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January 12, 2010



"this raises the question: can the state really do much to create strong families and confident parents?"

Good question. But you seem to assume that it is easier for the state to measure people's innate talent and distribute opportunities accordingly than it is for it to try and change social attitudes. I don't see how can you do the former accurately without doing the latter first.

It's not so much that not all have talents than the fact that not all have aspirations. You can indeed do a lot for changing culturally received expectations, which are mightier obstacles to social mobility than legal prohibition of it would be.


Sorry, Winstanley - when did I make that assumption? I don't believe it.And I don't think the state should distribute opportunities.
And I'm not sure there's a robust distinction between talent and aspiration: you can think of high aspirations as a talent.


Maybe I misunderstood but after mentioning Brown's lazy talk about unlocking of talents you object: "This ignores the fact that many people don’t have talent." A fact that presumably would make measures grounded on luck equality a plausible and desirable policy if one accepted state interventionism.

But why would differences in talent, which is innate, result in inequality rather than differences of aspiration, which I take to be cultural and thus remediable?

chris c

I fear it's another example of how fantasy worlds and ideology drive policy, rather than anything concrete.

The research from Demos, as used by Cameron, shows that because they've found that there is no difference in the outcome if wealth differs but parents are equally able, then that effectively shows that New Labour's social engineering policies might be working. But they're not targeted, they have a scattergun approach to try and achieve arbitrary standards for success (like 50% in university) and they're not cost-effective.

By interpreting Demos' research in an alternative way, Cameron can argue that the most cost effective approach is to move the onus from the State onto the family.

But I don't think any of the readings can go this deep. I think Cameron is appealing in terms of ideology rather than economics.

Peter Risdon

The most interesting thing about this for me is the fact that all arguments above assume heredity does not exist. That's interesting because we know it does.

As Steven Pinker pointed out in The Blank Slate, genes that make parents loving might also make children self-confident.

Cameron shares the fallacy that humans are blank slates, it appears. Odd.


Peter Risdon,
it seems to me that your point and our hosts are for all practical purposes identical.

online doctor

i totally agree with, raising a child is not matter of wealth but the warmth of parenting. Good attitudes and guides to child is very important than anything else.

Robert Johnson

Dear All,

My name is Robert Johnson I am a 22 year old student currently attending Bournemouth University in the UK. I am in my final year of my Business Studies course and for my dissertation I have teamed up with a local hotel and created a consultancy named ‘Leisure Network Solutions’

My specific dissertation question is as follows:

Can social networks support and be integrated into the more traditional forms of online marketing within the Bournemouth hotel market?

-Specifically for the Best Western Connaught Hotel

In order to undertake this question I have set up several social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and I am creating a Blog for the Managing Director to update.

To test the efficiency of the social networks I am going to take a 1 month sample of how bookings are originally initiated. At the end of the months I will formulate my results and come to conclusions on the beneficial output of social networks within the Bournemouth Hotel Industry.

After conducting in depth background research into the hotel industry in regards to the social networks I found out about your ingenious application available on twitter and exactly something that I should refer to and investigate further in my report.

I would love to hear what you feel about the project and any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated. I believe that a partnership or some sort would be fantastic for my report and really give it some credibility.

As I am working with next to no budget, I am finding it very difficult to raise the awarness of these networks and measure the effectivness of them you thoughts and opinions would be greatly appreicated.

The networks I have created can be seen below:





Thank you for your time and I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards,

Robert Johnson

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