You Got Lucky: A Hard Truth of Economics

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT
 

Foreword: any further posts in this thread by me in the next 10 hours will be almost hilariously drunk. Just FYI.

Not G. Ivingname:

Bohemian Waltz:

Not G. Ivingname:
Will you be killed when a toilet falls from space?

Completely off topic: I would be willing to bet you are a 'dead like me' fan.

Off topic: Sorry, never heard of them.

An American television program from mid 2000s in which the main character is killed by toilet seat debris from the decommissioned Mir space station in the first 15 minutes. The plot revolves around the main character winning what amounts to celestial jury duty in the form of becoming a grim reaper. It had a short lived run, but had a dark sort of humor similar to pushing daisies, 6 feet under, or 1000 ways to die.

Blablahb:
To name a concrete example: A career in the police, something I considered for a while when I was about to finish school, has become impossible for me due to discrimination.

Are you saying that it was illegal to hire police officers who were white males anywhere in your country?

Even if true, that only closed one door. It didn't stop you from being successful.

reonhato:

Wolverine18:
lots of stuff through entire thread

the irony of everything you say is that if in 2 months you make some bad decisions, the company you work for goes down hill and you get fired it will of course not be your fault, it will be bad luck.

Your example demonstrates that it wouldn't be bad luck, it would be my fault, my choices. I made bad decisions, it led to company problems, I got fired. That's direct cause and effect from my actions, not bad luck at all.

or how about you get hit with the big C in your late 40's. you get diagnosed with cancer, you have to go through all the treatment, you have to stop work, it is endless trips to doctors and so on. im assuming you are american so because of the shitty health care system you go bankrupt.

Well I'm not American, I'm Canadian, so the health care costs won't bankrupt me. I also pay for disability insurance so 75% of my wages ae covered indefinately if I'm unable to work. Now if I was american I'd also have medical insurance so that the health care costs wouldn't bankrupt me. See.... choices. "bad luck" is often just code for "I wasn't prepared".

looking out thinking how all the people living there were lazy bums because they could not be as successful as you. are you going to still keep your current line of thinking? yeah didnt think so.

Yes, I will keep my current line of thinking. But no, I have never said, nor do I believe, that everyone who is poor is a lazy bum, stop putting words in my mouth.

Wolverine18:
Are you saying that it was illegal to hire police officers who were white males anywhere in your country?

No, they could be hired, but can't be promoted into higher positions, meaning that from the lowest position, if I understand the command structure fully, you can be promoted by 2 ranks at most, whereas women and ethnic minorities can become supporting leading roles, police chiefs to cities or entire regions, and get into a circuit where there's very high level jobs at the justice ministry available through experience.

Although it also meant if there was one position as a police officer open, and another candidate was female or of another ethnic group, they'd automatically be hired instead of you.


And as you responded to my other example with saying it was choices.... In the context of my post, that would mean you just said getting raped is a choice, getting pregnant is a choice, and being denied abortion and thus being forced to undergo extremely traumatizing experiences and turn your life upside down to appease the hungry claws of religious oppression is a choice.

Surely that was either a misunderstanding or something you'll reconsider? You'll have to admit not all of life is a choice.

Blablahb:

Wolverine18:
Are you saying that it was illegal to hire police officers who were white males anywhere in your country?

No, they could be hired, but can't be promoted into higher positions, meaning that from the lowest position, if I understand the command structure fully, you can be promoted by 2 ranks at most, whereas women and ethnic minorities can become supporting leading roles, police chiefs to cities or entire regions, and get into a circuit where there's very high level jobs at the justice ministry available through experience.

Although it also meant if there was one position as a police officer open, and another candidate was female or of another ethnic group, they'd automatically be hired instead of you.

man what

You live in.... Belgium, I think? Some weird otherplacian communist hellhole like that, anyway. Your claim, bizarre as it is, fails to pass the sniff test, as I'm willing to be the top cops are still mostly old white guys.

Blablahb:

And as you responded to my other example with saying it was choices.... In the context of my post, that would mean you just said getting raped is a choice, getting pregnant is a choice, and being denied abortion and thus being forced to undergo extremely traumatizing experiences and turn your life upside down to appease the hungry claws of religious oppression is a choice.

