (much like the gamers depicted in this article) into believing that you’re actually accomplishing anything by spouting off (safely, invisibly) on an internet comment board?

            If that’s the case, then let me add here that I’m also the real deal and I can bench over 700 pounds with my little finger. Git-er-done!

          • @Farris@Robert Paulson

            I see both sides –

            I’m facing this right now as a father of a mid-20’s young man. I don’t know exactly what to do. The kid (man) is a good human being, has a job, pays rent, doesn’t drink excessively and no drugs. He is not causing anyone any trouble – except himself. He spends all his free time playing video games in my basement.

            We’ve tried tough love, I’ve tried appealing to his pride and my wife has tried outright hostility. I’m not quite at the point of kicking him out – but the time has come for a deadline.

            What would you do?

        • DeplorableDude says

          If Johnny’s job goes away he gets another one. There was a time when a man who didnt work either sat on the corner begging or he didn’t eat. Now we support those who refuse to support themselves and can’t understand why they fail to launch.

          • A.B. Prosper says

            Craig

            Your son isn’t causing anyone even himself trouble. So long as he works and pays his taxes and bills and obeys the law, his life is his .

            The assumption he’ll follow the old script, get married, get you some grand kids and a house in burbs is risible in this current society. The birth rate alone 1.8 per family suggests a lot of people will have one or even no kids.

            The easy solution is to charge him some rent, whatever the market rate is. This way he has some skin in the game and you can retire a bit faster,

            As for kicking him out, you certainly can. Assuming he can afford an apartment which in this market is rare for full time workers in some areas , he’ll be fine. Don’t assume though he will suddenly get a girlfriend and start running the baby boomer script

            He may simply not want a wife or kids and be quite happy as he is. If that is the case, good on you as a parent. You did fine.

    • Steve G says

      LOL! I’ve been looking for a landscaping worker all year! I can’t find one. I pay $12.50 per hour… This past year has been the worst in terms of finding a normal, reliable, conscientious worker… capable of following instructions, completing tasks and socializing at an adult level. A ticking time-bomb?

      • Robert Paulson says

        @Steve G

        “I pay $12.50 per hour…”

        Maybe that’s your problem – you get what you pay for…

        • Too old at 50 says

          As a fit 50 year old geologist who can’t get a job because (so I’m told) my software skills are “out of date” I would give my left tit for $12.50 an hour and the dignity of work

          • Robert Paulson says

            What software skills do you have that are out of date?

          • Whole Foods is hiring, and their starting wage is $15 an hour. It’s not as much fun as field geology, but it provides the dignity of work plus a paycheck.

      • Farris says

        @ Hellochito
        Speaking of engaging in digital space, sort of the pot calling the kettle black.
        I am what I am. I am a product of my experiences. I don’t know if I’m the “real deal”. What you take on faith is your business.
        If my language is tough or course, I will not apologize. I care not to confront anyone. But I will express my views, even it some find it hard to hear. Sometimes the truth is difficult to hear. I prefer gentlemanly language unless it proves an impediment. That is the case here. Infantilizing adults who retreat into video games, serves no useful purpose.
        Speaking of wasted time and space, I have yet to read in suggestions from you on what these poor lost souls require.

        • HelloChito says

          Here’s what I’d suggest to them: go to the comment section of Quillette’s “Video Games and the (Male) Meaning of Life” and enroll in Farris’s School of Hard Work, but be prepared to have your life changed because this guy ain’t for any foolerin’ around.

      • Raise your wages. Theyre too low for landscaping work. This is why you cant fill the job. You need to pay more for heavy full time work , otherwise only losers will take the job.

      • Doctor Locketopus says

        > LOL! I’ve been looking for a landscaping worker all year! I can’t find one. I pay $12.50 per hour…

        If you can’t find someone who will do the job for the amount you’re offering, you need to pay more. Basic economics, dude.

      • What’s remarkable is that not only is Steve obviously not paying enough to hire the caliber of employee he’s looking for but, at the same time, he actually seems to think that what he’s offering is especially generous. Given the striking disconnect between his belief and reality, it’s difficult to imagine that his hiring prospects will improve in the near future (A full year of hiring duds without raising the wage? Seriously?).

      • A.B. Prosper says

        $12.50 is a low wage, a bit above minimum in California and many other states. Landscape work from experience is semi skilled labor

        If you assume the wage for that kind of job is roughly 4x an apartment pre tax than the right wage in market with a one bedroom apartment at $800 a month is roughly 3,200 or $20 an hour

        $12.50 in most markets is Ma and Da subsidized wage for for kids .

        No one likes this but a lot of failure to launch comes from low wages. If you can’t make ends meet, you can’t fly and when people “You should suck it up and pull yourselves up by your bootstraps.” the proper answer is well its salty ,

        The economy has changed and many prices have gone way up while wages have declined

        In order to fix that wages will almost have to double and there will have to be massive changes in the divorce/family court system to make long term marriage a good prospect

        As a society we can barely keep our infrastructure going so good luck with anything that is actually hard.

    • Mr. Jinx says

      Call them “bums,” then. Nobody cares. Shaming language is hilariously outdated in the modern context. If you don’t perceive why that is the case (starting with a loss of community cohesion which would make shaming meaningful to begin with), then you probably don’t understand much about modernity at all.

      Basically, calling someone a “bum” used to be an insult because it used to imply that the person was not a useful participant in some grander shared project. Those ties have become so attenuated that they no longer obviously exist in many cases. Why, the neoliberal corporate state will just haul in some immigrants to fill any gaps. Since there is no shared project, your opinion doesn’t matter, because it, in turn, has no obvious relevance to anyone else’s disposition or behavior. And that’s where western society stands at the moment.

      • Farris says

        I began this thread complaining rather in artfully about the euphemistic language of the article. I suggested more course language would be appropriate. I believe using euphemistic language is a form of coddling and enabling these people, no different from what the parents are permitting. In school I experienced professors who were hard on their students and professors who spoke euphemistically and wanted to be the students’ friend. I learned little from the latter and much from the former. I once heard an old coach say the following: “You are going to screw up and I am going to yell at you. Don’t worry about it. I yell at you because I care. I yell at you because I know you can do better. When I quit yelling at you, that’s the time to worry. It means I’ve given up on you.”
        Perhaps Mr. Jinx is correct. This is outdated thinking. But I think the old saying, “not everyone who craps on you is your enemy and not everyone who gets you out of crap is your friend”, still applies.

        • D-Rex says

          I tend to agree with Farris somewhat. As a high school teacher one of the issues I see is students with computers/game consoles in their bedrooms. They are always behind in their work and usually tired at school and have soft parents who can’t bring themselves to restrict their child’s gaming. When my kids were teenagers, they got one hour on the computer every three nights (3 kids) but that was before computers were used for homework. Thankfully, it was also just before mobile phones became a thing.
          When my youngest son was in his 20’s, two of his friends were in the same situation that the author describes except that they played games all night and slept all day. They did nothing to help out around the house for a single mother with a full time job, payed no or minimal board and ate her out of house and home.
          Thankfully, they have both grown up and become employed and even married but it was touch and go for a number of years.
          We are at a stage in our society where we still don’t know how to deal with this relatively new phenomenon and there is going to be a lot of collateral damage along the way, however, mollycoddling them is certainly not helpful in my opinion.

          • Jeff Walther says

            Your profession is not helping the situation by structuring classes such that school work is now performed on the computer all the time.

            Children/students claim to be working on school work every moment of the day that they are not in school. Computer screens are easy to switch instantly. Unless a parent has time to sit behind the student all evening, every evening, there’s no way to keep the student from the distrations on the internet and computer which are vastly more insteresting that the school work they claim they are doing.

            Go back to text books and paper. Get the home work off the computer and give less of it. This whole move to computerized home work was foolish and ill advised.

        • Tricia says

          I didn’t like your first comment Farris but the way you’ve explained yourself comes across as reasonable to me. We do need to be tougher on individuals that want to check out and that’s a big spectrum ranging from guys who just want to play video games all day in their parents’ basement to those who would rather live off the grid and beg for money from strangers rather than take advantage of homeless services that require giving up booze/drugs and actively looking for a job.

          Coddling and providing support only strengthens their “learned helplessness” and enables them to continue as is. They are the bums society has created them to be.

    • crutchiw says

      I do agree with this. But the phenomenon is much greater due to the immersion, sense of accomplishment, ease of access, lack of parenting, acceptance, and early starting in life it happens at. How many times do you go to a mall and find a phone in a kids hand while the parents are wheeling them around. Like every diversion, it’s how much time you invest.

    • WildCard says

      We’re reaching levels of boomerposting that shouldn’t be possible.

    • “Tolerance and pity”? What?! From who?! Your attitude toward them is common place, especially among the opposite sex who simply do not have to (nor are they expected to if they don’t want to) meet a burden of performance like men do. That is changing and women will find it ever more difficult to find a man to marry. We’ve spent the past 50 years ignoring men and strictly focusing – ever more intensely – on “womans empowerment TM”. Make no mistake about it, video games might exacerbate the reclusion from society, but boys have been neglected for decades as an important cohort to nurture because they have “male privilege”. . Feminists and Progressives say, “Look at all those men is positions of power though! what do you mean there’s no male privilege?!” without the slightest bit of awareness the men they point to are overwhelmingly over 50 years of age. This phantom of “male privilege” will rear its ugly head soon enough and the consequences of it are terrifying.

    • R Daneel says

      Soyboys. Yuck. Get out and do something. Work. There is honor in all work.

      Sitting there and whining is a waste. Don’t be a waste.

    • Elon Musk-Ox says

      I’m not sure that you understand the authors point.

      Actually, I’m sure that you don’t understand the authors point.

      It is not a defense of the tendencies, it’s a window, and one that looks into a room I can understand because I know people who have gone both ways on this. Since you don’t understand these tendencies, instead of criticizing the author’s writing, learn from it -as someone else’s perspective.

      That’s the point of reading an opinion piece, isn’t it?

  2. Grahsam says

    When I was younger I played video games a lot. Even well into my 30s. When I worked lousy jobs or had nothing going on in my personal life, they gave me something to do with my brain. There is also the undeniable fact that there is an appeal to something where I’m given clear instructions, given defined rewards, and could actually succeed at something. It isn’t “do something and my boss takes credit for it,” or “do the quests and maybe receive a reward eventually,” or “you completed your mission, unfortunately the quest giver went out of business, game over.”
    It is fantasy in that achievement is actually possible.
    I never played multiplayer games because people are bigger jerks online than they are in person.

  3. Morgan says

    Are those statistics real? 22 percent of men? Fascinating.
    I completely agree though, why should you blame them? They’re making a rational choice. Especially rational if you favor your youth over a declining old age. I wonder if many of them will embrace the nihilism and simply end their lives, since society has told them they’re worthless. I doubt many are capable of empathizing on any real level. If you don’t work, there’s a feeling you deserve nothing. The problem is: these men have realized something – if it’s worth dying sooner to avoid suffering now, and if no one care whether you live or die, why should they contribute anything? Yet these rational men are called ‘bad men’, a ‘problem’, when the problem is the system that gives up on them, gave up on them a long time ago.

    And you fail to mention one thing in this article. Family. Building a family with what money? The money they likely won’t get? Building a family with what woman? The single mother of two? The hard-working career woman who’s only interested in a hard-working career man? To be fair, a capitalist economy supported low unemployment, when that unemployment was housewives. Yet I doubt we’ll see a rush of career women pursuing these men who work for $8 an hour server sandwiches at 30 years old.

    Though I have to mention, Claire herself tweeted an attack on these kinds of men. Now this article?

    • Stephanie says

      @ Morgan, there are a ton of welfare queens that pop out a bunch of kids without having any job skills. Money is not a real barrier when you’re motivated! Especially if one partner can stay home, as these guys are well-suited to.

