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Ugly? Sign here for monetary compensation!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by LucasJackson, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. LucasJackson

    LucasJackson
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    This economics professor at the University of Texas lays out legal arguments for protecting the uglies. Namely, if minorities such as women or hispanics have received legal protection, be it in the work place or home loans, why shouldn't ugly people?

    • There are other possible objections. “Ugliness” is not a personal trait that many people choose to embrace; those whom we classify as protected might not be willing to admit that they are ugly. But with the chance of obtaining extra pay and promotions amounting to $230,000 in lost lifetime earnings, there’s a large enough incentive to do so.

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/28/opinion/sunday/ugly-you-may-have-a-case.html?_r=1&hp" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/28/opini ... ml?_r=1&hp</a>

    After checking the date, and assuring myself that this is not an April Fool's joke, this guy is serious.

    Focus What do you think? Does he have a point? Should we legislate legal protection for people who feel wronged by society because they weren't pretty enough?

    More importantly, let's look at the first couple of paragraphs - no one would argue that, in certain ways, the beautiful get further ahead in society. But last I checked, Margaret Thatcher, Alan Greenspan, Lady Gaga - who are none too pleasing on the eye - didn't achieve what they achieved through legal protection or legislation.

    Therefore, do we overstate beauty? How much does it really matter?

    Additional Focus You can be honest - when was the last time you were kicked to the curb because of your looks? Dumped? Fired? Denied promotion?

    AND - let's still be honest - when was the last time you did the same to someone else?

    My two cents: This is a strong argument based on weak statistics. I'm sure his numbers come from pretty solid sources, but anyone who's lived in the real world can tell you it's much more complicated than that. Legal protection for some arbitrary notion of "beauty" is a far cry from racism or discrimination.

    NOTE -- Since the NYT is making you pay to read their online service, here is the text of the column:

    BEING good-looking is useful in so many ways.

    In addition to whatever personal pleasure it gives you, being attractive also helps you earn more money, find a higher-earning spouse (and one who looks better, too!) and get better deals on mortgages. Each of these facts has been demonstrated over the past 20 years by many economists and other researchers. The effects are not small: one study showed that an American worker who was among the bottom one-seventh in looks, as assessed by randomly chosen observers, earned 10 to 15 percent less per year than a similar worker whose looks were assessed in the top one-third — a lifetime difference, in a typical case, of about $230,000.

    Beauty is as much an issue for men as for women. While extensive research shows that women’s looks have bigger impacts in the market for mates, another large group of studies demonstrates that men’s looks have bigger impacts on the job.

    Why this disparate treatment of looks in so many areas of life? It’s a matter of simple prejudice. Most of us, regardless of our professed attitudes, prefer as customers to buy from better-looking salespeople, as jurors to listen to better-looking attorneys, as voters to be led by better-looking politicians, as students to learn from better-looking professors. This is not a matter of evil employers’ refusing to hire the ugly: in our roles as workers, customers and potential lovers we are all responsible for these effects.

    How could we remedy this injustice? With all the gains to being good-looking, you would think that more people would get plastic surgery or makeovers to improve their looks. Many of us do all those things, but as studies have shown, such refinements make only small differences in our beauty. All that spending may make us feel better, but it doesn’t help us much in getting a better job or a more desirable mate.

    A more radical solution may be needed: why not offer legal protections to the ugly, as we do with racial, ethnic and religious minorities, women and handicapped individuals?

    We actually already do offer such protections in a few places, including in some jurisdictions in California, and in the District of Columbia, where discriminatory treatment based on looks in hiring, promotions, housing and other areas is prohibited. Ugliness could be protected generally in the United States by small extensions of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Ugly people could be allowed to seek help from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other agencies in overcoming the effects of discrimination. We could even have affirmative-action programs for the ugly.

    The mechanics of legislating this kind of protection are not as difficult as you might think. You might argue that people can’t be classified by their looks — that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That aphorism is correct in one sense: if asked who is the most beautiful person in a group of beautiful people, you and I might well have different answers. But when it comes to differentiating classes of attractiveness, we all view beauty similarly: someone whom you consider good-looking will be viewed similarly by most others; someone you consider ugly will be viewed as ugly by most others. In one study, more than half of a group of people were assessed identically by each of two observers using a five-point scale; and very few assessments differed by more than one point.

