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Physicist, Startup Founder, Blogger, Dad

Monday, November 11, 2013

Conspicuous consumption in the new gilded age

See also Credentialism and elite performance.
NYTimes: ... A silver spoon is no longer a mark of elite status. Take the nation’s top 10 percent of households. The top 1 percent — those making more than $394,000 annually — are today’s version of Veblen’s leisure class in terms of wealth, but they are not the biggest buyers of silver flatware. Instead, households in the rest of this high-earning cohort — those making between $114,000 and just under $394,000 — take the silver prize.

... Of course, when it comes to luxuries that can’t be faked, the top 1 percent are fervent spenders. Compared with the rest of the top 10 percent, they spend twice as much on college tuitions, three times as much on private elementary and high school tuitions and three times as much on tutoring to get their children into elite institutions. [ Italics Mine ]

... Veblen would recognize a profound difference between his leisure class and today’s top 1 percent. In his time, conspicuous consumption was largely frivolous. Buying silver spoons did not change a person’s life prospects; it only signaled high social rank. A university degree, another marker of social standing, was possible only for those with plenty of leisure time.

The conspicuous spending of today’s top 1 percent, by contrast, is purposeful. It affects one’s life chances. Most wealthy people work long hours, and the goal of much of their spending is to save time or make more money.

They spend heavily on education to ensure their children will have a sizable advantage in the future job market. A degree from an elite university, rather than connoting leisure time, is seen as an important career step. ...

84 comments:

Richard Seiter said...

I don't think this is an either/or. I believe degrees from elite universities (and advanced degrees in general) have both a conspicuous consumption (or social marker) element and a pragmatic career element. I find the two hard to disentangle. How many jobs do you see where the degree requirements don't really line up with the practical needs? I think a large part of this is making sure the "right people" get hired (which blurs the categories IMHO).

oregonlocal said...

I considered my entire college career as an exercise in personal entertainment/amusement and did not concern myself in the least with any of this SES stuff.

Richard Seiter said...

Whether you concern yourself with it or not the ability to view college in that way sends a very clear SES signal.

Diogenes said...

it's no use. oregonlocal can't get it. i mean i suppose he lives in oregon. yuck!

Diogenes said...

a few years ago a very high iq girl who lived with her single mother in a trailer park (and killed her mother) was accepted by harvard then rejected when it was discovered she'd killed her mother.

if someone "like" her has harvard on her resume would it do her any good?

Diogenes said...

and oregonlocal is at the second diaper age. when he went to school only 10% had degrees. he thinks it's still like that.

Diogenes said...

on the difference school can make or on inequality in les etats unis merdeux:

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

Diogenes said...

"They spend heavily on education to ensure their children will have a sizable advantage in the future job market."


i wonder if for most of their children it wouldn't be better to save the money and give it to them on their 22nd birthday.

SethTS said...

"I find the two hard to disentangle. How many jobs do you see where the degree requirements don't really line up with the practical needs? I think a large part of this is making sure the "right people" get hired ..."


This seems about the right level of cynicism :) There need to be plausibly rational criteria for consistently choosing the people with the right SES for the set of meaningful opportunities available. It means a certain number of the "wrong sort" will get through, but only under conditions that keep them very compliant and creditable new entrants to the "right sort".

oregonlocal said...

"Most wealthy people work long hours"


Not many of the ones I know do. They are certainly at play for long hours. I think the article is another example of the NYT's Manhattan anti-reality bubble. Either that or they aren't able to distinguish between earned and inherited wealth. Being on the board of a non-profit and going on humanitarian junkets is not "work." Neither is sailing work (even as obsessively as that Jew crook Larry Ellison) nor is playing golf.

oregonlocal said...

It's generally put in a trust fund with a defined payout so that they can't spend it all at once like some NBA rookie.

dxie48 said...

"The top 1 percent ... but they are not the biggest buyers of silver flatware."

I once visited a friend at certain government building and there were many high end expansive cars there, even a Mercedes police car with flashing lights. I asked my friend if there was a government ministers meeting. He said no, its the deputies meeting, the ministers had to use locally made cars :)

Anyway they might have been out done by the Emerati,

http://www.vocativ.com/04-2013/dubai-cops-get-worlds-snazziest-police-car-a-crime-fighting-lamborghini/

Diogenes said...

the problem with oregon is it's white and poor. it's not eastern kentucky though. portland is the whitest big city in the country and the poorest on the west coast. i wonder if it would do better if osu and uo were relocated to portland.


i have no motivation to not be a childish sniper.

