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  1. #1
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    MAKING IT IN AMERICA: A musing on the myth

    Okay first.... I am NOT saying you can't. You can. I just think a myth centuries in the making has created an issue.

    I sat watching Wyatt Earp and came to a thought. Once there were frontiers in America. Physical frontiers. Your education was not so much a barrier because there were new places to go where all skills were in high demand and you could make something of yourself. To be a self made man though you need those frontiers.

    As the nation has grown the frontiers have changed. Today the frontiers are of the mind. They are in the web, the genome, the atom. These are not frontiers where a country boy can run away from home and make good in. They are frontiers where you need money, education (which costs money) etc.

    So how do we recreate the America of yesterday...where anyone of any standing, any economic or racial back ground, can truly become a self made man in the manner that the myth proposes in a land where you need financial means to gain the knowledge needed to make one's self?
    Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

    Theodore Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by badge118 View Post
    Okay first.... I am NOT saying you can't. You can. I just think a myth centuries in the making has created an issue.

    I sat watching Wyatt Earp and came to a thought. Once there were frontiers in America. Physical frontiers. Your education was not so much a barrier because there were new places to go where all skills were in high demand and you could make something of yourself. To be a self made man though you need those frontiers.

    As the nation has grown the frontiers have changed. Today the frontiers are of the mind. They are in the web, the genome, the atom. These are not frontiers where a country boy can run away from home and make good in. They are frontiers where you need money, education (which costs money) etc.

    So how do we recreate the America of yesterday...where anyone of any standing, any economic or racial back ground, can truly become a self made man in the manner that the myth proposes in a land where you need financial means to gain the knowledge needed to make one's self?
    Gates. Jobs, Woz, ...

  3. #3
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    Re: A musing on the myth making it in America

    Quote Originally Posted by AM999 View Post
    Gates. Jobs, Woz, ...
    They ALL had access to the education. They CHOSE to drop out. There are people who due to their financial situation as a youth and young adult have access to crap. Also Jobs was likely a bonafide genius based on the fatlct his adoptive parents chose to only have him skip 1 grade in elementary school and not 2 as suggested. We are talking about the myth where ANYONE can make it

    Try again sir.
    Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

    Theodore Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by badge118 View Post
    They ALL had access to the education. They CHOSE to drop out. There are people who due to their financial situation as a youth and young adult have access to crap.

    Try again sir.
    No thanks, I've made my point.

  5. #5
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    Re: A musing on the myth making it in America

    Quote Originally Posted by AM999 View Post
    No thanks, I've made my point.
    Hmmm. Funny I think you failed miserably since you clearly know nothing about their lives prior to making what they did and are thus completely outside of the context laid in front of you.

    To continue with that point it is even more firmly made by Gates' life. His father was a influencial lawyer and his mother served on the board of directors for First Interstate BancSystem and the United Way. Yeah that is someone who HAD a lot of hinderances to accessing knowlege.
    Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

    Theodore Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by badge118 View Post
    Okay first.... I am NOT saying you can't. You can. I just think a myth centuries in the making has created an issue.

    I sat watching Wyatt Earp and came to a thought. Once there were frontiers in America. Physical frontiers. Your education was not so much a barrier because there were new places to go where all skills were in high demand and you could make something of yourself. To be a self made man though you need those frontiers.

    As the nation has grown the frontiers have changed. Today the frontiers are of the mind. They are in the web, the genome, the atom. These are not frontiers where a country boy can run away from home and make good in. They are frontiers where you need money, education (which costs money) etc.

    So how do we recreate the America of yesterday...where anyone of any standing, any economic or racial back ground, can truly become a self made man in the manner that the myth proposes in a land where you need financial means to gain the knowledge needed to make one's self?
    See Into the Wild (2007) - IMDb

  7. #7
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    Re: A musing on the myth making it in America

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
    Just confused as to how a redux of a bunch of Keuroac novels ending with the lead dying from eating a poisonous plant has to do with anything.
    Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

    Theodore Roosevelt

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by badge118 View Post
    They ALL had access to the education. They CHOSE to drop out.
    So the creative brilliance and hard work didn't count? What counted was an unused access? That makes no sense.

    Great ideas and a dedication to make the idea a workable and marketable product is what counts. Success is NOT the product of attending a few classes. There has never been a time when there was greater opportunity.

    If you did nothing today to make your mark.... you're not a minute closer to success than you were yesterday, last week, or a year ago.

    This may not be the best of times to make it in America.... but the world has never been smaller ether.
    If I didn't bicycle when the weather is bad... I wouldn't be a cyclist. I'd just be another old fat man... with a bicycle hanging in his garage.

