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  1. #101
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    very good studies.

    What defines "good studies", just membership in an elite university or the intellectual competencies it is supposed to impart upon the student? How important of a role does the latter play in one's abilities to secure membership in the upper class?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    According to statistics, the first corollary of a high socioeconomic status is education.
    Such "education" leads one to build the vital social and professional connections with members of the upper-class. It is questionable that most institutions of the American Ivy League schools provide the quality of education that cultivates their students' abilities to rigorously analyze complex theoretical problems, which is certainly one of the hallmarks of true education. Nonetheless, even if they did that, it is far from clear how much of an advantage an intellectually sophisticated member of the upper class would have over his less sophisticated peer. To be sure, the ability to think critically is much less useful in the world of business and politics than it is in a genuinely challenging academic setting. Few could argue that members of the American upper class employed in the financial sector would excel at philosophy, physics or mathematics, but they are certainly capable of securing their membership in the highest echelons of America's socioeconomic hierarchy. Although many of such individuals may have attended highly prestigious academic institutions and achieved "good studies", most of them did not specialize in the highly rigorous academic undertakings such as mathematics, physics, philosophy or even the social sciences.

    In short, I am inclined to suspect that prestigious education is highly correlated with advanced socioeconomic status because it is the gateway to milieus where one may cultivate connections with members of the upper-class. What do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    Basically, even with the best legal system, when you're born poor, chances are you will stay poor your entire life.
    This also seems to be true in the United States because the elites have a vested interesting in ensuring that the socio-economic hierarchy remains stratified. I would imagine the situation is much more extreme in the severely underdeveloped countries because the elites are far more powerful. Obviously, enhancing the legal system simply is not the answer, but would minimizing the power of the elites be of any help? To be sure, the poor in the U.S have marginal chances of achieving upward socio-economic mobility, but they may be more likely to succeed in that respect than they would have been in Chad or Niger. Enhancing the legal system won't help because the elites will simply find a way to achieve their goals at the expense of the poor in a covert fashion, but perhaps minimizing corruption, enhancing education and strengthening the health-care system could be a step forward. These changes might give the indigent an opportunity to achieve minimal socio-economic upward mobility and slowly begin building up the middle class.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    There are lots of other factors involved, and most of them aren't that "local": We live in a global system. The way rich countries interact with poor countries also matters a lot.
    The World Bank forgave Poland's and Spain's debts in the early 80s and that played a significant role in the economic growth these countries achieved. However, the aforementioned changes I've suggested will be unlikely to happen if the world bank begins to attenuate the debts owed by the severely underdeveloped countries. That is rather unlikely because the U.S is more likely to exploit these countries' work-force and natural resources by keeping them deep in debt and heavily dependent on the international financial institutions.
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  2. #102
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beorn View Post
    That's what annoys you?

    It's not the liberal elite simultaneously bragging about their status and privilege while condemning how western society leeches off of the developing world?
    What is really annoying you? Do you perceive a contradiction, do you feel the need to use cognitive dissonance?

    I do not think I've "bragged" of something yet. On the contrary, I've just said I was fully aware of my luck.

    Because when I really think about it, I know that most of my education and upper class status is inherited and not deserved. This is what you call the cultural capital.
    I didn't do anything exceptional, I just maintained the socio-economic status quo of my family. Why should I brag, then?
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  3. #103
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    What is really annoying you? Do you perceive a contradiction, do you feel the need to use cognitive dissonance?

    I do not think I've "bragged" of something yet. On the contrary, I've just said I was fully aware of my luck.

    Because when I really think about it, I know that most of my education and upper class is inherited and not deserved. This is what you call the cultural capital.
    I didn't do anything exceptional, I just maintained the socio-economic status quo of my family. Why should I brag, then?
    Are you not aware of humble-bragging?
    Take the weakest thing in you
    And then beat the bastards with it
    And always hold on when you get love
    So you can let go when you give it

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    What defines "good studies", just membership in an elite university or the intellectual competencies it is supposed to impart upon the student? How important of a role does the latter play in one's abilities to secure membership in the upper class?

    Such "education" leads one to build the vital social and professional connections with members of the upper-class. It is questionable that most institutions of the American Ivy League schools provide the quality of education that cultivates their students' abilities to rigorously analyze complex theoretical problems, which is certainly one of the hallmarks of true education.

    Nonetheless, even if they did that, it is far from clear how much of an advantage an intellectually sophisticated member of the upper class would have over his less sophisticated peer. To be sure, the ability to think critically is much less useful in the world of business and politics than it is in a genuinely challenging academic setting. Few could argue that members of the American upper class employed in the financial sector would excel at philosophy, physics or mathematics, but they are certainly capable of securing their membership in the highest echelons of America's socioeconomic hierarchy. Although many of such individuals may have attended highly prestigious academic institutions and achieved "good studies", most of them did not specialize in the highly rigorous academic undertakings such as mathematics, physics, philosophy or even the social sciences.

