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(CNBC)   The rich are lucky and use that luck to prevent poorer competitors from entering the marketplace   (cnbc.com) divider line 37
    More: Obvious, Taleb, John Paulson, Occupy movement, rationalizations  
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1355 clicks; posted to Business » on 16 Aug 2012 at 2:05 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-16 02:18:06 PM
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
 
2012-08-16 02:21:39 PM
So you're saying the free market isn't inherently free?
 
2012-08-16 02:22:19 PM
ric romero reporting in a related story, water is wet.
 
2012-08-16 02:23:49 PM
Makes sense. Start with 100 people in a room. Each buys $10,000 worth of a given penny stock. One of them becomes a billionaire, the other 99 go broke, but by the anthropic principle, you only ever hear of the one lucky one, who now has the fame and name brand recognition and capital to grow a company into a behemoth no one will ever be able to compete with because its volume allows for lower profit margins.
 
2012-08-16 02:26:53 PM

Tommy Moo: Makes sense. Start with 100 people in a room. Each buys $10,000 worth of a given penny stock. One of them becomes a billionaire, the other 99 go broke, but by the anthropic principle, you only ever hear of the one lucky one, who now has the fame and name brand recognition and capital to grow a company into a behemoth no one will ever be able to compete with because its volume allows for lower profit margins.


And two of the 99 get jobs as journalists and business professors and tell everyone how smart and hard working the billionaire job creator is.
 
2012-08-16 02:32:09 PM
I believe that Taleb is one of many people whose books I have read who use the following scam as an illustration of how "success breeds success" and how "luck" is key to success.

Imagine you are a scam artist and want to get a reputation as infallible without actually having to be infallible.

Publish a free monthly newsletter and send it to 10,000 rich chumps. In 5,000 copies predict something, in the other 5,000 predict the opposite. Those who get the correction prediction might think this is just luck, so repeat.

Next month send the 5,000 people who got the "inside scoop" or "correct prediction" from you another newsletter and repeat the process. Send half of them a prediction A and half the prediction "Not A". You wil have 2,500 potential customers who may be beginning to take notice of your newsletter. After the thrid month, you are down to 1,250 rich people, and after the fourth 625 rich people who are beginning to think you are on to something they don't know about. Start charging for your advice when people are begging you for it and your fortune is made. You don't have to be right any more. You are an established Wiz Kid.

See? Pure chance with no special skills or knowledge. Of course if you do have some qualifications, you can do better than 50-50. You can be wrong most of the time. The thing is, that once you have made a lot of money, people listen whether you are a genius or not. And you may start to get insider tips that you can use to get even richer and possibly even make money occasionally.

More perversely, it is better to lose big time than it is to win small time. As Taleb points out, the "success" stories of Wall Street are guys who are not afraid to lose $100,000,000 of the firm's money. They are go-getters. They are Eighties Men (like the one on Futurama). They are sharks and the guys who cautiously make a few million here and there each week or month are nobodies, or worse, sheep. Even nobodies can become sharks over night, but sheep stay sheep for life until it eats them for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Thus big time gamblers are more respected than penny-ante players who win consistantly. A success rate of zero can be better for your personal career than a success rate of 51% or even 60% if you take no real chances.

Wall Street runs on BS and fame and testosterone, just like sports, politics and entertainment generally.

And all the big money goes to the big players, the big stars, not the industrious, prudent, wise and good.

Even in middle age, Swartzenegger and Stallone are bigger than crafty actors and actresses like Pacino, Streep or Depp.
 
2012-08-16 02:37:10 PM
If only there were funds based off of indexes, that only tried to mimic and not beat the market, that required and encouraged automation.

If only ...

/there is plenty of finance that has nothing to do with beating the market
 
2012-08-16 02:40:06 PM

Bad_Seed: Tommy Moo: Makes sense. Start with 100 people in a room. Each buys $10,000 worth of a given penny stock. One of them becomes a billionaire, the other 99 go broke, but by the anthropic principle, you only ever hear of the one lucky one, who now has the fame and name brand recognition and capital to grow a company into a behemoth no one will ever be able to compete with because its volume allows for lower profit margins.

