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The Decaying Evolution of Education...

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15,820
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I read something not long ago, but cant' remember where, about how this is typical of the "third generation" of family business operators, and it doesn't matter if it was the 1880s, the 1940s or the 2010s...people just tend to not want to be in the same business as their grandparents. It was an interesting read, and I'll try to dig it up.

Not the same thing, but similar, there is an expression on Wall Street regarding wealthy families that goes something like: the first generation makes it, the second generation spends it, and the third generation blows it.

Of course, not always accurate, but I have seen it happen a lot.
 

tonyb

I'll Lock Up
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9,907
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This is why competitions have rules, eh?

"Fair play" is often an illusion, but without at least a nod to it, we'd be left with the law of the jungle.
 
Messages
15,820
Location
New York City
This is why competitions have rules, eh?

"Fair play" is often an illusion, but without at least a nod to it, we'd be left with the law of the jungle.

I absolutely believe in rules and regulations. While I believe in the overall benefits of the free market system, most importantly for safeguarding our personal freedoms (the economic benefits are immense, but secondary), I fully and completely believe that rules and regulations have to exist to prevent abuses, corruption and all sorts of behavior that will hurt individuals, the environment, etc. if they aren't in place and enforced.

That said, the point I was trying to make above is that no free market system, no government body, no regulatory agency will work if the unwritten rules of our culture, of our society - our values, our morals, what is acceptable, what is beyond the pale to us as a people - don't also work to curb deleterious behavior. Most companies and government entities have written codes of conduct that sound great (they have rules against cheating, stealing, etc. and maybe even written policies about "doing the right thing" and "core values," etc.), but we all know that there is a culture of acceptable behavior that exists in practice - and away from whatever is written in some policy manual or rule book - based on the norms of the entity, the examples set from above, the enforcement or not enforcement of those written rules.

It is that culture - those conventions, those acceptable norms - that drives how the individuals in that business or government agency act in practice day to day. If you know you work for an honest business or government agency, that your bosses are honest and do the right thing and that is what is acceptable, then even if you want to cut a corner or find a slippery solution, you will at least pause before doing so because you know, if found out, you will not be supported and will lose the respect of your peers and bosses and, possibly, lose your job. But if your company or government agency operates on the edge, does whatever it takes, cuts corners, etc., then that will impact you (maybe not you, maybe not me, but enough employees to make that bad behavior acceptable).

I believe it is our overall societal culture that drives - guardrails - all those small cultures at everyone's place of work, in everyone's personal conduct that needs to be, well, moral and effective for any system - capitalism or socialism - to have effective and honest institutions that work, holistically, in a fair and decent way. (This point, I believe, is why this post is not political - it is not taking sides in our preset political debates - but is about a philosophical overview of how any system - form the right or left - is impacted by that society's culture.)

One sports analogy. If a football players breaks the rules, engages in beyond-the-rules aggressive play, hits with his helmet, tackles after the whistle, etc., but is only given slap-on-the-wrist penalties by the league AND is still given endorsement deals because the public still loves the player - then our rules haven't failed, but our overall culture has. The league has shown that it doesn't really believe in its values, rules, etc. and our citizens have shown that they don't care about dirty play because they still laud the player. Our unwritten rules contradict our written rules and our unwritten ones have won - our culture, in this example, IMHO, is broken. Conversely, if the player is harshly penalized by the league and loses endorsements because the public views him negatively, then our culture has reenforced our written rules and will prevent most other players from engaging in that harmful play - that's how a decent culture works to enforce good behavior. No rules, regulations, laws, etc. written anywhere will prevent bad behavior in business, government, sports or personal interactions if our culture basically is okay with that bad behavior - if, wink-wink, nod-nod, we are really okay with bad behavior, then that's what we'll get.
 

philosophygirl78

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(You could have gone to college for free in Argentina.)

I grew up on welfare, ate more than my share of Spam, canned peanut butter, heart meat, tripe, and mackerel I caught off the town wharf with a dropline, have worked for wages since I was 13 years old, never went to college, have worked as a bookkeeper, a factory hand, a sign painter, a meat cutter, a cartoonist, a printer, a radio news reporter and editor, a dialect comedian, a theatre manager/projectionist/technician, and as a professional writer for over thirty years, have published a book, quite a number of articles, and a couple thousand radio scripts, have appeared as an expert on broadcasting history on television, on radio and on film in the US and the UK, own my house -- as long as I keep paying the bank -- have $3000 in my savings account, and my most valuable posession is a 75-year-old used car.

