[OPE] Cobol Is My Hero -- A Reverse Luddism

From: michael perelman <michael@ecst.csuchico.edu>
Date: Sun Aug 01 2010 - 17:01:00 EDT

The Sacramento Bee reported that some people in California are wearing
T-shirts bearing the cryptic words, "Cobol Is My Hero."


People outside of California might not be aware that our governor,
Arnold Schwarzenegger, attempted to have state workers paid the minimum
wage until the Legislature presents him with acceptable budget. Since
the budget cannot be passed without a two thirds majority and the
Republicans, who are unanimously committed to holding firm on their
pledge to not raise taxes, have enough votes to veto any budget that
does not suit them.

Already, in previous years, the Democrats have capitulated and agreed to
horrendous cuts to education and, even worse, any program that
threatened to give any help whatsoever to the poor. The Democrats went
one step further, agreeing to additional tax cuts, which can only make
the budget worse.

The state comptroller, John Chiang, refused to comply with the
governor's demands, explaining that revamping the state computer system
to change the wage structure in a short period of time would be
impossible. To do so would be especially difficult because the system
is programmed in an obsolete language, Cobol.

Cobol was last in the news in the run-up to the Y2K panic. Companies
need to upgrade their computer systems, but lacked people trained in
obsolete computer languages. In desperation, they turned to Indian
companies, which was instrumental in accelerating the growth of
outsourcing computer work to India.

More at:




Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
michael at ecst.csuchico.edu
Chico, CA 95929
fax 530-898-5901
ope mailing list
Received on Sun Aug 1 17:05:24 2010

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