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Myth: The rich get rich because of their merit.

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Egalitarian Zetetic Donating Member (255 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 10:46 PM
Original message
Myth: The rich get rich because of their merit.
http://home.att.net/~Resurgence/L-richmerit.htm



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Studies from many professions have consistently found that taller and more attractive people make more money than shorter and plainer folks. Just one of countless examples is a study of lawyers conducted by Jeff Biddle of Michigan State University and Daniel Hameresh from the University of Texas. They found that the more attractive the lawyer, the more rapid the promotions within the firm. By the end of 15 years' time, the more attractive ones were earning 13 percent more than the less attractive ones. (2)

One major factor in determining who becomes successful is inheritance. In 1989, one third of all Americans who earned more than $1 million began with an inherited fortune. (3) But even more widespread is the practice of "living inheritances" -- the advantages passed on from parents to their children while still alive. Examples include wealthy families sending their kids off to college, providing venture capital for their start-up businesses, and otherwise granting them every advantage in a competitive world.

This points up the importance of childhood factors in determining later success as well. The above chart reflects mostly adult factors, but sociologists have identified many childhood factors as well. A partial list includes:
Parental wealth and receipt of welfare income
Number of siblings and birth order
Parental expectations and aspirations for their children's schooling
Grandparents' schooling
Religious denomination and church attendance
Age of the mother at birth
The income and racial composition of the community of origin
The amount of time mothers spend in the labor market
Family structure -- two parents versus a single parent, and whether parents are separated or divorced
Peer influences in the form of perceived peer education plans
Measures of the quality of stimulation found in the home environment, including emotional and verbal responsivity of the mother, provision of appropriate play materials, time and quality of maternal involvement with the child parental instigation of and participation in intellectual activities, parental affection, rejection, and nurturance etc.
Language spoken at home
Discussions about college plans with teachers and other school officials
Parental emphasis on self-direction versus conformity
Ethnicity and immigrant status
Parental involvement in school activities (4)

Even conservatives who believe in meritocracy inadvertently acknowledge the importance of childhood social factors. One of the hottest topics today among the richest 1 percent is finding top-quality private schools for their children. But if they truly believed that merit is everything, and that social factors do not explain or promote individual success, then they should be satisfied with sending their kids to public or even inner-city schools. Of course, the very idea would horrify them -- which provides eloquent testimony as to the importance of the environment even as appraised by wealthy conservatives.
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 10:52 PM
Response to Original message
1. but if you are poor, it's your own shortcomings that made it happen...
according to the rich guy party line.

Silly me, I foolishly chose the wrong parents. Next life, I'm gonna git me rich parents so I kin pull myself up by the bootstraps like the pResident!

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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #1
13. *sigh*
Hit the nail on the head, there, havocmom.
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 10:52 PM
Response to Original message
2. Myth #2: rich people are just plain smarter than the rest of us peasants.
Myth #3: rich people have inherent "class" and refinement.
Myth #4: rich people are just better overall than non-rich people (think, Social Darwinism)
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WillyBrandt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
3. Some rich people are so because of merit. Most aren't.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
4. And your point is, that if you are born white and on the blondish,
blue-eyed side of white, and had an inheritance, you would get a better education? You would get a better job? You would live in a nicer neighborhood? Wow, it didn't take a rocket scientist to spell that one out. So what is the point of your post? Is it to bring social democracy to America or just rub the rest of our noses in it?
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Egalitarian Zetetic Donating Member (255 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 10:57 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. rub americas imperialist nose in it pretty much<nt>
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:28 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. There is no point to this thread
Sounds like a whiney blame game to me. All the reasons why I'm entitled to not be jealous of others--when they're actually driving me out of my skin. :eyes:
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Egalitarian Zetetic Donating Member (255 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:29 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. clearly you dismissed the notion of reading the article<nt>
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:02 PM
Response to Original message
6. Since working for a living is taxed at rates higher than anything other...
Edited on Tue May-25-04 11:04 PM by AP
...than inheritance (and even that isn't going to be for much longer), if you want to get rich, don't try to get rich from working for a living!

Trust principle is only taxed when it vests, so living off income from a trust fund is a great way to pass money to family members without having to pay inheritance tax at all.

Dividend income and long term capital gain is taxed at less than half the rate o a top income earner, so those are clearly the second and third best ways to get rich.

So, let's see, the best way to get rich is if you have a lot of assets, or had rich parents. But the long, slow route to getting those assets is by working hard to get the money to buy them.

OK, now let's look at our president. How did he get rich? From his father's money and from selling a failing oil company, and then from selling his share in a baseball team.

So that's the model for getting rich. And guess what? That's not a model that's available to too many Americans.

What if Bush had to work to earn the money to invest in that oil company or that baseball team? Well, I tell you one thing, he still be working and he wouldn't have time or money to become president.
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DieboldMustDie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:28 PM
Response to Original message
8. Five members of the Walton family are worth about $20 billion each...
because the have more than a million Americans working for them for starvation wages, and countless others around the world working for even less. :mad:
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:33 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Oh, it's even worse than that
Five members of the Walton family are worth about $20 billion each because THEIR FATHER had more than a million Americans working for starvation wages, and countless others around the world working for even less.

Which means that they are that rich as a result of UNEARNED income. Money they didn't have to lift a finger to make. No sweat from their brows!

Sam Walton was a good Christian man, too. It must have been mighty hard getting a camel through the eye of that needle.

--bkl
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AntiCoup2K4 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:35 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. I liked the Waltons better when they were all living in one big house....
...working in the mill, and drinkin moonshine with the old ladies down the road.

Goodnight John-Boy... Goodnight Sam....
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Egalitarian Zetetic Donating Member (255 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. i wish they would have stayed there<nt>
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