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Where you are born is more predictive of your future than any other factor (gatesfoundation.org)
375 points by betocmn 30 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 334 comments

I’m extremely lucky, I was raised in projects at an early age in an absolutely horrible area and went through middle school and high school there (mother eventually moved out of the projects but in the same city). Random beatings were common once you neared your teen years, I was physically attacked many times just because I was white I guess (judging by the racial words said towards me).

But yeah, most people do not do well in life there, they are stuck in a cycle of violence, drugs, and other destructive behavior that they never recover from. It makes absolutely no sense how I was able to make it out and end up doing very well in life.

I want to help others break free from the cycle of self destruction but it’s very hard unless you are with them daily.

Anyways, to this day I’m thankful for John Carmack for giving me that spark of interest in computers.

Ah man, you are just like me, except I'm the opposite skin color. Violence in ghettos knows no bounds, I can't recall how many times as a kid I've had to look the other way or keep my mouth shut so as to not get killed. At a certain point you realize the only way to succeed in life is to leave.

I also was inspired by developers like John Carmack and Chris Sawyer, and fortunately my dad had a Compaq Presario in those days, so I took a love for programming early. I can remember having to haul a bookbag full of programming books from the local library, through the ghetto to our apartment, nervous day that was.

I don't people really understand how much different it is living in the ghetto vs living in a middle-class area. It is night and day, and anyone can attest that once you make it out you never want to return if you can help it, and most fail to appreciate the incredible difficulty of "fixing" an area like that or even helping someone who refuses to leave

Just in response to both of you. I feel you!

I went through similar things. I do alright now but my brother stayed on the same line and things aren't so good there.

If there is one difference I can point at, it was my friends and girlfriends (and now wife) that are the causative factor in my direction. They pushed me to be more than the sum of my past and circumstances. My brother's friends just held him in place. I was lucky.

Same with me! My relationships pushed me to go higher, put myself in a better place, while my brother had friends who kept him down, some months back I heard a family member had to stay in jail over a weekend for doing something his friends told him were okay.

It's absolutely, crushingly, depressing seeing how far you've come up, vs how others are staying down and the incredibly thin line of circumstance that seperates you both.

> It's absolutely, crushingly, depressing seeing how far you've come up, vs how others are staying down and the incredibly thin line of circumstance that seperates you both.

I hear you! this hits home hard with me. It is truly sad to see your family "stuck" in the same circumstances but at the same time I also think is very motivating to know that you "broke" the cycle from your family's "unlucky" past circumstances.

To both of you: seems like you were still born in the US or some western nation. I would take beatings and ghetto over war any day.

The American ghettos / projects are a solvable issue. It baffles me how such a relatively easy problem (compared to middle eastern wars) is so hard to fix for the richest economy on earth. Can you tell me why it is difficult to fix the projects and ghettos?

It is like a nicotine addiction. I am sure from the outside looking in you think it is easy for someone to quit smoking, but they have built their lifestyle around it and it's convenience and comfort it provides to them, it is very hard for them to let go. It is the same with a ghetto, many people living in them want those places to stay the same. They have built up a life around the society norms and don't want it to change. It is hard to fix something when it desires to stay broken.

Meanwhile, a war just needs to end. The structure can always be rebuilt. The culture may not be the same as it was when it started, but it won't be in disarray forever, and the people in a warzone usually want the war to end.

Blaming the people in the ghetto for the problems of the ghetto is a common refrain of those who seek to deny the material conditions and motivations that created the ghetto in the first place. This train of thought leads to the justification of various cutbacks and reductions in social aid programs (exacerbating the situation), as the presumed beneficiaries of such programs are deemed lazy, morally unworthy, and lacking the desire to change their ways.

Changing this perception is key to making progress on this and related issues of class and resource distribution. There's heaps of research out on the positive difference a slight increase in resources can make in terms of human development.

What? I literally grew up in the ghetto, I can say from firsthand experience there is no lack of opportunity preventing anyone from moving up out of the ghetto. The only thing holding me back were others who wanted to stay in the ghetto.

I never said anything about laziness or unworthiness, don't lump my experience or comments with some other group you have imagined.

And lastly, I will not change my perception on anything. I have first-hand experience of having my life threatened because I was on the wrong side of the street at the wrong time, or I declined to do something for someone who couldn't take no for an answer, or I simply walked a certain way. These experiences won't be diluted so that you can co-opt them to influence others on your ideology.

I wasn't assuming you did say anything about those things; I was merely saying that others commonly do so, and do in fact frequently lump those together with "they have opportunities, but don't want to take them" in a way that harms the communities like the one you grew up in, while being quite ignorant of the policy, available resources, and conditions in general.

I am honestly glad you made it out, by the way. I'm not so presumptuous to think that a comment here would "change your perception" or "co-opt" anyone to serve my "ideology."

Not sure why you'd think your personal experience is representative of the average experience -- decades of social science research suggest the contrary.

What does the social science research say in precise terms?

Are you sure it doesn't just say that external factors created or create pressures against taking extant opportunities, rather than those opportunities don't exist in the first place?

The last two points you made really struck me simply because I really think they nail these problems on the head quite succinctly. Wars are terrible, destructive and complicated, but they tend to end pretty quickly (few exceptions aside) because the people involved in their absolute majority don't want the disruption war brings to an otherwise comfortable (if imperfect) normal state of existence. The project "warzones" of large urban areas are themselves the comfortable state of existence for millions of their inhabitants. And thus no matter their their nastiness and miseries, just as you mentioned, attempts at positive external change are in a way analogous to war actually, because like war, they're the external and mostly imposed disruptions despite their good intentions. No amount of money and resources being thrown at urban blight will easily change things without bearing this in mind. This is not to say that resources for improving ghetto life should be cut off, but how they're attempted needs to seriously be reconsidered.

> Can you tell me why it is difficult to fix the projects and ghettos?

Because “the projects and ghettos” aren't a statement of a problem, and to the extent that there is an agreement that there are problems around those things, there is not consensus on what the problem is, much less the solution, and the lack of consensus is not only about empirical fact, but includes a fundamental clash of ideological principles.

This is correct. Everyone pretty much agrees that these areas are a symptom of a problem. Nobody agrees on what that problem even is.

Further, various factions (there are more than two) seem to believe that the problem is exacerbated by what other factions believe to be a proto-mitigation. E.g. see discussion of rent control -- some people believe that rent control keeps people out of public housing, others believe that rent control forces people into public housing, still others believe that rent control has nothing to do with it.

Your comment is ignorant. The issue is not easy to fix. This sounds like me saying, well get rid of religion in the Middle East it will fix the wars, but that is ignorant.

Projects/ghettos are not simple to solve. It is a pretty complex problem.

The problem to solve in both is the same: rebuilding families and cultivating a culture that values long term growth.

Have you seen popular culture these days? Neither of those things are in vogue.

Really not a good sign for our long-term growth potential.

Hmm. The whole country is developing a ghetto mindset? I could maybe agree with that.

It's dividing into "gangs". (With colors, even!)

Strong families are in short supply.

The culture doesn't value long-term growth (either human or economic). It's all short-term fix, or entertainment to help you ignore the problem.

Drug dealers destroy a lot of lives (looking at you, Purdue Pharma).

People don't trust cops.

It seems like there may be more to this. Anything I'm missing?

Well, that’s just the thing - the ghettos _are_ the solution. The problem was lack of affordable housing, so the government mandated affordable housing. The result was ghettos, since everybody who had nowhere else to go ended up there.

I remember a discussion with someone who lived in a French equivalent (perhaps not as bad), at the time those were being constructed (from the 50' to the 70'). At the time, people who started living there were happy, because the alternative were shantytown/slums. Of course it didn't last, but I found it interesting to see this viewpoint.

They probably worked well for 10 years. The ghettos in France are pretty bad right now too. Maybe what was missing was reinvestment in these areas, the development of services and building out the community. London and the UK have experimented with transitioning council flats to owner occupied for example. Gentrification maybe too?

From what I've heard, such areas have received and continue to receive public money, but it doesn't look like it's working. Or I am wrong and such money don't exist/go elsewhere (grafts, corruption, public money waste or just area that aren't too bad). Or the places where it's working aren't those we're hearing about (the squeaky wheel get the grease and all that).

There's a lot of racial animus that compounds that - inner-city ghettos generally tend to be non-white thanks to red-lining and white-flight in the past, and the present disdain for "welfare queens" in the political zeitgeist, since Reagan.

This is also why today we want mixed use housing and affordable housing together with market rate housing.

Because, as has been shown time and time again, throwing money at a problem doesn't solve it.

Then what's the easy solution?

Because I'm willing to bet it's a world hunger solution: "Just give everyone food!"

Simple to say, difficult to do.

Is that a difficult solution? Western countries could end world hunger[1] for something between what we spend on alternative medicine[2] and what we spend on food that we throw away[3]. Of course, there are some difficulties like lack of infrastructure needed to get aid to everyone who needs it, but those seem hardly insurmountable. Companies seem to be able to reach the most remote regions of the world when it comes to things like producing coffee; I don't see why it should be impossible to feed everyone.

The main difficulty, as far as I can tell, is that most people are reluctant to pay to feed even the people that they share the streets with, let alone people in the third world. But I don't think you can really call a problem "difficult" if the only reason you haven't done it is because you choose not to.

[1] https://hungermath.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/how-much-would-i...

[2] https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/americans-spend-3...

[3] https://www.cnbc.com/2015/04/22/americas-165-billion-food-wa...

So your solution. In so many words. Is to just give everyone food.

And then you handwave away the infrastructure necessary to do so.

You literally did the thing I called out.

The richest economy doesn't actually want to solve the problem.

My family was poor but thankfully we lived more rural than anything, which is a little different than city-poor. My biggest problem growing up was the psychological abuse my mom would dish out to pretty much anyone who looked at her. When I was young I thought it was cool, in a rebellious way. It took me a while to realize she was actually the black sheep of the family. She had worked herself a serious alcohol addiction, diabetes, lung disease, and burned just about every bridge she's made. Seeing her in a helpless state and realizing that I wasn't really headed for anything better, I glued my eyes to my first CS textbook until the ideas made sense.

