It’s Tough Being Over 40 in Silicon Valley

Older workers are finding it harder to get jobs in Silicon Valley, say Carol Hymowitz and Robert Burnson at Reuters. So they take steps to seem younger and fit in. They hang around the parking lots of companies to see how their prospective colleagues dress, They study Reddit and other social platforms to get up to date on the latest pop culture references. They hang up their business suits and bowties. And they even go in for plastic surgery and lawsuits.

I’m 55. I haven’t personally encountered age discrimination. I’m fortunate. Or oblivious.

“A Huge, Huge Deal”

Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall on the news that billionaire Peter Thiel is backing Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker:

“You may not like Gawker. They’ve published stories I would have been ashamed to publish. But if the extremely wealthy, under a veil secrecy, can destroy publications they want to silence, that’s a far bigger threat to freedom of the press than most of the things we commonly worry about on that front. If this is the new weapon in the arsenal of the super rich, few publications will have the resources or the death wish to scrutinize them closely.”

A Huge, Huge Deal– Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo

A “young lawyer working on a manual typewriter in the back seat of a car” helped create the modern class action lawsuit

A “young lawyer working on a manual typewriter in the back seat of a car” helped create the modern class action lawsuit.

C-ABA14474-02BD-4155-9377-794F878DFD33

Class action lawsuits have been used to drive meaningful change for civil rights and against sexual harassment in the workplace. They’ve also been used for seeming frivolities, like Milli Vanilli fans who were irked that the duo was only lip-synching other people singing, and ticket-holders feeling ripped off by the Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield bite fight.

The Planet Money podcast

Can you spot the difference between these tins? It’s the basis of a class action — a lawsuit, filed by a few people, on behalf of millions.

Class actions have been around for centuries. But the modern version was created in the 1960s — in part by a young lawyer working on a manual typewriter in the back seat of a car. At the time, class actions were seen as a way to advance the civil rights movement.

Today, thousands of class actions are filed every year. Some of them are still about civil rights. But they’re also about things questions like: Is there enough pepper in this tin of pepper?

In this episode, we ask how we got here, and whether this is a good way to do things.