Special Educations

David Henderson recently linked this amusing story you’ve all heard before(emphasis added):

Shoppers and employees stopped him to shake his hand and say hello. In 1989, not everyone was carrying a phone and camera in their pocket so Yeltsin “selfies” weren’t a thing yet.

Yeltsin asked customers about what they were buying and how much it cost, later asking the store manager if one needed a special education to manage a store. In the Chronicle photos, you can see him marveling at the produce section, the fresh fish market, and the checkout counter. He looked especially excited about frozen pudding pops.

“Even the Politburo doesn’t have this choice. Not even Mr. Gorbachev,” he said.

We seem to have caught up with the old Soviet Union at least in one respect: you do need a special education to manage a store, it’s just not one relevant to the job.* You hear about how this is really the government’s fault because of Griggs vs Duke Power Co or government subsidies to higher education. But the behavior you’d expect if people wanted to use IQ tests and don’t is not seen and if you’re building your roof out of bananas, you can’t blame the government for subsidizing bananas.

*Before anyone gives some 50-something they know as a counter-example: I’m talking about the requirements for workers who have no existing management experience. Older workers have been “grandfathered in.”

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