> Ah man, you are just like me, except I'm the opposite skin color.

That sentence is one of the coolest and most hopeful things I've read in a while. When people can see the "other" as "just like me", despite the obvious difference, then maybe we can break down some of the walls that divide us.

Omg the good vibes I feel when I hear the words Compaq Presario.

I didn't grow up in the projects but I was projects adjacent, where I caught the school bus with the project kids and hung out in their homes. In fact my best friend whom I still talk to regularly now that we're both in our early 30s grew up in multiple projects throughout his childhood.

The thing that really helped the both of us out were magnet schools. By taking us out of our neighborhoods and giving us friends and relationships from more walks of life, I think it helped us see that the world was larger than the blocks we grew up on and we adjusted for living in a world that didn't begin and end with things that were in our immediate surroundings.

Recently I've watched 'The Wire' for the first time and the season focused on education really hit hard. Having gone to 'inner city' schools where I wore uniforms and felt pressure to pursue... let's call them 'non-academic' goals, I really related to the outlook of the adults in that school. Particularly when the kid's mom was scolding him for not having the initiative to start selling drugs (this was my friend's mom in spades) and the retired police officer who explained to that kid's dad that he didn't have to live in the same world they grew up in. I got a similar speech from a vice principal who grew up in my neighborhood.

I attended a computer science magnet jr/high school in Omaha Public Schools. 68111.

McMillan and Omaha North were my first introductions to computer programming. I fell in love. Met so many people of different backgrounds. And I don't know where I'd be today without those initial classes.

Awesome you were able to get yourself out of that situation and are having a prosperous life. Though there are real problems of poverty and violence in the US, I've always thought it was great how in a generation a family can raise themselves out of these situations. My father was raised in a coal mining camp. Talk about dirt poor - one pair of shoes with holes, one pair of pants to wear everyday, no running water, 1 or 12 kids, etc, etc. After high school my father traveled to Oregon (from West Virginia) and joined the Coast Guard. He made a career of the Coast Guard eventually retiring in So Cal where he purchased a house (early 70s) for $30K which is now worth $800K. I grew up there in a comfortable suburban neighborhood, went to good schools, and was able to to go to college and have a good life.

How many are rising out of that sort of situation in the U.S. in 2019? It's in the interest of those who seek to maintain the status quo to have people believe that this is a real possibility, when for most, it isn't.

Not quite 2019 but here's an opinion by a co-director of the Brookings Institution.


Glad to hear you've done well for yourself and found a way out in IT.

Question though: what do you mean with 'raised in projects'? I can't really Google it. Or is this a reference to the song I find?

> Subsidized apartment buildings, often referred to as housing projects, have a complicated and often notorious history in the United States.

In everyday American English, "the projects" often refers to a very dangerous urban residential area, or at the very least, a non-desirable one.


It doesn’t have to be urban or dangerous. Most of the time it is but not always. My father grew up poor in a rural area and was in the projects in his county.

My experience is that public housing in rural areas aren't referred to as "projects."

I'm in NYC and this is what we refer to as the projects here: https://i.imgur.com/UyTKWJg.jpg It's mostly people living on welfare but there's all sorts of people living in these. People that are disabled, poor, people with money but want to be cheap and save money. The buildings and the elevators can sometimes smell like piss. On garbage days, the streets and the walkways in between are covered in litter.

I’ve only heard the word projects in movies. Most people call it section 8 in my area. I’m in the South.

"Section 8" is a different thing, that refers to vouchers that are used to pay rent to private landlords.

"The projects" on the other hand are owned and operated by government.

There is overlap, in project-based Section 8, which is based on government contracts with private landlords for specific housing projects, as opposed to the better known form of Section 8 which follows the individual rather than being locked to a particular housing project.

My understanding is that these are logistically different things. Public housing projects are state owned, whereas Section 8 refers to privately owned housing where rent is paid at least partly by government vouchers.

It's one of those technically different, but functionally the same things.

"Projects" and "Section 8" are two separate government programs, but they both wind up with similar demographics because it only attempts to solve one issue.

And in the case of Section 8, assumes best faith action of a third party. Which is hardly the case. Often, an apartment complex gets built as "Section 8" housing. And since the government is footing the bill, not the tenant, it's built to the least possible standard and service is usually poor. Because the incentive for the landlord is to spend as little as possible on it.

Living in Atlanta, that usually depended on who you were talking to. I've heard both, but "section 8" usually came from middle class+ white people

Ah thank you.

Is it synonymous with a Ghetto?

They are almost equivalent in everyday use, but in actual meaning, they are different.

"The projects" strictly refers to the building developments themselves, but is often used informally to refer to a poor neighborhood in general.

"The Ghetto" refers to a neighborhood of an urban area and not a particular building or group of buildings. "The projects" are often in the ghetto but not necessarily.

Saying "I grew up in the ghetto" and "I grew up in the projects" are more-or-less equivalent. Both only refer to urban areas; there is no such thing as a rural ghetto.

Rural poverty is definitely poverty.

The term rural ghetto can be used.


> Rural poverty is definitely poverty.

I didn't say that rural poverty isn't poverty. I'm simply saying that the word "ghetto" almost always refers to an urban context.

”there is no such thing as a rural ghetto.”

”the word "ghetto" almost always refers to an urban context.”

These are not the same thing.

Ghetto technically refers to a neighborhood into which a racial minority tends to be segregated. It comes from Jewish ghettos enforced legally in Europe in the 16th century, but it is also used for neighborhoods where minorities live for other reasons (such as social or economic pressure).

Project refers either to public housing, or more generally any group of buildings where economically disadvantaged people tend to be segregated.

Because these very frequently overlap in the US, people often use them interchangeably.

not really, a ghetto is a larger residential area that may or may not include 'projects' housing

"The projects" means public housing in the US.

And for reference, public housing in the US doesn't have a very good reputation. It's not just the poverty of the residents, it's the management, too. A survey of headlines about the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) will find problems with lead paint that the agency tried to cover up, issues with toxic mold, falsified maintenance records, energy-efficiency projects which change out the light bulbs in the apartment for LEDs at a cost of $2000 a bulb, and workers who just sleep on the job — which is in fact a step up from the workers who made headlines about having orgies on the job (no, seriously.)

It comes down to the tenants not being the customer. The customer is the government. And as long as they're paying, you do the least possible to maintain that.

If the government standard says you need to do maintenance on HVAC once every 6 months. You do maintenance once every 6 months, regardless of whether or not it needs it more often.

You should watch the series The Wire. It gives you great insight into projects.

I also recommend this documentary on the Pruitt-Igoe public housing project in St. Louis >> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pruitt-Igoe_Myth

and also this youtuber (donoteat01) has some excellent commentary >> https://youtu.be/xqJbE1bvdgo

Or The PJs

It refers to public housing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_housing

You don't have to work in the field to help. In fact, might be effective to go through established channels. I recommend giving money to proven nonprofits (do your research and read disclosure documents before you do) that help at-risk youths from the projects develop job skills and stay out of jail.

I support and train at a gym that employs at-risk youth and reformed criminals and trains them to become personal trainers with the appropriate certs. It's run by a guy who used to work with these kids in the hood and has devoted his life to this cause. Graduates of his training program enjoy significantly lower rates of recidivism. I feel great about being able to help out as a person with a good salary in tech (and the young trainees/formerly imprisoned youths I've met through the program are absolutely phenomenal people).

Interesting how a man known for making violent video games (Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, ...) helped people break free from real life violence.

And inspired many others, myself included, to go from playing video games to making video games, and programming in general.

I was born into a somewhat affluent family, in a somewhat affluent area, and went to somewhat affluent schools, and unsurprisingly I have a pretty decent life where I can afford what I want. It was never a question of "if" I get to go to college, but instead "what college are you going to?", and even though I dropped out, I was still able to find a decent-paying job in tech.

Somehow I convinced myself that because I introduced one level of adversity into my life (dropping out), that I was special and had completely earned all my success, and that people who weren't as successful as me just didn't work hard enough.

It wasn't until I met my wife, who is smarter than me an also a harder worker, but was born into a poor family, that I realized how silly my viewpoint was. Despite being very well-read and intelligent, she was working as a cashier at McDonalds to help support her mother and sister, living in a more impoverished suburb of Dallas, TX. It wasn't until we were married that she was able to go to college.

Even she had it easier than someone born in, say, Uganda, but seeing all this made me realize that while, yes, I have worked hard to get where I am, I shouldn't pretend that it was all me.

> Somehow I convinced myself that because I introduced one level of adversity into my life (dropping out), that I was special and had completely earned all my success, and that people who weren't as successful as me just didn't work hard enough.

Do you think that's common for richer folk? That's just mind blowing to me tbh.

I obviously cannot speak for anyone but myself with any kind of certainty, but I don't think that's a completely uncommon viewpoint. I mean, the whole mantra of "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" is more or less predicated upon the idea that your fate is completely up to you.

Wasn't the affluence you were born into a result of a series of good choices made by your ancestors? And wouldn't you say your wife's decision to marry you was a good decision that has set her up for life? Decisions, not luck.

I don’t like how this article spins that doing housework is like a degenerate or bad thing for a woman to do. More housework = more inequality. Uh, ok.

It has to be done. That’s how teamwork, works.

The irony of this view (that housework is a bad thing) is that it is almost totally a function of current views about gender.

Before the widespread automation of many household tasks (in the rich world) starting in the 1950/60s, housework was more gruelling than most paid jobs. And if you go back further, to the proto-industry of the 18th century, then housework was just work (i.e. merchants putting out work to women and children).

I think this has led to a misunderstanding of why gender inequality exists today and existed in the past. Which is unfortunate because it mainly leads to poor recommendations (particularly when people who live in one context start telling people in another context they should be more like them).

Housework in many parts of Africa is hard, grueling work, and the women perform it from sunrise to sunset every day. Washing clothes without a washing machine, scrubbing dusty floors, cooking on charcoal stoves. None of these tasks use ergonomic materials and much of the work occurs very close to the floor, which creates a lot of up and down movement that strains back and knees. Coupled with hauling water around from sources up to 300 yards away and lack of electricity, I would not want that to be my only option in life.

