Social Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

If you got to choose to grow up privileged or disadvantaged, which you honestly choose?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (21138 points ) November 7th, 2011

At first glance, much of the Occupy Movements seems to be rage at the privileged. Seriously, if some King Maker, earthly or otherwise, said they will cause you to be raised in a family of privilege or a disadvantaged family, but you had a choice of which one. Which one would you choose, and why would you make that choice?

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31 Answers

Tbag's avatar

You can be rich and end up being lonely and unhappy? You can be the happiest person but you might be poor so honestly speaking, as long as I’m happy it doesn’t matter. I think I would choose to be raised in a family of privilege and then help out the poor? Sounds fair :)

JLeslie's avatar

I’ll say rich, but with the same values I have now about work and money, and I would not want extravagant things given to me as a child. There are many many rich people who live rather modestly.

@Tbag Sure money doesn’t buy you happiness, but most studies show people with money are happier.

Tbag's avatar

@JLeslie We all know that no one wants to be poor and I think that’s a fact, but I’m just saying if the price of being rich is my happiness then nope, rather be poor! I totally get what you’re sayin’ though!

JLeslie's avatar

@Tbag I just think it is a bad message for people to think being rich is bad or makes people unhappy. Sure everyone prefers to be happy, I think that is a given. I think the one negative of growing up with money is sometimes those kids never learn how much work it really takes to acheive such wealth, and they don’t make their own way. But, many poor people also don’t figure out how to acheive wealth either. We just notice it more when the rich kid is downwardly mobile I guess. Also, some wealthy people have no concept of what it is like for those who are not wealthy and I would prefer to not be so narrow.

ucme's avatar

A disadvantaged aristocrat, in the sense that daddy bought me only the one mansion house in deepest bedfordshire…..the awful bounder that he surely is.

KatawaGrey's avatar

This is an awesome question. There is so much hate of people with money on fluther, I will be interested to read people’s reactions.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central : I think your Q would have been more telling if you had specified just how disadvantaged. Lower class, just above subsistence and with only occasional tiny luxuries is a far cry from dirt poor, always scrabbling for the next meal, afraid that you can’t make the rent every single time. That’s a choice that would be much harder to make. Being “rich” in and of itself, doesn’t make one happy, just as being “poor” doesn’t make one a saint.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central, when you say raised in a family which is “privileged or disadvantaged” do you mean from the standpoint of health, economics, physical ability, some type of talent or ability, gender, freedoms, liberties? It looks like everyone has answered based on the privilege or disadvantage of wealth. There are many other types of privilege and disadvantage.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@bkcunningham : Considering that he’s citing the Occupy Movement it’s a pretty easy guess that he means wealth.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Privileged, for the greater opportunities.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m sure you are right, @JilltheTooth. I just thought it was an important note to make concerning the topic. I also think your points are very valid in the discussion.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@bkcunningham : Thanks. Qs like these can get lost in definitions if the premise isn’t kept very simple. I think you should ask a Q based on your post, about defining everyone’s personal definition of privilege. I think you would get some interesting responses.

Scooby's avatar

I grew up disadvantaged ( poor )single parent, four kids, living off the state….. I rebelled against the system for much of my young life, was in trouble with the law through very little discipline ( not my mothers fault ) in & out of court for various crimes…. Had I been brought up privileged I’d most likely have gone through the same scenario; me being me :-/
I really don’t think it would have changed who I have become…..

gailcalled's avatar

I grew up initially with a father who made a modest income (we lived in a little carriage house next to his parents). He then went on to do better. We were comfortable and had the amenities of a regulated life – food, shelter, clothing, trips to dentist and doctors, but we were hardly affluent. I would have trouble codifying my early life.

Certainly I was luckier than most but very middle class. We lived eventually in the same house always (my parents converted a walk-in closet into a bedroom for my brother so he wouldn’t have to bunk in with my sister), we all went to the local public schools, and walked or used the bus and trains to get around.

However, my folks did put a lot of thought into where to buy their house. They picked an area with first-rate schools and an easy commute to NYC, where my father worked.
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mazingerz88's avatar

Privileged, only if I would have known the difference. Like I got reincarnated as one of the Duponts and knew who I was in my former not so privileged life. If that’s not it then it would hardly matter. Rich or poor, healthy or sick, happy or miserable, it is always having to experience all of that that really matters most to me.

Tbag's avatar

@JLeslie Respecttt to you ! ^_^

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I’ve never been on the opposite side (I’ve never “had money”), so I can only comment from what I know and what I’ve seen. That being said, because I feel so much helpless pain over the homeless and rage over the suffering of starving children, I would choose to be privileged, but I would do something good with that privilege and money, instead of living a lavish lifestyle while others suffer.