Diogenes said...

the article does betray a proletarian worldview, BUT the federal income tax data supports the notion that most of the 1% in income have "jobs". 3/4 are executives, medical professionals, lawyers.

Åse Innes-Ker said...

I think this post by Peter Turchin is relevant. http://socialevolutionforum.com/2013/11/10/bimodal-lawyers-how-extreme-competition-breeds-extreme-inequality/


Also, I would really quibble with their characteristic that then they just bought silver spoons, but today the conspicuous consumption is purposeful. Going through Fukuyama's "the origin of political order" it seems clear that there has always been a real force to invest in ones kids, to affect their life chaces. You are in the elite, you want to make sure to pass it on. So, I think they are being ridiculously myopic (or whiggish). But, then NYT seem to have a number of features where they write admiringly about themselves, thinking this has a significance for the rest of the world - it is usually in some breathless society pages where they announce some kind of "trend" (which seems to be the case for 4 of their closest friends - sorry, being tired and snarky this morning).

Christopher Gee said...

"i wonder if for most of their children it wouldn't be better to save the money and give it to them on their 22nd birthday."
In which case the fortune will be frittered away and unavailable for transmission to the next generation after this one - for today's meritocrats, a top-tier Ivy League education on your child's resume is the best way to ensure multi-generational transmission of their capital. Today's elites (who derive their position from earned or unearned wealth) need to have 21st century mechanisms of inter-generational wealth transfer (best of all this is fiscally prudent - such investments receive direct and indirect public subsidies, and are not subject to inheritance taxes!).

oregonlocal said...

"i have no motivation not to be a childish sniper."


Except that your aim is so bad that it exposes you as a foolish twit. Being White is a feature not a bug.

oregonlocal said...

"then rejected"


BFD. She got into Tufts.

oregonlocal said...

No amount of education or financial planning can stop the reversion to the mean in IQ for each succeeding generation.

oregonlocal said...

"being tired and snarky this morning)."

There is never a bad time of day to trash the NYT.

Richard Seiter said...

Being "too white" is one of the more common criticisms I've heard levied against Oregon. I can't speak to the culture outside the Willamette Valley (I lived in Lake Oswego), but there is justice in noting a lack of diversity in Portland relative to many big cities (and I think also for Corvallis, Eugene, and smaller towns in the Willamette valley with respect to their comparison groups). This limits certain aspects of culture that seem to thrive with diversity. However, it seems to me that these include both good and bad elements--it depends on what you value to some degree. The area did not feel racist to me (there is a relative component to this of course, I grew up in a small town in Northeastern MD that had a Klan march in the early 70's IIRC, and I think Santa Cruz, where I live now, and the SF Bay Area have more of an overt racial tension than Portland. I heard fewer racist comments in the Portland area than any of these.), but I may not be the most sensitive observer of this.

I would be interested in seeing your economic numbers. I am curious if the mean/median compare differently. I would be willing to trade a somewhat lower mean for a higher median. As far as being poor, I moved to the area in 1988 (towards the end of a timber recession) and Portland felt poor (buildings boarded up near the city core). That changed dramatically over the following 10 years (and continued to change after I left, but I haven't tracked closely).

The lack of a mid/top tier university as a major driver of culture is one of my main complaints about Portland (the winter weather is another ;-). PSU provides some of the amenities, but I don't think it's quite there. OHSU also comes close, but the focus on health sciences limits it. Reed is arguably in this category, but it is small and in my view keeps to itself. There are others that might be offended to be left off this list, but I think the overall issue is valid.

oregonlocal said...

"The area did not feel racist to me"


I find ethnically homogeneous communities to feel far less racist than diverse ones. In fact, diversity engenders mistrust and lowers community solidarity and trust of neighbors. You sure picked the least diverse town in choosing to reside in Lake No-Negro. The only significant minorities in LO are the Chinese engineers from Intel and their families along with Jewish lawyers. The rich Whites can pretty much rid themselves of even these folks by spending time in their second and third homes in Gearhart and Bend/Sun River/Tumalo. LOL

Richard Seiter said...