And the thing is, that's really all I need or want. A place to sleep, some good friends, and a cat. I don't take particular special pride in anything I've accomplished because it was accomplished largely thru the luck of the genetic draw -- I was born with certain aptitudes that I was able to parlay into a modest living, and that's all, really, that I ever wanted. It doesn't make me noble to have "worked hard" nor does it make me particuarly special. Hundreds of millions of other people work just as hard every day of the year.

But I think I could have accomplished what I have in Canada just as well as I did it here -- possibly even easier, because I wouldn't have had to sell my house to pay my medical bills and then go thru all the hassle of buying it back.

Re: going to college in Argentina - Many people have a big misconception about going to school abroad. I did have the opportunity to study abroad. Both in primary school in third grade and also in college.

Point 1: Having chosen to go to University abroad would be great if I had wanted to stay in Argentina and work for a measly salary for the rest of my life with very little chance of advancement.

Point 2: A degree, even a Masters or PhD from Argentina is pretty much worthless here or in many first world countries. What many do is use the free education of foreign countries for Medical and Legal education and then come here to the states to certify themselves as M.D.'s etc.

So no, it would not have been the same thing to go to college elsewhere. If I had, and decided to come back here, to my country to live, I would have had to spend years going back to college just to qualify for a basic Bachelors degree I had already spent years earning....

Re: Hard work making one special or noble. I find hard work to be a very noble attribute in any race, nationality, ethnicity, gender or work class. I am not defining any type of work to be better or more noble than another, but if we are to compare those who as I witness in Miami all the time sitting at home smoking pot and collecting welfare and medicaid, vs the construction worker or school teacher or factory worker who dedicate their time to an honest living, then yes, one is more noble than the other. And that makes hard workers special.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
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Not all people who collect welfare and Medicaid sit at home smoking pot. Some of them were just put into circumstances they couldn't get out of without help. If you'd like to discuss the realities of such situtations with my mother, I'd be happy to put you in touch with her. Be warned, though, that she is very -- ah -- plain spoken.

As I said, and will say again, there are hundreds of millions of people around the world who work harder than I do every day of the week. And most of them are just living a subsistence life -- not because of any lack of effort on their part, but because they're part of a system that relies for its existence on the exploitation for profit of a perpetual underclass. The question we really should be asking is whether a civilization dominated by such a system has any claim to superior morality.
 

philosophygirl78

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445
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Not all people who collect welfare and Medicaid sit at home smoking pot. Some of them were just put into circumstances they couldn't get out of without help. If you'd like to discuss the realities of such situtations with my mother, I'd be happy to put you in touch with her. Be warned, though, that she is very -- ah -- plain spoken.

It was never my intention to imply all or even most of people who collect do so... I only speak from my experience here in Miami, where unfortunately, it is a rampant thing... Further, I completely understand that tomorrow it could Me that has to collect, and I hope there are measures in place where that will be a possibility, but it seems dire and not certain for my generation to have even social security or medicare with the way things are going. And that's sad....
 

ChiTownScion

Call Me a Cab
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2,193
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The Great Pacific Northwest
Not all people who collect welfare and Medicaid sit at home smoking pot. Some of them were just put into circumstances they couldn't get out of without help. If you'd like to discuss the realities of such situtations with my mother, I'd be happy to put you in touch with her. Be warned, though, that she is very -- ah -- plain spoken.

Honesty is a virtue: never a vice. Your mom sounds like a strong woman I'd admire.

When I married my wife she was a family nurse practitioner who was primary care provider at a shelter for the homeless. There were some she encountered who were part of the permanent underclass: they could hit the Power Ball jackpot tonight... and within five years they'd be back knocking at the door of a homeless shelter.

But there were others had simply been sucker punched without expectation. Fairly common among recently discharged vest & their families. They'd survived several overseas deployments, and for whatever reason were not allowed to reenlist and work toward their retirement. And there they were: in a homeless shelter seeking help.

And there was one Romanian family that we were very close to: he was an engineer, she was a school teacher. Things were going fine until his employer went belly up. By taking any damned job he could (and up to three of them at a time) he was able to get his family into a small but comfortable apartment. Within a year, they'd bought a home-- but it was difficult and it took a toll on their kids.

The whole episode was a reminder to us to never judge others in such circumstances.
 

