jerryking + social_classes   49

How Britons forgot that history can hurt
September 19, 2019 | | Financial Times| by Simon Kuper.

Centuries of stability have created a country careless about risk... the British mainland has meandered along nicely since Newton’s death in 1727: no conquest, dictatorship, revolution, famine or civil war. The sea prevented invasions; coal made Britain the first industrialised power. Few Britons developed strong ideologies that they were motivated to kill for.

How to square this historical stability with the UK’s newfound instability?......What explains Britain’s transformation? I suspect it’s precisely the country’s historical stability that has made many of today’s Britons insouciant about risk. They have forgotten that history can hurt. Other countries remember....their citizens remember how countries can go horribly wrong (see Uganda, the French in Algeria, etc.)......Britain has no comparable traumas. Terrible things do happen there but chiefly to poor people — which is how the country is supposed to work. Even the losses suffered during two world wars have been reconfigured into proud national moments. The widespread American guilt about slavery is almost absent here.

And so, Britain has a uniquely untroubled relationship with its past, and a suspicion of anything new. No wonder the natural ruling party calls itself “Conservative”.

Britain’s ruling classes are especially nostalgic, because they live amid the glorious past: the family’s country home, then ancient public school, Oxbridge and Westminster. They felt Britain was so secure from constitutional outrages that they never bothered to write a constitution.

But it’s wrong to blame British insouciance (embodied by Johnson) on the elite. It extends across all classes. Most Britons have learnt to be politically unserious. Hence their tolerance for toy newspapers they know to be mendacious — Britons’ ironic relationship with their tabloids puzzles many foreigners.

Postwar Britons — the most shielded generation in this shielded country’s history — voted Brexit not out of fanaticism but in a spirit of “Why not?” Many Leave voters argued additionally that “Things can’t get worse”, which any Ugandan could have told them was mistaken. Some Leavers even seemed to crave a bit of history.
'30s  Argentina  Brexit  carelessness  complacency  constitutions  decay  false_sense_of_security  German  history  historical_amnesia  insouciance  ruling_classes  Simon_Kuper  social_classes  United_Kingdom  worrying 
4 weeks ago by jerryking
Opinion | The Meritocracy Is Ripping America Apart
Sept. 12, 2019 | - The New York Times | By David Brooks.

savage exclusion tears the social fabric.

There are at least two kinds of meritocracy in America right now. Exclusive meritocracy exists at the super-elite universities and at the industries that draw the bulk of their employees from them — Wall Street, Big Law, medicine and tech. And then there is the more open meritocracy that exists almost everywhere else.

In the exclusive meritocracy, prestige is defined by how many people you can reject....The more the exclusivity, the thicker will be the coating of P.C. progressivism to show that we’re all good people.

People in this caste work phenomenally hard to build their wealth......People in this caste are super-skilled and productive.....These highly educated professionals attract vast earnings while everybody else gets left behind......Parents in the exclusive meritocracy raise their kids to be fit fighters within it....affluent parents invest on their kids’ human capital, over and above what middle-class parents can afford to invest......the Kansas Leadership Center. The center teaches people how to create social change and hopes to saturate the state with better leaders. But the center doesn’t focus on traditional “leaders.” Its mantra is: “Leadership is an activity, not a position. Anyone can lead, anytime, anywhere.” The atmosphere is one of radical inclusion.....People in both the exclusive and open meritocracies focus intensely on increasing skills. But it’s jarring to move from one culture to the other because the values are so different. The exclusive meritocracy is spinning out of control. If the country doesn’t radically expand its institutions and open access to its bounty, the U.S. will continue to rip apart.
Big_Law  caste_systems  Colleges_&_Universities  David_Brooks  elitism  exclusivity  hard_work  human_capital  inequality  law_firms  leadership  medicine  meritocracy  op-ed  parenting  political_correctness  social_classes  social_exclusion  social_fabric  social_impact  social_inclusion  society  technology  values  Wall_Street  winner-take-all 
5 weeks ago by jerryking
What Jeffrey Epstein’s black book tells us about Manhattan
AUGUST 23, 2019 | Financial Times | Holly Peterson.

...it makes perfect sense that Epstein would need a black book of people he knew — and wanted to know. He couldn’t get to the top of the totem pole otherwise. His career was so secretive, his CV so sparse, that no one knew where his money came from. What he needed was a social network.

