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September 06, 2006

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Laurent GUERBY

Any study of interest on wealth/incone of the sons/daughters of rich people and the share of such "born" rich amongst the current rich?

Jim

Another reason not to envy the beautiful is that many of them are deeply insecure because they fear their partners just love them for their looks. Not a problem I'll ever have.

tom s.

Spot on. I'm just glad I'm a delta, not one of those alphas. They have to work so hard.

John Thacker

No-one worries about inequalities of beauty (though in the UK we do offer free plastic surgery to the extremely ugly) because they arose from a fair process - nature.

A fair process, eh? Beauty does tend to be inherited, you know. Is inheriting wealth an equally "fair process?" (Sure, not everyone is as beautiful as their parents, but kids are also not necessarily as wealthy as their parents.)

John Thacker

"And nature rarely deals anyone a full house."

And yet, beauty, health, and wealth are all correlated, and all inherited. And the taller and more beautiful have obvious advantages in life, and are wealthier and more succesful because of it, as repeated studies show. Are we punishing the sons for the sins of the fathers here? Or do you actually prefer those who have inherited their wealth to those who have made their own, inherently distrusting how wealth is accumulated? (As an aside, lists of the wealthiest, such as the Forbes 400, are dominated more by people who worked their way up and less by old money and inheritance than ever. Good thing or bad, in your mind?)

dearieme

The reason that you're so much richer than almost everyone in the third world is that you inherited citizenship of a country in the first world. Do you plan to renounce it?

luis_enrique

How naive is Mankiw? You can pack a lot in to that word "lucky"

Ellers Ellison "Ellsberg" McWilson

I see [the rich] as some combination of more talented, hard-working, and lucky than average

Knowing several rich people who were poor, and vice vera, I would say with some confidence that this is entirely accurate. Our capitalist system simply does not reward purposeless nepotism.

Of course wealth confers some advantage; it didn't, it wouldn't be wealth and people wouldn't want it. And above a certain level, wealth is usually self-sustaining across generations. But you're talking about some .1% of the population there, and even a fair number of them manage to destroy that wealth.

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