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Grammy nominations and the improbability of 2L

amirm

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#41
My comment that there's corruption in America must also be understood in a context where two of the three last administrations - including one president - stated that America is an indispensable nation; a high example for others to follow. America is the world's unrivaled military might and plays the leading role in our modern financial system (what the French called the "exorbitant privilege").
So in the context of how Grammy awards are given -- a private enterprise -- you thought to use your ideas of government to judge that? Really? As part of Microsoft, we sponsored the Grammy's, I went to the parties, and have the good (and bad) memories to tell to grand kids one day. That you rather believe some unrelated data to what I am explaining to you is hard to fathom.

I also explained to you that Grammys are ruled by business motives and social interactions in music industry. It has nothing whatsoever to do with our government. This type of business shenanigans is rampant in every part of the world. Perhaps you have had no dealings with such Nordic/Scandinavian companies like Nokia and Ericsson. These guys got together, created the 3GPP standard (GSM) for cellular communication in Europe (and elsewhere). They then conveniently included all of their own patented technology forcing the rest of the world to pay them huge royalties. All with government support to boot (antitrust? what antitrust). You are a babe in woods if you think there is trust, transparency and honesty in how businesses are run in your neck of the woods. Business is business.

Bottom line continues to be the same: you made a blanket statement about Americans being corrupt which was insulting, not backed by any data and flat out wrong.

It is true that many of us don't trust our government. But that has nothing to do with how we behave as Americans with each other.
 

JJB70

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#43
All entertainment industry awards are political. Don't fret. Either you like the music, or you don't. Someone else's machinations shouldn't mean anything to you.
Sums it up. If you like a particular piece of music then whether or not it has won any awards, sold lots of discs or download or whether it is popular is pretty much irrelevant.
 

JJB70

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#44
I think Amir is correct in this. Social studies are often highly subjective and have agendas. In many cases this is blatantly obvious, in others more subtle and only apparent if you have a detailed knowledge of a particular subject. Transparency for example, a few months ago I read a transparency international report in full because it considered something I was very familiar with and it was quite shocking that the report displayed a fundamental lack of knowledge and understanding of the subject and was very selective in its analysis yet when published it was accepted by many at face value (after all, it was a report so it must be right). As a general observation my advice is to be careful about reports and technical papers in general as unless you read them in full and also understand the analysis it is very easy to be led up a wrong path, some authors are very adept at using the abstract/executive summary in ways which might be described as disingenuous. And in terms of impressions of other societies, corruption etc I think experience is important. I've travelled widely and am under no illusions as to the nature of corruption (as I alluded to early my employer is part of an international anti-corruption initiative so see all sorts of raw reports and notifications) but there are so many variables and sensitivities that I find many reports on the subject hopelessly simplistic and/or tendentious.
 

svart-hvitt

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#45
I think Amir is correct in this. Social studies are often highly subjective and have agendas. In many cases this is blatantly obvious, in others more subtle and only apparent if you have a detailed knowledge of a particular subject. Transparency for example, a few months ago I read a transparency international report in full because it considered something I was very familiar with and it was quite shocking that the report displayed a fundamental lack of knowledge and understanding of the subject and was very selective in its analysis yet when published it was accepted by many at face value (after all, it was a report so it must be right). As a general observation my advice is to be careful about reports and technical papers in general as unless you read them in full and also understand the analysis it is very easy to be led up a wrong path, some authors are very adept at using the abstract/executive summary in ways which might be described as disingenuous. And in terms of impressions of other societies, corruption etc I think experience is important. I've travelled widely and am under no illusions as to the nature of corruption (as I alluded to early my employer is part of an international anti-corruption initiative so see all sorts of raw reports and notifications) but there are so many variables and sensitivities that I find many reports on the subject hopelessly simplistic and/or tendentious.
@JJB70 , I never imagined a brief comment in passing on corruption in America - which both of the two past presidents have made a topic in their speeches - would get as much pushback as it has from @amirm. I thought countrymen of "the indispensable nation" would be more robust; it seems like people are easily offended these days despite the fact that academic training is about making one robust when confronted with a statement one doesn't like. My initial post on rigged Grammys was meant to be fun facts for music interested people by pointing to something fishy about the 2L coin; why doesn't the nominations of 2L and the picking of a Grammy winner seem to be decided by the same coin (in a coin-flip)? So I am sorry for these lengthy defence comments after being accused of having an agenda and worse (and please have in mind that some of my comments are not necessarily aimed at you, @JJB70 ).