>300 yards

Make that 10 miles.

There must be a very good reason why the village is built that far from water sources. I have some theories, but does someone have facts?

> Washing clothes without a washing machine, scrubbing dusty floors, cooking on charcoal stoves.

Your anglocentric view severely overestimates the similarly between our standards of cleanliness and theirs. I doubt these women are washing loads of clothes daily, if they even have more than a handful of items of clothing, or mopping dirt floors with any frequency.

Cooking on charcoal isn't that much worse than cooking over a modern stovetop.

You also seem to imply that men are just sitting around all day, based on the context of the message this is responding to - but I don't know enough about the culture in these remote African areas to say if that's wrong.

I don't understand this habit of bending over backwards to show that women have it harder everywhere. Aside from hauling water from long distances, the work you describe is hardly grueling - and says nothing of what the men in these areas are experiencing.

If you want to talk about gendered violence and lack of rights as second class citizens, that's one thing, but there seems to be a tendency to exaggerate as a signal of virtue or something.

Some of these things might be pretty difficult if it's an elderly woman who's doing it. Which I bet isn't that uncommon.

I think what often gets overlooked is risk profile of a given activity. E.g. I enjoy doing dishes because I am pretty certain that if I clean them they will be clean I don't need to manage risks/uncertainty while I am cleaning dishes. Many work activities involve dealing with uncertainty and risks outside of one's control which comes with much higher stress level.

Maybe it should be viewed as "doing ALL of the housework by woman"? If woman is burdened with taking care of everything, this is imbalance.

Well, it depends if the man is burdened with earning all the money, doesn’t it?

While it’s not my preferred arrangement, some families have one partner worry solely about money, and another solely about the housework.

I think the point from the article is: women never get the choice. Once they're born, their whole career path is laid out and set in stone.

You might think about how that's not the case where you live/according to your background. Congratulations on being born in one of the places where it's easy to succeed!

World is not black and white. People are all over this spectrum. I would happily be stay-at-home husband if my wife could earn as much as us both. She can't but she earns good income. If I left all housework for her, she would not have enough time for work at all. Some women accept this, some even want this, BUT NOT EVERYONE wants this. The whole premise of Bill Gates charity is about enabling people to do what they want to with their lives.

I think you mean one partner with the ability to leave the relationship

You don't suddenly become trapped in a relationship when you stop earning money yourself.

Your barriers to leaving become much higher when you're staying at home, haven't worked in years, and have a family. Thinking otherwise is dense.

I personally know people who are in relationships with horrendous people because they have no exit strategies. This is a common thing people talk about in stay at home circles.

The math of leaving is the same, regardless of which parent initiates. Family income is split in half and then whichever parent gets majority custody gets additional money in the form of child support. People, men and women, get trapped in marriages. This happens because the economics of splitting one household income to pay for two households is brutal.

The reverse is also true: People not leaving stay-at-home spouses because they feel guilty about how vulnerable they'd be. It's just a messed up power dynamic in general.

Leaving? What happened to "until death do us part"? Which is the context in which this kind of arrangement originated from. Apparently the deal has changed and all we can do is to pray that it won't change further...

The deal also doesn't include abusing your spouse, but here we are..

If you want to go farther back, only women were supposed to wear wedding rings, because it symbolizes the chains the men used to keep them,.. so I guess abuse was part of the arrangement, way way back.

If you go farther back, there’s no record of a tradition of a wedding ring at all.

It's not inherently negative, it's an opportunity cost. Unpaid housework preempts income-earning work.

The point is choice. As a woman, in many places you have no choice about what you do with your life. Of course, in many of those same places, men have little choice about what to do with their lives, but as the article points out, men tend to have a greater amount of choice on average.


That is not the relevant point, the point is whether women are figuratively imprisoned by housework.

There is nothing wrong with one person in a couple doing all the housework, but there are problems if one is (by a variety of factors) partly coerced into it.

Frankly I believe that as a society we are quite hypocritical of how we treat this and what I would like is that people who find satisfaction in housework are free to focus on that and people who find satisfaction in career can focus on that with some intermingling of the two worlds.

Not if the men are the primary breadwinners of the family. Then it's more straightforward division of labor.

And why should men be the primary breadwinners of the family?

No "should" about it. Merely pointing out a confounding factor.

What makes you think they don't ?

In individual cases? They may do. In statistical aggregate? They don't.

Edit: in poorer households it's quite common for both partners to go out to work - the four hours a day housework is on top of that.

It's also more common for the man to do work that is more dangerous, exposed to the elements, requires more travel, and other hazards to earn the extra money the risk brings.

Yeah. Any relationship I've been in, it was mostly her doing cooking, dishes, and general home decor, while I did gardening, vacuuming, fixing and hardware setup, and occasionally helped with dishes. Early dating sometimes I'd treat her to a specialty and cook myself, but outside of that I only cook if they aren't already cooking.

I've seen so many articles complain about this setup being somehow sexist, but it has always played to our strengths and weaknesses. My partners usually never liked bugs, I can garden. I also find vacuuming relaxing, and I'll take any opportunity to fix somthing to grease my skills. They are usually picky eaters, so my partners cook, they usually like the home kept in a certain way, so they clean and buy things for the home.

It is just the way things are, there is no deep-sexism inherent in any of my relationships, just a reduction of the commons

Except she's doing things that require significant every day time commitments and you're not. You're a poster boy for what people are talking about.

Do you think that women are naturally better at cooking, or do you think that societal expectations have made this basic life skill a necessity for her and optional for you? Your partners having opinions on food or household cleanliness are things that you should take into account as part of a relationship.

You seem to have a deep seated issue with both parties choosing independently to do whatever housework they want to do. You're making a lot of assumptions, like assuming I tell anyone what housework to do or thinking that I have never approached any of my partners and discussed what they want to do.

I recommend you figure out those issues on your own instead of projecting your views of the world on other's relationships

Thinking your choices are independent of socialization (especially when you literally fullfil a stereotype) is absurd. Individual choice removed from societal context is a near myth.

Examining your choices to align with morality is necessary.

If you don't want people to use their worldviews on your relationships, don't talk about them on a public forum. This isn't a validation group.

Some Douglas Adams supplementary reading: http://remotestorage.blogspot.com/2010/07/douglas-adamss-cow...

>Examining your choices to align with morality is necessary

It isn't. My morality is not yours, yours is not mine. Additionally, I don't care if you project your worldviews onto me, it was a recommendation, which it seems you failed to follow. You do you.

I still don't understand where this fact is coming from. Are you monitoring households and producing statistics on who is doing the housework ?

This fact is coming from every piece of research done on the subject...

Four hours a day, two people?

That's enough time to keep an average castle with a garden up and running.

I crunched the numbers on my household (two people) awhile back.

Once you amortize weekly things like laundry, vacuuming, shopping and washing the dog they come out to less than an hour a day. Cooking and cleaning up after cooking is also less than an hour. The real time sink is weekly tasks that take substantial amounts of time. There are basically two categories of those tasks, cleaning lots of things (e.g. making everything spotless because guests are coming) and property maintenance. These numbers are very household specific since the difference between "needs to be done" and "should be done" are very much based on personal preference.

Assuming a western lifestyle and a household size of 2(!!) 4hr/day of housework would probably require a high maintenance property (lots of hedges to trim and grass to cut) and/or lots of cooking from scratch and/or heating with wood (and splitting it yourself) and/or doing a lot of cleaning that is probably not strictly necessary.

A castle is stretching it but if it's a small castle, the landscaping isn't too opulent, you aren't a neat freak and have the money to spend on labor saving equipment it should be doable on 4hr/day.

Spoken like someone who's never done housekeeping. 4 hours a day is a pretty normal amount if you need to wash clothes, sweep, mop, do a family's worth of laundry, prepare food, clean dishes, etc.

I did housekeeping.

Unless you're a neat freak and insist on ironing and starching your socks, one hour a day is plenty.

If you have a large family, then delegation is the answer. Laundry and dishes can (and should) be offloaded to the offsprings.

Yeah I am also wondering where this 4hr per day statistic is coming from. Dinner for two usually takes no longer than 1 hr a day, dishes usually put in the dishwasher every other day, and we reserve Sundays for cleaning, laundry and taking out recyclables. I cannot fathom anyone taking 4 hrs every single day to do housework, unless you have some kind of aversion to a dirty clothes bin or dishes piling up in the sink or Mr. Clean holding a gun to your head.

My wife is a stay at home mom of three kids. She spends many hours every day on the kids and nowhere near 4 hours on housework.

Thats precisely the opposite on how trade works.

The problem is that there is no teamwork if you have no choice what to do or not to do. If you do not agree with me then I hope I will never meet your in professional situation.

Interestingly there exists inequality still in Western world as well. I had some interesting discussions with my wife about that.

First random article about this, but there are many more: https://www.ft.com/content/0c9f068c-711f-11e9-bf5c-6eeb83756...

The kids you grew up with or were friends in school with highly impact this as well.

Friends with the weird kid that just ate his boogers all day? You guys are probably working at McDonalds together. Hang around the stoners that never got their acts together? You might have ended up the same way.

But if you hung out with the kid who went to college? You might have decided to go to the same college and maybe got an internship as his dad's company. Maybe his name was Steve, and you guys took a shared love for electronics and started your own company.

So think about this when you decide to buy a house, if you have kids. Your kids neighbors might be the biggest influence on the rest of their lives. Imagine if you had grown up one town over, or on the other side of the tracks, but didn't because your mom liked the kitchen layout in the house you grew up in.

> So think about this when you decide to buy a house, if you have kids. Your kids neighbors might be the biggest influence on the rest of their lives. Imagine if you had grown up one town over, or on the other side of the tracks, but didn't because your mom liked the kitchen layout in the house you grew up in.

That is probably true. Which means that segregation likeley is a rational choice for the individual. If you are a rich person you should live in an affluent area and not in a project (ghetto) because you might be damaging your childrens' future prospects. Rich hippie parents who choose to live among the poor are statistically speaking not doing their children any favor...

Makes me think that it should be government policy everywhere to ensure neighborhoods are as mixed as possible. Easier said than done, because if you live in an affluent area you'll probably fight very hard to keep it affluent and the poor people away.

