Monday, April 6, 2015

More On The Role Of Parenting In Inequality

From The Economist magazine (excerpt):

Minding the nurture gap
Social mobility depends on what happens in the first years of life

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. By Robert Putnam. Simon & Schuster; 386 pages; $28 and £18.99.

THE most important divide in America today is class, not race, and the place where it matters most is in the home. Conservatives have been banging on about family breakdown for decades. Now one of the nation’s most prominent liberal scholars has joined the chorus.

Robert Putnam is a former dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and the author of “Bowling Alone” (2000), an influential work that lamented the decline of social capital in America. In his new book, “Our Kids”, he describes the growing gulf between how the rich and the poor raise their children….

…Among the educated elite the traditional family is thriving: fewer than 10% of births to female college graduates are outside marriage—a figure that is barely higher than it was in 1970. In 2007 among women with just a high-school education, by contrast, 65% of births were non-marital. Race makes a difference…Thus the class divide is growing even as the racial gap is shrinking.

Upbringing affects opportunity. Upper-middle-class homes are not only richer (with two professional incomes) and more stable; they are also more nurturing….

…Educated parents engage in a non-stop Socratic dialogue with their children, helping them to make up their own minds about right and wrong, true and false, wise and foolish. This is exhausting, so it helps to have a reliable spouse with whom to share the burden, not to mention cleaners, nannies and cash for trips to the theatre.

Working-class parents, who have less spare capacity, are more likely to demand that their kids simply obey them. In the short run this saves time; in the long run it prevents the kids from learning to organise their own lives or think for themselves. Poor parenting is thus a barrier to social mobility, and is becoming more so as the world grows more complex and the rewards for superior cognitive skills increase….

…At every stage, educated families help their kids in ways that less educated ones do not or cannot. Whereas working-class families have friends who tend to know each other (because they live in the same neighbourhood), professional families have much wider circles. If a problem needs solving or a door needs opening, there is often a friend of a friend (a lawyer, a psychiatrist, an executive) who knows how to do it or whom to ask.

Stunningly, Mr Putnam finds that family background is a better predictor of whether or not a child will graduate from university than 8th-grade test scores. Kids in the richest quarter with low test scores are as likely to make it through college as kids in the poorest quarter with high scores (see chart).

…and another one from the World Economic Forum (excerpt):

Why early childhood care is so important
Anne-Marie Slaughter

From the emergence of the Islamic State to Russian expansionism and China’s rise, there is no shortage of national-security challenges facing the United States. But, as a new report – Worthy Work, STILL Unlivable Wages – demonstrates, nothing poses a more potent threat to America’s future than the failure to provide adequate care and education to children under the age of five.

If young children do not receive high-quality care from educated professionals who understand how to stimulate and shape brain development, the next generation of Americans will suffer from an ever-widening achievement gap relative to their counterparts in other advanced countries and emerging competitors....

...This is a grave error. Early childhood care can shape a person’s lifelong capacity for learning, emotional resilience, confidence, and independence. In fact, providing high-quality care that engages and instructs children in their first five years of life has a greater impact on their development than any other intervention over the course of their lifetime.

This is not new information. The book Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development, published more than a decade ago by the National Academy of Sciences, begins by acknowledging that, from conception to the first day of kindergarten, the pace of development exceeds “that of any subsequent stage of life.” That development “is shaped by a dynamic and continuous interaction between biology and experience.”

This observation is now backed by neuroscience, which has identified how the brain develops over that period and has created a system for measuring learning gaps. Such research has confirmed that building the brain is just as important as feeding the body to produce healthy, intelligent, productive, and resilient adults.

A recent study tallied the results of the Carolina Abecedarian Project, a North Carolina social experiment that began in the early 1970s. The study compared two sets of disadvantaged children, with one set receiving excellent nutrition and high-quality, stimulating care for eight hours a day from birth to age five, and the other receiving ordinary formula and care. Four decades later, the adults who had received better care were not only physically healthier; they were more than four times likelier to have a college degree....

Some people are calling for the expansion of tertiary education. This is the wrong emphasis, putting form over substance. As some of my academic acquaintances put it: garbage in, garbage out. Real success at tertiary education (and hence lifetime income) starts from very, very young – literally beginning from the day you’re born.

Just take this quote from the Economist article above:

“Stunningly, Mr Putnam finds that family background is a better predictor of whether or not a child will graduate from university than 8th-grade test scores.”