      A 30 year old sandwich maker isn’t going to be attractive to a career woman, or anyone other than a similarly desperate woman. However, a career-driven woman is exactly what these guys need in their early 20s. Some men need a more motivated woman to push them into channelling their energy into something productive. Even if he doesn’t make much, a full-time job is enough to support her while she’s in school. A man open to taking care of the home, cooking, raising babies, ect once his woman is done school and in the workforce is attractive to women genuinely interested in their careers. A loving husband that supports her career goals and frees her from doing all the housework, on top of working full time, is nothing less than a unicorn.

      Particularly as men become less represented at university, it will become clear to young women that a working class guy who’s secure enough to support her goals makes for a perfect match. These men’s lack of ambition could work in their favour, if they focus on being competent partners in the home.

      • Softclocks says

        What women are going to pick these men? Talk about indefinite and unclear rewards. You think a woman’s going to bet her prime 20s on a deadbeat that -might- pull himself together if she functions as both his caregiver, provider ans lover??

      • DuppyConqueror says

        Stephanie, I’m sure those all sound like attractive traits when you think about them objectively, they certainly sounded attractive to the wives of the men I know in this position.

        But hypergamy doesn’t care.

      • WildCard says

        It’s naive to think that the average career-driven woman would be inclined to start a family with an unemployed (or even worse, unemployable) man. Studies clearly show that women have very little interest in men with lower social status than themselves.

        Nowadays, if you’re an unemployed man with no reedemable quality (exceptional sense of humor or charisma, peak physical condition or artistic skills, etc) your options are pretty much:
        1) work your ass off to develop one or more of these qualities;
        2) make your peace with the idea you’re unlikely to ever have a family of your own, and instead dedicate your time to a community that you will be useful to and who will accept you;
        3) settle for a partner even worse off than you are;
        4) commit suicide.

      • Jeff Walther says

        ” a full-time job is enough to support her while she’s in school. ”

        Really? That $8/Hr sandwish job pays $16,000/yr probably with no benefits. That guy above who can’t find a hard working landscaper wants to pay $25,000/Yr.

        The cost of living varies a lot, but I don’t anywhere that I can support two people on $16 – $25,000 per year. Certainly, no urban area, where schools are likely to be, are that affordable. And tuition on top of that? Have you looked at tuition today?

        The accessibility of cheap foreign labor has created a race to the bottom in wages. That’s the real source of this problem. That and automation, although it’s difficult to tell how much each contributes.

        • The cheap foreign labor seems to live rather well on wages that we’re scoffing at. My onetime gardener, an immigrant from Mexico, is now a boss with many employees, a three-bedroom house in a decent area, and a big tax bill (thank you for doing your share Miguel).

        • “The cost of living varies a lot, but I don’t anywhere that I can support two people on $16 – $25,000 per year. Certainly, no urban area, where schools are likely to be, are that affordable. And tuition on top of that? Have you looked at tuition today?”

          The crux underlying this issue is that we assume a high standard of living in today’s middle-income terms must be had by at least everyone. The key issue above you mention is schools, so lets revisit that notion. Can you support yourself and a spouse on 16-25k year? Maybe not everywhere but a lot more than you might think. The rub is that it won’t be pretty or necessarily comfortable. Whether it should be is a separate question from whether it is possible. I supported a family of three on less that not that long ago.

          A family starting out isn’t paying college tuition. It is a faulty argument to talk about a family of two on 16-25k/year and then add tuition. Tuition for whom? And to answer your question: yes, I have a daughter in her second year of college thus I am acutely aware of tuition costs. Once she became so it altered where she decided to go. You don’t need expensive tutition (besides, Room and Board overwhelms most tuition prices if you stay in-state). Yet lets go a bit deeper. Why pay tuition?

          Some uncomfortable facts need to be understood about being at the bottom. College may be a poor choice. Indeed I’d suggest it may be the case it is incredibly overpriced because it lacks real value for most people and those at the bottom especially so.

          Lets assume an average tuition cost of 15k/year for this comparison. You can get that down t about 9-10k for public in-state but easily hit 25k for public OoS and 35k for private. Because doing so *weakens* my position lets exclude the cost of on-campus and near-campus housing vs. off-campus costs (have you seen the “amenities” level colleges are putting out there?). We’ll assume housing costs are the same, initially at least.

          Student A graduates high school and goes to the college route. Student B goes to a trade/vocational school. Assume lower economic strata, same neighboorhood for both. Which one will be climbing the ladder faster? How well off will each be in 5 years? TO understand that we’ll have to look at the trade options. Lets list some typical examples/options.

          Pharmacy Technician
          Plumber
          Electrician
          Carpenter

          You can get into these trades for much less money than that college degree. Typical costs for Pharmacy tech school range from $500-5000 – in total – and can take as little as two weeks at a dedicated school to two years for a community college one. So lets start there.

          Student B comes up with the $500 needed (yes, there are actually scholarships for this even), spends four months learning the trade, and goes into the workforce the year they graduated high school. But how much can they expect to be making? First year salaries run in the 25-35k range. Second year goes up around 10-15k – after you’ve proved you’ll both stick around and have adecent enough work ethic. These jobs also tend to come with decent medical and retirement benefits. So lets look at one year later.

          Even if B borrowed that $500 they can easily have paid it back by now. They would thus, c.p., be debt free and pulling in 25k+ with benefits. I’ll use housing in SATX because I am familiar with it here. A studio apartment averages 688/month as of this year, lets round it up to 700. A family of two doesn’t need more than a sudio to start out, and a single person doesn’t either.

          So of the 25k annually housing would run B 8400 annually. My wife fed a family of four on 300/month (no govt. assistance) so you can feed a family of 1-2 on it fairly well. Now we’re up to only 12/k year for their room and board. That leaves around 15k for taxes, transportation, savings, medical, and whatever else. Since both are working in a field where the employee’s health plans are usually paid by the employer their medical costs will be realtively low.

          Notice the assumption present in those figures: only one of the two adults is working. If Student B’s partner/spouse took the same route it should be clear they would be pretty ell off in comparison. Family of two pulling in 50-70k at age 19, without mounds of college debt, is doing quite well I think we could all agree. I suspect most of us would probably wish we had been doing that well back then. I sure as hell do.

          Meanwhile Student A is probably at least 15k in debt and has little, if any, work experience. If Student A has partnered or married another student in the same path, then we can almost double that (you have to account some for shared housing if married so not necessarily double though it is still common to go into more debt for “better” housing).

          Who is better off now? Clearly B is in the lead. Now perhaps twenty years down the line one might be able to argue the situation would be reversed, but that isn’t a given either. Since the assertion was about a two-person family, lets go with that from here out. So we have “trade family (TC)” vs “college family (CF)”. Five years after high school graduation who is better off, or potentially so?

          In five years the odds are the CF is about ready to graduate since the average is closer to 5 years vs. the traditional four year degree. Assuming no change in status the TF with both working are each pulling down at least 33k annually for a mid-level combined annual income of 66k + benefits, though they could be at the higher end and be making ~80k combined plus benefits. Even if they only had put a combined 100/mo into savings (certainly doable on the above numbers) they’ve got a decent savings of about 6k. They have likely been able to buy 1-2 low level used vehicles and could have them paid off by now.

          Now on to the CF. They graduate and enter the workforce. The average salary is 50k for a recent college graduate, but that is a bit misleading. The average is higher than the norm because of the effects of a few very well paid positions and most recent grads make less than the average, some a lot less. Animal sciences, childhood and health administrative area degreeholders for example start at an average of 30-34k. So where will make our assumption? Well, I’ve low-balled my selection of pharmacy technician as our exemplar. Five years into plumbing you’re looking at 45-50k annually after a entry range of 29-38k. Entry level electricians are looking at 20-42k and after five years you’re easily looking at 50-62k.

          So since I took the low-ball of the trades I mentioned it seems reasonable to do the same for the newly minted CF. They are now sitting on combined loan debt of approxiately 150k and looking at rough combined income of about 70k/year – better but only slightly than the TF’s 66k. But did I mention that 150k in debt? if you assume 20 years to pay it off then you’re looking at an additional load of 7,500 per year. This 20 year assumption is in favor of the CF. Federal programs give you 10 years after graduating which doubles it assuming all loans were under this umbrella. In either case, however, I think we can agree that in the short term those loan payments more than eliminate any salary advantage. On the official repayment period the CF will need to be making a combined 15k/year more to break even (yes, assuming a flat time rate, it is easier for this format).

          As it happens, in those degreed areas the picture isn’t that much better after another 10 years. A teacher with a decade of experience makes less than an electrician for sure, but what about our pharmacy tech starters? After 10-15 years in the industry they are likely looking at being at least assistant directors or at minimum a specialization into, let say intraveneous or oncology technicians. The assistant director is looking at well into six figures such as 150k mid-range. But lets toss that one out as we are still thinking in terms of “average” people. Lets go with a “simple” specialization in pharmaceutical tech. An IV or oncologist specialization doesn’t need 5-10 years and is looking at 45-60k for IV and 65-71k for oncology specializations.

          Those ranges do not take into account 10-15 years experience since you can get those certifications in 1-3 years and for a similarly low cost as to the original certification. So lets put the combined annual income for the TF at around 130k since they have ~15 years of experience to go with their specializations, and again we are assuming they didn’t go into the more lucrative options they had from there such as assistant directors or management. Even if they didn’t specialize or climb the ladder they are still looking at a combined annual income of around 90-100k at that point.

          In the meantime they haven’t been paying off student loans, have a five year experience headstart, and have had the opprtunity if desired to increase their professional value and education without going into debt and incurring relative experience loss. Instead the TF could easily have saved an average of 250/month over that 15 years.

          Adding children into this mix biases the results in favor of the trade family. Whether mom decides to stay home or go back to work, the trade family has a stronger base to stand on. The earlier a child enters the picture, the more the TF is favored. Say it happens in year 3, the CF is likely to need mom to stop going to school. Dad may also face leaving college for work. But the debt they have incurred so far isn’t going anywhere. Indeed, if one or both of them leave school the piper starts calling.

          In the trade family they aren’t facing 100k+ in debt with payments about to start if either or both of them leave for a job and/or being the one at home. They still have enough income to upgrade to a 1-2 bedroom and let one stay home for a time. Without question they are more solid financial grounds if a baby pops out in year three, for example.

          Another angle to this is “well what about software degrees, they pay pretty well”. Yeah kinda. But here we have a problem with averages again – most programmers start out making crap and a few make the really big bucks, which skews the numbers into a false expectation. Not to mention the hours you’re expected to work, the high likelyhod that what you learned at school is now “obsolete”, and the very real risk of your programming job being shipped offshore. Know what jobs are not being shipped offshore? Pharmacy, Electrician, Plumber, CDL, etc.. Know what jobs we have a shortage of every year to the tune of a few million unfilled openings? Yup, the same ones.

          So for those starting out, or having floundered or hit rocky shores, how about we stop pushing them toward mythical pipe dream incomes in at-risk professions after incurring house-and-home level debt loads? How about we be more responsible and point out the harsh reality of what credentialism has wrought? Lets not use the excessive cost of tuition as an excuse for people not taking a clearly superior financial path. Not all “good” jobs require college, and I’d even go so far as to say most don’t.

          I think it irresponsible of us adults to buy into the notion that it is college or fast food and then push it onto the next generation. It is irresponsible for us to igore the reality that when you’re at the bottom you are not helpless but can make “hard choices” on where you live and what you do and work your way up. If you are a parent look at the options I’ve mentioned above. How much less stress for your kid(s), and you, would there be if they spent even 12 months post-high school living at home, getting a trade certificate, and then moving out compared to college? How much better would it be for them if they stayed for maybe a year after getting their first trade position and saved (or paid you some rent if you’re willing to go there)? Is it really worth it to take the more stress for arguably less reward over time?

          If they are particulary gifted/drive in a field that pays quite well, has low risk of “leaving” and good long-term consitency, and does indeed require a degree, by all means take that route. But if, for example, they want to be an actor/actress, let them know they can do that as a hobby and be happier than going 100k+ into debt to ask people if they want fries with that by taking up a trade.

