Coming Apart by Charles Murray

Posted by: islandofapples

Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 08:52 AM

Anyone reading this book?
I'm kind of intrigued, but he wrote The Bell Curve and some people really hate him for that book and think he is a total quack. I don't really want to waste my time on it if it is a pointless read...
Posted by: Austin

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 08:57 AM

I'd read both and make up your own mind.

Most people who criticized the first book did not read it.

A friend who does public planning read "Coming Apart" and it mirrors what she sees in working with the schools and developers. Its deeply troubling.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 09:08 AM

Unraveling and crisis eras are always fun.
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 09:24 AM

Ok. How about the books - Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, The Idle Parent, or The Nurture Assumption?
I always read all the negative reviews first and these have plenty.

I just read Free-Range Kids and enjoyed it. I'm looking for another one to enjoy on my Kindle for my Sunday afternoon reading. wink

I like how controversial The Nurture Assumption is sounding. I heard about that book and Selfish Reasons from a thread here.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 09:30 AM

Originally Posted By: islandofapples
Anyone reading this book?
I'm kind of intrigued, but he wrote The Bell Curve and some people really hate him for that book and think he is a total quack. I don't really want to waste my time on it if it is a pointless read...


I have read Murray's "The Bell Curve" and "Real Education" and recommend them, and plan to read "Coming Apart".

A summary of Murray's work from someone who does not share his political views is

http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/what-to-do-about-coming-apart/
What to Do About ‘Coming Apart’
By THOMAS B. EDSALL
New York Times
February 12, 2012 .

Bell Curve issues have been debated regularly on this forum, for example in the thread "Gifted or Not" http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/BB/ubbthreads.php/topics/96112/1.html . I doubt that previous participants in these debates have changed their minds or have much new to say. I don't.
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 09:42 AM

Bostonian -
I read Real Education, too, and loved it! I forgot he wrote that. That book was the first one I read where the author was brave enough to say, "Maybe some kids just aren't smart enough and we should admit that."
I think I will be reading Coming Apart.
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 09:50 AM

Reading it on the Kindle Cloud reader and liking it already. Ah, how simple the 60's were. He is a pretty good story teller.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 09:56 AM

Originally Posted By: islandofapples
Bostonian -
I read Real Education, too, and loved it! I forgot he wrote that. That book was the first one I read where the author was brave enough to say, "Maybe some kids just aren't smart enough and we should admit that."
I think I will be reading Coming Apart.


It really depends on training. I've represented a number of mentally retarded people who have been able to hold down jobs just fine for many years. The last person I had tested had an IQ of 55.

The way I tend to think about it is that the lower IQ you have, the more external structure you need. So, the question becomes "smart enough" to perform or do what kind of task.
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 10:08 AM

Originally Posted By: JonLaw
Originally Posted By: islandofapples
Bostonian -
I read Real Education, too, and loved it! I forgot he wrote that. That book was the first one I read where the author was brave enough to say, "Maybe some kids just aren't smart enough and we should admit that."
I think I will be reading Coming Apart.


It really depends on training. I've represented a number of mentally retarded people who have been able to hold down jobs just fine for many years. The last person I had tested had an IQ of 55.

The way I tend to think about it is that the lower IQ you have, the more external structure you need. So, the question becomes "smart enough" to perform or do what kind of task.


He just made the point that maybe we are sending too many kids to college and that we need to accept that some children should be sent along a track that will give them other skills in different trades, etc. And that maybe some kids literally can't learn everything we want them to.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 10:49 AM

Originally Posted By: islandofapples
He just made the point that maybe we are sending too many kids to college and that we need to accept that some children should be sent along a track that will give them other skills in different trades, etc. And that maybe some kids literally can't learn everything we want them to.


College is the new high school with respect to jobs. That is to say jobs that used to require a high school diploma now require a college education. Our receptionist has a college education. My legal assistant has a college education.

These days, it's mostly a place to lard students up with debt and store them for a few years as far as I can tell.
Posted by: Val

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 11:03 AM

I bought the book yesterday. Will report back when I've read a chunk of it.
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 12:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Val
I bought the book yesterday. Will report back when I've read a chunk of it.


I'm working my way through it and I very much suspect many of us will completely identify with the "new upper class". I definitely identify with that culture, but my husband and I are still trying to make our way. We can't afford to live exactly how we want to. But both of us are smart enough that we could have gone to good colleges... if our lives had been different.

So far I feel really grateful that Murray has isolated this sub culture and explained it in detail. I now have a way to talk about it and think about it and understand why what we are interested in is so different from what all of our neighbors are interested in (even beyond the "gifted" thing.)

I'm just not sure how I picked up a culture that I've barely been exposed to... completely through books and certain places I've lived, I guess. My dad also picked up a lot when he moved to a bigger city. My husband picked up new preferences through me.


EDIT: Ah. Overeducated Elitist Snob syndrome. Well I won't be using that phrase. This is HIGHLY interesting, though. Can't wait to see what he has to say about his.
Probably no one here wants to admit to being one of those. I guess I will!

Goddddd. Way to beat "SuperZips" to death. lol. The USA map looks like a list of all the top places DH and I picked to settle (in our dreams, anyway.)

Posted by: mithawk

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 01:46 PM

I bought "Coming Apart" a week ago and have read about half of the book so far. This is my first exposure to Charles Murray and I am enjoying the book.

Part 1 of the book is about the increasing income spread between the top quintile and the remaining quintiles, and the reasons behind it. This part is fact based and should arouse little controversy. Here are the reasons (that I remember) that he cites for this income spread:

1. Increasing return to IQ. Many well-paying occupations require the completion of a professional degree, and a minimum IQ (e.g. 115) is required to complete these demanding degrees.
2. The College Sorting Machine: Fifty years ago, the average IQ of the Ivy League schools was little different from other colleges, but that rapidly changed. Today, the top schools capture a disproportionate share of highly talented people.
3. Homogamy: These intelligent people that are concentrated in certain colleges or in certain prestige professions tend to marry each other, a practice he defines as homogamy. Since intelligence is at least partially inherited, the children are likely to also be more intelligent than average.
4. Concentration into "SuperZips". The successful people want to live in nice neighborhoods with good schools, and while each person makes an independent decision, as a group they concentrate themselves into a small subset of desirable zip codes he calls "SuperZips". SuperZips are upper-middle class or wealthy towns that hold what he calls the "broad elite". The broad elite consists of professionals (doctors, lawyers, engineers) that roughly are in the top 5% of income.

The net result of this segregation is that the children of professionals become socially isolated from the world at large. He has a 25-question quiz that determines how well you fit in with the rest of society. Questions include:

* Do you have a close friend that is an evangelical Christian?
* In the last month, have you purchased mass market beer (Bud, Bud Lite, Busch, Miller, etc.)?
* Have you ever spent a year in poverty?
* Do you know anyone who despite significant effort, could only get "C"s in high school?
* Have you ever watched an episode of Oprah or Judge Judy to completion?
* In the last month, have you intentionally socialized with someone who was smoking a cigarette?