> Makes me think that it should be government policy everywhere to ensure neighborhoods are as mixed as possible. Easier said than done, because if you live in an affluent area you'll probably fight very hard to keep it affluent and the poor people away.

They tried busing, which is kinda like that but just for schools. My understanding is it was pretty effective, but also wildly unpopular (and not just among the well-off) and the actually-rich were already in private prep schools anyway so didn't have to participate, while those of moderate means could afford to switch to parochial schools, lower-end private schools, or to move out of cities (all three happened, a lot).

There is a saying that a person is the average of the 5 closest people to them. We could certainly argue cause and effect, but when I look back over my life to date it does hold true. I was very fortunate to meet people who worked hard, understood how to be successful, and are successful today.

One addition to the above that came along with technology is the podcast. The long form provided by a podcast lets someone partially add another person to their average for better or worse.

> The kids you grew up with or were friends in school with highly impact this as well.

Unlike your claim, Gates’abot where you are born (on the broad scale he refers to) is supported by data.

> Friends with the weird kid that just ate his boogers all day? You guys are probably working at McDonalds together.

Sure, who you are friends with is correlated with the same socioeconomic background factors that are known to be tied to economic outcomes.

OTOH, the claim that it is an additional influence that works in a predominantly attractive way such that friend-groups will usually vary from the average based on other predictors in the same direction is...well, a common speculation, but where's the data?

> but didn't because your mom liked the kitchen layout in the house you grew up in

Not sure what is the situation in other countries/cities, but for all places that I have lived there is usually a 7 figure $ price tag difference on top of the mentioned kitchen layout as well.

The difference may have been smaller 30 or 40 years ago. With the internet and easy access to data, along with widening income/wealth gaps, the differences are more pronounced now.

I know exactly what you mean- but is it easy for a kid to make a change? I fell in with certain groups and left others as we either shared an affinity for things or had very different values. There were some groups or friends where I put up with differences as I really wanted to be part of the group, but there were many that just weren't open to me due to my interests and sensibilities. How much I could have changed those things which were already a construct of my upbringing, background, social conditioning etc. I do not know.

I guess what I am saying it, why did person X end up being friends with the booger eater and not the chess team?

I'll be interested to see how much I can shape the direction and range of my kids friends - but I doubt they'll listen ;)

To the extent that one can affect it, I think it has more to do with selecting the entire friend pool, not picking individual friends (which obviously won't work).

The friend pool at Phillips Exeter's got a higher top-end of friend quality and a higher bottom-end, generally speaking, than your average public school—the best and worst likely cases for your kids' friend groups are both "better", probably—to pick an exaggerated example.

We do the same thing when we choose where to live for the public schools. It's largely about finding better likely friend group outcomes. "Better" kids are easier to teach and their families are more likely to push them academically, so a proxy for that is how "good" the school is (test scores, college readiness, reputation) but it's kinda sorta mostly about the kids with whom your kids will be hanging out 7-8 hours a day.

The worst case scenario for rich kids, regardless what they do, is so much better than the average scenario for "average to bad public school" kids that it makes no difference exactly if your friends play chess, golf, or, like the ones at my private school, mostly do drugs and buy stuff with their mother's credit card.

Kids at average to bad public schools never meet people who own investment properties, don't learn how to pitch ideas, and don't treat their bank and insurance companies with the careless veneer of superiority that convinces them that whatever has happened to you is merely bad luck, a challenge on the way of better things, versus proof of your moral and genetic worthiness. Kids at average public schools think they can fail, and not merely that the world can fail them. Kids at average public schools think it matters that they be good, and not merely surround themselves with people and circumstances that are good to them.

This is partially why some parents put their kids in private schools. Because their classmates will become other important figures in life. Plus soccer moms can mingle with the other wealthy parents as a networking tactic.

> So think about this when you decide to buy a house, if you have kids.

You are spot on, and we did just that.

Does anyone with kids not do this?. School rankings are front and center when searching for homes to buy.

You may simply not be able to afford a house in a better neighborhood. So I'm sure everybody will do the best they can, but it is limited by their checkbooks.

Good public schools around here drive an ~20-25% increase in house prices, for similar houses with similar commutes et c., versus merely middling schools, let alone the bad ones.

That is a reflection of the difference in household incomes (how much mortgage debt a family qualifies for). Good schools is a proxy for household incomes of the residents in the school district, which is a proxy of education / "achievement" level in life, which is a proxy for how useful you might be to someone else.

Well right, it's all related. The schools are good (largely) because the people sending their kids there are willing and able to pay extra to live near good schools. The houses cost more money because the schools are good. Feedback loop.

I would modify your statement to say “the schools are good because of the type of parents the kids in the school have” - who are well educated, higher earning parents that can provide the guidance and resources that results in the qualities “good” schools are known for.

Does anyone else have a problem with an American billionaire deciding which worldview should be exported to the world? I'm sure the Gates have only the best intentions, but that doesn't mean that their particular brand of philanthropy is inherently the best solution to the diverse needs of the world's extremely disparate population.

We can have a discussion about weather we should have billionaires in the first place, but Gates is employing his vast resources in an attempt to improve the world with a humble data-driven approach to reduce suffering in the world. For that, I'm quite thankful.

Precisely - nobody bats an eyelid when billionaires spend their money on yachts, if they spend their money on philanthropy, it should be applauded.

Bill Gates is busy with a decade long PR effort to whitewash his reputation - successfully. That he does some good along the way is 'collateral upside'.

Would we even be here talking about him if not for his so-called PR efforts? I think the important point here is that so many billionaires are extremely rich and fly under the radar. Bill got his money in underhanded ways like basically all billionaires, yet at least he's out here trying to apply philanthropy efficiently.

Fair enough, but at least with the likes of Larry Ellison what you see is what you get.

I'm cynical enough to upvote this comment, but I must say that I still prefer 'solve malaria' Bill to the ruthless cutthroat Bill of the 90s.

Agreed. What would be good as well would be to see Bill and whoever runs MS come clean about all the shit they pulled and to try to make right what they actively destroyed.

I do not pretend to know his motives. All I can see are his actions.

Any mobster donating to the church or charity could claim to 'do good'. But it doesn't just matter what you do, it matters how you got there. Gates is where he is today - a position to lecture the world on how to behave - by a series of uncompetitive and monopolistic practices as well as a bunch of stuff that should have been downright illegal, and likely would have been if not for an 11th hour change in government.

The comparison of Gates to a mobster is unfair. We're comparing bundling a shitty internet browser with Windows to committing murder here.

Gates didn't take a life in building his fortune, but now he is saving lives. He is a net positive.

> We're comparing bundling a shitty internet browser with Windows to committing murder here.

It goes a lot further than that, and most mobsters never murdered anybody. It's just business, right?

Besides that, the comparison was made not to suggest that Gates murdered people but that a life full of wrongs can not be justified by charity at the end of it. And to this day Gates profits every day from a lot of their uncompetitive actions. See 'the Microsoft Tax', the way they are co-opting Linux nowadays to lure people to Azure, the way in which they tried hard - and to some extent succeeded - in tainting FOSS, specifically the kernel either directly or by proxy and so on.

It's tough to agree with you since the tech companies of today practice profoundly more uncompetitive and monopolistic practices than Microsoft ever did.

Just a couple:

- killing independent software providers in a very determined way

- Embrace, Extend, Extinguish

- The SCO Saga

- The Browser Wars

- Forcing manufacturers to bundle Windows with their computers

The list is long. Whether Google, Apple or Facebook are more uncompetitive and more monopolistic today has no bearing on what MS did when it did.

And yes, there is plenty wrong with Google, Apple and Facebook (and a bunch of others) but they are not the subject here. That's classic 'whataboutism'.


Eh, I feel like if you were just trying to whitewash your reputation, effective altruism wouldn't be the way to do it.

You could get a lot more PR per dollar spending on something more emotional, less abstract, and more visible to the people he's trying to influence than the kinds of issues he works on.

He seems to spend more coherently with what you'd do if you were trying to actually do good than if you were just trying to optimize PR.

For every Gates there’s a Koch. When we, as a society, decide to rely on philanthropy to fund important public works, we delegate the decision of “what’s important” to the world views of a few individuals rather than the people as a whole. In other words we move even more from One Person One Vote to One Dollar One Vote.

The issue your raise is covered by Anand.


Thanks for the link.

What worldview? Equality and low infant mortality?

Let me try to phrase this in a way that is as neutral as possible, because I'm simply trying to describe a phenomenon and not make a value judgement.

Bill Gates is an American businessman. His values, identity, source of income, and entire way of life is derived from a particular culture - American, Western, market-based culture. A culture which, depending on your viewpoint, has certain good qualities and certain bad qualities.

The point I am attempting to make is: Bill Gates is in a position of power - defining power as the ability to harness forces. When the Gates Foundation, or any other powerful entity, gets involved with a particular less-powerful culture, it unquestionably affects the social structure and culture of that society. In the case of the Gates Foundation, it inevitably it becomes more of an American, westernized one. It is easy to see this from the shared link; it is written from an American worldview and frames everything in American terms.

I am simply asking if replicating American (broadly, Western) cultural values is necessarily the correct solution to solve poverty and other problems around the world.

Personally, I would rather see the diverse cultures of the world manage to develop technologically and socially in their own unique ways, rather than simply adopt Western social structures.

> I am simply asking if replicating American (broadly, Western) cultural values is necessarily the correct solution to solve poverty and other problems around the world.

> Personally, I would rather see the diverse cultures of the world manage to develop technologically and socially in their own unique ways, rather than simply adopt Western social structures.

100% agree... in an ideal world. Income equality between where a lot of issues are centralised and where the money to solve them comes from isn't balanced.

Trying to solve issues on a global level will always mean one culture will have some form of dominance, otherwise you might compromise back to an ineffective solution.

It isn't ideal, but across the spectrum of Good, Better, Best - solving the problem in the medium-term in a ham-fisted American way is probably still "Better" than waiting on solutions. There are, of course, cons to that strategy - but there's an opportunity cost (a very real, human opportunity cost) in searching for the perfect solution.