You write that "social studies are often highly subjective and have agendas". While this is obviously true, you haven't shown that this is true in the case of the Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index (CPI). The CPI is based on averaging 13 data sources:

1. African Development Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment 2016
2. Bertelsmann Stiftung Sustainable Governance Indicators 2018
3. Bertelsmann Stiftung Transformation Index 2017-2018
4. Economist Intelligence Unit Country Risk Service 2018
5. Freedom House Nations in Transit 2018
6. Global Insight Business Conditions and Risk Indicators 2017
7. IMD World Competitiveness Center World Competitiveness Yearbook Executive Opinion Survey 2018
8. Political and Economic Risk Consultancy Asian Intelligence 2018
9. The PRS Group International Country Risk Guide 2018
10. World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment 2017
11. World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey 2018
12. World Justice Project Rule of Law Index Expert Survey 2017-2018
13. Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) 2018
Source: Source Description (https://www.transparency.org/cpi2018)
Statistical comment (see page 24 for a short summary): https://www.transparency.org/files/content/pages/2018_CPI_2017_StatisticalAssessment.pdf

Is it probable that these 13 sources are all biased and tilted towards subjectivity and a certain agenda? If so, why would these biases push America down, not up on the lists? Who would you generally trust: A meta study, followed yearly by a broad base of academics, based on 13 sources, or one self-proclaimed expert on the subject?

In analyses one often distinguishes between soft and hard data. Hard data are factual data, like observed new orders in a company. Soft data are surveys like purchasing managers indexes. It's obviously better to use soft data in combination with hard data as a means of diversification of input. Still, soft data are very popular in financial markets where there's skin in the game, because they are more readily available than hard data and sometimes are leading compared to hard data. Soft data is based on "wisdom of crowds", a methodology that often works far better than stubborn experts thought possible (cfr. the ox story and Francis Galton: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wisdom_of_Crowds).

In matters of social capital - like corruption, trust, freedom etc. - one has to deal with what is called the theorization and commensurability problem. If you cannot define or measure in a standardized way, one cannot be certain that a quantitative approach, a quantitative and seemingly objective treatment of the subject will be fruitful.

For this reason, it's easy to write off social science because definitions and measurements aren't as easily standardized in an adequate way as in the hard sciences. That's one of the reasons why people say "I can predict the motion of heavenly bodies but not the madness of people". And Max Planck said he avoided economics because the math was too difficult; it would have taken him a week to master the math of 19th century economics, but a really good, robust, final mathematical solution to social science is probably not attainable.

So is social science just fluff? Method without content, or content without method? I think Isaac Asimov's text on "The relativity of wrong" (https://chem.tufts.edu/answersinscience/relativityofwrong.htm) comes into play here (too). There's no doubt that social sciences are wrong. Remember, even the statement that the earth is spherical is wrong. Let me quote Asimov:

"The basic trouble, you see, is that people think that "right" and "wrong" are absolute; that everything that isn't perfectly and completely right is totally and equally wrong."

@amirm and many others are of the opinion that social science is wrong because it's not as right as the hard sciences. This line of thinking forgets about the relativity of wrong: Can social science help us to understand the world a bit better than without social science? I believe that despite some of the flaws of social sciences - like the theorization and commensurability problem - social sciences can be of value. Social sciences are wrong, but don't forget about the relativity of wrong.

By averaging 13 surveys - with the ability to follow the scores over time - I believe one is able to get a bit closer to the truth (the statistical assessment of the CPI in the link above says the same). Especially if the result of this meta study of a social phenomenon is supported by other surveys on social capital.

