Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Triple Package

Mormons, Chinese and Nigerians all have been disproportionately successful in America due to the "triple package". This package includes, the paradoxical mixture of a superiority complex and a chip on the shoulder together with delayed gratification. The package is something that is held by and indicates success in a group. Individuals members of the group may or may not achieve success. However, as a whole, the group will have greater economic success than the population at large.

The success of the groups also seems to run contrary to common American culture. The groups tend to drive their children hard. They also tend to treat people in different ways (both within and without of the group.) These differences with American culture, help the groups to succeed, while also isolated them somewhat from the country at large.

The United States itself once had the "triple package". However, after the end of the cold war, the inferiority and the delayed gratification have faded away and the country as a whole has lacked the drive. (Luckily, there are plenty of immigrants and other subgroups willing to take the work upon themselves.) Some subgroups have also seen the package fade away. Jews have dominated many industries and academia as "outsiders" through their hard work. Today, however, they have been more closely incorporated in mainstream American culture. The degree of "new achievement" has been reduced. (However, the inherited legacy of past achievers is still present.) Some groups have had the "triple package" sucked out of them through discrimination or other areas. Slavery helped remove the group identity of the slaves and also encourage a culture of instant gratification.

While the book focuses on groups, it seems to simply identify some common characteristics for success. When people have grown up in an environment that encourages hard work and delayed gratification, they will have a greater opportunity to succeed. A family group could have the "triple package" within themselves. It would be difficult to tease out these individuals from the group at large. Is this something that people should strive for? The book is cautious with this regard. There are some downsides to the package. It does lead to a degree of isolation from mainstream culture. (However, in some sense, this is just the same as the kid that studies is "isolated" from the slackers at school - until he graduates.) The triple package also encourages success in the bounds of "known success". People can work hard to follow the direct path to the top. Society needs these people. However, it also needs the risk takers and innovators that are willing to try something different (and fail doing it.) The triple package does not encourage this. However, it can provide some basic principles and work ethic that can be beneficial for people willing to go out and do it on their own.

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