Matthew 25:29


in Books and literature, Economics, Politics, Psychology, Writing

Matthew 25:29

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

alena January 31, 2013 at 11:01 am

Rob DesCotes taught me the parable of the talents several years ago. If I remember correctly, the parable illustrates wasted opportunity. It is our duty to use our talents and resources with dedication and intention to reap benefits. The passage means that people who use well what they are given, will receive even more. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have, will be taken away. Hence, we must use our abilities and strive to make a difference.

Will S February 1, 2013 at 12:30 am

The rich get richer!

Will S February 1, 2013 at 12:32 am

Throw out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!

alena February 1, 2013 at 11:53 am

You could see it like that or consider it as a call to activism and social/environmental change. I tend to look at it in that positive way. Mind you, there may still be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

. February 25, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Prison and the Poverty Trap

Published: February 18, 2013

. April 7, 2013 at 12:03 pm

No, it’s better for everyone when these questions aren’t asked too loudly. The days of noblesse oblige are long behind us, so our elite’s entire claim to legitimacy rests on theories of equal opportunity and upward mobility, and the promise that “merit” correlates with talents and deserts.

. April 23, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Social mobility in America
Repairing the rungs on the ladder
How to prevent a virtuous meritocracy entrenching itself at the top

. April 23, 2013 at 10:42 pm
. April 23, 2013 at 10:54 pm

SIR – The claim that people succeed through brains and hard work is what we (or rather, the successful) like to believe, because it makes the world seem fair and lets those who reach the top think they have done so on merit.

From my experience in business I have found that there are two elements which best distinguish the highly successful from the unsuccessful: good looks and controlled aggression in abundance.

Success based on the old man’s money is contrary to meritocracy, but are the above two criteria any better?

Christian Böcker

. April 23, 2013 at 11:02 pm

SIR – The Republicans’ current dilemma is partly a result of basic psychological processes. Psychological theories of loss suggest that as individuals lose resources and power they often seek to compensate for those losses by clinging more tightly to what resources they have left. For Republicans in 2013 this translates into ideological purity and the undemocratic policies, such as gerrymandering, that ensured their control of the House.

One psychological rule of thumb is that as things get worse most people find it harder to change course.

Andrew Rasmussen
Associate professor of psychology
Fordham University
New York

. October 5, 2013 at 8:06 pm

This scarcity mindset can also be debilitating. It shortens a person’s horizons and narrows his perspective, creating a dangerous tunnel vision. Anxiety also saps brainpower and willpower, reducing mental “bandwidth”, as the authors call it. Indian sugarcane farmers score worse on intelligence tests before the harvest (when they are short of cash) than after. Feeling poor lowers a person’s IQ by as much as a night without sleep. Anxieties about friendlessness have a similar effect. In one experiment a random group of people were told that their results on a personality test suggested a life of loneliness. This random subset subsequently performed worse on intelligence tests and found it harder to resist the chocolate-chip cookies provided for them.

anon November 10, 2013 at 4:36 pm

“The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.”

—Willem de Kooning

. December 8, 2013 at 8:38 pm

More intriguingly, the presence or absence of such features skews parents’ attitudes to their offspring. At least 15 studies have shown that mothers treat attractive children more favourably than unattractive ones, even though they say they don’t and may actually believe that. At least one of these studies showed this bias is true from birth.

Some of the details are extraordinary. One researcher, who spent a decade observing how mothers look after young children in supermarkets, found that only 1% of children judged unattractive by independent assessors were safely secured in the seats of grocery carts. In the case of the most attractive the figure was 13%. Another researcher studied police photographs of children who had been abused and found such children had lower craniofacial ratios than those who had not been.

. December 21, 2013 at 9:36 pm

A probable reason for a narrowing in the gap between male and female life-expectancy in recent decades is the sharper fall in tobacco use among men. In contrast, the lifestyle gap between rich and poor has widened. Britons with no educational qualifications are five times more likely than those with higher education to smoke, drink excessively, eat poorly and skimp on exercise.

The pattern varies between countries. In France there is less of a gap between the smoking habits of rich and poor. Nevertheless, a cross-European study of 40-65-year-olds found that mortality rates could be reduced by 23% in men and 16% in women if those on low incomes behaved only as riskily as the better-off.

. December 21, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Parental genetic endowment can also affect children who have not, through the vagaries of gamete formation, inherited the relevant DNA directly. It is uncomfortable, but true, that socioeconomic status is partly genetically determined (genes explain about 40% of variation between people in the status of the job they hold). It is also true that low-status households, for want of resources if nothing else, hinder a child’s development compared with those of middle-class families.

