Status-Income Disequilibrium

Five Things You Need to Read Today

1. Status-Income Disequilibrium

You’ve probably heard by now about the college admissions scandal, in which wealthy and famous people were arrested for bribing college officials to get their kids into elite schools….

The details that are coming out are pretty amazing. There are the Hollywood actresses who laundered their payments as tax-deductible donations to a charity for the education of underprivileged kids, when they were really bribes for the education of their overprivileged kids. By the way, I don’t like the term “overprivileged,” but it actually seems to apply here. One of these payments, for example, was made on behalf of a daughter who told her many Instagram followers that “I don’t really care about school” and was just going for the parties. And then there’s the fact that the whole thing was uncovered because one of the parents got caught pulling an unrelated financial fraud and sold out everybody else to get a plea deal.

This is basically a real-life Tom Wolfe novel. It has all the ingredients that fascinated him: the obsession with status and prestige, the hypocrisy of liberal elites, the Instagram “influencers”–a quintessential Tom Wolfe type–who are less interested in education than the louche party scene of the post-Sexual Revolution “college experience.” It’s exactly the carnivalesque hall of mirrors he would have loved.

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