    For purposes of administering a law, we surely could agree on who is truly ugly, perhaps the worst-looking 1 or 2 percent of the population. The difficulties in classification are little greater than those faced in deciding who qualifies for protection on grounds of disabilities that limit the activities of daily life, as shown by conflicting decisions in numerous legal cases involving obesity.

    There are other possible objections. “Ugliness” is not a personal trait that many people choose to embrace; those whom we classify as protected might not be willing to admit that they are ugly. But with the chance of obtaining extra pay and promotions amounting to $230,000 in lost lifetime earnings, there’s a large enough incentive to do so. Bringing anti-discrimination lawsuits is also costly, and few potential plaintiffs could afford to do so. But many attorneys would be willing to organize classes of plaintiffs to overcome these costs, just as they now do in racial-discrimination and other lawsuits.

    Economic arguments for protecting the ugly are as strong as those for protecting some groups currently covered by legislation. So why not go ahead and expand protection to the looks-challenged? There’s one legitimate concern. With increasingly tight limits on government resources, expanding rights to yet another protected group would reduce protection for groups that have commanded our legislative and other attention for over 50 years.

    We face a trade-off: ignore a deserving group of citizens, or help them but limit help available for other groups. Even though I myself have demonstrated the disadvantages of ugliness in 20 years of research, I nonetheless would hate to see anything that might reduce assistance to groups now aided by protective legislation.

    You might reasonably disagree and argue for protecting all deserving groups. Either way, you shouldn’t be surprised to see the United States heading toward this new legal frontier.
     
  2. PIMPTRESS

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    I'm curious how they would qualify as "ugly" in order to recieve these benefits. They have a panel of judges? How ugly is UGLY?
     
  3. Harry Coolahan

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    A good example of moral hazard if I've ever heard one. Do we really need a world full of ugly people?
     
  4. Juice

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    Maybe like a jury? They have to check a box for "Yes" or "No" next to a head shot and the question, "Would you fuck this person?"

    Alt Focus: I'm dashingly handsome, so never.
     
  5. xrayvision

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    I can understand legislating protective laws for people that actually have conditions, to prevent discrimination. I get it. But those are generally quantifiable conditions. (Being disabled, mentally retarded, poverty, etc)

    But it is impossible to legislate an opinion about how someone else looks and giving them an advantage if they are determined to be "not good looking". I would bet money that this economics professor is probably pretty hideous looking to come up with some retarded idea like this.

    What's the threshold for beauty?

    Alt Focus: I can't think of a time that my looks have gotten me discriminated against. I can't think of a time that it also helped out either. I generally try to succeed based on merit.
     
  6. mya

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    On the flip side, what about the people who say they are discriminated against because they are TOO good looking. Beautiful women can claim that they are taken less seriously because of their good looks. Didn't we have a thread a while back about a women who claimed that she was fired because she was too sexy. Even in professional garb like a pencil skirt and blouse?

    But on focus, what a load of rubbish.


    ETA - here is that story actually (I am not going to search to find the thread link) <a class="postlink" href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37495127/ns/business-us_business/t/woman-bank-fired-me-being-sexy/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37495127/ns ... eing-sexy/</a>
     
  7. sartirious

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    Considering how much work has been done to mathematically prove the dimensions of beauty (something about the golden ratio, the Mona Lisa, waist-hip ratio of 0.7, etc), I don't think we are that far off from being able to accurately quantify "attractiveness". Yes, different strokes for different strokes, but I don't think anyone would have considered Rodney Dangerfield a hot piece of man meat even in his prime - there are some universal constants.

    If we are subsidizing the ugly, does this mean that we would tax people that are too beautiful?
     
  8. CharlesJohnson

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    We need to help ugly people just like the handicapped. Without ugly people and their retard strength, who will pull our carts, til our fields, and manufacture our goods? Where will we find those suited to manual labor? It's simple Fug-o-ology, the ugly person's brain is innately hardwired to realize the beautiful person's society even at personal loss.

    They need to be protected like any good work force. I don't want to say we should put ugly people in camps, but we should put ugly people in camps. Due to horrible facial, and biological, disfigurement branding them with an "M" for Morlock wouldn't be necessary as they are conspicuous in their natural state.