The primary axiom to remember in this hideous saga: rich people don’t get richer only because of tax windfalls. Rich people get richer because they hang out together....Most of the Americans included in the black book have one common denominator: they are socially and professionally voracious people who form part of New York’s “Accomplisher Class”. The accomplishers appear at book parties, Davos, the Aspen Ideas Festival, benefits and openings. They understand that to be avidly social is to assure recognition and prominence. Remember, the rich covet convening power: the ability to reach a point where one’s social and professional life are confused as one....Tina Brown has been an astute observer of New York society....“The alpha energy of Manhattan is far more intense than anywhere European: more money, bigger stakes. Every achiever who wants to get to the top, has to fight like hell to be seen and heard on this island.”.....The now ossified Wasp culture may still count for country club memberships or the preppy glow of a Ralph Lauren advertisement, but not much else. New York high society has been paradoxically meritocratic for a few decades, at least since the go-go 1980s......On a grander scale, the accomplisher class is neither defective nor debauched. When accomplishers exchange ideas, much good can come in the form of entrepreneurship in technology, business or innovative arts.....At its best, the American system of philanthropy launches museums and hospitals, urban and charter schools, and relief to the poor in towns all over America. Much of this is enabled by the accomplishers, aided by tax laws that promote charitable deductions. People in this group have multiple invites most weekday nights to attend benefits that help the causes they care about most, with the added value of showing off how magnanimous they are in programmes that list precisely how much they gave....Attending a high-end event in New York is a way of taking a victory lap with other accomplishers around the room......It would be a mistake to assume that the accomplisher class is all about wealth. If you want access to capital or airwaves, boring and rich doesn’t get you that far in this high-testosterone playground. If you ran your father’s company into the ground, you’re a nobody in this town. The paycheck is not all that matters: editorial media power controls the conversation, foundation power means you write the big checks. What people admire is top achievement in almost any field....Accomplishers in New York society may be particularly American in that they do not necessarily shy away from a bad reputation. They are so interested in a story and a comeback that they can forgive human failings, and are often intrigued with flaws as much as success.

What’s more, New York is so relentlessly fast-paced and ambition among the accomplishers so colossal, they don’t always take the time to be discerning.
Bonfire_of_the_Vanities  comebacks  elitism  high-achieving  high_net_worth  Jeffrey_Epstein  Manhattan  New_York_City  overachievers  philanthropy  political_power  reputation  the_One_percent  Tina_Brown  meritocratic  The_Establishment  social_networking  social_classes 
8 weeks ago by jerryking
Tom Wolfe, journalism’s great anti-elitist
Janan Ganesh MAY 18, 2018

Wolfe was the first anti-elitist in the modern style. Or at least, the first of real stature.

He exposed the credulity of the rich for artistic fads. He made fun of their recreational left-wingery,... their “radical chic”. Among the vanities that went into his bonfire was the idea of America as classless. At the risk of tainting him with politics, there was something Trumpian about his ability to define himself against Manhattan’s grandest burghers while living among them.

If all Wolfe did was lampoon the urban rich, it would have made for a sour body of work. But he did the inverse, too. He heroised the other kind of American: physical, duty-doing, heartland-based. His only uncynical book is his best. The Right Stuff, an extended prose poem to fighter pilots and astronauts, has all the velocity of its subject, even as it pauses to linger over these men, with their utilitarian hair cuts, their blend of arrogance and asceticism......Wolfe’s great coup was to sense before anyone else that counter-culture was becoming the culture. Its capture of universities, media and the arts amounted to a new establishment that deserved as much irreverent scrutiny as the old kind.....Before South Park, before Bill Burr, before PJ O’Rourke, there was Wolfe, more or less alone in his testing of liberal certainties, and happy to bear a certain amount of ostracism for it. .....But it says something of his importance that he changed fiction and non-fiction and yet neither achievement ranks as his highest. It is his prescience about elites, and the inevitability of a reaction against them, that defines his reputation.

One test of a writer’s influence is how often people quote them unknowingly. .....Wolfe scores better than anyone of his generation, what with “good ol’ boy” and the “right stuff” and “Mau-Mauing”. What sets him apart, though, is that millions also unknowingly think his thoughts. When? Whenever they resent the cloistered rich. Whenever they fear for free speech in a hyper-sensitive culture.

The mutation of these thoughts into a brute populism in western democracies cannot be pinned on Wolfe, who was civility incarnate. Like a good reporter, he wrote what he saw and left it to the world to interpret. What he saw were people who had wealth, refinement and so much of the wrong stuff.
anti-elitist  counter_culture  Janan_Ganesh  journalists  legacies  obituaries  Tom_Wolfe  tributes  writers  enfant_terrible  New_York_City  novels  social_classes  the_One_Percent  elitism  worldviews 
may 2018 by jerryking
Rich People
“Rich People plan for three generations
Poor people plan for Saturday night”

― Gloria Steinem
tags: class-distinction, inspirational
quotes  generational_wealth  Gloria_Steinem  personal_finance  social_classes  beforemath  forward_looking  foresight  preparation  time_horizons  from notes
october 2017 by jerryking
Can we ever knock down the walls of the wealthy ghetto?
Jul. 15, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | DOUG SAUNDERS.

Fifty-two years ago, sociologist John Porter demonstrated, in his bestseller The Vertical Mosaic, that Canada's economy, its politics and its culture were controlled by a cloistered elite from the same schools and neighbourhoods, and only 3 per cent of Canadians had any access to this circle. Social mobility has improved dramatically thanks to half a century of immigration, growth and better social policies. But the top ranks remain closed and self-protective.

