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

Equality of opportunity is a complex topic that sounds good to everyone but also means different things to everyone. The reason is that opportunities are, themselves, often the result of earlier choices.

For instance, the opportunity for a desirable job may be the result of earlier experience attained, which may be the result of choices about how much time to spend on work versus family or other pursuits.

It gets even more complex when you take this back to the time of birth. Differences among parents represent a huge difference in opportunity for their children. But it's hard to imagine this changing dramatically: parents work very hard to give their children whatever kinds of benefits they possibly can -- social, financial, cultural, educational. If you could ever truly prevent parents from giving their children benefits that not all children have, it would remove almost all of the incentive for most kinds of success, and the consequences would be unimaginable (and probably dystopian).

As the GP you're replying to: All of this is correct.

Commenting on this & the thread at large though there's a general confusion here between the narrow question of whether the right way to subsidize e.g. parental leave should be done at the employer level, and whether it's worthwhile to do so at all.

Many here are assuming that an objection to the former is equivalent to an objection to the latter.

That's not the case at all. It's possible to be a proponent of radically progressive social policies that would massively benefit parents raising children and be 100% against those policies having any negative downstream impact on companies trying to hire them as workers in the future.

E.g. one way to do that (just spitballing here) would be to recognize that a new individual in society is likely to have a long-term positive revenue impact for the government. Some percentage (e.g. 10%) of their taxes would be paid directly to their parents, and this amount could be paid on birth on the basis of median income in the country and adjusted past the age of 18 accordingly.

This would give parents a massive subsidy lifetime subsidy, and a huge incentive to steer their children towards lucrative careers which would have a positive impact on economic growth.

This aligns with my understanding. I applaud every experiment in this space. We just don't seem to know enough about ourselves for folks to speak as confidently about these terms and their impacts as we do.

As I'm raising my kid I'm amazed at how important just keeping her curious and oriented towards the unknown is. Just teaching her how to manage her own emotions and external frustrations. Even at a very young age I see parents conditioning their male children to physically _push_ through problems and frustrations but the girls are so often taught to communicate and understand their feelings _before_ acting. This then seems to really influence the types of activities they are introduced to and ultimately excel at.

If I'm being honest with myself when my emotional intelligence finally caught in my 30s it was a bit embarrassing. I just didn't have a good skill set for dealing with frustrations which weren't physical.


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