Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

You can start off in the world in circumstances that make you much less likely to succeed later, circumstances that are totally outside your control. If you acquire an early aversion to people or a mental illness due to childhood rape, I'd have to be pretty dense to say your lack of productivity is your fault. If you didn't get into as good a college as the kid who's parents could afford after school SAT prep classes, I couldn't really say you're a worse student. If your parents sucked at child rearing and raised you on a healthy diet of Cheetoes and Disney videos instead of broccoli and Legos, you can't be totally to blame for your poor brain development and lack of impulse control. Writing someone off as having a dysfunction without considering the cause is stupid.



Of course people's parents can do all sorts of things to create a poor environment for a child to grow up in. Maybe their parents did the same thing. But at some point, regardless of what your parents did, you have to take responsibility for your own actions and try to make something of your life -- or not.

By the same token, dysfunctional rich kids into drugs and other methods of squandering wealth are so common that they're a cliche. Maybe their emotionally distant parents are to blame too.

Regardless of how they got there, at some point you have to just acknowledge that some people have useful survival skills for getting ahead in society, and some do not. Also, that virtually anyone who isn't actually mentally retarded has some ability to develop those skills if they want to strongly enough.

This leaves you the option of modeling these skills as obtainable, which means that you create incentives for people to get their sh*t together, and the option of modeling these skills as innate and beyond anyone's control, which means that you just support people who drew the short straw and don't bother with incentives.

I think it's pretty clear which of these models contributes to wealth gain over time and which contributes to welfare dependency.




Applications are open for YC Summer 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: