Leveling the playing field

Author: Death23 ,

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  • Death23
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    Life's a competition for the most part. We are each born with our respective advantages and disadvantages. One of the most substantial ones that everyone seems to agree on is the socioeconomic status of your parents. (i.e. class) We have implemented many policies aimed at providing people with the opportunity for success despite being born in to poverty. Largely this is has been public K-12 education and financal aid for higher education.

    And, in thinking about this, let us talk about other forms of disadvantage people are faced with in life over which they have no control (e.g. race, height, beauty - whatever it is). If those disadvantages are substantial enough to be comparable to class, should we not implement policies aimed at mitigating those disadvantages? Would such policies be justifiable by the same reasoning?

    This is what I've been thinking about lately.
  • FLRW
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    True, do you think we would have ever heard of Donald Trump if he wasn't born into a rich family? Trump received over $413 million from his father over the decades.


  • zedvictor4
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    --> @Death23
    It's about competition and survival and what it takes.

    Success is finding a niche.

    Though success, certainly isn't wholly reliant upon wealth and status....Though more and more, we are unnecessarily, taught that it is.





  • Death23
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    --> @zedvictor4
    Though success, certainly isn't wholly reliant upon wealth and status....Though more and more, we are unnecessarily, taught that it is.
    Well, it's a substantial factor. I don't think it's necessary to teach it. People are going to learn about it growing up inevitably.
  • fauxlaw
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    --> @Death23
    You raise disadvantages such as "...race, height, beauty - whatever it is," but ignore a factor that has historically overwhelmed all these regardless of station, or, as you put it, "class:" Ambition. We either have it, or we don't, and we are individually completely in charge of that factor. No one else can give it to us; no one should, but for our allowance of it, take it away from us. My father taught me three basic principles of life: 1. Be ambitious, 2. plan, 3. Execute the plan. Repeat it. It has served me well. I inherited $10,000 from my father 20 years ago. My two brothers & I, when my father retired, encouraged he and our mother to use the finances they worked hard to obtain to enjoy their retirement to the fullest, and they did. They traveled extensively. They contributed much to charities. They left us each with an inheritance of equal proportions. My brothers and I successfully plied our father's principles and are more successful than he attained, the least of us has turned our relative "fortunes" over by a factor of over 200, using those simple principles.

    Class has nothing to do with ambition. It is a vital factor for success, and it is free of charge other than by personal commitment. The ambitious do not let "disadvantage" hinder their ambition.

  • Death23
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    --> @fauxlaw
    I'm generally in agreement with you that character is a big, big factor in success in life. I mean, people are going to be successful despite their disadvantages if they have grit and ambition, persistence, etc. and especially if they got monetizable talents and are smart about how they apply themselves. Generally the people who I see have failed are the ones who did nothing.

    Despite that, there is real disadvantage. I mean, consider the following:

    individuals within the top family income quartile are 8 times more likely to obtain a bachelor’s degree by age 24 as compared to individuals from the lowest family income quartile
    When we're looking at an 8-fold disparity in educational attainment, I don't see how that can be explained away by ambition variance.
  • Sum1hugme
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    --> @Death23
    Life's a competition for the most part.
      Seriously the best piece on the nature of competition I have read:

  • Death23
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    --> @Sum1hugme
    Thanks. It does look like a good read. When I got enough spare time for the PDF
  • Sum1hugme
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    Yeah I haven't finished it yet, but it's been really good so far I should say.
  • fauxlaw
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    --> @Death23
    When we're looking at an 8-fold disparity in educational attainment, I don't see how that can be explained away by ambition variance.
    Your source from the APA highlights the disparity in educational achievement by children of SES parents. No doubt, an inadequate diet has obvious effects on achievement of educational advantages, but is that society's fault, or the parents? Parents, as well as students, have to do more thinking about what their own ambition level is when they are deciding, before being parents, how their life choices in school will play the significant role in their adult, parenting requirements. When parents assume society will pickup the slack in their own lack... well, we see the result. No APA whizbang academic will overcome that simple advice.
  • Death23
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    --> @fauxlaw
    Parents
    Yes, parents, by SES or otherwise, are a substantial factor. It's not something that's within the control of the child. Not really blaming society or asserting that society has any responsibility to level the playing field on the account of bad parents. Yet, I don't consider blame to be prerequisite for society doing something about it. I mean, the children are the people we're going to be living with in the future. We have a stake in their development.
  • bmdrocks21
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    --> @Death23
    And, in thinking about this, let us talk about other forms of disadvantage people are faced with in life over which they have no control (e.g. race, height, beauty - whatever it is). 
    Sounds a bit dystopian. Are you familiar with the short story Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut?

