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May 18, 2006

Timmy Elsewhere

More at TCS on Charles Murray’s The Plan.

May 18, 2006 in The Blogger Himself | Permalink


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Tim, in that article you've cited Steven Levitt as if he had said that income mobility was higher in the USA than in other developed countries and he probably hasn't said this because it isn't true.

D2: Give me a break. I quoted him as saying that it was possible and added the point that it is extremely difficult, and that perhaps it should be made easier.

Posted by: dsquared | May 18, 2006 9:24:31 AM

Charles Murray has a plan on what to do with the black underclass? Why am I feeling extremely suspicious?

And I agree with dsquared. Your article's unintentionally misleading.

Yes, to a large extent (and more so than in most countries of the world) it is indeed possible to start anywhere in America and make it to the top. As Steven Levitt puts it in Freakonomics:
"The black boy from Daytona Beach, abandoned by his mother, beaten by his father,...a full-fledged gangster in his teens...now twenty seven years old, Roland G. Fryer Jr., the Harvard economist studying black underachievement."
Yes, it's possible, goes the liberal case, but it's extraordinarily difficult and it can be made easier.

1. Yes, income mobility is possible in America. This is trivial.

2. Yes, liberals (and for that matter most conservatives, I should imagine) would argue that it is difficult and it could be made easier. (They'd differ about the ways to make it easier, but that's politics.)

3. But by saying that income mobility is higher in the USA, you are as far as I know wrong. And by following it up immediately with the Levitt quote, you are suggesting that Levitt agrees with your erroneous statement.

I'd rephrase things, if I were you - just take out the bit about "more so in America".

Tim adds: D2 mentioned developed countries which I didn’t. If we are to be strictly accurate about what is there, take the 192 countries of the UN (about that now isn’t it?). Is the US above or below number 92 in the list of countries with the highest (or lowest, to taste) income mobility?

Posted by: ajay | May 18, 2006 4:10:46 PM

Tim adds: D2 mentioned developed countries which I didn’t.

Oh, Lord. Why don't you just write PWND!!! D2 SUX!!!LOL!!! and have done with it?

Posted by: ajay | May 18, 2006 4:26:56 PM