Rich Dad, Poor Son, Unlikely

Rich Dad, Poor Dad was a worldwide publishing phenomenon, allowing Robert Kiyosaki to sell 26 million books packed with the insight he gained through hours of playing Monopoly. Kiyosaki, in turn, trades on and propagates the idea that, yes, you too can become a millionaire through hard work, diligence, and following the advice of your pretend rich dad. This, clearly, is bogus.

I’ve blogged before about quite how misguided this view is, particularly in the United States. Yet more evidence has recently been pulled together to show that, in fact, the United States is one of the hardest places to be able to pull yourself up by your bootstraps (though, once again, it’s never quite as hard as it is in Britain or, in this graph, Italy).

The OECD has launched a report, glossed here, showing quite how sticky class is in the United States. One of the key findings was the extent to which class is transmitted from father to son – a mothers’ income will much less predict her son or daughter’s future, and a father’s income will foreshadow a son’s income more strongly than a daughter’s. More here.

10 Replies to “Rich Dad, Poor Son, Unlikely”

  1. Perephrasing Dylan Thomas: the money of my fathers – my fathers can keep it. He who ha sea rs to hear, let him… In a society built on competition, the fact that somebody has more money means that someone else has less of it; if someone is more successful means than someone else is less.
    There’s no harmless success under capitalism in my view. In fact competition means harm because there’s always a casualty. Is “fathers’ money” price big enough for a man’s soul?

  2. About the horrible Rich Dad Poor Dad scam: the Canadian Broadcasting Company recently ran, on its show Marketplace, a report on how the Rich Dad phenomenon, now morphed into a weekend long “educational” program for thousands of dollars, is scamming Canadians out of that tuition fee. The CBC reporter confronted Mr. Kiyosaki directly about student’s complaints about strong-arm bullying tactics used in the course (which is all about buying more Rich Dad courses, naturally). Mr. Kiyosaki denied any knowledge of wrongdoing, but more appalling, when the wrongdoing was shown to him on tape, he backed right off and blamed the educational contractors to whom he’d sold the rights to this course. Why is he not in jail, and why does he continue to bilk people out of their money. He’s just plain awful. Awful. And the nonsense he spews makes me squirm, it’s so blatantly and shamelessly moronic. Yet he’s a gazillionaire. Yuck.

  3. I skimmed through this report expecting to find something identifying differences in school funding methods as at least one factor in these results, as I have always considered local funding of public school districts as one of the biggest, if not the biggest, obstacles to achieving true equal opportunity in this country. Why should a kid in Palo Alto born to rich parents automatically get to go to a school that has the best of everything while a kid in East Palo Alto born to poor parents goes to a school that is falling apart and cannot afford basic materials? Surprisingly, the study finds (on page 190) a weak correlation with funding and a much higher correlation with efficient use of those funds and strength of teaching. If the liberals could break the hold of the teacher unions and make it easier to fire bad teacher, and the conservatives could get behind doubling starting teacher salaries to attract a higher class of individual to the profession, we might actually get somewhere.

  4. Nice work Raj. I would think the bigger problem is that most people accept that ‘anyone’ can become rich. That’s probably the main reason why we stick with the price system. It’s the illusion of prosperity that fools us. I’m glad with what you do. We need to question how are society “values” things. As of today, we value a belief system that is money over all else.

    You should take a serious look into Technocracy and the Technate design for North America. It is a non political system of government which uses energy accounting instead of money. It is secular and humanitarian.

  5. You should take a closer look into Kiyosaki’s work before doing such false statements (Raj at least). He does not say that anyone can became rich or rich sons always automatically get rich. He says that it’s a whole different ballgame that follow certain rules. When the rich people know these rules (financial literacy) it’s easy to forward them to your sons. This financial literacy is not teached in any school and is only known by the very rich. It’s more likely to learn this with your parents teaching it to you, as it’s the case with any other “talent” that exists. Kiyosaki teach this with games for those who are not fortunate to have very financial literate parents.

    http://www.conspiracyoftherich.com/vlog/current

  6. I am going to have to disagree with this. The fact is that the United States has done some very smart things in the past two decades to not just subsidize the poor, but to bring them out of poverty. Things such as the EITC (earned income tax credit), PRWORA & TANF (welfare reform).

    A bigger problem is the widening wage inequality in America — not the fact that class status is sticky. The fact is that America provides some of the best standards of living in the world.

  7. Yes, wage inequality is very bad. However, the programs you mentioned have not solved the issue even remotely. Millions are losing their homes and Unemployment is rampant. They’ve helped easy the pain, that’s about it.

    Technology and resources provide the best standards in the world. Not the system. We are beneficiaries of rich resource deposits. So you are mistaken when you sugar coat the fact that we have a heavily disproportionate class system.

    I would say our biggest issue is the looming energy crisis. We cannot sustain exponential energy consumption for very long.

  8. I think the problem is how can the society modify some individuals behavior, transforming the strength to get a better individual life in group or colective improvement.
    How does it change a man that got money and has money to inclining his efforts to build a better society. How could any rich man modify his mental structure?
    Sorry for my English.

    PD: When will wwww.rajpatel.org in Spanish?

  9. I like the book Rich Dad Poor Dad. It is a good book; if it is not, then no 26 million copies would have been sold. Regardless of all the unemployment, financial and real estate crisis, deficit etc, you can still become rich in America. Millions still want to come to America; some even die in the process. So, while you are in America consider yourself fortunate. If you complain, you are free to go to India, China or Saudi Arabia.

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