Saturday, March 18, 2017

Striver or Just Really Poor?

Economist Tyler Cowen has a new book, The Complacent Class. I haven't read it. What I understand from blog posts is that it's about Americans' loss of motivation for improvement.

To help spread exposure to the book, there's a quiz to determine how complacent you are. At the end, you get sorted into one of four categories: trailblazer, striver, comfortable, or complacent. I took the quiz, and it said I was a striver.

Here's the thing, though: many of the answers that make me seem like a striver are really just results of my failures. For instance, the reason I have lived in over five states is because I'm constantly earning subsistence wages. The reason I have visited five foreign countries is because I couldn't support my family in America and we had to go work in China. My "striver" badge is really just a poverty badge.

Maybe that's the real reason for the rise of a complacent class. As Pat Buchanan once said [paraphrasing from memory], "There's something fundamentally wrong with this country that wasn't wrong when we were a much poorer country."

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