There are two factors in particular that make Canada's cycle of privilege a closed loop that excludes outsiders.

The first is Canada's lack of an inheritance tax. Estates (including houses) are taxed as income upon their owner's death, then can be passed on to children – removing incentives to put that wealth to better and more productive use. As a result, the higher rungs on the ladder are less open to people who have developed creative, profitable companies and ideas, and more so to people who have simply had the right parents.

The second is Canada's lax policy on private schools. The 6 per cent of Canadians who attend fee-charging schools are overwhelmingly there because their families are wealthy (studies show that their advantages are entirely found in their connections, not in their academic performance).
Canada  Canadians  high_net_worth  privilege  Doug_Saunders  cumulative  social_mobility  social_classes  private_schools  inheritance_tax  elitism  compounded  inequality  geographic_sorting  college-educated  super_ZIPs  self-perpetuation  upper-income 
july 2017 by jerryking
How We Are Ruining America
JULY 11, 2017 | The New York Times | David Brooks.

Over the past generation, members of the college-educated class have become amazingly good at making sure their children retain their privileged status. They have also become devastatingly good at making sure the children of other classes have limited chances to join their ranks.....Over the past few decades, upper-middle-class Americans have embraced behavior codes that put cultivating successful children at the center of life. As soon as they get money, they turn it into investments in their kids......Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution recently published a book called “Dream Hoarders” detailing some of the structural ways the well educated rig the system.

The most important is residential zoning restrictions. Well-educated people tend to live in places like Portland, New York and San Francisco that have housing and construction rules that keep the poor and less educated away from places with good schools and good job opportunities.....second structural barrier is the college admissions game. Educated parents live in neighborhoods with the best teachers, they top off their local public school budgets and they benefit from legacy admissions rules, from admissions criteria that reward kids who grow up with lots of enriching travel and from unpaid internships that lead to jobs.....the structural barriers emphasized are less important than the informal social barriers that segregate the lower 80 percent (e.g. being aware of cultural signifiers around, say, gourmet food)

.......American upper-middle-class culture (where the opportunities are) is now laced with cultural signifiers that are completely illegible unless you happen to have grown up in this class (i.e. excelling at being socially graceful). They play on the normal human fear of humiliation and exclusion. Their chief message is, “You are not welcome here.”
David_Brooks  social_mobility  Colleges_&_Universities  socially_graceful  inequality  geographic_sorting  college-educated  super_ZIPs  self-perpetuation  values  opportunity_gaps  upper-income  social_exclusion  books  structural_barriers  admissions  elitism  social_classes  zoning  restrictions  social_barriers  cultural_signifiers  privilege  gaming_the_system  unfair_advantages  ruination  rituals 
july 2017 by jerryking
The country is frighteningly polarized. This is why.
June 15, 2017 | The Washington Post | By Fareed Zakaria Opinion.

in the past few decades, people began to define themselves politically less by traditional economic issues than by identity — gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation. I would add to this mix social class, something rarely spoken of in the United States but a powerful determinant of how we see ourselves. Last year’s election had a lot to do with social class, with non-college-educated rural voters reacting against a professional, urban elite.....Today, everything becomes fodder for partisanship....Zakaria criticizes America’s mostly liberal colleges for silencing views they deem offensive, arguing that it was bad for the students and the country. The same holds for conservatives who try to mount campaigns to defund art that they deem offensive.....Instead of trying to silence, excommunicate and punish, let’s look at the other side and try to listen, engage and, when we must, disagree.
political_polarization  Fareed_Zakaria  identity_politics  gender  race  ethnicity  sexual_orientation  partisanship  Julius_Caesar  social_classes 
june 2017 by jerryking
America’s hidden crisis: Men not at work - The Globe and Mail
MARGARET WENTE
The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016

The United States’ biggest problem ... is more insidious. Millions of able-bodied men have dropped out of society – out of working life, of civic life, of family life. Many of these men belong to the Trumpenproletariat. How to re-engage them may be the biggest domestic challenge the country faces.

Political economist Nicholas Eberstadt calls these men “the unworking,” to distinguish them from people who want work but can’t find it. “America is now home to a vast army of jobless men who are no longer even looking for work,” he writes. “Roughly seven million of them age 25 to 54, the traditional prime of working life.” His new book, Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis, is essential reading for this election cycle. “For every prime-age man who is unemployed today,” he writes, “another three are neither working nor looking for work.” Most of these men are less educated, and many, particularly blacks, have prison records.... in fact, the work rate has been in decline for two generations. What happened during those decades was a massive shift in cultural values.... “To the extent that non-work is contagious, it is likely to grow exponentially rather than at a linear rate.” If current trends continue, he expects that more than one-third of all men in the 25-54 age group will be out of work by mid-century. That is a truly terrifying prospect – as well as fertile soil for toxic populism.