I had DD13 take a portion of this test (the parts that were appropriate for her age) and she scored much lower than I would have at that age for the same questions. But then I grew up in a poor town, and she is growing up in one of the SuperZips listed in the book.

The second part of this book describes what he thinks are the reasons for a new white underclass. This part is controversial, but he lays out ample evidence . In particular, he cites the decline of four key virtues: Marriage, Religion, Industrious and Honesty. He compares the shifts in these virtues between a fictionalized Belmont, MA (a SuperZip) and Fishtown, PA (8th percentile in income). He pays particular attention to the increase of illegitimate children and the negative outcomes that it has on children.

I am now reading Part 3, and will add more when I finish the book.
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 03:19 PM

I'm feeling a little turned off by this book so far.
He knows exactly who his audience is... us... the "new upper class white people". He tries to knock us down a peg or two or at least show us how ignorant we are when it comes to other white Americans and how they are leading their lives...

And now, in Part two, I feel like we are dispassionately dissecting the lives and motives of the "lower class whites" and trying to decide what we are going to do about them and their departure from important American values. It is like an academic exercise or like analyzing a tribe of "barbarians" or gorillas.

I would be so offended by this entire book if I was the sort of person that would be living in Fishtown, but of course, the chances of me actually being interested in his book if I was are pretty slim. (But I also grew up in a Fishtown-ish town and I know a large number of cohabitating couples with young babies right now...)

So I feel like we're peering into a world we supposedly know nothing about and we're analyzing and judging it for the worse.

(My husband and I could do quite well on his little test, though, because neither of us come from upper class families to begin with.)

I guess we can all be offended by the OES term, too, though.

I still haven't figured out where Murray is going with this and I'm almost halfway through the book.


(Also, he pointed out in the beginning that white people will be a minority come mid-century, so who cares anyway? Shouldn't we be looking to the culture that is emerging now across the board with all types of people?)
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 05:26 PM

Originally Posted By: islandofapples
(Also, he pointed out in the beginning that white people will be a minority come mid-century, so who cares anyway? Shouldn't we be looking to the culture that is emerging now across the board with all types of people?)


That's "non-hispanic" white people. English, French, German, Polish, Italians, and Irish mostly.

White hispanic people are still white. And the white population (if you count the Spaniards) is going to drop from about 80% to 74% by mid-century.

Someone explain to me why the Spanish are excluded from everybody else.
Posted by: Val

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 05:41 PM

Caucasian people include Europeans, North Africans, West Asians,and many others (see this Wikipedia entry). But if you really want the nitty gritty details about the US, read the Wikipedia article on whiteness in America.



Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 06:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Val
Caucasian people include Europeans, North Africans, West Asians,and many others (see this Wikipedia entry). But if you really want the nitty gritty details about the US, read the Wikipedia article on whiteness in America.


Looks like I nailed the top immigrant-supplying non-Spanish European countries without even looking!

Winning!
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 06:51 PM

I assumed white mostly meant to old wave of immigrants from Europe... from Italy, Poland, England, Ireland, Russia, Spain, France... etc.

The immigrants are mostly Hispanic... from South America. (There are plenty of families in South America, especially Argentina, who will tell you they are "white" because their ancestors came over from Spain, Italy, Germany, etc., as recently as WW2. But if they then move here, I think we still mostly lump them in as "Hispanic".)
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 07:21 PM

Ok. I finished. I'm still processing the book in my mind, but I'm going to at least try to sum up what I think the point was.

The book did NOT go where I thought it was going to go and I feel a little perplexed. There were a lot of statistics and graphs, but not about some things that I think needed to be included for Murray to make a cohesive argument.

The founding fathers of America felt that our constitution could only successfully govern a virtuous people... and important virtues include honesty / integrity, industriousness, marriage, and being religious (even though the founding fathers weren't that religious themselves.)

Murray shows how a sense of community and trusting that other people are honest, fair and worth trusting increases happiness. He also shows how marriage, meaningful work and religion all do the same.

He thinks these are important to a well-functioning society, and that these are important reasons why America was great and unique and what we need to get back to if we are to keep ourselves from turning into more of a "welfare state".

(He is a Libertarian and sees the end in sight for welfare states like in Europe. He predicts science will show us exactly why 2 parent homes are so good for children... that human beings are wired to need meaningful work and responsibility for outcomes (meaning social safety nets hinder this) etc.)


Now...

The new upper class (the top 5%) is the "creative class" that rose in power due to cognitive ability. The power is likely to stay with this new class because IQ was responsible for their rise to power, and since IQ is hereditary, these families aren't likely to lose their status in 3 generations (as was the stereotype about rich and powerful families in the past.)

Each generation of upper class children is getting further removed from the reality of life as it is for most Americans. He made a very good case for how past generations of those in power were not as far removed from what the average American experienced and that they even interacted with regular Americans. Now, the upper class have segregated themselves and children born into that class don't really even come into contact with "normal" Americans. So the people in power are becoming more and more out of touch.

The new upper class values the same virtues Murray says the founding fathers did. He shows that since the 1960's the new upper class has kept a fairly high rate of marriage, has low crime rates in the places they tend to live, has a low rate of arrests, participates more in civic activities and is more likely to be religious.

The lower class has gone way downhill... A huge number of mothers cohabitate and give birth out of wedlock. The men are useless and don't work very much.... People in these communities are far less likely to engage in any sort of community activity than they were in the 60s. They are all less happy because of this, apparently.

He goes on to show that his thesis applies to all Americans in the lower and new upper class, not just whites, too.

(I wish he would have spent more time describing what the outcomes for the next generation of babies in the lower class he describes will be. He barely touched upon the poor outcomes for children of single mothers and such.)

Anyway, he makes a point for all of this and then basically says that the new upper class is weak. They don't LEAD by example, but rather they are very politically correct and preach a culture of "niceness" where you aren't allowed to say if you think one way of living is better than another.

He thinks the upper class needs to preach what it practices and lead by example, or we're going to go the way of most great nations....

Other nations fall when the leaders lose confidence in themselves, adopt the "vulgar" customs of the lower classes (as the upper class has been doing... and you can see that if you look at the media and such which they control and create) and basically implode.

He figures that if the new upper class doesn't start caring about what is happening to the rest of America, that our policies will just keep moving the direction they have been (toward more of a welfare state) and that will be the end of what made our nation great.


Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/19/12 07:37 PM

Now... My opinion on it.

The whole premise just sounds kind of weak when you sum it up. When you are reading it it seems so scientific and like he went to great trouble with his statistics, but he didn't convince me about the "virtues" he chose, even though I do agree that they correlate with an overall increase in how happy a person is likely to feel.


The main thing that struck me about this, was the part about how political correctness may be our undoing. We can't deal with social issues if we are unwilling to admit that some situations DO have better outcomes than others.

As long as we say things about single parent homes just being "different" from married parent homes or say that some children just learn "differently", but all should get the same sort of education... then I think we'll continue to make little progress as a society.

