When Forbes put Kylie Jenner on the cover of its latest issue and declared her one of the 60 richest self-made women, the magazine seemed to think it was telling a simple, inspiring tale: About how the youngest child of Americas reality TV royal family, the Kardashians, became an almost-billionaire cosmetics mogul before the age of 21. But the meaning of the story was in the politics of the beholder.
There are two basic ways to read the cover. The first is that there are more bootstrapping entrepreneurs in America than ever before, many of whom are creating new technology or, like Jenner, harnessing it to make their millions.
The second is that America is not the level playing field that places such as Forbes pretend it is, and Jenner illustrates perfectly that, while your odds of going from rich to filthy rich are still pretty good, your odds of going from rags to riches have never been slimmer.
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