Just Desserts

Part two to my previous post about income inequality.

The corollary to the promotion of cheapness as a virtue to the working classes is the enabling of privilege — six-hundred-dollar flat-screen TVs as a consolation prize for stagnating wages and ever-increasing concentration of wealth.  Education is one of the greatest tools for social mobility, but as this (slightly old but still highly relevant) series demonstrates, the privilege of a top-tier education is being extended to more and more of the unqualified-but-for-their-wealth. 

What’s most notable in the articles is the attitude of those who openly admit that their family’s wealth or influence was the decisive factor in their college admissions: they nonetheless defend themselves as still deserving of the privilege.  “I got in, therefore I belong here” is the entirety of their logic, even though one might hope that anybody earning an Ivy League diploma would have at least a passing familiarity with tautologies.  A couple of the students show a more critical perspective of their position, but for the vast majority it is the way it is, and therefore that’s the way it should be.  With that kind of defensive notion of desert, it’s no wonder change is so damn hard.

(Oh, and in a related story: rich people, like parents, just don’t understand.)

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