GHT

I'll Lock Up
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8,317
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New Forest
As I said, and will say again, there are hundreds of millions of people around the world who work harder than I do every day of the week. And most of them are just living a subsistence life -- not because of any lack of effort on their part, but because they're part of a system that relies for its existence on the exploitation for profit of a perpetual underclass.
That's the very reason why I get hang ups over something that I want to purchase but see on the label that it was made in the third world. So, do I support a Bangladeshi family with my purchase, or do I condemn them to a life on the poverty breadline?
It was never my intention to imply all or even most of people who collect do so... I only speak from my experience here in Miami, where unfortunately, it is a rampant thing.
You are not alone, we have Eastern European immigrants that come here to work, and work they do. It doesn't matter what they are qualified for, they will shovel sh*t if that is what it takes to feed their family. But there is a sub-class of Romanian Gypsies who camp illegally in Central London, do everything they can to milk the system, blame everyone but themselves for their predicament and because of that, our Press highlights them, making them an unfair example of Eastern European laziness. Is it any wonder that we mistrust immigrants when our press stoke up the flame of xenophobia?
The whole episode was a reminder to us to never judge others in such circumstances.
I absolutely and wholeheartedly agree.
 

LizzieMaine

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Honesty is a virtue: never a vice. Your mom sounds like a strong woman I'd admire.

My mother went thru things as a young woman that no one should have to experience, starting with the death of her firstborn child at the hands of an incompetent doctor -- who, with the help of the Medical Establishment and the hospital administration, concealed the truth about the death until years later. Couple that with a husband who was a liar, a manipulator, a thief -- and worse -- and a family in perpetually deteriorating health, and you've got a recipe, in 1960s America, for disaster. I don't admire her because she "rose above it," I admire her because she didn't kill herself.

When I married my wife she was a family nurse practitioner who was primary care provider at a shelter for the homeless. There were some she encountered who were part of the permanent underclass: they could hit the Power Ball jackpot tonight... and within five years they'd be back knocking at the door of a homeless shelter.

Every society has souls so severely damaged that they can't rise above their circumstances no matter what. But that's not what I'm talking about when I refer to a perpetual underclass. What I do mean is this: in any society that's built on the myth of constant social and economic advancement as a reward for individual effort, there is always going to have to be a bottom -- if only to replace those who "rise above their situations." Without that bottom, without a class of people scrabbling around and living paycheck to paycheck, the entire system would be unsustainable. The labor of that underclass is the fuel that has be burned in the economic furnace of that system. And that fuel has to be purchased as cheaply as possible -- if not here, then abroad. There *has to be* an exploited underclass, lured by the myth of advancement, or the entire system stops.

What happens, for example, when the workers in Country ABC band together, rise up, and demand a fair share of what they produce? The industrialists pack up and move their operations to Country MNO, promising that they'll lift the workers of that country out of poverty. They pay them coolie wages, and they work them long hours in unsafe plants, and eventually the workers in Country MNO wise up, band together, and demand a fair share of what they produce. So the industrialists pack up again and move on to Country XYZ and repeat the cycle. There *always has to be* an underclass to be exploited, or the entire principle of the system -- maximizing profit by reducing the cost of production -- will collapse. And the master stroke of it all is that, if you can convince the people back in Country ABC, thru careful propaganda, that it's all for the good of the people in MNO and XYZ, the people in ABC *just won't care,* as long as they can get their fancy sneakers or their designer pocketbooks or their smartphones for a few dollars less.

It works fine, if you're an industrialist or a stockholder -- and they've done very well selling the idea that the goal is to move from the exploited class into the exploiting class, even though for the vast majority of the workers, that will never happen. What I question is the false morality at the foundation of the whole system -- the idea that, "there are winners and there are losers, and the goal is to be a winner and not a loser, because the losers have no one to blame but themselves," an idea which, repeated often enough and loudly enough, successful obscures the fact that *the game itself is rigged.*
 

philosophygirl78

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445
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Aventura, Florida
That's the very reason why I get hang ups over something that I want to purchase but see on the label that it was made in the third world. So, do I support a Bangladeshi family with my purchase, or do I condemn them to a life on the poverty breadline?

You are not alone, we have Eastern European immigrants that come here to work, and work they do. It doesn't matter what they are qualified for, they will shovel sh*t if that is what it takes to feed their family. But there is a sub-class of Romanian Gypsies who camp illegally in Central London, do everything they can to milk the system, blame everyone but themselves for their predicament and because of that, our Press highlights them, making them an unfair example of Eastern European laziness. Is it any wonder that we mistrust immigrants when our press stoke up the flame of xenophobia?