    FACT: ugly people need only the minimal amount of "beauty" sleep and will live off artificial food stuffs laden with high fructose corn syrup and preservatives.

    FACT: the size and shape of an ugly person's skull is different than that of a beautiful person's, not just aesthetically. It is smaller, thus denoting a smaller brain, and dotted with bumps and contours from numerous blows to the head as the parents repeatedly dropped the child down stairs during infancy.

    Surely, interbreeding between the species must be rendered illegal for the good of both societies. That kind of abomination would be disastrous to society. How would a sound-minded man of good breeding and cheer distinguish where the genetic flaws began and where the healthy genes were obscured. Madness, my friends. Of course this is fancy, as what proper gentleman or high spirited lady of prosperous family would dare sully their good name in such a union.

    If you read this in an aristocratic Southern accent, you win the prize.
     
  9. xrayvision

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    The fact of the matter is, you can measure people's faces and bodies all you want. You can scientifically determine why someone might be found attractive. But at the end of the day, you cannot legislate an opinion over someones physical attractiveness and give them a leg up if they don't meet the ratios. Someone could have a nice face but be morbidly obese. Ever see a butter face?
     
  10. dixiebandit69

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    FOCUS: This is getting to the point where we might as well say "Let's give EVERYBODY special treatment!"

    Fuck that. If everyone is special, it's just another way of saying no one is.

    What if the person is ugly because of something that was their fault, like riding a motorcylcle without a helmet, years of street fighting or methamphetamine abuse, or an excessive amount of facial peircings?
     
  11. lust4life

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    We subsidize lazy, and you can fix lazy.
     
  12. sartirious

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    There are plenty of people on Workers-Comp or some other form of state-funded 'disability' payment that has nothing to do with how they were born.

    How would you feel if you net-zeroed out? "Congratulations sir, you don't owe any amount of the 'Beauty' tax! - You also aren't going to be recieving any funds as a result of the ugly subsidy..." Hooray, I'm completely average?

    Also, how and when will this be enforced? Some ugly babies grow up to be stunners, and some people that were cute in high school hit a brick wall once they are in the real world.

    Another thing - how will the gender differences be addressed? Everyone knows that men usually age (become unattractive) more gracefully than women...will this be addressed by beautiful women having to pay a higher beauty tax earlier in life, but that being reduced to zero at an earlier age than say, Sean Connery?
     
  13. JoeCanada

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    We just need a grand formula for everything. [(race x height) / (attractiveness + penis (or breast) size)] ^IQ.

    That way everybody just gets a number that says how hard or easy it will be for that individual to succeed. If you're a negative number you get free money and benefits and shit, because you have a small penis and can't fend for yourself.
     
  14. Kubla Kahn

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    No we don't need to be subsidizing people to get fat as fuck, we already do enough of that as is.
     
  15. bewildered

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    So what numbers would you assign to different races? Would people of mixed races get to be an average of those numbers? This is just such a fantastic idea, I would love to hear you flesh it out a bit...
     
  16. lust4life

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    Based on that formula, Emmanuel Lewis would own the United States.
     
  17. sartirious

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    It's not even funny how close you are to the truth. My day job involves figuring out a formula that tries to correlate:

    - age
    - cultural affiliation (race) and acculturation (off-the-boat or 3rd generation?)
    - affluence
    - climate zone
    - distance to store
    - distance to competing store(s)
    - season

    Every day management tries to throw another metric in there to better perfect the formula. The science behind it is pretty good, but we're just scratching the surface of what will be possible in a few short years.
     
  18. PIMPTRESS

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    I'm damn hideous and deserve compensation!
     
  19. Kampf Trinker

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    I didn't read the article and red dot me to hell if you want, but I'm not wasting my time on something with such a stupid premise. Also, I'm pretty average looking so I wouldn't be getting anything out of this while pretty people and ugly people would reap all the rewards of society. WHEN WILL THEY CATER TO THE AVERAGE LOOKING PEOPLE?

    If they actually did this (and believe me they never will) I wonder if some average looking people would make themselves ugly so they could cash the check. It's not hard to put on thirty pounds and grow a neck beard.
     
  20. toejam

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