Now, take a look at this quote from the 2013 edition (long before last presidential election) Global Corruption Barometer by Transparency International:

"Looking only at OECD countries, which as the world’s largest economies ought to be strong performers on governance and anti-corruption, the wide range of people’s perceptions as to the extent of government capture by special interests is striking (Figure 6). While only five per cent of Norwegians see their government captured by special interests, this goes up to more than two-thirds in countries where the economic crisis highlighted deep-rooted failures of governance, such as Greece, Italy and Spain, but also includes Belgium and Israel. This suggests that there are important lessons to be learned within the group of OECD countries from Norway and other Scandinavian countries about how to run one’s government so that it is seen by most to serve the overall public good."
TI CB.png

I am not making up these data to fit an agenda or my subjective view. Isn't it intriguing that 13 times as many Americans as Norwegians complained about rigged politics in this poll? Should we censor this data? Am I against the American people if I point to statistics like this? Or is it the other way round: Is it in the interest of the American people to focus more on corruption in America?

Above, I wrote that it's interesting if "the result of this meta study of a social phenomenon is supported by other surveys on social capital". So let me present another survey, with the danger of being accused of linking to a survey that is "highly subjective and have agendas". Take a look at the press freedom index of Reporters without Borders (which has been criticized of being biased in favour of Europe and America):

https://rsf.org/en/ranking

On place 45, America is once again second or third tier when it comes to a function in society that has to do with transparency in society. Norway is number one, just ahead of Sweden, the Netherlands and Finland.

Before I finish, let me point to another anecdotal set of data that casts light on both the past and the present in America. The theme is very controversial, but important nonetheless. It has to do with admission politics of American elite universities, The Ivy League. The two articles below (one short popular article to provide some colour, while the other more interesting one contains lots of data and text not advised for fragile readers) provide facts that support the hypothesis that admissions to the Ivy League have been and still are rigged based on race, so called race quotas (Jewish quotas in the 1920s and Asian quotas in modern times):

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/15/us/harvard-asian-enrollment-applicants.html
http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-racial-discrimination-at-harvard/

So my point is: Do we see a pattern here across surveys, methodologies, data collection and input, academics, experts etc.? Does it pass the duck test? Is it proved beyond doubt that America is a second tier country when it comes to corruption, rigged play? (And please don't accuse me of saying that all Americans are corrupt even if their elite is).

I am frankly irritated when I am accused of being anti the American people when I point out patterns that indicate that the American people have to live under a "a few big interests looking out for themselves". Accusations by @amirm of being a child for pointing to broad patterns in a diverse set of data on America is disappointing. And being criticized for reading books on a site with "science" in its name is totally unexpected. My experience with books is that you can sometimes learn things that it would take decades or even life-times to know through personal experience. Especially in matters that are complex, like differences in habits across countries.
 
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andreasmaaan

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#46
@svart-hvitt I believe you may have me confused here with @JJB70? ;)

Interesting to have my attention drawn to this thread though - I know nothing about the Grammies nor this Lindberg person, but one of my closest friends works for TI, lol.
 

svart-hvitt

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#47
@svart-hvitt I believe you may have me confused here with @JJB70? ;)

Interesting to have my attention drawn to this thread though - I know nothing about the Grammies nor this Lindberg person, but one of my closest friends works for TI, lol.
Sorry for the mixup of names, @andreasmaaan !

:)

PS: I just corrected the comment with correct names.
 
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stunta

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#49
An artist I like gets nominated consistently but never wins. Another artist I like doesn't even get nominated, ever. How do any of these statements translate to a statistically unfair system?

Another way to look at it is, an artist I like got nominated so many times, that is fantastic as most don't!

EDIT: Also, The awards are subjective, criteria & judges may vary year over year, so I am not sure if you can stack probabilities. I would instead consider each year as independent of the other.