Most well-educated members of the new upper class shudder at anyone who acts self-righteous (like their Christian/heterosexual/whatever way is the only way).
That dislike for "close-minded" behavior partially comes from what is taught in a liberal university. And I think tolerance is fine, up to a point, but not if it degrades into something so ridiculous that society is just falling apart at the seams.

I really dove into that way of thinking when I was a teenager and started taking some college courses (like Women's Studies), but I eventually came up for air.

I decided that I don't accept that "all ways are equally worthy" or that "No way is better than another way." It started to seem to me like a serious cop-out. How EASY it is to just say that instead of asking some hard questions that might have some difficult to swallow answers? The political correctness is an extreme reaction to the stifling close-mindedness and racism/ sexism of earlier times. We have to find a balance now. Neither extreme is good!

(Unless this "play nice" society is just the new normal and it is OK if the divide between the upper and lower classes just keeps getting wider, as Murray thinks it will....)



I read another book awhile back - Dark Ages: The Case for A Science of Human Behavior by Lee McIntyre and I believe the author argued a similar case, but he left out the bits about preserving our great nation.

Dark Ages was all about how social scientists don't want to have to ask or honestly answer the tough questions that might have answers that we don't want to hear.

We don't want to hear that the sexes are BORN different and that it isn't all social conditioning (as Murray states in his book, we are beginning to find out that men and women are really hardwired differently, like in how they react to babies, and "nurture" doesn't seem to play into it. It is all nature.)

We don't want to find out that some people really do have a lower IQ and can't do the work...

We wouldn't want to come to the conclusion that some students (perhaps the gifted ones) would benefit society in far greater numbers if they were given a bigger chunk of the money pie...

We don't want to hear that two parent homes really are the best and that we, as a society, should aim for that...

We can't say formula feeding puts your baby at risk (You have to say - Not breastfeeding puts your baby at risk!)-- because formula feeding or breastfeeding is a CHOICE and whatever a mom chooses needs to be respected.

And it would be really bad if we found out that babies do better if mom stays home or that the whole family does better when gender roles are clear and traditional.

Now I'm just totally making some of that up, but no one really wants to find out anything that disrupts what we would currently like to be true.

We've worked VERY HARD for the right to choose how we want to live and work and we want to be able to make our own choices and not get judged. But what if it turns out some of our new "improvements" aren't good for the long-term outcomes of society, or children or even of our own happiness?

While "real" science has made all kinds of discoveries, social science hasn't yet been able to help us eradicate crime or child abuse and McIntyre blames it on us really being afraid of what we'll find.




Now I hope someone engages in a juicy conversation with me about this because there is NO way I have anyone in real life to talk with about this stuff at the moment! (And my husband and I agree on this stuff, so the convo ends quickly.)
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 01:01 AM

Interesting. I haven't read the book. But what you say of it does dovetail with a lot of the very challenging thinking I have been doing about life, my kids, myself since leaping down the gifted rabbit hole last year.

I never gave it much thought but looking back I guess I grew up with the assumption that there were the Einsteins of the world, and those who were clearly mentally impaired, and that everyone else in the middle was basically the same and what they did with it was choice and circumstance. I was really annoyed by how all the other kids in my school were always pretending to be stupid, or just couldn't be bothered understanding (this was my genuinely held belief, which I now realise was probably misplaced).

As an adult I had kids and concluded that I did not believe in nature OR nurture being exclusively responsible for how my kids BEHAVED and that the truth was in the middle. Leaning towards nature being key and nuture bringing out their best (or worst). I still didn't really think about how this nature/nurture thing might apply to their intellectual potential.

Then I started reading, learning and thinking about gifted. I now find myself believing that IQ is significantly heritable (though I do believe it is also changable and that the brain is plastic), believing that my kids other Es are also significantly heritable, knowing for a fact that I have inherited nasty auto-immune disease related genes from my Dad, and being pretty sure I can predict which of my kids have those genes. It's been quite confronting to my long standing beliefs that we are all fairly equal in potential (if not opportunity).

I don't know whether to be hopeful or utterly depressed.

Hmmm. I don't think that added anything useful. Time for dinner.
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 01:05 AM

The point I had in mind when I started my last post was that all this thinking about how much is heritable puts me in the uncomfortable position of yes questioning how much behaviour IS hormonally driven? How much behaviour IS genetically programed. How much IS traditional life biologically driven and to be ignored at our peril. I don't know. It's interesting though.

As is the challenge to preach what one practices.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 05:50 AM

Originally Posted By: MumOfThree
As is the challenge to preach what one practices.


That's the easiest part. The preaching, that is.

The practicing is harder.
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 07:05 AM

Well, Murray's main points have more to do with upholding certain virtues as the leaders of America, but... yeah, I think the part about how he expects us to abandon some of the PC stuff will be the hardest hurdle.

If you hang around the new upper class, there is no way to even easily explain it to your peers if you suddenly start making statements that sound (to them) more self-righteous. They'll likely just think that you've turned into a jerk if you start deciding some ways of acting or living ARE better than some other ways.

Although, they will completely accept it if you want to sound a tad self-righteous about good clean organic food, microbrewery beer vs inferior bud, green living, and possibly some natural parenting principles... ha! At least I am one person who has no problem preaching what I practice, in this regard.

I think the NUC is setting a great example by adopting green behaviors and looking for clean food. Those choices will filter down into the masses and will benefit everyone. Organic food is even now more widely available and cheaper than it has ever been and green living is getting talked about more and more. Better nutrition means healthier and smarter children in all social classes. That is a good start in my opinion.

So are we supposed to broach the topic of marriage? Or at least admit to ourselves the truth about the class divide, as Murray sees it?

Is the hardest part actually accepting that if we (well the NUC, anyway) are in power, we need to admit our advantage and power and actually accept the responsibility of doing the right things with it? Because right now the NUC isn't handling their power very wisely. They don't really try to set a good example and they don't have a "moral" code to live by, except for that weak "be nice" one...

Saying all choices are equal is a really weak excuse for the NUC to basically do whatever they want, take what they want, show what they want in the media, do things that seem obscene to regular people (like take millions of dollars in pay and build giant homes) and then just say "Everyone needs to live and let live and that's it."

Yet, they do have a true responsibility to set some sort of example and to try and understand the rest of the people in America who are affected by their choices.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 07:48 AM

Originally Posted By: islandofapples
I assumed white mostly meant to old wave of immigrants from Europe... from Italy, Poland, England, Ireland, Russia, Spain, France... etc.

The immigrants are mostly Hispanic... from South America. (There are plenty of families in South America, especially Argentina, who will tell you they are "white" because their ancestors came over from Spain, Italy, Germany, etc., as recently as WW2. But if they then move here, I think we still mostly lump them in as "Hispanic".)


Your cultural bias is showing. Mexicans and Central Americans are white, too. They're not just saying they're white, either. They are.