Surely that was either a misunderstanding or something you'll reconsider? You'll have to admit not all of life is a choice.

Don't forget 'getting sick'. I could be wrong on this, but I don't think anyone DECIDES to splurge on a bout of leukemia.

I kind of tl;dr:'d most of this thread, but it seems to be basically a counterpoint to Nightspore's thread espousing the merits of hard work and a can-do attitude, right?

Surely it's buggeringly obvious that the truth of the matter lies *somewhere* between these two extremes? It's probably not a 50:50 split, and I wouldn't like to guess which side of the line reality lies on. Probably for some people who have a headstart in life it's skewed in one direction (I hate the word "privelege" but maybe now is a valid time to use it), while other people will start life severly disadvantaged and will start on the other side of the have/have-not divide.

What's clear that social mobility isn't as easy as repeating a few positive-thinking mantras and fixing a rictus grin on your face, but then again you aren't shackled to the circumstances you happen to be born in.

Or have I missed the point completely?

arbane:
Your claim, bizarre as it is, fails to pass the sniff test, as I'm willing to be the top cops are still mostly old white guys.

Wish I was making it up. The policy document in the matter has been scrapped because the official ban's been lifted, but here's a Dutch news article where the justice minister stopped the application of a chief of police for the region South Holland south because he was a white man.

It had gotten so bad that even the government at the times, which backed the racist policies, had demanded an explanation (paragraph 7) because the job opening for a police chief had been unfilled for over a year at that point, because no suitable candidates, meaning with the right skin colour or gender, were available.

The minister responded by stating she was considering fast-tracking women within the corps that needed a chief for the job (thus passing more deserving male applicants) or bringing in a woman from outside the police to become the chief, something which has never happened before, and could never work.


Hmm, maybe I'll wear a dress and a wig, or maybe paint my skin for the next job interview. I'll do anything to enhance my chances.

Blablahb:

arbane:
Your claim, bizarre as it is, fails to pass the sniff test, as I'm willing to be the top cops are still mostly old white guys.

Wish I was making it up. The policy document in the matter has been scrapped because the official ban's been lifted, but here's a Dutch news article where the justice minister stopped the application of a chief of police for the region South Holland south because he was a white man.

Paragraph 6 (via google translate, as I can't read or speak Dutch):
The minister said that since then seventeen men and three women were appointed by the government. ,, If we do that at that rate, then we get that 25 percent [women] do not,'' said Ter Horst.

Sorry, but the primary issue appears to be gender, not race, although it is raised by the minister in question. And, even so, they're trying to at least make sure there is a substantive minority of women within the leadership of 25% minimum, which is a corrective policy position based on the prior practices that heavily favor men.

Race was only brought up in the article once, again, by the minister in question regarding the large number of white males in those senior positions and desiring a more diverse leadership within the police corp. And the paragraph you referenced calling for an explanation was responded to with "there are suitable candidates." There is no visible claim of fast-tracking a lower ranked officer based on gender or race. (Again, not a Dutch speaker, so I have to read the translation through a skewed lens. If someone other than Blab can confirm or correct this, it would be much appreciated.)

Methinks you're reading far too much into this. Much of this is corrective policy made to compensate for patterns of past discrimination that have ingrained themselves into those leadership traditions. For example, when you think of a UK MP, you probably think of an old English man, despite the presence of MPs such as Khalid Mahmood or Shabana Mahmood and Yasmin Qureshi. This is a natural human instinct to unconsciously associate irrelevant traits, such as race or gender, as being part of certain roles, whether it be leadership, class, or employment. These policies attempt to correct that instinctual reaction by finding qualified people who break those molds and preferring them to help balance out already heavily unbalanced ranks.

The Gentleman:
Sorry, but the primary issue appears to be gender, not race, although it is raised by the minister in question. And, even so, they're trying to at least make sure there is a substantive minority of women within the leadership of 25% minimum, which is a corrective policy position based on the prior practices that heavily favor men.

Where did it say the current practises favour men? Before the racist policies were implented, there was an egalitarian hiring policy.

The Gentleman:
Methinks you're reading far too much into this. Much of this is corrective policy made to compensate for patterns of past discrimination that have ingrained themselves into those leadership traditions.