At its root, the collapse of the working class isn’t so much economic as it is social, moral and spiritual. This means that economic remedies will only take us so far. Marriage rates for less-educated men have plunged – and unmarried men are far more likely to opt for unwork. The percentage of babies born to unmarried parents has soared. Working-class whites have largely abandoned church (while church attendance among higher-income whites has stayed relatively high). Family and community networks have dissolved.
Margaret_Wente  unemployment  men  exponential  joblessness  contagions  working_class  social_classes  Larry_Summers  job_destruction  participation_rates  addictions  opiates  socioeconomic  habits  values  books  unworking  populism  social_crisis  moral_crisis  spiritual_crisis  cultural_values  whites 
october 2016 by jerryking
In an Age of Privilege, Not Everyone Is in the Same Boat - The New York Times
By NELSON D. SCHWARTZAPRIL 23, 2016

When top-dollar travelers switch planes in Atlanta, New York and other cities, Delta ferries them between terminals in a Porsche, what the airline calls a “surprise-and-delight service.” Last month, Walt Disney World began offering after-hours access to visitors who want to avoid the crowds. In other words, you basically get the Magic Kingdom to yourself.

When Royal Caribbean ships call at Labadee, the cruise line’s private resort in Haiti, elite guests get their own special beach club away from fellow travelers — an enclave within an enclave....From cruise ship operators and casinos to amusement parks and airlines, the rise of the 1 percent spells opportunity and profit.
income_inequality  social_classes  social_stratification  exclusivity  affluence  Royal_Caribbean  luxury  high_net_worth  The_One_Percent  caste__systems  travel  airline_industry  airports  concierge_services  enclaves  theme_parks  Disney  casinos  delighting_customers  top-tier  cruise_ships 
april 2016 by jerryking
Black America and the Class Divide - The New York Times
By HENRY LOUIS GATES Jr.FEB. 1, 2016

there are really two nations within Black America. The problem of income inequality, Dr. Wilson concludes, is not between Black America and White America but between black haves and have-nots, something we don’t often discuss in public in an era dominated by a narrative of fear and failure and the claim that racism impacts 42 million people in all the same ways.
Henry_Louis_Gates  African-Americans  Colleges_&_Universities  WEB_Dubois  crisis  disintegration  social_classes  leadership  income_inequality  underclass 
february 2016 by jerryking
Education Gap Between Rich and Poor Is Growing Wider - The New York Times
SEPT. 22, 2015 | NYT | Eduardo Porter.

For all the progress in improving educational outcomes among African-American children, the achievement gaps between more affluent and less privileged children is wider than ever, notes Sean Reardon of the Center for Education Policy Analysis at Stanford. Racial disparities are still a stain on American society, but they are no longer the main divider. Today the biggest threat to the American dream is class.....Financed mainly by real estate taxes that are more plentiful in neighborhoods with expensive homes, public education is becoming increasingly compartmentalized. Well-funded schools where the children of the affluent can play and learn with each other are cordoned off from the shabbier schools teaching the poor, who are still disproportionally from black or Hispanic backgrounds.
poverty  African-Americans  income_inequality  racial_disparities  real_estate_taxes  education  achievement_gaps  social_classes  public_education  sorting  segregation  geographic_sorting  neighbourhoods  children  affluence  upper-income  super_ZIPs  compartmentalization  the_American_dream 
september 2015 by jerryking
Racial Wealth Gap Persists Despite Degree, Study Says - The New York Times
By PATRICIA COHEN AUG. 16, 2015

The lack of family wealth is pivotal to understanding the racial economic gap, he argues.

While the researchers from the St. Louis Fed, when asked, played down the importance of financial support from family when explaining their results, Mr. Darity said he believed that family aid helped individuals avoid the type of risky big-ticket borrowing that ensnared so many Hispanic and black graduates.

“Prior family wealth is the key,” Mr. Darity explained in an email, noting that it “shapes both income-generating opportunities and the capacity to allow wealth to grow more wealth.”
racial_disparities  wealth_management  African-Americans  generational_wealth  downward_mobility  social_mobility  social_classes  personal_finance  financial_literacy  wealth_creation 
august 2015 by jerryking
How Black Middle-Class Kids Become Poor Adults
JAN 19 2015 | The Atlantic | GILLIAN B. WHITE.

A 2014 study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, which looked at factors like parental income, education, and family structure, shows a similar pattern: Many black Americans not only fail to move up, but show an increased likelihood of backsliding. According to the study, “In recent decades, blacks have experienced substantially less upward intergenerational mobility and substantially more downward intergenerational mobility than whites.”...The explanations for this phenomenon are varied, but largely hinge on many of the criticisms that already exist in regard to socioeconomics and race in the U.S. Economists cite lower educational attainment, higher rates of single-parent households, and geographic segregation as potential explanations for these trends.
African-Americans  middle_class  children  single_parents  downward_mobility  geographic_segregation  social_mobility  social_classes  racial_disparities  unemployment  generational_wealth 
january 2015 by jerryking
Confessions of a white Oxbridge male - FT.com
October 24, 2014 10:27 am
Confessions of a white Oxbridge male
Simon Kuper
Oxford  elitism  social_classes  Colleges_&_Universities  Cambridge 
october 2014 by jerryking
Crossing Class Lines - NYTimes.com
OCT. 3, 2014 | NYT | By STÉPHANE CÔTÉ and MICHAEL W. KRAUS
social_classes  social_mobility 
october 2014 by jerryking
Look who’s on top of the marriage market - The Globe and Mail
MARGARET WENTE
The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Sep. 20 2014,

