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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 barlevg (2111272) on Monday January 27, 2014 @09:55AM (#46079897)
  • Simple enough... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TWX (665546) on Monday January 27, 2014 @09:59AM (#46079919) that some feeling of superiority or supremacy for either the group that one hails from, be it family, community, race, whatever, gives one the belief that one can achieve, or can achieve more than others.

    Feeling of inadequacy guilts one into taking action, to actually attempt to strive to meet that perceived superiority.

    Impulse control prevents one from going for instant short-term benefits when those benefits are small, when one can see longer-term benefits by being willing to settle for something lesser now.

    I'm not going to get into the racism and other unfortunate points of the argument, but it's not that surprising to me that those that feel that they can achieve will achieve, while those that don't feel that they can achieve won't, by the averages.
  • WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dywolf (2673597) on Monday January 27, 2014 @09:59AM (#46079921)

    This piece of "outrage journalism" was "news" two weeks ago.
    Why is /. regurgitating it? And why after waiting two weeks?

  • Re:Crazy! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rmdingler (1955220) on Monday January 27, 2014 @10:25AM (#46080109)
    There's another force at work.

    Native kids, born into the complacency that is life in a wealthy western nation, often lack the drive wielded by those not too far removed from the have-not lifestyle afforded by life with fewer resources.

    First generation immigrants are generally more motivated and productive compared to those farmed locally.

  • Re:Simple enough... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2014 @10:25AM (#46080115)

    It's not even pseudoscience, it's an op-ed from a couple law professors.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday January 27, 2014 @10:26AM (#46080123) Journal

    When I arrived on the shore of America I had nothing.

    I didn't even speak English.

    To make the long story short - two of the three factors were very vital for my survival, and ultimately put me to where I am - except for the "superiority" factor, because I was less than a nothing back then.

    As I grow more accustomed to the American lives, I get to know people from different cultures - for one reason or another, I find one group very very interesting - the Jews.

    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.

    At the end of the day, the success of the Jews is not a fluke - their culture is structured in such a way that death of one member is nothing - even a massacre of millions to the Jews is nothing - as long as their culture gets to live on.

    BBC has a very interesting program on the revival of Jewish culture in Krakow, Poland - []

    What the Chinese have is number. What the Jews have is determination.

    But other than that, in many other aspect in lives, what the Jews are can very much be found in the Chinese.

    And I am not the only one who is saying this - read the following article (written by a Jew) to find out what he says --- []

  • Success = happiness? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pr0nbot (313417) on Monday January 27, 2014 @10:32AM (#46080177)

    Would you rather be successful and miserable, or a happy failure?

    I'm told that Hawaii, for example, has an odd vibe where a lot of people lead frugal lives with clapped out cars and McJobs, but they're there because it's a wonderful place to live. Do they deserve contempt for their lack of ambition? Praise for their ability to value the things that really matter? Respect despite having chosen a path we might not choose for ourselves?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2014 @10:46AM (#46080289)

    and America's most successful groups are all outsiders in one way or another

    Okay but American blacks have NEVER felt like part of mainstream society and they are definitely the least prosperous group. That's a great big gaping hole in the theory that needs to be explained.

    Having a culture that glorifies violence and street crime and actively persecutes those who want education really, really doesn't help. That's what gangsta culture does. No group could thrive with that. So the real question is why the nearly suicidal anti-achievement attitude? Where does it come from? Why can't people understand that embracing it means forever denying yourself your true protential? The successful black people who own businesses, enter the professions, and work in academia all have one thing in common: they rejected thug culture and growing up, they were often targeted and harasses and assaulted because of it. Not by whites, but by fellow American blacks.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Monday January 27, 2014 @11:22AM (#46080619)

    I seriously question the cultural superiority of the Jews or any other particular group.

    I seriously question your ability to recognize objective reality over political correctness. Despite generations of discrimination, most Jews and Chinese are faring significantly better than white Americans. They work hard, they value education, they invest for the future. I teach an after school class in Scratch [] programming at a mixed race elementary school in San Jose CA. Here is the racial breakdown of the class: black - 0, hispanic - 0, Asian - 22.5, white - 0.5. The 0.5 white kid is my son, who is half Chinese. The school also offers classes/competitions in Robotics and Math Olympiad. Again, these are totally dominated by Asian kids.