There’s nothing “stunning” about this – the research has been showing this for decades. Family income comes first, then the education level of the mother. That’s why pure meritocracy is ultimately self defeating – given the importance of family background in child development, meritocracy eventually degenerates into an aristocracy of the elite, where the advantages of the rich perpetuate themselves ad infinitum.

34 comments:

  1. So, Hisham....by what you have posted, we should expect the kids of hedge fund billionaires to have a headstart over "less fortunate" kids, especially those from the working class?

    What happened to education as "the great leveller"?

    What about being dealt ace cards genes-wise?

    Maybe the apologists are just "copping out".

    There are plenty of examples of "less advantaged" kids doing good and making good and making the climb from lower income to middle income and upper middle income status. Through getting a good education.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @anon 5.59

      You read the post, but didn't read the original articles? You should. Both education and natural ability help explain lifetime income, but family background trumps both.

      For education to be an effective leveler and meritocracy to function properly, everybody needs to start off on the same foot. They don't.

      In technical terms, most people advocating meritocracy implicitly assume an equal endowment, single generation model of human capital, but the real world is better approximated by a unequal endowment, overlapping generations model. Assuming natural ability and family income are independently distributed (i.e. you can't choose your parents), there's no way that the former will result in a maximisation of human capital (and thus social welfare).

      Here's some more reading:

      http://econsmalaysia.blogspot.com/2014/08/inequality-starts-at-birth.html

      http://econsmalaysia.blogspot.com/2013/09/talking-to-your-kids-inequality-and.html

      http://econsmalaysia.blogspot.com/2013/09/breaking-poverty-trap.html

      http://econsmalaysia.blogspot.com/2013/06/piling-onfurther-evidence-of.html

      The evidence is overwhelming.

      Delete
    2. Sorry, Hisham - empirical theories and research papers are one thing. Factual evidence on the ground is another.

      There are plenty of well-documented instances of children from severely disadvantaged backgrounds making it good through education.

      Without the benefit of "starting off on the same foot"!

      By your tenets, it is a "chicken and egg" situation. Disadvantaged parents result in disadvantaged families and disadvantaged children. Disadvantaged children become disadvantaged parents and the whole dismal cycle keeps repeating itself.

      How does one cut this Gordian Knot?

      And is it the government's responsibility to do so?

      Delete
    3. empirical evidence is merely the application of statistics to 'factual evidence' - without having the bigger picture, factual evidence is not far from being anecdotal evidence.

      a disadvantaged person doesnt necessarily equate to a failure. you can be disadvantaged and succeed spectacularly, certainly, but you can also be disadvantaged and achieve a middling sort of success - not as good as if you had a better start, but definitely better overall. its not as if the poverty of your parents condemn you to languish in poverty.

      i think this concept of needing to skyrocket the children of poor families straight to high-income jobs is wrong-headed. of course there are stories of fishermen's children become surgeons and bankers, but the more common story is that the change in family income is more gradual: from a low-income household, a child with a bit of education gets a salaried job that allows him and his own family to enjoy a middle-income life; from this middle-income family, a child gets all the resources he needs to go on to become a high-income professional.

      im certain that a lot more families experience this more mundane story than the 'tycoon who came from poverty' story.

      i have had the opportunity to grow up with friends from families with differing levels of wealth. let me tell you, there's a lot more people who went on to more successful lives (at least in terms of income) from one side of the wealth divide than the other. there's nothing wrong with either of them and goodness knows that their parents tried their best, but it just pans out that way.

      Delete
    4. The flip side of that, of course, is where are all these good (and well-paying) jobs coming from?

      Are enough of these jobs being created to cater for the thousands of school leavers and university graduates in the country?

      If the good jobs aren't there, how do children from the poor and lower-income groups get to make it to the middle class?

      Not everyone is cut out be an entrepreneur!

      Delete
    5. @anon 4.20

      Sorry for the late reply, but I've been on holiday.

      1. As empyreal points out, empirical evidence ARE the facts. You are in effect saying that your facts are better than mine. Sorry, the facts are the facts.

      2. You're missing the point here. That there are individuals from severely disadvantaged backgrounds make it good is not in dispute. For every Sapura or Naza scion, there is somebody like Wahid Omar or Idris Jala, or Liew Kee Sin.

