Article in the Guardian by Gregory Clark on social mobility graded 5/10

Gregory Clark writes in The Guardian that “social mobility rates are immutable” and that we therefore should aim at greater economic equality, rather than mobility. Other research indicates that, to the contrary, it is possible to increase mobility – e.g., ironically, by increasing equality. The introduction of a unified school system in Sweden in the 50s and 60s also seems to have increased social mobility. The fact that Clark fails to mention and rebut this alternative view on social mobility is a fundamental flaw in the article.

Generally, the author does not give much evidence for his views. Also, the article contains one major factual error. The author says that GDP per capita “just as high” in the Nordic societies as in the UK. In fact, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland all have substantially higher GDP per capita than the UK, whereas Finland’s GDP per capita is slightly greater than the UK’s.

Of course, these problems does not refute the thesis that it’s important to do more to increase equality. They do constitute substantial weaknesses, however, especially considering that the author is supposed to be an expert on the subject (see The Economist’s review of a book by him on the topic). I give it a grade of 5/10. See this link for my comments.


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