Dr. Martin Hash Podcast

Politics & Philosophy by Dr. Martin D. Hash, Esq.

17 Lucktocracy


One of the great American myths, perhaps the biggest of them all is, if you work hard, you can get rich. There's no sugar-coating that, it's as greed-based as it gets, and there's nothing wrong with letting natural human motives be the basis of a vibrant society, in fact, it's easier & more predictable that way, probably more efficient too. What's not right is that people want to attach a kind of reverse logic to the narrative: if you're rich, you must have worked hard. That's not only demonstrably not true in many cases but it also puts the emphasis on the wrong factor because financial success is one part capability, two parts effort & eight parts luck. There are lots-n-lots of people out there with skill & perseverance but only a tiny few get the brass ring because America is a lucktocracy more than anything else.

Nobody is really too concerned about America being a lucktocracy, as long as the game ain't rigged. They want the same chance playing Lotto with their dollar as anyone else's dollar. Skill & perseverance adds to the number of tickets you can buy but people are okay with that too: no one really begrudges a couple in Philly who won a hundred million on a Daily Double, and athletes, entertainers, businessmen, prospectors, gamblers of all sorts are welcome to the American roulette wheel. We're still envious & resentful, and probably never want to see the lucky uncle ever again, but that's overcome with naive optimism, and a smug satisfaction that at least somebody won.

The only problem is that people presume that someone else's lack of luck is condemnation of their work ethic, skill set, or lack of moral principles. Also luck includes being born smart, or athletic, or into a good family, or simply not getting caught when you do something stupid. No matter how good you are at something, there's a thousand other people just as good but they weren't lucky enough to get on the news, or have a catchy name, or be the flavor-of-the-week. Anyone could be replaced by someone else, it's only a matter of getting the situation right. People who are lucky need to recognize that, and people who are unlucky need to continue to hope for a change in their luck.

Categories | PRay TeLL, Dr. Hash


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