I don't watch the grammy's cos of this:

All entertainment industry awards are political. Don't fret. Either you like the music, or you don't. Someone else's machinations shouldn't mean anything to you.
 

amirm

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#50
You write that "social studies are often highly subjective and have agendas". While this is obviously true, you haven't shown that this is true in the case of the Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index (CPI). The CPI is based on averaging 13 data sources:
You keep quoting this even though I have repeatedly shown using their own information that this is for a narrow swath of the society in each country. I will quote the Wiki for you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_Perceptions_Index

1550104924438.png


You have yet to show its applicability broader than public sector.

The wiki mentions that as one of three criticisms against the research:

1550104341854.png


Do you understand the key points they are making?

The section keeps going ending with this paragraph:

1550104476498.png

Yup, Sweden.

Even taking it at face value, the rankings as published by CPI using quantized color coding shows this:

1550104137778.png

US is ranked way up there in top tiers (blue). No way can this support your assertion of corruption implying we are at the bottom.

And oh, hopefully you are not blind to economic factor driving public sector corruption in the world. Every country with high GDP/person is doing well in this survey against the others who are not so fortunate.

Is it proved beyond doubt that America is a second tier country when it comes to corruption, rigged play?
Love the word play here "second tier." An olympian getting a silver medal by your word choice is "second tier." Of course in the context of the people in that sport, he is second from top -- a major accomplishment. The color coding above shows the same thing for US. Not damning at all.

You have an incredible agenda to put US in poor light.
 

amirm

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#51
Take a look at the press freedom index of Reporters without Borders (which has been criticized of being biased in favour of Europe and America):

https://rsf.org/en/ranking

On place 45, America is once again second or third tier when it comes to a function in society that has to do with transparency in society. Norway is number one, just ahead of Sweden, the Netherlands and Finland.
Once again we have play with words. Here is their color coded map:

1550105528800.png


US again is shown to be way on the good side (yellow) than bad (red and black) Here is their text indicating the same:

1550105588823.png


None of this is remotely any sign of corruption. It would be absurd to imply US has serious problems when it comes to freedom of press.

Type of government of course hugely impacts this and nothing related to the society culturally wanting to be this way.

So again, nothing you have shown can remotely justify saying Americans are corrupt and have always been. It is time to take that back.
 

amirm

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#53
And being criticized for reading books on a site with "science" in its name is totally unexpected.
Your posts are devoid of science. Instead, they are wreck of nationalism and borderline racism. It is my job to make sure this forum is run without any such influences. No way can you continue to justify the outrageous statement you have made.

You have no real idea of what you are talking about anyway. The closest you have come to corruption is reading it in a paper. Here is corruption for you. My father lived in a third-world country and had a real estate dispute with someone. He decided to take it to court and I asked him if he was going to win. He said absolutely and it would be an easy case. A few weeks later he comes home and says to us that the other party had given a bribe to the judge and as a result, he was now told he is going to lose. He talks to the judge and the judge tells him if he wrote a bigger check he would win! So he did and "won." This is corruption. You have no idea or reference for what the word means to put US in the same sentence.
 

Ron Texas

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#54
@amirm is the son of immigrants. He completed an engineering degree, earned a high level position at Microsoft and now owns his own business. That is the American Dream. It's what is wonderful about this country. The American Dream exists because the USA is not a corrupt system.
 

andreasmaaan

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#55
I'm rather disappointed it turns out not to the first result google threw at me, the Danish, pork-chop rocking "musician, singer and disc jockey" Morten Lindberg.

1550106093631.png


Now listening to some beautiful music engineered by the other Morten Lindberg though, so at least this thread has led to something (arguably two things) constructive.
 

stunta

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#56
I paid my first bribe when I was 14. I will never forget that day because I drove a moped across the city for an hour, in the middle of summer (probably around 40 deg celsius), the moped got overheated and stopped so I had to wait for it to cool off and then back on again. Reached this government office so I could get our family ration card (back then, we used it both as an ID and for subsidized provisions) renewed. I somehow managed to elbow my way to this guy at the desk who shooed me away with the standard answer - "come back tomorrow". I went next day, again, with some cash in hand and got the card renewed. No shame taking a bribe from a kid.