      The problem is, from a societal viewpoint, is education a good enough "leveler" that family background becomes unimportant? And the answer to that is an emphatic NO! Simply put, if you assume that natural ability is randomly distributed i.e. exceptional individuals could be born equally into poor, rich, or middle income families, we should see equal numbers of individuals from poor backgrounds becoming rich, and individuals from rich backgrounds becoming poor. We do not (see here for an example of what I'm talking about).

      The only way to explain the facts are if you assume that kids from poor families are genetically stupid (and from a larger perspective, that people from poorer countries are also naturally stupid, lazy, and unproductive, which is obvious nonsense), or that formal education is not good enough in most cases to mitigate the drawbacks of coming from a low income family.

      Therein lies the problem - the data shows that the cycle of poverty is real.

      3. If formal education is insufficient, that draws attention to the critical differences in upbringing between higher income and lower income families. The government should not interfere with parenting in general, nor legislate against what higher income families can provide their offspring in terms of better education opportunities or experiences.

      But the government can ensure that parents are provided the right tools and knowledge to be better child developers, especially in the critical development period between ages 1-5, when kids pick up most of their non-cognitive skills (like language and social skills). Pilot programs have shown this can be effective in significantly raising education and health outcomes and income in later life. Finland for instance, provides a "maternity box" to all parents, irrespective of income level.

      This is cheap, much cheaper than trying to shoehorn ill-prepared and unqualified students into universities, or trying to fix an ill-educated and unskilled workforce.

      Delete
  2. Hedge fund billionaires' kid not necessary have a head start according to the post. It is a family unit and especially the mothers play an important role. Some more an educated mother at that to carry out the "Socratic Dialogue" - utopia no? Now most, if not all, both parents are working - time for dialogue??

    Gees not enough pay in general, and child care?

    While in general the findings are damning but to try it out as a nation, I just do not know?

    Zuo De

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The role of "Tiger Moms" in the US has been well documented.

      What about the cultural/racial affinity for education as a means to increase social mobility?

      At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, it appears (and maybe there are studies to support this) that Chinese and Indian parents attach great importance to giving their children a good education.

      We are seeing something like that in Malaysia with parents increasingly preferring their children to study in Chinese-medium schools and international schools which use English as a medium of instruction.

      Which leaves the Malay-medium "national" schools caught between a rock and a hard place.

      Delete
    2. @AnonymousApril 10, 2015 at 3:01 PM
      English improvement between the Chinese medium schools and Malay medium school doesn't mean anything when it comes to exams results.

      Statistics from the Education Ministry shown that most of success students with the highest marks in national exam, came from Malay-medium school compared to their counterpart.

      Unity should be at the first place to create a better nation, starting from the roots, it will grow a good bread. Abolish the vernacular school. Stick to one school systems.

      Delete
  3. Put the horse before the cart first. On the real ground, it is not the parenting issue but the parent issue. Poor parents in the rural areas have big families but are missing on wiser upbringing of their charges who are left to fend mostly on their own, at best consigned to religious education. These charges grow up cynical about life and unable to focus on self-motivation. Their attention span and focus on anything is minimal; they get easily distracted in their tasks and do not realise the importance of closing loops.

    Start with the parents first.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you certainly have a point about needing to start with the parents, but i would be careful to make a direct comparison between poor parents and more wealthy parents in a too-simplified manner.

      after all, its hard to definitively say that a parent who works hard from dawn to night to feed his family is someone who cares less for his children than a parent who could afford to come home to have dinner with their children.

      Delete
    2. @amypreal

      The problem is not the degree of care, but the time and effort spent. That's one of the issues with lower income families - they have to work so hard to make ends meet, there's no time for the kids. That's the tragedy of it.

      Delete
    3. @hishamh 9:32 AM

      And whose fault is that?

      Can we shove off the blame to the government for there being so many "lower income families" in the country?

      Do we fault these families for "not trying harder" to make sure their kids stay in school and get a good education?

      How much "spoon feeding" is required before "self-help" kicks in?

      It seems that this issue, like most issues in the country, are viewed through the prism of race with all the attendant baggage.

      But in a blog devoted to economics and issues pertaining to the economy, it should be relatively easy to make a calculated case for good schools and good education systems starting from kindergarten and pre-primary right up to vocational and tertiary levels.

      And let's not be shy to learn from Singapore about the need for continuous skills upgrading and "lifelong learning"!

      Delete
    4. @anon 4.46

      This is a global problem, not a problem unique to Malaysia. I'm actually arguing for government intervention beyond pre-school and kindergarten, because the studies I highlighted here and others I've read point to the critical importance of toddler education, if there is such a word.

