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20140405 Triple Package



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Main Idea:
The main idea is very simple: the prosperity for groups and individuals comes from combination of three factors: superiority complex, insecurity complex, and impulse control. All these three factors are combined in the “triple package” provide for very good explanation for high level of prosperity for some of minority groups in USA. At the same time lack or weakness of any of this factors makes individuals and group fail. It is also important that the high level of achievement is identified as somewhat limited to simple things like power, money, and other forms of worldly success. Another important point is that triple package made America what it is – the most prosperous and powerful nation in history, but it tend to decay overtime making next generations to lose important components: insecurity and impulse control creating lazy and stupid people with high self-esteem living on welfare.
Description of triple package with examples of successful minority groups that possess these qualities ispades: Mormons, Cuban Americans, Indian Americans, Nigerian Americans, and, most obviously, Jews. The dynamics of achievement is presented as follows: Superiority complex and Insecurity generate drive to achieve, and Impulse Control provides for ability to maintain continuous effort necessary for high level of achievement.
More detailed review of high achievement groups: Mormons, Cubans, West Indian and African immigrant groups, Asians, especially Chinese, Jews, and Iranian / Lebanese immigrants.
Review of sources of superiority complex for each of these groups: Jews and Mormons as chosen people, Cubans as former elite of Cuban society, Chinese and Iranians (Persians) as members of greatest ancient civilization. Conversely the group consistently pressured into accepting their inferiority – American blacks developed complex of inferiority that in many cases prevents them from achieving. African black immigrants who have none of this inferiority complex like Nigerians doing just great. Also provided are some results of psychological research and experimentation that demonstrate significant dependency of level of achievement on level of expectation and self-evaluation.

The second component – insecurity reviewed not only as applied to immigrants, but also as inherent trait of American culture that was created after all by very insecure immigrants from second sons of English nobility to religious decedents. It is more then obvious that such insecurity applied too and at the much higher level to immigrant groups with minority racial and religious background.
The impulse control review starts from classical “marshmallow experiment” to demonstrate scientific prove of value of self-control for success and then goes through detailed review of superior impulse control development methods of Chinese and Jewish families.
This chapter is something unusual for a book about sources of success. It reviews cost of the success. The live within triple package culture is not easy. In exchange for constant drive, hard work, and high achievement it brings not only power and money, but also high levels of stress, psychological and emotional problems, and, sometimes substance abuse in attempts to decrease pressure. There is also an interesting discussion about Chinese Confucian culture’s based pathologies with extreme forms of compliance to authority versus Jewish individualistic god-fighting culture’s based pathologies with extreme forms of challenge of authority.
This is a review of achievement or lack thereof of various groups with detailed look at underachievement of Appalachian white Protestants. It seems to be demonstrates that lack of one component of triple package causes failure to achieve. The missing component for Appalachians is the superiority complex. The American culture controlled mainly by coastal elites treat Appalachians as retarded hillbillies and by doing so instilled in them feeling of intellectual inferiority which prevents them from achieving success.
There is also interesting take on the most successful group – Jews. They are seems to be in process of loosing their insecurity in America. One of consequences of loosing this component is drastic decrease in academic performance of American Jews. This brings us to IQ question. Ashkenazy Jews have notoriously high IQ by all accounts. So dramatic decrease in insecurity accompanied by dramatic decrease in academic performance seems to be indicate that Triple Package is more important for success then pure IQ level. The fact is that individuals with lower IQ, but higher level of drive clearly outperform individuals with higher IQ and less drive.

The final chapter is dedicated to America that, as culture, was build on the Triple Package, but after a century of incredible success is loosing these qualities. One of the most important parts – insecurity is becoming less relevant. Moreover contemporary American culture of “everybody is a winner”, and artificial self-esteem movement, combined with welfare state nearly completely eliminates insecurity from American life.

Another important part – impulse control had never been the strongest suit of typical American. A very interesting idea is expressed that Declaration of Independence was typical expression of American rebellion and inadequate impulse control, while Constitution established a framework for impulse control through checks and balances of different branches of government.

The final recommendation of this book is to work on restoring and expanding Triple Package in American culture in order to assure continuing success and prosperity of this country.
My Take on It:
I find the theory of Triple Package being a good explanation for raise of different groups within society. However one thing more or less left outside of discussion is that only in capitalist society the raise and success experienced by different groups described here is possible. More important only in capitalist society like America this success is based on doing something that other people need, buy. This way it increases quality of life for everybody, including unsuccessful individuals and groups. In all other societies known to history success of any group typically achieved at the expense of other groups leading to stagnation of society overall.

As to regard to America’s loosing its Triple Package, I would not worry about it. Americans are always in the state of insecurity whether because of the rise of some other country (China now and USSR, Germany, Japan in the past) or threat from some ideological phenomenon (Islam now and Communism, Catholicism in the past).

I think this insecurity will not go away at least until the whole world will become something like idealized America – free, democratic, and capitalistic society, where individuals have opportunity to pursue happiness any way they want.

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