Do you think you have personally earned everything you have through hard work alone?

Whenever you bring up the idea of "privilege," people tend to get really bent out of shape. They imagine some bratty kid being handed everything on a silver spoon, not some of the opportunities and chances they have just by virtue of say for example, being born into an upper middle class family as opposed to a poor one, or someone questioning you running for president not based on your merit which they should do, but because of your race or gender.

I know in my life I have worked extremely hard to get where I am, but I also know I am lucky to have had two parents still married highly educated who put me in every program, encouraged my school work, supported me and my dreams, etc. and for me it's not about apologizing for that, but recognizing that there are a lot of people who were like the example, born into situations that started them off on the wrong foot or severely hindered their potential. I believe everyone can do or accomplish the same if not better than myself, but for others it may be through herculean efforts that I cannot fathom, like having to get to school every day through gang neighborhoods or growing up in an abusive home.

What do you think?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • No, I'm a white American male. In the words of billionaire Warren Buffett, I won the Ovarian Lottery.

    "
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    Warren Buffett recently met with a group of MBA students.

    A student asked him what shaped his political views (Buffett is a Democrat). The famous investor offered a great thought experiment, which helped him think through the kind of world he wants to live in. In it he characterizes something he calls the "Ovarian Lottery":

    My political views were formed by this process. Just imagine that it is 24 hours before you are born. A genie comes and says to you in the womb, "You look like an extraordinarily responsible, intelligent, potential human being. [You're] going to emerge in 24 hours and it is an enormous responsibility I am going to assign to you - determination of the political, economic and social system into which you are going to emerge. You set the rules, any political system, democracy, parliamentary, anything you wish - you can set the economic structure, communistic, capitalistic, set anything in motion and I guarantee you that when you emerge this world will exist for you, your children and grandchildren.

    What's the catch? One catch - just before you emerge you have to go through a huge bucket with 7 billion slips, one for each human. Dip your hand in and that is what you get - you could be born intelligent or not intelligent, born healthy or disabled, born black or white, born in the US or in Bangladesh, etc. You have no idea which slip you will get. Not knowing which slip you are going to get, how would you design the world? Do you want men to push around females? It's a 50/50 chance you get female. If you think about the political world, you want a system that gets what people want. You want more and more output because you'll have more wealth to share around.

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    • 3mo

      The US is a great system, turns out $50,000 GDP per capita, 6 times the amount when I was born in just one lifetime. But not knowing what slip you get, you want a system that once it produces output, you don't want anyone to be left behind. You want to incentivize the top performers, don't want equality in results, but do want something that those who get the bad tickets still have a decent life. You also don't want fear in people's minds - fear of lack of money in old age, fear of cost of health care. I call this the "Ovarian Lottery."

      My sisters didn't get the same ticket. Expectations for them were that they would marry well, or if they work, would work as a nurse, teacher, etc. If you are designing the world knowing 50/50 male or female, you don't want this type of world for women - you could get female. Design your world this way; this should be your philosophy. I look at Forbes 400, look at their figures and see how it's gone up in the last 30 years. Americans at the bottom are

    • 3mo

      Americans at the bottom are also improving, and that is great, but we don't want that degree of inequality. Only governments can correct that. Right way to look at it is the standpoint of how you would view the world if you didn't know who you would be. If you're not willing to gamble with your slip out of 100 random slips, you are lucky! The top 1% of 7 billion people. Everyone is wired differently. You can't say you do everything yourself. We all have teachers, and people before us who led us to where we are. We can't let people fall too far behind. You all definitely got good slips.

      "

    • 2mo

      Thank you for the Vote of Confidence. xx

Most Helpful Girl

  • I have Not Gotten to Be Master here, dear, without Very Hard work. It took me a little over Two years but I never Deactivated or Deviated from my Plan.
    All of my Life, no Matter what it is that I had Wanted to Accomplish, I know one Thing... I was Not born with a Silver Spoon in my Mouth, and what I have had to Earn, it is because I Worked hard enough to Accomplish it and have Always tried Extra hard to Make sure it Never went South. And if it did, I Picked myself up and Began Again, my Friend.
    Good luck and Great question. xx

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What Guys Said 17

  • Sorta. I studied my ass off throughout school to get where I am along with identifying things people liked. I also didn't come from a wealthy home (divorced parents, and both of them not doing so well -- had to aid them financially multiple times in my life). I also had a knack for identifying markets that were lacking in things I could introduce and really make some changes to how people did things.

    But there was always a significant luck factor involved. I've never even written a resume, my work spoke for itself and the fans helped me to get me job offers without really having to apply. So it was mostly the fans of my work who kind of made everything possible for me.

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  • No.. I grew up in a middle class family. I had a lot of opportunities that plenty of people don't have.

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  • Absolutely not. It's mostly luck. I was fortunate to be very talented in mathematics, which makes me a good software developer. And I am very fortunate that the demand for software developers is so strong, and wages are quite high.