          The measure of the society regarding those starting out is not counted by how easy it is at that point, but how possible it is. I live in the seventh largest city in America, and if you take a trade route over burgers and college, you absolutely can support a family of 2-3 on one income here, and do significantly better with a second – without government assistance. It won’t be in the glitzy part of town, you won’t be driving a Tesla (or any brand new car), and you’re not dining out repeatedly throughout the week and taking trips to Mexico for vacation (well, not at first anyway).

          In some larger cities (particularly in heavily “blue” areas) that may not be the case, but even then you’ll find that more intelligent choices on your occupation combined with judicious application of finances will go a lot further than you might think. You may have to go old school (my wife made our bread weekly for a while because it was a lot cheaper than buying it. And yes, it tasted better too. 😉 ). Now we’re educating our daughters in this manner and they report much lower anxiety about life than their friends do (despite most of them coming from wealthier families).

          And finally, if you are of the “government/organizations should help the less privileged” mindset, ask yourself which path of the above is more helpful to *them*? For the price of a single Stafford Student Loan for one year you could put two people through a trade school in a year and they would be in a solid career path with no debt and looking at wages above poverty in fields that are not going anywhere and have strong, and growing, demand. Put what is best for them, not your sense of pride or virtue, up front. Throughout history the most effective and efficient route out of povery has never been college, but tradeskills.

          Imagine for a moment how much better we’d all be if for even one year we diverted 85% of “financial aid” (ie. welfare for colleges) to trade school grants or even 1-2 year trade school loans under the same setup. You would eliminate an increadible amount of future debt for that crop of kids and the country while building up a strong base for the economy. You would even have enough to give them all courses on real home ecomonics: how to manage money and make sound financial decisions. And all of that without increasing the budget. The dividends would pay off within 1-2 years as they enter the workforce, start paying taxes, stop incurring additional program expense. I bet you could even work in a relocation program to move some into areas where the demand for their job is higher and still come out ahead. You could also probably find a lot of support from conservatives for that type of program.

    • It’s not a problem that some or even many choose lame games over “working hard to build a great society.” It’s when they want others to help them achieve “equity” despite their behavior. Each of us gets our own life with our own thoughts; some do X, others do Y.
      But this is likely a depressing driver that helps explain the growing resentment, the growing divide, the growing demand for other people’s money and attention, the growing threat of violence added to their suicides.

    • crutchie says

      You have to start somewhere. The way you say they may as well just kill themselves. They aren’t going to stop gaming and walk into a 60000 salary.

      • A.B. Prosper says

        They could also join a groups like ANTIFA or the Proud Boys or something with more teeth . Get enough young men disenfranchised and ready for action and you can force change , police state or not.

        As such I suspect the powers that be are fine with generation single mom and generation video game. They are are too busy scraping by or playing Fortnite shooting baddies there to rebel.

        Also crutchie, there are huge swathes of the county where 60K is a pittance. Assuming again that a semi skilled worker should be able to afford 4x a one bedroom apartment pre tax , a workers in L.A which has more people than many Red states would need to make 72,000 a year.

        Largely wages need to be meet the cost of housing and marriages be stable in order to make families work.

        There is really no way to make women in their twenties the period in which men want them settle down even with good men and to stay married and wages are in constant decline

        You’ve created a perfect storm

        My guess is that if we as a society don’t get that fixed expect to see a lot more Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez types in office and they’ll take power and use it in ways you won’t like.

    • Grétar says

      “Are those statistics real?”

      Hard to know, since there’s no links or names of studies. The author isn’t making it easy to verify his claims.
      I find the evidence for playing games being the cause of this, rather than an effect, to be quite weak. I’ll need more evidence before I buy it.

  4. Stoic Realist says

    While the subject the author has chosen to examine is interesting the examination itself is shallow. He appears to be content with cherry picking his elements of interest without really engaging in the why of any of it.

    For example he projects the possible bleak future of that dead end job but leaves out that the baseline requirements for jobs are going up and up as cheap automation replaces human work. And that there had been a clear trend of escalating degree requirements on jobs that formerly did not have them and probably do not need them. More and more there is nowhere for the more limited members of society to go to find work.

    He also neglects other details like the efforts of gaming companies and social media companies to use the discoveries of neuroscience to make games and applications more addictive. To set up that system of rewards and penalties to keep people playing and engaging. Add that to a more challenging world with less use for many people and there is little to be surprised at in the effect.

    Then there is the drop out rate for men which had been steadily increasing for years though no one cares. The same trend in found in an ever shrinking portion of men going to college. Though given how many young men report feeling not just unwanted at school but outright alienated and attacked these trends shouldn’t be surprising.

    All of this would require a bit more investigation and thought, though, than ‘guys like video games and the games are more fun than real life and they just don’t think ahead. ‘

    • Gaming Guy says

      Yes! Finally somebody that’s looking at this objectively!

      I’m 34 and have been playing video games since the NES. And not like the author where I can name a handful of games that I used to play… I play games a lot! When RDR2 came out, I put 150 hours into it in the 5 weeks after its release (that’s 30 hours per week, for those counting). I play some form of video game every single day of my life… Heck, I have one up on my phone as I’m typing this on the computer.

      Guess what else? I have a full-time job as a software developer. I have a wife and two kids. I own a house and two cars. I have quite a number of friends who I socialize with (in person!) regularly.

      “Guy who likes video games” is not a condition that afflicts men and causes symptoms like living with their parents or losing their jobs. The study by Hurst was actively looking for evidence that advancement of video games caused decreased labor involvement in males, and it’s not surprising they found it! There exists the very real possibility that the inverse is true (and despite this article’s declaration that the study suggests otherwise, the very last paragraph makes it clear that either are possible), or that the statistics are more coincidental than anything.

      “Back in the day”, young people would get jobs working at their local restaurants or small businesses. They were considered productive members of society and lauded for their efforts. After a time, they’d be promoted or leave that job for a better one. The fact that you worked while going to your local community college was proof enough that you were one of the good ones, and you could get your entry-level job at the accounting firm your grandfather retired from. You’d work there for 30 years or so and retire. If you weren’t the school-type, you could learn your uncle’s trade and work at his shop until you took it over or knew/saved enough to open your own place.

      Nowadays, even finding employment while going to school is competitive, with many young people competing with older folks – perhaps Boomers whose jobs have been automated/eliminated – for jobs that were always assumed to be for young people. Colleges are more competitive than ever, saddle you with ridiculous amounts of debt, and reward you with a degree that is dropping steadily in value. And those entry-level jobs all require one of those degrees (or 5 years experience, somehow) and, once more, you’re competing against the previous generation for positions in ways you never were before.

      So let’s say they do get the job, though. Why are they STILL living at home, when mom and dad bought their house in their early 20s? Well, mom and dad bought their house in the 1980s, when houses could be purchased for $50,000 or less. Compare that to the average house costing upwards of $250,000 today. Inflation has soared while wages have not. While this affects everyone, those who already HAVE are far better off than those who do not.

      There are absolutely problems in our country. Young people aren’t being taught STEM skills well enough. There aren’t enough truly entry-level jobs that pay well enough to live unsupported. Our public transportation system can’t support the increasing population who don’t own or aren’t able to drive a car to work. Inflation is outpacing worker-level wages at an increasing rate each year. These are all very difficult and complex problems that require a joint effort to solve.

      But it’s much easier to blame the video games, isn’t it?

      • WildCard says

        Gaming Guy: excellent comment. Would love to see an article from you with a bit more insight and depth than this one.

      • A.B. Prosper says

        Good comment.

        STEM alas is not the solution. People with an IQ around 95-110 are basically never going to be programmers or anything like that and that is 80% of the population

        The benefit of the industrial age is that it allowed those average people to become middle class, Now they can’t do this which suggests modernity is at its end game and we’ll slump into a 2nd or 3rd tier economy with endemic poverty and disorder,

  5. Evander says

    A big problem with video games is that you can’t level up in real life. When I realised this, I stopped gaming at age 16. Another big problem is addiction. I’m not sure if I was addicted, because I managed to quit fairly easily. But I think I spend too much time gaming when I could have read books, gone outside – though I was already playing lots of sport – or studied more.

    But a way worse problem for men is pornography addiction. It wastes time, energy, decreases empathy towards women and sexual potency, strains relationships. Little good comes of it.

    • Peter Kriens says

      Well online pornography likely has reduced rapes 65-80% since the late nineties. That is a stunning achievement? Studies I’ve read also do not show any negative change in attitude towards women. Just like games and stereotypes, people are very skilled in separating reality from imagination. Time wasted? Maybe.

      The biggest threat of pornography is that it likely reduces the energy to pursue a partner because imaginary sex lacks the messiness and fear of rejection of real sex. Combine that with a #metoo world and we might have a societal problem.

      • Peter from Oz says

        It’s funny that we have seen a huge reduction in rapes, but the feminists are acting as if there is a “rape culture”.
        I would have thought that there is no way of proving whether it was online pornography or feminism itself that led to a reduction of sexual assault. Another factor may be the slackening of the laws banning prostitution.

      • Evander says

        Voyeuristic masturbation using HD footage of passionless sex involving women, many of whom are from abusive backgrounds, many of whom use drugs to numb the experience – that’s the secret to reducing rape within a community? Study please.

        Even if that were so, are you at all aware the studies that strongly suggest aggression, impotence, deviant sexual tastes are a direct result of regular pornography consumption?

        People should be more curious and critical. It’s a big issue, especially a men’s issue.

        • Ghatanathoah says

          @Evander

          You wanted studies? Here are a few of the “more porn, less rape” studies:

          Kutchinsky, B. Pornography and Rape: Theory and Practice? Evidence from crime Data in Four Countries, Where Pornography is Easily Available,” International Journal of Law and Psychiatry (1991) 14:47.

          Kutchinsky, B. “The Effect of Easy Availability of Pornography on the Incidence of Sex Crimes: The Danish Experience,” Journal of Social Issues (1973) 29:163.

          Diamond, M. and A. Uchiyama. “Pornography, Rape, and Sex Crimes in Japan,” International Journal of Law and Psychiatry (1999) 22:1.

          Goldstein, M. et al. “Experience with Pornography: Rapists, Pedophiles, Homosexuals, Transsexuals, and Controls,” Archives of Sexual Behavior (19971) 1:1.

          Diamond, M. et al. “Pornography and Sex Crimes in the Czech Republic,” Archives of Sexual Behavior (2011) 40:1037

          The end result is that greater availability of porn reduces sexual assault rate, and that rapists consume less porn than average.

          Your description of the work experience of being a pornographic actress proves too much, it could easily argue against all acting, not just porn. Pretending to have passion for something you don’t have passion for is called “acting,” it’s part of the job. I don’t see how a past history of abuse makes someone incompetent to chose their profession. And actors in general are more likely to have drug problems, but correlation is not causation. The personalities that choose acting as a profession tend to be more open to experience and less respectful of social norms than average, those personality traits often cause people to experiment with drugs.

          I think in general that the real reason most people object to pornography is that certain types of sex make them feel degraded and they lack the empathy to realize that other people are different from them. They assume that pornographic actresses must feel degraded when they perform, and therefore must be being forced into it somehow, since no one would willingly choose to be degraded. But the fact is, most pornographic actresses don’t feel degraded at all. And they’re right to, I’m not sure degradation is even a coherent concept.

          • Evander says

            @Ghatanathoah

            Thanks for your reply.

            I found the piece in Psychology Today where those exact references are given. I’m guessing that’s largely the basis for your opinion on this topic?

            Because I didn’t have access to the journal articles, I read through the abstracts. Here’s what I got:

            1st study: suggests there is no link between rape and an increase in sexual violence.

            2nd: some causal connection b/w liberalisation of pornography and decrease in child molestation

            3rd: suggests no link b/w pornography and rape

            4th: suggests no link b/w adolescent exposure & the development of sexual pathology in adulthood

            5th: like 1 and 3, suggests no increase in rape; decrease in child sexual abuse.

