ROBERT FRANK ~ SUCCESS AND LUCK ~ 2016

~ GF&TMOM ~ Good Fortune And The Myth Of Meritocracy

~ SSHDTCEPAMLRIILOTMPOI ~ Social Scientists Have Discovered That Chance Events Play A Much Larger Role In Important Life Outcomes Than Most People Once Imagined

~ TROMHCEN ~ The Rhetoric Of Meritocracy Has Caused Enormous Harm

~ M-CI-1958-AAP-QCOA-AAOP ~ Meritocracy – Coined In – 1958 – As A Pejorative – Quickly Co-Opted As – An Adjective Of Praise

~ STTEMHEABOL-AVOTTTTDRBOT-TTAWTTTA ~ Saying That Top Earners May Have Enjoyed A Bit Of Luck – Apparently Verges On Telling Them That They Don’t Really Belong On Top – That They Aren’t Who They Think They Are

~ TROMATHCTETWSAFOHDOECBAIC ~ The Rhetoric Of Meritocracy Appears To Have Camouflaged The Extent To Which Success And Failure Often Hinge Decisively On Events Completely Beyond Any Individual’s Control

~ SMCEFMMPILTTMPR ~ Seemingly Minor Chance Events Figure Much More Prominently In Life Trajectories Than Most People Realize

~ BWATMTAHPWNAMMS? ~ But What About The Many Talented And Hardworking People Who Never Achieve Much Material Success?

~ IOTTSTSWW1%HTOII1%MTD1PMI-B-TIOCLMLWSSPDTI-TFDIE ~ It’s One Thing To Say That Someone Who Works 1 Percent Harder Than Others Or Is 1 Percent More Talented Deserves 1 Percent More Income – But – The Importance Of Chance Looms Much Larger When Such Small Performance Differences Translate Into – Thousands-Fold Differences In Earnings

~ WTAM-TPRTATAHOWITM-AENOC-ATMCTA-TMLM ~ Winner-Take-All Markets – The Prodigious Rewards That Accrue To A Handful Of Winners In These Markets – Attracts Enormous Numbers Of Contestants – And The More Contestants There Are – The More Luck Matters

~ PWBTSDOOTAA-AHAESOHTTA-MFIETMTKOENFS ~ People Who Believe That Success Depends Only On Talent And Effort – And Have An Exaggerated Sense Of How Talented They Are – May Find It Easier To Muster The Kinds Of Effort Necessary For Success

~ B-UTIOEF-MAEC-IM-FEEPTCIAIWTHNRPOS-IAATMSPMRTUTINTSETSMS ~ But Underestimating The Importance Of External Forces – May Also Entail Significant Costs – It May – For Example Encourage People To Compete In Arenas In Which They Have No Realistic Prospect Of Succeeding – It Also Appears To Make Successful People More Reluctant To Underwrite The Investments Necessary To Sustain Environments That Support Material Success

~ TFRTNSCPWEMFICTAC ~ The Fact Remains That No Society Can Prosper Without Effective Means For Its Citizens To Act Collectively

~ SGIU-ISWTAWTMIB-SSHDMEGTO ~ Since Government Is Unavoidable – It’s Surely Worth Thinking About Ways To Make It Better – Some Societies Have Demonstrably More Effective Governments Than Others

~ ‘HB’-WYTYAKWH-IETIRFWIHTH ~ “Hindsight Bias” – When You Think You Already Know What Happened – It’s Easy To Invent Reasons For Why It Had To Happen

~ HBOWPFWPOUSO ~ Hindsight Bias Operates With Particular Force When People Observe Unusually Successful Outcomes

~ TME ~ The Matthew Effect

~ WTAM-GDTCF-RDLOAPTORP-RTTBHCITHOAFTP ~ Winner-Take-All Markets – Generally Display Two Characteristic Features – Rewards Depend Less On Absolute Performance Than On Relative Performance – Rewards Tend To Be Highly Concentrated In The Hands Of A Few Top Performers

~ B-EP-ASMC-WWAWEBETAH-B-TWRB-TMTAH-ITCP ~ Because – Enormous Prizes – Attract So Many Contestants – Winners Will Almost Without Exception Be Enormously Talented And Hardworking – But – They Will Rarely Be – The Most Talented And Hardworking – In The Contestant Pool

~ E-HUTH-IAGM-TMMYST-TMLTB-AIYSTEM-ABI ~ Events – Highly Unlikely To Happen – In Any Given Moment – The More Moments You String Together – The More Likely They Become – And If You String Together Enough Moments – All But Inevitable