Except that's bullshut, because the 'past discrimination' is ussually fictional, and thinking one group is overrepresented is racist thinking in itself. Hatred against whites is also racism. Hatred against men is also discrimination.

Blablahb:

The Gentleman:
Sorry, but the primary issue appears to be gender, not race, although it is raised by the minister in question. And, even so, they're trying to at least make sure there is a substantive minority of women within the leadership of 25% minimum, which is a corrective policy position based on the prior practices that heavily favor men.

Where did it say the current practises favour men? Before the racist policies were implented, there was an egalitarian hiring policy.

When your system is promoting 17:3 male to female even after attempting corrective measures, it suggests that there was not an egalitarian system. Contrary to popular belief, "blind" systems which focus solely on merits often reinforce the professional cultural norms rather than correct them.

Blablahb:

The Gentleman:
Methinks you're reading far too much into this. Much of this is corrective policy made to compensate for patterns of past discrimination that have ingrained themselves into those leadership traditions.

Except that's bullshut, because the 'past discrimination' is ussually fictional, and thinking one group is overrepresented is racist thinking in itself. Hatred against whites is also racism. Hatred against men is also discrimination.

Discrimination is not the same as hatred and equating them is both counter-productive and ineffective at reducing either.

To a large degree, modern discrimination is not born from hatred, but from cultural norms that are much harder to change than dealing with misogynists or racists. You make rules and systems that, while not overtly favoring white males, are generally more favorable to them. Hiring systems, promotion systems, bank loans, etc. all tend to favor white males in higher positions generally and non-white/males in lower positions. The result is a system that is not overtly racist/misogynist, but still maintains a clear racial and gender hierarchy that is embedded into the culture. Policies such as the 25% women policy being implemented in the article, often referred to as affirmative action, attempt to break that racist/misogynist system in order to change those discriminatory cultural norms.

Stagnant:
HOLY SNIP

Huh...
Sometimes I agree with you, sometimes I think you take things too far and then continue to do so until you beat the poor thing to a bloody pulp in a hole... this time I would just like to say that you have gained a respect point! Well done and good post, also, how did people like that very first reply get such strange "this is just trying to avoid all your failures" ideas out of that? Seems strange

I have just been reading outliers as part of a school subject and it says pretty much the exact same thing: society, your parents, the year and even day you were born, the country you were born into all make a VERY big difference. Someone who is willing to work in time, place and family A is almost guaranteed to become rich, and someone who thinks and works just as hard in time, place and family B may barely live above minimum wage their whole lives.

Now can we please start killing people who want to make the lives of the poor even harder? And donate their money to charity? It is karmatically neutral! :D

The Gentleman:
When your system is promoting 17:3 male to female even after attempting corrective measures

Hold on a moment, where exactly is it promoting that ratio? Because pretty much like anywhere else, our generation is the first emancipated generation, and still there are clear differences visible in careers of men and women because of the choices they generally make, like working parttime. It's unsurprising that an egalitarian hiring system for upper ranks which require years of experience to get there, you get mostly men. It wouldn't be surprising if you get only men.

The normal police promoting policy there used to be didn't promote anything, and the new racist system is actively discriminating against white men, and men in general. If anything, the presence of women and ethnic minorities this soon after emancipation came about should be subject to questioning, since it's clear women and non-native ethnic groups are being promoted for reasons other than their merits.

And call me a chauvinist pig, but I doubt it's very empowering (or flattering) towards women to hear 'you've only become chief of police because you have tits', and that's what the current racist policy is doing.

The notion that there's a situation that needs rectifying is ussually laughable in any situation where some people propose creating affirmative action racist policies. The notion that one can rectify so by promoting racism and discrimination even more so.

I find it funny this post was made on a gaming site because it expresses the mentality that many gamers have when they are losing at a video game. They say things like, "This game cheats" or "This game is completely unfair" or "He just got lucky". I guess Bill Gates just got lucky. He just banged on his keyboard and created Windows accidentally, like a monkey typing Shakespeare.

I found a quote on this subject from some well known philosophers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnxkfLe4G74

cthulhuspawn82:
I find it funny this post was made on a gaming site because it expresses the mentality that many gamers have when they are losing at a video game. They say things like, "This game cheats" or "This game is completely unfair" or "He just got lucky". I guess Bill Gates just got lucky. He just banged on his keyboard and created Windows accidentally, like a monkey typing Shakespeare.

