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Social mobility

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Roger Hicks, May 28, 2014.

  1. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    The phrase "social mobility" has appeared on a couple of threads recently. But what does it actually mean? Is it just code for how much money you earn? Or perhaps for the extent of your possessions (including a house) and your debts (or lack thereof). Or does it include who your friends are, how often you see them, how well educated you are, how many books you have in the house, how many languages you speak intelligibly, how international your views are, which newspapers you read...?


  2. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Talking about social mobility I discovered when going round his museum in Great Ayton that Captain Cook had originally joined the navy as a rating before rising to become one of the most distinguished captains in our naval history. Does anyone think that that sort of rise would be possible today?
  3. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Roger,

    Dunno, but I suspect that the answer is yes. After all, a sometime ship's steward rose to become deputy prime minister, not so long ago. Both are such exceptional cases that I don't think they advance the argument very much.


  4. Footloose

    Footloose Well-Known Member

    Since it's just been recently said that the level of inequality in British society is as bad as it was 100 years ago, I would say there are a lot less opportunities for people at the bottom of the pile, to climb up to the near the top. That is probably due to jobs which maybe 30 years ago, paid really well, (to enable people to earn the money to climb further up this ladder) are becoming more and more automated, and can therefore be done by those who don't need to be paid as much.

    I also get the distinct impression that the branches of banks are more unwilling to invest in start-up companies than they used to be, because in relative terms, the cost of starting a business, (for instance, manufacturing rather than service industry related) are proportionally much higher than they used to be.

    The services industry I see as being more like fleas on the back of bigger flea, which in turn relies on even lesser fleas. the biggest one, has a problem, and in order to resolve this, gets rid of the ones that rely on it, leading to the smallest flea, which is the most vulnerable, getting hit the hardest.

    Maybe I just don't 'get' the wholesale use of sub-contacting these days ... After all, if someone can do the job better than you can, it's better to integrate them inside your business. Look at the big multinationals, that's what many of them do, so the savings made, still remain inside that business.
  5. nspur

    nspur Well-Known Member

    Social mobility is being able to tie a bow tie with your eyes shut and pronouncing the "t"s in "prostitution"..
  6. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Dear Roger, I just wish someone else had asked the question. I hope that you will give us your own answer in due course.
    Regards John.
  7. BikerMike

    BikerMike Well-Known Member

    In the Guardian article I posted the other day, it is a numerical index based on the comparison of income and/or social class of middle-aged people, compared to the same criteria for their parents at approx. the same age. Normally expressed on a scale from 0 to 1.0, the higher the number, the less social mobility.

    Although some of the measurements are (unsurprisingly) subject to dispute, there are agreed ways of doing it.

    The important thing is that the same criteria are used consistently - it is by its very nature a comparative index.

    Regards, Mike
  8. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Mike,

    Hang on: "agreed" by whom? Both Guradian readers and Torygraph readers?

    And ARE the "same criteria . . . used consistently"


  9. flipster

    flipster Well-Known Member

    Social mobility......anyone who gives me a lift to the pub....
  10. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Nice one. :)
    For me, it's the bus, or some kind soul who gives me a lift.
    As for National Readership Survey (NRS) Categories?

    [TABLE="width: 616"]
    [TD="width: 205"]Social Grade[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"]Social Status[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"]Occupation[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"]A[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"] upper middle class[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"] higher managerial, administrative or professional[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"]B[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"] middle class[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"] intermediate managerial, administrative or professional[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"]C1[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"] lower middle class[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"] supervisory or clerical, junior managerial, administrative or professional[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"]C2[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"] skilled working class[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"] skilled manual workers[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"]D[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"] working class[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"]semi and unskilled manual workers[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"]E[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"]those at lowest level of subsistence[/TD]
    [TD="width: 205"] state pensioners or widows (no other earner), casual or lowest grade workers[/TD]
    Being now a pensioner, I can no longer aspire to any 'greater' category. As I have found out when applying for Home Insurance recently, it makes a heck of a difference also being a widow!
    So in my lifetime so far, I've gone from nothing, to C2, to B and now to E in the eyes of NRS Categorization.
    So, is it my purchasing power which has put me there? Probably.
    This is only one means of categorizing a population, but it does show the ridiculous nature of it when thinking of social mobility.
    Did I move upwards within a middle class family then plummet downwards? No. I see my 'place' in society only as related to my environment and the people I interact with. That changes over time. I don't.

  11. miked

    miked Well-Known Member

    Thanks Kate, I'm happy to be an 'E'. Walking is one of my hobbies. I often meet people heading in the same direction, and so that's my version of social mobility.
  12. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Kate, Interesting table thanks for posting but it does seem a bit of hotch-potch with some bands being obviously income based and other status based. I rather suspect that it has only marginal relevance as to how we perceive the real world.
  13. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Hi Roger Mac,

    Yes, the table is there to illustrate its limitations when talking about social mobility but it is the sort of measure used when trying to analyse the situation.

    I think Heraclitis had the best ideas. It was the foreward to one of my Statistical Analysis books in the deep past and I never forgot 'the river'. :)

  14. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member


    Not just the best ideas - he also got the best epitaph, one that sticks in my head over all the years since I first heard it.
  15. BikerMike

    BikerMike Well-Known Member

    Agreed by those who regularly create indices, "accepted practice". In this case, the OECD.

    The papers just publish the results, (together with their take on them).

    Regards, Mike
  16. beatnik69

    beatnik69 Well-Known Member

    Blimey, I'm officialy (lower) middle class then? I feel a sense of inverse snobbery coming on. I want to be skilled working class so that at least I can be of some use to somebody. :)

    I look up to him... but I look down on him...
  17. BikerMike

    BikerMike Well-Known Member

    :) :) :)

    It's revealing that the genuinely productive people, i.e. those that produce wealth by their labour, are mostly those in the lower classes - and the worst rewarded.

    Revolution anyone? :)

    Regards, Mike
  18. beatnik69

    beatnik69 Well-Known Member

    I would have said yes when I was still working class but now it's keep the oiks down for me! ;)
  19. BikerMike

    BikerMike Well-Known Member

    Bounder! :)
  20. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Hi Kate,

    I think your table has forgotten to include that special category of "having a key to the executive wash-room"!
    In 1962 I started my post graduate employment in the building recently erected for Elliott-Automation, and my senior management had the first floor to themselves. On her promotion a few years later, my ex-boss was given an office on the first floor, and found that the "executive" wash room for a person of her sex was on the second floor. Possibly not as convenient as life had been on the 5th. floor before her promotion...

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