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The "Triple Package" Explains Why Some Cultural Groups Are More Successful 397

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-am-so-great dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Yale Law School professors Amy Chua, the self-proclaimed 'Tiger Mom,' and her husband Jed Rubenfeld write in the NYT that it may be taboo to say it, but certain ethnic, religious and national-origin groups are doing strikingly better than Americans overall and Chua and Rubenfeld claim to have identified the three factors that account some group's upward mobility. 'It turns out that for all their diversity, the strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success,' write Chua and Rubenfeld. 'The first is a superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite — insecurity, a feeling that you or what you've done is not good enough. The third is impulse control.' Ironically, each element of the Triple Package violates a core tenet of contemporary American thinking. For example, that insecurity should be a lever of success is anathema in American culture. Feelings of inadequacy are cause for concern or even therapy and parents deliberately instilling insecurity in their children is almost unthinkable. Yet insecurity runs deep in every one of America's rising groups; and consciously or unconsciously, they tend to instill it in their children. Being an outsider in a society — and America's most successful groups are all outsiders in one way or another — is a source of insecurity in itself. Immigrants worry about whether they can survive in a strange land, often communicating a sense of life's precariousness to their children. Hence the common credo: They can take away your home or business, but never your education, so study harder. 'The United States itself was born a Triple Package nation, with an outsized belief in its own exceptionality, a goading desire to prove itself to aristocratic Europe and a Puritan inheritance of impulse control,' conclude Chua and Rubenfeld adding that prosperity and power had their predictable effect, eroding the insecurity and self-restraint that led to them. 'Thus the trials of recent years — the unwon wars, the financial collapse, the rise of China — have, perversely, had a beneficial effect: the return of insecurity...America has always been at its best when it has had to overcome adversity and prove its mettle on the world stage. For better and worse, it has that opportunity again today.'"
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The "Triple Package" Explains Why Some Cultural Groups Are More Successful

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  • by TemperedAlchemist (2045966) on Monday January 27, 2014 @10:10AM (#46079993)

    The middle one is an easy trip to mental illness.

    This all seems like a bunch pseudoscience BS, it's not worth any serious consideration.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Monday January 27, 2014 @10:15AM (#46080023) Journal
    It is sample bias, and that is all it is. People with education (and/or welath), a drive to better themselves, willing to chuck everything in one land to seek fortune halfway across the world. That is the sample you are looking at in America. Not a truly representative sample of India, or Nigeria or Chinese.

    I am a very successful (by most metrics. education, job security, networth, income, family, status/respect among the peers) Indian American. Any statistics about Indian Americans suffers from terrible sample bias. Almost all the Indian immigrants to USA fall into exactly two categories. 1. Highly educated (post grad + in India from top Indian universities, IITs, IIMs, IISc, AIIMSs, NITs, RECs, etc). 2. Emigres from Gujrat business communities. Both groups would be very successful wherever they go, not because of any of this triple package.

    The Gujarati business community is world wide and they thrive in every corner of the world. A huge percentage of grocery stores, motels, retail stores and pawn shops in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific islands are owned by them, and they are making big inroads into USA, UK, Canada, New Zeland, Australia etc as their immigration polices are getting relaxed .

    The educated Indians were bottled up in India, when it was pursuing socialistic policies. A small trickle of engineers and doctors from India in 1960s became a veritable torrent during 1990s. Stated with F1 student visa, and then H1B work visas. They are all college educated.

    The achievements of Indian children in academics in the USA is not very much out place compared to the Whites, Jews, the African Americans or Chinese, if you draw a sample with same level of education/wealth from these communities.

    This triple package theory does not explain why, despite being endowed with the triple package in the dyed in wool pristine form, India and Nigeria are so corrupt and so mired in poverty.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Monday January 27, 2014 @10:16AM (#46080035)

    All these, except impulse control, are strong indicators of an imbalanced and immature personality. These people are a problem. Their "success" is essentially of negative worth to society, and, I suspect, to themselves.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SirGarlon (845873) on Monday January 27, 2014 @10:22AM (#46080085)
    Because it was a slow news day, and the editors thought it was time for a good elitist/racist flame war?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2014 @10:36AM (#46080205)

    They are in so many ways so similar to the Chinese - and yet, they are far superior to the Chinese (yes, insecurity complex at play here) in that the Jews have a purpose in their own private lives and also for their community lives - on the other hand, most Chinese do not.

    This comes from their survival instinct. No one fears the Chinese are going to be wiped off the map.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2014 @10:40AM (#46080227)

    If I had a nickle for every dip shit who asked " why is this /. news?", I'd be rich.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday January 27, 2014 @10:45AM (#46080277) Journal

    I didn't even need to threaten my kids ... I helped them doing what they want, until they suffered so much they stopped.

