Tag Archives | Class

The Meritocracy is Made Up of Poor People

Photo credit DEA

Photo credit DEA

Paul Buchheit writes at Common Dreams:

Many wealthy Americans believe that dysfunctional behavior causes poverty. Their own success, they would insist, derives from good character and a strict work ethic. But they would be missing some of the facts. Ample evidence exists to show a correlation between wealth and unethical behavior, and between wealth and a lack of empathy for others, and between wealth and unproductiveness.

The poor, along with a middle class that is sinking toward them, make up the American meritocracy. Here is some of the evidence.

1. The Poor Don’t Cheat As Much

An analysis of seven different psychological studies found that “upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals.” A series of experiments showed that upper-class individuals were more likely to break traffic laws, take valued goods from others, lie in a negotiation, and cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize.

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David Petraeus Chased By Protesters On His Way to Teach Class at CUNY

Via Storyleak

You’re a war criminal!” several students shouted as Petraeus walked down the street.

Patraeus, who recently quit his position at the CIA, took a job at CUNY in what some believe was an attempt to fix his poor public image. Patraeus immediately faced scrutiny after it was revealed that he would be earning an annual salary of $200,000. In an attempt to quell his critics, Patraeus later agreed to work for only $1 per year.

“Every class, David!” other students yelled, alluding to more protests.

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It Was 50 years Ago Today: The North Of England Taught the Band to Play…

Picture: US LOC (PD)

The 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ UK release of “Love Me Do” is being celebrated by a number of media outlets here including The BBC and The Guardian. The latter carries a great article which reprints a 1963 review of the UK’s first home grown contemporary global pop phenomenon:

Written across the front of St George’s Hall, Liverpool (a building dear to the heart of John Betjeman), are huge chalked letters declaring: “I Love the Beatles.” There is hardly anything cryptic about this declaration to anyone who has ever viewed Juke Box Jury, listened to Pick of the Pops, or fathered a teenage daughter, for in the last six months the Beatles have become the most popular vocal-instrumental group in Britain, and as everyone with any pretension towards mass culture should know, the Beatles are from Liverpool.

In fact, there is a connection between Liverpool and the four young musicians that seems to go deeper than pride for hometown boys; something, perhaps deep in the mysterious well of English and especially northern working-class sentimentality.

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In Defense of the Hipster

Hipster SharkPART ONE: WHAT IS A HIPSTER, AND WHY DOES EVERYONE HATE THEM? or: YOU’RE SO FAKE (AND SO AM I)

My name is Tuna Ghost and I have a confession: I’m a hipster.

One may think this is a self-defeating statement, like “this sentence is false” or “all Cretans are liars, says so-and-so of Crete”, as one of the commonly accepted hallmarks of a hipster is that he or she will vehemently deny that they are a hipster.  This bit of conventional wisdom is easily verified, all one has to do is ask the hipsters around one if they self-identify as a “hipster”.  Personally, I have to look no further than my own friends to see evidence of it.  By the traditional definition of “hipster” they are obviously hipsters, but thus far I am the only one who will gladly self-identify as such. One may wonder why anyone in their right mind would identity with a subculture that has become synonymous with shallowness, lack of authenticity and sneering douche-baggery (my friends certainly do), but in this article I will demonstrate that this is not a fair assessment of Hipsterism.… Read the rest

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Social Class as Culture

Alice In WonderlandVia ScienceDaily:

Social class is more than just how much money you have. It’s also the clothes you wear, the music you like, the school you go to — and has a strong influence on how you interact with others, according to the authors of a new article in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

People from lower classes have fundamentally different ways of thinking about the world than people in upper classes — a fact that should figure into debates on public policy, according to the authors.”Americans, although this is shifting a bit, kind of think class is irrelevant,” says Dacher Keltner of the University of California-Berkeley, who cowrote the article with Michael W. Kraus of UC-San Francisco and Paul K. Piff of UC-Berkeley. “I think our studies are saying the opposite: This is a profound part of who we are.”

People who come from a lower-class background have to depend more on other people.

