The college admissions 'scandal' should not surprise anyone

A predictable and mildly amusing reaction to the current college admission "scandal" is the righteous indignation on display by a large segment of the public.  Evidently, the citizenry at large is blissfully unaware of how the world operates to serve the very rich, and how they manipulate most every aspect of their world by applying the trifecta of money, power, and influence.  It's a practice that has been occurring since humans began congregating, interacting, and sorting themselves into groups — in other words, forever.

The kids at the heart of this scandal are Trust Fund kids.  They will never be required to work or produce anything, take professional risks, or make the difficult career decisions most of us must navigate along our journeys.  The majority have grown up in highly insulated bubbles of exclusive primary and secondary schools, custom-made recreation opportunities, private jets, yachts, and many other perks unavailable to mere mortals.

Most of these princes and princesses will spend a year, maybe two, playing the college game.  They will party and travel with friends while relying on paid surrogates to produce their class work.  They will then leave campus and return to their trust-funded lives of ease, zero accountability, and zero expectations.  A few may complete a degree in a "content-free" curriculum (usually ending with the word "studies") before returning to their hermetically sealed world.  A small number may pursue a real education and challenge themselves, although the odds are against this.  Remember, there are no incentives to intellectually exert oneself; the table is already set.

So, gaining admission to an "exclusive" school is not a major step on the pathway to success; that pathway is already in place and paved with gold.  Rather, gaining admission is more akin to acquiring another bright shiny object in their collection of expensive, prestigious trinkets — something else to be added to their pile of custom jewelry, designer clothes, and other trophies of affluence.  As for their parents: In a world where status and image are all-important, and money is no object, getting their kid admitted to the "right" school is just another scalp to wave at peers in social and professional settings.              

What to do then?  Not much.  The guilty will be prosecuted, and their legal teams will plea-bargain advantageous settlements and fines (paid painlessly out of bottomless bank accounts).  If their kids are expelled from the schools they defrauded — not a sure bet at all — they will simply continue their lives of luxury and privilege, unfazed.  Most importantly, the next group of parents to buy college admissions for their children, and the legions of bagmen who facilitate this fraud, will have learned important new lessons about being more careful.

Yes, the very rich are different from you and me.