Re: Why Do the Rich Get Richer? Or, America, Coming Apart at the Seams
Prepping for my interview with Charles Murray later this month, I was reading his brilliant but thoroughly unnerving book, Coming Apart, when, taking a break, I came across K.C.'s post below.
Why do the rich get richer? Dee Dee Myers considers it self-evident that the rich are no smarter than the rest of us. Charles Murray disagrees--he takes no pleasure in doing so, but he disagrees:
In an age when the majority of parents in the top five centiles of cognitive ability worked as farmers, shopkeepers, blue-collar workers, and housewives--a situation that necessarily prevailed a century ago, given the occupational and education distributions during the early 1900s--relationships between the cognitive ability of parents and children had no ominous implications. Today, when the exceptionally qualified have been so efficiently drawn into the ranks of the upper-middle class, and when they are so often married to people with the same ability and background, they do....
Highly disproportionate numbers of exceptionally able children in the next generation will come from parents in the upper-middle class, and more specifically from parents who are already part of the broad elite.
Stratification by cognitive ability, reinforcing stratification by income. Murray, as I say, takes no pleasure in this.
America is coming apart at the seams--not seams of race or ethnicity but of class.