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From Rags to Riches

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Sneha Iyer

on 28 August 2014

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Transcript of From Rags to Riches

Origin of "Rags to Riches"
How it Became Important to Society
The "Rags to Riches" concept really centers around the idea of the American Dream. It has become important to society because it gives lower class children and adults something to strive toward and work hard for. Many immigrants come to America searching for the opportunity to make money in the "land of opportunity"; America is a melting pot of different cultures due to this. If one believes that through hard work one can get to the top, one will work hard.
Thesis
Despite the preconceived notion of Americans that the transformation from rags to riches is mildly achievable, social mobility is ultimately an impractical dream that is just a fairytale to most due to lack of innovation, spirit, luck, and perseverance.
Perspective #1: False Perception
While most Americans remain hopeful, Rags to Riches is an impractical dream for most.
Perspective 2: Positive Examples
Almost two-thirds of the world's 946 billionaires have come from nothing. These industry tycoons are college or high school drop-outs, demonstrating that street smarts can easily top book smarts if one is determined, savvy, and a little bit lucky. If the UK's publishing mogul, Richard Desmond can become a billionaire by selling porn after leaving school at age 16, there must be another way to rise through the masses ourselves with enough creativity.
Perspective #3: Rags to Riches to Rags
39 % of Americans will spend a year in the top 5 percent
56 % will find themselves in the top 10 percent.
73 % will spend a year in the top 20 percent of the income distribution.
While many people make it to the top, only 8% of people who rise more than one level on the income distribution pyramid actually stay there for the entirety of their lives.
Perspective #4: Hope That stems from the Dream
Examples

The Path from Rags to Riches
Sneha Iyer, Annie Leach, Will Hensley
the rise from poverty to wealth/fame
Early Examples:
Cinderella- 1697, Aladdin- early 18th century
Dickensian novel- Oliver Twist
Genghis Khan
Roman Emperor- Diocletian
common archetype in literature and pop culture
40% of Americans believe the rags-to- riches transition can happen
only 4% of Americans actually travel the rags-to-riches path
Rags-to-riches stories are the backbone of Hollywood movies, these movies give eager Americans a false perception of the difficulty in climbing this ladder to success.
Oprah Winfrey
Henry Ford
Bill Gates
J.K. Rowling
Steve Jobs
Walt Disney
SOURCES
Though many hopeful Americans might think they are living the rags-to-riches dream, only a minuscule amount of people that become rich actually stay rich.
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-11-11/american-rags-riches-dream-now-history-most
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/rags-riches-american-dream-way-144325729.html
http://www.today.com/money/rags-riches-stories-are-alive-well-hollywood-873258
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/opinion/sunday/from-rags-to-riches-to-rags.html?_r=0
http://www.forbes.com/2007/06/22/billionaires-gates-winfrey-biz-cz_ts_0626rags2riches.html
http://amyoscar.blogspot.com/2007/11/archetypal-story-pattern-rags-to-riches.html
http://ragstoricheskem.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/cinderella-the-rags-to-riches-archetype/




"Underdog stories exist in all aspects of our daily life including sports. California chrome was bred by two horses so sub-standard that the group owning California chrome refers to themselves as DAP, "dumb ass partners". Such stories remove the elitist air that surrounds the sport and serves as a metaphor to daily life that genes and strong breeding don't determine everything. Even though our nation seems to rig the games against the little guy (Wall street traders profit from getting information before the rest of us), there are plenty that rise from the bottom and worked hard to stay there, making this country none other than America.
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