Sunday, February 23, 2014

“The Talent To Prosper"

In Legacies Can Last For Centuries we linked to an interview with Gregory Clark. In his New York Times column Clark offers a fuller introduction to his views:
The fortunes of high-status families inexorably fall, and those of low-status families rise, toward the average — what social scientists call “regression to the mean” — but the process can take 10 to 15 generations (300 to 450 years), much longer than most social scientists have estimated in the past..
Why is membership in the upper and lower classes so lasting? High social status seems to depend on certain traits.
In modern meritocratic societies, success still depends on individual effort. Our findings suggest, however, that the compulsion to strive, the talent to prosper and the ability to overcome failure are strongly inherited.
"The talent to prosper." Interesting term. How would you define it? A penchant for thrift? A head for business? The ability to delay gratification? The good sense to follow the advice of a faithful trust officer?

The Times accompanied Clark's column with this spot-on illustration by Javier Jaén: the evolution of the Upper Crust.

No comments: