BAMN vs. University of Michigan

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Re: BAMN vs. University of Michigan

Postby ++$_ » Wed Jul 06, 2011 6:54 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:There's a little thing called regression. Your descendants are not expected to be as far from the average as you currently are. The rich do no get richer; they get replaced by new rich people. After a certain amount of time, the descendants of the currently rich will be indistinguishable from those currently dirt poor. Go back far enough, most people here were serfs or other types of slaves, rapists and victims, soldiers and mercenaries, kings and warlords, merchants and craftsman.
I don't think you understand what regression to the mean is.

Regression to the mean happens because sometimes your outcome is better or worse than some "true" average. For example, if a baseball player hits .325 during one season, there are three possibilities:

1. His true average is .300 and he got lucky
2. His true average is .325 and he didn't have good or bad luck
3. His true average is .350 and he had bad luck

Since (1) is much more likely than (3) (due to the greater number of .300 hitters), you expect that a randomly selected .325 hitter will perform worse next season.

But wealth does not work the same way. If you are poor or rich, you do not pass on some "true wealth" like the baseball player passes on his "true average" from season to season. Your children grow up in an environment that's exactly as privileged as you actually are. It's as though the .300 baseball player, after having a .325 season, actually became a true .325 hitter for next season. In such a scenario, you would not see movement, on average.

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Re: BAMN vs. University of Michigan

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:28 pm UTC

Except that the children of wealthy people are on average, less wealthy than their parents. The children of poor people are on average wealthier than their parents.

There still is a lot of social mobility in the US (though admittedly, not as much as I'd like). An intelligent person born into poverty can work his/her way to a college degree and move into the middle class. An idiot born into wealth can lose it all. Sometimes it does take many generations to lose all the wealth, sometimes it does take more than 1 generation to move out of poverty. Sometimes a person can go from the very bottom, the child of an alcoholic whore, to one of the most powerful people on earth, and then back to nothing again.

For wealth disappearing, how about the tale of the banking family that really did control the world, the Medicis. Powerful enough that 4 popes and virtually every monarchy in Europe were or were direct descendants of the Medicis. That's not "never have to work again" wealthy, that's "AHA HAHAHA watch as the peons die for my entertainment" wealthy. Where are the Medicis now? For the most part, gone.

As I said before, the rich don't get richer, they just get supplanted by other richer people.

The biggest barrier to social mobility is the fact that the legal system does change based on your wealth. Not enough to eliminate nearly all social mobility as a Caste System or Feudalism would, but enough to be of concern. If a rich man commits a crime, historically and in most parts of the world today, a few well placed bribes would set him free. In the US, the rich man merely gets the best lawyer reducing the chance of conviction and/or penalties, while the poor man gets the public defender that was too incompetent to work in the private sector*. If there is a tort involving a rich man and a poor man, guess which one gets the more competent lawyer and is more likely to win.

Forget socialized medicine and AA, if you want more social mobility fix the legal system.

*Ok, not all public defenders are this bad. But they are usually worse than those successfully working in the private sector.

EDIT: Someone on wikipedia removed Kerik's early life story.


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