Skip to comments.The Opportunity Gap (barf alert?)
Posted on 07/11/2012 5:00:46 AM PDT by Sir Napsalot
Now the eminent Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam and his team are coming out with research thats more horrifying.
While most studies look at inequality of outcomes among adults and help us understand how America is coming apart, Putnams group looked at inequality of opportunities among children. They help us understand what the country will look like in the decades ahead. The quick answer? More divided than ever.
Putnams data verifies what many of us have seen anecdotally, that the children of the more affluent and less affluent are raised in starkly different ways and have different opportunities. Decades ago, college-graduate parents and high-school-graduate parents invested similarly in their children. Recently, more affluent parents have invested much more in their childrens futures while less affluent parents have not....
(Read the rest)
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Liberals are going to have to be willing to champion norms that say marriage should come before childrearing and be morally tough about it. Conservatives are going to have to be willing to accept tax increases or benefit cuts so that more can be spent on the earned-income tax credit and other programs that benefit the working class."
Sorry, this is not Brooks confessing the past 50 years of Liberal policies making our society worse. He wants us the lurch leftwards even more.
"It Is All For The Children"
I’m willing to bet that the more solidly Democratic your parent is, the more likely it is that your opportunity is lower.
Stupid parents do set a child back, but luckily the child has free will to become conservative and do well in life.
“Liberals are going to have to be willing to champion norms that say marriage should come before childrearing and be morally tough about it.”
Like that will happen.
And where do they get these statistics about how much time rich/poor parent(s) spend with their children? And most rich parents probably (I don’t have statistics) spend more time working and less time at home.
Liberalism at its core. Two parents aren’t needed. Welfare society. Teen moms. Etc.
This so-called inequality of opportunity has been going on through out history. In fact it is only in America that there has been any sort of leveling of these disparities. So, far from chastising our country, we should be celebrating our liberies, not issuing edicts against our system.
Every child has the chance to get an education, and it is usually the decisions of their leaders, parents, politicians which impair the rise of most children.
The children and grandchildren of LBJ are the result of the thinking at the NYT.
I am afraid it is not true.
A lot more “Affluent People” (doctors, teachers, professionals like scientists/engineers, etc.) are voting Dems, or at best socially left leaning. (I don’t have the statistics, but remember something in the high 60 to 70%.)
Their children are definitely not lacking opportunities. And maybe they prefer it that way. Gotta keep %^$^&s on the plantations, you know!
I know a lot of conservative and Dem doctors and professionals.
The Dem children are more often than not having troubles with achievement.
The excerpt says “invest” in their children, not spend time with them. A less-affluent family can “invest” in their children by spending time with them: leading Scout troops, teaching them practical skills, taking them to church, coaching sports, etc. A rich family can “invest” by paying for the best schools, tuturing, lessons, camps, and professional supervision, if they are using their time in other ways.
This may not make for children with warm feelings about their parents, but it does add up to economic opportunity, which is the point of the article.
This type of division is exactly what The Bell Curve was written about 20 years ago. The predictions in it have panned out 100%. The Left managed to demonize the book by making it racist, which it absolutely wasn't.
For the last 50years, and increasingly so and at a faster rate over the last 20or so, there has been little economic demand for those with less than average capability. Call it IQ or whatever you choose.
Therefore, as our society is presently constructed, there is little or no place for them in society. To be fully productive and in demand in the economy probably requires an additional IQ point every one or two years.
IOW, a cohort of perhaps 1% of the population falls out of society every year or two. And the rate is increasing.
While the "social safety net" will probably keep such people from starving, there is no place for them in society and no way for them to earn self-respect and that of others and live a meaningful life.
Despite this being far and away the greatest economic and social challenge of our time, absolutely nobody, liberal or conservative, is discussing what to do about it.
THE WORLD IS CHANGING.
We cannot go back to the beloved past (never really existing) utopias of either the right or the left.
Personally, I can see little to disagree with in the article aside from the unexamined assumption that more money handed out in EITC is a large part of the answer. Which is stupid. The problem is not so much lack of finances as it is lack of a place in society.
Thank you for that excellent response!
As automation increases exponentially, opportunities for “hewers of wood and drawers of water” will decrease proportionately.
Aside from having already spent the next decade’s receipts, the politicians, and society, will be hard pressed to address the problems that arise when there is no work for a large percentage of the populace.
Equal Opportunity. I like that. Let’s start with closing Sidwell and forcing the children of politicians to go to public school. As a matter of fact, if it isn’t a religious school or a home school, the school should be closed and the kids go to public schools.
Now that our kids are all on the same playing field, let’s see what the outcomes are.
I get your point, but that is kind of a statist approach.
Another issue The Bell Curve discusses is the ongoing assortative mating by IQ. Much more than in any previous period, smart people marry smart people. If there is any hereditary component at all to intelligence, over time this will result in a largely hereditary upper class. And most who have studied it see a hereditary component of 1/2 to 2/3.
