Monday, February 02, 2015

Inborn inequality in Britain: Today's rich mostly descend from rich families of the past

Smart people are usually smart about making and keeping money too  -- and smart people tend to marry other smart people.  So wealth has a considerable hereditary element.  Equality is a counter-factual fantasy

Wealthy parents pass on three quarters of their fortunes to their children meaning it will take 300 years for the offspring of today's super-rich to have average incomes, a survey has revealed.

The sons and daughters of prestigious families are also likely to live longer than average, more likely to attend Oxbridge, live in expensive houses, and go on to become doctors or lawyers.

There is also little difference in wealth or social standing when the richest families of the Victoria era are compared to their descendants today, according to the study.

Publishing their findings in the Economic Journal, Professor Gregory Clark and Dr Neil Cummins said: 'What your great-great-grandfather was doing is still predictive of what you are doing now.'

The pair examined the records of 19,000 people, including more than 600 rare family names such as Bazalgette, the Pepys, and Bigge.

Joseph Bazalgette was responsible for building the world's first sewer system in London in the 19th century, the Pepys family tree contains noted diarist Samuel Pepys, and John Bigge was a judge and royal commissioner.

They found that, compared to their relatives in 1850, those living with that surname today are almost certain to have amassed fortunes well beyond the reach of the average Briton.

For example Sir Peter Bazalgette, the great-great-grandson of Sir Joseph, is the founder of Endemol television production company which created Big Brother and Deal or No Deal.

The company was floated on the Dutch stock exchange in 2005. It trebled in value and was sold for £2.5billion in 2007.

The findings of Dr Clark and Dr Cummins, as reported by The Guardian, suggest that the passing down of wealth has a far bigger impact on society than previously thought.

The data showed a 'significant correlation between the wealth of families' even up to five generations apart.

They estimate that three quarters of any estate is passed down to the offspring of wealthy families, despite inheritance taxes introduced in recent years.

At that rate, it means that children of today's super-wealthy would take, on average, nearly three centuries to become as wealthy as the average Briton.

Dr Clark and Dr Cummins said: 'Wilson, Thatcher, or Blair – the noisy cacophony of Westminster politics – makes no difference to the iron law of inheritance.

'Measures to promote social mobility have little prospect of succeeding. It’s always going to be the case that families with the greatest abilities will just pass them on to their children.'


The Fluidity of Race?

Emily Nix and Nancy Qian just put out a paper – The Fluidity of Race – that has gotten some attention. They claim (based on their analysis of US Census records from 1880-1940) that at least 19% of black males ‘passed’ for white during this period, with about 10% switching back.  And this wasn’t a one-time thing: it kept happening for at least several generations, so there was a continuing net black-to-white flow, about 20% of each generation! They don’t talk about women, since their surnames change, but presumably there would be at least some race-switching among black women as well.

So let’s say that 17% of black males permanently passed over into the white category. During the time in question,  the black percentage of the US population was around 11%;  1 13.1% in 1880, 11.6% in 1900,  with a low in 1930 of 9.7% due to lots of recent immigration from Europe.

I think we can assume that half of the black population was male, at least until someone publishes claims of long-secret, industrial-scale parthenogenesis.

The period in questions covers about two generations.  So:

the fraction of the population called white should have absorbed  about

2 generations x 17% of the black male population x 0.5 (male fraction) x 11% (black fraction of the population) = 1.87% .  The white population during this period was about 89% of the population.    So you’d expect that whites in this country, on average would have about 2% black ancestry.  Or maybe less, since blacks average about 75% African ancestry: more like 1.5% African ancestry.

But they don’t : the average amount of African ancestry among self-labeled whites is , according to a recent, massive 23andme study,  0.19%.  The majority don’t have any African ancestry at all. 0.19% is way less, at least ten times less, than suggested by  the Nix-Qian paper.  Considerably less than you’d see in one generation, if they were right, and remember that they thought this was an ongoing process over many decades.  Moreover, for most of those whites that have any detectable African ancestry at all, the amount is small, a percent or two – which suggests the admixture event happened quite a while ago.

In the South, the amount of African admixture is larger among whites: about 5% of self-labelled whites in South Carolina have at least 2% African ancestry.  About 12% have over 1% African ancestry. But that amounts to an average African ancestry well under 1% among whites in South Carolina, a state in which blacks used to be the majority. That strongly suggests that the fraction of blacks that ever successfully passed into the white zone,  over the entire history of the US,  is more like 1 in 100, rather than 20% per generation.

So: what can we conclude about this paper? It’s a classic case of economic imperialism, informed by what ‘intellectuals’ [ those that have never been introduced to Punnet squares, Old Blue Light, the Dirac equation, or  Melungeons] would like to hear.

It is wrong, not close to right.


Sheriff lashes out at NAACP: ‘Number one cause’ of police shootings is black single mother homes

David Clarke, sheriff of Milwaukee County in Wisconsin, asserted on Tuesday that the NAACP was wrong to blame police for shooting black men when the problem was homes with single mothers.

A body camera recording released last week showed an Muskogee police officer in Oklahoma fatally shoot a fleeing suspect, Terrance Walker, who dropped and then picked up a gun as he ran.

Tulsa NAACP chapter President Pleas Thompson told KTUL that the shooting was part of a “shoot first and ask questions later” mentality.  “I think emphasis should be placed on trying to take those people alive,” Thompson said.

On Tuesday’s edition of Fox & Friends, Sheriff Clarke argued that the NAACP should be focusing on black men instead of the police.