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Chris Hedges’s Endgame Strategy: Why The Revolution Must Start In America

Synopsis via The Raw Story:
Pulitzer-winning author and former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges has a revolutionary worldview. In the video below, his recent “Endgame Strategy” piece for AdBusters is read aloud by George Atherton. His conclusions are chilling, but not entirely hopeless. “We will have to take care of ourselves,” he wrote. “We will have to rapidly create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves. It will be up to us to keep alive the intellectual, moral and cultural values the corporate state has attempted to snuff out. It is either that or become drones and serfs in a global corporate dystopia. It is not much of a choice. But at least we still have one.
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March Madness And The Class War

The term class war has been extricated from the archives of another era, while divisions over the future of the economy have become a battleground in which the adversaries yell at each other, but rarely engage in any discourse with each other in a shared language.

The worse things get, the harder it is for people to agree on what to do.

This is a month known in the USA for the “March madness” college basketball finals, but the madness seems now to be oozing from sports arenas to political capitols.

MARCH MADNESS

In the Middle East, all the political turmoil will ultimately impact on a regional economy build on the flow and price of oil, contends author/historian Michael Klare:

“Whatever the outcome of the protests, uprisings, and rebellions now sweeping the Middle East, one thing is guaranteed: the world of oil will be permanently transformed.  Consider everything that’s now happening as just the first tremor of an oilquake that will shake our world to its core.”

Back in the once thought of as  “stable” United States, the economic crisis has finally spurred a confrontation between right and left with noisy protests following threatened crackdowns on union rights to collective bargaining, and cutbacks on social programs.… Read the rest

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Why Rich Parents Don’t Matter

Annie& Daddy WarbucksInteresting article from Jonah Lehrer in the Wall Street Journal:

How much do the decisions of parents matter? Most parents believe that even the most mundane acts of parenting — from their choice of day care to their policy on videogames — can profoundly influence the success of their children. Kids are like wet clay, in this view, and we are the sculptors.

Yet in tests measuring many traits, from intelligence to self-control, the power of the home environment pales in comparison to the power of genes and peer groups. We may think we’re sculptors, but the clay is mostly set.

A new paper suggests that both metaphors can be true. Which one is relevant depends, it turns out, on the economic status of families.

For a paper in Psychological Science, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Virginia looked at 750 pairs of American twins who were given a test of mental ability at the age of 10 months and then again at the age of 2.

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Why Legalizing Drugs — All of Them — Is the Only Forward Path For Black America

Prohibition EndsInteresting article from John McWhorter in the New Republic:

This should change, as I have argued frequently over the past year (listen to part of a speech I did on this here). Of the countless reasons why this revival of this Prohibition that looks so quaint in Boardwalk Empire should be erased with all deliberate speed, one is that with no War on Drugs there would be, within one generation, no “black problem” in the United States. Poverty in general, yes. An education problem in general — probably. But the idea that black America had a particular crisis would rapidly become history, requiring explanation to young people. The end of the War on Drugs is, in fact, what all people genuinely concerned with black uplift should be focused on, which is why I am devoting my last TNR post of 2010 to the issue. The black malaise in the U.S.

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Let Them Ingest Saccharine…

kids-and-tvReality telling-vision ‘talent’ shows, aside from being another hastily buffed facet of the bread and circus, alpha-wave inducing media trivio-sphere, also, I believe, serve to substantiate and maintain an ugly and inevitably destructive cultural and social paradigm.

The Celebritocrats lean over us from their polished pedestals, purporting to be our salvation, overseeing the next chosen one’s ascent into their domain, casting aside all those deemed unworthy to be stood before their vapid (pay no heed to the man behond the mirror) visage. How easily the discomforting pornography of schadenfreude that parades in the initial stages of these shows, seems forgotten; contestants disposed of, ‘deleted’, mercilessly and without recourse, culturally guillotined whilst the baying hoardes jeer and mock.

The first myth that these events promulgate is that of audience (electorate) participation in outcome, that is bolstered by the temporary feeling of belonging that comes from a large (in this case discomfortingly vicarious) social event.… Read the rest

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