            No claims were made in the abstract that the mainstreaming of pornography reduces sexual violence generally. There was only the suggestion that it might do this in the case of a particular crime, child sexual abuse. Rather, they argued that, from their research, there wasn’t a clear link between the use of pornography and an increase in violent sexual crime. Not exactly a knock-down argument in favour of the ‘more porn, less rape’ position.

            Interesting to note also that there is only one 21st century study. Given the new dynamics of technology and a whole new social environment, the ‘more porn, less rape’ claim is sorely in need of a much stronger research-basis.

            Meanwhile, contra your claim on another article in Quillette, pornography is addictive: From a 2015 article in Behavioral Sciences: “Moreover, we reviewed available neuroscientific literature on Internet pornography addiction and connect the results to the addiction model. The review leads to the conclusion that Internet pornography addiction fits into the addiction framework and shares similar basic mechanisms with substance addiction.”

            I don’t want to bloat btl. If you’re interested, I can quote you the studies in support of the claims that pornography decreases empathy, increases callousness, contributes to negative attitudes towards sex, increases impotency, drives users to deviant sexual tastes, and is actually linked with the crime its purported to reduce – child sexual abuse.

            I’ll openly state that I hate pornography because of the above factors.

          • Evander says

            *no link between pornography and an increase in sexual violence.

          • Peter from Oz says

            Correlation is not causation.
            Unless you can gather evidence from would be rapists that they have decided not to commit sexual assault because they have found porn on the internet, I suspect the studies will have difficulty in getting over the post how ergo prompter hoc fallacy.

          • I suspect that even those who say they don’t mind being porn actresses grit their teeth and bear it, appreciate the money, and would rather be doing something else. Strippers are different, some of them enjoy their work (but have some customers they’d rather avoid – don’t we all?). Sex work varies in its undesirability, street hookers having it worst.

      • You have to leave your basement to rape someone. People don’t go out; they’re cocooning. I wonder how much that, rather than the ubiquitous porn, affects rape rates.

        • D-Rex says

          I find it hard to accept that pornography has any affect on rape for the simple reason that rape is an act of violence and not particularly for sexual gratification. There are people who rape because they are “rapists”. It’s like saying that a MMA fighter would be less likely to compete if he spent more time playing fighter type video games.

    • You can work to prepare yourself for the future, even if you start at minimum wage, if you apply yourself you’ll gain skills and so forth. But it’s so much easier — when living in a mostly safe country with parents or governments that will help you with food, housing and medical — to play.

    • D-Rex says

      I became somewhat addicted to an online game called “settlers of Catan”, how do I know? It cost me $16 for 3 months so I was able to get off by simply not renewing the subscription. Which I promptly renewed after less than a week of not playing. I would play all weekend and at least a coupe of hours weeknights and it was having a serious impact on my ability to function as a high school teacher. I finally bit the bullet and quit altogether and did suffer withdrawal symptoms for a bit.
      Now I no longer play games on my computer, I’m just addicted to reading Quillette and watching a bunch of youtubers like Peterson and Rubin.

  6. Scott Green says

    So yes, this is true and defines the reason I do not play video games. Video games are singularly potent at synthesizing and exploiting my desire for novelty, experimentation, and incremental achievement. Like alcohol, it can be harmless fun… but it can also lead to oblivion.

  7. Stephanie says

    Interesting article, but I think some more depth is warranted on a number of points. What struck me was how many young men were living with their parents. This seems to me like a failure of the parents. They were supposed to prepare their child for success, but instead they’ve sheltered them from the consequences of their bad decisions. Now they’re useless, and theyllt likely never fully recover. What are they going to do when their parents retire? Or die?

    We need firmer parents capable of cutting the cord and enforcing some discipline.

    • Space Viking says

      From my observations of these guys, I think you’re making a bad assumption this is driven by a combination of recalcitrant boys and neglectful parents.

      • In my anecdotal experience that does seem to be a pattern – things like divorce and subsequent competition for favor means both parents let the son give up on anything worth doing and therefore difficult for both to endure. Every single guy I know plays video games, and NOT ONE of them does anything else besides go to work or the bar. Some seem fine with it so far, while others are visible wrecks. I suspect anybody with a sense of human potential will eventually be crippled with regret for having spent so much time on something so inconsequential. What do you have to show for it all? Nothing. As somebody with a few hobbies, I find that indescribably depressing.

        And to the top comment, this is indeed novel. You never saw many 83 year-old pool hall bums, for obvious reasons, but we will most certainly see many elderly men glued to a screen since age five. This pandemic of wastefulness doesn’t force retirement like the hardscrabble mischief of yore. The only consolation being that they’re finally at a point in life where such an activity makes sense.

    • Controlling a child is never easy (impossible without pure intimidation?), and when young adults, forget about it. The parents likely suffer their lazy children, and both they and their children should suffer their choices; that’s how life works; we can’t all be on some path that you think is better. Without lame people, competition would be even harder.

    • WildCard says

      What you need is to stop trying to apply your outdated boomer worldview to modern society.

      These phenomenons happen for a reason. And that reason is a little more complex than “they are lazy and their parents did not beat them enough.”

  8. ROBERT MITCHELL says

    This is an old narrative. Nothing new or inlightning. How do you pigeonhole the guy whose mother doesn’t have a basement? The men I know work if they want, no matter their education. Games are to play with friends and family when your off work. The time stated is not outrageous for any hobbie. Someone is trying to paint men as victims and I don’t buy it.

  9. Andrew Mcguiness says

    This article is rather a hotch-potch of claims, none of them properly supported with argument and evidence. The key claim, that ‘Their research indicated that improved technological entertainment options, primarily video games, are responsible for between 20 and 33 percent of reduced work hours’ needs a citation. I can’t find the relevant article by Erik Hurst, perhaps the author could provide a title for the article so that we can see what it says?

  10. Jimmy says

    If society can’t compete with a Skinner box society has failed.

  11. Michael Thorau says

    Isn’t Andrew Yang running on a platform based on Universal Basic Income? Is it not obvious how UBI would make this problem worse? If the status quo consists of men dropping out and becoming bums and the current rate, then how is paying them to do so supposed to improve the situation?

    • Freidrich Goatse says

      I think Mr. Yang sees the writing on the walls which is that this neoliberal free trade order by way of its deliberate policies designed to vastly enrich certain small segments of the population in turn impoverishes large segments of the population (since trickle-down isn’t real and the libertarian nostrum of rising tides doesn’t actually lift all boats–they actually just pocket the difference from the virtual slave labor they exploit) and so he wants to manage the decline and pacify people who may otherwise–and one could even argue righteously–start burning things down and getting very violent.

  12. Interesting article. Believe it or not, I just took a break from playing Red Dead Redemption 2 to read it, lol.

    Anyway, I play a ton of video games, but fortunately I have a full time job at a financial firm that I like, and I live on my own. Money isn’t a problem for me.

    But I do see how gaming can be so addictive that it can stunt a person’s social life. Ditto for pornography, as other commenters have mentioned. Just gotta find the right balance. Moderation is key.

  13. Mycky says

    “Their research indicated that improved technological entertainment options, primarily video games, are responsible for between 20 and 33 percent of reduced work hours.”

    This whole article rests on this one study, and the writer doesn’t even explain how the authors link reduced work hours to video games. What is the evidence ? This is so shallow…

    • Andrew Mcguiness says

      It seems as though the lack of citations and explanations bothers only you and me, Mycky. Everyone else seems happy to accept the statements and begin moralizing about them, one way or the other. I get the feeling that Yang has chosen a rpovocative topic on purpose …

  14. Vincent says

    I think the problem with video games is that they have replaced many hobbies that men could use productively. Carpentry, mechanical work, home improvement projects, gardening, welding, etc. The uneducated men I know who have those types of hobbies have no problem finding meaningful work and relationships. Unfortunately, the tradition of a father passing those skills down to his son has become an almost exclusively rural phenomenon.

    Perhaps it would be beneficial to work some kind of shop class into the elementary level rather than just having it in high school. Of course, our education system could be used to solve many problems, but we don’t take advantage of it.

    • Oilan Greeze says

      Schools should be more than tax funded daycare centres but, being mostly government run, any change that will make them keep pace with what is needed for society will be implemented virtually too late.

      • No matter how much government fails to make things better, no matter how often government actions create death, destruction, refugees, etc., there’s always someone who thinks government will have the solution.

        • WildCard says

          david, your rhetoric sounds very much alike that of narrow-minded anticapitalists: big system not perfect therefore big system bad, conveniently ignoring all the benefits said big system provides to you, your friends and family. Libertarians are a rather ungrateful bunch.

    • Rich from Colorado says

      I’m reasonably competent at carpentry, mechanical work, home improvement, gardening, etc. Also changing diapers, playing tag, butchering animals and various other Heinlein approved skills. Haven’t found those skills particularly helpful in getting hired when I’ve been unemployed or getting dates when I was looking for a relationship, or even making guy buddies. Maybe it is because I can only solder and can’t weld. Or maybe it is because I’m highly educated.

      Seriously, the current job/sexual markets don’t reward that sort of renaissance type of flexibility. I wish it did given my natural inclinations. But it doesn’t.

      • Jeff Walther says

        Totally agree. It’s convenient to have the skills to fix all your own stuff and grow your own food. In our world, it is not valued in any meaningful way.

      • LizardBrain says

        Rich, I think the markets in general don’t reward renaissance behavior, but as a woman who very much values that and sees it as increasingly difficult to find in men, I promise there is a portion of the “market” who would be excited to find such skills and hobbies in a partner. Keep looking.

  15. kujel says

    So shaming language for men not throwing ourselves on the sword for women and playing video games instead, how about instead we talk about taking away women’s rights or better yet replace them with bots!

    • a bee ee? says

      That is starting to happen. The same technological forces that are sweeping away all those hamburger flipper jobs are at work to do the same in the corporate/government sphere. Triumphalist feminists like Hannah Rosin had better be prepared for a future where their “skills” (like EMpathy) will soon be in decline as well.

  16. Chris says

    I find it interesting that the author almost completly ignores the role of the parents in enabling and, in some instances, even supporting this behavior.

    The reality is that as parents our role ultimately is to raise children that become functional members of society. It’s sad that at such a critical time, on the final stretch of parenting, that so many parents abdicate this responsibility.

    Faced with a choice of playing computer games or working an entry level job it’s not suprising that these young adults choose the fun & easy choice.

    Kids would be well served by parents who give them a little nudge out the nest.

    • Oilan Greeze says

      These days, parents may have abdicated most of their child raising responsibilities to the education system. Mothers and fathers both need to work outside the family home and come back to that abode at the end of each day utterly exhausted. So, the easiest thing for those parents to do would be to just have their kids glued to video games on the tv, rather than expending what little energy that they have left by interacting with their children in any meaningful way. The mothers of earlier decades, who constantly pushed their kids out of cosy homes and outside into the world, are now out in the world of paid work themselves – no one else is left at home to do that necessary pushing.

      • Yes, many parents have, but that’s because the law makes it so. Children have all sorts of rights, parents are limited in their approaches, and schools mal-educate and bore children by attempting to lock them into daily prisons where their every activity is controlled, monitored, limited and generally stuck on a one-size-fits-all equity plan by tired teachers who have succumbed to the administrative state.

      • Jeff Walther says

        Don’t forget that schools assign so much (unnecessary) homework, that when we actually get home to our kids, they don’t have any time for us.

        There is no evidence that homework in elementary school improves academic performance, yet I’ve heard many teachers parrot a rule of thumb of ten minutes of homework per grade level per night. It’s a load of foolishness.

        Kids loaded up on unnecessary homework. Both parents working. Constantly increasing stress at school, because it’s not enough to get good grades. You also need all kinds of extra-curriculars to get into a good college. But htere’s not time for sports and music, because of hte homework load.

        Life for kids today is stupidly stressful with no compensating improvement in education compared to when I was a kid (born in ’63).

        With kids pushed to the edge of burning out, is it any wonder, when faced with the trivial “rewards” the job market offers, they’d rather spend their valuable time in more rewarding ways?