A few years later, that same moped got stolen from our house. My dad reported it to the police and to this day (its been 25 years I think), he regrets it. He swore he would never go to the police again. They strung him along with bribe after bribe, dragged him to another town to check out other stolen mopeds (along the way the constable happily had lunch, coffee etc on my dad's dime) and somehow in the end, they did find it, but it was close to home.

My grandfather lived in this one house for 20+ years that he paid for by working as bank cashier and raising 5 children along the way. One fine day a guy shows up with papers that say its his house. He had police connections and got the police to threaten to jail him if he doesn't move out. Things got really tense and through some political connections, money and luck, he managed to keep his house. I grew up in that house.

I paid the largest bribe to get my marriage registered. Perfectly regular thing and part of the job description of the registrar. But nope, cash on one hand, registration on the other. That's how it goes.

I could go on and I probably have many more memories that are suppressed.

I moved to the US to join a university. Day one, I went to some office for some document and I am standing by the door. The lady behind the counter waved me over and asked me "How can I help you, young man?". Such a small thing, taken for granted here, but for me, an unforgettable moment.
 

svart-hvitt

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#57
Your posts are devoid of science. Instead, they are wreck of nationalism and borderline racism. It is my job to make sure this forum is run without any such influences. No way can you continue to justify the outrageous statement you have made.

You have no real idea of what you are talking about anyway. The closest you have come to corruption is reading it in a paper. Here is corruption for you. My father lived in a third-world country and had a real estate dispute with someone. He decided to take it to court and I asked him if he was going to win. He said absolutely and it would be an easy case. A few weeks later he comes home and says to us that the other party had given a bribe to the judge and as a result, he was now told he is going to lose. He talks to the judge and the judge tells him if he wrote a bigger check he would win! So he did and "won." This is corruption. You have no idea or reference for what the word means to put US in the same sentence.
@amirm , first you're accusing me of nationalism due to my choice of Finnish speakers. Which is so absurd I don't know what to say. FYI: I am Norwegian and Norway and Finland have historically never (regrettably!) had a very close relationship despite our common border in the north.

And now you accuse me of racism. How low can you go?

Instead of debating my arguments, you resort to groundless accusations, stigmatizing the one you are debating with. Bad form.

I know I shouldn't care about your debate style. What I do care about is if you are following social science and basing your arguments on social research when we are discussing social issues. What I have seen from you is just folklore and your personal experience and opinion. Instead of accusing and stigmatizing people, what social science and research can you draw upon to show that corruption and eroding social capital in America is not a problem? Waving off all surveys (please note that the Transparency International Curruption Index is based on 13 sources and its statistical validity has been assessed by an external body), research and academics that paint a picture you don't like is not fruitful.

I speak up about corruption in the USA because about 2/3 of Americans say that the "country's government is run by a big few interests looking out for themselves". So you are in the minority (1/3) of Americans who think corruption is not a problem. Social capital in America is on a decline, as evidenced by numerous articles by academics, social research and science. For 40 years, the median American has had zero real income growth. The periphery is falling behind. Don't you feel at least some empathy with the Americans whose destiny hasn't been good in the past decades?

Let me show you yet another piece of research that is worrying for Americans. On The Economist's Democracy Index, America is called a "flawed democracy":

"Flawed democracies are nations where elections are fair and free and basic civil liberties are honored but may have issues (e.g. media freedom infringement). These nations have significant faults in other democratic aspects, including underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance".
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index

America has fallen to number 25 on this index, just ahead of Estonia but behind Cape Verde.

The first tier countries on top are Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Denmark.

Are we beginning to see a pattern here (on social capital in general)? Are all these surveys hampered by the theorization and commensurability problem (i.e. no standard definitions and measurement methods)? Are all these surveys handicapping America, in some sort of conspiracy?