One of the flies in this ointment is the differential birth rate. High income, and presumably more competent people, have a much lower birth rate than low income people. If this is indeed correlated with intelligence and intelligence is party hereditary, after a few generations our population will be significantly less intelligent on average.
In other words, if you pursue positive practices and values that help make you prosperous, and raise your children with the same values, they are more likely to enjoy opportunity to prosper.
And if don’t have such values, and can’t pass them on to your children, they will have less opportunity.
Don’t see a problem here. That is actually the way the world is supposed to work. Nobody every promised “fair,” especially for this value of “fair.”
I would also say that this one of the side effects of subsidizing bastardy.
I remember one school classmate of mine of with whom I went to 12 years of school. He came from a poor family of 10 kids. Half the kids, like my classmate, went on to be successful. The other half were not as successful with a few becoming criminals. All the kids where raised under the same circumstances. All the kids had the same opportunity to succeed or fail. What libs can't seem to understand is that some people will fail no matter what the circumstances. For libs, it can never be the individual, it must be the system that has to be changed.
>>Liberals are going to have to be willing to champion norms that say marriage should come before childrearing and be morally tough about it. Conservatives are going to have to be willing to accept tax increases or benefit cuts so that more can be spent on the earned-income tax credit and other programs that benefit the working class.<<
That is a non sequiteur. There is a ton of data linking scholastic and life success to children in married HETEROSEXUAL couples. There are ZERO data linking the EIC to any kind of success in anyone.
Those with less than average capability do not lack a place in society.
And indeed in the past, there is NO SHAME of being poor, you can still live a dignified life. One has one's own self-respect, and one's own beliefs. Nowadays, 'self-respect' is more of how you view what others think of you.
But those 1% in your post choose to fall out of our current society. Or do I read your post wrong?
There IS a difference in opportunity, depending on your parents, but the only way to fix that is to improve the parenting of the lower half, not attack the upper half. Getting rid of ADC, which has ruined more black kids than any other policy, and providing incentives in govt welfare policies for married couples.
How about vouchering the schools so that middle and working class parents could afford private or parochial schools. Sidwell is not a fair comparison; it’s an outlier, even on the private school spectrum. Forget Sidwell. It’s a great school, and should be for the price, but it’s not the model for systemic reform.
Back in the world of the attainable/affordable, here in DC the per-pupil cost at DC public schools is 2-3 times higher, depending on whose figures you trust, than the typical parochial school tuition. If there were enough seats available, you could voucher the system, transfer every kid from DCPS into well managed and decently performing parochial schools, and save hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.
My view is that we should empower the parents and focus on building capacity in the private, competitive system. The lefties, of course, think the answer is to kill off the competition and herd everyone back onto the reservation. Surprised to find you in the latter camp.
Traditionally, “a place in society” meant that people filled a productive niche that helped keep society functioning. Even those of very low intelligence had work available for them that they could handle. In fact, in the past there was more work available for those of low intelligence, so much so that much of it was done by those of higher intelligence. It was the jobs specifically requiring high intelligence that were limited in number.
The “hewers of wood and drawers of water” another poster mentioned, if you will. How much demand is there for these people in today’s economy? And it’s dropping all the time.
Even jobs these lower intelligence people could perform are being moved out of their reach. For instance, 100 years ago such a person could start and run a reasonably successful small business, perhaps a small candy store. Today the requirements for running any small business keep him out. Even for something as simple as lawn care, the government requires compliance with massive amounts of regulation that complicate the process so much that a lower-intelligence person can’t do it.
So we can have make-work jobs, and we can pay people to sit around. But we will know, and they will know, that they aren’t really providing anything to society economically. And I think that is demoralizing. It has been described as a modern version of the Indian reservation, where people with no value to society are warehoused.
I’m not saying this well. Highly recommend reading The Bell Curve, where they state it very nicely.
BTW, I hope you realize I’m saying these people and others will often view them as being of no value. I disagree, because I think the value of a human life is based on much more important factors than economics and relative status. But in our society I think anyone must admit that the primary factor in most people’s judgment of others is economic factors.
The Times....thumping the class warfare drums for the fall elections.....
“One of the flies in this ointment is the differential birth rate. High income, and presumably more competent people, have a much lower birth rate than low income people. If this is indeed correlated with intelligence and intelligence is party hereditary, after a few generations our population will be significantly less intelligent on average.”
Welcome to “Idiocracy.”
Watching "Through the Worm Hole" I was suprised that they seriously discussed genetic influences on IQ. Races are advantaged in different ways and dis-advantaged in others. However I don't believe that two people of the same genetic background with high IQs tend to give birth to high IQ children. In fact, statistically there should be a regression to the norm meaning the child is more likely to be less intelligent than either parent.
“I get your point, but that is kind of a statist approach.”
No question about it. Actually Sphynx approach to it regarding vouchering is probably the best thing for our kids.
Both of your posts were very informative.
You are quite correct.
However, the group of children born to two high-intelligence parents will be considerably more intelligent than the group of children born to two low-intelligence parents. Which is the statistical point here.
