June 10, 2007

Don't call your child Apple

Chris Dillow discusses over at his blog the way that an unpopular name seems to influence a child's future life in negative ways- its an interesting finding- but leads me on to think about something else which is the whole nature of merit. We tend to think that we deserve things- conservatives tend to think that the market will allocate us things on the basis of desert, socialists that government should level out the iniquities of the market and often many of us say things like he shouldn't have had that he didn't deserve it or vice versa. Chris's point though seems to point to the whole concept of desert being a much more complicated phenomenon than it might be thought of as- in truth even when we are successes that's built on accidents that we have little to do with. It also illustrates the difficulty (though not the impossibility) of seperating an advantage in life which is unearned from part of the person that you are- a name is an unearned advantage but if you didn't have your name would you be you and consequently is that advantage/disadvantage inherent to the definition of who you are and are we discussing the thing before the name (ie that which is not you) or the thing after it (ie that which is you).

Its an interesting question.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

It is interesting. I have an unusual surname [not Limoncello!] and it made it difficult to "hide" in school [you know, those times when you just want to fit in and not be noticed]. In the end, it does become part of who you are.

Good luck in the polls, Gracchi!

james higham said...

...We tend to think that we deserve things...

You deserve a blog award.