Spanish and Portuguese settlers did not make excluding aborigines from society a goal, as the English did, and as a result their DNA did mix more. But considering the mass exterminations of aborigines (accidental and otherwise) that occurred all over the hemisphere, there's little enough aborigine DNA remaining that the overall population, except in certain isolated areas, is overwhelmingly Caucasoid.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 08:05 AM

Originally Posted By: Dude
Originally Posted By: islandofapples
I assumed white mostly meant to old wave of immigrants from Europe... from Italy, Poland, England, Ireland, Russia, Spain, France... etc.

The immigrants are mostly Hispanic... from South America. (There are plenty of families in South America, especially Argentina, who will tell you they are "white" because their ancestors came over from Spain, Italy, Germany, etc., as recently as WW2. But if they then move here, I think we still mostly lump them in as "Hispanic".)


Your cultural bias is showing. Mexicans and Central Americans are white, too. They're not just saying they're white, either. They are.

Spanish and Portuguese settlers did not make excluding aborigines from society a goal, as the English did, and as a result their DNA did mix more. But considering the mass exterminations of aborigines (accidental and otherwise) that occurred all over the hemisphere, there's little enough aborigine DNA remaining that the overall population, except in certain isolated areas, is overwhelmingly Caucasoid.


As I like to say, North and South America are just Europe seen through a funhouse mirror.
Posted by: Austin

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 08:44 AM

My comments below are my observations from knowing people from all walks of life and political persuasion. Please do not assume that I have a dog in the fight one way or the other.

Originally Posted By: JonLaw
He just made the point that maybe we are sending too many kids to college


One of my first tasks when I started managing people was to drop college degree from the job description and from the corresponding job reqs. I don't need an Einstein to reboot servers.

I do need a couple of super smart people, but everyone else just needs to be articulate, disciplined and honest. I could care less if they even finished HS.

Originally Posted By: islandofapples

Now I hope someone engages in a juicy conversation with me about this because there is NO way I have anyone in real life to talk with about this stuff at the moment! (And my husband and I agree on this stuff, so the convo ends quickly.)


But you are married. You live the base values. Same for my wife and I. Even if though we appear to be on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Day to day our lives are very similar. People with very varied views and from all walks of life and all nationalities provide a stable home for kids.

IMHO, for men, work is the way they get "civilized." I saw it when I farmed, I saw it in the Army, and I see it at my job now. It teaches people how to interact rationally to further the goals of the company. It binds people to a community and gives their lives purpose. So does family. And Church. And clubs. And other organizations.

I know quite a few people who are in the bottom 10%. Their lives are chaos. Much of their problems have to do with immediate gratification and emotional immaturity. And a lot has to do with drugs or the heavy media culture (TV) that promotes immediate gratification.

And men are not held accountable for leaving their families and women are not held accountable for stealing a husband.
Our society is highly mobile and people can easily cut and run.

I know of two cases where women have able bodied husbands with jobs and 2 and 4 kids where the man left. That is unnacceptable. These men would take a bullet for their kids, so what is a little pain each day to be there for them? Again, immediate reward vs long term success.

Another problem is that our current social safety net rewards women who leave their husbands while the kids are not of age. In the past, the families were held together by economic necessity. There are a number of "single mom success stories" that gloss over the hundreds of others who struggle and whose kids are wrecks. Its up to the school, sports coaches, scouting coaches, and others to be their dads and its not enough. Its very painful to watch.

And our tax policy punishes marriage. If my wife and I divorced, we'd bring home a lot more after taxes. What kind of message does that send? If we'd lived in sin from the beginning, we'd have 50K more in the bank. That's not chump change.

Originally Posted By: islandofapples

So are we supposed to broach the topic of marriage? Or at least admit to ourselves the truth about the class divide, as Murray sees it?...

Yet, they do have a true responsibility to set some sort of example and to try and understand the rest of the people in America who are affected by their choices.


The "white man's burden" comes up for discussion again.

A hard discussion about delayed gratification and doing one's duty is the most important one to have and the most important example to set. But it is not.

Show me one TV show or movie that discusses this that is not Christian in its source. And show me a "secular" show that does not make fun of this. Modern Family is fun to watch. But its not reality.

At its root, the Church is about moral education. That is why it so successful at creating social stability. What passes for moral education in society today is "eating green" or "saving the whales" not "staying married for your kids" or "do not steal a spouse." or "do not get pregnant until you are ready."

But these are "old fashioned" values that are seen as tied to religion, rather than facts of the human condition regardless of the time or place.

Some more reading:

The rise of a large group of rootless people is nothing new.

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

Some other ideas on decline and rebirth.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strauss-Howe_generational_theory

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

http://nextbigfuture.com/2010/12/summary-of-dr-bruce-cordells.html
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 09:01 AM



All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 09:07 AM

Originally Posted By: Dude
Originally Posted By: islandofapples
I assumed white mostly meant to old wave of immigrants from Europe... from Italy, Poland, England, Ireland, Russia, Spain, France... etc.

The immigrants are mostly Hispanic... from South America. (There are plenty of families in South America, especially Argentina, who will tell you they are "white" because their ancestors came over from Spain, Italy, Germany, etc., as recently as WW2. But if they then move here, I think we still mostly lump them in as "Hispanic".)


Your cultural bias is showing. Mexicans and Central Americans are white, too. They're not just saying they're white, either. They are.

Spanish and Portuguese settlers did not make excluding aborigines from society a goal, as the English did, and as a result their DNA did mix more. But considering the mass exterminations of aborigines (accidental and otherwise) that occurred all over the hemisphere, there's little enough aborigine DNA remaining that the overall population, except in certain isolated areas, is overwhelmingly Caucasoid.



Yes, I totally agree with you. I'm just saying that from a cultural perspective and what people *think* "white" means, most people just automatically assume if you are from South America, you are "Hispanic". At least just about every person I've ever met seems to have that idea in their minds.
People from South America know that isn't the case, though and they have their own ideas about race / color.
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 09:09 AM

Originally Posted By: JonLaw


All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.


So say we all.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 09:34 AM

Wow.

Rather than respond to various claims made in this thread which I find ignorant, offensive, and/or laughable, I'll merely suggest that this thread has wandered into political/philosophical ground that is considered inappropriate to this particular forum.
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 09:39 AM

Originally Posted By: Austin
My comments below are my observations from knowing people from all walks of life and political persuasion. Please do not assume that I have a dog in the fight one way or the other.

Originally Posted By: JonLaw
He just made the point that maybe we are sending too many kids to college


One of my first tasks when I started managing people was to drop college degree from the job description and from the corresponding job reqs. I don't need an Einstein to reboot servers.

I do need a couple of super smart people, but everyone else just needs to be articulate, disciplined and honest. I could care less if they even finished HS.

Originally Posted By: islandofapples

Now I hope someone engages in a juicy conversation with me about this because there is NO way I have anyone in real life to talk with about this stuff at the moment! (And my husband and I agree on this stuff, so the convo ends quickly.)


