Hispanics, Education, and “Revealed Preference”

Steve Sailer`s “A Triumph Of Assimilation” below, about Hispanics who say they believe in the power of education, but actually drop out of school early and often, is actually a story about “revealed preference.” From the Economist magazine`s website illustrates this concept with  this classic joke:

Revealed preference

An example of a popular joke among economists: two economists see a Ferrari. “I want one of those,” says the first. “Obviously not,” replies the other. To get a smile out of this it is necessary (but not, alas, sufficient) to know about revealed preference. This is the notion that what you want is revealed by what you do, not by what you say. Actions speak louder than words. If the economist had really wanted a Ferrari he would have tried to buy one, if he did not own one already.

The point is that you could afford the Maserati–if you sold your house. It`s true that you`d have to sleep in the Maserati, so your “revealed preference” is for sleeping indoors. (It`s true that you can`t sleep in a Maserati, but I do know of an actual case, years ago, of a young man who, faced with being unable to pay both his rent and the payments on his dream car, managed to do it in a Cadillac.)

It`s the same with anything people say they want–you may say you`d like to lose weight, but the scale may show a “revealed preference” for cheeseburgers. So when we read that 87% of Hispanics value higher education, 13% have college degree, we know that if Hispanics actually wanted higher education, they could get it.

For one thing, as underprivileged minorities, they are officially overprivileged. They count towards affirmative action, which means all kinds of “full ride” scholarships, in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, The Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the Hispanic College Fund and minority scholarships from corporations.

But Hispanics don`t even use up all the free high school that`s available to them, dropping out for “economic reasons” to take low-level jobs or have children, like the man in the comic book ads I read forty years ago advertising correspondence schools.

It`s a free country, of course, and if American teenagers want to do this, that`s fine, but we don`t need to import people to do that.