Again, since I haven’t lived it, I can only guess at things, but if I could literally make the choice, I would want to be massively privileged/wealthy, so that I could share that wealth with as many people as I could.

Leanne1986's avatar

With the amount I of anxety I am feeling because of finance issues right now I would very much like to be priviledged!

wundayatta's avatar

It’s easier to be happy if food and shelter and health care are taken care of then if you are struggling mightily and going without on a daily basis. This is not to say that you have no problems if you are privileged. Depression hits us all. But it’s better to be well off and depressed than it is to be in poverty and depressed.

I would certainly rather be privileged. It is a huge advantage. It’s like running a race. The further ahead you start, the faster you get ahead. That’s why the rich keep getting richer much faster than the poor do. That’s why a poor hospital will never catch up with a good hospital. Even if the poor hospital adopts all the best practices, the good hospital will already be much further ahead.

There are very few people who jump between the different class levels. People are more likely to sink down than to move up. (I think I’m remembering these things correctly, although the latter doesn’t quite make sense). So, despite the myth of upward mobility in the United States, it isn’t true for the vast majority. The only way people make the jump, almost universally, is with a very good education—look at most of the great new internet and computer technologies: Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, etc. Sometimes the education was not so formal (Jobs attended Reed for a semester and then audited classes, but also went to India and on other informal adventures that taught him a lot), but all were highly educated and from families that valued education.

Harvard, Stanford, Penn (Warren Buffet)... it’s interesting which universities that people who later became rich went to. Yale is probably a premier politician school. Hmmm. I’m going to have to see what my daughter wants to do (then my son, but that’s 4 years after). It seems that the education is the same, but the connections are so much more important.

So education and connections can get you from one class to the next one. It’s not just education, but who you know, and going to the right school is the best way of assuring that who you know are going to become important people in business. Although I personally know of people from Harvard who are just ordinary people, so it’s no guarantee. I also know of people who went to lesser known schools and who have become very successful in business or other arenas. I digress.

I think I’m saying that privilege can, to some extend, be bought. If you buy education. Many immigrants know this. However many, mired in poverty, either don’t know this or don’t believe it will make a difference or just can’t find a way to make it happen.

I don’t think anyone would honestly choose to be disadvantaged. I think people of privilege can choose to live a very simple life. But that’s a lot different from being poor. The poor really have no choice, and far too often, no idea how to better their situation. That’s why the best thing our society can do is to find ways to help them get educated.

And it is to the advantage of all of us that the poor get an education. The more people contribute to the wellbeing of us all, the better off are those doing better. The more money people have, the more they buy, and those who sell will do better. It is to the advantage of the rich to have the poor get richer, and so the rich should invest in the poor. It will always benefit the rich more than the poor, but it is better than a zero-sum game.

I grew up with the advantage of a good education. Like Jobs, I started my independent life couch surfing. I made ends meet by living with other people and combining our incomes so we could survive much better than we would have alone. I got a job that paid little, but it gave me a car, which was huge. Later I went back to grad school and was able to triple my income compared to what I made before grad school.

When I married, I had a negative net worth. What we owed was more than what we had. But within a decade, that situation had turned around, and by saving every dollar we could, we were able to increase our net worth from nothing to something that allows my wife to not work at a job she hated. We still have two children to put through college.

I went from less than nothing to being in the top 5%, and I’m pretty proud of that. I didn’t do it on my own—on my own I might be in the top 40% if I was lucky. My wife was the big earner. So I tell people with bit student loans that it is not something to worry about. They will be much farther than they every expected in two decades, if they work hard and save. Unfortunately, not a lot of people save as much as they could.

I started from nothing financially, but I did not start from nothing in terms of preparation. That was (is) my greatest form of privilege. My parents made damn sure I had as good an education as I could get. I didn’t get into a Harvard or a Stanford or Princeton—the schools I was shooting for. I only got into my safe school (which will remain nameless) and that was perfectly fine. Not terribly prestigious. A lot of people have never heard of it, but it was good enough. I also got a graduate degree—a Masters. As I said, that added significantly to my income. If I had a PhD or a Law or Medical or Business degree, I’d be doing even better, financially. But Masters was enough (even if I did feel ashamed that was as far as I went).