    One time I saw my underage son smoking. Instead of berating him how bad smoking is, I went out to buy some big cigars, came back, cut one cigar for him, shoved that thing into his mouth, light that cigar, and then, I told him in a very very soft voice ... "smoke it"

    Yep. I sat there watching him cough, choke, cried, and threw up. By the time he finished that cigar (my wife was jumping mad at that time too, but I didn't barge even a micrometer), that son of mine looked at me, first time in his live, with a new revelation - his dad is a monster, a very very bad monster.

  • by XcepticZP (1331217) on Monday January 27, 2014 @10:50AM (#46080327)
    How about you add a disclaimer to the top of your post? "Warning: Post contains my anecdotally-proven religious and racial stereotypes."
  • Impulse control (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Monday January 27, 2014 @10:51AM (#46080337) Homepage

    I love that they made impulse control one of the three important characteristics. I think it's an important factor to be sure and one that really sets different people apart from each other.

    Teenagers are famous for their lack of impulse control. Either it is my age showing or there really does seem to be an decrease of impulse control among American teens. It might be convenient to blame race for some of this... no, it really is easy when you look at the whole world instead of just what goes on in the U.S. But we're all human and we have a component of what we learn and are taught. Impulse control is 'behavior' and it comes largely from parenting.

    The article highlights asian success who are also pretty famous for their parenting. Most people in the US find the style a bit restrictive to say the least and even distasteful. But the result speak for themselves do they not? And over the last few decades or more, there has been a constant stream of complaints by older people who keep talking about kids today and "family values" and parenting and all that. Mostly, this all falls on deaf ears of people who think they know better or that the old ways are no longer valid in "today's world."

    And when you look at trending among different ethnicities in the US, where you see an increase in fatherless families or otherwise single parents you see more and more of these problems we call "impulse control" issues. (Back in the day, we said "criminal tendencies") But it's a bit sad and also gratifying that this story is not about what makes the white man in America successful. After all, the white man in America is the target of blame for other ethnicities' shortcomings. But I am glad this study points out that other non-white people can do better than white people and white people don't seem to be resentful or trying to take them down, let alone "keeping them down." (In fact, I would go so far as to say the white man is generally in awe of and are looking up to the successful asians.) So isn't it about time we stop listening to the complaints which even today continue to sound about the white man in America?

    At he end of the day, each of us only have ourselves to blame for what we can and cannot do. (Within some reason of course.) But impulse control is huge. It's what affects the decisions and courses we take in life. I once or twice explained to my sons that life is a series of forks and paths. Some are mutually exclusive. When you make one choice, many other choices disappear. For example, getting a facial tattoo would close a LOT of doors in a person's future. (And those damned gauged earrings? Who, outside of a cannibalistic clan, would think that is acceptable in society?)

    I have a sense of responsibility. I have this dark inner feeling that the things my family and especially my children do are a reflection on me. So I do what I can to ensure they reflect as well as possible. I hope my sons feel the same way as they go through life. It's a driving factor in family values. We need a lot more of this. No more single parents. No more running away from responsibility. Life isn't about whether or not you're happy any more. That's on you, but it's not on you to make another person's life worse because you're unhappy. That's a violation.

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Monday January 27, 2014 @10:52AM (#46080349)

    I seriously question the cultural superiority of the Jews or any other particular group. However, one thing I've always admired about the Jews is that as a people they are the ultimate survivors. They are, and always have been, a small group. They've endured the Egyptian exodus, the Babylonian conquest and diaspora, the Roman diaspora, numerous pogroms, attempts to destroy them and blaming them for everything including the Great Plague, their expulsion after the Reconquista, the Inquisitions (both Roman and Spanish) and of course most importantly, the Nazi Holocaust.They're still here. To anyone who wants to destroy the Jews, I say give up. You have better odds of creating a perpetual motion machine.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday January 27, 2014 @11:02AM (#46080431) Journal

    American blacks have NEVER felt like part of mainstream society

    When was the last time the Chinese were part of the "American mainstream society" ?

    When was the last time the Jews feel like they are the "mainstream" anywhere but in Israel ?

    Nope. None from the Chinese nor from the Jews.

    However, both groups are thriving while the latino-americans and the african-americans are struggling, and you know why ?

    The Jews never blame anybody else for their own failure, nor the Chinese.

    When we (and I can speak only for the Chinese here) fail, we look into ourselves trying to find where we have failed - and in doing so, we mend up our weakness, and turn that failure into a lesson.