Yes, LO was not terribly diverse. I did not realize what a stereotype I was setting up for myself by moving there (I moved in shortly after arrival, first job out of college so naive). Main reason for the choice was proximity to Beaverton (current work), Wilsonville (company's future headquarters), and Portland (much else ;-). It was nice being a mile from an I5 exit but in a physically pleasant place.

Diogenes said...

oregonlocal is wrong on the facts but right on the criticism:

1. (the facts) the us is not brave new world or even close, and supposing oregonlocal is in the top .1% of individual wealth (which i doubt) like steve and london young, he's an example of how un-mustapha mond like the elite are. http://i.imgur.com/68ihdOp.png, http://qph.is.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-1b2b71f024ca8d14c7db170aa5ad915a, http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/science/columnist/vergano/2007-08-12-smart-not-rich_N.htm,

2. (on the criticism) most of the children of the elite simply won't be as clever as their parents.

it is OBVIOUS that iq helps and that poor people as a group are stupid and rich people smart BUT it's simply FALSE and transparently ideological to speak as if iq determined life chances. it was a surprise to me how little it does.

when i was 15 i thought like oregonlocal. then i grew up. there are some concepts too subtle for most to ever "get".

Diogenes said...

not only foolish, but a foolish twit.

Diogenes said...

the whiteness isn't the problem. the problem is economic. the underclass is white. the white enclaves of la and sf are better. boston is much prettier. but nyc is a dump except for midtown. nassau and suffolk are nice though. there's a sliver from west linn to the west hills which is inhabitable. the rest is yuck. east of the willamette is yuck. lo is the best.

if you're white and degreed pdx is the last place you'd go if you wanted to get rich. even in the deep south median household income for whites is equal to or exceeds that of pdxers, and real estate is much cheaper.



uwashington is in seattle, but uo is 100 miles from pdx. seattle might be even better if wsu moved from pullman.


i would be surprised if pdxers didn't have the highest mean iq outside of san jose or boston, but they're a lot poorer. the beverly hills public library was less than the lo library, but maybe beverly hills residents just buy all their books?

Diogenes said...

oregonlocal is right to an extent. those whites who proclaim their tolerance and anti-racism the loudest tend to be those who've never lived among non-whites.

Diogenes said...

reed's an clear example of extreme leftism among the children of the upper middle class. one of my cousins left because there was so much pressure to sleep around. they used to fly soviet flags and go without deodorant.

Diogenes said...

fukyama is one of america's most shameful exports. he's that rare case, affirmative action for east asians.

Hacienda said...

or NY. NY must be destroyed. Sacrificed.

Hacienda said...

Any Italians, Slavs there? Or do they all look like Greg Kinnear, John Wooden clones mixed in with some brachycephalic racist jesters?

oregonlocal said...

I dunno, but I'm sure there are plenty of Mexicans cleaning toilets.

oregonlocal said...

That plot shows a direct correlation between IQ and net worth you moron.

oregonlocal said...

"lo is the best."


No it's not. There are a lot of Portland neighborhoods that are way classier than LO. Portland Heights and Dunthorpe come to mind. You don't know WTF you are talking about as you've never been here. As any educated man knows: the map is not the territory.

Richard Seiter said...

Your description of the neighborhoods is a fairly standard stereotype for the area. I chose to live in LO so have some understanding of the "sliver of west side" idea you describe, but you need to be more selective. Parts of SE (e.g. Hawthorne district and near Mt. Tabor) are quite nice (if perhaps not as wealthy as some prefer). I think some parts of SE (perhaps a bit into NE) around Laurelhurst Park are among the nicest neighborhoods in the city (though proximity to not nice can detract from their desirability). (@oregonlocal is right about Portland Heights and Dunthorpe, but they are in that sliver of west side)


My knowledge is getting dated (in particular real estate is much more expensive now), but when I was there PDX seemed like a great place to live with a relatively modest income but still being able to have a high quality of life. If your goal was to get rich, probably not a good place relative to some of the obvious alternatives.

oregonlocal said...

"PDX seemed like a great place to live with a relatively modest income but still being able to have a high quality of life"


Still true. 90 minutes to the surf, 90 minutes to the snow and an hour to great hunting and fishing. Portland has one of the largest urban parks in the country. Plus PDX is a skateboarder's and bicyclists paradise as both are protected by law.

Hacienda said...

No kidding. But nothing that massive cosmetic surgery can't fix. It's a curse of Koreanness. And thank God we've got our Yi Sun Shins that appear once in every 400 years to rescue us.