He was also brought up in a household that had a personal computer (an extreme rarity at that time). If he was born in the Bronx to a welfare mother, it wouldn't have mattered if he was a complete genius; we would not have Microsoft today. I mean, seriously, dude, did you misunderstand what I meant that badly, or are you just strawmanning the argument because you can't address it honestly?

I found a quote on this subject from some well known philosophers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnxkfLe4G74

Rush, while great musicians, happen to be Objectivists. What's more, as popular musicians, they aren't exactly able to bring together complex and nuanced points in their music[1], but rather have to simplify it (not that Objectivism doesn't lend itself well to insulting simplification). Their song lyrics are not great sources for economic-philosophical advice, in the same way that the Word Of God Killer from The Seventh Sign is probably not a great source for humanistic-philosophical advice.

[1] It's like if someone writes a song about how we have to do something about global warming, it's likely to be less along the lines of "The climate may become increasingly hostile to us in the next few hundred years" and more "New York's drowning like New Orleans, Gulf stream stopping europe freezing day by day", even from a band that understands the issue beyond the horror movie version.

Stagnant:

He was also brought up in a household that had a personal computer (an extreme rarity at that time). If he was born in the Bronx to a welfare mother, it wouldn't have mattered if he was a complete genius; we would not have Microsoft today.

And how many kids, with the same "luck" as Bill Gates, never went on to accomplish anything? Given the same advantages, 99% of people still wouldn't have achieved what Bill Gates did. That's why he is richer than the 99%. Even if luck pays a minor roll, skill plays a much bigger role.

cthulhuspawn82:

And how many kids, with the same "luck" as Bill Gates, never went on to accomplish anything?

I don't know, do you? Because "creating a multinational software company" isn't the only "something" one can accomplish in life last time I checked. Nor do I know how many people of that generation who had the fortune of having a computer in their household are struggling with their lives today.

Blablahb:

The Gentleman:
When your system is promoting 17:3 male to female even after attempting corrective measures

Hold on a moment, where exactly is it promoting that ratio?

The article you posted as proof of racism (despite the relative lack of race as an issue), paragraph 6 via Google translate:
The minister said that since then seventeen men and three women were appointed by the government.

For the record, I posted and underlined that very point in my first response.

And you keep screaming "racism" when talking about discrimination.

And you seem to think that the deck is stacked against against white males despite all evidence to the contrary. The promotion policy is in place because the original policy, despite attempts to reform, were still demonstrating barriers against non-whites/males. Egalitarian it was not.

Blablahb:
And call me a chauvinist pig, but I doubt it's very empowering (or flattering) towards women to hear 'you've only become chief of police because you have tits', and that's what the current racist policy is doing.

As opposed to "oh yeah, you can try, but result data shows you might as well not."

Sorry, but the data suggests that for all the "equality" built into the system, it's still discriminating against women. Just because the system is neutral on paper does not mean it is in reality, and the data shows that, even today, there is a clear gender bias in appointment policy. Get over yourself.

The Gentleman:

Blablahb:

The Gentleman:
When your system is promoting 17:3 male to female even after attempting corrective measures

Hold on a moment, where exactly is it promoting that ratio?

The article you posted as proof of racism (despite the relative lack of race as an issue), paragraph 6 via Google translate:
The minister said that since then seventeen men and three women were appointed by the government.

For the record, I posted and underlined that very point in my first response.

And you keep screaming "racism" when talking about discrimination.

And you seem to think that the deck is stacked against against white males despite all evidence to the contrary. The promotion policy is in place because the original policy, despite attempts to reform, were still demonstrating barriers against non-whites/males. Egalitarian it was not.

Blablahb:
And call me a chauvinist pig, but I doubt it's very empowering (or flattering) towards women to hear 'you've only become chief of police because you have tits', and that's what the current racist policy is doing.

As opposed to "oh yeah, you can try, but result data shows you might as well not."

Sorry, but the data suggests that for all the "equality" built into the system, it's still discriminating against women. Just because the system is neutral on paper does not mean it is in reality, and the data shows that, even today, there is a clear gender bias in appointment policy. Get over yourself.

