Thursday, September 07, 2006

Evil status seeking

This Slate article seems to highlight status seeking at its most ugly -- parents ruthlessly pushing their kids so they get accepted into high prestige universities. Clearly, a spot taken by one student cannot be taken by another, and after a certain point the decision is entirely arbitrary. If this isn't a zero sum game, I don't know what is. And the same spiteful feelings that drive conspicuous consumption certainly drive the desire to get your kid into a big name school

I eagerly await for Brad DeLong to call for an end to all of this by mandating a (more) progressive university slot allocation policy. Some children who are accepted by more prestigious schools should be randomly sent to less prestigious ones instead. Once extra SAT prep, violin lessons, soccer, French, Latin, school plays etc play less of a role in which school a child goes to, parents will push their children less ruthlessly, for the betterment of all.

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