WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Declining U.S. social mobility: No accident

Fareed Zakaria has a thoughtful piece on how and why chasing the American "dream" has become so daunting.

Large numbers of Americans remain seemingly shackled to their socio-economic status.

Some folks are tempted to blame government and the "nanny state." But how does that square with greater social mobility in countries with more generous safety nets and greater government involvement?

Once again, we also confront the vast disparities in education funding and the uniquely American device of local property tax referenda supporting public schools.

Here's Fareed Zakaria's piece from The WASHINGTON POST...


Zakaria notes - correctly - how some countries with even greater proportions of foreign-born citizens actually prosper and see greater social mobility. However, he fails to note the reverse: How a country like Sweden, absorbing more immigrants, has seen growing social inequality, underscored by the recent riots. (Some say Sweden's famed egalitarianism has hit the trash heap, and Sweden is becoming more like the U.S. under center-right governments.)

Posted at 6:59am on August 15, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 7:55am
We can thank the corporate overseers of the economic and political system and the corporate controlled media that have spawned the tea party and the religious right and moved to them to act against their own economic and political self interest. It's just an updated version of "bread and circuses" for the mob.
The disparity between the one per cent and the so called 47 per cent is even greater than it was in the so-called gilded age, when the one per-centers were known as "robber barons" and progressive Republicans reigned them in.

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 12:38pm
"The most important correlation in the Harvard-Berkeley study appears to be social capital. Cities with strong families, civic support groups and a community-service orientation do well on social and economic mobility. That’s why Salt Lake City — dominated by Mormons — has mobility levels that compare with Denmark’s. This would also explain why America in general fares badly; the United States has many more broken families, single parents and dysfunctional domestic arrangements than do Canada and Europe."

This study can be used to document the success/failure rate for every city in America...those with strong families, married parents and a "traditional" family unit fared far better than their counter-part cities with broken homes, single parents and disfunctional domestic arrangements.

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 1:57pm
Earl, they could have even more "social mobility" in Salt Lake if they bought back polygamy.
But who wants to live in a Donnie and Marie - Mitt Romney kind of world? Some things are more important than having kids who make more money than you.

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 3:09pm
bill: polygamy would probably fall into the "dysfunctional domestic arrangement" category listed in the study.

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 4:43pm
Earl: While Salt Lake is number one. Notice that right behind it are San Jose (Silicon Valley) and San Francisco. Both are the opposite of the Lawrence Welk - Leave It To Beaver - Ozzie and Harriet world of Salt Lake.
And note, this only shows how likely kids are to end up earning more than their parents. It does not indicate how likely those kids are to adopt the same kind of 50s conformist lifestyle as the parents.
It also does not show to what extend these stable, traditional families are the ones producing upwardly mobile kids.
It just says in cities with a lower divorce rate and more two-parent households, you have a higher likelihood that kids make more than their parents. There are a lot of factors at work here. One is a chicken and egg issue: Does a healthy local economy produce stable households or do stable households produce a healthy economy.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Aug 15, 2013 5:19pm
Billsmith and EarlGrey: Commenting on Bill's last post, I'd say a little bit of both is what makes the difference. So yes both a healthy local economy helps to produce stable households and stable households help to produce a healthy economy. They work hand in hand, in my opinion.

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 9:39pm
billsmith: Your original post at the top is half right. The only correction I would make is that the media is controlled by the government, particularly Democrats, and not so much corporate, although there's a degree of that involved as well.

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 9:41pm
For those of us who love A.I. Dupont, Shriners, St. Jude's, or any other children's hospitals, which I'm sure is everybody on this blog, listen very carefully to this video:


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 9:45pm
With regards to the original subject of this post, I would say the nanny state and government involvement is not to blame - it's simply an obstacle to overcome. In the end, mobility is always up to the individual.

Fri, Aug 16, 2013 10:10am
Here's the real key to social mobility:

Could regular sex make you RICH? Study finds employees who have sex four times a week get paid more than those who don't

* A study has revealed that not having enough sex can lead to loneliness, social anxiety, and depression
* Also found those who have sex at least four times a week get paid 5% more
* People who have no sex get paid 3% less than those who do have sex
* Could be because people who earn well can afford to go on more dates or because they are more attractive to potential partners

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2395509/Anglia-Ruskin-University-study-finds-employees-regular-sex-earn-dont.html#ixzz2c8oju1FZ

Fri, Aug 16, 2013 6:57pm
Guess it's time for me to take a testesterone supplement so I can get an 8% pay raise.

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