Bryan Caplan reports on a meta-analysis comparing intelligence, personality, and status in predicting life outcomes: The magnitude of the effects of personality traits on mortality, divorce, and occupational attainment was indistinguishable from the effects of [Socioeconomic status] and cognitive ability.
So I would rather hire a lazy person than a stupid person
If you're lazy, the worst you can do is nothing; but if you're stupid, you can make HUGELY damaging mistakes
I was once accused of laziness ... by a Romanian. Maybe laziness is traditionally regarded as really bad, but something happened to us in the 60s?
'ignorance is bliss'. Also, don't adults envy children when they enjoy simple-minded games? It's not that the children are ignorant, it's just that they are stupid enough to still enjoy it - they really can't solve tic-tac-toe on their own, it's just too hard.
I think it comes down to (1) [perceived] choice, (2) [perceived] responsibility, (3) [perceived] difficulty/rapidity of 'fixing the problem'.
1. laziness is conceptualized as a choice, while smarts is conceptualized as being mostly beyond our ability to choose; 2. from the first point, it follows that the lazy person is responsible for their state, and so they are more deserving of insult, etc.; 3. the lazy individual is perceived to be able to change his state at will and very quickly (if he only tries hard enough [which he is surely capable of]), while smarts can either not be change or can only be changed with long and arduous effort.
One of my law professors once explained why firms prefer students with top grades from top law schools: "Firms know they can't be both lazy and stupid." That got me thinking. I would much rather be lazy and smart than hardworking and dumb. I get the same results with less effort if I'm lazy and smart. (Hence, "work smarter, not harder.") People who can coast through life doing very little but achieving a lot are more impressive (because we want to emulate them more) than people who have to fight for every scrap.
English doesn't really have a pejorative word for having low 'conscientiousness'. Lazy can mean avoiding unnecessary work as well. It is likely that at least some of the negative correlation is social factors because it will usually be the superiors in an organization that determine what is 'necessary' or not; but again mostly just because it's hard to compare and so people have different readings of the actual word, 'lazy'
Rather than taxing natural differences, let us eliminate natural differences. Everyone will be a clone of everyone else, and there will be no life on the planet but us (since if natural differences among humans are problematic, consider the natural differences between species). We will, of course, eat each other.
All ideas about taxing natural goods to equalize happiness end badly in my mind, because there will always be one more important natural good to tax. And many goods, like beauty, are somewhat subjective and thus a lot harder to measure than height. The ultimate natural good, indeed the ultimate good period, and really the most logical thing to tax in equality's name, is "well-being" - one of the least measurable goods of all.
I get such great satisfaction out of hearing people explain why Bryan Caplan is stupid and wrong... it's one bias I just want confirmed over and over.
If traits like consientiousness are so heritable, shouldn't we be talking about taxing them like we're going to tax height? After all, Mankiw just used height as an example of attributes that are associated with increased earnings.
Lazy people by definition don't care as much about 'life outcomes'.
Reminds me of the saying: "Well they get an 'A' for effort."
IQ in a way is just as messy. Say your IQ is 130, and mine is 110. I'm a poli sci junkie and follow the news religiously. You only care tangentially. Should I give more weight on your opinion of the war than my own opinion?
In your go-getter example -- the obvious change in behavior is, presumably the go-getter would be better at project management (or running a grant), all other things equal.
Intelligence is seen as more of an issue of personal identity. We are our thoughts; people think that implying that one group of people thinks better than another implies that they are superior as people (which doesn't make sense on several levels). Laziness is not a part of personal identity or perceived self worth in nearly the same way.
Furthermore, intelligence is generally framed as univariate and strictly increasing on a scale. IQ is a number that is greater than or less than other people's numbers, making a quick, clean comparison. Personality is rather more complicated, and it is not on an increasing scale. Most variance in personal traits lacks a clear > relationship.
It also doesn't give you much in the way of a practical claim. If you acknowledge that I'm much smarter than you, you should probably give my opinions extra weight. If you acknowledge that I'm much more of a go-getter than you, this does not imply a change in behaviour that I can think of.
As a student in primary school in the 1960s, we received two grades on our report cards for each subject. One was for "achievement" and the other was for "effort." I considered it an insult to receive a higher grade for effort than for achievement, but a compliment to receive the reverse.