"Affects the social structure and culture": That may be true, at least to some degree. There are a lot of degrees that are well short of "replicating American cultural values", though. It's not true that Bill Gates shows up, and suddenly Africans become culturally American.

Gates is not forcing an American way of life or cultural takeover by pushing for lower infant mortality among other things. The values that Gates is a proponent of are pretty secular and universal- things such as equality, fairness, freedom, access to healthcare, etc. If you feel like your culture is irreparably destroyed by giving women more rights then your culture is objectively inhumane and should adapt.

I think we can extrapolate that to ourselves - or at least, I often do that to myself. I'm relatively wealthy thanks to having the luck of the thing I'm interested in and good at being in great demand. What moral right do I have to that relatively large share of wealth, and why am I allowed to choose how much to donate to charity, and which charities?

(That is not a rhetorical question, but a genuine moral dilemma.)

I don’t have a problem with it personally

They are also laying out the facts - anything in you don’t agree with?

Also think ‘the best is the enemy of the good’ applies here

First, you are oversimplifying everything. Secondly, you absolutely have weight in that - so go on and offer better solution. Maybe your perspective is correct one, but so far you have not offered anything.

Here we have a data-driven article outlining problems in equality of opportunity for humans across the globe, some encouraging success stories and progress, and ambitions to work on fixing scenarios where there's less success, or the change isn't fast enough. The motivation of such an article seems clear and obvious - those with the resources, ability, and of course their own altruistic motivations will have to work on finding and implementing solutions to the problem, that is, by reducing and removing the barriers that exist, especially due to geography and gender.

What's much less clear to me are comments about this article that aim to diminish it, or one-off examples to supposedly refute it. Maybe you disagree with the article, and if so, provide data-driven sources to provide us with an alternate perspective that we can evaluate and discuss.

Perhaps you have read about some of the solutions that help accelerate the move towards equality, and you wish to share them here. Perhaps you have other suggestions for making the world a better place in our collective future.

It feels like the pretty common reaction of downplaying a bad situation in such a way as to absolve the privileged people of any responsibility. None of this is the fault of anyone alive today. It's a combination of history, geography and bad luck. But we can at least acknowledge it's all true.

I see race* to be a very prominent factor in these charts.

On one hand I would like to agree, but on the other I would like to respectfully remind my western friends of the existence of eastern Europe(especially Moldova) and the Balkans, where let's just say that white privilege is not that apparent.

*dirty word for me personally. There's one race - the human race.

Bigotry and colonialism takes many forms. Most people in the us wouldn’t make a distinction between anybody from Central America once they crossed the border — they’re all ‘hispanics’, but they have all kinds of problems with ethnic discrimination in places like Guatemala, using racial distinctions that most Americans wouldn’t even recognize.

Most people in the world wouldn't be able to tell the difference between most people from another area. That's how the human brain works.

"race" in the US is just a proxy for "out group". It's the only country I know of in which "race" is an official term (as in you have to give your "race" to get a driver license, ID card, &c.) no wonder americans have such a big issue with racism.

You hit the nail on the head.

I would argue that as long as one categorizes people by "race", they're still buying in to the racist mindset.

I decline to answer that question on the census, for just that reason.

I think the guy from the Balkans probably understands that.

In other words, race as a category is bullshit.

It’s bullshit but if people categorize others based on those meaningless distinctions and act on it, that’s still a problem.

Completely agree

Compare a swedish guy to a samoan to an aboriginal australian to a mongolian to a subsaharian. It's pretty clear that humans are very diverse, the issue isn't in classification, it's in using the classification to support nefarious ideologies.

The false classification is the foundation of the nefarious ideology. So yes, the issue is the classification.

Humans are very diverse. The extent to which people are different or similar is not accurately captured by the race category. It is dangerously inaccurate.

Whether you believe that or not, there exist many millions who don't, and who treat others differently primarily on the basis of race.

The problem is that people are treating others differently based on a false categorization.

Hence the need to fight racism and racial discrimination, and to assist those who are excluded by it.

For everyone but the racists, yes.

I believe that even used to the definition of racism.

Indeed, anyone who believes race is a valid category is racist.

In the article they go in to expand that within that region, the Sahel, and Chad in particular, even though to most people in the west including blacks from the West we see those people as black, locally there are distinguishable ethnic minorities who suffer under the ethnic majorities.

My point is that: are they really ethnic minorities?

Or is it like with Tutsi and Hutu, where ostensibly these were ethnicities but in reality just labels given to people, and dependent on their status?

I don't like this narrative, because it gives credence to a discriminatory standpoint - which is, to me, the core problem here.

As cynical as it may sound, we are unequal once we are conceived in our mother's womb. An educated, healthy, grown-up mother has anticipated that moment with great sentimentality and does her best to ensure the best for the baby during the whole course of the pregnancy. Neglected, underweight, malnourished children from less responsible mothers are easy to spot even during their infant period. This is your real start which determines much of your mental and physical health for your while life.

Healthy, mentally-stable parents are most likely to have healthy and mentally-stable kids which is the number one prerequisite for enjoying and succeeding in life.

I hope you did not mean to imply that all infants that are underweight, neglected and malnourished are so because of their moms bad choices. Some people just happen to have it hard in life and guess what, they still have children.

> Some people just happen to have it hard in life and guess what, they still have children.

Sure, but let's not try to pretend that those kids will have an equal start.

Of course it won't be equal. But that does not make any statement about their moms.

> Healthy, mentally-stable parents

Do you think that people in Chad are inherently less healthy or mentally stable, or might it be a product of their environment?

They are born less healthy because their parents are less healthy due to the harsh environment and due to their parents (the kid's grandparents), and if you extrapolate that for many past generations, you get a nation/race/ethnicity with worse genes which is inherently less healthy.

So geography, external influence (e.g. colonialism) and climate (e.g. drought, as mentioned in the article) have nothing to do it with?

Do you think Europeans have superior genes to Africans?

Depends on context. African have genes which make them physically superior. They're generally bigger, stronger, faster etc. Just not smarter. Climate did affect this. If you don't live in a country with cold winters, evolution cannot select people with the foresight to prepare for winter. In a harsh winter, thousands of years ago, people that couldn't prepare for a period where food would be scarce would have bad survival prospects.

I used to think along the same lines, but I believe the harsh winter thing has been debunked. At least, Jared Diamond did a good job of it in Guns, Germs and Steel. From what I remember, we are physically and mentally challenged to similar levels on all parts of the earth. Societal development was more hampered or aided by environmental factors. For example, Africa is a tall, narrow continent compared with Eurasia, which has serious implications for flora and fauna diversity, the time it takes diseases to circulate, among other things. I'd recommend the book if you haven't read it already; quite enlightening.

They probably do for intelligence. It's fairly well accepted that the Jewish high intelligence is genetic. It's not much of a stretch to consider that similar differences affect other ethnic groups too. There's no strong evidence to say that Europeans and Africans are genetically identical in intelligence so it's not reasonable to really believe that. But there are many ways to imagine how it could be true and that leaves room for blank-slaters to hold their belief of genetic equality specially carved out for intelligence alone among all human qualities.

> It's fairly well accepted that the Jewish high intelligence is genetic

I haven't found anything conclusive for genetic differences in intelligence. The increased Jewish intelligence (at least, amonst Ashkenazi Jews, which is the subset most noted for their intelligence) could equally be ascribed to a culture of intense education. Nobody has ever done a cross-adoption study for Ashkenazi with non-Ashkenazi parents, and vice versa.

I'm not what you would call a "blank-slater". Obviously we are a product of our environments, both during our lifetimes and evolutionarily. I find it hard to believe, however, that one set of humans required vastly different skills than another set, to the point where cognitive abilities didn't progress as far. There is no "easy life" in evolution. Competition is the same everywhere. If anything, the social systems in the western world could have allowed weaker genes to thrive where once they wouldn't.

The environment is surely in the equation, but you can hardly change the climate or the geography. You can try to improve the socio-economic matters, but any sensible improvement of the genes may be seen in hundreds of years, and they will still be at a disadvantage because of the unfavourable climate.

It's interesting because excess stress can actually damage your DNA. How much so and how much it affects your children, I don't know. I suspect if you took an average European child and plonked them in a deprived part of Chad, they would fare about as well in life as your average Chadian child. And vice versa for a Chadian child in Europe.

> you can hardly change the climate or the geography

You can introduce new technologies to make the most of what they have. For example better water management and improved crop strains.

A Chadian child in Europe will enjoy a vastly better environment and healthcare which would prevent many potential diseases it would develop in Chad, but it would still be susceptible to diseases uncommon for Europeans and will have a vastly lower life expectancy.

Under the severe conditions in Chad, a European child would still overtake Chadian children in its overall development, but would be susceptible to many local diseases. If the child manages to survive these diseases, it will enjoy a considerably longer and healthier life in that same environment.

Do you have anything to back up these claims? They seem outlandish to me.

For example, there are plenty of African migrants in Europe. I've never heard anything about a vastly reduced life expectancy. There are some small dietary problems they might have if they switched to local food and drink, but I would have thought that their immune system would adjust over time.

It's actually easy to change the climate or geography for a person by moving that person out of the place with the bad environment. Unfortunately, the bad environments are also the cheapest so some other person will move in to enjoy the low cost of living and then they'll become the new poor who has to be saved.

Of course who your daddy is is that other really predictive factor, and Gates could have been born in the US and be white, having a dad with a couple of million in the bank surely didn't hurt. It rates a mention in the first paragraph but it isn't reflected elsewhere in the text or the graphics. And if it were it would look like Bill started out from the top of a hill and slid down to the goal of being wealthy rather easily. Of course it was still hard work, but not more of it and not harder than plenty of others that tried just as hard but who did not have wealth to start with.


The title of this HN post is the header of one section of this article. It should be changed to the article's title.

The article speaks about Chad. A country where the birth rate is around 6 children / woman. I am a developer who comes from a similar country (5.7 c / w) or we are the second poorest country. One thing we have in common with the people who grew up in gethos/projets is violence. It pushes us to stop thinking about what we need beyond surviving... We are wasting time fighting against diseases, addictions, wars (gethos gangs are small compared to the war in Chad, Yemen, Middle East!) or peoples who bicker for $ 10 ... because 10 dollars in our countries is about life or death!

