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  •  it's a similar situation to unemployment (7+ / 0-)

    Given the structural changes in our economy, it's a pretty good bet that most of the 10% or so unemployed in the US wouldn't have jobs no matter what---the jobs themselves are disappearing.  So even if everyone in the USA had a Harvard MBA, ten percent of us would still be unemployed.

    The old "Horatio Alger" mythology has ALWAYS been pure bullshit. It feeds on our lottery mentality--the hope that even though the odds are tremendously long, we MIGHT win anyway. And we never do.  (shrug)

    •  Indeed, I was specifically thinking of (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreenMother, emal, JBL55, ColoTim, ebohlman

      unemployment when I wrote my comment.

      Unremitting competition -- to be judged relative to others, rather than on one's own merits -- is the weapon the bosses use against the rest of us to keep us frightened, stressed out, and at the grindstone, instead of living worthwhile lives.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 05:36:38 AM PDT

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    •  Anyone who's read Horatio Alger will recognize (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ebohlman, orestes1963

      the truth in this comment. I haven't...but I did read Sennett & Cobb's The Hidden Injuries of Class many years ago, in which they pointed out the key fact that the poor boy (always a boy o'course) never "makes good" on his own.

      What happens is that the p.b.'s industriousness & moral worth is fortuitously brought to the attention of a Scrooge McDuck who, impressed by the lad's sterling qualities, makes a conscious choice to take him under his wing ;) & smooth for him the flight path to his own personal Money Bin.

      S&C also point out that life imitates art (if you can call HA stories "art") in that (1) Socioeconomic classes exist in the US, (2) boundaries between them are far more rigid than even those who admit their existence will grant, (3) the probability of an individual rising well above his SEC is small & highly dependent on sheer luck, but (4) the possibility allows TPTB to point to a few well-known examples & say to those still stuck in the lower depths, "See, anyone can make it in America, so what's wrong with you that you didn't??", thereby (5) throwing the responsibility for success or failure (& the concomitant arrogance or guilt) back onto individuals rather than questioning the social order that sets them up for socioeconomic failure.

      I would extend this analysis to note that the guilt of "not having made it" combines with the general insecurity of existence to (6) generate feelings of inadequacy leading to neurosis, which (7) consumerist society conveniently persuades them to assuage by buying stuff, thereby further enriching the 0.1% relative to the 99.9%, &/or dissolving themselves in movements or religions that provide a frequently-bogus sense of belonging while supporting the Algeroid mythos that keeps the system in place.

      But maybe that's just me.


      by Uncle Cosmo on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 09:26:19 AM PDT

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      •  In Alger's case, the reason his heroes were always (0+ / 0-)

        boys was that he was sexually attracted to young teenage boys. He used to be a Unitarian minister, but got kicked out because of too many allegations of hanky-panky.

        Writing in all lower-case letters should be a capital offense

        by ebohlman on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 03:19:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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