But, the Pacific Northwest seriously needs a cultural upgrade, though. Louis and Clark, that's very yesterday.

Richard Seiter said...

It does show a positive correlation, but the correlation coefficient looks less than I would have expected and if you take slices anywhere above about $80K the correlation seems much less. This surprises me. I wonder what it means. I understand regression to the mean, but where are all the "high" net worth sub-100 IQ people coming from? I would have expected something like a negatively skewed normal curve for slices above a given net worth. What does the plot look like as you increase the upper limit on net worth? Are there lots of points hiding in the unseen upper right?

I think a plot like this is better if you do it for age subgroups (e.g. the lower right is pretty easily explainable as new college grads, though this might not be the case). (Diogenes you don't happen to have the correlation coefficient for this do you? What is the source?)

Richard Seiter said...

I am baffled by how relatively intelligent people can get through years of schooling filled with (what seem to me like) PC untruths. I am taking a Harvard EdX class on clinical trials right now and I am feeling some of that even there (ethics is a big focus, the recommended textbook added a chapter on ethics in the latest edition. Ethics is very important in clinical trials, but some of the reasoning seems, shall we say, deficient.).

oregonlocal said...

Many of the mega-rich pay no federal income tax at all and the vast majority of doctors and lawyers are in the 10% not the 1%. After Obongocare kicks in we will be lucky to have any doctors left at all.

Albertosaurus said...

The NYT this morning is being reported as losing a lot of it's best writers. Google 'Brain Drain".

Diogenes said...

here's the source: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289607000219


but the subjects are between 33 and 41. that's why the ceiling is so low. i believe the 1% in individual as opposed to household wealth is only 2 m.

Diogenes said...

you should have taken more maths classes. obviously there's a positive correlation. the question is only how strong is it. and what is it when factors other than iq (but which correlate with iq) are backed out. for example the children of the rich have higher mean iq, but they also have rich parents. both help.

Diogenes said...

duh. steve's posted it before. here's the data: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/17/the-top-1-executives-doctors-and-bankers/

Diogenes said...

yes those areas are richer, but smaller. the very richest live in lo. phil knight lives somewhere in beaverton though. pdxers with net worth > 100m go to lo.

"You don't know WTF you are talking about as you've never been here..."


if only YOU knew what you were taking about.

Diogenes said...

dunthorpe, etc. are small, and have small yards. if you're looking for pdxers with > 100 m go to lo.



"You don't know WTF you are talking about as you've never been here..."


if only YOU knew what you were talking about.

David Coughlin said...

I see a distribution with a parametric dependence on IQ.

Richard Seiter said...

David, could you elaborate?

David Coughlin said...

The shape of the distribution [say P(Net Worth|IQ)] changes significantly as IQ increases. [I think that is the essence of the 'crap shoot' comment] [There is a lot going on in that scatterplot to say that there is a 'direct positive correlation']

oregonlocal said...

"There is a lot going on in that scatterplot to say that there is a 'direct positive correlation'"



I'm glad you agree.

David Coughlin said...

I should have probably said: There is a lot going on in that scatterplot to *simply* say that there is a 'direct positive correlation' [I'm not sure I believe it, quantitatively speaking and I think there is a lot of latent structure in the data]

Richard Seiter said...

Agreed. Diogenes comment with the source reference is still in moderation so I can't respond to it yet (I can see it since it was a reply to mine), but I'll throw out the spoiler that the researchers concluded "Regression results suggest no statistically distinguishable relationship between IQ scores and wealth." (presumably after controlling for other variables)

It would be nice to see histograms for the values along each axis. I'm trying to think about this as P(Net Worth|IQ) * P(IQ) where P(IQ) should be close to normal, but it is unclear what P(Net Worth|IQ) looks like (but it does look like it varies with IQ as you observe) beyond having an increasing mean..

oregonlocal said...

Hahaha. Editing your previous post in response to my cogent and apposite criticisms of your original statement I see. It's getting to be a habit with you.

David Coughlin said...

Intuitively, I would not guess that this distribution is separable in Net Worth and IQ.

Richard Seiter said...

I took your earlier comment to mean that P(Net Worth|IQ) is not a single distribution, but could be expressed as a distribution at each IQ value (with both the mean and shape appearing to change across IQ values). Is this what you mean now or are you getting at something else?