And two of the 99 get jobs as journalists and business professors and tell everyone how smart and hard working the billionaire job creator is.


You obviously have no idea who the author is or if he worked and got rich from the stock market.
 
2012-08-16 02:53:45 PM

brantgoose: I believe that Taleb is one of many people whose books I have read who use the following scam as an illustration of how "success breeds success" and how "luck" is key to success.

Imagine you are a scam artist and want to get a reputation as infallible without actually having to be infallible.

Publish a free monthly newsletter and send it to 10,000 rich chumps. In 5,000 copies predict something, in the other 5,000 predict the opposite. Those who get the correction prediction might think this is just luck, so repeat.

Next month send the 5,000 people who got the "inside scoop" or "correct prediction" from you another newsletter and repeat the process. Send half of them a prediction A and half the prediction "Not A". You wil have 2,500 potential customers who may be beginning to take notice of your newsletter. After the thrid month, you are down to 1,250 rich people, and after the fourth 625 rich people who are beginning to think you are on to something they don't know about. Start charging for your advice when people are begging you for it and your fortune is made. You don't have to be right any more. You are an established Wiz Kid.

o
That scam is very old and worked once or twice. But you don't start a newsletter; you hit your true-believers up for some serious money and disappear with it.
 
2012-08-16 03:01:44 PM
So is the reverse also true? Poor people are only poor due to being unlucky? So why even bother if everything is predestined anyway?
 
2012-08-16 03:05:53 PM

LL316: So is the reverse also true? Poor people are only poor due to being unlucky? So why even bother if everything is predestined anyway?


Luck = destiny?

I know you're probably just being facetious, but that is the key factor in success: luck. Or chance. Or whatever you wanna call it. That's it. That's what separates the successful people from the non-succesful. Does that make you mad? Then you are one of the succesful and don't want to think that all your "hard work" was just chance. Because it was.

/mildly succesful
//lucky as f*ck, and very thankful for it
 
2012-08-16 03:11:20 PM
Bet big with other peoples money:
If you win, huge rewards come your way.
If you lose, well, it wasn't your money. Proceed to convince someone else that you have learned from your mistake.

Remember, this is the instutition that you not only barely regulate despite the impact stupid bets have on people without a clear stake in the bet, you also bail out because of the impact the stupid bets have.

Anyone know a shortcut in? I've got a few great ideas for a well hedged, 6 billion dollar bet on the Euro.
 
2012-08-16 03:17:39 PM

Because People in power are Stupid: Bad_Seed: Tommy Moo: Makes sense. Start with 100 people in a room. Each buys $10,000 worth of a given penny stock. One of them becomes a billionaire, the other 99 go broke, but by the anthropic principle, you only ever hear of the one lucky one, who now has the fame and name brand recognition and capital to grow a company into a behemoth no one will ever be able to compete with because its volume allows for lower profit margins.

And two of the 99 get jobs as journalists and business professors and tell everyone how smart and hard working the billionaire job creator is.

You obviously have no idea who the author is or if he worked and got rich from the stock market.


Of course, I know who the author is. He's a limousine driver and amateur epistemologist. I was responding to the comment and not the article.
 
2012-08-16 03:31:04 PM

Bad_Seed: Because People in power are Stupid: Bad_Seed: Tommy Moo: Makes sense. Start with 100 people in a room. Each buys $10,000 worth of a given penny stock. One of them becomes a billionaire, the other 99 go broke, but by the anthropic principle, you only ever hear of the one lucky one, who now has the fame and name brand recognition and capital to grow a company into a behemoth no one will ever be able to compete with because its volume allows for lower profit margins.

And two of the 99 get jobs as journalists and business professors and tell everyone how smart and hard working the billionaire job creator is.

You obviously have no idea who the author is or if he worked and got rich from the stock market.

Of course, I know who the author is. He's a limousine driver and amateur epistemologist. I was responding to the comment and not the article.


He told me that he worked as a limousine driver on the plane. I spoke to him in french, he replied in english.
 
2012-08-16 03:35:03 PM

Fuzzmosis: Bet big with other peoples money:
If you win, huge rewards come your way.
If you lose, well, it wasn't your money. Proceed to convince someone else that you have learned from your mistake.