It's not necessarily as discriminatory as you say ... if they're promoting 17:3, but the ratio of male-to-female police officers is, say, 15:5, then any corrective measures taken don't need to be particularly drastic.

cthulhuspawn82:

Stagnant:

He was also brought up in a household that had a personal computer (an extreme rarity at that time). If he was born in the Bronx to a welfare mother, it wouldn't have mattered if he was a complete genius; we would not have Microsoft today.

And how many kids, with the same "luck" as Bill Gates, never went on to accomplish anything?

It doesn't end with "was born in a rich household with a PC". It starts there. I don't know enough about Gates's life to be able to offer more specifics, but I'm entirely willing to bet that there was a lot of points where, given even slightly different circumstances that were completely out of his control, he would not have had a chance to become the magnate that he is today.

Given the same advantages, 99% of people still wouldn't have achieved what Bill Gates did. That's why he is richer than the 99%. Even if luck pays a minor roll, skill plays a much bigger role.

Oh really? You mean to tell me that if Bill Gates was born in Somalia, the same degree of hard work and skill would have led him to become the richest man on earth? Because if you think that, then you are somewhat delusional. Luck plays an incredibly large role in our lives. It's essentially the number one determining factor in what opportunities we get. Yeah, sure, it's up to us to make the most of those opportunities, but there's only so much you can do to improve your own luck.

Donuthole:
It's not necessarily as discriminatory as you say ... if they're promoting 17:3, but the ratio of male-to-female police officers is, say, 15:5, then any corrective measures taken don't need to be particularly drastic.

That's the minimum promotion ratio they're aiming for. And, generally, there is always going to be some imbalance due to workforce makeup, but there should always be a goal of having your power class at least somewhat representative of the whole.

The Gentleman:

Donuthole:
It's not necessarily as discriminatory as you say ... if they're promoting 17:3, but the ratio of male-to-female police officers is, say, 15:5, then any corrective measures taken don't need to be particularly drastic.

That's the minimum promotion ratio they're aiming for. And, generally, there is always going to be some imbalance due to workforce makeup, but there should always be a goal of having your power class at least somewhat representative of the whole.

Then that goal needs to start at the entry level as well. If your workforce is 17:3 men-to-women and you're trying to promote closer to a 1:1 ratio, you're going to have a shitload of unqualified women being promoted.

The Gentleman:
And you keep screaming "racism" when talking about discrimination.

It's the same thing. Racism just carries a small implication of it being about race. Not much of a difference.

The Gentleman:
And you seem to think that the deck is stacked against against white males despite all evidence to the contrary.

Which evidence? We've only spoken of discrimination against whites so far. You also keep referring to whites being able to have jobs now, but, how is that a bad thing? To say something like 'it's a problem there's white men being chief of police' is a racist idea, and obviously not logical or correct. What counts is if they can do the job or not. What counts is that the policy that predated the racist policies promoted police officers based on their merits, and not based on their race or gender. No staffing policy based on that is ever wrong, nor are its outcomes.

That's the difference between your line of reasoning and mine. You take the logical outcome of various factors, none of which involve discrimination in any form, and then label it as the product of discrimination. That's not correct.

Stagnant:

cthulhuspawn82:

Stagnant:

He was also brought up in a household that had a personal computer (an extreme rarity at that time). If he was born in the Bronx to a welfare mother, it wouldn't have mattered if he was a complete genius; we would not have Microsoft today.

And how many kids, with the same "luck" as Bill Gates, never went on to accomplish anything?

It doesn't end with "was born in a rich household with a PC". It starts there. I don't know enough about Gates's life to be able to offer more specifics, but I'm entirely willing to bet that there was a lot of points where, given even slightly different circumstances that were completely out of his control, he would not have had a chance to become the magnate that he is today.

So you are saying that Bill Gates' advantages were such that any child, or at least a significant number of children, with the same advantages would have created one of the worlds largest companies or done something equivalent.

You cant be throwing out talent altogether because that would be ridiculous. So what percentage of a persons success do you think is luck as opposed to talent? 50%? Do you think that 50% of the people who grew up under the same conditions as Bill Gates would be multi-billionaires by now?

cthulhuspawn82:
So you are saying that Bill Gates' advantages were such that any child, or at least a significant number of children, with the same advantages would have created one of the worlds largest companies or done something equivalent.

