Rags to riches

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For other uses, see Rags to riches (disambiguation).

Rags to riches refers to any situation in which a person rises from poverty to wealth, and in some cases from obscurity to fame--sometimes instantly. This is a common archetype in literature and popular culture (for example, the writings of Horatio Alger, Jr.).

Criticism[edit]

The concept of "Rags to riches" has been criticised by social reformers, revolutionaries, essayists and statisticians, who argue that only a handful of exceptionally capable and/or mainly lucky persons are actually able to travel the "rags to riches" road, being the great publicity given to such cases a natural Survivorship bias illusion,[1] which help keep the masses of the working class and the poor in line, preventing them from agitating for an overall collective change in the direction of social equality.[2][3]

Classic times[edit]

  • Fairy tales, such as Cinderella and Aladdin
  • The Dickensian novel Oliver Twist whose main protagonist rises from a workhouse to child labour to a gang of pickpockets to being adopted by a wealthy family.
  • Genghis Khan, who was homeless with just his mother and his siblings. He went on to create the largest land empire in history.
  • The Roman Emperor Diocletian, born in poverty and whose father was a former slave (by some sources, the emperor himself was born in slavery) [1].
  • The Arthurian story of Sir Gareth, who rises from a lowly kitchen boy to a prominent Knight of the Round Table.
  • Pope Leo III was of commoner origin and attained the high position in spite of violent opposition from the nobility, who considered the papacy as their preserve.
  • Chandragupta Maurya of India, who from a humble beginning founded the Maurya Empire
  • China's Hongwu Emperor and Emperor Gaozu of Han, who were born into peasant families, but eventually founded two of the nation's most illustrious imperial dynasties.
  • Nader Shah, one of the most spectacular cases, known as the Last Great Conqueror from Asia.
  • Toyotomi Hideyoshi one of the most famous in modern times, as a he unified pre-modern Japan.

Modern times[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Taleb, 2001. "Part II: Monkeys on typewriters; Survivorship and other Biases"
  2. ^ Peña, 2012. Chapter 5 "From Rags to Riches"
  3. ^ Weiss, 1969. P.35
  4. ^ Roosters storm into NRL grand final - www.smh.com.au
  5. ^ The Pursuit of Happyness - Rotten Tomatoes

See also[edit]

External links[edit]