The Son Also Rises – There is such a thing as social class and it matters

From Gregory Clark’s book The Son also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility,

Only when confronted with evidence of the persistence of status over five hundred years that was too glaring to ignore was I forced to abandon my cheery assurance that one of the joys of the capitalist economy was its pervasive and rapid social mobility. Having for years poured scorn on my colleagues in sociology for their obsessions with such illusory categories as class, I now had evidence that individuals’ life chances were predictable not just from the status of their parents but from that of their great-great-great grandparents. There seemed to be an inescapable inherited substrate, looking suspiciously like social class, that underlies the outcomes for all individuals.Only when confronted with evidence of the persistence of status over five hundred years that was too glaring to ignore was I forced to abandon my cheery assurance that one of the joys of the capitalist economy was its pervasive and rapid social mobility. Having for years poured scorn on my colleagues in sociology for their obsessions with such illusory categories as class, I now had evidence that individuals’ life chances were predictable not just from the status of their parents but from that of their great-great-great grandparents. There seemed to be an inescapable inherited substrate, looking suspiciously like social class, that underlies the outcomes for all individuals.

Contrary to what he had believed, social mobility in modern times is relatively rare, and the explanation for this is that social skill is largely inherited. Choose your wife or husband carefully, and most of the fates of your children will have been decided.

As one who has watched members of the same families dominate the tennis tournaments at the summer club for three or four generations, and as one of three students who won the same scholastic prizes every year for ten years of schooling, I can assure you that Professor Clark’s findings come as no surprize.

In the immortal words of Professor George Homans, responding to some fellow questioning the existence of an American upper class: “There is so an American upper class and I am a paht of it”!

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Marco Goynes

Be that as it may, people like you misuse it – especially where race and ethnicity are concerned. The author say so himself in an interview –

http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/02/son-also-rises-gregory-clark-inequality-upward-mobility

“There is no evidence of any racial differences in average ability in any of the data that I have. If you look at ethnic groups who occur as doctors at more than average frequency within American society, they are mostly non-white—black Africans, black Haitians, Egyptian Copts, Iranian Muslims, Hindus, Chinese, Filipinos. The evidence is that any group can, under the right circumstances, become elite—or become an underclass group in a society.”

How do you square this with your constant attacks on blacks (which inevitably include Haitians and Africans)?

Maxwell Wolf

“…doctors at more than average frequency within American society, they are mostly non-white—black Africans, black Haitians, Egyptian Copts, Iranian Muslims, Hindus, Chinese, Filipinos.”

Breakdown of US Medical School by race and ethnicity in 2012, i.e. those who will become future doctors.

https://www.aamc.org/data/facts/

Blacks 5,630
Natives – 630
Asian – 18,449
Pacific Islander – 223
White – 48,615
Other non-Hispanic or Latino – 41
Mexican American – 2,017
Puerto Rican – 1,742
Cuban 692
Other Hispanic or Latino – 2,774
Foreign – 2,485
No race response or unknown – 1,560
Unduplicated total graduates – 82,067

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Now we just need to define the term “more than average frequency within American society” to see if that statement is true.

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