In Dr. Sowell’s book the economics and politics of race, Sowell states that Chinese, Jews, and Japanese tend to be overachievers in America, while, Blacks, Puerto Ricans, and Mexicans tend to be underachievers.
In short, he theorizes that the variables in economic success or lack of success is found in the culture of a particular group. The cultures have changed but has his general premise changed? That is to say, does a group’s culture largely determine the group’s economic success? Well, there’s a lot of evidence supporting Dr. Sowell’s enlightening theory.
The left would claim that the poor economic standings of certain communities is due to discrimination and, therefore, leftists claim that we need governmental intervention to uplift their economic standings. The problem with that argument, though, is that once you open economic opportunities for a group of people, that is to say, once you end government sanctioned discrimination, it takes generations for an entire race to uplift themselves from poverty. So, there doesn’t currently have to be discrimination for us to see clear disparities in income since poverty echoes through the generations.
Beyond that criticism of their argument, there are minority groups who are economically successful and who have made great strides in our society. These include blacks too from the West Indies and West Africa. They tend to do much better in our country than they did in their former countries. Interestingly enough, we can even see the development of wealth as the generations pass.
So, for example, my parents were poor, and I grew up poor, but because of the choices that I have made in my life, my children will not grow up poor, and, if my children do the same as me, alas, we have a strong net-family income and inheritance. Therein lies, culture.
Conservatives, as well as Sowell, would point towards culture as being the determining factor in economic success and I’m inclined to agree.
In conclusion, Dr. Sowell’s theory and Conservative-thought on this issue is largely supported by empirical evidence.
I’ve just given you two great examples of culture determining economic success (marriage and crime). Other examples include what groups tend to study in university. For example, Chinese and Japanese tend to collect degrees from science and technology. Another example are the kinds of tactics parents employ to their children. The whole “Tiger Mom” stereotype is, yes, a meme, but, when critically analyzed, the firm and loving parenting style is a preferable model over the majority of other parenting styles, at least, if you want your child to obtain higher income.
Remember, this is culture determining economic status. That is to say, it’s not hopeless.
We’re actually starting to see changes, as second generation blacks and Mexicans are entering into colleges more and obtaining more degrees in maths and sciences at the average rate of the general population.
In addition, we can see the IQ of a race increase by small margins, as the generations pass, by the environmental factors that do contribute to a person’s intelligence. If IQ is an excellent indicator of a group’s current or potential economic standing, then, though blacks and latinos still have a margin to go (15 points), there is measurable progress, even in the realm of something like intelligence. This is called the Flynn effect, in case you didn’t know, dear viewer.
It’d be wrong to permanently stigmatize people as racists do. At the same time, though, it’s also wrong to ignore culture when discussing the economic standings of certain groups as liberals do.
Groups of people can change but that change is slow and that change first occurs at the individual level (socially, economically, and politically). We’ve seen this among many minority groups, not just the ones mentioned.
You can change. You can marry and stay married. You don’t have to have your child out of wedlock. You don’t have to commit a violent crime. In a free and open market system where individual liberty is protected, like today, nothing’s stopping you. So, go for it.
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