    I can't speak for the Jews, but from what I observe (again, anecdotal) is that the Jews also dig deep within themselves whenever failure hits them.

  • Re:Jim Goad... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SirGarlon (845873) on Monday January 27, 2014 @11:10AM (#46080493)
    Hard to say. In his first sentence, Jim Goad used a four-letter word for female genitalia to describe Amy Chu. That may be his opinion, but it's not important outside his head. Starting the article that way did not create the impression that an insightful and well-reasoned analysis will follow. I quit reading.
  • Gets popcorn.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LoRdTAW (99712) on Monday January 27, 2014 @11:15AM (#46080557)

    This is some serious racial/ethnic flame war fuel right here.

    I would hazard a guess that many of the immigrants who come here are already motivated to do better, why else would they leave their home to come here? They aren't going to let their kids sit in front of a video game for hours when they busted their ass to relocate to another country and build a better future. They also want to make sure their kids are pushed into prestigious, high income jobs like business management, lawyers and doctors. You can't blame them for trying to ensure their kids are successful.

    "Native" kids and their parents don't know the hardships such as poverty, disease or oppressive governments their immigrant parents experienced in their homeland. They take their comfortable life for granted and don't have the same motivation to succeed because they already feel successful. As long as they get to play video games, go out on a weekend to party and have enough money to pay rent and bills, they are satisfied. This usually happens around the second or third generation born here.

    And as a side note:
    You want to know the secret to success? Risk. Immigrants took a big risk to come here. Their kids will also take risks like starting a business or changing jobs at the drop of a hat for more pay. Of all the people I know, the ones who are successful are the ones who took risks career wise and went into business or made major job/career changes.

  • by taikedz (2782065) on Monday January 27, 2014 @11:23AM (#46080641) Homepage Journal

    The wording of the first two traits is strong, and easily misinterpreted, like mistaking humility with being a pushover. "Superiority complex" might be better rendered as "the knowledge one can do better than this"; "insecurity" is crippling compared to "the sense that the present condition is unttnable")

    I'll add one last one to the trio though: "fails often" or rather, being able to recognize that failure is a milestone in an endeavour, not a gravestone; failure is a better teacher than success []. This concept is alive and well amongst entrepreneurs of all cultures, and is essential to not erode the forward drive offered by the "superiority complex."

    The ability to digest one's own failure is also an essential trait to continue to foster curiosity and experimentation - an ability easily lost in our obsession of being right first time, embodied by our acceptance of "do or do not, there is no try."

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday January 27, 2014 @11:33AM (#46080731)

    Despite generations of discrimination, most Jews and Chinese are faring significantly better than white Americans.

    Uhm ... most Jews (in America) are white Americans.

  • by anagama (611277) <> on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:16PM (#46081177) Homepage

    Here is an interesting example supporting your point FTA:

    Merely stating the fact that certain groups do better than others -- as measured by income, test scores and so on -- is enough to provoke a firestorm in America today, and even charges of racism. The irony is that the facts actually debunk racial stereotypes.

    There are some black and Hispanic groups in America that far outperform some white and Asian groups. Immigrants from many West Indian and African countries, such as Jamaica, Ghana, and Haiti, are climbing America's higher education ladder, but perhaps the most prominent are Nigerians. Nigerians make up less than 1 percent of the black population in the United States, yet in 2013 nearly one-quarter of the black students at Harvard Business School were of Nigerian ancestry; over a fourth of Nigerian-Americans have a graduate or professional degree, as compared with only about 11 percent of whites.

    By the same token, racism is adaptable. Adherents will just shift their focus from genetic factors, to cultural ones, and in fact, that is in a sense what the article suggests with the exceptionalism point.

    Honestly, the more I think about this the more disturbing it is, particularly the inferiority thing. I've ended up doing fairly well by objective measures -- I'm from one of those successful cultural groups -- but I'm still very insecure and often deeply unhappy. At the end of it, we're dead, and I'm a good 2/3 of the way there, still wondering how I can waste so much of my life being unhappy.

    I end up thinking about the immigrant wisdom of, "they can take everything from you, but they can't take your education" -- well, death takes that too and if you lead a life of suffering (for no good reason, just cultural BS) -- what the fuck good did it do you?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:21PM (#46081225)

    You know this is ridiculous, right? You're trying to paint entire ethnic groups of millions and millions of people with one, broad stroke. It is bound to fail from the beginning.

    I've seen lazy/hardworking, happy/sad, blah/anti-blah Jews, Chinese, Palestinians, Caucasians, Indians, ... everything. There is no overarching theme that applies equally to all.

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:34PM (#46081377)

    I seriously question your ability to recognize objective reality over political correctness.

