The Artful Dodger wrote:Not necessarily. I hacked around with building computers and reverse-engineering software in my teenage years, but my school wouldn't give me credit on that when computer courses weren't a significant part of the curriculum.
Also, I'm sure there were plenty of underachievers in school who were quite smart but didn't put on total effort in pursuing good grades first and foremost. I should know, I was one of them. To me, the schools are geared towards optimization, particularly for kids to excel in standardized testing, and less on the experiential aspect; this M.O. didn't appeal to my interest when I was matriculating. Schools have probably changed over the last decade-plus to enrich the learning experience as one that's engaging and dynamic (technology has played a role), but the one thing that probably hasn't changed is the narrow focus on getting kids to prepare for standardized and AP tests.
I wasn't worried about what the school would give credit for and what they wouldn't, I was merely saying that kids can get whatever education they want online. Be it help with math, all the way to advanced engineering. The opportunity is right there, all they have to do is want it enough to grab it.
True, a ton of kids could care less about grades. But ace the tests, and the actual report card grades aren't that meaningful. Had a buddy like that. B/C student on paper, but blew up the tests and could go anywhere he wanted for college. No clue where he ended up going, but the collegiate world was his oyster.
As to real world experience, forget school credits, cash in! Start at the bottom and work your way up to owning a business that does whatever it is you know. Piece of cake!
Theoretically, the kids have the opportunity in that there's no one to say "Oi, you can't go to school because your folks don't have enough money". Whether or not kids across the socioeconomic spectrum are on a level playing field is another question.
The talented, hard-working kids from less affluent neighborhoods still need the right conditions or environment for them to realize their talent. Otherwise, they risk that talent to go to waste, even if their work ethic is sorted. Said kids could likely be held back by classmates who have a harder time understanding the subject matter and it could be that the schools don't have the adequate avenues for academic advancement as opposed to other schools (i.e. honors/AP).
What do you mean by right conditions and environment? I can't even guess as to what you mean by that one, so help please.
So what if the school doesn't have an advanced class, there's a good chance the student already learned the info. I did, and that was pre-internet days. The only thing an advanced high school credit does is look good on a report card. Otherwise, it's rather useless. Just a number on paper. If someone knows the information, regardless of if they got a high school credit for it or not, it will show on the tests. The tests get one into college, and the rest is history (if we're talking about college as the key to success anyway, which I don't agree with, but again that's a different conversation for a different day).
What I meant by selection bias of success stories, was the prototypical rags-to-riches success stories of those people who with a combination of hard work, talent, opportunity, and luck had catapulted themselves up more than one social class to get to where they are presently. The occurrences of said success stories are nowhere near impossible, but that doesn't necessarily mean they happen frequently enough to say they'll ring true for most.
Agreed, but that's because most don't want it bad enough. For those that do, nothing will hold them back.
OK, story time... My parents were both immigrants. They came from a working-class upbringing, but they were also well educated and climbed to middle-class status in their respective countries of origin (Spain and Japan). So, when my parents came to the States, it was a matter of finding the opportunities, knowing that their backgrounds and qualifications met the requirements. My father was a lawyer in Spain and practiced law in the States. My mother was originally a teacher in the old country, but when she came to the States, she found work as an executive secretary and was in line for a promotion an executive VP job until she quit to raise me. Both of them grabbed a foothold in America in the 1970's, when social mobility wasn't nearly as difficult back then. Incidentally, back then, America had arguably the best education system in the world and this was a time before executive pay didn't skyrocket to the disproportionate levels they are today. By the time I was born and when my mother quit, we were still an upper middle-class family and my upbringing reflected that new status, even though my parents raised me with traditional working-class values: strong work ethic, frugality, a deep disdain for wastefulness, and so on.
Point is, I don't see being poor being equated to having no chance at all. It just entails less chance of getting ahead. So much of the power in upward social mobility comes from education and there was a time when children in America could look forward to being afforded the same standard of education, for this was all the poor and middle classes had to improve their lot in society. However, the inequality has gotten to the point where the opportunities are harder to come by for those at the bottom.