You talked about your background. Let's look at social mobility in the USA, as measured by the OECD:

Smob.png


Your experience is a statistical outlier and of little value for insight compared to a broader data set.

The problem in the USA is that Americans overestimate social mobility in their country. From The Economist:
smob2.png


What the chart tells us is that Americans think the the USA are the most socially mobile country of the four nations, while the USA in reality are the least socially mobile country. Americans are optimists.

Your comment on your background - that I knew nothing about before you wrote it - may cast light on what is going on in this debate. Let me explain. In "Inherited Trust and Growth" by Algan and Cahuk (http://econ.sciences-po.fr/sites/default/files/file/yann algan/Inherited Trust and Growth_AER.pdf) write that "it is already well-established that the parents' social capital is a good predictor of the social capital of children" and "part of social attitudes is shaped by the contemporaneous environment and another part is shaped by inherited beliefs from earlier generations". In other words, our inherited backgrounds will shape the way we see the world. So our inherited backgrounds will work as a sort of an anchor that influence our perception of the world around us; which may explain why I react on corruption and other sources of eroding social capital in another way than you do. From my perspective, the United States and Southern Europe are examples of second tier countries corruption wise (Transparency International use 8 different colours to group all the countries in the survey, and the USA is in tier two, though not far away from tier three where it will go if the current trend continues, and Transparency International put America on the list of "Countries to watch"*). The United States are not where they should be if they are to live up to being "the indispensable nation", are they?

Because our personal backgrounds shape our way of viewing the world (the fact that the definition of corruption has changed over time, and will probably continue to change, complicates the matter further), it's important to approach social research in a manner that minimizes subjectivity and emotions. I think I have shown now that corruption and social capital in the United States are matters of concern beyond doubt for any socially oriented person. 2/3 of Americans seem to be of the same view (on corruption), which means 1/3 of Americans think corruption is no problem. I seem to side with the majority of Americans. You seem to side with the minority of Americans.


*Transparency International on the USA and the Corruption Perception Index: " With a score of 71, the United States lost four points since last year, dropping out of the top 20 countries on the CPI for the first time since 2011. The low score comes at a time when the US is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power".
 

Ron Texas

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#58
@svart-hvitt some of us don't appreciate your comments. I love my country and don't need some foreigner digging up biased "research" from radical left wing economists who believe in equal results rather than equal opportunity.

At any rate, none of this has anything to do with the Grammy's. It's not corruption, it's the politics of the recording industry.
 
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PierreV

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#59
Instead of debating my arguments, you resort to groundless accusations, stigmatizing the one you are debating with. Bad form.

Small reality check here...

Is there any point aggressively "debating" complex socio-economical issues in a place dedicated to the measurement of audio-devices?

Take a walk outside, listen to some music on your great speakers (no irony here) and just relax...
 

svart-hvitt

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#60
Although the charts above suggest that it's harder to move up in the US than in some other countries, the results don't differ by a lot. Also, it's about the progress of the bottom quintile. The results could be entirely different for the next to the bottom quintile or the middle one.

Also, one must look at the makeup of the low income groups. In the US people who don't speak English are at a disadvantage and they make up a disproportionate share of the poor.

The chart of how many generations it takes to reach the mean doesn't tell a far more scary statistic. That is how many generations it takes for high income people to regress to the mean. Denmark is a welfare state. Income and wealth inequality is dealt with through confiscatory taxation. Those who don't want to work get a free ride. Things look worse in France and Germany, the two powers of the EU. Perhaps that's because they have unrestricted immigration.

At any rate, none of this has anything to do with the Grammy's. It's not corruption, it's the politics of the recording industry.

@svart-hvitt some of us don't appreciate your comments. I love my country and don't need some foreigner digging up biased "research" from radical left wing economists who believe in equal results rather than equal opportunity.
@Ron Texas , I was challenged to prove my short remark in passing on corruption, and then there were the accusations and ridiculing of social science and research.

But you’re right: It’s better to calm things down. Maybe we should ban comments and debates on social issues.
 
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