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This article is going viral: Americans Are Skeptical That Hard Work Will Pay Off
Moving up the economic ladder relies on more than self-motivation; it also requires opportunity.
They also forgot to list an important factor: IQ
From Paul Graham Economic Inequality and the Refragmentation
The trend, I predict, is that wealth inequality will become almost the same as IQ inequality. IQ is more much important today than a generation ago in influencing individual economic outcomes. 100 years ago in an economy dominated by manual labor, the difference between a 90 IQ and 120 IQ wasn’t that important, but now it is.
Upward Mobility Linked to Genes
When Belsky and colleagues analyzed measures of genetic variation and educational attainment, they found a link: A high polygenic score—an aggregate measure of variation across a person’s genome—predicted not only educational attainment, but other forms of success as well.
But even ‘work ethic’ may be a function of innate traits. Biology plays a bigger role than many social scientists may want to admit. Biology, especially as it pertains to IQ, is still the ‘third rail’ of the social sciences. There is too much money and also emotion invested in promoting ‘blank slate’ theology. To quote Edward Teller, politics decides what is right; science decides what is true.
The solution will probably mean more social safety net spending, but making average Americans feel like they are contributing will be even more difficult. Post-scarcity does not answer the problem of existential fulfillment, changing social values, etc.
Some say opportunity is more important than IQ, but high-IQ people, first, are better-able to find opportunities than the less intelligent, and second, gravitate to high-paying opportunities. The most lucrative industries over the past quarter century have all been in technology-things such as operating systems, personal computers, social networks, software, apps, etc. Six of the top eight richest people in the world are in technology. As I explain here, due to real estate, insurance, rent, and other overhead and start-up costs being too high relative to inflation, software and app companies–which require less physical space, less initial capital, and fewer employees–have thrived in this difficult economic environment.
Other anti-IQ arguments are debunked here http://greyenlightenment.com/iq-still-predicts-a-lot/