General Question

gorillapaws's avatar

What does this 2020 Economic Mobility Index say about the equality of opportunity and the efficacy of Democratic Socialism?

Asked by gorillapaws (24549points) 1 month ago

The 2020 Social Mobility Index was just released at the World Economic Forum. This metric is designed to measure how easy it is to move up in society from the class you were born into (i.e. “the American Dream”).

If you look at the data, the US has an index of 70.4, ranking in 27th place out of 82 countries. If one looks at the list, it seems that democratic socialist countries following the Nordic model are topping the list, suggesting economies pursuing democratic socialism produce the most equality of opportunity for their people.

Do you agree with this conclusion. Is there a better way to interpret this data?

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10 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Well, that is just what happens when the population has near universal access to affordable higher education. Even later in life.
It also helps having a strong social safety net, so you do not have to worry about starving to death or becoming homeless, while you pursue additional training and education.

elbanditoroso's avatar

There are certain elements of the population in the US who feel that the US number is actually too high, because it would contribute to the elevation of all sectors of society – thereby democratizing the country, and making harder for the rich to exercise their power over the poor.

If you’re a 1 percenter, or even a 4–5 percenter, you don’t want people to rise and have opportunities. You would prefer that the lower economic class remain low, because it solidifies the upper class hegemony.

My guess is that many in the US wish our number were lower.

Finally, note that the autocracies and dictatorships are in the lower part of the list.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It says that we’re behind Lithuania, a rather notable occurrence.

JLeslie's avatar

I wish I knew exactly what they are looking at. Do new immigrants count? Or, just people born in the country? America has a very high immigration rate. 1 in 7 people are born in another country in America.

Do they count only citizens of the countries? Or, all residents? The US gives citizenship to all Americans born people, most European countries don’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I care that Americans seem to be struggling more than in the last 50 years, and I want upward mobility for the lower classes, and at least for the middle classes to be able to maintain their station. I care about this statistic, I just don’t know if it really says what we think it says.

gorillapaws's avatar

@JLeslie Here’s a link to the written report. I didn’t see much about the methodology, that’s probably buried somewhere else.

JLeslie's avatar

I skimmed it and I don’t see information on who they are counting. The US is still the world leader for immigration even though people might think we aren’t letting people in now that Trump is in charge. That’s not true, people are granted entry every day and green cards and citizenship. He may have quelled some parts of it, but I’m sure there are people all over America with citizenship papers signed by Trump.

Other countries with high rates of immigration (still not near what the US let’s in, we are way higher, although possible as a percentage the numbers aren’t as extreme) some of the other countries with high rates of immigration focus on letting in immigrants who are educated and highly skilled. My guess is the Nordic countries don’t top any lists on immigration, but they do let immigrants in of course. You even have to be careful with immigration stats for the European Union, because part of the stat is people moving from within the Union. I’m not sure that should count?

I do buy into points in the article though. Availability of equal education matters. Some controls on capitalism matter. I think cultural norms and expectations matter too. The US has to do something or we are going to be in more and more trouble as a nation.

Sagacious's avatar

I don’t see equality factoring into it. Not everyone wants opportunity. That one fact skews your assumption.

JLeslie's avatar

@sagacious I think almost everyone wants to be paid enough to maintain their social status or do better than how they grew up. Who wants to go down in social class?

ihavereturned's avatar

Interesting report.

Does the data adjust for scale? For example, country A is ranked higher than B, but a lower class person in B is “better off” than a higher class person in A, etc.

Sagacious's avatar

@JLeslie Your comments are not relative to my answer.

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