People with top jobs who were born into money, went to the right schools and universities and know all the right people will tell you that they worked hard to get to the top. Some, if not all of them, may well be telling the truth. What they fail to accept and understand is that for every privileged person who works their way to the top there are hundreds of the "wrong sort" of people who work just as hard but because of the accident of their birth will never get the chance to be considered for the top jobs. Privilege is not about what you do, even if what you do is the best. It is about who you are and who you know.



  1. Michael Sandel, who teaches at Harvard, has pointed out that many qualities which we consider to be ours – intelligence, physical talents, a willingness to work hard – are qualities which we are privileged to have, not qualities which we developed on our own. Would Tiger Woods have become a great golfer or the Williams great tennis players without the encouragement of their fathers? Even the US President recognizes the privilege of having the mother and grandparents that he did, a family that nurtured the intellectual gifts that God had given him. In the end, it’s all grace.

  2. I believe you are 100% right, Daniel, untrendy as that might be. I know that my intelligence and knowledge, which is quite high for an ex lorry driver from a council estate is all down to my mother teaching me to read before I even started school and my subsequent love of books. She also made watch every documentary on television that came on which I remember really annoyed me because I just wanted to watch the cartoons like all the other kids. She even made me read “Look and Learn” comic and wouldn’t buy the Beano for me.

  3. At the end of the day, I think what we do has to have some impact, but a lot less than those on the top tiers think.

    As my little world collapses on me (it is getting worse of late) I am asking myself what I did wrong. Funny, I cannot think of much! But none-the-less, homeless and impoverished are where we are heading.


  4. Yep.

    But even those of us born in the middle tend to be blind to those born “below” us, in the privilege hierarchy.

  5. As someone recently tweeted:

    Give a Republican a fish and he will think he has learned how to fish; teach him to fish and he will call you a socialist.

    Truly, there is no such thing as a self-made man.