Friday, November 11, 2011

Deserving of Nothing

As George Monbiot describes in The Self-Attribution Fallacy, the 1% are simply where they are due to luck and the willingness to screw everyone else:
If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire. The claims that the ultra-rich 1% make for themselves – that they are possessed of unique intelligence or creativity or drive – are examples of the self-attribution fallacy. This means crediting yourself with outcomes for which you weren't responsible. Many of those who are rich today got there because they were able to capture certain jobs. This capture owes less to talent and intelligence than to a combination of the ruthless exploitation of others and accidents of birth, as such jobs are taken disproportionately by people born in certain places and into certain classes.
The findings of the psychologist Daniel Kahneman, winner of a Nobel economics prize, are devastating to the beliefs that financial high-fliers entertain about themselves(1). He discovered that their apparent success is a cognitive illusion. For example, he studied the results achieved by 25 wealth advisers, across eight years. He found that the consistency of their performance was zero. “The results resembled what you would expect from a dice-rolling contest, not a game of skill.” Those who received the biggest bonuses had simply got lucky.
In other words, they deserve nothing.  In fact, if not for the circumstances of their birth, they would probably be in prison:
In their book Snakes in Suits, Paul Babiak and Robert Hare point out that as the old corporate bureaucracies have been replaced by flexible, ever-changing structures, and as team players are deemed less valuable than competitive risk-takers, psychopathic traits are more likely to be selected and rewarded(4). Reading their work, it seems to me that if you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a poor family you're likely to go to prison. If you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a rich family you're likely to go to business school.
One other thing, not touched upon, is that psychopathic tendencies, on so wide a scale, considering the 1% is not drawn randomly from the population at large (as in more the case for prisons) but rather from the very rich, is sign that these people are horribly inbred.  In the poor, inbreeding is derided; in the rich is is celebrated. The only thing they are deserving of is to be aborted.

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