But you are married. You live the base values. Same for my wife and I. Even if though we appear to be on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Day to day our lives are very similar. People with very varied views and from all walks of life and all nationalities provide a stable home for kids.

IMHO, for men, work is the way they get "civilized." I saw it when I farmed, I saw it in the Army, and I see it at my job now. It teaches people how to interact rationally to further the goals of the company. It binds people to a community and gives their lives purpose. So does family. And Church. And clubs. And other organizations.

I know quite a few people who are in the bottom 10%. Their lives are chaos. Much of their problems have to do with immediate gratification and emotional immaturity. And a lot has to do with drugs or the heavy media culture (TV) that promotes immediate gratification.

And men are not held accountable for leaving their families and women are not held accountable for stealing a husband.
Our society is highly mobile and people can easily cut and run.

I know of two cases where women have able bodied husbands with jobs and 2 and 4 kids where the man left. That is unnacceptable. These men would take a bullet for their kids, so what is a little pain each day to be there for them? Again, immediate reward vs long term success.

Another problem is that our current social safety net rewards women who leave their husbands while the kids are not of age. In the past, the families were held together by economic necessity. There are a number of "single mom success stories" that gloss over the hundreds of others who struggle and whose kids are wrecks. Its up to the school, sports coaches, scouting coaches, and others to be their dads and its not enough. Its very painful to watch.

And our tax policy punishes marriage. If my wife and I divorced, we'd bring home a lot more after taxes. What kind of message does that send? If we'd lived in sin from the beginning, we'd have 50K more in the bank. That's not chump change.

Originally Posted By: islandofapples

So are we supposed to broach the topic of marriage? Or at least admit to ourselves the truth about the class divide, as Murray sees it?...

Yet, they do have a true responsibility to set some sort of example and to try and understand the rest of the people in America who are affected by their choices.


The "white man's burden" comes up for discussion again.

A hard discussion about delayed gratification and doing one's duty is the most important one to have and the most important example to set. But it is not.

Show me one TV show or movie that discusses this that is not Christian in its source. And show me a "secular" show that does not make fun of this. Modern Family is fun to watch. But its not reality.

At its root, the Church is about moral education. That is why it so successful at creating social stability. What passes for moral education in society today is "eating green" or "saving the whales" not "staying married for your kids" or "do not steal a spouse." or "do not get pregnant until you are ready."

But these are "old fashioned" values that are seen as tied to religion, rather than facts of the human condition regardless of the time or place.

Some more reading:

The rise of a large group of rootless people is nothing new.

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

Some other ideas on decline and rebirth.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strauss-Howe_generational_theory

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

http://nextbigfuture.com/2010/12/summary-of-dr-bruce-cordells.html



Well, I agree with you about all of that, ha.

I know quite a few families that are in that lower bracket and I've seen many many instances where the mom and dad don't get married (but sometimes do cohabitate), because if they got married, the mom would lose the government health benefits, food stamps, etc. My best friend from high school actually did this.

I don't really negatively judge her too much for her choices, but if I'm honest, I'd say that the culture she is living in (the depressed town where I grew up) really supports that sort of lifestyle. All her friends are doing the same, so it is the new normal.

But I do see laziness. Her boyfriend does work and provide, but isn't as mature as I expect a man with two kids to be. She could have taken online classes at a community college - completely for free, on the government's dime, but kept putting it off and then decided to have a second baby.

I want to say "It is her life, she can do what she wants."... but I'm falling into the trap of political correctness, then.

Some things are harder for her.. She didn't have an education and probably isn't right for a 4 year college, but I think could certainly do fine in a 2 year program.

If she went back to work at her crappy job, it barely paid for the day care and didn't have health insurance.

If she married her boyfriend (he has a manual labor job that pays about double minimum wage), his income was high enough that it would disqualify her for medicaid and food stamps... but it wasn't high enough for them to actually pay for health care! And the employer didn't offer any sort of affordable option for them to pay into.

Diapers, formula and baby food are fairly expensive for someone on a low income, but breastfeeding and cloth diapers aren't really supported or very well-known. Everyone also feeds their kids really processed unhealthy junk food-- because it is cheap and it is the "norm".

So they are spending all their money on this stuff and don't have the support or knowledge about how to buy and make healthy home made food (or why they should do that)... and money saving things like cloth diapers (which can work for a low income mom who stays home and has access to a washer and dryer) or breastfeeding (instead of costly formula and the reason these moms like wic and food stamps...)

She could have made much better choices, but the culture permeating her area supports the choices she ended up making. So that is the first problem and is the reason Murrary thinks we need to bring back his favored "virtues".

Plenty of educated people would say that I'm imposing my own values about healthy eating and saving money onto another group of people and that that is unfair / offensive / etc... but that is the whole point Murray was trying to make. We aren't willing to impose anything on anyone or say one way is better than another even if it is or might be.


But the second issue he doesn't address is how to bring us out of it. His solution is to just get rid of the social programs. In the short run this would mess up a lot of people's lives... But he might be right in the long run. Because if that safety net wasn't there, more men would have to take care of their families and you wouldn't have the catch 22 I mentioned above.

He also pointed out that men used to take pride in taking care of their family, but now the government covers the basics for this group and the incentive to "step up" and do whatever it takes is somewhat gone.

But something HAS to be done about the cost of health care. Seriously. It is way out of line with what at least 1/3 of Americans can even afford.
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 09:41 AM

Originally Posted By: Dude
Wow.

Rather than respond to various claims made in this thread which I find ignorant, offensive, and/or laughable, I'll merely suggest that this thread has wandered into political/philosophical ground that is considered inappropriate to this particular forum.


I just want to say that all the inflammatory examples I made in one of my posts... I made them simply to illustrate my point... about how asking certain questions or getting answers we may not like might make us very uncomfortable (and yes, offended or whatever)

I do think we can discuss this book in this forum, though, and aside from a few light-hearted BSG references, do it with maturity...
Posted by: Val

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 09:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Dude
Wow.

Rather than respond to various claims made in this thread which I find ignorant, offensive, and/or laughable, I'll merely suggest that this thread has wandered into political/philosophical ground that is considered inappropriate to this particular forum.


I agree.
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 09:52 AM

Originally Posted By: Val
Originally Posted By: Dude
Wow.

Rather than respond to various claims made in this thread which I find ignorant, offensive, and/or laughable, I'll merely suggest that this thread has wandered into political/philosophical ground that is considered inappropriate to this particular forum.


I agree.


;( Can you suggest a better forum for this particular topic? Do you know of one? And I mean that sincerely.

We have a very long thread about Tiger Mom -- and the Bell Curve - and they went some interesting places as well.

You know, we grapple every day with questions about whether or not gifted education deserves more money and how our culture should view giftedness and I think that is very related to the stuff this book talks about.
Posted by: Val

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 09:55 AM

A lot of the Tiger Mom stuff was about education.

I'm sure you can find a forum out there that's about politics or libertarianism.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 10:08 AM

You can find lots of infotainment over at the Fourth Turning Forums.

http://www.fourthturning.com/forum/
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 10:16 AM

How do you guys like to debate?