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  • i don't really have much of anything so yeah sure. people get jobs instead of me because they have tits or nepotism and i gotta go through the normal route of applying to 80 bajillion jobs i'm overqualified for. some peoples parents give them a car when they're younger, mine actually fucked up my chances to even finish drivers ed so now i gotta take a bus everywhere i go. some peoples parents pay for their college, my parents bailed on helping me with college and left me with the tab. no one handed me my degree. i would say the amount of help i got cultivating my talents was probably inadequate to say the least, so yeah. And yeah i did grow up in a messed up family and i was jumped into a gang just to survive. and there's a whole lot more personal shit that is like a billion times worse than that that i'm really not comfortable sharing. everything that i have accomplished, with the limited resources that i have had, and the obstacles that i've had is actually impressive all things considered. but its not really enough to scrape by when you've pretty much only had yourself to rely on for as long as you can remember. especially when people look at me they think, oh, another white single affluent male who can't acknowledge his white privilege. he doesn't need help. i'm not eligible for welfare, or affirmative action. there are no charitable organizations or civil rights groups that exist to protect people like me. I'm on my own, do or die. Sometimes, literally, do or die. and i'm sure once i achieve something worth having, people will assume i was just handed it. thats just the way life, and society is. You can blame em, but you can't change em. And either one ain't gonna help you a whole lot.

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  • In my own personal belief, I don't feel I have accomplished anything on my own or through my own hard work. Yes, those things have helped me, but I don't believe anyone, anywhere, is able to accomplish the things they have completely on their own. We aren't islands. I mean if you're religious then whatever we do is with the help of God; right?

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  • I paid my own studies, when I left home I had only the clothes I was wearing.
    I own a tad more now.
    The only thing I got from home are a talent for languages and math and a lot of knowledge about ancient art. The knowledge about ancient art did enjoy my life but didn't gain me any money. But since my wife is interested in art too it helped me to gain her <3
    White privilege in a country where until 20 or 30 years ago everyone was white? Not really a privilege.

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  • Not really, I was sort of privileged, since I grew up in a nice, middle class neighborhood. But I also grew up not having any friends until adulthood and being bullied a shitload of times.

    I'm also privileged as an East Asian American male, even though I got bullied a lot for it, since there's a lot of political backlash against African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, South Asians, and even sometimes whites.

    So yes, I've been through hard times, but I also acknowledge my privilege and am humble about it and respect it.

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  • For me, my parents had no connections to get me a job, and they couldn't afford to pay for me to go to school, so I owe tens of thousands in student loans.

    I went without stuff growing up, and we only went to the zoo, Knotts Berry Farm, and Disney Land once each when I was growing up. Nowhere else. Those were my 3 times I got to go somewhere.
    My parents did the best they could, and they were together my whole childhood. Though not a lot of time was spent together when I was younger as a family.
    I don't really care too much of what I didn't have growing up, or the places I couldn't go, I just wish we all did stuff together as a family more.
    When I have kids, I'll make sure I spend time doing stuff with them every week.

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  • Pretty much yeah I've been working since I was like 10-12 and I don't really like to be treated like a charity case, most of what I have I've earned, bought myself.

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  • I think it's terrible that society's standards have fallen so low that having supportive parents can count as "privilege".

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    • 3mo

      Well let's see, a privilege is a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people. If you are born to a two parent household and you have supportive and loving parents and someone else by virtue of their birth is born into a world where they are abandoned at birth and left into the foster care system, you do in fact have the advantage starting off that you have people in your corner who support your every move, your education, and do everything in their power to make sure you're successful vs. parents who for example, loved drugs more than they did getting sober and taking care of their kids. At that moment of birth, who held the advantage. Do you believe its that soon to be foster kid? If you think about privilege as it's synonymn, advantage, there are so many people through no virtue of their own doing or hard work, have advantages bestowed on them over others.

  • No matter what, do what you choose in the path and enjoy the journey, it is no different.

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  • i'd say, take all the privileges that you can get and let the haters hate.

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  • I've done hard work but haven't earned anything.

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  • I know I have, I grew up in lower middle class , my parents divorced and I never went to college but did alright later on but now I'm starting over again but never had any real help

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  • No, I'm a con artist and a master of bullshittery... Anyone who says no one helped them is completely full of shit...

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  • we are aided by the grace of God but very few know/recognize it... .

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  • I had poor parents so I had to work hard to get everything I have

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What Girls Said 4

  • I've earned a lot, the vast majority of my accomplishments have been off my own back.

    I was born into a poor family, two drug dependant parents raised me while never working. I left school at fifteen with no qualifications and moved out of the house about a year later. I worked many shitty jobs and some good ones too. I went back to college but couldn't have done that without the support of my SO or the Government grants that helped me afford to travel and live during that time. I received those grants because I am lucky enough to live in a country that had such things in place. Everything I own is mine and my partners, we have nothing on credit.

    What I have achieved was possible because of the country I was born in, because we all pay our share into society so people at the bottom can have the opportunities they need to progress. I'm privileged to have been born into a western country. That's probably as far as I will go but I am very thankful for that privilege.

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  • I am privileged to be a skinny white girl who is just pretty enough to pretty much whore myself out for money. In that sense yeah. Definitely.

    And you know what, I work about a tenth of what most people work and make like ten times more. So sue me, I'm privileged.

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  • I've been working all summer to buy a car and I also bought and pay for my own phone so I would say that I work pretty hard for what I have 😊

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  • Well put it like this, nothing has ever been handed to me on a silver salver.

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