. January 2, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Teachers Give Better Grades to More Attractive Students: Study

The kids who were better-looking reported higher levels of teacher attention, more friends and less depression, says one of the study’s authors Rachel Gordon, a sociology professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago. They also went on to become more successful. It’s not exactly clear whether the attention and praise increased a child’s confidence and hence he or she took extra credit classes and felt more emboldened to ask teachers for help, and that led to the higher grades, or whether teachers, like babies—or even (gulp) parents—simply favor attractive faces more.

. May 23, 2014 at 7:23 pm

FOR unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” St Matthew’s words are oft quoted, albeit usually in an abbreviated form. But are they true? In a study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Arnout van de Rijt of the State University of New York at Stony Brook and his colleagues used the power of the world wide web to find out.

Dr van de Rijt designed a series of experiments intended to look at whether giving people an arbitrary advantage over their fellows at the beginning of an endeavour led to a significantly better outcome for those people. His first experiment tested the value of a donation to a project on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding website. His second boosted the reputations of reviewers on, a product-recommendation site. His third enhanced the status of a test group of Wikipedia editors. And his fourth added signatures to petitions posted on, a site at which political campaigners can lay out their wares.

. January 5, 2016 at 3:06 pm

Better-Looking Female Students Get Better Grades
But for male students, looks don’t matter.

The two economists obtained student identification photographs and had the attractiveness rated, on a scale of 1 to 10, of all the students. (The researchers recruited people who were not students or faculty members to rate the students’ attractiveness.) Then they examined 168,092 course grades awarded to the students, using factors such as ACT scores to control for student academic ability.

For female students, an increase of one standard deviation in attractiveness was associated with a 0.024 increase in grade (on a 4.0 scale).

The attractiveness gap in grades appears to result more from lower grades for less attractive women than from higher grades for the most attractive women. When the researchers divided the women into three groups—average, more attractive, and less attractive—they found a very small (and not statistically significant) gain for the above average attractiveness women. But for the least attractive third of women, the average course grade was 0.067 grade points below those earned by others, a statistically significant gap.

. January 14, 2018 at 8:47 pm

The meritocratic elite has proved remarkably good at hoarding opportunities. Successful people tend to marry each other. Couples devote themselves to giving their children the best education possible, starting in the nursery. Private schools have also proved to be more successful than state schools at adapting to the meritocratic spirit. Institutions that once turned out flannelled fools and muddied oafs are now obsessed with exam results.

To make matters worse, the knowledge economy is a winner-takes-most economy. Superstar firms are pulling ahead of run-of-the-mill ones. Superstar cities are pulling ahead of second-tier ones. This problem is more pronounced in Britain than almost anywhere else because London is so dominant. The London effect is obviously good for London-based professionals who can provide their children with bed and board as they get their feet on the career ladder (often as unpaid interns). But it is also good for poorer people who are lucky enough to have subsidised accommodation within the sound of Bow Bells. London’s state schools are better than the national average, jobs are plentiful and you can get almost anywhere, at a squeeze, by public transport.

The result is a calcified society. Seventy-one per cent of senior judges, 62% of senior officers in the armed forces and 55% of civil service department heads attended private schools, which educate only 7% of the population. In Barnsley only 10% of disadvantaged young people make it to university, compared with 50% of similarly disadvantaged youngsters in Kensington and Chelsea. Only 6% of doctors, 12% of chief executives and 12% of journalists come from working-class backgrounds.

. July 18, 2019 at 4:53 pm

In 1968 robert merton, a sociologist at Columbia University, identified a feature of academic life that he called the Matthew effect. The most talented scientists, he observed, tend to have access to the most resources and the best opportunities, and receive a disproportionate amount of credit for their work, thus amplifying their already enhanced reputations and careers. Less brilliant ones, meanwhile, are often left scrambling for money and recognition. Or, as St Matthew puts it (Chapter 13, verse 12), “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.”

. October 7, 2019 at 7:34 pm

Physical characteristics also affect recruitment at lower levels. A group of Italian researchers sent cvs to a range of employers, some with photos and some without. Applicants deemed attractive by independent scorers were 20% more likely to get an interview than the same application without a photo. Things are worse for the fairer sex. When photos were included, male jobseekers deemed unattractive were contacted 26% of the time, compared with 7% in the case of unattractive women.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: