Comments on: Inequality’s pernicious twin is our growing cultural divide http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/12/20/inequalitys-pernicious-twin-is-our-growing-cultural-divide/ Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: OneOfTheSheep http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/12/20/inequalitys-pernicious-twin-is-our-growing-cultural-divide/#comment-69298 Sat, 22 Dec 2012 07:08:01 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=16421#comment-69298 @franabulax,

White kids emulating ghetto kids in dress, mannerisms and lack of interest in academics in school have made a choice to be poor whether or not they know it. Same for the ghetto kids.

Dropping out of school before attaining a high school degree (when it is not necessary for your family to eat) is choosing to be poor (or certainly increasing the odds that you will be). Same for having a baby (or another) or fathering a child out of wedlock (or another) when you don’t know if you can feed yourself next week. Same for covering yourself with tattoos and body piercings in places not easily covered.

I do NOT “confuse money with people. I connect stupidity with “people”. Some “choices” have very serious long lasting consequences, whether conscious or not. Ever hear the expression “Ignorance is no excuse? It isn’t!

When one embraces jazz, or bebop, or in my case “Traditional Jazz” (or “Dixieland”), such eccentricity is essentially unconnected with where or how I work. It’s individual, it’s invisible, and it does not reflect adversely on my character, intelligence or motivation.

As a taxpayer (that ISN’T “rich”), I pay for schools to educate one and all. When “poor” OR “well off” kids don’t try to take advantage of the educational opportunities they have, they shoot themselves in the foot.

When they look to the lucky few with the talent to “make it” in sports or music it is no different than deciding your career is to play poker or gamble or sell drugs for a living or steal copper and sell it. Choices have consequences.

What we’re really discussing is the fact that life ain’t fair and some choices have consequences unwanted and unexpected. If you can’t read, or can’t make change for a dollar, who’s going to hire you and to do WHAT?

It doesn’t matter if you don’t know where babies come from if you “play the game”. Your life is changed in ways likely unexpected for the next eighteen years. You have to “suck it up” and serve as a bad example for others.

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By: Lloyd_L http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/12/20/inequalitys-pernicious-twin-is-our-growing-cultural-divide/#comment-69280 Fri, 21 Dec 2012 15:44:42 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=16421#comment-69280 @Sanity-Monger. You write “How many work just as hard and achieve poverty? Hard work may be necessary, but is clearly not sufficient, to guarantee success. Luck is critical as well.”

I was agreeing with you right up until your last sentence but that’s where we disagree. In fact, I think your last sentence proves my point. If the news media will spend more time profiling successful people and detailing how those people achieved their success, there wouldn’t be the misconception that success depends on luck.

My auto mechanic didn’t graduate from high school but owns a nice shop, employs five people, owns some investment property and a nice home in one of the nicest areas of town. He also has four children who have graduated from college (three engineers and a school teacher) and plans to be debt free in less than five years.

Two brothers I know had over $50,000 saved in the bank by the time they were 22. They managed to do that working at jobs that paid about $10 per hour! They achieved this despite the fact that their father was murdered when they were young.

Most people don’t choose to live in poverty but live in poverty because of the choices they have made. It’s also true that one person’s path to success may not be appropriate for you but maybe someone else’s will. My message is that the news media should do in-depth profiles on successful people so that others can see and be inspired by the various paths to success that different people take.

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By: franabulax http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/12/20/inequalitys-pernicious-twin-is-our-growing-cultural-divide/#comment-69278 Fri, 21 Dec 2012 15:13:17 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=16421#comment-69278 Mr Sheep, Social Darwinism went out with the Victorians! You have confused money with people, like an Industrial Revolution era Calvinist. The poor do not choose poverty, who would do that? How do you know what it would be like to be raised in abject poverty and denied an education or basic opportunities? Although I’ve seen young people embrace ghetto-inspired music, this is not the same as deciding to be poor. How is it different from an older generation’s embracing of jazz? You have invented a cartoon view of poverty. The Calvinist idea that the poor deserve to be poor is ideological claptrap invented to justify exploitation and salve the conscience of the rich.

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By: OneOfTheSheep http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/12/20/inequalitys-pernicious-twin-is-our-growing-cultural-divide/#comment-69271 Fri, 21 Dec 2012 01:38:38 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=16421#comment-69271 @ Glennn,

So “we, the people” should “value” people that are economically without value? If you “value” a society of failure, that’s a wonderful recipe with which to build one.

Those “…countries…able to practically eliminate poverty…” in Europe have increasingly porous borders and will rapidly find themselves inundated with “people” without education and skills that don’t speak the language. They, too, will “face the hard choices”.

Anyone “poor” having kid after kid that they know they can’t feed and that will have no land, no education, no inheritance, no skills and no prospects for productive employment is beyond stupid. The world’s available resources are already inadequate for the SEVEN BILLION here (and counting)!

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By: Glennn http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/12/20/inequalitys-pernicious-twin-is-our-growing-cultural-divide/#comment-69270 Fri, 21 Dec 2012 01:12:49 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=16421#comment-69270 We seem to be missing the point here. It is not whether opportunity exists. It exists everywhere to a greater or lesser degree. And not whether industrious Asians or Indians succeed where others do not. Nor is it a question of winners or losers. It is about how we value people and why some countries have been able to practically eradicate poverty, while we Americans find it easier to blame the poor for being poor. It seems to me that we could set our sights a little higher.