Look, buddy, if almost everyone in this thread was able to understand my argument, I don't see why you can't. No, with Bill Gates's advantages and opportunities, not everyone would be able to make Microsoft...

You cant be throwing out talent altogether because that would be ridiculous.

...And I'm definitely not doing this, a point I have repeated quite often through out the thread.

So what percentage of a persons success do you think is luck as opposed to talent? 50%? Do you think that 50% of the people who grew up under the same conditions as Bill Gates would be multi-billionaires by now?

I don't know. I don't have figures. What I do know is that if Gates had suddenly suffered a stroke at age 20, his genius would not have mattered. If he had gotten to work a few minutes later in 1980 in NYC (maybe the train was late), and had gotten splattered against a lamppost by an out-of-control taxi, it wouldn't have mattered that Windows revolutionized computing, because he wouldn't be around to be a genius. If he had been born in a house with no computer, how would he have developed his programming skills? If he had been born in a neighborhood with crappy schools, would he even be a genius? Probably not.

Talent? Yes, of course it matters - you take the hand you're dealt, and deal with it. If Gates wasn't talented and intelligent, then it wouldn't have mattered what opportunities he was given; he wouldn't have made DOS. But ignoring just how many things outside of his control conspired to make his life as the richest man on earth possible is blind ignorance.

Stagnant's point is that talent AND circumstance contribute to greatness, so anyone who claims they made a fortune simply by themselves, with no outside influence, is full of shit.

Funny thing is, Bill Gates, who has become the subject of attempted refutations, admits fully that he benefited from many other factors other than his own genius.

cthulhuspawn82:

Stagnant:

cthulhuspawn82:

And how many kids, with the same "luck" as Bill Gates, never went on to accomplish anything?

It doesn't end with "was born in a rich household with a PC". It starts there. I don't know enough about Gates's life to be able to offer more specifics, but I'm entirely willing to bet that there was a lot of points where, given even slightly different circumstances that were completely out of his control, he would not have had a chance to become the magnate that he is today.

So you are saying that Bill Gates' advantages were such that any child, or at least a significant number of children, with the same advantages would have created one of the worlds largest companies or done something equivalent.

You cant be throwing out talent altogether because that would be ridiculous. So what percentage of a persons success do you think is luck as opposed to talent? 50%? Do you think that 50% of the people who grew up under the same conditions as Bill Gates would be multi-billionaires by now?

No one can give you a percentage of who would have succeeded given Bill Gates opportunities.

I can however give you the success rate of people with Bill Gates talents who were not born into a family that could afford a computer, it is 0%.

Strong motivation to succeed and good "luck" seem to go together.

arbane:

Wolverine18:

The one thing I'll agree with is "good for you". Yes, it was my efforts that brought me to where I am.

"Why, look at me. I've worked my way up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty." - Groucho Marx

God dammit, don't you start quoting your Marxism in here, you godless commie! ;)

If we lived in a sane world, I would be surprised that Stublore's quite reasonable OP was controversial enough to generate 4 pages of content.

Discussions like this remind me of discussions of privilege, in that people who are most likely to be subject to the advantages discussed are most likely to deny they exist. In fact, class is probably just another variety of privilege.

It's worth remembering that there is a high cost to being poor. If I'm rich and I get a cold, I am very likely to have a salaried job with paid sick leave so I can just go home and get better. I also have health insurance so I can go to a doctor for very little money and get treatment.

If I'm poor and get sick, I likely work an hourly job. Staying home means I lose money. In addition, it's likely that I either don't have insurance at all, or I have very bad insurance, so getting treatment costs me much more. And because of those costs and because I have a family to support, it's likely I'll just opt to continue to work. Now maybe I'll just get lucky and get over my sickness. But odds are good if I'm poor I can't afford a vitamin-rich, low-fat diet, so my body isn't in top condition anyway. So odds are good that eventually getting sick without taking the time to properly recover is going to take it's toll on me until I become sick with a serious disease I can't work through. Now I can't work, but depending on my illness medical treatment could cost well beyond a year's salary.

Then Republicans tell me I'm irresponsible for wanting help with my medical bills.