Hacienda said...

Today's elites don't reproduce. There's no point in handing down wealth when you have no children.
I am pretty damn certain in most other ages of human history Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet etc.
would be considered lunatics. Well maybe not Buffet. But he's pretty close.Really, guys, what's the point
of corporate profits when the land under you is crumbling?

Diogenes said...

you're rare. the one who thinks his own less in any attribute.

i wonder to what extent the ascendancy of the west, that of western europe and england and the anglo-sphere in particular, influences judgements of physical beauty.

my own judgement is that there is much greater variance among europeans in physical beauty (the ugliest are european), but that the very best looking europeans (ingrid bergman in casablanca, the YOUNG brando) are without equal. but i saw a japanese (i can tell the difference) woman once...she was a marciano-walcott knockout.

i am biased as i am of exclusively western european descent, some french and spanish and swiss but no german or low countries or anything east, mostly british isles.

for ol: my two most famous direct ancestors are governor bradford and margaret brown. i also have some connection with aristocracy in the austrian side of the family. there's a famous monastery in the town where the family originated in the canton for which switzerland is named.

oregonlocal said...

"presumably after controlling for other variables"


That's changing the parameters of the problem after the fact. I stand by my first observation.

Richard Seiter said...

Thanks for the source. Unfortunately I was unable to find free full text (have you read the full paper?). I find it suspicious that they conclude: "Regression results suggest no statistically distinguishable relationship between IQ scores and wealth." given that plot and would like to see details of their computation. It looks like the raw data is available at http://www.bls.gov/nls/nlsy79.htm if anyone feels like digging into this. If anyone has access to the full text, knowing what variables were controlled for in the regression would be helpful.

P.S. It seems slightly odd to me that they used data from 1998 (based on the ages) when the paper was published in 2007. For perspective it looks like 2010 data is available at the moment.

Richard Seiter said...

I'm not disputing what you said (see my earlier positive correlation comment above). I'm curious what was done to the data to remove that fairly obvious positive correlation. In particular which variables they controlled for.

David Coughlin said...

That is what I was getting at.

Richard Seiter said...

Thanks. Sorry if I am being dense. I find it hard to communicate ideas like this in words. I suspect your word usage is precise, but I am not used to it in the statistics context.

Diogenes said...

huh?

Hacienda said...

Print journalism's been drained years ago. When's the last time you've read anything in print
that had intellectual value? For me it was early 1990's Foreign Policy.

Richard Seiter said...

You might want to note the word @oregonlocal used: "classier". Not a 1-1 mapping to great wealth. I'm not sufficiently attuned to what the "cool people" (measured by wealth, class, or pick your favorite metric) do to give any kind of definitive answer despite having lived in LO. In my experience a fair number of the people who become wealthy (e.g. tech early stock option folks) head outside the urban growth boundary for those >5 acre lots.


As far as stating the richest live in LO, whether literally true or not it gives a misleading impression because LO does have some variety. I lived in a PUD built starting decades ago on Mt. Sylvania (an extinct volcano, I thought that was kind of cool). It had a mix of single family homes, condos, and apartments. A nice place many considered upper end, but not what I would call elite by any stretch of the imagination (to put in the language of Steve's post, a good amount of 10%, probably not much 1%).

oregonlocal said...

Liked those war-mongering articles that called for a "New World Order" did you?

oregonlocal said...

I didn't say that doctors and lawyers didn't make up a certain percentage of the 1% of those who pay income taxes dumbfuck. I said that most doctors and lawyers are NOT in that 1%. Learn to read.
And I stand by my statement that the top 1% of income tax payers is not the same as the top 1% in net worth who often pay no federal income tax at all.

oregonlocal said...

Well there is always Oregon State in Corvallis a school with a solid "mid-tier" reputation in engineering, forestry, and earth sciences.

Hacienda said...

No. I meant Foreign Affairs. Not Foreign Policy, my mistake. This was still Cold War era and lots of hullabaloo about Japan's inevitable rise and no internet yet. Things were so much edgier then. Very good stuff in Foreign Affairs at that time.

oregonlocal said...

Repeating yourself is a sign of senility.

oregonlocal said...

like Mountain Park too. Lots of walking trails derived from the bridle paths that used to dominate the hill before it was developed.

Richard Seiter said...