        Add to that the fact that schools are not allowed to group kids in classes according to abilty. So all the curriculums are an average. To fast and hard for the slow kids. Too slow and boring for the fast kids. I guess hitting that perfect middle point is a success of a type, but it’s a failure for every single student subjected to the jackassery that is modern education.

  17. Space Viking says

    When my son and daughter entered high school, I signed a form allowing the school district to release data to military recruiters. Both of my kids have much of any interest in enlisting and as far as I know have never had significant personal contact with recruiters so recruiters have minimal data on my children. I have received one phone call from a Marine recruiter for my son and he’s received one postcard sized piece of USMC recruiting literature. I have fielded over 10 calls from recruiters trying to get my daughter into the Marines, Army, Army Reserve, Air Force, Army National Guard, Air Force National Guard, etc. and her recruiting mail is nonstop.

    It’s pretty obvious if a supposed bastion of masculinity like the armed forces is operating like this, society is not really interested in boys and pouring energy in video games is perfectly rational…

      • Space Viking says

        @Robert Paulson, as a 5 year Army vet, I can tell you this article is spot on! I won’t go into the details to avoid derailing this topic, but I’ll note there is anecdotal evidence opening combat arms to women and all the tweaking they’re doing is turning off enlistment age males and lots of vets like me are no longer encouraging kids to join. As I see it, laying on the couch playing video games is a much better endeavor than getting tossed in a Chinese POW camp because your under-strength unit had to surrender.

        • a bee ee? says

          We were doomed in any case, but a society that puts at risk large numbers of its females in their most fertile years in going down even more quickly.

          My 20-year old son is disabled, so he wouldn’t be serving anyway, but if I were a normal young male I would NEVER join the military. There is absolutely no reason for him to risk his life for a country that fixes the game in women’s favor and keeps him from any kind of upscale job.

    • Tome708 says

      This is shocking too me on several levels. What kind of society have we created that we will actively recruit women to protect us, as a priority. That is the peak of soyboy culture.
      Others here will say “Show me the study”. As if, not being documented by some elite academic, then in can not be true! Because we all know “studies” don’t contradict each other. “STUDIES” never have agendas. And we all freakin know that “studies” have always been so spot on. Don’t believe your personal experiences, don’t believe what you see, don’t believe what you know, trust the “studies”. Sounds vaguely familiar?
      I have no “study” but I think the battle has been lost. Culture is on a downfall into chaos. There are some writhing death struggles occurring (Like many here), but the battle was lost before most realized it was being waged.
      Check your “studies” people. I believe their is conflicting “studies” being argued if boys are even actually boys and if girls are actually girls. It is the elite world of “studies” that has brought us to this point.
      I am a simple man. (Oh wait, there is no “study” that proves this)

      • Tome708 – Divide and conquer works. If you teach everyone how unequitable life is, that they’ll all die from climate change no matter what, that there are a few evil rich folks who control everything, that my life isn’t any good if the government doesn’t take care of my needs, you get depression on a mass scale.

      • WildCard says

        I doubt anyone needs a study to believe that you are indeed a simple man, Tome708.

  18. Associate Professor says

    Conservatism, circa 1982: “Men need to exercise personal responsibility and work hard.”

    Conservatism, circa 2018: “Males play video games and live with their mothers rather than finding work but it’s not their fault. It’s women or feminism or something.”

    • When work dries up and young men are left without opportunity, it is always the fault of women, foreigners, immigrants, Jews or Gypsies.

      But never, ever, can it be the fault of the lords in their manors..

      • Paul Ellis says

        The problem is largely one of deferred gratification. Deferring gratification is a fantastic disciplining tool if one has an evens chance of eventually being gratified. If one has not, it’s probably a waste of time and effort which would be better spent on immediate gratification.

        Do your practice and eventually you’ll be able to play that musical instrument competently, but it’s no guarantee of a professional income. Work and accumulate a pension fund, dreaming of a carefree golden retirement. Or go down with a heart attack at 55. Do that sandwich shop job and you might make manager. You might also get automated out of existence. You’ll learn how to work, though.

        These are all deferred gratification calculations. The Social Contract fractures when traditional methods of deferring gratification with a good expectancy of being gratified, such as jobs-for-life occupations and final salary pension schemes.

        One can see the attraction of old-time religion, here. Live the good life and go to heaven, guaranteed. It’s the ultimate gratification deferral.

    • Defenstrator says

      Liberalism, circa 1982: “ Free speech is essential to society, we should all be treated equally regardless of skin colour and gender, and we must remember how the fascists and communists made up groups of unpersons that they could blame societies ills on”

      “Liberalism”, circa 2018: “Free speech cannot be allowed as it enables hate speech, which is the equivalent of physical violence. We must treat people differently based not only on their skin colour and gender, but whether they like to sleep with people of the same gender or have decided they are no gender at all. White men are the root cause of societies problems and should be deplatfirmed or discriminated against due to their skin colour and gender in order to achieve equity.”

      Yup, two can play at that game.

      • @Defenstrator – Yup.
        But your point is most spot on in that when people are divided (in this case, liberalism vs. conservativism) and the entire class is suggested to be bad actors, is it any wonder so many are depressed or anxious?

  19. I always say that the fact that crime rate is so low is due to video games. Think about it, the majority of crimes are perpetrated by unemployed young men. Unemployed young men do not go outside anymore because they play video games. There is an extreme silver lining to this.

  20. Brian says

    We used to have big wars that solved these problems. The legions of useless men would get conscripted and fed into the meat grinder. The ones that survived would come back as ostensibly more useful and mature individuals.
    We could solve this by severely curtailing the welfare state. That removes the “choice” of eschewing work in favor of leisure.

    I understand that some of you view this as “not a problem” but I can assure you…..it is getting harder and harder for good women to find good men. And it will only get harder the more this laziness kicks in. That damn hypergamy thing just won’t go away…….I don’t think it should, honestly. Women pushing men to succeed and men responding by competing with each other is what built the West.

    • Women didn’t use to “push” men to succeed; they inspired them to by being decent, respectful, and grateful, and by relying on men to provide for them and their children. They used to behave in ways that helped ensure men weren’t cuckolded or financially raped because of divorce — i.e., they weren’t promiscuous, fidelity and modesty were valued, and no fault divorce didn’t exist. They also didn’t generally compete for the same jobs, forget that they’re supposed to offer men something just as men offer women something, or have Big Daddy Government around to act as Plan B (welfare) and personal bully to keep men doing their will (the use of the police to get men in trouble for no good reason).

      At the same time, women (naturally) want to marry up financially, and they want this even as they’re going for doctorates at a very high rate. They system can’t handle that many PhDs, and young people can’t handle the indentured servitude we call student debt. Further, healthy young men don’t fare well in a system of education that teaches them they’re the toxic source of all evil, and weeds them out for not being “woke” enough. Then, if they do make it through academia, they have to deal with the preferential treatment women get when it comes to hiring and promotions.

      Women’s eggs dry up by the time they’re done getting formally educated and start considering marriage and having kids they’re too old to conceive — and this after years spent practicing for divorce by going through a long series of boyfriends and fuck-buddies.

      Until Christianity is restored, the West is doomed. It’s no wonder that young men are emulating Jim Morrison: “I wanna have my kicks before the whole shit house goes up in flames.”

      • Poor men, not being chosen by females with PhD because they can’t handle “toxic” academia? Well if these men are that weak and whiny, no wonder they remain single. Times are tougher for both men and women. I would love to have kids, sit at home all day and do nothing, like women used to. Unfortunately, very few females can do it these days as you can hardly support a family on a single paycheck.

        • Robert Paulson says

          @Lily,

          Weakness, whininess and dependence is what our education system produces. That same education system – from university education departments to the classroom – is dominated by women. If women want strong, competent and masculine men, perhaps you should stop pathologizing those quantities as tyrannical and oppressive.

        • Women didn’t “do nothing” as homemakers.

          The reason two incomes are needed is because labor became cheap when feminists culturally forced women into the workplace. Supply and demand: double the workforce and employers can pay less. Wages have been stagnant for a long time, and there’s a reason for it.

          As to your comments about men being unable to handle toxic academia: you’re missing the point: academia pushes men out. But your lack of compassion for men is noted and helps make my case.

          • I’d gladly swap doing laundry and cooking for not having to work in a highly competitive field surrounded by cut-throat colleagues. But I choose to be responsible for myself and not whine about that environment trying to “push me out”, which it does, every day. I am a female, an immigrant, an assertive person (that’s “unreasonable” for the misogynists) and as such I am constantly viewed as “the Other” at work. Does it stop me from doing my best? No. Because the alternative would be to sit at home, dependant on another person. You are right, I don’t have compassion for those who can’t stand up for themselves and blame external factors. I have compassion for people who adopt responsibility for themselves and who struggle because of that, every step of the goddamn way, instead of accepting and easy way out and/or blaming others for their lot.

            I agree about the wages dropping since there are more people joining the workforce. But what is your solution? It’s not changing any time soon.

        • Doctor Locketopus says

          > Poor men, not being chosen by females with PhD because they can’t handle “toxic” academia? Well if these men are that weak and whiny, no wonder they remain single.

          You sound like quite a catch, Lily.

          • I work in a toxic male oriented industry. I don’t whine or drop out. Happily married for 8 years to a male who doesn’t blame others for his shortcomings. Yeah, I wouldn’t be a catch for a man-child when I was single, I agree.

          • Doctor Locketopus says

            Oh, yes. Who wouldn’t want a spouse that babbles incessantly about “toxic males”?

            I’m sure your (almost certainly imaginary) husband is just SUPER happy.

        • Lily as a former stay at home mom , i had to laugh about your comments about “sitting home all day and doing nothing.” Back in the day it was the worst sexist men who said this; everyone else, including most men as well as women, respected the work as semi-holy and critical. The fact that you dismiss it so ignorantly tells us so much about how women almost hate themselves today. I get that many women want to work for money and i also support women who want a career outside yhe hime. But lets not denegrate the work of a stay at home mother; its critical and necessary.

          • I work in a male dominated and highly competitive field and so does my husband. Believe me, there’s not a single male we know who doesn’t think that sitting at home raising kids is “doing nothing” – so it seems that they are your “worst sexist men”? As for the few females there, the ones who want kids tell me they can’t wait to be able to “stay at home and let the husband worry about the money.”

            It is pathological, I agree, but you can’t dismiss it all as “women hating themselves”.

          • @Doctor Loketopus: why is it so hard for you to understand that people who don’t think like you are not “imaginary”? I don’t call my industry toxic, my husband does. He says it’s too closed-minded and insular and that it creates problems for future generations because it will make it too easy to accept status quo and not question anything.

          • JollyLittlePerson says

            D- Thank you. I agree. See my comment below about breastfeeding twins. My children grew up, but their care was still work. And often boring work. And work mocked and dismissed by people like Lily…

          • Doctor Locketopus says

            > why is it so hard for you to understand that people who don’t think like you are not “imaginary”?

            Because I’ve been around long enough to recognize a feminist troll fantasy when I see one.

            But please do enjoy your cats.

        • JollyLittlePerson says

          Lily – “I would love to have kids, sit at home all day and do nothing, like women used to.”
          I am assuming this is trolling.
          Otherwise you have no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t have a PhD, but I do have a graduate degree and have had several jobs that required it. Nothing in the jobs ever compared in difficulty to breastfeeding twins for a year. Not even close. At that point I was spending nine hours a day just feeding my family. Raising children is definitely not “sitting home all day and doing nothing”. You obviously have never had anything to do with children (or at least I hope not).

      • SonOfMan says

        Restore Christianity? If we even ever had it, what makes you think it will be any different the second time round?

    • Vincent says

      The article talks about young men who live with their parents. I don’t think curtailing the welfare state would affect them much.

    • Jimmy says

      Those meat grinders your so fond of made it a hell of a lot harder to find a man then videos games every did. It was unheard of for a women to whore herself out to amass a dowry just to have a chance at getting married. And those hoards of “useless men” were all employed given welfare was a product of the 50’s. But hey at least the war created vast numbers of maimed and traumatized individuals, that totally sounds “more useful”.