      Given the mechanics of the interactions between the importance of parental guidance and lifetime outcomes, I'd say Singapore society is just as class-stratified as Malaysia's is, if not more so. One of the reasons behind Singapore's success is that Singaporeans have progressively been working longer and longer hours (which ties in with poor productivity growth) which obviously eats into family time.

      And where does race come into this? I see Malaysian Chinese and Indian poverty as much as Malay or East Malaysian poverty. If you look at the dimensions of income inequality in Malaysia, it's increasingly more about within groups than about between groups.

      Delete
  4. Dear sir,
    on a different note, is there anything we can do to improve those who were already adults but due to lack of the fundamental necessities early on life as elaborated in the parenting issue, but wanting to enhance their cerebral capital and knowledge? You said putting more expansion on tertiary education is a wrong move. Perhaps this is indeed true on the scale of results of achieving better educated society on the whole (more effective).

    But I wonder, is there at least any kind of intervention the government can do to enable some kind of opportunity for the not so educated adults to improve themselves (upgrade themselves). Is there any study being done on this as well? Of course, not to mention the difficulties posed due to habits and behaviour growing up under such circumstances embedded into the adult personalities. But surely there must be some kind of study being done on that as well?

    _Phlogiston_

    ReplyDelete
  5. Any brain alive head knows that without equality in incomes and equality in outcomes there would be perpetual inequality. Go do the simple maths and find out your effing puking mofoing selves. Better still study the economic history of the West and Japan before spouting yah filthy, untutored ejaculate here!

    Inequality in post colonial societies arises due to injustices past that were left unaddressed for want of cock muscles, brains or sheer pragmatism.

    To rectify inequity itself in one segment of society demands being inequitable to another segment of society, the one that benefited from unfair advantages heaped on the dint of being progenies of the previous favoured and cosseted. Too bad, it is skewed that way as History yells at everyone who has a brain to think

    No self respecting individual would think of the type of appalling wishywashy cockwash we are seeing on the comments section in this thread. Socratic dialogues...indeed!! That had me rolling on the floor for hours....what scumbaggish moronic takeaways will we be served next...Allah help us!

    And there are shithead trolls trotting Singapork and stuff about education when they know shit about how low Singaporkian productivity is actually not to mention how they hiked themselves up the GDP ranks by preying on tax evaders, money launderers, corrupt tincan despots and all those scum.

    As for education being a great leveller, tiuniamah it for God's sake. You idiotic morons make me puke with your high falutin cock snappy takes. What about equality of outcomes and opportunities after all that education. Then what? Peddle Socrates via yer arseholes??

    Putnam said it all in not so many words here:

    "Stunningly, Mr Putnam finds that family background is a better predictor of whether or not a child will graduate from university than 8th-grade test scores.”

    and the blogger dude seemed to grasp it at first:

    There’s nothing “stunning” about this – the research has been showing this for decades. Family income comes first....

    before his Hyde side smothered him and dragged him kicking and screaming away from his Jekyll hide and boy the trolls joined in glee, you know the types who earn their daily 50 Sing cents by hawking fuckheaded moronic shit all over cyberspace.

    Inequality is best addressed with drastic measures if soft ones (like Wealth taxes, Reparation taxes etc.) dont work and those drastic measures include expropriation and mass culling if need be. After all, socio-economic dynamics and class warfare will ensure that cull in the long run anyway...Heard of "war", revolution"; "rebellion"; "uprising"...heard of them Houthis and their ilk elsewhere lately. Go read and study the real world first before wasting your effing times spurting your worthless cockcum and indulging in mutual ego boosting dick juicing here.

    Simply put, dont ever affect to talk about inequality if yah POSeur scum dont have an effing inkling of its historical basis and its inherent dynamics in cleaving societies.

    In short quit wasting pixels and bandwith and get a life, idiotic fuckheaded morons!

    Warrior 231

    ReplyDelete
  6. As a Malaysian raising a 10 year old in Manhattan, the parenting here is competitive (in a slightly different way from Singaporeans), money helps with the family background bit but silliness (affairs, divorces, casual use of drugs, Gossip Girl type hedonist kids) tends to be more of an equalizer than you think. The people wimping on inequality here are aiming for some silly ideal where rich or poor a kid has exactly the same chance of making it to the top. Kinda unlikely without asset confiscation. A kid in the bottom 20% has a 9% chance of making it to the top 20% in his generation. They have their Bill Gates but also their Andrew Groves.

    http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21595437-america-no-less-socially-mobile-it-was-generation-ago-mobility-measured

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly right....the warrior is posting about forced expropriation, racial culling, robbing Peter to pay Paul, making present generations pay for alleged inequities in the past and so on and so forth.

