Thursday, August 09, 2012

Buy you a new life

Moved by data rather than doctrine, Inductivist listed the percentages of respondents in the World Values Survey who said "wanting to get rich" sounded either "very much like me" or "like me" by country. Despite the putative obsession Americans have with money, the US ranks 41st out of 52 countries when it comes to (admitting to) really wanting the benjamins.

A cursory glance at the list is enough to see that the poorer, less desirable the place, the stronger the predilection of its population for wanting money is. If you have little to lose, might as well get rich or die trying! Quantifying it, the correlation between a country's purchasing power parity and the percentage of its population wanting to get rich is .68 (p = 0).

I hear Art Alexakis singing "I hate those people who love to tell you that money is the root of all that kills/They have never been poor, they have never had the joy of a welfare Christmas".

WVS variables used: V81(1-2)(3-6)

12 comments:

pat said...

Why isn't everyone rich? Probably because you need to be in something like the 90th percentile of brains. That obviously immediately disqualifies 90% of all people. Then you have to consider energy, health and drive. So as long as talents are distributed unequally there will always - by definition - be a favored 1%.

There is also the issue of motivation. In other words the answer to the question "If you're so smart why ain't you rich?" is "I don't choose to be rich".

There was a moment about twenty years ago when I chose not to be rich. I was working at that time as a web programmer. I was a pretty good coder but everyone who hired me soon made me a manager or executive. That happened to me several times. The field was desperate for someone to supervise their programmers who actually knew and liked programming.

I also happened to have just the right set of skills. I did C# not Java and SQL Server not Oracle. I taught those other technologies but I didn't use them. I was Microsoft oriented.

Much to my amazement I discovered that the porn business ran exclusively on Microsoft. Who knew?

A recruiter sent me to porn central in San Jose. At that time and that place I was in demand. But they asked me if I wanted to work on the porn or the non-porn side. Foolishly I said non-porn. They showed me the door.

If I had said the porn side I would have been hired that day. I would be the supervisor in a month and the manager in six. After that I would possibly been offered an officer class position with equity. That happened to me elsewhere in subsequent years. But the big bucks were then in porn. I couldn't have been a billionaire but being a millionaire was almost certain.

But that was not to be. I didn't want to be involved in porn. I didn't want to have to try to explain it to my wife.

This one single office suite in a nondescript standard office building had no signs of their line of business showing anywhere. Everyone dressed very conservatively (no gold chains).

Yet this one office accounted for ten percent of all web traffic on a typical day. They had a bigger web footprint than Standard Oil or General Motors.

I knew that if I worked for them I had a good chance at becoming rich but I wasn't willing to make the sacrifice - and it wasn't really much of a sacrifice. I suspect that there are thousands of stories like this. I could have been rich but it was just too much trouble.

Albertosaurus

Noah172 said...

The US is the richest country in the world; if you are in, say, the top four-fifths of US income distribution, then you are "rich" to most of the rest of humanity (especially outside of western Europe and Japan, and even within those countries to some degree). "Rich" to many third-worlders means things that Americans (and advanced world residents), even most of our poor, take for granted.

Anonymous said...

I have two questions. Can anybody answer it? Ok, the US homicide rate is 4.2 per 100,000. What percentage of that homicide rate is the result of the black homicide rate? Is it half? How would I calculate a racial breakdown of the US homicide rate? My second question is: what percentage of negroes do you need before you start seeing a major effect on the overall crime rate?

Thanx

Anonymous said...

The population of whites is 82.9%, of blacks it is 12.6%, and other is 4.5%. The homicide rates for each group are: 4.5 for whites, 34.4 for blacks, and 4.1 for other (1980-2008 DOJ stats). Now, (.829 * 4.5) + (.126 * 34.4) + (.044 * 4.1) = 3.7305 + 4.3344 + 0.1804 = 8.2453

4.3344 of 8.2453 = 52.5%

Blacks are responsible for 52.5% of an average US homicide rate of 8.2453.

Is this correct?

Anonymous said...

The population of whites is 82.9%, of blacks it is 12.6%, and other is 4.5%. The homicide rates for each group are: 4.5 for whites, 34.4 for blacks, and 4.1 for other (1980-2008 DOJ stats). Now, (.829 * 4.5) + (.126 * 34.4) + (.044 * 4.1) = 3.7305 + 4.3344 + 0.1804 = 8.2453

4.3344 of 8.2453 = 52.5%

Blacks are responsible for 52.5% of an average US homicide rate of 8.2453 per 100,000.

Is this correct?