Nobody would ever thought that I will be one day (I who was a refugee for 4 years) an experienced developer working internationally... And the funny thing about all this is that it's UNICEF who gave me this chance [0].

[0]: https://blogs.unicef.org/innovation/open-source-tech-in-the-...

The bigger question in my mind is how much geography matters inside one country. For comparison's sake, I think the point of the article works even better to compare a woman in America to a woman in Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, it's a bit apples and oranges -- the kingdom explicitly disallows women to do many things without a man, whereas if there are effects like that in America still, they're definitely much more subtle than being enacted in law. So how does the apples to apples comparison work out? Does geography play nearly as large a role in a country? Does it play as large a role in a smaller, more homogenous country (Sweden, say) than in America?

Hugely matters even from one block to the next - https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/06/raj-chett...

As for the American women Vs Saudi women question check out Tara Westover's book Educated (which Gates has also recommended). We are all usually and blissfully unaware of things we don't see even if they are happening right next door.

The answer is a lot, in the US. That’s because the real predictor is not the piece of land you were born on, but who your parents are, and what kind of resources they (and therefore you) have access to. Here’s a nice website showing data for the US:


That was and interesting site, albeit depressing. What I found interesting was the better outlook for those born in the rural midwest compared to almost all of the south.

Once you stop comparing developed and underdeveloped countries, social class has the major weight. It determines the environment of your upbringing, your social circles and so on. Geography in a big, relatively developed country also plays a role as some areas are more densely populated, with better access to good education and healthcare, for example.

A lot. The article has an example comparing one region in India to another.

Americans think progress can fix inequality because we live in a thinly populated country with lots of resources. In particular, since 1800, mostly European immigrants converted the economy from hunting/gathering and neolithic agriculture to modern agriculture.

Most parts of the world for most of history have lived at the Malthusian limit with diets ranging from lavish to starvation within the society.

What if you make it past your teens?

Think about all of those people who immigrated to the US in the 60s-70s (born in the 1940-50s). A lot of them spoke almost no English and did it with almost no money in their pocket.

But they thrived. There's so many successful small businesses in the US ran by people of that generation who immigrated (and now their kids). At least in NY.

When you're put into situations like that there's no time to think negatively, be anxious, depressed or have other issues that plague so many people today. Your mental health is a big dictator of your future and there's for sure lots of chemical issues involved but I do think in a decent number of cases your environment plays a big role -- but in this case, being in an environment of change / non-extreme comfort from early on (teens and lower) might be an astronomically sized benefit because it sets you up to think in a different way for the rest of your life.

Unfortunately I don't have anything close to a source handy, but from what I recall, it turns out many of the successful immigrant businessmen just happened to be businessmen back in their home country. Or bankers, or doctors, or lawyers. So while it's true many of these success stories immigrated to the US with no money and no English, they did have professional experience & skills.

> So while it's true many of these success stories immigrated to the US with no money and no English, they did have professional experience & skills.

A lot of them also went straight from the army (forced enrollment) with no skills or higher education to coming over in their early 20s and then found their way in business without needing specialized formal education to be successful (doctors / lawyers, etc.). Lots of food related business, selling clothes, contracting work, etc..

Relevant [0]: "The life chances approach suggests that status is not entirely achieved, but is, to some extent, ascribed. Overall, in societies emphasizing ascription, opportunity is relatively low and status (in the sense of prestige in the community) is often inherited. This means that people are, effectively, given their status as a result of the group into which they are born, rather than earning it entirely on merit. Ascriptive qualities such as race/ethnicity, gender, and class of origin can all affect one's life chances. In all societies parents pass on whatever advantages and disadvantages they have to their children".

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_chances

edit: typo

This might have been true in the past, but I absolutely no longer believe this.

What you know, what information you have, the network you have is more predictive of your future than any other factor. Most of my mistakes in life have been that of being ignorant, just learning bout something much later in life. Something that some people had passed on to them by their parents etc, but I had to discover for myself.

Information is the great equalizer. There are of course folks who get information but don't act on it. They haven't received the information that they can move mountains if they stay persistent and act.

And the more children the U-countries give birth to, the luckier my children will be. Isn't that funny?

It's like humanity is intentionally making the odds worse for their own children, and noone is intervening.

I find it hilariously patronizing how they explain things in this article, did they seriously need to mine all this data and do all this research to come to these so obvious conclusions? Poverty, Lack of healthcare and education, clean water, the sins of generations and the cycle that proceeds it, its the basis of every ghetto in the world. Really dont understand what The Gates Foundation is trying to get across with this piece. He has the power, the means, the influence to single handedly change the situation in Chad with zero help from anybody, all they have to do is choose to do it. Yet here we are with all this data and metrics, was this seriously an "ah-ha!" moment for them?! If so, they seriously are detached as the 1%.

Maybe going overboard with research and quantitative statements was an effort to make it accessible while combating the notion that they might just be the 1% and blaming poverty etc for others' challenges. Not debating their ability to address these problems directly.

Did they seriously need to mine all this data? Yes, they did. "Everybody knows" is sometimes wrong. If you want to actually fix problems, you'd better know what the problems actually are, rather than just know what "everybody knows".

I find it strange that the Gates always talk about lives that are "healthy and productive". Can't it be "healthy and happy"? Why should anyone seek productiveness?

Because your material circumstances are a big influence on both your health and your happiness. If you're going to be materially prosperous, then either you have to live in a society with generous welfare, or you need well-off parents, or you need to be productive (and not have what you produce stolen from you).

"You are a product of your environment" --Clement Stone http://archive.fo/yPhyn

You’re a product of your genes to an equal degree.

Who give birth to you more in many places. Not where.

Isn't this a case of driving using the rear view mirror? If we had done this analysis in 1965 I would bet fair that the biggest challenges would have been for people born in southern china; governance (your government would kill you at any moment), nutrition (mass starvation), education (not much of that), disease (plague, cholera, smallpox)..

The marvel is that China broke the shackles.

  We dance round in a ring and suppose,
  But the secret sits in the middle, and knows.

is this the same "think tank" that wanted every elementary school child in America to have standardized, written test scores, maintained in (their) central database?

Not sure why they put Melinda's gender as a handicap, it allowed her to get things handed to her on a platter by Bill. She is now loved and famous thanks to spending Bill's money on charity without taking any of the downsides and hate related to starting a company and fiercely clawing yourself to the top like Bill did.

I agree that being a woman is a handicap in many situations, but saying that Melinda had to make more sacrifices to get where she is than Bill is laughable.

> Not sure why they put Melinda's gender as a handicap, it allowed her to get things handed to her on a platter by Bill. She is now loved and famous thanks to spending Bill's money on charity without taking any of the downsides and hate related to starting a company and fiercely clawing yourself to the top like Bill did.

Take that sentiment. Now look at the Foundation, and think: Given that a lot of their charity work was her initiative, how many of the people she has to work with saw things from your perspective of "wife spending husband's money", instead of thinking about her in terms of an entrepreneur with strong financial backing? Overcoming that is part of the gender handicap at work.

People thinking you're spending your husbands billions is not exactly a handicap. At least not one I can take seriously after reading the top couple comments on this link.

To even remotely compare someone starting a company with $0 from the ground up vs. someone spending tens of billions of existing dollars as a non-profit and classify them as the same level of entrepreneur is an insult to anyone who has ever started a company.

Creating a charity which mainly spends money you were gifted and creating a profitable business with invested money are two totally different things.

I think it's perfectly legitimate to describe somebody who initiates and runs a charity, and who is focused on deploying that gifted money as effectively as possible, as an entrepreneur. You don't need to be profit-driven, you can have a different goal altogether.

She's not an entrepreneur by any stretch of the imagination.

Keep in mind the ages of the people this is about. Melinda met Bill while working as a GM at Microsoft. She was working in tech in the mid-late 80's. I don't find it much of a leap to believe the subject of gender came up in her professional life in a negative way.

What a patently absurd take. Implying that the only part of Melinda's experience that matters is how much money she has access to. If you really think she's experienced no negatives due to her gender I ask you to consider what common negative experience would be for women, I'm sure you'll find that status and wealth don't much change the nature of these experiences.

In the US, more men are victims of violent crime, more men are unemployed, more men are homeless, more men commit suicide, fewer men go to college.

The "patently absurd take" is that women are the disadvantaged gender in the US.

(Obviously the situation is very different in some countries.)

More men are raped as well, both as children and as adults if you count prisons, which as a society we generally don't and that in and of itself is informative.

Citation needed.

> More men are raped as well

More? OMG that is about as self-serving a piece of false information as I've ever come across here on HN.

"In 2008, it was estimated 216,000[2] inmates were sexually assaulted while serving time, according to the Department of Justice figures.

That is compared to 90,479[3] rape cases outside of prison."[1]

Men are 92% of the prison population[4]





Do you have a source that gives the number of men raped in prison? You can't just assume an even distribution.

How so? Is it false? I know I've heard similar things before - more men raped each year, counting prison, than women in the US - and considering the state of our prisons it feels reasonable.

> more men are victims of violent crime

This stat is skewed twice: first, by the larger percentage of men involved in bilateral violent altercations (barfights, gang violence, etc), and second, by the low reporting rates of domestic violence (women are more likely to be the victims, though there are male victims of domestic violence as well).

> more men are unemployed

This is only the case for a few age brackets (16-24, 55-64): https://www.dol.gov/wb/stats/NEWSTATS/latest/unemployment.ht...

That doesn't help much from age 25-54 or 65+. Assuming beginning work at 16 and retirement at 65, the man is likely to have the advantage in an arbitrary year of one's working life. The aggregate numbers shift the other way because population growth puts more people in the younger cohorts.

> more men are homeless


> more men commit suicide


> fewer men go to college

I'm not sure this stat is representative, but I don't feel like doing any more research so I will grant this one.

Yes, the situation is different in some countries.

Gender inequality does exist in the U.S., though it’s now significantly lower than it was 50 or 100 years ago.