      Life is unfair. Suck it up and deal with it instead of crying for Commie methods of forced redistribution a la Karl Marx. We all know where the Commies landed up - on the garbage dumps of history.

      Oops, forgot about China and the CCP, and how it became the big kahuna in this part of the world - naked capitalism combined with good old-fashioned Commie controls. That will make the warrior puke his guts out.....hahaha.

      Delete
    2. ".......for alleged inequities in the past and so on and so forth.

      Life is unfair. Suck it up and deal with it instead of crying for Commie methods of forced redistribution a la Karl Marx......".

      The bit up there just succintly illustrates what sort of idiotic trolls you have here as commentators. Warrior was restating the obvious, wealth inequality largely derived from income inequality affects outcomes in the long run.

      The idiots here dont seem to get that Warrior,Putnam and Hisham himself have put the obvious in different ways. And tell us where on Earth did Warrior say racial culling unless your inferiority complexed mentally challenged self feel inexplicably threatened!

      And for heaven's sake, redistribution is not solely a Marxian imperative. Forced redistribution litters histories across societies both East and West. It predates Marx. Heard of the German Revolution of 1848 or for that matter the Peasants Revolt in England way before that? I am sure you dont @anon .711 cos you are stupid like the rest of your tribe here.

      And naked capitalism in China.....hahahahaha...try telling that to China's state owned enterprises:

      http://www.wsj.com/articles/china-prepares-mergers-for-big-state-owned-enterprises-1426053543

      And the Commies are doing alright as you yourself put it,in China,Vietnam and they are alive and kicking in NKorea.

      But stupid people like you don't read or understand issues so I guess it would be a waste of time preaching to the stupid. Little wonder then you say "alleged", for colonialism and its depredations did not happen in your deluded reality.

      And I am sure you will be throwing your innards out on hearing about that reality of your stupid self.

      Delete
    3. Hei anon April 14 7.11am

      "Life is unfair. Suck it up and deal with it"

      Yeah life is unfair fuckhead and no one said it aint so. And it is precisely cos of it being unfair, there is justification for Peter to rob Paul now as Paul was robbing Peter blind with Brit backing previously.

      Now the tables are turned, the shoes are on the other feet and the Brits are no longer around...so deal with it, arsehole.

      Hope you got that ok, shithead of a dickchomping slutbitch. Now get lost, fifty cents beggar!

      Warrior 231

      Delete
    4. @anon 5.02

      I don't see equality of opportunity as being silly. But I'm certainly not arguing for a complete leveling of the playing field between rich and poor.

      Rather I'm arguing for the much more limited - but achievable - co-development of children between parents and the educational system at a much earlier age than has hitherto been done.

      Pilot studies on such intervention has shown that these can be very effective in raising educational and lifetime income outcomes across the board. This is about maximising the human capital potential of a country, not just about inequality alone.

      Delete
    5. hahahahaha....thanks for the laughs and for being your intransigent selfagain, dude. You never fail to surprise or should I say bore.......hahahahaha...

      Yeeducation but no real equality indeed!!!hahahaha

      Warrior 231

      Delete
    6. @Warrior

      Glad to have amused you Warrior. Seriously, do you honestly think complete equality is sustainable or even achievable without going whole hog the Marxist route? Oink, oink

      Delete
    7. Getting cheeky and naughty eh dude! (smile). Now listen here mate, equality need not be Marxist in orientation but so what if it is!

      The equality we are speaking of here is more of the Swedish version of things...narrow top,broad middle,narrow bottom sort of profile. In the long run that is a desirable construct and pretty sustainable. All western democracies strive for some version of it and that is why you have high tax rates or higher share of worker portion of GDP topping the minimal 40% unlike the piddling 33% here and/or "welfarism" in its various guises. All that maybe anathema to your rich fat arse tastes , why even mine but I am willing to put up with that for social stability for I have the smarts to know that in the long run, the rabble will be at my door with them butcher choppers,long knives and what have you if things remain as they are.