Because I tend to state my opinions but also play devil's advocate a bit. Then I hope and pray for someone to come back at me (calmly, not angrily, of course) with opinions and facts completely different from what I'm saying so I can see things in a different way. Then I sometimes completely change my mind and go over to the other person's way of thinking if they've made a lot of good points.

Am I the only one who does this? To me, that's the best part of an intelligent debate. But I've only had one friend in the last like 5 years who enjoyed playing with ideas as much as I did irl.

It doesn't work if people feel too offended right away and don't want to share their side. I lost a friend (not a "real" friend, an online acquaintance) on fb the other day because she took something I was debating about personally, even though it barely related to her or her life.

Maybe this thread really is too offensive, like the others I've been apart of recently, but they don't seem that way to me.

I learned a long time ago to just be quiet most of the time and I've barely had any interesting conversations in that past few years with anybody besides a small number of friends and my family, since my immediate family always talks about important things this way.
Posted by: Val

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 10:28 AM

Originally Posted By: islandofapples
How do you guys like to debate?

Because I tend to state my opinions but also play devil's advocate a bit.


I like to debate by presenting information that's supported by evidence. Interpretations may differ, but the evidence has to be there.

This is just my opinion, but sometimes playing "devil's advocate" as I've seen you practice it here can come across as being deliberately inflammatory. As Iucounu said, continuing on a course of action with known consequences = intent to cause those consequences.

You may think you're being clever/just trying to have a bit of fun/probing, but you may come across very differently to many or most others. Maybe this is why you've only found one person in five years who likes your style of "debating." To me, some of your stuff the last few days isn't debating. It's poking people in the eye, wondering why they get wound up, and then blaming them for a natural reaction.

I mentioned in an earlier thread that we all have strong opinions here, and that I like that. But I should have qualified my statement with, "and we're mostly really good at backing up our statements with evidence. We don't just toss them out to inflame others with nothing to back them up."

If you poke someone in the eye, don't act surprised if he gets angry.
Posted by: La Texican

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 10:57 AM

Social reform is way different than the politics of gifted education. Maybe there's not another forum to have an intelligent conversation about it, but this isn't either. This is a forum about gifted education. Bostonian is the only one who has repeatedly brought up social class, race, and gender here since this is a gifted education forum, he managed to successfully tie it in to gifted identification, gifted statistics, and heredity (according to his sources). But he had an uphill battle to pull that one off as relevant to gifted issues. Good luck defining the armchair social science your practicing as somehow being a Gifted issue. I'm not telling you to shut up or go away. I'm saying you've got a tough crowd here. Ain't it beautiful?

It reminds me of an observation someone made about naieve teachers thinking teaching a classroom of gifted students would be less work.
Posted by: Austin

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 11:02 AM

Originally Posted By: Dude
Wow.

Rather than respond to various claims made in this thread which I find ignorant, offensive, and/or laughable, I'll merely suggest that this thread has wandered into political/philosophical ground that is considered inappropriate to this particular forum.


LOL.

If we can stick to the observations, then we will be fine.
Posted by: Austin

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 11:07 AM

Originally Posted By: islandofapples


If she married her boyfriend (he has a manual labor job that pays about double minimum wage), his income was high enough that it would disqualify her for medicaid and food stamps... but it wasn't high enough for them to actually pay for health care! And the employer didn't offer any sort of affordable option for them to pay into.


The employer does not have to pay market rate for labor because much of the costs of living are already subsidized by welfare.
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 11:09 AM

Originally Posted By: Val
Originally Posted By: islandofapples
How do you guys like to debate?

Because I tend to state my opinions but also play devil's advocate a bit.


I like to debate by presenting information that's supported by evidence. Interpretations may differ, but the evidence has to be there.

This is just my opinion, but sometimes playing "devil's advocate" as I've seen you practice it here can come across as being deliberately inflammatory. As Iucounu said, continuing on a course of action with known consequences = intent to cause those consequences.

You may think you're being clever/just trying to have a bit of fun/probing, but you may come across very differently to many or most others. Maybe this is why you've only found one person in five years who likes your style of "debating." To me, some of your stuff the last few days isn't debating. It's poking people in the eye, wondering why they get wound up, and then blaming them for a natural reaction.

I mentioned in an earlier thread that we all have strong opinions here, and that I like that. But I should have qualified my statement with, "and we're mostly really good at backing up our statements with evidence. We don't just toss them out to inflame others with nothing to back them up."

If you poke someone in the eye, don't act surprised if he gets angry.


Point taken. I will have to step back and really ask myself why I enjoy debating this way and whether or not it is a good way to do things (and if there is a better and equally fulfilling) way to do them.

And I do have family members that will say absolutely outrageous things to see what the result will be, so maybe I need to take a good hard look at how that dysfunctional way of communicating has influenced my own style.
Posted by: epoh

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 11:12 AM

Catching up on this thread reminded me of this great quote:

Quote:
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as "bad luck." - Robert A. Heinlein
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 11:13 AM

Originally Posted By: Austin
Originally Posted By: islandofapples


If she married her boyfriend (he has a manual labor job that pays about double minimum wage), his income was high enough that it would disqualify her for medicaid and food stamps... but it wasn't high enough for them to actually pay for health care! And the employer didn't offer any sort of affordable option for them to pay into.


The employer does not have to pay market rate for labor because much of the costs of living are already subsidized by welfare.


Hmm. Then theoretically... if we get rid of the safety net... will the employer actually be willing and able to step up and cover the cost as I personally think he is responsible for doing?

I remember in "The Story of Stuff" and some other videos.. how they said that big corporations simply externalize the true costs of what they do (like how maybe Wal-mart doesn't make health care actually affordable and that's just fine because lots of their employees qualify for state health care...so they can avoid paying that cost and then pass on the illusion of savings by slashing the prices on goods (but then our tax money has to pay the health care)
Posted by: La Texican

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 11:34 AM

That's true, if you solve the world's inequality at the top end (corporate welfare vs. social welfare) (debate) then they'll quit attacking children's educations as an attempted solution to the worlds inequities and inefficiencies. So in a way, it does have to do with gifted education.
Posted by: La Texican

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 11:54 AM

It's because history's unfolding before us and corporations are the canary test for the rest of us in becoming true Planetary Natives. On one hand you say corporate leaders are supposed to be good decision makers, or why? So leave them alone, let them do their thing, and hope they remember to pay their employees. On the other hand just because some crackhead doesn't make the right planned parenthood decisions are we really going to say her children shouldn't eat? All of that was complicated enough before corporations became increasingly international. Now you have these corporate leaders deciding what's best for their employees and customers and living in this global country instead of a homogenous melting pot like America. Meanwhile the US government is trying to exert authority over the rights and responsibilities of these international companies and their siblings the American people. Which is why government leaders are supposed to be good decision makers, or why?
Posted by: Austin

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 12:32 PM

This is a good essay along the same lines.

I've read the books he mentions.