  • by RivenAleem (1590553) on Monday January 27, 2014 @11:52AM (#46080929)

    It reminds me of a Joke/Story.
    I'm going to paraphase because I CBA typing it all out.
    An American businessman is on holidays in Mexico. He meets a tomato farmer. The Tomato farmer makes enough money to get by on. The American asks him why he doesn't take a bank loan, buy more land, hire more workers plant more tomatoes. He could grow his business, get rich. Sure it might involve many additional hours of effort and toil, and a few years of sleepless nights while making ends meet, but eventually he might have a thriving business.

    After 30-40 years of this, he could then retire, and perhaps start a small tomato farm to keep busy.

    The Mexican looked around him and offered, "Don't I have that right now?"

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:27PM (#46081301) Homepage

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

    That's easy: 2014, in the United States. There are a lot of places in which being Jewish not only doesn't make you an outsider, it makes you the dominant religious group. You can find these places in nice neighborhoods in metropolitan New York City, around institutions of higher learning, and in the upper echelons of many businesses. Announcing that you're Jewish in the United States will typically garner about the same reaction as announcing that you're Baptist.

    Jewish people in the US have not received anything close to the oppression that black people have, and I say that as someone who's part Jewish. Jewish Americans were not:
    - effectively barred from living in most of the country.
    - prevented from attending public schools and later institutions of higher learning, which allowed them to gain the skills they needed to succeed.
    - paid less than their non-Jewish counterparts doing the same job.
    - beaten or killed as a common recreational activity in large areas of the country, with police either ignoring it or actively supporting it.
    - prevented from borrowing money from banks, which allowed them to buy homes and start businesses.
    - targeted by America's current system of racial oppression called the "War on Drugs".

    A big reason for this is that any white Jew (there are non-white Jews, but the vast majority are white) who doesn't do something to telegraph that they're Jewish can pretty easily blend in with other white people. This is obviously a benefit that Chinese and Indian immigrants didn't get, but it's real, and significant.

  • by SpankiMonki (3493987) on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:29PM (#46081323)

    How about you add a disclaimer to the top of your post? "Warning: Post contains my anecdotally-proven religious and racial stereotypes."

    No shit. I cringed as soon as I read:

    "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.

    It will be hard to find a more unfortunate sentence than that on /. today.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:49PM (#46081525) Journal

    Jewish people in the US have not received anything close to the oppression that black people have

    I can pick up your keyword even with my eyes closed:


    Now, sir, lemme ask you this:

    Who hasn't been oppressed before ?

    The one difference between the Jews and the so-called "black people" is that the Jews do not dwell on how oppressed they were, in the hand of the others.

    You know, if the Jews want to play this game, they could !

    There was a ship load of Jewish refugees from Europe that arrived at an American port. That was during Hitler's extermination campaign against the Jews were in full force. That ship was turned back.

    When the ship finally reached Europe, all the Jewish passengers ended up in the ovens.

    How many times the Jews play that "oppression song" ? How many times the Jews had to remind the world that "you owe us and you must pay back what you owe us" ?

    No doubt. There are some Jews (mostly the losers) who have a liking to that kind of tune, but the vast majority of the Jews - what happened, happened, and they took that as a valuable lessen to remind themselves that they will never let themselves to be in that kind of situation again.

    On the other hand ... how long has slavery been ended in America ? Please tell us, how long,. Sir ?

    I am not denying that many blacks are impoverished and disenfranchised. But before they continue their "I am dying because you ain't coming to help me" moaning, why don't they look at the "boat people" - the Vietnamese who arrived in the 1970's to the 1990's ?

    Those Vietnamese arrived with practically _nothing_, and initially they were in a much dire strait than those blacks.

    10, 20, 30, 40 years have passed, those Vietnamese climbed up the social ladder, while the blacks still remained at the bottom.

    Why don't you ask yourself "Why ?" ?

