SOCIAL MOBILITY 4
Introduction Social mobility is the ability of agroup of people to experience drastic changes in their sociallifestyle and status. The social hierarchy is composed of the poor,the middle class and the wealthy. Social mobility is, hence, theability of a poor individual to move from hisor her currentcondition to the middle class,and finally,to the rich classdue to the access ofresources as provided by the economy. Social mobility is negativelyrelated to income inequality. The higher the income differencesbetween individuals, the lower the social mobility is.Discussion of opportunities for social mobility in the United StatesPiketty notes that the level ofinequality in the United States is higher than in any other societyin the world. In the year 2010, a mere one percent of theAmericans owned morethan a third of all the wealthin the nation. Heattributes the income inequality to the United States’unchecked capitalism. He also observes thatthe bias occurs whenthe return on capital is more than the overall growth of the economy.The increase in the level of inequality has further reduced the rateof social mobility in the United States. In the U.S.A, three-quartersof the parents’ income is transferred to the next generation inthe form of investedincome. The amount of revenuetransferred is higher within the wealthier 10 percentilecompared to the middle class and the ‘have-nots’category. It is alsoworth noting that two-thirds of the top 10 percent rich people’sincome is more than two-thirds the middle and lower income classindividuals. Consequently, a child from alow-income family inthe United States has a lower possibility of getting rich in thefuture compared to hisor her counterpartfrom the wealthy family. Specifically, in the United States, only 8percent of children born from the poor familiesmake it from the ragsto the riches.Discussion of opportunities for social mobility in EuropeIn Europe, parental earnings havethe least effect on their children’s earnings. In countries such asNorway, Finland, Denmark and Canada, less than 20 percent of parent’sincome is passed on to the children. It takes a shorter time, as wellas, fewer generations to cancel out the effects of being born from awealthy family. Consequently, a child from a low-income family hasalmost equal chances of getting as rich as their counterparts fromwealthy households. In Europe, 11% to 25 % of people from poorbackgrounds can rise fromrags to riches.Europe’s income inequalityhasdecreased since the year 1996. The reason for the decline ininequality is the increase in both agriculturaland manufacturingindustries.Consequently, the rewards from capital in Europe are less variablefrom the rewards of labor. Poor people can access similar resourcesto the rich since their incomes are similar. Besides, the incomesfrom prominent professions such as doctors are only abouttwo to three timeshigher than incomes from low paying jobs such as bus drivers.On the other hand, the income difference between a doctor and a busdriver in the United States can be over seven times.Discussion of opportunities for social mobility historically(1700-2000)Since the year 1700, opportunitiesfor social mobility have declined with time. Based on professionalfamily backgrounds, in 1700, 56% of children whose parents hadfarming occupations ended up in non-manual occupations. However, thepercentage of children emerging from familiesengaging in manual work backgroundslike farming,and end up in non-manual occupations,has declined to 6% bythe year 2000. The trend is attributed to various causes such as thehigh rate of inheritance among non-manual occupations. Parentsin non-manual occupations leave their professions to their childrenand leave little space for their children compared to parents withmanual occupations. The resultantincome disparities have extended to the difference in educationalopportunities between children from rich and those from low-incomefamilies. The disparities in access to education have further reducedthe elasticity of social mobility.