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
    So the creative brilliance and hard work didn't count? What counted was an unused access? That makes no sense.

    Great ideas and a dedication to make the idea a workable and marketable product is what counts. Success is NOT the product of attending a few classes. There has never been a time when there was greater opportunity.

    If you did nothing today to make your mark.... you're not a minute closer to success than you were yesterday, last week, or a year ago.

    This may not be the best of times to make it in America.... but the world has never been smaller ether.
    They didn't have unused access. Gates and Paul Allen, who went to the same prep school, both took advantage of being at an exclusive private school that had parents with lots of money.

    For example, Gates had access to multiple types of computers in middle school and high school at a time when even college students rarely had access to computer time. This is because he went to a prep school that was able to raise enough money from rich parents (upper middle class at worst, really) to both buy a teletype and buy time on a mainframe for their students, which they could connect to from the teletype. When he was at Harvard some years later, he spent pretty much all his time using their computers, and also met Steve Ballmer who has played a big part in Microsoft.

    Gates is smart, but there are undoubtedly many people who are just as smart and work just as hard but will never be as successful because they don't have the same opportunity.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by badge118 View Post
    Just confused as to how a redux of a bunch of Keuroac novels ending with the lead dying from eating a poisonous plant has to do with anything.
    Alaska is still a frontier? Or it's just Bill being Bill, that old rascal.
    Ride more, whine less - HTFU.

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  11. #11
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    I mostly agree, but somewhat disagree.

    I agree that there are more barriers to social mobility. I think there are more barriers to even becoming middle class. The cost and quality of education are certainly one of them.

    Where I disagree a bit is that the mind is the only way to get ahead. Another way is entrepreneurship.

    Steve Jobs didn't just have cool ideas about computers, he figured out how to sell those cool ideas to lots of people. Apples computers, iPods, iTunes, iPhones, gave consumers things they wanted. Ease of use, the ability to buy just the songs they wanted and so on.

    Lots of other entrepreneurs don't so much have a unique idea, rather they take a solid idea and do it well. The BBQ food truck that serves fantastic food. The real estate agent who gives great customer service. The t shirt company that has lots of funny shirts.

    I'm not saying anyone can be an entrepreneur - it takes start up money, education and connections. I'm just pointing out that 'the mind' isn't the only frontier left.
    Ride more, whine less - HTFU.

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  12. #12
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    While this sounds cheesy, space really is the final frontier. It's the one frontier we've barely explored. If you count our communication signals as ways to "explore" the universe, we still haven't scratched the surface. The first public radio broadcast was 13JAN1910, so that means our biggest light sphere is 206 light-years in diameter. Our galaxy alone is 100,000 light-years wide. Our furthest traveling spacecraft, Voyager 1, is a mere 11 billion miles from us, yet one light-year is roughly six trillion miles. That's three orders of magnitude further than any of our own craft have ever journeyed, and the closest star system after the sun (Centauri system) is 25 trillion miles away. We haven't even sent humans to Mars or any other of the planets. Space is a gold mine just aching to be tapped.

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    Quote Originally Posted by badge118 View Post
    Okay first.... I am NOT saying you can't. You can.

    ***

    These are not frontiers where a country boy can run away from home and make good in.
    or are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by SauronHimself View Post
    While this sounds cheesy, space really is the final frontier. It's the one frontier we've barely explored.

    ***
    Space is a gold mine just aching to be tapped.
    The Astronaut Farmer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    If only the government would get out of the way.....

  14. #14
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    A musing on the myth making it in America

    Quote Originally Posted by badge118 View Post
    So how do we recreate the America of yesterday...where anyone of any standing, any economic or racial back ground, can truly become a self made man in the manner that the myth proposes in a land where you need financial means to gain the knowledge needed to make one's self?
    You're operating under the assumption that the America of yesterday was inherently better. Start by dispelling that myth. Santayana was mostly right... it's those who romanticize the past that are truly doomed to repeat it.
    When a cyclist in your area is injured or killed by a motorist, make an extra effort the next day to go for a ride. It doesn't have to be an organized ride, or even a long ride. Hell, ride a 15 minute loop around your neighborhood if you want.

    Just be seen riding your bike.

    Do it to make people aware we're out there. Do it to honor a fellow traveler. Do it because you're lucky enough to still be able to.