As to why foreigners come to America, they still carry the perception of the American Dream, many of whom don't fully appreciate how difficult life is until they come here. As a matter of fact, many of my relatives on Pop's side who reside in Spain don't want to live in the States because they see it as a less family-oriented, less carefree place to live. (I honestly don't blame them.) On a grander scale, the effect of globalization is a big part to play as to why foreign money comes into America, for much the same reason investors want to invest in India and China: market size and potential. It's lucrative opportunity for businesses to set up shop in America, the Eurozone, Asia, etc. for various reasons.
What I think is most overblown perception in America is the idea that America as a whole enjoys the highest standard of living compared to the rest of the world. That's not really true because in countries with a more egalitarian spread (and dare I say, more socialist) such as Norway, Sweden, and Canada to name a few, tend to have less socioeconomic disparity in opportunity than in the States. When wealth is more evenly spread, then the availability of opportunity is more distributed for all. That's not to say those countries have very rich and very poor because they do, but they do have less obscene numbers of very poor and very rich compared to the States.
Spain and Japan, interesting combination. So middle class to upper middle class. How about Habib that owns the Quick-E-Mart? Stereotypical I know, but actually is what I was referring to with foreign owned businesses. How many people come here with nothing, and I mean nothing, yet build and own a successful business? Tons! Some of course are the small Quick-E-Mart type of business, others are quite huge. I used Habib a minute ago simply because I toured a manufacturing plant last week that does 8 figures in business each year making siding (veneer/aluminum/etc) for houses and it is already looking into evolving and changing the business to produce either wind turbines or solar panels. Owner of the business is named Habib and he joked I wouldn't be able to pronounce his last name (and he was right). Came here with nothing, a stowaway on a cruise liner, yet look at where he is at now. Legal citizen with a business that does more than $10 million a year. And he's not alone. At all.
Interestingly enough, those I talk to that are successful always talk about how easy stuff is here and how much opportunity is available. The ones that aren't successful talk about how much easier things are "back home", which always makes things interesting when both sides are from the same country. I like to get the two sides together and watch as one waffles on their stance.
Question: You know a lot more about socialism than I do, so how do countries that practice socialism keep the successful motivated? I can't see it working here. If you take away the incentive to be successful (money), most people won't even bother trying to succeed. Plus this is a really lazy country. A ton of people would love to sit around in their house, on the internet/video games, jumbo televisions, eating McDonalds, and letting everyone else pay for it.
Tavish wrote:There isn't a contradiction in saying that people are smart enough to know they shouldn't take a loan they can't afford but will do it anyways. What I did say was that in the past the banks protected people (mainly via government regulation) from their own inability to either say no or to realize that they are wanting something they can't afford.
Ok, I get it now. I just disagree that we need to protect people from themselves. Especially when banks have never known what people can and cannot afford.
Maybe I'm not articulating the point very well because you are not even close to it. I'll give a an extremely straightforward try at it and if we are at the same spot I will just assume we are talking about completely different things and move on.
I really give absolutely nothing about who OWS is blaming, or who you blame, or who I blame, or who anyone in the world blames for the crisis. It really means nothing in the grand scheme of things and is pretty much only useful to help get the next politician elected. What I do think is important is what can be done to prevent it from happening again, or at least the best steps that can be taken in order to minimize the impact these sorts of downs will have. Of course to try and find solutions you have to look at what went wrong that involves playing the blame game.
You keep saying "its the people, its the people" which is great and I have agreed over and over that they played a role in this. You said you want them to be educated in order to make better decisions, I say better education doesn't make much of a difference at all. I see them as the control group in the hundreds of tests we could do to improve the economy. They are going to be stupid, greedy, and/or impulsive no matter how much you educate them. Hence the reference to drunk driving, smoking, and fast food. I would definitely be interested in hearing examples of when an influx of education alone about a subject did help eliminate (even greatly reduce) a self-destructive behavior from people. I haven't thought real deep on the subject, but haven't had any luck so far. Maybe I'm too much of a cynic, I don't think I have crossed over to misanthropy.