Remember, this is the instutition that you not only barely regulate despite the impact stupid bets have on people without a clear stake in the bet, you also bail out because of the impact the stupid bets have.

Anyone know a shortcut in? I've got a few great ideas for a well hedged, 6 billion dollar bet on the Euro.


When I was in my last semester of undergrad, I was interviewed and "hired" (conditional upon graduation) as a financial adviser. After 2 weeks of training classes, the only thing we had discussed was how to build a referral network, starting with the people closest to us, and why everyone needed a financial adviser. I am sure that some financial advisers are taught how to tailor investment strategies and do quality analysis, but we were being trained to sell. No, thanks.
 
2012-08-16 03:40:37 PM

roc6783: When I was in my last semester of undergrad, I was interviewed and "hired" (conditional upon graduation) as a financial adviser. After 2 weeks of training classes, the only thing we had discussed was how to build a referral network, starting with the people closest to us, and why everyone needed a financial adviser. I am sure that some financial advisers are taught how to tailor investment strategies and do quality analysis, but we were being trained to sell. No, thanks.


So the entire interview and hiring process was a bait and switch? Salesmen are such scum bags. With them, the bullshiat never stops.
 
2012-08-16 03:49:55 PM

roc6783: Fuzzmosis: Bet big with other peoples money:
If you win, huge rewards come your way.
If you lose, well, it wasn't your money. Proceed to convince someone else that you have learned from your mistake.

Remember, this is the instutition that you not only barely regulate despite the impact stupid bets have on people without a clear stake in the bet, you also bail out because of the impact the stupid bets have.

Anyone know a shortcut in? I've got a few great ideas for a well hedged, 6 billion dollar bet on the Euro.

When I was in my last semester of undergrad, I was interviewed and "hired" (conditional upon graduation) as a financial adviser. After 2 weeks of training classes, the only thing we had discussed was how to build a referral network, starting with the people closest to us, and why everyone needed a financial adviser. I am sure that some financial advisers are taught how to tailor investment strategies and do quality analysis, but we were being trained to sell. No, thanks.


I'm quite certain that you weren't given the option of churning your client's accounts.
 
2012-08-16 03:58:45 PM

roc6783: Fuzzmosis: Bet big with other peoples money:
If you win, huge rewards come your way.
If you lose, well, it wasn't your money. Proceed to convince someone else that you have learned from your mistake.

Remember, this is the instutition that you not only barely regulate despite the impact stupid bets have on people without a clear stake in the bet, you also bail out because of the impact the stupid bets have.

Anyone know a shortcut in? I've got a few great ideas for a well hedged, 6 billion dollar bet on the Euro.

When I was in my last semester of undergrad, I was interviewed and "hired" (conditional upon graduation) as a financial adviser. After 2 weeks of training classes, the only thing we had discussed was how to build a referral network, starting with the people closest to us, and why everyone needed a financial adviser. I am sure that some financial advisers are taught how to tailor investment strategies and do quality analysis, but we were being trained to sell. No, thanks.


Sounds like you were being "hired" by Primerica. I was "interviewed" by them and it sounds like the same thing. Might have done me some good (maybe taught me some social skills), but I didn't like the idea of working for a company whose business model is entirely too close to that of a pyramid scheme.
 
2012-08-16 04:15:06 PM
I take all of my financial advise from screen writers.
 
2012-08-16 04:33:43 PM

jkl65s4: roc6783: Fuzzmosis: ***snip***

Sounds like you were being "hired" by Primerica. I was "interviewed" by them and it sounds like the same thing. Might have done me some good (maybe taught me some social skills), but I didn't like the idea of working for a company whose business model is entirely too close to that of a pyramid scheme.


It was a competitor of theirs, but a similar model. I understand that someone with a well rounded understanding of financial analysis and access to a diverse set of investment products could provide a valuable service to someone with money, but little to no clue of how to manage it. I was a about to graduate with a marketing degree having taken 1 accounting class and 1 finance class. Their attitude was, "We want sales people who can attract big money clients. The whole knowing dick all about financial products or what would be best for your clients is irrelevant. Just get people in the door and make sales." That just didn't sit right with me.

