It pays to choose your ancestors carefully

Murphy, Peter (2014) It pays to choose your ancestors carefully. Quadrant, 58 (6). pp. 40-43.

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The Son Also Rises could well have been subtitled 'a critique of wasted breath'. After 1945, Western countries became obsessed with social mobility. The Left talked about access and equity. The Right talked about opportunity. Governments of all stripes spent trillions of dollars to increase social mobility. The lesson of Gregory Clark's fascinating book is that it was all pointless. Social mobility is no greater in the West today than it was in medieval England. Upward mobility in Sweden today is no better than in the eighteenth century. Nor is it better in contemporary Sweden than in the United States. The wealth of East Asia exploded in the past half-century. Modernity came to Asia aggressively. But this had relatively little impact on who climbed up or slid down the social ladder. Neither huge spending on higher education nor even mass-scale totalitarian murder of millions made a difference. All government schemes to increase social mobility end in failure.

Item ID: 33574
Item Type: Article (Other)
ISSN: 0033-5002
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Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2014 00:57
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160805 Social Change @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 100%
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