Math: The rich are more lucky than smart

From the PBS NewsHour:

“The largely dominant meritocratic paradigm of highly competitive Western cultures,” write the authors, “is rooted on the belief that success is due mainly, if not exclusively, to personal qualities such as talent, intelligence, skills, smartness, efforts, willfulness, hard work or risk taking.”

Who would disagree? And meritocracy — rule by the merited — sounds so fair, so just.

“Sometimes,” the authors concede, “we are willing to admit that a certain degree of luck could also play a role in achieving significant material success.” But — and here’s their bottom line — “as a matter of fact, it is rather common to underestimate the importance of external forces in individual successful stories.”

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