      Get a life man, people are getting fed up in the streets below, why even you got fed up with an effing hotel room right? (smile ; P ). Them rabble can see who is gobbling up the meat and leaving them bones to chew.

      And when that happens inequality abounds:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/10/business/economy/us-companies-thrive-as-workers-fall-behind.html?ref=floydnorris&_r=1

      http://www.dougsguides.com/content/whats (for the chart)

      As i said it may be anathema to your fat cat wealth and prurient interests but even them capitalists of your ilk knew a thing or two as to how to tamp down lest things gotta out of hand but I guess not the current oafish obdurate tribe (the nouveau rich with poor taste and poorer common sense or cents...hahahaha)

      You are too smart for all that and at least still have some sort of decency left despite all those pro-wealth, neo-liberal antics and spiel lately. So quit making all those oinking sounds and get outta that sty you find yourself in right now lest you wanna end up bacon!

      Warrior 231

      Delete
    8. Okay, ah sort of figured ah will help with yer reeducation and redemption for ah hate to see a good man or whatever remains of it mired in muck!

      Throw away yer rose-tinted glasses and observe the real world with them god given eyes for a change. This is why pansy stuff like them inheritance taxes never work when a good old no holds barred mandatory wealth tax would do:

      http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/little-people-and-estate-tax-5723?google_editors_picks=true

      or better still mandatory reparation taxes:

      http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2014/05/race-and-reparations

      that will fix colonial induced inequalities for good. And mind you, reparation advocates are not your garden or even cloud cuckoo variety:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Ogletree

      You seem to have gotten yourself into a mental funk lately dude, so ah hope those articles will jolt you outta the pro-exploitative capitalist cant you have picked up lately.

      And mind you, ah aint no Commie, just a moderate, even keeled social democrat with an eye for a dollar or two that's all.....( wink wink)

      Warrior 231

      Delete
    9. Now some additional inputs to tweak yer “twisted” thinking and reconfigure it to equilibrium. I am sure you subscribe to both these publications:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/business/yourtaxes/a-wealth-tax-would-look-beyond-income.html

      http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970203462304577139232881346686

      Just consider them as some good weekend reads that will facilitate your rehabilitation.Ok, that will do for now

      Warrior 231

      Delete
    10. Errata :

      Actually the Swede model is not as what I described it to be. It's even better! The last I checked its the closest to a "communist"(hahaha) utopia you can ever get.Only thing is that it is made of two classes : the middle and the elite i.e a narrow top and a vast middle with no bottom.

      Well...... not quite utopia yet simply because wealth inequality remains an intractable problem as elsewhere:

      https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/pubeco/v96y2012i5p474-484.html

      http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2014/05/wealth-inequality-in-sweden.html

      That is why I say that this obsession of yours with income inequality is misplaced : D. In other word, you have lost the wood for the trees,dude...hahaha

      Whatever..the Swedish model (despite all its shortcomings) trumps a thieving, conning, laundering faking meritocracy Singaporkian model any time!!

      Warrior 231

      Delete
    11. @Warrior

      Dude, I told you before, I have an agenda, and I know what I'm doing. I'm not going to write a complete manifesto on reducing inequality every time I touch one or the other aspect of it. There are many facets to inequality, and not all of them can be addressed the same way.

      Hey, and cut the abuse of other commentators willya? I appreciate your points and your contributions, but others might not see it that way. Getting a consensus on inequality issues is enough without hardening the opposition.

      Delete
    12. He's more of a Krugman than a Friedman or a Samuelson.... hahaha!

      Ironic, isn't it, that in the current UK election campaign, the Conservatives and Labour are running virtually neck-to-neck in the opinion polls?

      That the traditional party of the landowners and business interests is getting as much traction as the lets-soak-the-rich Labor Party.

      And which further shows that a fairly substantial portion of the British electorate are not moved by the UK's high GINI coefficient.

      Now, what was that about Maggie Thatcher again?

      Hahaha....

      Delete
  7. Like plants and other life forms in the rural areas, it will take twenty years or more to see improvements that stick:

    1. sticky policies

    Politicians should be unstuck. Two mornings ago, the minister came out of the hotel. He had just finished his breakfast. He barked at his driver for water and washed his hands from the bottle. Then he got onto the backseat and was driven off. Followed by an entourage of new, gleaming, impressive and expensive vehicles.

    What was his entourage? To protect him from being lynched by traders? To give him an aura of feudal patronage? To powerize his presence over rational objections to his political gametry? (i'm inventing words as i go along but you get the drift).