If I am selling a physical product, I don't need to know the ins and outs of it to provide what my customer needs. I can just take the specs of what they want, find the corresponding product, and presto change-o, everyone wins. As my knowledge of the customer and my products increases, I can start making recommendations and provide additional value beyond just matching specs. But if someone comes to me and says, here's my life savings, I want to retire at 62, make it happen, I better damn well understand what I am doing with their money and why BEFORE I start selling them stuff.
 
2012-08-16 06:02:19 PM

sure haven't: LL316: So is the reverse also true? Poor people are only poor due to being unlucky? So why even bother if everything is predestined anyway?

Luck = destiny?

I know you're probably just being facetious, but that is the key factor in success: luck. Or chance. Or whatever you wanna call it. That's it. That's what separates the successful people from the non-succesful. Does that make you mad? Then you are one of the succesful and don't want to think that all your "hard work" was just chance. Because it was.

/mildly succesful
//lucky as f*ck, and very thankful for it


Luck is what you get when preparation and opportunity meet.
 
2012-08-16 07:08:44 PM

dchurch0: sure haven't: LL316: So is the reverse also true? Poor people are only poor due to being unlucky? So why even bother if everything is predestined anyway?

Luck = destiny?

I know you're probably just being facetious, but that is the key factor in success: luck. Or chance. Or whatever you wanna call it. That's it. That's what separates the successful people from the non-succesful. Does that make you mad? Then you are one of the succesful and don't want to think that all your "hard work" was just chance. Because it was.

/mildly succesful
//lucky as f*ck, and very thankful for it

Luck is what you get when preparation and opportunity meet.


Ever known anyone who was prepared but opportunity didn't occur?
 
2012-08-16 07:34:35 PM

brantgoose: I believe that Taleb is one of many people whose books I have read who use the following scam as an illustration of how "success breeds success" and how "luck" is key to success.

Imagine you are a scam artist and want to get a reputation as infallible without actually having to be infallible.

Publish a free monthly newsletter and send it to 10,000 rich chumps. In 5,000 copies predict something, in the other 5,000 predict the opposite. Those who get the correction prediction might think this is just luck, so repeat.

Next month send the 5,000 people who got the "inside scoop" or "correct prediction" from you another newsletter and repeat the process. Send half of them a prediction A and half the prediction "Not A". You wil have 2,500 potential customers who may be beginning to take notice of your newsletter. After the thrid month, you are down to 1,250 rich people, and after the fourth 625 rich people who are beginning to think you are on to something they don't know about. Start charging for your advice when people are begging you for it and your fortune is made. You don't have to be right any more. You are an established Wiz Kid.

See? Pure chance with no special skills or knowledge. Of course if you do have some qualifications, you can do better than 50-50. You can be wrong most of the time. The thing is, that once you have made a lot of money, people listen whether you are a genius or not. And you may start to get insider tips that you can use to get even richer and possibly even make money occasionally.

More perversely, it is better to lose big time than it is to win small time. As Taleb points out, the "success" stories of Wall Street are guys who are not afraid to lose $100,000,000 of the firm's money. They are go-getters. They are Eighties Men (like the one on Futurama). They are sharks and the guys who cautiously make a few million here and there each week or month are nobodies, or worse, sheep. Even nobodies can become sharks over night, but sheep stay s ...


Kramer, I know your Fark handle now!
 
2012-08-16 08:25:42 PM
Competence frequently looks like luck to the incompetent. However, article is about derivative and stock trading, which is more or less gambling.
 
2012-08-16 09:06:16 PM

Dokushin: Competence frequently looks like luck to the incompetent. However, article is about derivative and stock trading, which is more or less gambling.


So even though, in this instance, the inference that luck has everything to do with making money is correct, you felt the need to reiterate that the more successful of us have earned their goodies god damn it. Interesting.
 
2012-08-16 09:20:43 PM

lewismarktwo: Dokushin: Competence frequently looks like luck to the incompetent. However, article is about derivative and stock trading, which is more or less gambling.

So even though, in this instance, the inference that luck has everything to do with making money is correct, you felt the need to reiterate that the more successful of us have earned their goodies god damn it. Interesting.