“This once proud organization that was a force for good has relegated itself into irrelevancy, and I challenge anybody to name the last significant accomplishment that the NAACP has achieved in the United States for people of color,” Clarke opined. “This organization has become nothing more than a political propaganda entity for the left.”

The sheriff recommended that the NAACP start a discussion in the black community about “the behavior of our young black men.”

“The discussion we need to be having and the NAACP can lead it — stay off the police — is why is the stuff happening, and what are we going to do about it,” he continued. “The number one cause of this is father-absent homes. So what are we going to do in terms of having more effective parenting, more role modeling, more engaged fathers in the lives of these young black men so that we don’t have this behavior.”

Fox News host Brian Kilmeade pointed out that Terrance Walker’s mother said that officers did not have to shoot her son as he ran away.

“Well, what did his dad say?” Clarke laughed. “You know, we always hear what his mom says. You know, look, mom loves her son, we all get that. But shoot first and ask questions later — anytime a law enforcement officer is in a situation where a gun is introduced by a suspect, yeah, it’s shoot first, stop the threat, and then ask questions later.”

“And also, when you run from the police, I’ll tell you right now, you’re headed toward a very dark place where things are not going to go well for you,” he added. “That doesn’t mean that you’re automatically going to be shot and you should die. But the fact is, that is one of the most dangerous situations an officer can be involved in.”

Clarke concluded by calling the shooting “unfortunate,” but he said that the NAACP needed to “focus on the behavior of our young black men, and not the police.”


Pauline Hanson and Muslim issues

Controversial Australian independent conservative politician gets a lot wrong but highlights some important issues.  She fronts the One Nation party

In the past Hanson has tapped into worries about Asian immigration and entitlements for indigenous Australians, and now she has identified Muslim Australians as her next bogeyman.

On the back of our recent freedom of speech debate, rebooted by the fallout from Paris’s Charlie Hebdo massacre, Hanson presents a challenge. Rather than attack her we should challenge her where she is wrong and welcome a debate about any real issues she identifies.

A touchstone for Hanson’s new crusade is Halal registration. She says it should be illegal for companies to pay for Halal certification of their food products.

“When I see 2.2 per cent of our population are Muslim in this country and yet the other 97.8 per cent are paying for this,” she rants. “I reject this.”

This is the reason for her “I will not buy Vegemite,” pledge.

If Hanson wants Muslim immigrants to assimilate you’d think she’d favour smoothing a Halal path to Vegemite on toast. Even aside from that silly paradox the anti-Halal campaign is ridiculous.

Perhaps these registrations can sometimes be a rort but if companies are prepared to pay the fee for Halal labelling there is no problem. It can help them market to Muslim customers at home and can be essential for exporting to Muslim nations.

The anti-Halal movement seems to be classically xenophobic and should be dismissed on logical grounds. Some of our supermarkets have kosher aisles and brands seek approval for all kinds of labels, from organic or gluten-free status to heart health and environmental ticks.

Halal certification ought to be welcomed as another marketing tool.

Hanson says Muslims “come here for a new life and I have no problem with that” but complains “we can’t sing Christmas carols because it offends others”.

She also is “totally opposed to the burka”, claiming many women are forced to wear it.

This is where her anti-Muslim rant comes up against the stifling effect of political correctness. We have seen attempts to downplay Christian references at Christmas but this is hardly the fault of Muslims — more likely it stems from the activism of bureaucratic secularists.

But while most Australians would not be as strident as Hanson on the burka there is little doubt many worry that the covering of Muslim women is an open form of oppression.

This is a legitimate issue for discussion, especially among feminists and Muslim communities, and Hanson shouldn’t be condemned simply for raising it.

It also goes to her core complaint about lack of assimilation or how Muslims “will not change their ways but want to change our ways”.

Again, most of us wouldn’t be so confrontational but a discussion about assimilation should not only be tolerated; it is desperately needed.

The radicalisation of young Muslim men, born in our suburbs and educated under our freedoms, who have then gone overseas as ­jihadist Islamic State recruits, is of grave concern, especially to the majority of Muslims who are politically moderate.

Shouting down Hanson, or demonising anyone who echoes her views, will not help. It will only confirm an unwillingness to confront the issues, and we have seen plenty of this national squeamishness lately.

The contortions performed by many to deny the Islamist extremist motivation behind the Martin Place siege were extraordinary.

This jihadist denialism suggests to the mainstream that the political class is incapable of handling obvious challenges — so it only fuels the fear Hanson aims to harness.

The best way to combat One Nation fearmongering is to inject more frankness into our public debates.

One person who did that this week was Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith in his compelling Australia Day address. He explained: “the freedoms and rights we’ve always fought for and won at great cost to our own are again under serious and continuing threat.”

Roberts-Smith, now working in business, explained how our military are in the frontline of a battle against the “lethal forces of terror” and that Martin Place showed we were “neither remote nor immune” as he matter-of-factly listed it with 9/11, Bali, Paris and other attacks.

“As Australians witness these things in the midst of our ordinary lives … reading about young people leaving the country to join a raging, borderless jihad,” he said, “the outlying world of Australian soldiers fighting Islamic extremism in Afghanistan and Iraq seems to come within touching distance of domestic, civilian life.”

He is right and, unsurprisingly, brave.  Courage is not just needed on the frontline but in mustering the confidence to speak honestly against Islamist terrorism while simultaneously embedding our tradition of tolerance.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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