The walking trails are awesome. One was right next to my house with a small park (remnant of a filbert orchard) on the other side. Did not know about the bridle paths-thanks for that. The PUD aspect could be a bit quirky. There was a small office building across the street from me.

Richard Seiter said...

Either OSU or UO would fit the bill. Both exert an important cultural influence on Portland, but it's not the same as having the school in town.

oregonlocal said...

In the early 90's the Cold War was over after the collapse of the Soviet Union (lot's of talk about a "peace dividend" that never materialized LOL) and the internet was very much in existence too. I used both Usenet via the NNTP protocol over TCP/IP and email via SMTP servers over TCP/IP as at the time as I was involved in converting an X.400 mail system to the new protocol. Having an @-sign email address was hilariously considered the ne plus ultra in geek cool back then.

oregonlocal said...

How right you are. My daughter used to drive home from Corvallis every weekend just to do her laundry! Although both are considered "mid-tier" schools as far as the old PAC-8 goes I'd rate OSU over UO any day of the week despite what the college rating surveys might say about it.

oregonlocal said...

Aquinas Street?

Richard Seiter said...

Bingo. First driveway at the bottom.

oregonlocal said...

Aha! I knew it, having lived right down the block on Kingsgate Avenue for a number of years. I always wondered why those trees in that little triangular park were so regularly spaced. It's a nice location on Mt. Sylvania as it has great southwest exposure. There is no such thing as too much sun in the fall, winter, and springtime when you are west of the Cascades. The higher elevations in the northern section of the Coast Range get over 200 inches of rain per year.

Richard Seiter said...

No kidding. I wonder how many thousand times I walked/drove/rode/etc. down Kingsgate. I was there from 88-98. I noticed you left out summer for the SW exposure ;-) My house was oriented so it had much SW exposure high up. Great views of the coast range and year round sun when it was out, but it did get toasty during the summer.

Diogenes said...

the urban growth boundary makes that possible in pdx where it isn't possible elsewhere and driving out to farm country the number of large houses is noticeable. but of all major metros pdx must be the most "middle class". there just aren't very many super rich. compare seattle.



regarding cool people and wealth/class:


"whoever thinks the richest are the smartest has never met a rich person or never met a smart person."


---fran liebowitz.


she's a jewish, lesbian, comedienne, but paul fussel made a similar observation in his book "class". pdx is the poor man's sf. it's where hippies retire. oregonlocal's vote doesn't count. but really: oregon is the w virginia of the west coast.

Diogenes said...

another perhaps telling fact regarding income and iq is that the children of the rich are most distinguished from other children in the verbal factor (i read this in the bell curve iirc). yet the verbal factor is just as heritable than other factors (i think), and when it comes to actually doing things vs talking what help is verbal intelligence. yet again, 35% of the forbes 400 is ashkenazi or half ashkenazi and the ashkenazim are not distinguished in the spatial factor, and are conspicuously under-over-represented among engineers.

Diogenes said...

"I didn't say that doctors and lawyers didn't make up a certain percentage of the 1% of those who pay income taxes dumbfuck."

nor did i say that you said that. i find it impossible to believe that you are over 18 years old or not suffering from some degenerative brain disease. which is it?

obviously net worth and income are two different things. i remember a forbes with title, "rich but broke" on the family which owned Niihau.

Diogenes said...

here's ol's explanation from a previous post:

"The US business world is highly meritocratic and people of average intelligence can make a lot of money. It's a 10% inspiration. 90% perspiration situation.. Anyone
can start one, even Mark Zuckerberg, and he doesn't have much of a
product. There are lots of wealthy plumbers, general contractors, and
electricians if they have the wits to start their own contracting
business."


all true. but i wonder how ol would explain why 80% of businesses are out of business within 5 years. what's the difference between the 80% and the 20%?



it's not just a matter of breaking out of the employee mind-set. some people are more risk-averse than others. some people don't want to work 16 h a day or whatever they imagine it would take to get things off the ground. some people simply have no passion for any sort of work. AND the expertise of some professionals, like engineers, simply has no use outside very big businesses---how many bankers start their own banks? how many civil engineers start their own bridge building firms? etc. software takes basically zero capital, so it's no wonder so many make it big in this space.

Diogenes said...

doctor's and lawyers who set up their own shop fail more often than not too. and ol might be surprised to learn that KP MDs finished at the top of their class. the smartest don't want to deal with business issues, i guess.

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