Your examples seem a bit cherry picked to me. More men are victims of violent crime are in part because men are more likely to have valuables, in part because more men commit violent crime, in general because men are more violent than women. Painting that as demonstrating that men are the victims seems pretty funny to me.

The only inequality left is for the 90% of men who are relegated to lives of farm animals in most Western societies.

Every study that still claims that women have it worse make so many statistical and logical fallacies, they aren't even worth debating. Which is ironic, since feminists refuse to debate or acknowledge them anyway, and instead resort to shaming.

* Wage gap. We all know the reasons. Majoring in whatever you're 'passionate' about is a luxury that apparently only women enjoy in our society. There are no artificial barriers to entry for women in any fields, and instead, as we see in Scandinavia, the more artificial equality used to push women into higher paid and rigorous fields, the less they choose them. And why would they - if I were subsidized to earn as much as the average HN reader regardless of my job, I wouldn't be slinging code all day. Look at the percentage of women in computer science in India vs Sweden, for example.

* Women less represented in the top 0.1% as CEOs, senators, etc: For the 99.9% of men who aren't amongst these elites either, it is irrelevant. I might as well complain about the near zero men who are represented at the top of the super-modeling industry.

* Disproportionate work spent on child rearing: That's a choice women make, and men have no say, as enforced by the state. As men, we have no rights, only the responsibility to pay for children, both individually and societally.

A major thesis in the article is gender inequality in Africa, as opposed to "Western societies".

> more men are unemployed ...

Am I reading the data (1) wrong?

1. https://www.dol.gov/wb/stats/NEWSTATS/latest.htm#LFPRates

You're looking at "labor force participation rate" instead of "unemployment rate". The difference is that people who aren't looking for work are "not participating" but not "unemployed".

Further down that page you'll find:


where the unemployment rates are given: 4.8% for women and 4.9% for men. In a strong economy like we have now, the difference is minor, but in economic down times, the difference is striking. In 2010, the unemployment rates were was 11% for men and 8.4% for women:


> The difference is that people who aren't looking for work are "not participating" but not "unemployed".

If you're a stay-at-home parent then you would fall under the "not participating" category, no? I think that's part of the problem for women in that they are often pressured to raise a family and forego a career.

> If you're a stay-at-home parent then you would fall under the "not participating" category, no?

If you are so by preference, yes. If you are a stay at home parent because you can't, despite actively looking, find work that pays enough to be to be a net gain after daycare, you are unemployed.

Or they choose to raise a family and stay home while their husband works. They have that option far more often than men do.

You're right, cultural norms work both ways. Work needs to be done on both sides so that both genders are free to choose what they do with their lives.

No, that's just unrelated to the definition of unemployed. Participation = (employed + unemployed) / total people in working age. If someone is not looking for work, then they are not considered unemployed.

Though you might argue even with equal unemployment ratios, this brings the number of unemployed men higher than the number of women.

You're not classed as unemployed if you're a stay-at-home mother. Likely some of those do so because of social norms, not because they don't want a career.

I'd recommend this video[1], which does a rather good job of rebutting those usual MRA talking points.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDrJo8d45gc

If that contains relevant facts, why not just cite them instead of asking people to watch a 30-minute political video?

In this case, because context and presentation is important, and I don't do as good of a job of it. It presents a cohesive whole, whereas me simply saying "More women attempt suicide than men, but men choose more violent methods that are more likely to result in death." removes a single point of your post, but not the overall worldview presented in your post.

I think you may find that the highly politicized context and presentation in that video only does a good job at preaching to the choir.

> more men are victims of violent crime


Have you looked at the percentage of women who have experienced sexual harassment or assault in their life?

Do you understand what it is like to be a woman, to have to look over your shoulder so much of the time, the fear and anxiety that follows you or prevents you from walking alone at night or in a strange place?

How many women have you talked to?

The violent crime you speak of is male on male. The oppressive omnipresent threat of violence against women is by men. The population of male victims of violent crimes has a high degree of overlap with the population of perpetrators of violent crime (i.e. Your statement is like saying men are greater victims of war, when it is fact men exclusively who have perpetrated those very wars).

>Do you understand what it is like to be a woman, to have to look over your shoulder so much of the time, the fear and anxiety that follows you or prevents you from walking alone at night or in a strange place?

I like how women think this uniquely applies to them.

As if all men are just brimming with confidence, completely unafraid and always ready to do battle. As if they can walk past a hooded figure on a dark street and physiologically remaining completely unaffected.

If you can't recognize the difference, you aren't talking with or listening to enough women in your circle about this sort of thing. I would highly encourage you to do so.

Regardless, the parent is not saying that men don't also experience the fear of violence.

I'm sorry but what's the difference?

The parent said "do you know?" Implying that as a male I had zero knowledge of what it's like to feel that way. Which implies that I have never felt that way. Which implies that whenever I'm in a situation that makes a woman feel that way, it doesn't make me feel that way.

I'm sorry but it does. So,yes I do know.

Is it worse for women? My assumption is at least 2x ~ 3x. The difference being when I walk past a shadowy figure in the street I mutter to myself "please don't kill me" while they think "OMG, please please please don't kill me".

The vectors point in exactly the same direction. The magnitude is what's different.

The original comment implied the vectors didn't even point in the same direction or had zero magnitude for men.

That's wrong.

Honestly, I have no friends, so I'd really appreciate it if you could explain the difference as best as the Internet allows.

It's best you ask some women you know in person (female colleagues at work, female friends of your friends, your sister(s), your mom), and listen to them in earnest.

You may make some female friends this way. Men who listen to women, who truly listen, are rare.

I'm sorry, all that you said applies to men as well.

Besides, your statement about wars is outright insulting! You've degraded the male victims of war (of whom there are a lot more) entirely by shifting blame for violence on them. In most wars you'd get thrown in jail if you refuse to go and fight!

There is a difference. Please ask some women you know about this, as the parent suggested.

Sounds like you've already done the legwork. Why won't you share how experiencing violence is drastically different between men and women.

> Do you understand what it is like to be a woman, to have to look over your shoulder so much of the time, the fear and anxiety that follows you or prevents you from walking alone at night or in a strange place?

Do you understand what it's like to be a man? I was mugged five times as a boy and young man, including at knife point. Police have harassed me.

Are you suggesting it's more pleasant to be threatened with your life as a man than a woman?

If not, then I'll go with the numbers and not imply, as you do, that no man can understand about being a victim of violent crime.

> The violent crime you speak of is male on male.

If you get to use that as an argument, do I get to do the black on black crime thing?

The expression "laughing all the way to the bank" comes to mind. Racism and sexism we probably won't get rid of, but it's inequalities of power that make them matter. Who cares about negativity if it comes without teeth?

Reading the other replies to this comment makes me incredibly sad, though not surprised in the slightest... that so many men in what is supposed to be an exceptionally intelligent community have so little understanding of patriarchy and misogyny, and somehow see men as the disadvantaged group.

Part of the problem is that this community is so male, so much so that even the men that get it tend to stay silent for fear of being losing status in such a male community.

Every single success I have right now is due to my wife's support. She is my partner in everything. When I worked at a startup, she suffered. When I am successful in something it's because she's there sacrificing with me. The reason that Bill has a flat line in marriage is because of his relationship with his wife.

Do you think he could have taken that hate without her support? Do you think she didn't feel awful because of the change it brought in her husband?

An equal and supportive marriage means that every sacrifice is made together. Don't trivialize how much she took on even though she wasn't the "face" of the company.

You're making marriage into a "competition" and it's not. It's two people working at a team, and no not every marriage is like that, my hope is that Bill and Melinda have that sort of marriage.

The irony of your comment is that the whole point of showing Melinda was to illustrate how she has it relatively easy, and how much more difficult the woman from Sahel has it.

The gender part of that graph wasn’t trying to say Melinda herself has it very hard, it was only saying that Melinda is a woman, and statistically speaking on a global scale, being a woman is an obstacle. Both of those things are true, and the article discusses why.

> statistically speaking on a global scale, being a woman is an obstacle

I think it's important to add the concept of "financial," "independence," or "power" somewhere in here.

AFAICT, these are the only things that matter to people, so it's a pretty big deal to have your sex/gender be an obstacle towards them. But the overall equation of happiness has a bit more variables.

Ultimately, I meet (on average) about the same amount of unhappy men as women, so from a happiness perspective it would appear that neither men nor women are winning and focusing on money and power instead of well-being is short sighted.

Like maybe we should quit arguing which gender gets the most money and try to figure out what makes a human happy.

> maybe we should quit arguing which gender gets the most money and try to figure out what makes a human happy.

That's a bit of a straw man, I didn't argue money primarily, and neither does the article. The article is talking about self-determinism, education, and opportunity for women, not money or power specifically. These things are all well known to be of primary importance to happiness.

From the article: "the average woman spends more than four hours every day doing unpaid work. Men, by comparison, average just over one hour per day."

How do you feel personally about doing unpaid labor?

> I meet (on average) about the same amount of unhappy men as women, so from a happiness perspective it would appear that neither men nor women are winning and focusing on money and power instead of well-being is short sighted.

That's purely anecdotal and has no bearing on what is happening in the world to people outside your class & geographical region. Drawing a global conclusion about gender inequality based on your personal experience is a pretty bad idea.

How do you feel personally about doing unpaid labor?

How much of this is due to gender differences in orderliness and cleanliness? I know plenty of guys who don't care that much about living in a dirty environment. On the other hand, their partners vacuum every day, mop the floor, and sterilize every surface. Perhaps it's out of fear that their kids will get sick, but then you look at the growing rates of allergy and auto immune diseases and you have to question the wisdom of a sterilized home.

Calling this type of unnecessary housework "unpaid household labour" is doing everyone a disservice. You might as well call a man's tinkering with an old hotrod in the garage "unpaid auto mechanic labour."

What evidence is there that there even exist any gender differences in cleanliness? How do you know that very idea isn't rationalizing cultural sexism?

I know lots of people, men and women, who don't care about being dirty. I also know lots of men and women who like things clean. The people I know in the U.S. have almost nothing to say about the cultural expectations on women in India or Turkmenistan.

