Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Rags to riches mythology takes a reality hit.
I have worked with industrialist from Europe for 30+ years. Wealthy men who own factories in Europe and North America. A few years ago I was shocked to set in a discussion that drifted to the rags to riches mythology and learn that every one of the Europeans agreed that it was easier to make that jump in Europe than America starting in the mid 1980's.
By the map it appears the places one is most likely to make the jump is in areas of extremely low populations with high concentrations of natural resources, in other words for at least some the jump is luck that the family had a few acres where fracking hit gas or oil, not really the mythology formula after all. If we look at that map and think population numbers in the blue areas, those making the jump from bottom to top, are but a few, take the blue zones in Kansas, some of those counties are hugh, with fewer than 5,000 population.
Mythology is important to a society, it's good to imagine any of us can just get up one morning and get financing and launch the next big thing, or our kids can get a ride at Yale and compete fairly against the children of the wealthy, the chains, Mormons, Masons, the franchises and the connections of old money. It can be done, but as public education is cut again and again, as the poor grow in numbers and the middle class shrinks, the ladder to the top has been vandalized, some the rungs are missing.