  15. #15
    What did you say? Huh?
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    Quote Originally Posted by badge118 View Post
    They ALL had access to the education. They CHOSE to drop out. There are people who due to their financial situation as a youth and young adult have access to crap. Also Jobs was likely a bonafide genius based on the fatlct his adoptive parents chose to only have him skip 1 grade in elementary school and not 2 as suggested. We are talking about the myth where ANYONE can make it

    Try again sir.
    Ummm...you realize what a myth is don't you? Not that I'm saying that the American Dream is not a myth...I'm saying you should reflect on what a myth actually is.

    Start with myths we tell our children like the tooth fairy.
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  16. #16
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    Nothing has changed except the minds of people. Millions are made perpetuating the victim mentality. It has replaced the "think and grow rich" mindset of the past.

    For example, the future will continue to see thousands of young carpenters, plumbers, electricians become job foremen, then superintendents, then move on to job site managers, and eventually go into business and make millions.

    The thing that will continue to distinguish them from the also-rans will be alcohol/drug avoidance and ambition--two interrelated matters.

    It remains as clear as ever that if you think you can't make it today--you can't. That has not changed. What has changed is the failure of parents and educators to teach personal responsibility and the process of defeating failure.

    Success is the process of trying something 10 times and failing 9.
    Quote Originally Posted by badge118 View Post
    Okay first.... I am NOT saying you can't. You can. I just think a myth centuries in the making has created an issue.

    I sat watching Wyatt Earp and came to a thought. Once there were frontiers in America. Physical frontiers. Your education was not so much a barrier because there were new places to go where all skills were in high demand and you could make something of yourself. To be a self made man though you need those frontiers.

    As the nation has grown the frontiers have changed. Today the frontiers are of the mind. They are in the web, the genome, the atom. These are not frontiers where a country boy can run away from home and make good in. They are frontiers where you need money, education (which costs money) etc.

    So how do we recreate the America of yesterday...where anyone of any standing, any economic or racial back ground, can truly become a self made man in the manner that the myth proposes in a land where you need financial means to gain the knowledge needed to make one's self?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwiftSolo View Post
    Nothing has changed except the minds of people. Millions are made perpetuating the victim mentality. It has replaced the "think and grow rich" mindset of the past.

    For example, the future will continue to see thousands of young carpenters, plumbers, electricians become job foremen, then superintendents, then move on to job site managers, and eventually go into business and make millions.

    The thing that will continue to distinguish them from the also-rans will be alcohol/drug avoidance and ambition--two interrelated matters.

    It remains as clear as ever that if you think you can't make it today--you can't. That has not changed. What has changed is the failure of parents and educators to teach personal responsibility and the process of defeating failure.

    Success is the process of trying something 10 times and failing 9.
    Construction is in horrible shape. There are much fewer jobs for electricians, foreman, etc... Saying 'there are plenty if blue collar opportunities, just go into construction' dies not accuratly reflect the economics of the construction industry.

    Most superintendents, etc... are college educated in Construction Management, Civil Engineering or finance. The working blue collar guys don't very often work themselves up into the financial management or business management side of things.

    Construction will come back, eventually. Then it will boom and then bust again. It's a hard cycle.

    And more and more sectors are becoming so boom and bust.
    Ride more, whine less - HTFU.

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    The path I described is the path I personally took. Few successful construction managers gained the require knowledge at a university. Most still come up through the ranks. Real world education always trumps the theoretical where people skills and on-the-job knowledge are key.

    As an employer who has hired hundreds of people over the years, I can tell you that experience is what matters. I can't imagine turning over a multimillion dollar job site to someone because they were college educated.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluenote View Post
    P

    Construction is in horrible shape. There are much fewer jobs for electricians, foreman, etc... Saying 'there are plenty if blue collar opportunities, just go into construction' dies not accuratly reflect the economics of the construction industry.

    Most superintendents, etc... are college educated in Construction Management, Civil Engineering or finance. The working blue collar guys don't very often work themselves up into the financial management or business management side of things.

    Construction will come back, eventually. Then it will boom and then bust again. It's a hard cycle.

    And more and more sectors are becoming so boom and bust.

  19. #19
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    Re: A musing on the myth making it in America

    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    They didn't have unused access. Gates and Paul Allen, who went to the same prep school, both took advantage of being at an exclusive private school that had parents with lots of money.

    For example, Gates had access to multiple types of computers in middle school and high school at a time when even college students rarely had access to computer time. This is because he went to a prep school that was able to raise enough money from rich parents (upper middle class at worst, really) to both buy a teletype and buy time on a mainframe for their students, which they could connect to from the teletype. When he was at Harvard some years later, he spent pretty much all his time using their computers, and also met Steve Ballmer who has played a big part in Microsoft.