    Lest you miss why i wrote that, it's the cost of the entourage that i am focused on. Including the hanger-on's who follow him around like mindless serfs with nary an arrogance-punctured conscience, the cost would if converted into cash - and it's all from taxpayers like the traders he tar - be usable to form a pool of funds that can buy or rent even second-hand mobile vans or trucks that can be offered for a song so that the rural poor who have ideas of their own to improve their lot can get access to the assets that make it happen.

    This one for the widow who needs such an access to ferry fish to the construction workers so that she can improve on her monthly income.

    Multiply such needs across the land and cross-check against the economic ruin visited by the politicians who have gone from millions to billions, from vehicles to jetplanes, from labuan to caymans, and you can see how any policy even if well-couched in spin cannot work over a twenty year time horizon - because no money no sticky.

    Corruption of power and taxpayers money is the first and most important thing that must go. If it stays around, it not only destroys the present but the future of not just the poor but also the hardworking rich and the innocent young of the future.

    And worst, it creates a mindset in the poor parents that it is alright because they are after all getting some free pocket money from the same politicians who then take it they have a license to continue their ripoffs.

    That mindset is self-defeating. Because they are not going to get the same chance that opportunistic and unethical retards like that minister had.

    And no one saw what watch he was wearing. Mickey Mouse? Nah!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 2. religion in rural communities

      The rural poor are religious, melayu and down.

      In one day of each January, the rural areas are emptied of people. Highways are quiet, women sit under the shed and their men have all disappeared. They are all in the mosques.

      When they return on that day, those who are inclined will sit with their children and pray together. The children will recite from the Holy Book.

      Can you see the embedded structure? Men provide, women succor and children obey. In a community locked in time to some unspoken order that keeps the status quo by religious instruction as the last hope against an unquestioned but nonetheless painful takdir.

      And the nexus of it are the parents.

      Just as the feudal patronage of corrupt politicians must be removed, the status quo mindset must be replaced.

      But it will take time. Because the men will not want to see their women equate with them in status so that half the parent component is already internally misaligned.

      Nevertheless, religion is fine. It arches over all because He exists. But no tree will grow if seed is not planted. No seed will grow if water, baja and sunlight are not provided. And those things will work the less effectively if weeds are not removed and care is not taken against voracious insects.

      To open a path to Him in the sky, one must thus by the same analogy tend to the weak and needy on the ground with the same compassion as He has shown in manifold mysterious ways.

      However the effort distribution ratio has to be: 20:80 (what else?)

      Twenty percent for Him, eighty per cent for you and me.

      Give Him twenty percent focus, and devote all of the rest to curing present ills.

      Delete
  8. Let me rephrase the question at April 13, 2015 at 1:45 PM

    Is there any study also being done to close that kind of gap in adults? I mean, ways and means less or uneducated adults to actually upgrade their cerebral capital ? I read one of the postings in Slate magazine about the difficulties endured by adults who enroll in tertiary education because their jobs promotions and salary raise required them to do so. As it turned out, the lecturer who taught one particular subject (English writing and research) found that most of these adults can't pass the class. One main reason he pointed out was that these students need to go to more basic grounding in their learning, like high school level.

    So, I wonder if there's any such study or investigation carried out in the inequality literature?

    Would love to know if there's one

    _Phlogiston_

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hie guys, if any of you know of such discussions I inquire on I'd love to read on them... thanks

    _Phlogiston_

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Phlogiston

      Sorry, been busy lately.

      I don't think the literature on adult education (I can't believe I wrote that) focuses on inequality per se, more on changes in incomes or employment. Here the evidence is mixed - some find such programs are effective in raising incomes, while others don't.

      Here's a sampling:

      https://ideas.repec.org/a/fip/fedhep/y2005iqiip47-66nv.29no.2.html

      https://ideas.repec.org/p/wbk/wbrwps/946.html

      https://ideas.repec.org/a/ilr/articl/v58y2005i3p398-415.html

      https://ideas.repec.org/a/bla/pacecr/v8y2003i1p79-98.html

      https://ideas.repec.org/a/mes/prectr/v53y2010i1p5-16.html

      https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/wbrobs/v13y1998i1p79-101.html

      http://www.ilo.org/public/libdoc/ilo/2012/112B09_79_engl.pdf

      The sense I get is that at best, such workers get a minor boost to income, but this does very little to reduce income inequality

      Delete