Inequality, Fraternity

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In the same week, both Stephen Colbert, on his show, and John Stossel on his, introduced their brothers — their real-life siblings.

Colbert’s younger brother is a very successful corporate attorney who was on the show to answer questions about whether Colbert could use the word “Olympics” when broadcasting from the Vancouver games, even though NBC had paid hundreds of millions of dollars for exclusive use. (Short answer: “No.”)

Stossel’s older brother is a Harvard physician who argued against former New England Journal of Medicine editor Arnold Relman about the wisdom of imposing barriers between the health industry and physicians in the name of preventing corruption — such as physicians’ being induced to prescribe certain drugs by gifts of free pens or dinners. (Short answer: “No.”)

Two things struck me.

1. Success runs in families. In each family, siblings become extremely successful, though in two very differ- ent industries.

2. The siblings on TV were obviously more handsome than their brothers.

Don’t get me wrong. Stephen also seemed much funnier than his brother, and I’m sure that John is more skilled at getting information across in soundbites than his own sib- ling. But the difference in physical appearance was striking in both cases.

I guess the market is efficient.

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