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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Does "The Hand We're Dealt" Matter?

In a long but worthwhile interview of sociologist Dalton Conley (by Ariane Conrad) in The Sun magazine it becomes clear that Conley is Ayn Randian in only one aspect:  he questions his assumptions (unlike Ayn Rand herself and the disciples she admonished to do so).
Having spent his childhood as a (white) minority in a New York housing project Conley has the creds to postulate "why some people get ahead and others fall behind".  His conclusion:

"Only two measurable socioeconomic aspects of the parents really matter in predicting who succeeds: the parents’ education, which is the most important, and the family’s wealth, which is the second most important. By “wealth” I don’t mean how much the parents make a year. I mean net worth, including savings, property, and other financial resources."

My takeaway is that a healthy society would want all of its members to get ahead socially, financially, and physically because the beneficial effects are pervasive and compounded.    A sick society thinks life is a zero sum game with the already powerful lavishing rewards upon rewards upon rewards upon themselves at the expense of the rest of the society & The Commons.  The resulting negative effects of which are also pervasive and compounded.

This is why I support the following macroeconomic policies:

  1. Universal single payer healthcare
  2. Free education for anyone with the ability and work ethic, all the way through graduate school, including law and medicine
  3. Elimination of for-profit home financing.  If banks can borrow money at near zero interest then homeowners should be able to as well
  4. Reversal of the legal precedents granting personhood to corporations and equating money with speech

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