      • Brian says

        My initial comment about the meat grinder of constant war wasn’t advocating such wars….just pointing out the fact that these wars did provide an outlet for so many young men, however gruesome. Funny enough, our species continues to reproduce despite the millions killed. Hmmmm….food for thought.

        You have twice as many female ancestors as male. Let that soak in. Men really aren’t needed too much for the species continuity thing, which means we have to do a lot more than females do to “earn” our way into the gene pool. Nothing wrong with that.

        However, what with the relative peace we enjoy and the lack of new continents to explore, proving ourselves as men has become more complicated. It is more of an internal rather than an external thing. You have to integrate your shadow instead of conquer new lands.

        • Frosty says

          @Brian

          As you point out, something like 40% of men historically reproduced that means it’s normal for men to be single, most of us were throughout human history. And for society to be able to survive without single men tearing it to pieces we needed an evolutionary property in men that allowed them to be satisfied in such a state, which I personally think is where stoicism comes from. What the article ignores is that many men are perfectly happy playing video games, that actually you don’t need to mess with incentive structures very much for men to opt out of marriage and fatherhood, the Japanese are doing it, the so called Herbivore men (grass eaters), and in the west MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way) is rapidly growing.

  21. Japan has had a long-standing issue with those who are known as hikikomori, essentially those who live as shut-ins and have completely isolated themselves from real world interaction. There, the factors are primarily cultural, with economics as a secondary factor (which has changed a bit as Japan’s corporate culture has).

    Here, while video games have certainly improved in scope and graphics fidelity, the “immersiveness” hasn’t really changed qualitatively. (Ask any WoW addict in 2005 how they felt about the game and you’ll get similar responses to someone pumping 10 hours a day for three months into any AAA release today.)

    The “drop out of life and/to play games” phenomenon is an unfortunately fairly rational response to the one-two punch of the Great Recession (which, remember, affected men *far* more than women), and a re-evaluation of cultural expectations in the years since.

    “Failure to Launch” was enough of a touchstone for it to become a movie in 2006. Some men are launching only to find not much to do once they hit space and come crashing back down. Younger males have seen this and expect that there isn’t much need to head out there to begin with — when men don’t have anything to strive for, they’ll stop striving.

    Historically speaking, this situation doesn’t end well. Welcome to the future.

  22. Circuses and Bread 🇺🇸 -Solutions, not politics says

    Seems to me that large numbers of idle young men without prospects or hope has been a really bad thing historically. See European history from 1920-1940 for an example. But having read the comments so far, I have yet to see anyone who has stepped up with a solution, other than resorting to politics which is less than a solution. Because the Politicians have done such a great job so of improving society so far®️

    So let me provide a solution that might work. It’s actually how I spent my day: working with boys. Take boys to do stuff that that develops their character. Sports. Playing. Building stuff. Camping.

    Seems to me that we can invest the time in boys. Or we can sit around and bitch and moan and prognosticate while we wait to reap the whirlwind. Because eventually some really smart person will decide that large numbers of idle young men are a great resource for their purposes. So sorry if we don’t happen to like their purposes.

    • Haven’t you heard? They allowed openly gay guys to be Scout leaders, and then let girls in to the Boy Scouts, so the Boy Scouts are going bankrupt: https://t.co/lyqkXa6r06 Boys aren’t allowed to have anything of their own. It’s toxic and shit.

      • Circuses and Bread 🇺🇸 -Solutions, not politics says

        @roccocannoli

        Yes, I’ve heard. Revolutions tend to spawn counter revolutions. While the boy scouts and girl scouts have been busy heading down the rabbit hole, they’ve left behind a large number of parents and kids who want traditional, God based character development programs. Newer groups have been happy to fill in the void and are growing very quickly.

        • Doctor Locketopus says

          I believe the Mormons are busily setting up their own alternative as we speak, and have pulled all funding and participation from the former BSA.

          While I’m not a Mormon myself, I’d certainly rather see my kid hanging around Mormons than a street gang.

          And no, there’s no way I’d let my teen son go on a camping trip with a gay male scoutmaster, any more than I’d let my teen daughter go on a camping trip with a straight male scoutmaster.

    • Frosty says

      The solution is easy, you told us the cause of the problem in your post, politicians have not improved society they’ve meddled with things and the unintended consequences of their laws and institutions is messing with the natural market forces that mediate the interaction of men and women. The actual solution is to reverse the damage done by repealing the laws and removing the institutions, to dramatically shrink government and their power to interfere with the family unit.

      That means:
      1) End no fault divorce. The divorce rate just 100 years ago was single digit % figures, now its almost 50%, women do 80% of the divorcing and the most common reason is simply dissatisfaction.
      2) End alimony and all other wealth transfer mechanisms from men to women like child support.
      3) Remove or heavily reform family courts, women get custody of the children 90%+ of the time, fathers are often not allowed to see their kids for weeks at a time. Single parents are the biggest predictor of almost all childhood dysfunction, it’s brutal on children.
      4) Get rid of a much welfare as possible, men and women once had to rely on each other and extended family to survive, that mean you couldn’t be a reprobate because friends and family can judge you and decide to help you or not. Now that incentive to be good and principled is gone, the state will support you no matter how you behave.

      Boys can have as much character, confidence and skills as you like, they can be competent and a force to be reckoned with, they can have great careers and wealth, but if marriage and fatherhood is nothing but a minefield they’ll want nothing to do with it, especially if that’s what they experienced when they grew up as many young boys today have witnessed first hand.

      • Yes and whilst we’re on it, let’s withdraw all the funding for domestic violence shelters so that women can stay in marriages by all cost. Let’s take away state help so that they can face being beaten up every day and be told by extended family that “it’s your marriage and we don’t want to interfere”. Let’s allow boys to witness first hand what a “strong man” is supposed to be like. Oh and whilst we’re on it, allow these monsters visitation rights if the wretched female manages to break up the holy union of marriage and divorce him so that she can live in poverty, both her and her kids damaged for life.

        I come from a country whete domestic violence was rife when I was growing up. It’s über religious and conservative still so even though divorce was and is legal, women were looked down on and often denied help from their own familie because it was a “sin” to divorce.
        State support was minimal so if the women managed to get out of this hell, her and her children faced living in poverty.

        But no, by all means, encourage “good old conservative values”.

        • Frosty says

          @Lily

          You’re being hyperbolic, no one is calling for ending funding to domestic shelters, and I don’t think anyone at all is advocating trapping women into abusive relationships. We’re talking about the majority of average marriages ending simply because the wife felt dissatisfied. It’s about reinstating the meaning of a vow that you take to honor and stay by the side of someone until death, that’s not something people should be allowed to just welch on with no repercussion.

          The statistics on divorce show that very few actual divorces take place because of domestic violence, the biggest category for divorce reasons is dissatisfaction. When we used to have no fault divorce, domestic violence was a perfectly valid reason for divorce that allowed women to get out of abusive relationships.

        • Doctor Locketopus says

          > Yes and whilst we’re on it, let’s withdraw all the funding for domestic violence shelters

          Don’t give yourself a hernia setting up all those straw women, Lily.

          By the way, women are just as likely to commit domestic violence as men. It’s just that they rarely go to jail for it.

      • Jeff Walther says

        “unintended consequences of their laws and institutions is messing with the natural market forces ”

        The first step in not meddling with “natural market forces” would be to end the charters for all corporations. After all, corporations only exist as artificial entities chartered by governments.

        Scratch a free-trader, find a corporate apologist…

  23. This article utterly fails to take into account objective external factors that render the real world less interesting than video games.

    I am 29, single, quasi-virgin (only paid sex), no driver’s lincence (though I have a job). I really WANT to marry and have a family life, but those things don’t depend on me alone! Women’s preferences grew tougher, feminism made it more difficult for men to approach women. Availabe dating advice is either vague, contradictory, ineffective, or sound more like moralism than advice. I am ready to work to become more attractive, but dating, unlike a job, isn’t a meritocracy.

    I spend the near totality on my free time on video games or related activites because I think this is a lesser evil. If I stopped playing video games, that freed time wouldn’t be replaced by productive activities, but by something worse such as drugs, alcohol, or just meditating on how my life sucks.

    • codadmin says

      Why wouldn’t your free time be replaced with productive activities?

      It’s either hundreds of hours a month on games, or hundreds of hours a month of building a life that doesn’t suck. Your choice.

    • Circuses and Bread 🇺🇸 Solutions, not politics says

      @John

      I’m glad you posted. Here is some genuine advice from someone you’ve never met on the internet. And we all know you can always rely on unsolicited internet advice! 😆

      Here goes: what you do to improve yourself is about what it does for you. You might work out, diet, make yourself marketable both at work and socially. But the reason you should do so is because YOU like the results. And here’s the weird thing: if you’re happy and confident, it tends to attract others. Including the ladies.

      One other piece of advice: get out and do volunteer work away from politics. It’s great for the community, but more importantly it’s great for you. Having a sense of purpose and building stuff, metaphorically or literally, is extremely important for guys. It’s hardwired in our DNA. Within the (Christian ) faith we talk about charisms, which are sort of like God-given gifts or skills. Everyone has them. Using yours will make you more confident and happier, which again as a side benefit attracts people.

      You’re absolutely right that the current form of feminism sucks. There isn’t a whole lot you can do about that but avoid the harpies and minimize their effect on you personally. No point in letting it get you down. Join me in wishing the feminist witches all the best! May they enjoy their loveless and childless life with their herds of cats.

    • Brian says

      That sounds like bullshit excuses to me. Just sayin…..not trying to be mean or anything, just real.

      https://youtu.be/DqvmnrfK5NY

      Get some Peterson up in you and get to work. Read some Dostoyevsky or any of the other millions of good books out there……. better than games. More useful.

    • Imbecile says

      John,

      Pick something you are passionate about that benefits others and go volunteer to do that thing post-haste. This will give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment, and everything else will fall into place.

    • Whenever I am press-ganged into going to church, I see plenty of women there who are keen to meet a genuine and morally upright man that they can potentially marry. There are plenty of women out there who don’t want to log onto Tinder and drown in a sea of dick-pics. You could always try religion, is all I’m saying.

    • Peter from Oz says

      Take up ballroom and Latin dancing at somewhere like Arthur Murray. There are plenty of single women to meet at the social gatherings they hold on a regular basis. A man who knows how to lead a woman on the dance floor is a man that women will respect.

  24. Reader says

    Man, I’ve impressed with the raw amount of differing responses this piece has produced. Saw a liberal finance guy on Twitter call it out for under-appreciating the dwindling prospects for non-college educated men; then I saw comments say it was coddling a bunch of guys who refuse to grow up and should bootstrap; or, maybe the parents need to be called out here primarily; or maybe this says something about modern feminism and these guys have a bit of a point; or, maybe THAT is conservatives playing a new victim game. Oh, and have you considered that games really are that good, and do provide a reward-based outlet for people? Whew.

    (I actually would have liked to see a little more backing for the claim games are CAUSING the drop-out, myself – not a minor point and doesn’t have much evidence attached.)

    Does feel like male workforce dropout is an underdiscussed issue and gaming seems to have a real connection – some of those stats are truly alarming, and the mainstream usually won’t touch stuff like this at all except to point out the latest outrage of PewDiePie. Needs to be sorted out more.

    • I agree, its a nice change from reading another article about political correctness on college campuses.

  25. I have not made time to read the other comments, so someone else may have already touched on this. It seems to me, that given the age bracket in question, this may be a symptom of having grown up through a school experience that de-emphasized competition, and therefore demonstration of competence. If you can’t compete to win in your social environment, video games can scratch that itch.

    • Robert Paulson says

      I totally disagree with you. Our schools are all about Competing In The Global Economy and not much else. When I went to high school 10 years ago, college admissions were ruthlessly competitive everybody was competing to see who could get the highest SATs, highest AP test scores and get into the most prestigious colleges. The school counselors tracked students as either college-bound or not, and those that were not basically were ignored – if you were not going to a 4-year college, you were considered worthless and not worth investing any time in. It was such a rat-race that we had students having emotional breakdowns over the pressure to get into a the top schools, and from what I hear its only getting worse.