How many domestic women do you know and talk to who are living in Africa, Saudi Arabia, or North Korea? Do you really think women in Africa are being clean freaks, and that explains the statistical difference in education and income?

> You might as well call a man's tinkering with an old hotrod in the garage "unpaid auto mechanic labour".

That might be true if globally women were culturally pushing the men to tinker with their garage projects to the point that it was expected they don't go to college and instead work on the jalopy for four hours a day, and if lots of men weren't allowed to vote or drive cars or have jobs.

You called it 'unnecessary' housework, based on your own assumptions and biases, having no idea whether it's even housework the article is talking about.

> self-determinism, education, and opportunity for women, not money

Those look a lot more like money and power than happiness. As a counter point, I might list "community" or "the right to express ones thoughts and emotions" if I was going for the happiness > money angle.

> How do you feel personally about doing unpaid labor?

I do quite a bit of community service, and offer help to anyone who's following their dreams. Unpaid labor is an important part of a functional society. Once again, not everything needs to revolve around money.

> Drawing a global conclusion about gender inequality based on your personal experience is a pretty bad idea.

Yeah, but drawing a conclusion based off data that doesn't equate to happiness is equally meaningless. Nobody is having a great time and we're fighting over breadcrumbs. It's like a bunch of homeless people infighting over panhandling inequality. As if panhandling is the way it should be, it's just not equal enough.

The article isn't talking about good-will volunteer service, and I'm certain you already know that, please don't try to twist words and be intentionally misleading.

I'm struggling to understand what point you're making now. Nobody from here up the thread said everything revolves around money except for you, it's still a straw man argument.

> drawing a conclusion about gender inequality that doesn't equate to happiness is equally meaningless

First, there is no objective measure for happiness, so you're suggesting something that's impossible.

Second, I disagree that failing to boil down to happiness is meaningless, as do many world economists and social researchers. Economic measures absolutely do correlate with happiness at the poor end of the economic spectrum. https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/IWP_2016_23.pdf

More broadly, oppression of women is a global fact of history. It's better now in the U.S. and Europe, and I'm glad it's improving, but I really don't get this argument you're attempting to make that it somehow doesn't exist, or that women are just seeking power and money. It's making your comments seem rather ignorant of history. Gender inequality is well documented, well known and widely agreed to exist, especially in Africa, China, the Middle East, etc.

At no point did I say that the inequality was anything less than awful. I pointed out that it would be very easy for a person to read your initial comment and think that you're implying there exists an obstacle between women and everything that matters in the world. Really, what is true and worth saying is there is an obstacle between women and some of the most coveted forms of power.

I think it's a very important issue, but by not including context is vastly undermines the argument and any empathy you might have incurred. I was suggesting a way to improve your argument, but inevitably I digressed into the fact that the argument is (at best) a squabbling.

I can never help but feel like every form of infighting between the lower and middle classes, races, genders, etc is a waste of time as compared to maybe working together to end our collective oppression under the super rich... so I end up digressing every time.

Also, I know a lot of broke ass artists, and a bunch of tree huggers who are way fucking happier than pretty much everyone I know who really cares about money (no matter how much they make).

I appreciate the discussion, and the attempt to add what context you believe is missing, but to be very honest, the context you're proposing rubs me completely the wrong way, because I believe it's wrong. I very much disagree with the point you're trying to make. By calling it 'coveted' money and power, you're choosing to frame the desire for equality as a negative attribute, painting the quest for equality as something selfish and greedy and unnecessary, which is very far from the truth, most especially considering the actual real-world context.

Do you consider your own high school education to be you striving for coveted money and power over happiness?

By talking about broke artists and tree-huggers and people you know, you're framing this against your personal experience, and not accepting that we're in a completely different world over here than Africa. People in the U.S. or Europe who (statistically) got to go to college, and had a house and stable family and enough food to eat and medical help when they needed it, those people choosing to pursue an art career, and/or choosing to care about the environment over money, those people don't even represent our own poverty, let alone the poverty in the third world and oppressed countries.

Your comments feel like a perfect example of a rich westerner living in a world so distant from the problem you're talking about that you don't have the context or experience to even understand what the problem really is. What makes you think the problems of women in Africa are even comparable in any way to artists and tree-huggers in the western world?

Do you think you'd personally be happy as a woman in Africa or Saudi Arabia or India? Please go read about and try to understand what's actually happening and imagine yourself in the same situation before you presume to summarize it in black and white as infighting between genders or that women need to seek happiness because life is about more than money and power.




Trigger warning: If you'd like to do some reading yourself, here is one of the worst ways a man and a woman have ever been tortured to death in Japan: > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Junko_Furuta > https://www.reddit.com/user/willowoftheriver/comments/7czmvt...

Abuse is really, really bad.

I know exactly where you are coming from. But ponder this: what if women's suffering is just a drop in an ocean?

The reason I bring this up is because I'm a very empathetic person, and I know quite a bit about human rights violations, and every bit I learn pushes me further from being able to look at gender/race/nipple color/hair style arguments meaningful. There's no reasoning with it, no point in taking sides. At this point I've boiled it down to this:

Abuse is Bad.

It doesn't have to be about how your gender gets to wah wah wah, and my gender herpa derp doo. Abuse is bad, full stop. Doesn't matter who is doing it, or why, 99.9% of the time abuse is bad.

Every little bit of energy you put into trying to re-balance some shit like this, to try to make it fair, it all just becomes more fuel to the fire.

So please, if you're really trying to help the world, don't focus on what the gender or skin color is. Don't imply that suffering is a group thing, it's not. Don't hold onto grudges, nobody will win. Just focus on who's abusing who right at this moment and point out the fact that abuse is bad. That's all you have to do, and anything more (ie "typically women have faced obstacles") is just undermining the very act of trying to help.

IN CONCLUSION: Helping is really, really, really hard. Like, it's so much easier to make things worse.

> Your comments feel like a perfect example of a rich westerner

Fuck this statement. You're fine, but that statement is bullshit.

> saying that Melinda had to make more sacrifices to get where she is than Bill is laughable

Unless you have actual insights into her life and personality that back up your statement, denying that she had to make more sacrifices could just as well be anything between ignorant, insensitive or plain mean.

According to wikipedia's info on her early career, she graduated as a valedictorian, and holds multiple degrees from universities I would consider prestigious at a glance.

She also conceivably had to work prior to retiring to start her family.

Not sure why you're convinced she had everything handed to her?

It can still be a handicap statistically speaking, just as geography would be for an African billionaire.

Not every male billionaire has a wife with the same level of power and prestige as Melinda Gates, so there is some statistical inequality here.

As opposed to the platter Bill's father used to hand things to Bill?

William Gates, III was already loaded. He took a leave of absence from Harvard to see if this software thing would work out, but his back up plan was to go back.

I don't think anyone is going to dispute that Bill Gates didn't work hard or isn't intelligent. The man was doing graduate level work as an underclassman.

But his risk for leaving Harvard and starting Microsoft was laughably low.

And I think Bill would recognize the vast amount of privilege he's benefited from in his life. I mean, that's part of what the article is about.

I can't find any references in the report to Melinda as an example of gender inequality, and it seems extremly atypical of the Gates' to say that. Which part are you referring to, exactly?

It's in the graph at the top, under the title "Starting Out Ahead" - see the large bump under 'gender' in Melinda's life plot

It’s in the “journey” graphic, where Melinda has to scale a “gender” hump: https://www.gatesfoundation.org/goalkeepers/assets/2019-repo...

Hm. I do find that to be in somewhat poor taste, but only because they've drawn her gender-hurdle as being almost the same size as the one for the girl born in Sahel. I'm willing to bet that if you asked the Gates, they would both say that the girl born in Sahel faces a far more considerable gender hurdle than Melinda did.

I'd say they just ran a regression on the variables without any interactions between gender and other variables. It seems more likely than them trying to make an argument about equal struggles.

the visual organization of that graphic is deeply flawed as it suggests that each person overcomes those obstacles in a series of consecutive steps, on their journey

Well, the title of the article is "HOW GEOGRAPHY AND GENDER STACK THE DECK FOR (OR AGAINST) YOU". Yet they don't provide any examples or evidence that your gender works for or against you _except_ in the cases of poor countries. It seems a little underhanded to imply that women are disadvantaged in western countries - if anything, it's the other way around.

The same would be true for anyone who won the lottery.

Yes, extraordinary luck can radically alter normal circumstances, but that's a meaningless outlier.

Fortune 500 CEO's are also like winning the lottery, but we still use that as a way to say that men are privileged. Can't we do the same thing here? Sure there aren't a lot of women who marry billionaires, but there are plenty who marry millionaires.

Also I don't know of any men who gets to open a charity with his wife's money or influence, but I know a lot of women who do. Even the first lady of USA gets a charity fund and a small crew of people to help her spend it, why do we do that? Because that is what we expect powerful husbands to do for their wives. Shouldn't such things get taken into account when we dole out privilege points?

I mean, men are more likely to earn a lot of money and influence, yes, but women are much more likely to marry into a lot of money and influence. So if your goal is to get a lot of money and influence but don't want to do the sacrifices required for it then you'd rather be a woman.

Or in other words, marrying into wealth and getting to spend said wealth on your pet projects is one of the most privileged roles you can have and the sex ratio for said role is extremely skewed in favor of women. Taking Melinda as an example of a woman who had to struggle due to her gender is very poor taste since she is basically the embodiment of female privilege.

It's like you're halfway there.

Ok. Let's say that becoming a Fortune 500 CEO is like winning the lottery. Let's give that to you for a second.

It's a lottery that only a small section of the population has access to. Men overwhelmingly that lottery. White men especially. If it were truly a lottery, we'd see statistics that would more closely mirror the general population.

You also note that men are more likely to earn a lot of money and influence. Then try to contrast it with women marrying into that. You then lament that men hardly have the opportunity to marry into money.

You know why?

Because historically women haven't been afforded all the same opportunities men have to do the same. Women don't have the money to marry into.

I would not use someone who won the lottery to illustrate an article about social fairness.

I was merely pointing out that if the argument is that a given class is underpaid or systemically has less opportunity, finding a single counterexample that became so by essentially pure luck isn't much of a refutation.

Citation needed. Have we read the same thing?

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