*shrug* I'm not the one that started that conga line, pal. I'm just replying to the discussion at hand.
 
2012-08-16 09:23:17 PM

sure haven't: LL316: So is the reverse also true? Poor people are only poor due to being unlucky? So why even bother if everything is predestined anyway?

Luck = destiny?

I know you're probably just being facetious, but that is the key factor in success: luck. Or chance. Or whatever you wanna call it. That's it. That's what separates the successful people from the non-succesful. Does that make you mad? Then you are one of the succesful and don't want to think that all your "hard work" was just chance. Because it was.

/mildly succesful
//lucky as f*ck, and very thankful for it


So says the unsuccessful person. Luck has nothing to do with it.
 
2012-08-16 10:09:30 PM

brantgoose: I believe that Taleb is one of many people whose books I have read who use the following scam as an illustration of how "success breeds success" and how "luck" is key to success.

Imagine you are a scam artist and want to get a reputation as infallible without actually having to be infallible.

Publish a free monthly newsletter and send it to 10,000 rich chumps. In 5,000 copies predict something, in the other 5,000 predict the opposite. Those who get the correction prediction might think this is just luck, so repeat.

Next month send the 5,000 people who got the "inside scoop" or "correct prediction" from you another newsletter and repeat the process. Send half of them a prediction A and half the prediction "Not A". You wil have 2,500 potential customers who may be beginning to take notice of your newsletter. After the thrid month, you are down to 1,250 rich people, and after the fourth 625 rich people who are beginning to think you are on to something they don't know about. Start charging for your advice when people are begging you for it and your fortune is made. You don't have to be right any more. You are an established Wiz Kid.

See? Pure chance with no special skills or knowledge. Of course if you do have some qualifications, you can do better than 50-50. You can be wrong most of the time. The thing is, that once you have made a lot of money, people listen whether you are a genius or not. And you may start to get insider tips that you can use to get even richer and possibly even make money occasionally.

More perversely, it is better to lose big time than it is to win small time. As Taleb points out, the "success" stories of Wall Street are guys who are not afraid to lose $100,000,000 of the firm's money. They are go-getters. They are Eighties Men (like the one on Futurama). They are sharks and the guys who cautiously make a few million here and there each week or month are nobodies, or worse, sheep. Even nobodies can become sharks over night, but sheep stay s ...


This has to be my favorite post on Fark ever, I'm not sure what I learned, but I had all the emotions: excitement, intrigue, anger, futurama flashback, and the ending that left you thinking "that's how it ends?"

I would buy you a beer, but this is the internet, so I will just tell you my favorite new beer and hope you try for yourself: Magic Hat number 9 'not quite pale ale'
 
2012-08-17 12:26:21 AM

Ball of Confusion: sure haven't: LL316: So is the reverse also true? Poor people are only poor due to being unlucky? So why even bother if everything is predestined anyway?

Luck = destiny?

I know you're probably just being facetious, but that is the key factor in success: luck. Or chance. Or whatever you wanna call it. That's it. That's what separates the successful people from the non-succesful. Does that make you mad? Then you are one of the succesful and don't want to think that all your "hard work" was just chance. Because it was.

/mildly succesful
//lucky as f*ck, and very thankful for it

So says the unsuccessful person. Luck has nothing to do with it.


I'm not unsuccessful, how would you even know that? I've achieved more success than probably... 80% of those working in my field. And chance had everything to do with it. Sure I worked my ass off and paid my dues. But it was chance meetings and what not that paved my way.

If you seriously don't believe that luck is the deciding factor, then you either aren't successful at all, or you are and are upset at the thought of it all being attributed to chance. Its just the way life is. You can deny it all you want.
 
2012-08-17 01:03:42 AM
You also have to factor in the cost of regulation.

Throw on a lot of regulations? Fine. That only makes it tougher for little guys to compete.

Regulatory compliance staff don't generate revenue. Only big guys can afford good compliance staff in the quantity that keeps regulators off their backs.
 
2012-08-17 02:20:09 AM

sure haven't: Ball of Confusion: sure haven't: LL316: So is the reverse also true? Poor people are only poor due to being unlucky? So why even bother if everything is predestined anyway?

