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Monday, March 23, 2015

Trivia of the Day

Excerpt from a Marginal Revolution post:
An American male is 4,582 times more likely to become an Army general if his father was one; 1,895 times more likely to become a famous C.E.O.; 1,639 times more likely to win a Pulitzer Prize; 1,497 times more likely to win a Grammy; and 1,361 times more likely to win an Academy Award. Those are pretty decent odds, but they do not come close to the 8,500 times more likely a senator’s son is to find himself chatting with John McCain or Dianne Feinstein in the Senate cloakroom.

19 comments:

Clovis e Adri said...

The original NYT article they've used ends up with the question:

"Why does the modern United States tolerate this level of privilege for political name brands?"

Any guess?

Bret said...

Clovis,

I filed this under trivia because I thinks it's interesting, but possibly meaningless.

Across all possible careers, from the beginning of humanity, probably a huge number of children followed in their parents footsteps. Indeed, family names like cooper and fletcher and baker and shumacher evolved because those families did those things generation after generation.

Here, we're looking at a handful of really, really exclusive limited "careers" or "stations in life." Just like bakers, it wouldn't be surprising for children to follow in their parents footsteps. In these case, if they succeed, it can be painted as ridiculous odds. Again, that's interesting, but does it really mean anything?

Anyway, to answer your question, the political name brands are "Democrat" and "Republican." The fact that the Republican's last name is Bush doesn't have that much meaning to me.

What's kinda funny to me is that the author claims the Bush dynasty is the big political dynasty. I'm not sure how that was measured, but when I was growing up, it was the Kennedy name that was the huge dynasty. One president and two senators and some number of congressmen. Since papa Kennedy was a mobster, I was always surprised everybody loved the Kennedys so much. Well, many they weren't universally loved since people kept shooting them. :-)

Hey Skipper said...

I'll bet that American males are at least several thousand times more likely to become professional pilots if their fathers were pilots.

Which pretty much qualifies as the bottom story of the day.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Well, I have failed to interest any of my 3 offspring in computer science or programming. Sigh.

P.S. Boy One was just accepted at UIUC in Aeronautical Engineering. I blame Skipper, because of that one day he dropped by.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

Yes, children easily follow their parent's careers, and those numbers show that - his point being that, even in comparison, the case in Politics stands out. The Bushes has 2 Presidents and counting, not to mention the many governorships, it surely leaves the Kennedys far behind.

BTW, papa Kennedy was not exacly a mobster, he just did not accept government abuse in the form of Prohibition. Hey, he must have been a Libertarian.

erp said...

Papa Kennedy was a libertine, not a libertarian and his running booze was fraught with gangsterism.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
[...] and his running booze was fraught with gangsterism.
---

Pray tell me, in which way is that different from other real world Libertarian experiences?

erp said...

Libertarians are law-abiding. Look up libertine. It has nothing to do with libertarian.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

I guess you miss my point.

If I was to write a post here, it would be probably about Libertarianism, or more to the point, its shortcomings.

As it happens, someone else already did a better job of it, to which I invite our fellow Libertarians to give their precious time to reflect upon it. And maybe write something of a rebuttal here, who knows. I'd enjoy that exchange.

erp said...

Thanks, but I was a sophomore once a long time ago and if there's anything I don't want to repeat from those years is more sophomoric musings.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

I tried to read it but I gave up at this point - "This is the strain which, rather than analyzing specific policies and often deciding a more laissez-faire approach is best, starts with the tenet that government can do no right and private industry can do no wrong".

Over and over I have very explicitly and directly pointed out that that is not libertarianism. Note that libertarians are minarchists, not anarchists, and therefore believe that there are some things the government can do right. That makes the central thesis of that article a straw man, rendering it irrelevant to any serious discussion.

Annoying Old Guy said...

P.S. On the shortist vs. tallist thing, the author appears to think there is only judging a policy *only* for its effect on the size of government, and *not* judging it on that, excluding a viable middle where that is one of several metrics for judgement. It does remind me of you.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "If I was to write a post here..."

You're welcome to post here anytime. Would like access to be able to post?

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
Over and over I have very explicitly and directly pointed out that that is not libertarianism.
---
You see, that author was reasonable enough to upfront this, and in fact he agrees with you, i.e. you may well be not the kind of Libertarian he is addressing, and he is giving warns about it.

But - and you know there'd be a but - he does happen to address, further in the text, points and arguments identical to many you often make here. You may not be the "radical" Libertarian he is countering, yet you do harbor many of the views regarding arguments he addresses there. Maybe it'd be interesting to hear his argument, so you can also advance yours.

---
That makes the central thesis of that article a straw man, rendering it irrelevant to any serious discussion.
---
I invite you to try and keep reading it past that point. Overall the text is quite respectful to Libertarian views, being the opposite of the Krugman style our friends here deride.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
You're welcome to post here anytime. Would like access to be able to post?
---
Thanks a lot for the trust implied in this invitation. But I am afraid I could neither keep up with the good level of your posts, nor with their reasonable periodicity.

Still, if I end up feeling a great need to post something, I can send it directly to you asking for a guest post. Would that be ok?

Bret said...

Clovis asks: "I can send it directly to you asking for a guest post. Would that be ok?"

Sure.

Hey Skipper said...

Clovis:

I tried reading it, but gave up at this point:

This is the strain which, rather than analyzing specific policies and often deciding a more laissez-faire approach is best, starts with the tenet that government can do no right and private industry can do no wrong and uses this faith in place of more careful analysis.

Oh, wait. Sorry, I'm repeating what AOG said. Hmmm. Maybe there's a reason for that.

If there is a certain, very specific strain of aggressive American Libertarianism that espouses that, I'm sure as heck not aware of it.

I lied, a little. I actually did read the article past the opening, although I haven't time to get all the way to the end. But at least through the section on externalities, he is making a good case for starting from a libertarian position than employing collectivism where it makes sense.

That is in stark contrast to the NYT and Harry, for whom collectivism is always the first and best answer.

Clovis e Adri said...

Hey Skipper,

---
If there is a certain, very specific strain of aggressive American Libertarianism that espouses that, I'm sure as heck not aware of it.
---
There again, that was not my point when linking to it. Read it further enough, and you will promptly recognize arguments far too common among Libertarians - including our own Libertarian friends here - that deserve better thought.

---
That is in stark contrast to the NYT and Harry, for whom collectivism is always the first and best answer.
---
If I were to link to a pro-Collectivism FAQ, I'd be clear about it. Instead I am only linking to a text where I believe tha author did a good enough job (although far from flawless) of taking to task many oversimplifications of reality commonly held by Libertarians.

I am not doing it out of spite for Libertarianism and its sympathizers. By the contrary - it is a philosophy interesting enough to have drawn my attention to it. I have been giving serious thought to it since my first contact with Greatguys. I take it seriously enough to have a sincere desire to understand what are its strong and weak points. That FAQ is far from perfect, but I feel its author was in a similar position when writing it.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

I have tried reading further but honestly, it's an article full of fail. You do a much better job. I'll try to provide a specific illustration of this if I get some time.