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May 01, 2013



My birthday was one day after the cut-off point our local authority used; my mother got them to take me a year early, (a) because she thought I was ready (I'd taught myself to read from watching the adverts on TV) and (b) to get me out from under her feet. I was youngest in my year ever after. Also: short-ish, shy, unassertive, last to be picked at games, etc. Thanks Mum.


Yes I can testify to the veracity of this. DOB August 9th and I now claim that this has unfairly disadvantaged me ever since I started school.I knew there had to be a reason for my lack of leadership skills!


The odd thing is that primary school teachers have known about this for years. Twenty years ago a friend (primary school teacher) was told that her baby should be induced, and she firmly told the doctor to wait two days until 1 September.


Gove went to school in Scotland, where the cutoff point is February/March. So did Jim Murphy, one of the Shadow Cabinet members born in August. So the evidence is slightly stronger.


While "nobody, after all, can control the timing of their birth", their parents can.

There is an above-average number of births in the Aug-Oct period, peaking in late Sep. This has traditionally been ascribed to Nov-Jan having the darkest nights, though it must be some years since the lack of electricity and heating led to so much time under the eiderdown.

The suspicion is that some parents now plan pregnancies with the school year in mind, which means that children of less "foresightful" couples will be at a disadvantage. NB: Michael Gove was adopted.

And to end on a topical note ...

Hooray, hooray, it's the first of May; outdoor sex begins today.

Luis Enrique

we may say Messi deserve his success because of his footballing skill, but to a great extent his footballing skill was an endowment he was lucky to be born with. How does being lucky to be born in September differ than that?

Messi had innate skills - an advantage over the unskilled - which he capitalized upon by hard work. Those born in September are more likely to be confident etc. - - an advantage over the unconfident - which they may also capitalize by exerting some effort.

I agree luck plays a huge role in life, I'm less sure about deploying the word "deserve"

Bob E

Not a factor of age, but I am old enough to have attended a junior school which practised streaming, which in my case saw me moving at the end of the year spent in the "age 9" class, where I was one of the "bigger boys" straight into the "Age 11" class (along with a number of other supposedly bright youngsters) whereas our other age contemporaries moved into Year 10. Us 10 year olds in the Year 11 Class not only suffered from being "the runts" of the class, but had to spend 2 years in the Age 11 class, and when our previous Age 9 classmates joined us there, they certainly didn't seem to regard us as a "natural leaders" but rather with an usually ill-disguised contempt for our fortune in having been "singled out".


In my country, Finland, for instance, the cut-off point is the turn of the year. The current coalition cabinet has 19 ministers, of whom 3 were "old" ones born during the first two weeks of January. This is a whopping four times the random distribution. So far so good. But there are also two "young" ones who were born during the last three weeks of December. This is not quite as whopping, but it's still twice the random distribution. Furthermore, both of the December-born ministers are the leaders of their respective parties, while none of the January-born are (one of them is a former deputy leader).

More transnational and transhistorical comparisons would probably be needed before we could say anything very definitive on this.

Churm Rincewind

I'm rather with Luis Enrique on this one. We might as well say that Ethiopian athletes are "lucky" to have been born in a high altitude country which facilitates the efficiency of their oxygen-bearing capabilities. But to say that as result they don't really "deserve" their Olympic medals seems mean-spirited to say the least.


You must be a terrible person to play cards with, always going on about how people who are lucky don't deserve to keep their money. Shame on you.


@Churm - there's surely a difference between coming from a poor background and working hard to build upon a lucky talent (as top Ethiopian athletes do) and having so many advantages that failure is difficult, as so many of the children of the western rich do.
@ Steve - please distinguish between desert and entitlement. The guy who's lucky at cards might not deserve his winnings, but he's entitled to keep them. A Nozickian would reply to my post in like fashion.


@Luis - note that Chris writes "deserve their wealth and power". While it might be perfectly legitimate for Messi to be a successful footballer, he doesn't necessarily deserve the vast wealth that comes with it.


The evidence would be stronger if August births (youngest in class) were compared to September births (oldest in class). If the sample was large enough the difference could be tested for significance. A significantly large difference would confirm the hypothesis (or more accurately, would fail to reject it)


So you would not agree that society is improved by making the set of those who are entitled to some object some similar to those who deserve that object? Because that would seem to follow, and so, arguing that the lucky do not deserve their rewards is usually the same as claiming that they should not be entitled to their rewards.

the pirate bay unblocked

According to Alki David's evidence they did nothing about stopping its distribution but usually fostered its expansion. Well, let me put them into terms you're surely to
appreciate - You - Tube, Mozilla, and Pirate Bay.
Per E Samuelsson, Lundström's lawyer, pointed for an EU directive regarding e-commerce:.

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