Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
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Consider that 50+% of a person's intelligence is inherited, and the other 50% is encouraged by the wealth and social position of his parents.This makes it entirely unfair that some students do well in school and others don't.The students who do well should accept the guilt of their unfair inheritance and upbringing, and share their future success and income with those people less fortunate.(/sarcasm How easy it is to spin out Socialist philosophy.)
andrew-have you ever read Vonnegut's short story "harrison bergeron"?http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.htmltakes 5 minutes.one of his best works.makes this point as well as it can be made.
But but . . . you EARN your GPA, no one can take that away from you!
Morganovich, there's a video of it made years ago, IIRC. I think you can find it on YouTube.
I wonder if this old joke prompted this video... A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and was very much in favor of the distribution of wealth. She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Republican, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his. One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the addition of more government welfare programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school. Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying. Her father listened and then asked, "How is you friend Audrey doing?" She replied, "Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus, college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties, and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over." Her wise father asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA." The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, "That wouldn't be fair! I have worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!" The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, "Welcome to the Republican Party."
Hello, Dr. Perry,I enjoy reading your blog regularly, but I think you're off the mark on this one. It seems like your view of the world is a bit limited by the free-market economist's lens, and you don't take sufficiently into account people's emotions, perceived social injustices and our ingrained (evolutionary conditioned) desire for fairness.The huge difference between redistributing GPA scores and wealth, which makes the whole argument a red herring is that the GPA, as a function of your efforts, is almost linear. The wealth distribution is vastly different from the GPA distribution. The people with most wealth do not put a hundred or a thousand time more effort than people with proportionally smaller net worth. Often times, it's quite the opposite. There are literally hundreds of millions people around the world that put much more hard work every day then, say, Larry Page ever did in his life. I am not saying Larry is a slacker by any means, I'm just saying that the outcome in the game of capitalism is heavily intertwined with luck as well as with being better than anyone else even by a small margin.People sense it, and no matter what arguments you make, some people would still be discontent that a successful businessman who works, say, 10 hours a day, should enjoy a standard of living 50 times higher than a truck driver who works 9 hours a day. No matter what arguments you make, some people will always despise that.I assure you, if the marks were given similarly to how wealth is distributed (Zipf-like distribution), there would be little objections to this idea. If the top 1-2 students got 4.0 while the majority had ~1.0, students would be outraged.Another important point that you totally miss is that GPA does not reflect the quality of life. GPA scores does not directly dictate what you eat, where you live, if your house is air conditioned, do you walk or do you drive, whether you have a maid or if you mop your own floors. People intuitively know this as well.I am honestly taken aback at how you could miss these points.I am not making an argument against capitalism, I just want to remind you that there's an legitimate emotional reaction and even if we both agree that it's for the better of the mankind, you cannot claim that the existing wealth distribution reflects social justice. That would be a pretty twisted definition of justice. It reflects outcome of your work pretty well, but not your effort. I am not saying the world should be just, it's obviously not, and it's probably for the better, but there are strong evolutionary forces in our brain striving for justice. Making such comparisons is just silly.Artem.
Ah yes Artum - success favors the lucky. The liberal mantra. Keep believing it and you will never have to be responsible for actually accomplishing anything. Just ask our Prez.
Alternatively, we have already shown that the free market works for necessities of life like food. Lets open up the market for GPA points so that they are freely purchasable and tradable on efficient markets. I think we will quickly see the inefficiency of everybody having to earn their own GPA in class makes as much sense as everybody having to build their own car or as giving government a monopoly on primary education.
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Dr. Mark J. Perry is a professor of economics and finance in the School of Management at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan.
Perry holds two graduate degrees in economics (M.A. and Ph.D.) from George Mason University near Washington, D.C. In addition, he holds an MBA degree in finance from the Curtis L. Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. In addition to a faculty appointment at the University of Michigan-Flint, Perry is also a visiting scholar at The American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.
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