That’s privilege, even if it isn’t money to start off with. It’s potential. There’s a lot of discussion about whether education is worth the cost. Obviously, I think it is, and I urge everyone to get as much as they can—the hell with the cost. Decent education, that is. Not internet or for-profit education. I don’t trust that one bit. But go to as good a school as you can and get as much education as you can, and you will most likely be able to become one of the upper 50%, or better. And, you will be happier.

Facade's avatar

Privileged, definitely. Although I do support the Occupiers, I don’t hate money. I hate greed. Being the person that I am, growing up wealthy would allow me to be able to financially help those in need. I can’t do that if I’m broke and struggling.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

By all means privileged, but I would insist on the same parents. This would ensure that, after my twenties, I would understand and the value of magnanimity, altruism and striving to leave this world a better place. And with privilege, I would have even more tools to accomplish this.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Privileged. I’d want regular healthy meals, routine healthcare, better schooling, extracurricular activities, vacations, trips, safe/reliable/always-filled-with-gas car to get around in and no financial pressures to distract from getting top grades.

gondwanalon's avatar

Well I’ve already know what it is like to grow up severely disadvantaged and that made me strong enough to realize moderate success. So it might be reasonable to conclude that growing up as “privileged” would contribute to being weak and less successful.

Life is not fare. Us disadvantaged folks must get tough and work hard in order to survive and prosper. To heck with the privileged pukes!

HungryGuy's avatar

Rich, duh. I don’t hate rich people, per se. I hate the way most rich people (corporate CEOs and their ilk) use their influence to concentrate the world’s wealth unto themselves.

martianspringtime's avatar

Who doesn’t want to be born privileged? Does anyone really want to struggle to get to college, worry all the time about being able to pay their bills, face prejudice on a daily basis, etc?

Also, I don’t think the OWS protesters (generally speaking, of course) are against being well-off – they’re against getting rich at the sake of other people, and the over-involvement of corporations in the government.

Anyway, I don’t really have the desire to be incredibly rich. Living comfortably? Yes. Being too wealthy for my own good? Not so much. I don’t think that all wealthy people are ‘bad,’ nor that all disadvantaged people are ‘good.’
I do think that moderation is a good thing though. Having some sort of disadvantage, I think, helps to keep you grounded. You’re aware that you’re not above everybody, not more significant or deserving than other people. You learn to overcome obstacles, rather than just paying someone to overcome them for you.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JilltheTooth I think your Q would have been more telling if you had specified just how disadvantaged. Lower class, just above subsistence and with only occasional tiny luxuries is a far cry from dirt poor, always scrabbling for the next meal, afraid that you can’t make the rent every single time. I would have loved to, but this is Fluther. Had I gone into supplying more bread crumbs, some would come out and say I should have made the question more concise. There seem to be an unwritten code which only a select few can break, that if your question is more than 350 characters, or your answer has more than 360 words, all those details would get in the way. Others would use the details as an opportunity to discredit the questions by saying wealth or privilege don’t start at the example I would have gave. Si, I let people interpret for themselves where they believe “privilege” starts, be it $500,000 a year, five million a year, fifty million in assets, or fifteen billion in assets.

@mazingerz88 Privileged, only if I would have known the difference. Like I got reincarnated as one of the Duponts and knew who I was in my former not so privileged life. If you were a blob of plasma asked before you were born, or a toddler, it was explained to you the difference between the two. If you were a toddler, you were told you can be in a family where you get all the toys you want at Christmas, that pony you wanted, the best bikes, never be hungry, etc. On the contrary, you can live in a family where you will live in a small house, or apartment, have a hard time getting a pet, often go to be hungry or near to it, can’t afford a pet, no bike, etc. Then be told to choose. You would not be told how your life would end up, if you would go to the best college and end up a award winning biochemist, rich person gambling their money away, or a junkie down on skid row,

[edit] Oops, think I with over the allotment, surely the grammar gestapo is lurking

dabbler's avatar

My day used to say, “Rich or poor, it’s always nice to have money.”
I think he meant that it’s good to have enough. Why not?

Ron_C's avatar

I was born “disadvantaged” but would like to try again as “advantaged”. Maybe I would end up running a foundation that improved education for all children and provided jobs for thousands. It would have been nice.

perspicacious's avatar

Privilege.

Emeraldisles5's avatar

I would say privileged and would help out with animal charities and programs for lower income people. I think it’s nice to not be in a lot of debt and to have insurance, be able to help my mom go back to school, or for me to get certified to do different things, etc., be able to go to school online or to travel.

Ron_C's avatar

It’s obvious isn’t it?.....Privileged No kid would ever choose to suffer needlessly. It is cruel to ask them to suffer.

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