Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mark and I both remarked on this post

Noah Smith: 
A homeless girl turns out to be a science genius. I see stuff like this all the time. My brother-in-law grew up in a trailer with a teenage single mom, and he's now completing his PhD. My friend grew up poor in rural Northern California with a drug-abusing single mom, and now she's a neurosurgeon. There is so much human capital hidden in the poverty-stricken backwaters of America, it's absurd. And yet I still read pronouncement after smug pronouncement from guys like Bryan Caplan, declaring that success is all about I.Q., and that it's no use trying to increase economic opportunity because everyone is already just where their I.Q. dictates they should be. What a load of poppcock, rubbish, stuff & nonsense.
 The idea that social position is already perfectly distributed based on merit is reassuring for those in high socio-economic positions but seems dangerous.  At some point I will give my Ayn Rand critique again (the places where Ms. Rand's philosophy is unable to cope with actual people).

But the world is filled with people who have been successful despite being poor or disadvantaged.  That should be celebrated and not suppressed.

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