Here, I use other expanded population data:

US population breakdown: 16.3% Hispanic, 63.7% white, 12.2% black, AI/AN 0.7%, A/PI 4.9%. Homicide rate from CDC 2007 stats.

(.163 * 7.6) + (.637 * 2.7) + (.122 * 23.1) + (.007 * 7.8) + (.049 * 2.4) = 1.2388 + 1.7199 + 2.8182 + 0.0546 + 0.1176 = 5.9491 per 100,000

2.8182 of 5.9491 = 47.3%

47.3% of the US homicide rate of 5.9491 per 100,000 is because of blacks. Is this correct and why?

Aeoli Pera said...

Anonymous,

I answered your initial question at Vox Popoli. As for "why", we can only speculate, absent controlled experiments.

Please note that cross-posting is generally frowned upon on the internet. I can explain the reason for that, but I shouldn't need to.

Aeoli Pera said...

I suspect your first language is not American English. Do you have any familiarity with American culture?

Anonymous said...

Oh you're right. I'm not an American, so forgive me.

Anyway, I know I shouldn't be cross-posting, it's just that I'm writing something and I'm in a hurry because the deadline is today. Here's my source:

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/htus8008.pdf

go to page 3, Table 1

It won't happen again, it's just that I'm in such a big rush.

Aeoli Pera said...

If you have a deadline, then this must be for school. If it's for school, then I'm guessing you'll want to explain the homicide rate in a way that will win you the best grade from your teacher.

First, I'll explain the orthodox interpretation, according to most academics in America:

"Crime is mostly caused by socioeconomic inequality, and blacks in America are disproportionately poor (as a group; some are middle-class and a few are wealthy). Therefore, it is not surprising that blacks turn to crime to satisfy their needs."

But you're in the wrong part of the internet for orthodoxy. The collection of websites you've been cross-posting across is called the "alternative right wing", because it is a small offshoot from the old right wing politics (variously branded as paleoconservatism, paleolibertarianism, classical liberalism, and so on).

Now I'll try to generalize what the alternative right thinks are the causes for disproportionate black crime:

"Crime is mostly caused by a mixture of genetics and culture. Genetically, blacks tend to have lower IQs and several other unfortunate traits (such as a higher rate of psychopathy) that make them susceptible to the temptation to commit crimes. Culturally, black celebrities (rappers) glorify the system of crime, crass hedonism, and 'gangster' tribalism that resulted from the drug conflicts of the 1980s. Also, the federal government has made the problem worse by giving money to blacks who live bad lifestyles, which allows them to continue living in bad conditions and have lots of children, who go on to be 'gangsters'."

Most agree that the low socioeconomic status of most blacks is a contributing factor, but the alternative right believes it is a small factor compared to genetics and culture. Instead, genetics and culture cause both crime and poverty more than poverty causes crime.

Aeoli Pera said...

Some closing comments:

-Thank you for providing the source.

-I'm not going to check your math for the second set of numbers. The two schools of interpretation are no different than before.

-It is almost impossible to discuss causality in a constructive way without controlled experiments.

"My second question is: what percentage of negroes do you need before you start seeing a major effect on the overall crime rate?"

-This ^ is not a good question. The strengths of the causal factors are still unknown. If they were known, you would need to choose a number to represent "a major effect". And after all of that, extrapolation would be very unreliable. You can't predict the future according to what happened in the past, you can only make educated guesses. (All of this ought to be covered in a textbook on basic statistics.)

-Sharing knowledge is a beautiful and wonderful thing. When you cross-post, it shows a lack of respect for the time of the experts who are answering you. If more than one answers you, then you are wasting their time.

Fortunately, I enjoy lecturing, so you get off with a warning this time :-)

Don't do it again!

Anonymous said...


This ^ is not a good question. The strengths of the causal factors are still unknown. If they were known, you would need to choose a number to represent "a major effect". And after all of that, extrapolation would be very unreliable. You can't predict the future according to what happened in the past, you can only make educated guesses. (All of this ought to be covered in a textbook on basic statistics.)


Absent any change in the genetics (eg, but eliminating genes with a propensity for violence from the gene pool as whites have done) then we can predict the future from the past.

That is, blacks will continue to be a violent and murderous as they always have been.

Aeoli Pera said...

Absent any change in the genetics (eg, but eliminating genes with a propensity for violence from the gene pool as whites have done) then we can predict the future from the past.

That is, blacks will continue to be a violent and murderous as they always have been.


This is an elementary misinterpretation of statistical induction. Do I need to educate you on the fundamentals or do I need to educate you on the specific application? This is not a false dichotomy, nor is it merely rhetorical.