Civitas: “Britain IS socially mobile”

Fascinating reading from Civitas:

Politicians from all parties say they are committed to the ideal of a ‘meritocratic’ society – they all want talented and hard-working people to succeed in life, irrespective of their social background. However, a new report from the independent think tank Civitas argues that many politicians are badly informed about the facts of social mobility in modern Britain. And because they don’t know the facts, they support policies which are at best unnecessary, and at worst deeply damaging.

In Social Mobility Myths, Peter Saunders, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Sussex, sets out to convince the political class that much of what they believe (or say they believe) about social mobility in Britain is either false or more complicated than they think.

The bottom line is: we cannot hope to develop good policies if we ignore the key influence on the phenomenon we are hoping to change.

The author argues:

  • Social mobility is common in Britain
  • Britain does not compare unfavourably with other countries
  • Social mobility has not been falling
  • Intelligence matters
  • Most bright, working class children succeed
  • Ability trumps class

We learn that personal effort and talent still matter more in shaping people’s destinies than class origins. Great!  Let’s make the most of encouraging effort and nurturing talent.

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