If you breed the two fastest horses in the world, their offspring is likely to not be as fast as either parent. But the colt is still likely to be much faster than the average horse.
I want to expand my #18 and your #21 post. Re: jobs for persons with low capabilities.
The aetheists and Dogooders took away the religion and family values, replaced with the ever powerful State (i.e. government).
In the past, there is no shame of being poor, family members or the church take care of the needy.
Now the plitical class created the belief in the Gimme Gimme population that there is no shame in getting ever more “Freebies”, because you are ‘such-and-such’ victim groups, Society in general owes it to you.
Persons with low capabilities have absolutely no incentive (other than their own initiative) to ‘add economic values to society’. Most of them do not have ‘low intelligence’, below average is not low. They are paid to be (or act) a certain way, like I said earlier, the Dogooder Class needs a permanent plantation to champion their own ‘good virtue’.
A good point. Let's take 90 to 110 as average or normal or whatever you want to call it.
Those from say 110 to 130 would be "bright," those from 70 to 90 "dull."
While the "dull" are not "low intelligence," they can in general not function effectively in a modern economy. There is no true demand for their services, or at least the demand is constantly decreasing while the supply remains constant.
Meanwhile the demand for those in the "bright" and above group constantly increases. This is probably the major driver behind the increase in "income inequality" that liberals obsess about so much. But you will note these issues are never discussed. Both liberals and conservatives don't like to discuss these things, because neither the free market nor government intervention is really capable of dealing with them effectively.
One comparison I've seen for the fate of the dulls in the future is that of a high-tech and more comfortable Indian reservation, warehousing them away with nothing to do. We all know how well that's worked out for the Indians. They aren't oppressed, really, but they have no real purpose in life, either.
In the long run, which may not be that many decades, cybertronics and automation is likely to remove the demand for services from a larger and larger part of the population. For instance, think of how many people are employed as drivers. The technology is already here for replacing 99% of them. I have no idea how quickly it will be deployed, of course.
The typical optimist and often conservative answer is that these people can retrain and take jobs that are in high demand, such as writing apps for iPhone.
But how many of those who are presently driving trucks and taxis are really capable of doing so? Not many, I suspect. Everyone recognizes the existence of the mentally handicapped and of genius, but few want to recognize that the difference between "high normal" and "low normal" very much affects the ability of a person to function economically in our society.
My post 28 is not really accurate numerically.
One standard deviation on the IQ scale is 15 points, so about 68% of the population falls into the two SDs on either side of 100, or 85 to 115.
The point I am trying to make is that while this whole range is considered “normal,” the ability of a person to function effectively in an economic sense is tremendously impacted by whether their actual IQ is 87 or 112. Still lots of demand for the things the 112 IQ guy can. Demand for what the 87 IQ guy is capable of is dropping all the time.
Very good post one of the best post I’ve read about the human condition. The main reason why off shoring is such a horrible idea is that the “dulls” are justified in their perpetual victim status and off shoring destroys the work ethic which is the ONLY thing they(dulls) have.
You mean we agree on something?
>>> Both liberals and conservatives don't like to discuss these things, because neither the free market nor government intervention is really capable of dealing with them effectively.
That is true.
Eventually though, for those idled and under-demanded turned into malcontents. Then a period of bloodshed breaks out, with lots of human sufferings, it doesn't matter if you are affluent or not. Sort of like a society self-correction. And then the cycle repeats.
yes, the human condition is an absolute. It isn’t pleasant to think about but it has to be discussed. In this area there is no left or right just reality of capability vs motivation of the individual.
We don’t know if this is a cycle or not, because it hasn’t happened before. The primary driving force is automation and cybernetics, and this hasn’t been a factor before the last few decades.
A problem here is that the rate of cybernetic change is increasing at an exponential rate. Which implies that resultant changes in society will do the same.
There are four categories of people:
Right, because giving the "working class" more $$$ through government hand-outs automatically means they're going to change their moral compass and decide to invest that $$$ on their kids' future instead of spending it on a 60" HDTV or new rims.
I get the impression that you’ve viewed “Idiocracy” - maybe more than once LOL ;-)
Actually never seen it. But plan to.
What we are seeing is what has always happened throughout history. It just seems weird, because in our little window of time, we’ve never seen it before. But the idea that everyone moves forward, and advances together is just not how Darwin works.
Darwin’s ideal is that a small cohort of the less fit each generation, sees it’s reproduction diminished, as a way of keeping r-selection at bay. As the less fit are removed, this favors fitness, and that will lend advantage to fitness enhancing, K-selected traits, such as monogamy, two-parent rearing, later age at first intercourse, etc.
What has happened is we have prevented this r-selected cohort from being culled, and now they have formed almost a second subspecies within our population. One subspecies is competitive, motivated, driven, and adheres to K-traits like monogamy, two-parent rearing, later age at first intercourse, and loyalty to in-group.
The other subspecies is designed to graze off of government cheese provided by the first, while reproducing using promiscuity and single parenting. As time goes on, and this unproductive group of takers grows relative to the producers, they will eventually crash everything.
A storm is coming.