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/w...american-dream/

Quote:
The frustration and bitterness that fills American politics these days reflects the failure of our current social, political and economic institutions and practices to deliver the results that Americans want and expect. It’s comparable to the frustration and fear that swept through the country in the late 19th and early 20th century as the first American dream – that every family could prosper on its own farm – gradually died.


We'll know we are making progress as a country when people across the spectrum can agree what the problem is. We still do not know what the problem is. Much of this echoes Kuhn.

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

Quote:
that scientific fields undergo periodic "paradigm shifts" rather than solely progressing in a linear and continuous way; that these paradigm shifts open up new approaches to understanding that scientists would never have considered valid before; and that the notion of scientific truth, at any given moment, cannot be established solely by objective criteria but is defined by a consensus of a scientific community. Competing paradigms are frequently incommensurable; that is, they are competing accounts of reality which cannot be coherently reconciled. Thus, our comprehension of science can never rely on full "objectivity"; we must account for subjective perspectives as well.


Posted by: Austin

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 12:33 PM

I think this discussion is germane to GT.

What role will GT kids have in the future? How will that role allow them to be fulfilled and happy? How will that life fit in with the broader forces at work in our society? What resources should be allocated for their education? How do we identify GT kids across all economic levels and help them to reach their potential?

Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 12:35 PM

Originally Posted By: La Texican
It's because history's unfolding before us and corporations are the canary test for the rest of us in becoming true Planetary Natives. On one hand you say corporate leaders are supposed to be good decision makers, or why? So leave them alone, let them do their thing, and hope they remember to pay their employees. On the other hand just because some crackhead doesn't make the right planned parenthood decisions are we really going to say her children shouldn't eat? All of that was complicated enough before corporations became increasingly international. Now you have these corporate leaders deciding what's best for their employees and customers and living in this global country instead of a homogenous melting pot like America. Meanwhile the US government is trying to exert authority over the rights and responsibilities of these international companies and their siblings the American people. Which is why government leaders are supposed to be good decision makers, or why?


I know. It is complicated. I love ideas of small government, but I don't trust corporations to make responsible decisions and set good examples(they've let me down so far) and I don't want children suffering because their parents can't get it together. And I don't want people dying because they can't afford health care!


I was just thinking about a good analogy to describe why I am not in favor of all the political correctness. Because I am coming off as rude and very insensitive...

If I'm a smoker and I hear people want to ban smoking in restaurants- they BETTER not do it based on feelings or political correctness. I want them to look at all the available evidence instead.

Because if they do it based on feelings, the policy makers could either say "Non-smokers hate smelling like smoke so we should ban it" or "Smokers might feel bad and like social pariahs about their decision to smoke if we ban it and it is their right to choose how to live!"

But if the policy makers simply choose to use statistics and the evidence from well-run studies and avoid being PC or considering the feelings of individuals very much, then they'd likely come to the conclusion that secondhand smoke endangers the health of bystanders. And so the reasonable decision would be to ban smoking in public places filled with lots of people.

Smokers can't argue with it and neither can non-smokers. Because it doesn't matter how they feel about it.

(You can obviously take "the good of the community" way too far and then completely destroy the rights of individuals, but I only support the rights of individuals if they don't take away the rights of others. Deciding what those rights are and all of that is tricky, of course, and is the root of the problem here.

Individuals may have a right to smoke in their own home if they feel like it, but should the people in power accept it as a valid lifestyle choice even if we know that it increases medical costs and can affect growing young children living at home?)

The thing is, it really depends more on what is fashionable at the moment than on whatever the science or statistics say at any given time. And that is why I don't like how much political correctness plays into how things are done.
Edit: However...as mentioned above, the fact that the scientific community even doesn't always agree with itself kind of does put a wrench in my point.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 12:40 PM

The farm dream didn't die. It was doing just fine. My father and his brother just didn't want to farm. Rather, my father wanted to climb the school ladder and become a school superintendent.

And now they've gone off and sold the farm as of 2010.

So, after who knows how many generations, my family is now farmless.

Completely farmless.

That's right.

No soybeans. No corn. no cows.
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 12:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Austin
I think this discussion is germane to GT.

What role will GT kids have in the future? How will that role allow them to be fulfilled and happy? How will that life fit in with the broader forces at work in our society? What resources should be allocated for their education? How do we identify GT kids across all economic levels and help them to reach their potential?



It is completely relevant. Murray is saying that the entire new upper class is composed of gifted adults and children like these and that they are likely to stay the ones in power. He is suggesting that they have a responsibility to society to set the "right" example and that it is wrong for them to just exclude themselves from society, do their own thing and then simply say "To each their own. My choices might not be the choices for you."
Posted by: Austin

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 12:50 PM

Originally Posted By: La Texican
All of that was complicated enough before corporations became increasingly international. Now you have these corporate leaders deciding what's best for their employees and customers and living in this global country instead of a homogenous melting pot like America. Meanwhile the US government is trying to exert authority over the rights and responsibilities of these international companies and their siblings the American people. Which is why government leaders are supposed to be good decision makers, or why?


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

On the one hand, you need detailed knowledge of an industry to regulate it, then you need detailed knowledge of the regulations to abide by them.

It goes both ways, though. Someone works for a company then works for the government, then goes back.

Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 12:55 PM

I'm just waiting to see if the "new elite" completely destroy our currency/debt system or reform it.

We will know by 2024 at the latest, I presume.

http://www.prudentbear.com/index.php/thebearslairview?art_id=10633
Posted by: La Texican

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 01:00 PM

That's true, like, there's a bunch of people comming here working in the oilfield. And they're paying good rent and buying food and beer. But the property taxes here are low. So, in a way, the town's making more money, in another way they're renting not buying (most places aren't selling, they're just staying somewhere else to rent during the boom). So the town isn't making more property taxes for the school, sewer, water, and roads these extra workers are using.
Guess that's a negative externality (if I'm reading your wiki link right). Who's paying for the extra sewage wear and tear? No one. It isn't overflowing yet. But everybody's happy with the extra cash flowing around right now.
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 01:08 PM

Originally Posted By: Austin
Originally Posted By: La Texican
All of that was complicated enough before corporations became increasingly international. Now you have these corporate leaders deciding what's best for their employees and customers and living in this global country instead of a homogenous melting pot like America. Meanwhile the US government is trying to exert authority over the rights and responsibilities of these international companies and their siblings the American people. Which is why government leaders are supposed to be good decision makers, or why?


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

On the one hand, you need detailed knowledge of an industry to regulate it, then you need detailed knowledge of the regulations to abide by them.

It goes both ways, though. Someone works for a company then works for the government, then goes back.



Yes. What I was getting at with externalizing costs.