    That's ok, I seriously question your ability to consider possibilities beyond whatever confirms your biases. Analogously, I question your ability to see anything in writing beyond what confirms your biases and kneejerk reactions, as I did not outright reject the idea. I simply expressed skepticism (a useful thing when taking a scientific view). Moreover, the main reason for my skepticism is the difficulty of studying such questions objectively, particularly when many of the "researchers" are so absorbed in their own preconceived notions (people such as yourself).

    Despite generations of discrimination, most Jews and Chinese ...

    My family is Jewish. The level of discrimination experienced by Jews is far less than what many other groups experienced. Yes, I know about "gentleman's agreements" and the "Jewish quota", but as bad as they were, they were minor compared to what many other groups experienced. At one point anti-Catholic sentiment was stronger than anti-Jewish sentiment. Every synagogue in America has a copy of George Washington's letter welcoming the first Jewish community to America. Contrast that with the fact that the man was a slave owner.

    Another factor is that at the time most Jews came to this country, the family farm was already waning due to increases in productivity. The supply of people who knew how to farm exceeded the demand. Trades people, certain types of craftsmen, and so forth were better tickets to prosperity. Jews were concentrated in that work, and few were farmers, because in much of Europe they couldn't own land, and had to move from one country to another from time to time. The timing for their arrival in America was fortuitous.

    As for Chinese, there was at one time strong prejudices against them, although largely concentrated in the West Coast and not as bad as against black people, for example. The prejudice also waned earlier (WWII prejudice was against Japanese, and China was out ally). Moreover, the majority of people of Chinese descent in America are from people that arrived here much more recently. Our prejudicial immigration policy only ended in 1965, and then for some decades thereafter it wasn't easy to emigrate from China. Hence they arrived at a time when not only was there little or no anti-Chinese prejudice, but at a time when they were being promoted as the "model minority". Lastly, most Chinese immigrants are people who are middle class or better. They are generally not some ill-educated farmers from the still very poor hinterlands. The same is true of Indian immigrants.

    I also note that you switched from talking about Chinese to talking about Asians (presumably East Asians, unless you include say, Tajiks). Obviously China is not all of East Asia, but you tout East Asian cultures in general. So how do you account for the fact that the Vietnamese are not a particularly successful immigrant group?

    I don't know the relative importance of the various factors I mentioned and, given the difficulties and fog of bias surrounding such studies, I question who does. My main point is that the issues go way, way beyond your "there are mostly Asian kids in my Scratch class". Or are you going to stick to that observation as your "objective" view?

  • Re:Jim Goad... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by metlin (258108) on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:39PM (#46081447) Journal

    The maturity of the article, combined with the vulgar name calling and his own admission that he did not read the book, makes me question anything he has to say. A quick search shows his penchant for beating people up and getting himself incarcerated, none of which particularly helps his case.

    In contrast, Amy and Jed are both Yale professors, and if nothing else, their hypotheses are backed up by some semblance of data.

    He also employs sheer hyperbole in interpreting the piece:

    Yesâ"the Nigerians. According to Chua and Rubenfeld, Nigerians are one of Americaâ(TM)s Eight Master Races. The bookâ(TM)s promotional material states that âoeNigerians earn doctorates at stunningly high rates.â Doctorates in whatâ"childhood witchcraft? Baby farming? Penis panics? How to murder someone via telephone? How to transform yourself into a goat? They are highly accomplished in the art of Internet scamming, Iâ(TM)ll give them that. But I suspect that Nigerians may be mere tokens on this list, tossed in at the end to avoid overt accusations of racism.

    If he had read the piece, he'd have read the following:

    Immigrants from many West Indian and African countries, such as Jamaica, Ghana, and Haiti, are climbing Americaâ(TM)s higher education ladder, but perhaps the most prominent are Nigerians. Nigerians make up less than 1 percent of the black population in the United States, yet in 2013 nearly one-quarter of the black students at Harvard Business School were of Nigerian ancestry; over a fourth of Nigerian-Americans have a graduate or professional degree, as compared with only about 11 percent of whites.

    So yeah, I don't think the word "salient" really applies here. He's nothing more than a dimwit troll, and his language, demeanor, and reading skills only highlight that.

  • by Oligonicella (659917) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:09PM (#46081835)
    Was this piece from a peer reviewed scientific paper or not? That is the question /.ers frequently ask. Were these people "experts" in their fields or not is another. If the answer to both is no.....

    Lawyers writing an opinion piece doth not science make, neither real nor social science.
  • Re:Impulse control (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jafac (1449) on Monday January 27, 2014 @05:19PM (#46085165) Homepage

    Do workahollics have impulse control?

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.