  • Re:Simple enough... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chihowa (366380) * on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:10PM (#46081839)

    The bad aspects of cultures should be changed, but it's touchy because it often gets ibnncorrectly equated to race.

    I think that culture is deliberately equated to race by some to dismiss, without consideration, the idea that the disadvantages some people carry because of their culture are 1) repairable, by fixing the bad aspects of the culture, and 2) the fault of the members of the culture, by teaching these bad thought patterns and behaviors to their members.

    It's far more appealing to these people to think that certain people are inferior/superior because of their race (the racist crowd) or that it's somehow everybody else's fault for the failure of certain cultures to prosper (the PC crowd). Equating culture to race allows us to not address the shortcomings in our different cultures and to shout down any attempt to even identify the shortcomings as racist.

    Cultures may have strong correlation to race because distinct cultures were often developed by racially isolated groups of people. But cultures, and the individual behaviors and ideas contains within them, are portable to every group of people. We should be dissecting cultures to adopt the good aspects and shed the bad ones.

  • by PPH (736903) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:13PM (#46081889)

    The one difference between the Jews and the so-called "black people" is that the Jews do not dwell on how oppressed they were, in the hand of the others.

    Holy crap! Its a part of their culture. Listen to a few of the last generation's Jewish comedians. Its true that many younger US Jews don't buy into the whole victim psychology like their elders did. But there is an active propaganda campaign generated in Israel to continually remind the diaspora of their past suffering and, oh yea, keep sending that money and voting the homeland's political interests. So you'll all have someplace to go when 'they' turn on us again.

    Other nationalities and races don't have to put up with the same crap that blacks still do. Jim Crow laws were still in place within the lifetimes of many African Americans. And there is still a racist movement in this country that keeps the propaganda going. Jews, Vietnamese and others have an internal meme of their oppression. Blacks keep having it shoved on them from the outside. And that's the primary difference between the success/failure of their groups within this country.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:15PM (#46081917) Homepage

    I explained why: White Americans organized systems to keep black people from achieving the same success available to other ethnic minorities. I described a bunch of the systems that black people were and still are on the receiving end of that Jewish people (and, for that matter, Vietnamese people) never experienced in remotely similar numbers.

    When you're in a rigged game, the most moral and capable person imaginable will still lose. The game of life was and continues to be rigged against black people. Why should there be any surprise that they don't have the same successes experienced by people who got to play by the same rules as everyone else?

  • Re:Simple enough... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Monday January 27, 2014 @05:19PM (#46085161)

    The middle one is an easy trip to mental illness.

    Actually, feelings of inadequacy are absolutely essential to learning your limits and realizing there are greater goals you can strive for. If you've never felt inadequate, then you've never challenged yourself. Far from being "an easy trip to mental illness," I'd say that someone who has never felt that way is likely a seriously mentally-ill megalomaniac.

    For example, a few years ago I read about surveys of self-esteem for top schools like MIT. Students entering MIT have incredibly high self-esteem. Many of them were valedictorians or near the top of their high school classes. Everything probably came easily to them.

    Now look at their perspectives when they graduate. Their feeling of self-worth is in the toilet. I believe the study estimated it took something like 10 years after leaving MIT before the undergraduates actually recovered their previous self-esteem.

    Now, what happened? Those students were challenged in ways they never had been before. I don't know if this is still the case, but for many years part or all of freshman year at MIT was pass/fail -- to set a standard. You realized you might just end up with Cs, even if you were at the top of your class in high school. Other top schools often don't have this "calibration" time, and instead (like Harvard) give out just about all A's. They never set a standard. They don't make sure that almost all students feel inadequate and truly challenged.

    Nevertheless, most MIT students apparently choose to work harder and to continue to try to succeed. And that's one reason why graduates are often successful, as well as highly valued in the workforce.

    Of course, such a trajectory can lead to mental illness, and sometimes does. But for most it's better to be significantly challenged to the point that you realize how ignorant you are and try harder to achieve, rather than going through life thinking you're always going to be on top.

The degree of technical confidence is inversely proportional to the level of management.