From the negative externality page:
"A business may purposely underfund one part of their business, such as their pension funds, in order to push the costs onto someone else, creating an externality. Here, the "cost" is that of providing minimum social welfare or retirement income; economists more frequently attribute this problem to the category of moral hazards."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_hazard
Posted by: La Texican

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 01:13 PM

Well JL like they say, "history is written by the victors" and like I say history's unfolding before us as con-fuse (or fuse together) the nations, first under the corporate banner. That's, I think, why money's "too big to fail". Corporations are the first born of a race of Indo-Euro-Afro-Ameri-Asians. Planetary Natives.
Meanwhile keeping America the Beautiful and everybody else's countries soverign and local. (keep your fingers crossed and hope this works)
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 01:22 PM

Originally Posted By: La Texican
Well JL like they say, "history is written by the victors" and like I say history's unfolding before us as con-fuse (or fuse together) the nations, first under the corporate banner. That's, I think, why money's "too big to fail". Corporations are the first born of a race of Indo-Euro-Afro-Ameri-Asians. Planetary Natives.
Meanwhile keeping America the Beautiful and everybody else's countries soverign and local. (keep your fingers crossed and hope this works)


Let me know when financial bubbles start creating enduring prosperity instead of manias, panics, and crashes.

John Law (Economist) - Wikipedia

Posted by: La Texican

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 01:45 PM

Quote the Wikipedia Jon Law's
"real bills doctrines":

The real bills doctrine holds that issuing money in exchange for real bills is not inflationary.[citation needed] It is best known as "the decried doctrine of the old Bank Directors of 1810: that so long as a bank issues its notes only in the discount of good bills, at not more than sixty days’ date, it cannot go wrong in issuing as many as the public will receive from it.'"[citation needed] This theory is in opposition to the Quantity Theory of Money proposed by Irving Fisher which states that "Money supply has a direct, positive relationship with the price level."[citation needed]



K.  I clicked on his "real bills doctrine".    By saying "at not more than sixty days date" is he saying our fiat money is actually option notes on "real bills".  If that's what it's saying then I feel like I learned something new today.
Posted by: La Texican

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 01:53 PM

Quote "our" Jon Law:

Let me know when financial bubbles start creating enduring prosperity instead of manias, panics, and crashes.



No, I meant more like they're the scout camp, going to foreign places, seeing beautiful people and exotic things and.... Not blowing them up. I respect and thank our military, don't take that the wrong way. I wouldn't call corporations saints (more like outlaws) but... How have nations interacted throughout history. Uh huh. Globalization through the Banksters corporate dealings sure seems less violent than command and conquer new territories. And the countries get to keep their local governments. It's not paradise, but it's less bloody globalization.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 02:47 PM

Originally Posted By: La Texican
Quote "our" Jon Law:

Let me know when financial bubbles start creating enduring prosperity instead of manias, panics, and crashes.



No, I meant more like they're the scout camp, going to foreign places, seeing beautiful people and exotic things and.... Not blowing them up. I respect and thank our military, don't take that the wrong way. I wouldn't call corporations saints (more like outlaws) but... How have nations interacted throughout history. Uh huh. Globalization through the Banksters corporate dealings sure seems less violent than command and conquer new territories. And the countries get to keep their local governments. It's not paradise, but it's less bloody globalization.


Oh, you're talking about the empire/world leader system of the West, meaning that since we won the last go-round, we pump wealth from them to us. The Spanish, Dutch, and British got to do that for a while, each in their own way.

We're currently in the delegitimation phase where the hegemonic power of the world leader begins to wane after a period of free international action. See the British Empire circa 1900 for comparison.

If the hegemon doesn't win the next Great Power struggle (vs. China (?) circa 2030-2040 (?)), that ends with a massive hangover in the formerly hegemonic nation.
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 03:46 PM

Originally Posted By: JonLaw
Originally Posted By: La Texican
Quote "our" Jon Law:

Let me know when financial bubbles start creating enduring prosperity instead of manias, panics, and crashes.



No, I meant more like they're the scout camp, going to foreign places, seeing beautiful people and exotic things and.... Not blowing them up. I respect and thank our military, don't take that the wrong way. I wouldn't call corporations saints (more like outlaws) but... How have nations interacted throughout history. Uh huh. Globalization through the Banksters corporate dealings sure seems less violent than command and conquer new territories. And the countries get to keep their local governments. It's not paradise, but it's less bloody globalization.


Oh, you're talking about the empire/world leader system of the West, meaning that since we won the last go-round, we pump wealth from them to us. The Spanish, Dutch, and British got to do that for a while, each in their own way.

We're currently in the delegitimation phase where the hegemonic power of the world leader begins to wane after a period of free international action. See the British Empire circa 1900 for comparison.

If the hegemon doesn't win the next Great Power struggle (vs. China (?) circa 2030-2040 (?)), that ends with a massive hangover in the formerly hegemonic nation.



No, because these corporations really are international at this point and they are not just from the US... Some of them are from other European countries, Asian countries, etc. It isn't exclusively a Western thing, imo.

I do somewhat disagree that "Globalization through the Banksters corporate dealings sure seems less violent than command and conquer new territories." .... because sometimes they interfere and cause huge problems in the country they've entered into. Huge problems that lead to uprisings and that even fuel civil war. Corporations are in bed with governments all over the world, so I also don't think they have entirely separate interests. It is just a little harder to see what's going on.

Also, when the World Bank lends money to a poor country (like Haiti) and then makes up rules about how that country must accept imports (in bed with corporations)... the system can actually destroy that country's ability to sustain itself and even have its own independent government that doesn't rely on aid more and more.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 04:15 PM

I'm not saying that French companies don't benefit the French and that German companies don't benefit the Germans and that the Chinese companies don't benefit the Chinese.

What' I'm saying is that the U.S. gets the most benefit from the current arrangement. Because it is a U.S. system. Built by the U.S. after WWII. Those bajillion military everywhere people always talk about? See WWII and the Cold War for details.

Do you think that 5% of the global population is consuming 25% of global energy by accident?

The U.S. won the Cold War, so it gets to be the "hyperpower" for a little while until someone challenges it, which hasn't happened yet, but always happens because nations tend to behave in a rather predictable fashion and since about 1500 it's been working in a particularly Western pattern.
Posted by: islandofapples

Re: Coming Apart by Charles Murray - 02/20/12 04:48 PM

Originally Posted By: JonLaw
I'm not saying that French companies don't benefit the French and that German companies don't benefit the Germans and that the Chinese companies don't benefit the Chinese.

What' I'm saying is that the U.S. gets the most benefit from the current arrangement. Because it is a U.S. system. Built by the U.S. after WWII. Those bajillion military everywhere people always talk about? See WWII and the Cold War for details.

Do you think that 5% of the global population is consuming 25% of global energy by accident?

The U.S. won the Cold War, so it gets to be the "hyperpower" for a little while until someone challenges it, which hasn't happened yet, but always happens because nations tend to behave in a rather predictable fashion and since about 1500 it's been working in a particularly Western pattern.



Well, since all the biggest nations are completely wrapped up in one another's economies now, I do wonder if they'll want to even engage in war.

Anyway, this is way off where we were taking this.

Do gifted people have a responsibility to lead by example if they are the ones in power now? And what kind of example?