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THE INC. LIFE

This is the Most Depressing, Annoying, Life-Sucking Piece of Research You’ll Read This Year

Then again, some people will think it’s just business as usual.

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BY Chris Matyszczyk - 11 Oct 2018

This is the Most Depressing, Annoying, Life-Sucking Piece of Research You'll Read This Year

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

 

I didn't need this.

Well, I didn't need this today.

Did these scientists care? No, they didn't, because here it is.

Now, I'm going to dump it on you to make myself feel better, because that's what people do.

You see, my parents had very little and they did everything they could so that I'd have a little more than very little.

They were refugees. They knew suffering beyond all imagination. And they raged at the injustices they saw.

Those With Power vs. Those With None.

Those Who Are Rich vs. Those Who Aren't.

Now along come a couple of economists to poke my parents' rage all over again. (Please don't worry too much. They're fast asleep in their graves.)

You see, Kevin Thom from NYU and Nicolas Papageorge from Johns Hopkins thought they'd use a genome-based measure to see if what so many suspect might be true.

They wanted to analyze whether success -- you know, the monetary kind we worship here in the U.S. -- is simply a matter of innate ability. Or whether, perhaps, a family's economic means might have something to do with it.

Of course many already suspect the answer.

It's heartening, though, and maddening, to put some numbers to it all. When the numbers look like this, that is.

Thom and Papageorge found that, what do you know, genetically-inherited ability seems rather equally distributed across families with high and low incomes.

On the other hand.

Those of high genetically-given ability -- scored according to this genome-based measure -- who came from wealthy families had a 63 percent college graduation rate.

Those of similar genetically-given ability who came from lower-income families graduated 24 percent of the time.

I can hear the yes, of course's and so what's and the shut up, SJW's.

It's alright. I understand. We see everything through the prissy prism of politics these days. Even football.

There's one other little number, though. Those from higher-income families who were in the lowest quartile of genetically-given ability graduated 27 percent of the time.

Are you there yet?

The wealthy, even those with few natural abilities, are still more likely to graduate -- and therefore more likely to make more money -- than even the most talented of the less monied.

As researchers often do, Thom and Papageorge try to phrase their conclusions in simple, muted words:

Given the role of childhood SES [socioeconomic status] in predicting college attainment, this raises concerns about wasted potential arising from limited household resources.

Thom managed to be a touch more emotive to the Washington Post:

All those people who didn't go to college who had those high genetic scores, could they have cured cancer?

Please, I understand that genome-based scores have their severe limitations. I also understand the world is unfair and if it was fair, it would likely be far less interesting.

It's just that there are certain days when one wishes there was a little more justice in the world.

This happened to be one.

Then again, I should know better.

I know you should never expect justice in life. Settle for poetry.

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