Luck = destiny?

I know you're probably just being facetious, but that is the key factor in success: luck. Or chance. Or whatever you wanna call it. That's it. That's what separates the successful people from the non-succesful. Does that make you mad? Then you are one of the succesful and don't want to think that all your "hard work" was just chance. Because it was.

/mildly succesful
//lucky as f*ck, and very thankful for it

So says the unsuccessful person. Luck has nothing to do with it.

I'm not unsuccessful, how would you even know that? I've achieved more success than probably... 80% of those working in my field. And chance had everything to do with it. Sure I worked my ass off and paid my dues. But it was chance meetings and what not that paved my way.

If you seriously don't believe that luck is the deciding factor, then you either aren't successful at all, or you are and are upset at the thought of it all being attributed to chance. Its just the way life is. You can deny it all you want.


This is an overly simple model, don't you think?

Do you think chance "has everything to do with it" in all fields? Engineers? Doctors? Artists? Game developers? Salesmen? You don't think that someone who has drive, motivation, and talent has any better "chance" than someone without it? You mention chance meetings -- what about people who network better, who put more effort into finding those meetings? None of that is purely random. You're saying every person is equally likely to be successful, which implies that every person is equally skilled at every act, which is untenable. Requiring random factors to operate in your favor one of many times is not "luck", it's simply preparedness; nothing wins or loses on a single roll of the dice. (Well, very nearly nothing.)
 
2012-08-17 09:20:57 AM

sure haven't: I'm not unsuccessful, how would you even know that?


Because you are from Mediocrastan
 
2012-08-17 09:43:25 AM

Dokushin: Do you think chance "has everything to do with it" in all fields? Engineers? Doctors? Artists? Game developers? Salesmen? You don't think that someone who has drive, motivation, and talent has any better "chance" than someone without it? You mention chance meetings -- what about people who network better, who put more effort into finding those meetings? None of that is purely random. You're saying every person is equally likely to be successful, which implies that every person is equally skilled at every act, which is untenable. Requiring random factors to operate in your favor one of many times is not "luck", it's simply preparedness; nothing wins or loses on a single roll of the dice. (Well, very nearly nothing.)


Did you choose to be born here rather than Subsarahan Africa?

Then any future success you have in life is based purely on that fortunate occurance.
 
2012-08-17 11:05:25 AM

Dokushin: sure haven't: Ball of Confusion: sure haven't: LL316: ***snip***

Do you think chance "has everything to do with it" in all fields? Engineers? Doctors? Artists? Game developers? Salesmen? You don't think that someone who has drive, motivation, and talent has any better "chance" than someone without it? You mention chance meetings -- what about people who network better, who put more effort into finding those meetings? None of that is purely random. You're saying every person is equally likely to be successful, which implies that every person is equally skilled at every act, which is untenable. Requiring random factors to operate in your favor one of many times is not "luck", it's simply preparedness; nothing wins or loses on a single roll of the dice. (Well, very nearly nothing.)


The problem isn't people who admit, "I worked very hard, did all the right things, and a few good bounces later, I am wildly successful. The third factor wouldn't have mattered, if I hadn't done the first two." "Additionally, many people, including the taxpayers who contribute to the public good, helped me along the way and I appreciate that."

The problem is people who seem to believe, and loudly proclaim, "I worked very hard and did all the right things. I did everything on my own and never received any help or benefit from the situation into which I was born. The only reason anyone isn't is successful as me is because they are lazy, and there is nothing mitigating that whatsoever."

Unfortunately, too many people buy into the second person because they are successful, so they must know/do something everyone else doesn't, when the reality is they took advantage of an opportunity that came along when they were prepared.

The fact is that hard work will not make you successful, it only increases your likelihood of becoming successful. Also, just because you are successful, does not mean you worked hard to get that success.

Anecdote I understand, but it easily illustrates my point. I know a man who was a doctor. Worked very hard for many years, and was a great doctor. He also owns 2 jets, several homes across the country, and was able to put several million dollars in trusts for his 6 kids. Did his hard work lead him to be wildly successful? No, he inherited an already successful business from his parents. Would he have been plenty comfortable and been able to easily provide for his family by working hard? Yes, but would he have been able to ensure that his grandkids would be able to live in the lap of luxury? Very unlikely.
 