But it doesn't just stop with me. My children are in school. Because I can't work due to my sickness, now I don't have the money to get them things that they need to get ahead. They don't eat right, they can't get tutoring, and eventually they have to get part-time jobs to support themselves. Now, maybe their grades are still basically good enough to get into college, but due to our poverty we can't afford it. So they look for need based scholarships. And they meet all the need qualifications, but since they haven't had tutoring and have been working part-time jobs, their grades and test scores aren't quite where the committee wants them to be, so they're labelled not college material.

Then Republicans yell at them because they want help even though they "didn't apply themselves".

Their only choice is to work bottom-rung job like I did. Then a few years down the line, they get sick. Repeat.

Charles_Martel:
Strong motivation to succeed and good "luck" seem to go together.

That would apply if "luck" wouldn't be a larger factor. Correlation doesn't equal causation.

The logic matrix looks like this

unlucky + motivation = no success
unlucky + no motivation = no success
lucky + no motivation = success
lucky + motivation = success

Because thats the "nature" of "luck": a highly unlikely event that gives you a highly unlikely advantage.

i.e. In DnD my lvl1 wizard can get a melee-hit on a lvl20 paladin if he rolls a natural 20.

Stagnant:

I don't know. I don't have figures. What I do know is that if Gates had suddenly suffered a stroke at age 20, his genius would not have mattered. If he had gotten to work a few minutes later in 1980 in NYC (maybe the train was late), and had gotten splattered against a lamppost by an out-of-control taxi, it wouldn't have mattered that Windows revolutionized computing, because he wouldn't be around to be a genius. If he had been born in a house with no computer, how would he have developed his programming skills? If he had been born in a neighborhood with crappy schools, would he even be a genius? Probably not.

Your argument is that any number of unlucky events could have happened to Bill Gates that would have kept him from becoming a success, and that a percentage of poor people are people who would have had the success of Bill Gates had they not been hit with one of those unlucky events.

The question is, what percent of poor people would have become multi-billionaires if not for that unlucky event. I think its safe to assume that the number is less than 1%. Of the people who had the same starting had or better, less than 1% accomplished what Bill Gates did.

So, if I tell a group of poor people that Bill Gates is richer than them because he is more talented, I would be wrong for 1% of them. 1% of them would be where Bill Gates is if not for being dealt an unlucky hand. However, my assertion would still be right for 99% people.

adamtm:

Because thats the "nature" of "luck": a highly unlikely event that gives you a highly unlikely advantage.

i.e. In DnD my lvl1 wizard can get a melee-hit on a lvl20 paladin if he rolls a natural 20.

I want to use this as it helps simplify my point. Lets say a high level fighter is attacking someone who has a 20 armor class. Being a extremely skilled, this fighter has a +18 to hit. He rolls a 2 and still hits his opponent. Would you honestly say the fighter "got lucky"

Sure the fighter could have rolled a 1, but there is only a 5% chance of that happening. With his level of skill, he is going to hit 95% of the time. Him hitting his opponent was 5% luck and 95% skill. You wouldnet say, "Well, he just got lucky."

Charles_Martel:
Strong motivation to succeed and good "luck" seem to go together.

There are sayings and variants along the lines of "Hard work makes its own luck".

However, this could be applied as follows: the more one plays the lottery, the more one has a chance of hitting the jackpot. The kicker being that eventually hitting the jackpot is no particular indication of merit.

The other thing being is that luck also often means risk. A wealthy venture capitalist might throw 100,000 at a hundred ventures, and make his money back or more on just a tenth of those investments booming. If you've only got 100,000's worth of assets (e.g. your house) then your attitude to a 10% success chance for 100,000 of investment is extremely different. That's not to say venture capitalists shouldn't be rewarded for taking those risks. But it does illustrate that how hard work and "luck" applies can be very different for different people.

cthulhuspawn82:

adamtm:

Because thats the "nature" of "luck": a highly unlikely event that gives you a highly unlikely advantage.

i.e. In DnD my lvl1 wizard can get a melee-hit on a lvl20 paladin if he rolls a natural 20.