Like the economy, the marriage market has become increasingly stratified and class-based. An increasing number of successful, high-earning men are concentrated at the top, while the pool of reliable, stably employed men at the bottom is shrinking. Men at the top don’t want to marry the secretary any more – they want to marry their equals, for reasons of both status and earning power. After all, two professional incomes will buy you a nicer life than one. They also want to make the best possible genetic investment in their offspring.

“Educated men and women are drawn to spouses they think will help them produce the children likely to thrive in the contemporary knowledge-based economy,” wrote social commentator Kay Hymowitz, whom the authors quote. “… The preference for alpha kids is the reason there is a luxury market for Ivy League egg and sperm donors.”
marriage  relationships  education  women  Margaret_Wente  income_inequality  social_classes 
september 2014 by jerryking
There Are Social and Political Benefits to Having Friends - NYTimes.com
SEPT. 18, 2014| NYT | David Brooks.

In the first place, friendship helps people make better judgments.
Second, friends usually bring out better versions of each other.
Finally, people behave better if they know their friends are observing.

People seem to have a harder time building friendships across class lines.
friendships  howto  David_Brooks  social_classes 
september 2014 by jerryking
Your ancestry may be your destiny
Mar. 22 2014 | The Globe and Mail | by Margaret Wente.

A deeply challenging new book by economic historian Gregory Clark (The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility) argues that such endurance is not the exception but the norm. It goes on to argue that most people’s outcomes can be predicted at conception. To an alarming degree, your destiny is determined by your ancestors.
ancestry  books  economic_history  genes  historians  Margaret_Wente  social_classes  social_mobility 
march 2014 by jerryking
The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent -
October 13, 2012 | NYTimes.com | By CHRYSTIA FREELAND.

IN the early 14th century, Venice was one of the richest cities in Europe. At the heart of its economy was the colleganza, a basic form of joint-stock company created to finance a single trade expedition. The brilliance of the colleganza was that it opened the economy to new entrants, allowing risk-taking entrepreneurs to share in the financial upside with the established businessmen who financed their merchant voyages.

Venice’s elites were the chief beneficiaries. Like all open economies, theirs was turbulent. Today, we think of social mobility as a good thing. But if you are on top, mobility also means competition. In 1315, when the Venetian city-state was at the height of its economic powers, the upper class acted to lock in its privileges, putting a formal stop to social mobility with the publication of the Libro d’Oro, or Book of Gold, an official register of the nobility. If you weren’t on it, you couldn’t join the ruling oligarchy.

The political shift, which had begun nearly two decades earlier, was so striking a change that the Venetians gave it a name: La Serrata, or the closure. It wasn’t long before the political Serrata became an economic one, too. Under the control of the oligarchs, Venice gradually cut off commercial opportunities for new entrants. Eventually, the colleganza was banned. The reigning elites were acting in their immediate self-interest, but in the longer term, La Serrata was the beginning of the end for them, and for Venetian prosperity more generally. By 1500, Venice’s population was smaller than it had been in 1330. In the 17th and 18th centuries, as the rest of Europe grew, the city continued to shrink....several recent studies have shown that in America today it is harder to escape the social class of your birth than it is in Europe. The Canadian economist Miles Corak has found that as income inequality increases, social mobility falls...Businessmen like to style themselves as the defenders of the free market economy, but as Luigi Zingales, an economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, argued, “Most lobbying is pro-business, in the sense that it promotes the interests of existing businesses, not pro-market in the sense of fostering truly free and open competition.”
business_interests  capitalism  Chrystia_Freeland  city-states  cronyism  crony_capitalism  depopulation  elitism  entrenched_interests  history  income_distribution  income_inequality  lobbying  locked_in  moguls  new_entrants  oligarchs  pro-business  pro-market  Renaissance  self-destructive  self-interest  social_classes  social_mobility  The_One_Percent  Venice  winner-take-all 
september 2013 by jerryking
What fatal flaw led us so deeply into debt?
October 18, 1997 | Globe & Mail | William Thorsell.

The Unheavenly City by Edward Banfield.

Wisdom has three practical dimensions (with intuition providing a fourth for the truly sage person). The first part of wisdom is knowledge, the second is context based on experience, the third is a long perspective on time......the more forward-looking you are, the higher your social class is. People who live a great deal of their intellectual life in the future derive two great advantages over those who do not: They avoid predictable damage to their interests, and they exploit opportunities that might otherwise be lost to others.