2012-08-17 02:07:07 PM

roc6783: Dokushin: sure haven't: Ball of Confusion: sure haven't: LL316: ***snip***

Do you think chance "has everything to do with it" in all fields? Engineers? Doctors? Artists? Game developers? Salesmen? You don't think that someone who has drive, motivation, and talent has any better "chance" than someone without it? You mention chance meetings -- what about people who network better, who put more effort into finding those meetings? None of that is purely random. You're saying every person is equally likely to be successful, which implies that every person is equally skilled at every act, which is untenable. Requiring random factors to operate in your favor one of many times is not "luck", it's simply preparedness; nothing wins or loses on a single roll of the dice. (Well, very nearly nothing.)

The problem isn't people who admit, "I worked very hard, did all the right things, and a few good bounces later, I am wildly successful. The third factor wouldn't have mattered, if I hadn't done the first two." "Additionally, many people, including the taxpayers who contribute to the public good, helped me along the way and I appreciate that."

The problem is people who seem to believe, and loudly proclaim, "I worked very hard and did all the right things. I did everything on my own and never received any help or benefit from the situation into which I was born. The only reason anyone isn't is successful as me is because they are lazy, and there is nothing mitigating that whatsoever."

Unfortunately, too many people buy into the second person because they are successful, so they must know/do something everyone else doesn't, when the reality is they took advantage of an opportunity that came along when they were prepared.

The fact is that hard work will not make you successful, it only increases your likelihood of becoming successful. Also, just because you are successful, does not mean you worked hard to get that success.

Anecdote I understand, but it easily illu ...


I think that your explanation here is very fair, and maybe helps me understand the vitriol here a bit. I agree completely. I may link back to it. Thanks :D
 
2012-08-17 02:08:20 PM

StrangeQ: Dokushin: Do you think chance "has everything to do with it" in all fields? Engineers? Doctors? Artists? Game developers? Salesmen? You don't think that someone who has drive, motivation, and talent has any better "chance" than someone without it? You mention chance meetings -- what about people who network better, who put more effort into finding those meetings? None of that is purely random. You're saying every person is equally likely to be successful, which implies that every person is equally skilled at every act, which is untenable. Requiring random factors to operate in your favor one of many times is not "luck", it's simply preparedness; nothing wins or loses on a single roll of the dice. (Well, very nearly nothing.)

Did you choose to be born here rather than Subsarahan Africa?

Then any future success you have in life is based purely on that fortunate occurance.


So all people born here (rather than Africa) are equally successful? No? Then it can't be based "purely" on that, right?
 
2012-08-17 03:05:50 PM

Dokushin: StrangeQ: Dokushin: ***snip***

So all people born here (rather than Africa) are equally successful? No? Then it can't be based "purely" on that, right?


You are thinking of the issue in terms of peak success instead of probability, which is what most people who push the "you are only unsuccessful because you are lazy, and if everyone worked as hard as I did everyone would be success" line of BS. (I am not saying you are pushing that thought, just framing my interpretation of your thinking).

If you gave everyone in the world a baseline 0% chance to be financially independent (by my admittedly debatable definition, someone who could stop working tomorrow and enjoy a comparable lifestyle for the rest of their life.)

Then you would start assigning people positive percentages for advantages that they have over other people. So if you grow up in the U.S. versus Ethiopia, your probability to be financially independent is much greater. Eventually, you could make a generalization such as "A white male, born in Connecticut, to parents with a net worth over $50 million, is 859,249 times more likely to be financially independent than an Ethiopian girl born to potato farmers." Numbers are obviously exaggerated.

The point is that none of those factors are within your control, but they completely shape who you are and how successful you become. It is a perversion of the nature vs. nurture debate. People are the sum total of their internal and external environments, no one operates in a vacuum.

Too many charismatic, successful people have convinced too many less successful people that they became success solely by their own hard work, and it is simply not true.

TL;DR - "You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now..." you are trying to claim you invented the dinosaur. You didn't, stop saying you did, it is annoying.
 
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