We do care where the blame should be, because that's how to fix the problem. If you blame the banks, you want them regulated more. If you blame the government, you want them to fix it. If you blame the people, you want to educate them. The entire thing is about where the biggest part of the "blame pie" lies, and then fixing that problem. Test subjects are great, but when the test subjects greatly outweigh everyone else, that's a takeover. That's why we are where we are. Idiot percentage got too high. There were other contributing factors (bank greed, government sticking their nose where it doesn't belong, etc), but the biggest piece of the blame pie is on the idiots that overspent.
How far has the percentage of smokers dropped just in the last few years? Educating people doesn't help, at all? Would you rather discuss the growing number of billions being spent each year on diets, healthy food, weight loss programs, exercise equipment, etc? Obviously I disagree with your stand that educating idiots doesn't do any good. Smoking is the big one for me, the percentage of smokers is dropping, and dropping fast. And not because they are all dying (haha).
Why didn't banks fall into this great crisis a long time ago? Banks don't have to know what people can really afford or what they can't. They do have to have some semblance of restraint though (whether through their own volition or via regulations).
Because the average American is not nearly as smart or responsible as they used to be, and they expect to be given more than ever. It's always someone else's fault or responsibility nowadays. It wasn't that way in the past. Has zero to do with the banks, it is all about the change in people.
Unfortunately zero bailouts simply ins't much of an option with the current design. If the institutions are allowed to grow large enough to create a systematic risk, then there is not much of a choice but to bail them out again the next time they fail. The damage that would be done by a second Great Depression far outweighs the damage done by further bailouts, so much so that even if you are only creating a small chance of avoiding a true meltdown it is worth the bailout. We won't always be so "lucky" that a World War will come around and save us from a depression again.
What do you have in mind as far as pulling the government out of banks? Dissolving the FED, cutting all ties to the GSEs, removing other some specific regulation, or something else entirely? I know that the CRA seems to be what most conservatives love to target but there is fairly solid proof out there that lenders were more than willing to make these loans even when they weren't affected by the "quota".
True, the design now includes bailouts. It shouldn't include bailouts, but that door was opened and now we're stuck.
Not sure it is possible to pull the government out of banks at this point, but like with all businesses, I believe they should be allowed to fail if they cannot survive on their own.
I've incurred new debt, just not by choice. The debt was probably a blessing in disguise (and its pretty hard to say my wife getting breast cancer is any sort of blessing no matter the circumstances). Without that happening I likely would have followed nearly every piece of financial advise I had at the time that involved refinancing the house. Had I done that then likely I would be in the same financial state I am in right, except minus the house and the equity I have built up in it (which isn't that much considering the drop in FMV). Which is to say I would be completely screwed, instead of only somewhat.
I am sorry to hear about your wife. I hope all is going as well as possible and I will say a prayer for you both tonight. I wish both of you my best.
Banks are what I would consider to be the best starting point for reform. They did what probably any business would do in that position, they took the best advantage they could see in order to make as much profit as possible with as little risk to themselves as possible. I don't fault them for making money how they did, I just don't think that it is in the best interests of anyone except the banks for them to be able to continue to do so in the future and there isn't any reason for them to stop of their own volition.
So private business should look out for the people, instead of what they were built to do (make money)? Have you petitioned for the cigarette companies to voluntarily shut down? The beer companies? Fast food industry? Casinos? 99% of businesses don't give a rat's patoot about the American public, they are built to make money. You want 99% of businesses to shut down and start caring for the people, or is it just the banks that you think should throw away their business and instead, worry about taking care of adults who cannot take care of themselves?
I want to play a game. The rules are simple. All you have to do is sit here and talk to me. Listen to me. We haven't been properly introduced. My name is John.
Live or die. Make your choice.