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August 14, 2017



very Toby Young. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08lgq9n

Luis Enrique

I don't often strongly disagree with you, but I do here. In fact I think your thought experiment about slaves, guards and oligarchs is a classic example of bad economics-style reasoning, moving from an unrealistic stylised model to make unwarranted claims about the real world.

There are many ways in which greater social mobility may be symptomatic of a better society. You write "Social mobility, then, is no sign of a good society." but in fact greater social mobility might be a very reliable sign of a good society. It depends on the extent to which changes which you would consider to improve society also coincide with great social mobility. For example, a reduction in class prejudice would increase social mobility. If it so happens that greater social mobility is most often observed in societies that have less class prejudice, are more equal, invest more in social infrastructure etc. etc. then mobility is a good sign of a good society.

brian faux

social mobility is a treatment for a chronic disease - the existence of class. Surely it is better to eradicate the disease than work on the palliative?


I've always been uncomfortable about social mobility arguments for one simple reason: it is all predicated upon a person "doing better" (and therefore being better) by being socially mobile. But the implication that if you don't aspire to be socially mobile you are in some way lacking.

But someone has to do working class jobs such as care work, cleaning, driving (ok automation may eliminate driving jobs) and it is not unreasonable for those people to be valued for what they do and to be paid a decent wage to live provide for their families and lead fulfilling lives.

Let's focus on valuing those in working class jobs instead of implying they are in some way lacking for not wanting to be middle class.

Tynnie Todgers

Social mobility is a zero-sum game.

More people ending up on the same rungs of the ladder isn't social mobility, it's equality.

Antoni Jaume

" But the implication that if you don't aspire to be socially mobile you are in some way lacking. "

is pure fabulation on your part.

Jim Harrison

Intelligent oligarch have always recognized that a certain amount of real social mobility is crucial to the survival of the system. The illusion of social mobility is not enough. There are two reasons for this. Ruling classes must recruit people of talent and energy to avoid becoming ingrown and decadent, and dangerously able members of the lower orders must be co-opted before they threaten effective rebellion.So even if you're a fan of hierarchy, you have reason to wonder if the current regime of social stasis is supportable.


Social mobility is often a sign of economic growth. When an economy is growing, there are all sorts of opportunities for people in various classes that don't exist in a static or shrinking economy. This is one reasons that conservatives often fight against economic growth.


>>>Thirdly, people from working class backgrounds earn less than those from professional ones, even if they have similar jobs and qualifications. This might be because they have less access to social networks and good connections.

I think it might also be because (a) they are less money-orientated and/or (b)they have less sense of 'entitlement' or understanding of what pay claim is possible than the middle class, and so don't ask for a raise.

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