This requires a high tolerance for delayed gratification.

In his engaging book, Future Perfect, Stanley Davis argues that most people are stuck managing the results of things that have already happened....the aftermath. Great leaders manage what has not yet happened....the beforemath. "People who take out life insurance and have home mortgages are managing the beforemath...they are managing the consequences of events that have not yet taken place."
William_Thorsell  books  instant_gratification  delayed_gratification  sophisticated  social_classes  debt  debt_crisis  wisdom  long-term  intuition  far-sightedness  beforemath  anticipating  contextual  forward_looking  foresight  aftermath 
july 2013 by jerryking
Yes, Healthful Fast Food Is Possible. But Edible?
April 3, 2013 |- NYTimes.com | By MARK BITTMAN

After the success of companies like Whole Foods, and healthful (or theoretically healthful) brands like Annie’s and Kashi, there’s now a market for a fast-food chain that’s not only healthful itself, but vegetarian-friendly, sustainable and even humane. And, this being fast food: cheap. “It is significant, and I do believe it is coming from consumer desire to have choices and more balance,” says Andy Barish, a restaurant analyst at Jefferies LLC, the investment bank. “And it’s not just the coasts anymore.” ...What I’d like is a place that serves only good options, where you don’t have to resist the junk food to order well, and where the food is real — by which I mean dishes that generally contain few ingredients and are recognizable to everyone, not just food technologists....In recent years, the fast-food industry has started to heed these new demands. Billions of dollars have been invested in more healthful fast-food options, and the financial incentives justify these expenditures. About half of all the money spent on food in the United States is for meals eaten outside the home. And last year McDonald’s earned $5.5 billion in profits on $88 billion in sales. If a competitor offered a more healthful option that was able to capture just a single percent of that market share, it would make $55 million. Chipotle, the best newcomer of the last generation, has beaten that 1 percent handily. Last year, sales approached $3 billion. In the fourth quarter, they grew by 17 percent over the same period in the previous year.

Numbers are tricky to pin down for more healthful options because the fast food industry doesn’t yet have a category for “healthful.”...Chipotle combines the best aspects of Nouveau Junk to create a new category that we might call Improved Fast Food. At Chipotle, the food is fresher and tastes much better than traditional fast food. The sourcing, production and cooking is generally of a higher level; and the overall experience is more pleasant. The guacamole really is made on premises, and the chicken (however tasteless) is cooked before your eyes. It’s fairly easy to eat vegan there, but those burritos can pack on the calories. As a competitor told me, “Several brands had a head start on [the Chipotle founder Steve] Ells, but he kicked their [expletive] with culture and quality. It’s not shabby for assembly-line steam-table Mexican food. It might be worth $10 billion right now.” (It is.)

Chipotle no longer stands alone in the Improved Fast Food world: Chop’t, Maoz, Freshii, Zoës Kitchen and several others all have their strong points. And — like Chipotle — they all have their limitations, starting with calories and fat.
...Veggie Grill, Lyfe Kitchen, Tender Greens and others have solved the challenge of bringing formerly upscale, plant-based foods to more of a mass audience. But the industry seems to be focused on a niche group that you might call the health-aware sector of the population. (If you’re reading this article, you’re probably in it.) Whole Foods has proved that you can build a publicly traded business, with $16 billion in market capitalization, by appealing to this niche. But fast food is, at its core, a class issue. Many people rely on that Tendercrisp because they need to, and our country’s fast-food problem won’t be solved — no matter how much innovation in vegan options or high-tech ovens — until the prices come down and this niche sector is no longer niche. ...Soda consumption is down; meat consumption is down; sales of organic foods are up; more people are expressing concern about G.M.O.s, additives, pesticides and animal welfare. The lines out the door — first at Chipotle and now at Maoz, Chop’t, Tender Greens and Veggie Grill — don’t lie. According to a report in Advertising Age, McDonald’s no longer ranks in the top 10 favorite restaurants of Millennials, a group that comprises as many as 80 million people.
Lyfe_Kitchen  Mark_Bittman  fast-food  Burger_King  Chipotle  plant-based  vegetables  fresh_produce  vegan  McDonald's  social_classes  perishables  Whole_Foods  millennials  fast-casual  new_categories 
april 2013 by jerryking
Class-Based vs. Race-Based Admissions - NYTimes.com
Editorial
Class-Based vs. Race-Based Admissions
Published: November 18, 2012
op-ed  admissions  Colleges_&_Universities  race  social_classes 
november 2012 by jerryking
Two Classes in America, Divided by ‘I Do’ - NYTimes.com
July 14, 2012 | NYT | By JASON DePARLE.

The economic storms of recent years have raised concerns about growing inequality and questions about a core national faith, that even Americans of humble backgrounds have a good chance of getting ahead. Most of the discussion has focused on labor market forces like falling blue-collar wages and lavish Wall Street pay.