      I think it might actually be the opposite of what you are saying – the video games are actually a retreat from the high-stakes ruthless economic social darwinism our society is imposing in them into a form of competition that is low-stakes.

      • D-Rex says

        Robert, did you go to a private or high socioeconomic school? I teach at a country school and find most of the boys are opting out of competing for good grades or trying for a high ATAR. I’ve admitted to my male students that I’m part of the problem as girls are easier to teach, being more compliant and studious. Our school system is definitely geared heavily towards girls and our male students are getting a clear message that they don’t count so why bother.

  26. I’m fairly old and gave up on games when I got beat at “pong”. So my comment is only about guys living at home.
    Had to think about WHY I left at 18 years. Real reason was that I wanted to do some things my parents wouldn’t allow. Pretty sure playing pong all day was one of them. Parents allow and support this drift and indirection because it’s the easy thing to do. Shame on them.

    • Brian says

      I agree about the parent thing. I actually don’t want to force guys out of their parents’ homes……but I do want the competitive environment of the World to stay competitive, so my son has a better chance of beating these halfwits when they are finally forced into the workplace.

      Parents are doing a huge disservice to their sons when they don’t push them out of the nest. I was shiftless as an 18 yr old and my mom told me I had to leave if I wasn’t pursuing a degree….it was the best damn thing that ever happened to me.

      I didn’t get a degree. I joined the military, got out and started my own business. I don’t make a lot of money, but I own a house, am married, have passed on my genes, and am willing to meet whatever challenges come my way.

      My wife is educated, but she is more attracted to me than guys at her educational level. Why? Because I can change the fucking oil and clean the fucking gutters. I can do electrical and plumbing. I can fix the refrigerator. I have enough water, food and gas stashed to last us through the apocalypse. I read voraciously and can debate her college-educated coworkers under the table.

      Just get it done, boys. Put your nose to the grindstone and stand tall. Talk to your uncles, dads and granddads and learn the simple shit they can teach you.
      Good luck.

  27. Fickle Pickle says

    I wonder if anyone who visits this site is familiar with the book by Robert Bly titled The Sibling Society – An Impassioned Call For the Rediscovery of Adulthood?

    Because it seems to me that most, if not all of the lost souls that play, or are even addicted to these games belong to the cultural phenomenon described in this book.
    Such a Sibling Society obviously has NO Wise Elders, and is indeed in many ways quite hostile to the existence of Wise Elders.

    So too,with most/all of those who associate with the Alt-Right. This is of course also the case with the culture at large, especially in the USA where the adolescent anti-culture of competitive individualism is in its most “advanced” form.

    Donald Trump is of course the in-your-face personification of the Sibling Society male.

    Meanwhile this essay describes the situation that the Sibling Society has created in its own image.
    http://www.wildriverreview.com/archives/bedtime-story-for-civilization
    Check the rest of Thompson’s Wild River Review essays too.

    • Defenstrator says

      I read it, but it seems rather unself aware. There is no talk of the cult of billionaires from sillicon valley, only those of the right. No acknowledgement that the left is rabidly pushing the infantilism of safe spaces and the victim culture.

  28. Frosty says

    Games aren’t the cause, they’re the effect.

    Economics 101, people respond to incentives. If there’s an incentive to go and get the $100,000 a year job then men will pursue that, but the incentives are gone.

    The only reason that you’d want a career and that $100,000 salary along with the insane amount of work that’s required to achieve that, is if there was some greater purpose to serve, such as a family, with a beautiful wife and children. The problem today is that the dynamic between men and women is rapidly breaking down, men do not want to get married and have children because it’s too big of a risk, in the UK 43% of marriages end in divorce. Why earn $100k a year when at any moment, for any reason (or no reason at all) your partner can just talk half (or usually more)? Why aspire to have children when your partner can just take them away from you, while you continue to pay for them. Men have all of the responsibility and none of the rights, how long did society think they could keep that the norm until men said “sod this” and pursued other things?

    This is all because the government has meddled in the family unit too much, in just a few hundred years they’ve gone from simply protecting the rights of citizens to controlling almost every aspect of peoples lives. Messing with market forces by having huge welfare schemes, men and women no longer need to rely on each other to survive, they can just fall back on the safety net of the state with little or no consequences.

    Men are generally more stoic, only 40% of men throughout our evolutionary history reproduced, whereas about 80% of women did, the DNA evidence of that is clear. That means it’s relatively normal that males are single, and we’re built to cope with that which is why many men are perfectly happy outside of a long term relationship. So you can trash the position of men getting lost in video games, but you have to understand that to many men this is preferable to the alternatives. And you don’t need a $100k job to play video games in fact you can just rely on the welfare state or you can get a min wage job, relatively speaking games and beer are extremely cheap, why bother earning more than you need to be a bachelor?

    • SonOfMan says

      Governments aren’t the cause, they’re the effect. I do feel sorry for the countries betting on continued economic growth to make their debts go away though. America will be hurting in a bad way when her economy finally slumps into perpetual decline, like Greece but with more guns.

        • SonOfMan says

          Nanny states are the result of community break down, not the cause. I would argue the cause has more to do with industrialisation, wealth accumulation and increasing members of society generally having to much time on their hands and nothing seemingly worthwhile to do with it.

  29. If I can make one change to your article it would be to change the word “man-child” in your closing paragraph simply to “child”, i.e.:

    “Many men have within us the child who’s still in that basement. The fortunate among us have left him behind, but we understand his appeal all too well. He’s still there waiting—ready to take over in case our lives fall apart.”

    I think that paragraph, worded that way, captures everything else about this “problem” – we think we have to leave our inner child behind, rather than recognise the heroic qualities he displayed in order for us to be the men we are today. You say it yourself – “he’s ready to take over in case our lives fall apart” – he’s the part of you that has never deserted you, the you that navigated a new and confusing world. The problem is that we’ve set up this false dichotomy between our lives and meaningful lives; the “real world” has no time to honour the heroic qualities of each individual, particularly children, we’re so eager for them to “get out” and “experience the real world”.

    Maybe if more men were taught to recognise the hero that already exists within them rather than being taught that these qualities only come from mastering external things like the stock market or cryptocurrencies as you say, then they wouldn’t be so prone to being “swept away” when they take their armour off to rest. I can work and I can play, I can be strong and I can be weak, and none of that affects my basic worth and the basic meaningfullness of my life.

    We might need Universal Basic Income, but it needs to start with a recognition of the Universal Basic Worth & Meaning of each individual.

    • Frosty says

      The real problem with that paragraph is the assumption that moving on is a fortunate thing, it’s assumed but not demonstrated. People fail to move on when there’s lack of incentive to move on, if you care about the problem at all then you need to look at the actual cause which is the changing incentives of marriage and fatherhood. I’d be willing to bet most of these men not only lack incentives for those things but probably see them as dangers they need to avoid.

  30. Did nobody pickup on this line? “Recent studies found that households making between $25,000 and $35,000 a year spent 92 more minutes per week online than households making $100,000 plus a year.”

    Let’s just assume it’s true. Is a whole 80 hours extra a year that big of a difference? Clearly a job and income are not a significant factor in wasted time spent on entertainment. Would the socialite who spends all their time and income traveling or furnishing their house really be any better?

    Not in my opinion. Video games are low hanging fruit. The root cause in my view is the lack of desire to have a child, and that opens an entire can of worms that cannot be placed at the feet of any single issue.

  31. Steve says

    The Weltanschauung of the Quillette crowd is profoundly impoverished. Quillette authors, and it seems readers, evince the shallow scientistic materialism, epistemologically naive comprehension of Reason (limited it seems to the syllogism) and above all a bovine atheism that seems to be a reaction to a veritable army of straw men.

    The phenomenon in question is obviously an example of *spiritual malaise*. People like the author utterly lack the intellectual depth to even become aware of such a stark aspect of the human condition. The intellectual scotoma afflicting the young right-wing atheist crowd is of the same species as that afflicting the game-obsessed troglodytes.

    Physician, heal thyself.

    • Evander says

      @Steve

      Mate, your comment is a bit wanky. Can you elaborate on what you mean by ‘spiritual malaise’? That young people are lacking religion? Why do you think so? It’s an easy point to understand; but yes for those with atheistic assumptions humanity doesn’t have a spiritual dimension.

      And less condescension, please.

    • Doctor Locketopus says

      Congratulations on passing Philosophy 101, Steve. Did you parents buy you the thesaurus to mark the occasion?

      • Doctor Locketopus says

        P.S. a “pass” is about all you’d get from me if you turned in that wad of turgid, self-important prose.

  32. I wonder if the current, “Men are bad” atmosphere promulgated by certain groups doesn’t contribute, also. I saw Bill Maher – the epitome of Politically Incorrect, say to a woman the other night, “OK, I’ll just be like the perfect boyfriend; I’ll just shut up now until you say I can speak.”

    As an older man, I am appalled at the continuous attacks on young men, the inquisitions on college campuses at the hint of sexual misconduct, with complete suspension of both due process and presumption of innocence, the new made-up terms like “mansplaining,” “manspreading,” etc.. I even saw video of a young woman in a German subway pouring water on men’s crotches if she thought their knees too far apart. (Of course, there is a cure for that: act like a man and get treated like a man.)

    We’ve spent decades making sure little girls grow up to be “empowered,” largely at the expense of little boys. There’s an old saying that goes something like: civilization happens when old men plant trees for young men which they know THEY will never see bear fruit. Perhaps we old men need to start doing something for our sons and their sons.

  33. TheSnark says

    Hmmm….lots of young men doing nothing but playing video games. And don’t forget that many, many women do, too. Perhaps we are going into a historical phase of “bread and circuses”, except now it is “welfare and video games”.

    On the plus side, the Roman/Byzantine empire lasted over a thousand years after it started down that path.

  34. David Lee Off says

    A democrat wants to turn us into lobotomized, pleasure dependent house pets…

    I wonder if he has run his plan by a medical doctor…

  35. Charles Goldman says

    It seems hardly anyone commenting has read the book this article is extracted from. Nor do they seem familiar with Yuval Harari’s books, which are relevant. This is the problem with articles presented without proper context. People project what they already believe or feel onto them.

  36. TheMark says

    I had to leave my 2 cents with regards to this article.
    I’m unemployed, have an autoimmune or two, no social life let alone sexual life, and 41 years old. Video games are my only outlet of competence because it’s hard for anyone to hire me without experience. In my country, stores hire younger people for waiting tables and for retail, and I was told I’m too old in my face too many times whenever I was submitting a resume.

    I only live with my parents and my plan is to either escape this hell I call “living” or end my life if that doesn’t happen before both my parents are dead, because there’s no way I can ever survive being homeless and with the diseases that I have.

    I do believe that part of the reason why men go to video games is because the obstacle they have to pass is subjectively insurmountable. It’s one thing to see me and think that I just have to get a job I can do with my health condition, it’s another to experience how it feels like.

    • Shawn Eavis says

      May Jesus bless you, TheMark, I hope things get better for you.

  37. When in the last +40 year haven’t I heard men are “intrinsically toxic, raping patriarchal oppressive destroyers of the planet”. That these boy aren’t interested in participating doesn’t surprise me.

  38. Whoever figures out how to trick people into doing work disguised as video games will have the most productive work force in history.

  39. Jezza says

    Re porn being a factor in reduced sexual violence: of course it is. Too much masturbation sends you blind, then when you try to chase a woman, you can’t see which way she went. Ha! There is, all joking aside, an extremely worrying undercurrent of despair, an air of “why bother” when the perception is that nothing you do will ever be appreciated or that taking responsibility will be rewarded. In the old days, a father, far from having “ownership” of his wife or daughter, had the responsibility of providing food clothing and shelter for his family (and sometimes for others in society). When he walked his daughter down the aisle, he didn’t give “her” away, he gave her husband the responsibility to cherish her. Back in the fifties and sixties when feminism was gathering pace, there was an unspoken, covert sense of relief that we no longer had to bear that burden, that we were also being set free to pursue our dreams. We were complicit in the revolution. Sorry ’bout that.

