How The Rich Are Winning The Class War (via Blogadoccio’s Blog)

I think that the No Child Left Behind law had severely damaged character education, critical thinking and issue awareness among the young. An ability to take multiple choice tests, true false, or completion tests is not a useful employment skill. Yet that has become almost our sole measurement of educational achievement.

But the inaction of the middle class, whatever it’s cause, is critical to the success of the rich in shifting the tax burden.

James Pilant

The rich won the class war by depriving the middle and lower classes of education: history, civics, political education, and training in how to think critically. As a result, their mouthpieces can spout nonsense and the relatively uneducated voters now swallow it clean. The antidote, until we get a real education system back again, is for those of use whose eyes are open to educate those around us who cannot see what is going on. We need to devel … Read More

via Blogadoccio's Blog

Minimum-wage fan gives Derek Jeter a $300,000 gift. Stupid fan, unethical superstar (via Ethics Bob)

I’ve been waiting for somebody, anybody to say something like this for days.

Ethics Bob is a treasure. He didn’t just say it. He said it with power and toughness. Read this paragraph –

What’s wrong with this picture: a young man, struggling to pay off college loans and support himself with a minimal-paying job, gives a gift—estimated to be worth $300,000 on the open market—to a baseball superstar whose salary for 2011 is $14,729,365?

While others may say Lopez’s heart is big, I think it stupid. But is there a pig in the story? How about Jeter, the gazillionaire who accepts a $300,000 gift from a fan who could only afford one of the cheap seats to see his Yankees play?

That’s a clear ethical point of view. No shenanigans, just what it looks like. I’m a fan of Ethics Bob and I recommend you all visit his site.

James Pilant

Minimum-wage fan gives Derek Jeter a $300,000 gift. Stupid fan, unethical superstar The Pig, if I am not mistaken, Supplies us sausage, ham, and Bacon. Let others say his heart is big, I think it stupid of the Pig. This old Ogden Nash poem keeps rattling around my brain when I think about Christian Lopez, a 23-year-old, the Verizon Wireless salesman. Lopez caught New York Yankee Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit, and big-heartedly gave the ball to Jeter. In return Lopez got from the Yankees four luxury suite tickets for the rest of the s … Read More

via Ethics Bob

What Do I Hope to Get Out of an Ethics Class? (#1) (via Suzysushi’s Blog)

I discovered this thoughtful and personal reflection on ethics. This is ethics from a student perspective from one whose life is in turmoil and wants the class to apply to that turmoil. I like what the writer has to say and want to encourage her to say more. So, please give it a read, and if you are in a generous mood make a comment if only to say, “Good Writing.” Beginning bloggers need to feel some contact out there. Help them along.

I am a little behind in getting my blog going. I have a bunch of unpleasant personal stuff going on, including being laid off a few weeks ago. I think, therefore, my first blog entries are going to be based on more of a personal bent than might be expected. I am in a very strange place emotionally at the moment, and I have been riding a roller coaster of feelings since the start of this year. At this moment, I am both cynical and hopeful — an in … Read More

via Suzysushi's Blog

Camp Millionaire

The Serpent and the Wolf

Claire Prentice writing for BBC news tells the story of Camp Millionaire where children learn the elements of financial management and wealth accumulation. I am sure to many this sounds bizarre but I have no problem with this practice. In fact, I teach my class that having money and, in particular, keeping money are arts that have to be learned. Students from upper middle class backgrounds have an enormous advantage over their lower class counterparts in the pursuit of economic success because of their head start in financial knowledge. I have discussed this with people from the upper crust (as much as we get in Northwest Arkansas) and they assume that lower class people are stupid because they don’t know these simple things. These things are not simple and if your parents did them daily, weekly and monthly, it’s easy to pick up this knowledge, much easier to understand these things than a student who comes from a family that has trouble putting three meals a day on the table.

Sometimes, I think we fail our college students in business schools across the country because we fail to teach them the habits of the upper classes. These may well be more important to business success than any actual talent, witness the disastrous behavior of Wall Street firms if you don’t believe in the success of style over substance. We probably ought to combine the serious elements of subjects like accounting with less technical but often more critical skills like upper-class mannerisms and expectations.

I want you to understand clearly that I hold the practice of judging people by whether or not they have the “look” of the right social class to be utterly contemptible. As a matter of ethics and intelligence at its most mundane level we should hire based on competence. This has mutated into something now called emotional intelligence. I kid you not. In this country, there is a philosophy that says getting along is more important than competence, than knowing how to do your job. Imagine American history without difficult people, John Adams, Andrew Jackson, Harry Truman (27% approval rating), and Lyndon Johnson. Every one of them was difficult to get along with as a person, but they had contributions to make just as employees do.

Well, these current philosophies have results and in my judgment we’re due for another set. Business philosophies come and go like the fabled length of skirts and with less reason and intelligence. These fashions would be less important if more thinking were done.

But as I was saying, business fashions, trends and much other nonsense has a lot to do with success or failure, hired or unemployed. It is a nasty world full of stupid and incompetent people. I don’t want to have to teach students that talent, intelligence, courage and hard work are often irrelevant to business success but I cannot deny objective reality.

We should teach students to dress, eat, socialize and converse in the manner of the “successful” people. We should teach them what elements of the truth are acceptable in business practice. We should teach that to do good and act honorably and justly according to the tenets of your religion are often elements of ridicule in the world of business. Now, immediately someone will throw the example of some bible toting business manager who proclaims that all of his business is conducted according to God’s law. Right. His reading of it. What’s more, one of these types is just that: a type, not the kind of businessman we expect.

If you tell someone in business of your respect for honor, justice and truth; you will be immediately considered naive and there will be chuckles as you walk by. This is because sold out despicable lamebrains without morality or soul have to sleep at night. Their belief that they deal with the “real” world gives them a juicy rationalization for their lack of moral judgment and comfort with wrong doing.

Matthew reports that Christ said, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16

I think this is a good saying for the honorable both Christian and non-Christian.

I (of much less status) send forth my students the same way. I want them to uphold high moral values and to try to do the right thing but I also want them to survive and succeed in the business world. The two goals are not incompatible but they are difficult.  

James Pilant