The pleasure, the privilege is mine

A video appeared on my Creepbook for Business feed today.

The first few seconds should be a good predictor of what’s to come, if your time is precious and you don’t want to completely ruin your blood pressure;

Put simply, if you had a sub-optimal start in life, you’re going to find yourself further away from the finish line and the lesson we should take from this is that this situation is unfair. The inference being that those of us who didn’t have such a sub-optimal start to life should accept that we have “privilege” and, presumably, hamstring ourselves to give others a fairer chance at the race of life.

Yes folks, this is what the CEO of BNP Paribas Sercurity Services India truly thinks. Now might be a good moment to check your pension funds to ensure no exposure to BNP’s stock.

As a very simple analogy, this video seems to illustrate a point we can all resonate with, as long as we don’t think too deeply about the subject. A little further contemplation brings up some uncomfortable questions though, such as;

  • Given we all have a different stating point, what would be the fairest mechanism to compensate for the differences and using what scientific or mathematical method?
  • Does this method factor in local differences? For example, the child of a displaced white farmer in Zimbabwe will presumably have to have some compensating actions to equalise their outcomes in relation to a relative of Robert Mugabe.
  • What’s the hierarchy of privilege, which restrictive component of our past and present trumps all others? Is one ethnicity more restrictive than another, if someone had diabetes plus an under-privileged ethnic background are they more or less privileged than a transgender person? Is there a handy matrix of relative victimhood we can refer to?
  • What role do genes play in the statistical probability of our relative success in life and, as a consequence, how do our informed choices affect us when we know the importance of certain genes? For example, if I know I have a family history of diabetes, how much can I mitigate the potential impact of the disease by making sensible dietary choices?

Bill’s Opinion

If there isn’t an objective mechanism for calculating the relevant impact of victimhood, we’ve just replaced one set of bias with another.

Depending on which twins study you reference, genetic differences can account for at least 50% of the differences in success across individuals.

Even if we could calculate the relative impacts of nurture, ethnicity, genes or a thousand other factors involved in our lives, it is surely counter-productive to society and humankind as a whole to use this knowledge to hamstring those not similarly impacted.

The modern game of trying to compete for “biggest victim” status (sometimes referred to as “intersectionality”) is massively-damaging to those in its targets.

Rather than encouraging a sense of victimhood, we should be showing examples of how people overcame disadvantage to thrive. It is highly unlikely that any of those examples will involve constant resentment of those better off.

4 Replies to “The pleasure, the privilege is mine”

  1. Again nicely illustrating the extent to which corporates, even in an Indian context, have been captured by right-think.

    I wonder how Christophe deals with the reality of the system in India?

    It often gets quoted about the correlation between successful corporates being the more diverse ones. But I am not sure they got successful by being diverse. I think the diversity comes second, after they were successful and could afford to mess about with the self-actualising policies of the SJW set.

    1. Have you come across Price’s Law? To massively simplify and also to take somewhat out of context; the square root of the number of humans in a cohort is responsible for about half the creativity and productivity.

      With that in mind, consider what the “equality of outcome” approach does to an organisation.

      1. I comfort myself with the knowledge that I am comfortably out of the cohort of individuals that are responsible for the creativity and productivity, but succeed nonetheless.

        More seriously, I do believe that a small team needs a diversity of talent – you do need the creative thinker, who often doesn’t execute – so an executor/detail freak to work with the out of the box thinker is useful. A blend of these characteristics is important, they are just not often explained by their Identity. Use your HBDI or whatever. I don’t really want a team of North Shore educated, sons/daughters of firm partners who know the right people, wear boat shoes on the weekend etc, but I might end up with that if the they bring different stuff to the table. If they all think the same way or have the same capability, the result is sub-optimal.

        You did read this?

        I haven’t verified, being ZH and all, seems legit. Worth a rant all of its own.

        1. The HR and diversity departments are getting to the point where they are tying themselves into logical knots, it’s quite fun to watch.

          Thanks for the link. It’s been quite a while since I last read ZH, mainly because of the sifting required to pick out the stuff worth reading.

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