    It is a story about a future in which equality is enforced. Beautiful people must wear masks, smart people wear headphones that scramble their thoughts, strong people carry around weights that keep them from being faster than others, etc.

    Sounds like an egalitarian nightmare. Part of understanding the world is knowing that it is hierarchal even on the individual level. Some people will always have an advantage because of genetics and class. Class can to some extent be remedied if you wish to do so. Genetics, barring extreme dysgenics for those with good genetics or eugenics for people with bad genetics is essentially unsolvable.
  • ILikePie5
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    --> @bmdrocks21
    Sounds a bit dystopian. Are you familiar with the short story Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut?
    8th grade English vibes xD
  • Death23
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    --> @bmdrocks21
    Yes, I'm familiar with the story. When I wrote this I think I had contemplated educational and financial success largely. I'm not really interested in forced equality. I'm more interested in equal opportunity, and sometimes it's hard to see how particular things are disadvantageous. Yet, with the advent of big data and studies, there is no evidence which shows that these characteristics tend to adversely outcomes. Parental socioeconomic status is such an obvious thing we have all policies designed to address it. And, if you look at this as a "foot in the door" situation - We are doing things to address the impact of class on opportunity - Why not these other things now that there's evidence of impacts on opportunity? This is my thinking.

    Beauty and height - If you're interested it's called "lookism". It really is a thing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lookism#Empirical_support
  • bmdrocks21
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    I read it twice in my schooling days lol. Once in high school and grade school. Good read!
  • bmdrocks21
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    --> @Death23
    We are doing things to address the impact of class on opportunity - Why not these other things now that there's evidence of impacts on opportunity? This is my thinking.
    I definitely understand your point: that you can be disadvantaged at birth for things out of your control.

    But I think the measures to solve socioeconomic differences (taxes) are different in nature than altering biology to achieve the same outcomes.

    I think that maybe in another society where eugenics or dysgenics wasn't taboo, I could definitely see measures undertaken to remedy this cause of disparities.

    Even mentioning biological differences is taboo, especially on racial lines. 
  • Bringerofrain
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    --> @FLRW
    Donald Trump if he wasn't born into a rich family? Trump received over $413 million from his father over the decades.
    Can you provide a citation that his father actually handed him 413 million dollars. I heard it was just 1 million. 
  • Greyparrot
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    --> @Death23
    Being born into an inferior culture is far worse than being born poor.

    Most kids raised in hollywood celebrity culture have miserable lives.
  • Greyparrot
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    --> @Bringerofrain
    Can you provide a citation that his father actually handed him 413 million dollars. I heard it was just 1 million. 

    He probably had many loans and paid back the loans.
  • Bringerofrain
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    Makes sense. That's how real estate works. Lots of loans as leverage. 
  • Greyparrot
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    It's not a big deal anyway being born rich. There are 18.6 million millionaires in the USA right now according to google all competing with each other. There are no guarantees for any of them to increase their wealth to become one of the 614 billionaires just for being able to breathe air.

    Being surrounded by the right people and having superior cultural values and an insane pathological over-ambitious work ethic are much more important to the development of a Billionaire than a bank account.

    Incidentally, billionaire Kanye West was once 50 million dollars in debt at a point in his life. Now he is worth over 3 Billion.
  • FLRW
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    --> @Bringerofrain
    new bombshell report from The New York Times on President Donald Trump's finances questions one of his fundamental claims: that he's a self-made billionaire.
    According to the report, published Tuesday, Trump received far more money from his real-estate-mogul father than he has previously acknowledged and was a millionaire by the time he was 8 years old.
    Trump once claimed that his father gave him a "small loan" of about $1 million to help him get started in the real-estate business, but The Times' analysis found that "Fred Trump actually lent him at least $60.7 million, or $140 million in today's dollars." Much of this loan was never repaid, the report said.
    The Times said that if Donald Trump had done nothing but invest the money his father gave him in an index fund that tracks the S&P 500, he'd still be worth about $2 billion today.
  • Bringerofrain
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    --> @FLRW
    Thank you