Open Thread, 2/23/2014

k10181I purchased Greg Clark’s most recent book, The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility, and it was delivered to my Kindle on the money (I’d pre-ordered), but I don’t think I’ll be able to read it in the near future, as I’m quite busy. Luckily, Clark has written a nice precis in The New York Times. He notes the likely role of heritable variation in maintaining the status of particular lineages over hundreds of years. From an American perspective this is not a congenial outcome for any ideological camp. On the Right it discomfits those who hold that this is a meritocratic nation as typified by the heroes of Horatio Alger novels. But on the Left it should give pause to those who hold that increased redistributionist policies will quickly ameliorate heritable inequality.

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