Social mobility: Is there such thing as an ‘economic ladder’?
Social mobility is all about how easy is it for people to improve their position in the economy. In a lot of societies, people use the language of ‘rising in the ranks’ or ‘going up in the world’ to mean we’re doing well. But what exactly the social ladder looks like depends on the how fair the economy is and the culture we’re talking about. Not all cultures have the same steps on the ladder, and some don’t really have a ladder at all.
Intragenerational mobility: Is it all about the family we’re from?
Intragenerational mobility is all about whether or not we can move into a different economic situation from the family we’re born into. It is partly about what our families can provide for us, whether or not they can support our education or help us in our careers via their own networks. It’s also about what wealth and assets they might leave to us, and to what extent that wealth boosts our chances in the long-run.
Race, gender, sexuality: How does identity affect our economic chances?
For a long time, economic theory didn’t grapple with the difference that identity makes to our experience of the economy. But it’s increasingly impossible to ignore how much things like race, gender, and sexuality play a part in the choices we make and the opportunities we have. Not only that, economic theory gets much harder to apply to the real world when it’s not representative of so many people’s lived experience.
Socio-economic class: How do we define class?
Class is about categorising people based on their economic position in society. The higher your class the more power, status and influence you have in the economy. This has made it one of the most important ideas over the last 150 years, driving massive social change and revolutions. However as societies have changed, the definitions of class have changed. In the Industrial Revolution it was easy to know which class you were in. Now it might seem a bit more difficult.