  40. Christopher Liggett says

    A simple solution: go outside, into the actual world, and do something – plant a tree, clean up a stream, work in a soup kitchen – engage with reality, with real people, with real environments. The fastest way to a sense of self-worth is to do something selfless.

  41. Realworldman says

    Americans have forgotten what is important in life. And the destruction of real male influence in family life and politics has rendered our society complacent, tolerant and weak. I would hazard a guess that it will be proven that mind control through entertainment is a viable social control technique only because there are no real men left to speak of. I smile when I conjure what my grandfather might have said or done, had he found my father loitering in the basement playing with toys when there was work to be done. The young children who call themselves feminists, have no clue what that even means or how lucky they were to have grown up in a western country. Western Patriarchy built civilization and created the very concepts of rights and equality. It also made real men out of boys. The lack of patriarchy is now destroying those very concepts. Grown men playing games instead of going out in the world and participating is just one symptom of a society with no real male influence. Real men put principles over profits and justice over expediencies. The “feminazis” who screech about western patriarchy are facilitating a world where men will be of no use and liberty will be confined to controlled consumer transactions. Women will be free to live lonely lives of desperation coddled by government bureaucrats trained to babysit the mindless. If men do not wake up and take back their country, it will soon be Game Over for everyone.

  42. Andrei Vasilachi says

    This comment section is amazing. So man differing and (mostly) coherent views. It’s refreshing and a great read.
    I just wish people had the courage to speak like that in person. Nowadays, it seems to me, bringing any sort of criticism of modern feminism or men being treated like expendable resources is labelled as misogynistic and yadayadayada.

    Free speech is in real danger, and If (especially) men stop saying what they think and stop judging, the world will have no values and we will believe in anything and we’ll be jailed for our “thought-crimes”. That sort of nihilism is no good for anyone involved in this game called life.

    As much as I want to blame women, they are who they are, it’s in their nature to be more emotional, It’s really the passivity of men that brought this chaos into our culture, and that is even more discouraging.

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  44. Devin T says

    This article resonated with me as a gamer, and as with many such things, there’s no doubt some truth to it. However, it’s clear that there are far more distractions in the world than just games and there’s little reason to single gaming out. In my own adult years, gaming, music and Internet communities have been equally powerful distractions. Time-wasters abound and there is something for everyone these days.

    Entertainment is like a drug, but a very subtle one. We’re immersed in a world of distractions and entertainments when we’re children (our parents rely on and encourage them), and then expected to pull ourselves away and become responsible adults. It’s not unlike the dietary battles we face as adults. Parents feed kids junk during childhood (usually with some limits) and when kids become independent adults, some people find themselves completely unable to moderate. Who does well in a world fraught with such perils? Those fortunate enough to have good genes and other good luck. High IQ, industriousness and standards are largely heritable. I have seen many excellent comments here, but didn’t notice any discussing these basic biological facts.

    The problem is, if we increase enabling via government subsidies such as a universal basic income, the people on the margins who might have made something of themselves won’t. It’s a classic case of perverse incentives. If we give up and provide a universal basic income, the only successful people in the world will be those with the genes for industry and the particular talents to fit somewhere into the job market (and those people will need to be taxed even more heavily to provide for the rest). That’s always been the case, but as work as automated and off-shored, the pool of potential non-workers grows larger and larger.

    Maybe the solution is to require make-work for benefits. The government can divert as much as possible of this work to actual tasks needing doing, while the rest just serves to keep people honest and occupied. I think a lot of government jobs already function this way. If the private sector simply can’t provide enough work, maybe this is what we need to do.

  45. karaktur says

    Some have asked, give all the stars and galaxies in our universe, where are the aliens? Well, maybe they are in their parent’s basement playing video games.

  46. peterschaeffer says

    I think this problem has any easy solution. Let’s outsource the U.S. economy to China. If any jobs are still left, we can import unskilled migrants to replace the remaining U.S. workers.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  47. Freidrich GAoatse says

    The real problem is that the author is really just trying to pin it all on a symptom. People making a cost-benefit analysis of working a wage slave job at Jimmy John’s and maybe making a whole $35,000 a year if they’re lucky (spoilers: You can’t own a home or support a family on this) and then deciding it’s better to not do it and just engage in leisure activities is a symptom the free trade regime.

    When you outsource and offshore as many jobs as possible, and then you import scab labourers to drive down the wages of the jobs still in the country, this is what tends to happen. The author who has probably never worked at such a job in his life of course would like to present this as being the men who won’t work these jobs think it’s “below their dignity” but the reality is that it’s the lack of commensurate compensation that is below their dignity. Also the fact that really this is a job that a teenager would be working for pocket money in previous generations.

    Your Boomer Dad may call you lazy and tell you that he put his nose to the grindstone and worked a part-summer job to pay his way through college, but that just shows how out of touch he is. Much like the bourgeoisie types who write articles like this but have never worked some low wage job and tried to live off of it.

    The Boomer Dad doesn’t know that even if a young person could find a summer job that isn’t being worked by an adult, or a foreigner, or an illegal, and then worked a summer job every year for the rest of their life they probably still wouldn’t be able to pay off a current year student debt as the cost of getting an increasingly more useless (yet more required for jobs that in reality have no requirement), education has skyrocketed. So has the general cost of living.

    Similarly, the upper-middle class or higher bugman coastal elite author of this article is out of touch and simply doesn’t see the market realities, or more likely refuses to see them because he benefits. The top crust of society has gotten a lot richer in recent decades. All of the nonsense people were sold on like “trickle-down economics” or libertarian nostrums about rising tides lifting all boats turned out to be complete nonsense. The people making the huge profits from virtual slave labour via outsourcing and offshoring, and importation of scabs simply pocketed the difference.

    Today’s hilarious analog to “Let them eat cake” is “let them code.” Which is completely unrealistic of course given normative IQ bell curve distributions and lack of resources to trian people, as well as general lack of demand for that many coders or whatever field these geniuses think they’re going to redirect all of the unemployed into, but it is funny to me to see it nonetheless.

    My only solace really is that, like the people who were saying “let them eat cake,” these elites are probably going to get what they deserve. You can see what’s happening in France right now. Degenerate art museums getting torched, treasonous politicians having to have an escape helicopter on standby, and so on. It doesn’t end well for those who break the social contract in such egregious ways, no matter how much sophistry they use to try to claim these disaffected people are just lazy good-for-nothings when they suffer the end-result of undemocratic top-down elite policy. The tax fuel was really just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

  48. GeorgeK says

    If this trend continues to become even more immersive and consuming, can something productive be created? After all, real commitment, creative strategy, and joy are displayed by those who are engaged in gaming. Like, can someone create something in Minecraft that is so astounding and practical that is becomes a blueprint for a real building for city?

    • zipfern says

      Minecraft has basically no physics engine. Things created in it can be artistic, but an engineer would have to do a lot of real work. Also, the vast majority of people creating things in Minecraft are creating very mundane art. As in most areas, a tiny fraction do anything of real lasting value.

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  50. BUDDY says

    Many, many whiners here. Easy to spot the ages. I picked up the old Nintendo Super Mario for my son when he was a single digit age. That’s where it starts. And that’s probably where it should end. We live in an amazing time, and in an amazing place. Even in say, Fargo. Still, this is the land of opportunity. If you can’t get a job, join the military. or AmeriCorps. Or the Peace Corps. But get out of the basement, and quit complaining how tough you’ve had it. It’s called personal responsibility, and you have to take responsibility for yourselves. You may turn out to be a fine car wash attendant, but you could also cure the next epidemic. Just don’t become a mooch on your parents’ lives. Because you’ll always be a mooch. Then eventually, your parents will die and then you’ll live in a tent downtown Seattle and have to poop in the park. Your teeth will rot and you’ll pine away for those wonderful idle days of sitting on your ass playing video games.

    • Freidrich Goatse says

      You’re a boomer who’s generation oversaw the gutting and outsourcing, offshoring of industry, and the importation of scab labour. You’re so out of touch the realities of the labour market that it’s not even funny. Things really were that easy when you were young but it’s not anymore. You can’t just go easily secure gainful employment anymore. It’s not a land of opportunity at all. Your generation oversaw the demolition of that. You’re the first generation to leave your children worse off than you.

  51. Milo Mindbender says

    I was not so forgiving with my children, we did not have cable, and I refused to allow video games into my home. We had internet, and if they needed to do a search, I was involved, I felt it was my responsibility to monitor their actions as long as they lived in my house.
    I am not a fan of grades 13-17, and told my children that a solid skill set, and a good attitude was a better source of employment than pushing electrons from one screen to another.
    Rant Off, thank you

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  53. “And there’s evidence that video games are a big reason why.”

    No. There is no evidence, only assertions that something qualifies as evidence without examining any of the underlying premises.

    Video games are a symptom, not a cause.

    ” The trends are different for women, who have not seen the same increase in gaming at the expense of work hours”

    ctrl-F feminism
    ctrl-F divorce
    ctrl-F child support
    ctrl-F alimony
    ctrl-F immigration
    ctrl-F real wages

    Gee. That’s really strange. My browser’s search function must be broken or something, it keeps giving zero results in the article text.

    Oh wait, here’s something:

    “To the extent they ever wanted to go out and start a family, it may seem more and more unrealistic and out of reach.”

    Really? No kidding?

    And you’re going to blame this on … let’s see … video games? Not helicopter parenting? Not false rape accusations? Not “family court” and the Duluth model they all follow, which explicitly states that men are guilty until proven innocent? Not the cock carousel? Not the observable reality of female behavior in a society entirely unmoored from traditional standards of behavior? Not the explicit and repeated betrayal of young men by their elders?

    Gee. I’m sure you’re going to get some really productive results with that approach.

    Of course these men want to start families. They also want productive and useful jobs that grant them a modicum of respect and status in their communities. The society you big brains have engineered explicitly excludes those outcomes.

    It turns out that when you spend the better part of a century systematically cutting men down, weakening their societal status, removing potential paths to success, destroying the familial authority without which no civilization has yet survived, exporting the industries in which they might have found gainful employment, and importing millions of competitors – men will respond entirely rationally to the changed circumstances.

    And the one thing you can be absolutely sure of in such changed circumstances – berating those men and telling them to man up and start slaving harder is not going to be an effective tactic.

    Remember: Anders Breivik played a lot of video games, too. He found a way to translate that into meeting real-world objectives he set for himself. Maybe that wasn’t quite what his country’s social engineers intended, but it’s the sort of creative experimentation you need to expect when you push large numbers of young men into completely uncharted territory!

  54. Al the schoolteacher says

    Let’s do a little maths here.

    My dad was a schoolteacher, and so am I.
    My dad was from the late boomer generation, I’m from the earlier millennial generation.

    Dad’s starting salary: 900 per month
    Market value of our family house when dad started working: 75,000
    If dad put the entire 100% of his salary into buying our house: 75000 ÷ 900 = 7 years to pay off the house.
    Of course no one spends their entire salary buying a house. You need to eat food and raise your family. Dad took a 20 year loan and paid off the house.

    My starting salary: 3000 (ooh, much more than dad made!)
    Market value of our house when I started working: 1,200,000. Yes, that’s 1.2 million
    If I had to put the entire 100% of my salary into buying our house: 1,200,000 ÷ 3000 = 34 years to pay off the house.
    Of course no one spends their entire salary buying a house. I need to eat food and raise my family.

    If my dad were to sell me our family house at market price, I would never be able to buy it from him. How long would my loan term be? 55 years? I’d be retired without a salary before the loan term even ended.. the loan ends when I’m aged 70??

    I can still play this game, by buying a smaller place for myself. Work the job. Bring home the bacon. Raise my family. But my bacon will never be as big as the bacon that my dad put on the table when I was growing up.

    In case some of you are wondering about the salaries, I don’t stay in the USA. But it’s a worldwide concern nevertheless.

    Some guys do the math and just give up.

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