But striking changes in family structure have also broadened income gaps and posed new barriers to upward mobility. College-educated Americans like the Faulkners are increasingly likely to marry one another, compounding their growing advantages in pay. Less-educated women like Ms. Schairer, who left college without finishing her degree, are growing less likely to marry at all, raising children on pinched paychecks that come in ones, not twos.

Estimates vary widely, but scholars have said that changes in marriage patterns — as opposed to changes in individual earnings — may account for as much as 40 percent of the growth in certain measures of inequality.
marriage  parenting  family  family_breakdown  income  income_distribution  Matthew_effect  social_classes  college-educated  social_mobility  self-perpetuation  compounded  blue-collar  inequality 
july 2012 by jerryking
The Opportunity Gap - NYTimes.com
The Opportunity Gap
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: July 9, 2012

Decades ago, college-graduate parents and high-school-graduate parents invested similarly in their children. Recently, more affluent parents have invested much more in their children’s futures while less affluent parents have not.

They’ve invested more time. Over the past decades, college-educated parents have quadrupled the amount of time they spend reading “Goodnight Moon,” talking to their kids about their day and cheering them on from the sidelines. High-school-educated parents have increased child-care time, but only slightly.

A generation ago, working-class parents spent slightly more time with their kids than college-educated parents. Now college-educated parents spend an hour more every day. This attention gap is largest in the first three years of life when it is most important.

Affluent parents also invest more money in their children. Over the last 40 years upper-income parents have increased the amount they spend on their kids’ enrichment activities, like tutoring and extra curriculars, by $5,300 a year. The financially stressed lower classes have only been able to increase their investment by $480, adjusted for inflation.

As a result, behavior gaps are opening up. In 1972, kids from the bottom quartile of earners participated in roughly the same number of activities as kids from the top quartile. Today, it’s a chasm.
David_Brooks  parenting  achievement_gaps  opportunities  social_classes  purchase_decisions  opportunity_gaps  college-educated  working_class  attention_gaps  affluence  behavior_gaps  super_ZIPs  self-perpetuation  values  unfair_advantages  upper-income  high-school_graduated 
july 2012 by jerryking
Black Characters in Search of Reality - NYTimes.com
By BRENT STAPLES
February 11, 2012

Black artists are often faced with the problem of having to elevate through sheer skill material that is stereotypical or even racist.
theatre  African-Americans  Broadway  Martha's_Vineyard  social_classes 
february 2012 by jerryking
Jamaican middle and upper classes don't have the entrepreneurial spirit — Ventura - Business - JamaicaObserver.com
BY PAUL RODGERS Business Editor rodgersp@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, January 27, 2012

.....Ventura warned policy makers and investors not to be risk averse. "They do not realise that the status quo is often more dangerous than the unknown.

THE poverty that blights much of the Caribbean economy has one big upside -- it has created a huge pool of people rich with entrepreneurial spirit......."[the poor] the most innovative group in Jamaica," the Mico University College academic later told Caribbean Business Report. "The middle and upper classes don't have that entrepreneurial spirit."

......More established businesses often just wait for management consultants to advise them or pick up ideas from business magazines, he said. "Many of the main productive enterprises are not nearly as creative."......."Science is the dynamo behind worldwide socio-economic progress," he added. "A society with limited scientific capabilities and literacy, as exists in Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean, diminishes the scope for entrepreneurship."
Jamaica  entrepreneurship  social_classes  Caribbean  Afro-Guyanese  unimaginative 
january 2012 by jerryking
Charles Murray on the New American Divide - WSJ.com
JANUARY 21, 2012 | WSJ | By CHARLES MURRAY

The New American Divide
The ideal of an 'American way of life' is fading as the working class falls further away from institutions like marriage and religion and the upper class becomes more isolated. Charles Murray on what's cleaving America, and why.

When Americans used to brag about "the American way of life"—a phrase still in common use in 1960—they were talking about a civic culture that swept an extremely large proportion of Americans of all classes into its embrace. It was a culture encompassing shared experiences of daily life and shared assumptions about central American values involving marriage, honesty, hard work and religiosity.

Over the past 50 years, that common civic culture has unraveled. We have developed a new upper class with advanced educations, often obtained at elite schools, sharing tastes and preferences that set them apart from mainstream America. At the same time, we have developed a new lower class, characterized not by poverty but by withdrawal from America's core cultural institutions.
Charles_Murray  family_breakdown  marriage  religion  social_integration  social_classes  '50s  '60s  values  civics  underclass  cultural_institutions  social_fabric  whites  working_class  fault_lines  hard_work  disintegration  shared_consciousness  upper-income 
january 2012 by jerryking
Bill Cosby Live - WSJ.com
MAY 25, 2004

By week's end Mr. Cosby had issued a statement pointing out that most of the news accounts dropped the context within which his remarks were delivered: a 50% high school dropout rate for inner-city African-American males that he rightly characterized as an "epidemic." In other words, Mr. Cosby's argument is that 1) a 50% black dropout rate ought to be regarded as a national scandal in a post-Brown America; and 2) dysfunctional behavior is dysfunctional whatever one's skin color.