    In short, I am inclined to suspect that prestigious education is highly correlated with advanced socioeconomic status because it is the gateway to milieus where one may cultivate connections with members of the upper-class. What do you think?
    I wholeheartedly agree.

    When I prepared a lecture in Harvard not so long ago, it was easy to notice that the number of students who came from a modest family was close to zero. Thus, the paradox is that "good education" often means powerful cooptation.

    And that is the real purpose of the Ivy league, I fear.

    But that's also why having a "good education" is so important, because the socio-economic mobility within the US is shrinking and shrinking with each new decade.

    This also seems to be true in the United States because the elites have a vested interesting in ensuring that the socio-economic hierarchy remains stratified. I would imagine the situation is much more extreme in the severely underdeveloped countries because the elites are far more powerful. Obviously, enhancing the legal system simply is not the answer, but would minimizing the power of the elites be of any help? To be sure, the poor in the U.S have marginal chances of achieving upward socio-economic mobility, but they may be more likely to succeed in that respect than they would have been in Chad or Niger. Enhancing the legal system won't help because the elites will simply find a way to achieve their goals at the expense of the poor in a covert fashion, but perhaps minimizing corruption, enhancing education and strengthening the health-care system could be a step forward. These changes might give the indigent an opportunity to achieve minimal socio-economic upward mobility and slowly begin building up the middle class.
    Well...

    In Niger, at least a poor man who grew in a slum has a genuine chance of becoming president if he becomes a military officer and attempts a coup...

    In the US, it's not possible. To become president or senator, you have to already belong to the socio-economic elite, or to very specific families.

    The US is a country full of paradoxes.

    The majority of Americans still believes it is a meritocracy when in fact, amongst the Western world, it is the country with the weakest upward socio-economic mobility (on par with the UK and lots of South American countries). Thatcherism and Reaganism have granted the upper class enormous privileges... But the more you give them privileges, the less likely someone can achieve the so-called "American dream".

    Yet, the ones who voted for Reagan or Thatcher firmly believed that their policies would increase their chances of becoming rich, even when the effect you observed was quite the opposite.

    It's like religion. The more the American people believes in the "American Dream", that they could get rich overnight just because they deserve it or work hard, the less likely it is occuring in the real world, and the more the capital is in fact inherited. Yet they continue to pray that mysterious God of money even when He doesn't favor them.
    Because every socio-analyst will tell you: the degree of social mobility in the US has sharply decreased since the 80'es. And this tendency is accelerating, so classes are becoming more and more permanent.

    This is a nation of dreamers...

    And, to get back to the subject, this is why the situation described by "Elysium" isn't fiction. It is already there, yet most people are so alienated that they do not want to see, understand or acknowledge it. It is probably too humiliating for them, who knows?
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  5. #105
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beorn View Post
    Are you not aware of humble-bragging?
    I never pretended to be humble too.
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  6. #106
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post


    In Niger, at least a poor man who grew in a slum has a genuine chance of becoming president if he becomes a military officer and attempts a coup...
    .
    In the U.S, it is impossible for a poor man to enter the upper class, but it is often possible to enter the middle-class? For example, if a poor man becomes a welder or a plumber, he could earn between $20 and $40 thousand per year and that would put him in the Middle Class. If he happens to be business savvy, he could operate a small business that would further consolidate his position in the middle class by raising his income to $50 to $80 thousand per year bracket.

    With the proliferation of degree mills of all sorts with a virtually 100% acceptance rate, a poor man can go deeply in debt to acquire a practical degree in business, accounting or marketing to land an office job that would also afford him a humble middle class salary. Wouldn't you agree that these are viable opportunities that many of the poor Americans have that their counterparts in foreign countries lack?

    Although the general opportunities for upward mobility of Americans are more limited than they are in other Western countries, it seems that the poor have considerable opportunities to enter the Middle Class, or do they?

    Essentially, very few Americans have serious ambitions of becoming wealthy, but avoiding poverty is a pressing concern. Would it be realistic to begin reforms in the severely underdeveloped countries that could grant the same opportunities to the penurious residents of those countries?
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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  7. #107
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Arendee View Post
    No but I did go to the US Naval Academy and am the owner of a Gym.


    Predictable I know....but it had to be done.
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    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
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  8. #108
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    The class warfare on this thread is a thousand times more entertaining than Elysium. More, plz.

  9. #109
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    My favorite class war was Ms. Stuppinzinger's chemistry class battled Mr. Damiani's pottery class. Lots of sharp ceramic shards and noxious acids flying everywhere. Man, we had fun.
    [Trump's] rhetoric is not an abuse of power. In the same way that it's also not against the law to do a backflip off of the roof of your house onto your concrete driveway. It's just mind-numbingly stupid and, to say the least, counterproductive. - Bush did 9-11


    This is not going to go the way you think....

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  10. #110
    mod love baby... Lady_X's Avatar
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    Hey I just got home from this movie.
    There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
    -Jim Morrison

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