I understand the concern among the people as to the infiltration of immigrant groups into an established a overall functioning system.

Re: xenophobia - I am not sure I would lump xenophobia with the individuals and groups who are against a particular type of social practice invade theirs, or even assimilate.... Some cultures are still very rustic and primitive in the treatment of women, children, and the meek, which is something developed countries only recently in history began to incorporate. So sometimes its not necessarily about ostracizing, but merely a pretense to keep up the struggle already defined by modern developed states....
 

BlueTrain

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I wonder what my father would have thought about some of the things mentioned in this thread. I graduated from university and so did my wife and both of our children. Within the larger family, there is or was two clergymen, two lawyers and most everyone who is old enough has finished college and a couple have post-graduate degrees.

My father never finished grade school.
 

MikeKardec

One Too Many
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1,147
Location
Los Angeles
I thank god that I have always been able to make a living and to support my extended family very nicely even as they support me. I work most of the time in a family business where responsibilities are split up coherently and most everyone does their part and their best without issue. The following is just a vague impression experienced from a deeply appreciated distance ...

I've lived a few places where it seemed that the social security net was easier to access than it is here in the US. I've often felt that to get all the available benefits here you need (or eventually earn) a "Phd" in extracting money from the system. It takes more thought, expertise, and time compared to other places. I have often wondered if we made it easier, would we have less abuse of the system? If you train a group of people who have to spend a good deal of time and energy working the system anyway to get what they are legitimately offered, are you also training people and even incentivizing them to go the extra illegitimate step and take advantage of it? The US excels at creating a bewildering morass of laws and regulations ... not that there aren't places that are worse, but we ought to know better and the last thing you want to do is to make being on the government dole a full time job!
 

philosophygirl78

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Aventura, Florida
I feel the requirements to get into college to begin with should be stricter than they are. The requirements to pass a course should be stricter than they are now. And while costs could arguably be lower, there is a direct correlation between the quality of education and the vast array of levels of competence that are admitted into any institution (these days) of higher learning.

Components of the primary education system that seem to be the most failing include: Logic, Civics, Economics, and History. And without a basic solid foundation of common sense and historical understanding, a collegiate education will be at best, a furthering of mere rhetoric that can be dangerously misinterpreted. Which is what we are witnessing so much these days...
 

Bushman

I'll Lock Up
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Joliet
We had both civics and economics in my high school senior year, where we not only learned precisely how our governments work, but how political ideology works period. In economics, we learned how to file taxes, how checks and currency systems work, and how the mint is distributed. They were both incredibly helpful classes, and I am a strong believer that civics and economics from a basic 101 understanding should be mandatory in every high school. I really do not see how the average voter can vote with any form of educated opinion if they are not even educated in how our government works. The more friends I make in the world, and the most people I talk to, the more I realize that for all the ridiculous rules my high school had, I really did receive a great education.

And, unlike most kids in my class, I was also an avid history buff (and still am), with a special interest in WWI and WWII. On top of my mandated history classes, I also took a history of WWI & WWII class, which I absolutely loved, and I took part in the History Club. I am a firm believer that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it, and I believe that knowing history more intimately than superficially is the best way to know history.
 

philosophygirl78

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445
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We had both civics and economics in my high school senior year, where we not only learned precisely how our governments work, but how political ideology works period. In economics, we learned how to file taxes, how checks and currency systems work, and how the mint is distributed. They were both incredibly helpful classes, and I am a strong believer that civics and economics from a basic 101 understanding should be mandatory in every high school. I really do not see how the average voter can vote with any form of educated opinion if they are not even educated in how our government works. The more friends I make in the world, and the most people I talk to, the more I realize that for all the ridiculous rules my high school had, I really did receive a great education.

Agreed.

Re - "Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know." <------- I Love This!
 

Harp

I'll Lock Up
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8,508
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Chicago, IL US
... and I believe that knowing history more intimately than superficially is the best way to know history.

I have eaten your bread and salt,
I have drunk your water and wine;
The deaths ye died I have watched beside,
and the lives ye led were mine.
-Kipling

History, more so than Philosophy, is the cruelest teacher and to be caught in its experience in youth yields a life of capture, guilt, and severe reflection.
 
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