~ METAHPFTAASMOMS-MOTASLLTTW ~ Many Extremely Talented And Hardworking People Fail To Achieve Any Significant Measure Of Material Success – Many Of Them Are Simply Less Lucky Than The Winners

~ TITSASTMWWOBTAL-IHCA-MWNHEBRCHTNBB-EAAH ~ This Isn’t The Same As Saying That Most Winners Win Only Because They Are Lucky – In Highly Competitive Arenas – Most Would Not Have Even Been Realistic Contenders Had They Not Been Both – Extremely Able And Hardworking

~ TWAOPTATFTBLMBUTTKOFNTIFP ~ Those Who Are Overly Prone To Attribute Their Failures To Bad Luck May Be Unreceptive To The Kinds Of Feedback Needed To Improve Future Performance

~ TBOFB ~ The Burden Of False Beliefs

~ TIODOPLTTAO-THBBIAHDC-TLBOCOIIBTWCBU ~ There Is One Dimension Of Personal Luck That Transcends All Others – To Have Been Born In A Highly Developed Country – The Lucky Beneficiaries Of Centuries Of Intensive Investment By Those Who Came Before Us

~ IBBIAGEIOOTLTTCHTA-FTALIHMSPMRTPTTRTSTINTMAGE ~ If Being Born In A Good Environment Is One Of The Luckiest Things That Can Happen To Anyone – Failure To Appreciate Luck’s Importance Has Made Successful People More Reluctant To Pay The Taxes Required To Support The Investments Necessary To Maintain A Good Environment

~ TFTAADTBCEP-ORTARWP-STOCBBCARIFFO ~ The Fact That Americans Are Driving The Best Cars Ever Produced – On Roads That Are Riddled With Potholes – Suggests That Our Current Balance Between Cars And Roads Is Far From Optimal

~ PWFMHTAALTTWTAAGOTSA ~ People Will Fight Much Harder To Avoid A Loss Than They Would To Achieve A Gain Of The Same Amount

~ OCPOPAPSHBDC-NJFPAMIF-BAFTWT ~ Our Current Patterns Of Private And Public Spending Have Been Deeply Counterproductive – Not Just For Poor And Middle-Income Families – But Also For The Wealthy Themselves

~ EPIWAEPFTEPOTVSTP ~ Extensive Public Investment Was An Essential Precondition For The Economic Prosperity Of Those Very Same Tax Protesters

~ POSOCAAT ~ Public Opinion Shifts One Conversation At A Time

~ TRSBFTALPRISHMIHTSTPINTSTSOLATFG ~ Tax Resistance Spawned By Failure To Appreciate Luck’s Pivotal Role In Success Has Made It Harder To Sustain The Public Investment Needed To Support The Stock Of Luck Available To Future Generations

~ ATPIT-IFOAPCT-WPABOFAE ~ Abandoning The Progressive Income Tax – In Favor Of A Progressive Consumption Tax – Would Produce A Better Outcome For Almost Everyone

~ PWETAAAOTP-ANJHBOTF-TAMLTP-TIPBMOTBSSATE ~ People Who Enjoy The Admiration And Affection Of Their Peers – Are Not Just Happier Because Of That Fact – They’re Also More Likely To Prosper – That’s In Part Because Most Of The Biggest Economic Success Stories Are Team Efforts

~ IMBIYITALRIYS-IOBPWTBOYFHDS-ESTTWMYFH-TMFTOTBOYMAMYMLTPIPMT ~ It May Be In Your Interest To Acknowledge Luck’s Role In Your Success – If Only Because People Will Think Better Of You For Having Done So – Evidence Suggests That This Will Make You Feel Happier – The Mere Fact That Others Think Better Of You May Also Make You More Likely To Prosper In Purely Material Terms

~ TWHT-TASTSAEAFTBL-MBPAISC-BOB-IIOITEMRA ~ The Widespread Human Tendency – To Attribute Success To Skill And Effort And Failure To Bad Luck – May Be Psychologically Adaptive In Some Cases – But On Balance – It’s In Our Interest To Embrace More Realistic Attributions

~ CTPB-PWINOFMPTGW-BAFETC ~ Contrary To Popular Belief – Private Waste Is Not Only Far More Pervasive Than Government Waste – But Also Far Easier To Curtail

~ APBMRAOWRFCPOT-TCCFWSSOGABTFTF-A-TACSOOCAAT ~ Although Popular Beliefs May Remain At Odds With Reality For Considerable Periods Of Time –The Consensus Can Flip With Surprising Speed Once Good Arguments Begin To Find Their Footing – And – Those Arguments Can Spread Only One Conversation At At Time