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By: OneOfTheSheep http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/12/20/inequalitys-pernicious-twin-is-our-growing-cultural-divide/#comment-69269 Fri, 21 Dec 2012 00:44:35 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=16421#comment-69269 Oops!

My fourth and fifth paragraphs wound up an unintended jumble of thoughts. Sorry. Here’s a better arrangement of those thoughts:

Many, many small businesses are founded and successfully operated by individuals who did not complete high school.
We EACH have freedom of “choice”, but some choices have greater consequences than others. You err when you suggest “well-educated” Americans and “economically successful Americans” as being one and the same. Not always.

America’s cultural problems do NOT reside exclusively within the lower socioeconomic tiers, but, by and large, they do arise out of that “mind set”. America is still primarily a meritocracy. “Average” is the line separating “above average” achievers from below average achievers. Or we could apply the terms “winners” and losers”. In life, everyone doesn’t get a trophy!”

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By: OneOfTheSheep http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/12/20/inequalitys-pernicious-twin-is-our-growing-cultural-divide/#comment-69268 Fri, 21 Dec 2012 00:32:52 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=16421#comment-69268 “…intergenerational mobility in modern America is actually lower than it is in Europe, notwithstanding America’s reputation as the land of opportunity.” Rubbish!

Non-English speaking Vietnamese came into this country in droves with the fall of Saigon. They and their children have succeeded wherever they settled, understanding “opportunity” much better than America’s own native-born “underclass”. The fault of “inequality” is NOT with America…it is with SOME “Americans”.

The “…educational and developmental obstacles facing working and middle-class children…” arise largely FROM interaction and mutual reinforcement of “…economic inequality and cultural bifurcation.” Many such kids consciously choose to associate with kids of the “underclass”, adopting their values and culture to such extent as they can.

The resulting “divides” ARE more and more unbridgeable when young people consciously choose the mind set and attitudes traditionally associated with failure over those traditionally associated with success. I don’t want to wonder about the hygene of medical assistants, salespeople, waiters and waitresses, cashiers, or those in food preparation covered with tattoos, multiple body piercings; so I don’t patronize places that hire them.

We EACH have freedom of “choice”, but some choices have greater consequences than others. You err when you equate “well-educated” Americans and “economically successful Americans”. America’s cultural problems do NOT reside exclusively within the lower socioeconomic tiers, but, by and large, they do arise out of that “mind set”.

Many, many small businesses are founded and successfully operated by individuals who did not complete high school are one and the same. They aren’t. America is still primarily a meritocracy. “Average” is the line separating “above average” achievers from below average achievers. Or we could apply the terms “winners” and losers”. In life, everyone doesn’t get a trophy!

“We, the people” have always promised an equal opportunity to grab the “golden ring”. We have not always delivered on this promise, but we “deliver” on it better today than ever before. And yes, we can and should do “better” in the future.

But if we conscript our “winners” and sentence them to “community service” helping those who have no place in our society we divert and deplete the essential vitality of America’s “engine of economic prosperity”. Whenever that slows down or stops, very little else matters.

Far better to let those who wish to do this find their own way to do it. No society can guarantee success to those fundamentally unsuited to it…they can not and will not sustain that which is not earned. How do I know this? Look at public housing as an excellent example!

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By: Sanity-Monger http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/12/20/inequalitys-pernicious-twin-is-our-growing-cultural-divide/#comment-69262 Thu, 20 Dec 2012 20:44:23 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=16421#comment-69262 First, thanks to Reuters for this excellent series and to Mr. Peck for such an articulate rendering of this one aspect of the sorry state of our society.

Lloyd_L, I’d be cautious about making too many generalizations based on your experiences. You have anecdotal evidence that immigrants work hard and achieve success. How many work just as hard and achieve poverty? Hard work may be necessary, but is clearly not sufficient, to guarantee success. Luck is critical as well.

I can’t imagine how you could think that the media spends too much time talking about income inequality. Until the Occupy movement brought it up, it has gone unmentioned even while it has taken out the lower and now the middle rungs of the middle class. Perhaps you are not much crossing the divide that Mr. Peck discusses?

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By: brotherkenny4 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/12/20/inequalitys-pernicious-twin-is-our-growing-cultural-divide/#comment-69261 Thu, 20 Dec 2012 20:33:12 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=16421#comment-69261 Don,

Your industry must bear some of the blame. The inaccuracies and just plain untrue information pushed forward by media giants owned by corporations is appalling. It’s clearly an attempt to misinform and control the lower classes. You kow tow to the advertisers, who insist you mislead so that commerce can continue unabated. Indeed, many times it’s obvious that your industry incites fear and promotes irrationality, with the intent of causing consumption of irrational unnecessary items. You get them to spend stupidly and thus they and their children have decreased resources to apply to their education and cultural experience.

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By: SayHey http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/12/20/inequalitys-pernicious-twin-is-our-growing-cultural-divide/#comment-69260 Thu, 20 Dec 2012 20:17:46 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=16421#comment-69260 Much of the commentary about eg. decline in men’s wages since 1969 posits that period as the norm and the present as a departure from that norm. That really is not the case. All of these references are to a unique, never to be repeated era – the unprecedented post- WW II US economic expansion. Prior to WW II the majority of Americans were what we today would call the working poor or in poverty. The rest of the world caught up after the US was the only industrial country left standing – and we are now a generation past that.

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