Success: The Right Schools, the Right People, the Right Connections

Saying «imagine if, instead of shouting about Hyper-White Privilege, we could have a couple shekels to rub together like the best-earning demographic in the US does»

As has been pointed out in the comment thread over on ACX, this is not necessarily going to happen. Either genetic engineering or assortative mating or only the really smart people have kids and they have six of them or whatever results in very much smarter general population.

Great. So now they all go into the high-earning jobs.

Trouble is, this now becomes like college degrees. When one person in a hundred had a degree, this enabled that person to get the good job. When all hundred people have a degree, this now reduces the BA/B Sc to the same level as high school diploma, and now you have to have the Masters/Doctorate to get the good jobs.

When you have a million doctors/lawyers/software engineers, you have good jobs and social status.

When you have thirty million, now you can pick and choose. Didn't it happen with the over-production of lawyers? Now you don't have to pay Joe American the kind of wages to live in the Bay Area so he can work in Silicon Valley, or hire in Arjun Indian on a HB-1 visa to cut the wages you pay Joe American. Now you have thirty or fifty or one hundred million Joe Americans to fill those jobs, and wages will drop accordingly.

Even one hundred million Jeff Bezos (a sobering thought) will not all be as rich as original Jeff Bezos, because now with one hundred million versions of Amazon, competition results in driving down the price of goods and services for the public (at least theoretically, anyway).

I'm not saying people's lives won't be improved, of course they will. Probably the low-earning manual labour jobs/lower rungs of white collar, pink collar, and lower level management and professional jobs will be gone to automation, robots, AI, whatever. So that takes care of the "you'll always need someone to cut the grass and pump gas and flip burgers" type jobs.

But now you'll have the same kinds of arms race in IQ enhancement. For your parents, having 120-140 IQ was good enough for the comfortable life. Your generation needs 140-160 to make the same gains. And your kids?

Maybe when we have seven billion 160+ IQ people, we'll get Post-Scarcity Luxury Gay Space Communism. But until that day, it will still be a lot of the same things that enable success today, outside of being so hugely smart/talented you have to get the gig: networking, connections, family and friends, and the likes. Did you go to the right schools, meet the right people, make the right connections?

This sad story makes the same points; it's not enough to be smart and to do good work, you have to be plugged in to the networks:

I told the jury how Klinger had attended some of the most prestigious institutions in Europe, how he had published widely in several languages, and how he was generally considered the expert in his field, even though he could not find permanent, full-time employment anywhere. A long-time motto repeated ad nauseam in academia is “Publish or perish.” In essence, I was there to explain how this historian perished in our profession even though he had published, and how his professional disappointment set him up for associating with someone who would kill him for real.

...I explained how historians can’t get academic jobs through individual merits in the U.S. or Europe. You need networks. I talked about “markets,” the expectations of what CVs (the academic term for resumes) should look like, and how getting noticed by universities is dependent not just on productivity but also on references from people of great esteem.

...Though he had published much and the solidity of his research was undeniable, Klinger had not proven himself as a man who worked within structures. He had never taught in an American classroom. He had no portfolio of teaching evaluations. He had not participated in a research facility where interdisciplinary collaboration was emphasized. He had almost no links within the wider profession, meaning there were few who could vouch for him to those outside his relatively obscure specialty. This also meant he could not help future students procure positions.

Klinger did history like a starving artist might: he worked alone, he published in the easiest and quickest (rather than the most prestigious) journals, and he struggled to broaden his profile. His lack of networks was partly a result of the fact that no one in Italy or Croatia would give him a permanent position. But it was also partly because he was so passionate about the researching and writing that he didn’t prioritize the other stuff.

I had explained to Klinger “at the archives” and in emails what I had said in court: procuring permanent employment in the United States is a slow, networked, highly professionalized process that proves unsuccessful for most. I had told him explicitly that there is no way to just publish, come, and get a job.