Surely it says something about Mr. Cosby's critics that they are more disturbed by his speaking out than they are about the underlying crisis he's trying to address.
Bill_Cosby  African-Americans  silence  thug_code  social_classes 
november 2011 by jerryking
Forty Acres and a Gap in Wealth
by HENRY LOUIS GATES Jr.
Published: November 18, 2007

The telltale fact is that the biggest gap in black prosperity isn’t in income, but in wealth. According to a study by the economist Edward N. Wolff, the median net worth of non-Hispanic black households in 2004 was only $11,800 — less than 10 percent that of non-Hispanic white households, $118,300. Perhaps a bold and innovative approach to the problem of black poverty — one floated during the Civil War but never fully put into practice — would be to look at ways to turn tenants into homeowners. Sadly, in the wake of the subprime mortgage debacle, an enormous number of houses are being repossessed. But for the black poor, real progress may come only once they have an ownership stake in American society.

People who own property feel a sense of ownership in their future and their society. They study, save, work, strive and vote. And people trapped in a culture of tenancy do not.

The sad truth is that the civil rights movement cannot be reborn until we identify the causes of black suffering, some of them self-inflicted. Why can’t black leaders organize rallies around responsible sexuality, birth within marriage, parents reading to their children and students staying in school and doing homework?
Henry_Louis_Gates  African-Americans  owners  land  property_ownership  achievement_gaps  racial_disparities  personal_finance  wealth_creation  real_estate  social_classes  subprime  home_ownership  generational_wealth  ownership 
november 2011 by jerryking
The Hallmark of the Underclass - WSJ.com
SEPTEMBER 29, 2005

The Hallmark of the Underclass

By CHARLES MURRAY
underclass  Katrina  Charles_Murray  social_classes 
november 2011 by jerryking
The Clintons' last hurrah: watching the skunk in the alley
Thorsell, William. The Globe and Mail [Toronto, Ont] 16 Feb 2001: .13

The Wall Street Journal is the best-edited newspaper in the world, and its relentless editorial pages are sometimes superlative, too. This week, a Journal editorial disposed of Bill Clinton's shrinking rump of defenders with enviable finality. And last week, the Journal published a potent denunciation of the United States' governing elites -- "the dominant minority" on which the long-term welfare of any great civilization depends. Together, it was like reading a very good second draft of history.

The first of these forays can be explained by partisan predilection, as the Journal's genome contains the protein marker for Republicans in every cell, including the one that defines how you dress. But the editorial page's fervent hostility to Bill and Hillary Clinton goes far beyond the bounds of ideological conviction. It bespeaks moral outrage at the Clintons' damnable ability to act badly and then implicate a majority of Americans in their sins by sustaining public support...The context for all this was forcefully provided one week earlier in a Journal editorial-page essay coldly titled Prole Models. Charles Murray argued that America's governing elites have allowed repugnant lower-class values to become fashionable in society, nay, have adopted them. Citing Arnold Toynbee's cautionary tale in A Study of History,Mr. Murray warned against the rising social status of the Thug Code: "Take what you want, respond violently to anyone who antagonizes you, gloat when you win, despise courtesy as weakness, treat women as receptacles, take pride in cheating, deceiving or exploiting successfully."...The Wall Street Journal is an important instrument of the American establishment, and thus a contradiction to the thesis that U.S. elites have lost their way. Indeed, the political power of the religious right suggests the opposite, to the point that pluralist democracy might become at issue there. But Bill Clinton has ultimately validated the Journal's distinctive moral outrage by his consistently cynical indifference to its strictures.
thug_code  William_Thorsell  Bill_Clinton  Hillary_Clinton  Charles_Murray  underclass  cultural_values  values  social_classes  editors  cautionary_tales 
august 2011 by jerryking
Book Review - Disintegration - By Eugene Robinson - NYTimes.com
By RAYMOND ARSENAULT
Published: December 29, 2010

During the past four decades, Robinson persuasively argues, black
America has splintered into four subgroups: the Transcendent elite; the
Mainstream middle class, which now accounts for a majority of black
Americans; an Emergent community made up of mixed-race families and
black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean; and the Abandoned, a
large and growing underclass concentrated in the inner cities and
depressed pockets of the rural South.

Divided by economics and culture, these four groups have little in
common and little reason to identify with one another.
African-Americans  books  book_reviews  crisis  disintegration  social_classes  race  the_South  underclass  urban  immigrants 
january 2011 by jerryking
Obama and Race - WSJ.com
Feb. 21, 2008 op-ed piece by Daniel Henniger looking at Barack
Obama through the lens of Bill Cosby's 1980s TV sitcom. he argues that
Bill Cosby was trying to stanch the downward pitch of black street
culture--and lost.
Obama  African-Americans  politics  culture  Daniel_Henninger  Bill_Cosby  social_classes 
january 2009 by jerryking

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