good story along the lines of education and social mobility in chile.
we have some good friends that have two kids. one is 12 the other 19.
mom and dad come from pretty humble background. grandfather was a gas fitter with no real education. mom and dad maneged to get a university degree. dad now teaches at a local university.
well they realy busted their asses to put their kids in to one of the better private german schools. kids both are fluent in english and german. they made sure their oldest son had the chance to travel to europe in high school. he even studied in Germany for a year.
we have known them for several years, and were there when they had to make hard decisions about paying rent vs. paying tution. without the rent, they would have to move to another town. without the tuituon, there was no point in paying high rent to keep their kids in the local private school; but, they have maneged to pull it off.
oldest son decided he want to be an attorney, and he got in to a good law school.
so he calls up my wife from time to time for carreer advice. he is on speaker phone one day as they are talking about what field of law he should specialize in. he is young, still idealistic, and is a good kid with a moral compass. he wants to save the world and help poor people. good for him. get it while your young, and before you get too old and synical about the world.
as my wife and him are talking about this however, i injected my two pesos and said, "you need to specialize in an area of law that makes a boat load of money, because you owe your mother a great big house and and a new car. Preferiably one that speaks German. Then you can go save the world".
the line went silent. he knows i am right. he realy owes his mom.
that ended that conversation. we got him working a part time internship with us now. i told him when he was leaving for law school if he made it through his second year of law school, and still wanted to be a lawyer, i would give him an internship in our santiago office.
the kid has talent. he is realy smart. the kid speaks english better than me, knows computers and IT, and if he gets out of line his mother lives next door us. she was over for thanks giving dinner thursday. You can't buy that sort of leverage over an employee.
the point is, here is a case of extremely rare talent in chile, him and his family made all the right moves education wise, and although he might do pretty well on his own, there is a much higher probability without my wife and I recruiting him before he get's out of school he will spend the next 20 years as a juinor attorney in some law firm, just to be passed over for promotion by someone with better family connections. that is, if he even get's his foot in the door with a major law firm vs. having to go it alone in a single attorney private practice.
he is not the only one. We have the same thing going on with the young women attorneys that work for us. We just hired a couple young female attorneys. They were invited to apply out of the law school classes our partners teach at the University of Chile. there were about 30 that took us up on the invitation to apply, including the top in the graduating class, for just two positions. The finalist in the application process all offered to work for less than market wages that a typical law school grad of their caliber would expect to make coming out of school. why?
Because with three female senior partners, and all female staff, there is no questions about do we promote women in our firm. There is somewhere for their carreers to go after they are hired, besides a broom closet in the basement. while the other old boys club law firms in santiago are falling over themselves to just talk about how someday they might promote a women or two to partner (most probably will never do it), we are already doing it.
There is a massive untapped talent base in chile, but because of the social structure, they are still not being provided the opertunities they need to make the most of it.
Chile's GDP should be at least three times higher than what it is, if not more; simply because of the historical class structure is both passively and actively holding back the most qualified and motivated people in the country.
that is not capitalism. that is not the free market putting the best and brightest to work. That is socialism. It is a discriminatory social structure, holding them and the country back from reaching their full potential. fixing the education system os a very small step in the right direction, but more important is fixing the social structure. especialy in the private sector.
by contrast, both in the legal field and many other fields, you see people come out of the best schools in the country, with ho hum to just downright poor performance, that simply do not care because due to family connections their career sucess has already been pre-programmed. They don't care, don't need to care, and if you walk around many badly maneged companies it is often a reflection of how they are recruiting and promoting people in chile.
They need to get the socialism out of their capitalism. it is essentialy a politicaly built, far right socialist class system, undermining real free market economics from functioning correctly.
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