Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Thursday, November 01, 2012 :::

There are a lot of suburbs in which many people drive to and from the city on most weekdays, but on Saturday and/or Sunday, they tend to stay near their house. If I take the "ility" ending seriously, it's not the case that "mobility" has decreased; it's not that people would have any more trouble moving than on other days, but the other forces that lead them actually to do so have changed.

My current working worldview is that, at least approximately, what we call "class mobility" (in the sense in which the United States has really had classes) increased after World War II and has largely stayed the same since then.  It was certainly higher than in Europe in the 1800s (hence, in part, the previous parenthetical), but certain barriers to mass movements between classes diminished further, and a lot of people moved to higher economic classes.  There has been some sporadic editorializing in the past decade about a decrease in mobility, and that's not what I perceive; it's not so much that people can no longer move up, simply that those who would do so have to some extent already moved.

This presumes a significant hereditary component to the attributes that make one likely to move to a different class, as well as a significant component that is not hereditary; the model in my head is that, with very slow movement among classes, over many generations there would develop large discrepancies between where individuals were and where they would be in an environment of higher mobility, that then the mobility increased and the discrepancies were significantly lowered, but then, after that first generation or so, movement is more heavily a function only of the change from one generation to the next, instead of including a large component from discrepancy that had built up over time.

::: posted by dWj at 5:39 PM

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Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

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