    Gates is smart, but there are undoubtedly many people who are just as smart and work just as hard but will never be as successful because they don't have the same opportunity.
    Pretty much. This is the thing people miss. Money is not just about the degree it is about priviledge, knowledge and experiences.

    I think some people are missing the key points though.... anyone and anything. Once if you had the balls you could move across the continent to that boom town and make something of yourself. It wasn't a myth at the time, it simply became a myth because the frontiers changed.

    Sorry saying "well you can make it in these limited fields that don't require a lot of formal education" isn't the point here. The point is about releveling the playing field. Maybe all it takes is actually reforming secondary education and getting College tuitions back to reality? I am not talking about some bizarre socialist experiment here.

    Basically I think we have reached a cross roads where we need to say one of two things. 1- we can just resign ourselves to the fact that as we become a more technologically centered society we will naturally leave people behind...so sorry the American Dream has an admission fee and you can't cover the price. 2- we reform our education system so that people coming out of high school have a prayer even if their school is in 'da hood.'
    Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

    Theodore Roosevelt

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwiftSolo View Post
    The path I described is the path I personally took. Few successful construction managers gained the require knowledge at a university. Most still come up through the ranks. Real world education always trumps the theoretical where people skills and on-the-job knowledge are key.

    As an employer who has hired hundreds of people over the years, I can tell you that experience is what matters. I can't imagine turning over a multimillion dollar job site to someone because they were college educated.
    I'm glad you found sucess. But statistics show that the construction industry is in bad shape. Going into construction is not some easy hidden career path that everyone else just missed.
    Ride more, whine less - HTFU.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluenote View Post
    I'm glad you found sucess. But statistics show that the construction industry is in bad shape. Going into construction is not some easy hidden career path that everyone else just missed.
    Why is it in bad shape ??

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by AM999 View Post
    Why is it in bad shape ??
    Care to please come to your point?
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluenote View Post
    Care to please come to your point?
    I'm interested in your thoughts on why the construction industry is in such bad shape.

    I've made my point(s) many times in the past. Use the search if interested.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by AM999 View Post
    I'm interested in your thoughts on why the construction industry is in such bad shape.

    I've made my point(s) many times in the past. Use the search if interested.
    Right now according to the latest data, May of this year, it is argued that the recovery in housing construction is actually becoming sustainable. This does not mean that it is actually improving to any real degree, only that it looks like in the future that it will.

    The problem is a LARGE portion of this is based upon the currently low long term interest rate. If in 2014 the Fed starts pulling back on it's easing the rates will go up and this potential recovery will either stall or actually back pedal. It is also very regional atm. While the south has seen large gains the midwest and NE have seen a contraction so the picture is mixed. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/19/bu...-may.html?_r=0

    There is also the issue of inevitability. People like comparing macro-economics to micro here so let me bring in science. A system whose value is based almost exclusively on endless growth is bound to implode because you simply can not sustain such a model. The housing bust is a perfect example. Before 2007 the new housing market was BOOMING but it was only booming because sub prime loans artificially inflated the sector and once those loans went kaboom the sector virtually collapsed.

    So if we want that sector to become the job generator that it was before we need one of a few things...1. the interest rates to remain perpetually stifled, 2. the sub prime market to rise again, 3. the government to step in and spend metric butt tons of money on building "affordable" mixed income housing.

    Are any of those 3 options good in the long term? I do not think so. The housing market, with a shrinking younger population is not sustainable as a growth industry at this point. In the baby boom times absolutely but not anymore unless we bring more people into the pipe line via the above methods, without which these "new" people would not be able to afford the home.

    TBH I think that is the Achilles heel of the US economy...the true myth that everyone should own a home. The housing industries endless perpetuation of this myth creates a severe danger of boom and bust cycles that as we can see are VERY dangerous for the economy.
    Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

    Theodore Roosevelt

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by AM999 View Post
    I'm interested in your thoughts on why the construction industry is in such bad shape.

    I've made my point(s) many times in the past. Use the search if interested.
    I don't see benefits on getting into a long discussion, on this thread, on why the construction industry is in bad shape. The relevant point to this thread is that it is in bad shape, and that those factors are larger than something one individual can control.

    Tying back to Badge's OP - there is less social mobility in the US. There are more barriers to mobility. The construction industry can be great for some, but it doesn't offer a path of social mobility for lots of people.

    We need to solve bigger problems, like access to affordable education.
    Ride more, whine less - HTFU.

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