I want to use this as it helps simplify my point. Lets say a high level fighter is attacking someone who has a 20 armor class. Being a extremely skilled, this fighter has a +18 to hit. He rolls a 2 and still hits his opponent. Would you honestly say the fighter "got lucky"

Sure the fighter could have rolled a 1, but there is only a 5% chance of that happening. With his level of skill, he is going to hit 95% of the time. Him hitting his opponent was 5% luck and 95% skill. You wouldnet say, "Well, he just got lucky."

Yes, my other approach just demonstrates that "a crit in life" (luck) always trumps whatever your skills are.

i.e. Luck always wins.

My Wizard with a realistic +6 to hit, VS an opponent that has an AC of 28, will never be able to score a hit unless he rolls a natural 20.
The natural 20 is an "automatic hit" in dnd, its the very definition of "luck" (also sometimes called an automatic success)

No matter how high the enemies AC is, it will always hit. Even if the enemy has an AC of 300 billion, a wizard has a 5% chance ever attack that he will hit, by chance.

Like your example demonstrated, this is why "luck" seems to "go together" with skill, because luck is the deciding factor.

Its not a binary question, because "lucky" and "unlucky" are complimented by the neutral state of simple "non-luck".
An unlucky non-luck condition is always a failure.
A lucky non-luck condition is always a success, else by the very definition it wouldn't be "lucky".

cthulhuspawn82:
Your argument is that any number of unlucky events could have happened to Bill Gates that would have kept him from becoming a success, and that a percentage of poor people are people who would have had the success of Bill Gates had they not been hit with one of those unlucky events.

One important thing to note: Bill Gates is, in this discussion, an absolute outlier. "You will never find a better example in the 20th or 21st century of a self-made man" on one hand, and "top 10-20 richest people in the history of the world" on the other. So excuse me while I point out that Gates is really kind of the exceptional answer for this.

The question is, what percent of poor people would have become multi-billionaires if not for that unlucky event. I think its safe to assume that the number is less than 1%. Of the people who had the same starting had or better, less than 1% accomplished what Bill Gates did.

Yes, and probably around 99.999% of them did better than all but the rarest few of the poor. Again: Gates is an outlier. It's like with climate analysis; if one season is strangely cold, you don't take that and say "Global Warming? What global warming"; you look at the overall trend and see if it's actually meaningful, or just a statistically expected outlier. Poor people are already born into a very hard situation, at least compared to those better off. Saying "what percent of poor people would become like him if not for that unlucky event" is missing the point - it's not one lucky break that defines a person's life (although one lucky break can certainly be considered crucial), it's an entire series of events, most of which are out of one's own control.

I want to use this as it helps simplify my point. Lets say a high level fighter is attacking someone who has a 20 armor class. Being a extremely skilled, this fighter has a +18 to hit. He rolls a 2 and still hits his opponent. Would you honestly say the fighter "got lucky"

Well, if D&D was anything like the real world, then yes, that fighter was incredibly lucky to make it to level whatever he's at without getting killed off. He was lucky to have adventurer-level stats (remember, "typical human" is between like 6 and 12; 13 is considered a "meh" score for an adventurer). He was lucky that he wasn't crippled by orcs back at level one, or crushed in a rockfall, or drowned in a flood back during lower levels. Yeah, no shit, if you ignore every piece of luck a person got up to that point, then it looks far more like skill than it actually is.

Stagnant:

cthulhuspawn82:
Your argument is that any number of unlucky events could have happened to Bill Gates that would have kept him from becoming a success, and that a percentage of poor people are people who would have had the success of Bill Gates had they not been hit with one of those unlucky events.

One important thing to note: Bill Gates is, in this discussion, an absolute outlier. "You will never find a better example in the 20th or 21st century of a self-made man" on one hand, and "top 10-20 richest people in the history of the world" on the other. So excuse me while I point out that Gates is really kind of the exceptional answer for this.

I'm not so sure.

People who study excellence at skills tend to say you need about 10,000 hours of practice to be excellent at a skill. If you take a close look at Bill Gate's life, he was always in the right place at the right time to get those hours practicing programming. So while he wouldn't have become who he is without hard work and dedication, sure, he also wouldn't have become who he was without being lucky enough to have access to all the equipment he needed to change the paradigm of computing at a time when no one else had stepped up yet to fill the void.

Well, you still won't find a better example. xD

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here