comment by Viliam_Bur ·
2012-09-08T19:01:12.371Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
An example which comes to mind is providing users with credit usable only to order basic supplies and basic food.
I have heard this idea proposed, and many people object against it saying that it would take away the dignity of those people. In other words, some people seem to think that "basic human rights" include not just things necessary for survival, but also some luxury and perhaps some status items (which then obviously stop being status items, if everyone has them).
parents can punish them by taking away their toys if they don't, as effectively as for earlier generations.
In theory, yes. However, as a former teacher I have seen parents completely fail at this.
Data point: A mother came to school and asked me to tell her 16 year old daughter, my student, to not spend all her free time at internet. I did not understand WTF she wanted. She explained to me that as a computer science teacher her daughter will probably regard me an authority about computers, so if I ask her to not use the computer all day long, she wil respect me. This was her last hope, because as a mother she could not convince her daughter to go away from the computer.
To me this seemed completely insane. First, the teachers in given school were never treated as authorities on anything; they were usually treated like shit both by students and school administration (a month later I left that school). Second, as a teacher I have zero influence on what my students do outside school, she as a mother is there; she has many possible ways to stop her daughter from interneting... for instance to forcibly turn off the computer, or just hide the computer somewhere while her daughter is at school. But she should have started doing something before her daughter turned 16. If she does not know that, she is clearly unqualified to have children; but there is no law against that.
OK, this was an extreme example, but during my 4-years teaching carreer I have seen or heard from colleagues about many really fucked up parents; and those people were middle and higher social class. This leads me to very pesimistic views, not shared by people who don't have the same experience and are more free to rationalize this away. I think that if you need parents to do something non-trivial, you should expect at least 20% of population to fail at that. Let's suppose that in each generation 20% of parents fail to pressure their children to work, in a world where work is not necessary for decent living. What happens in 5 generations?
My model is only based on my personal experience
Personal experience can give different amounts of evidence. If the experience is "me, my family, and people I willingly associate with", that one is most biased. When you have some kind of job where you interact with people you didn't choose, that one is a bit better -- it is still biased by your personal evaluation, geography, perhaps social class... but at least you are more exposed to people you would otherwise avoid. (For example I usually avoid impolite people from dysfunctional families. As a teacher, they are just there and I have to deal with them. Then I notice that they exist and are actually pretty frequent. When I go outside of the school, they again disappear somehow.)
Of course, I would still prefer having a statistic; I am just not sure if there are available statistics on how many parents completely fail at different tasks, such as not letting their children spend all free time with a computer.