Patterns of Social Mobility – Social Class (SOC)

by Tarry Ahuja, MD

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    00:00 Now, can you move around? And the answer is in certain situation is, yes.

    00:05 So we call it social mobility.

    00:06 It refers to the ability to move up or down within a social stratified system.

    00:11 So say for example in America, or North America.

    00:14 It is possible to live the American dream, meaning, you come in with nothing.

    00:19 I came with 40 cents in my pocket. And now, look at me I have this home, I have this car, I own a restaurant, I’m successful.

    00:26 They came in at a low class and they worked and used their mind or their hands and labored.

    00:35 and really lived the American dream. And have moved up in the social class, okay.

    00:41 You also have the ability to go the way down you can be successful.

    00:43 You can lose everything. And the next thing you know, you’re living on the streets, you’re on welfare or you’ve moved different as wrong as that social ladder.

    00:53 Now, intergenerational mobility occurs when there is a change in your social economic status between your parents and children within a family.

    01:02 So I said, here successful kids. So say for example, Again, this is probably one of the prominent dreams that you have is that you come into this country with nothing.

    01:10 And you live the American dream.

    01:12 Now, that allows you to give a better life to your kids. And all of a sudden, you came with nothing and you work your butt off and you’re able to eco a home and a life having a corner store or a restaurant or you got a decent job at the bank.

    01:27 And you provide it for your family.

    01:30 But now, your kids have their baseline over their starting from was much higher than you were at.

    01:36 So middle class or working class.

    01:38 But then, they were able to go, go to school, rate their MCAT’s, become a great doctor and now they are affluent. They are high in the NCS scale and they are very, very successful.

    01:49 And your parents got to see this. That would be an example of intergenerational mobility.

    01:53 So you have succeeded your parents.

    01:56 And between generations you have become more successful.

    02:01 Now, you can have intragenerational mobility. And this refers to change between different members of the same generation.

    02:07 So say, in your scenario, you have a sibling.

    02:12 And that sibling decided not to go to medical school. Instead they were happy being an artist.

    02:19 Which is great. But financially they are not as affluent.

    02:22 And so, they kind of just make a living. They do their art and they are happy.

    02:27 But in comparison to you, you’ve going to school, you’re world re-known surgeon.

    02:33 You might be considered higher up on the SES scale.

    02:36 And so, you’ll be eclipsed or moved up a couple of classes versus a brother or a sister.

    02:41 The example I have here is Bill Gates, who is as of this year again was the richest man in the world.

    02:48 And he has a sister.

    02:51 So I think we can clearly say, in terms of intergenerational mobility, he is attached higher than his sister in terms of SES.

    03:01 Now, Let us take a look at meritocracy. What is this? This is an idea where we would stratisfy a group -- so silently speaking based on a merit or personal effort as opposed to the other factor that we considered.

    03:15 Its great it’s an idealized system saying this would be a great idea.

    03:20 But no society really has stratified based on effort and its very rarely implemented.

    03:25 So you think, I’m going to increase your place in the society because you worked extremely hard.

    03:34 Now, a janitor who’s cleaning the floors can work exceptionally hard.

    03:39 Forty hours, sixty hour a week, cleaning toilets.

    03:42 And you can say that’s really hard work that’s backbreaking labor and you did that.

    03:46 Because you worked really hard, I’m going to have you higher up on our social ladder.

    03:50 And you could have a lazy lawyer, or a lazy doctor, only sees a few patients a day.

    03:55 And they’re going to be low because in terms of effort you’re lower.

    04:00 Now you can argue that well to become a doctor you have to put in a lot of effort but I’ll let’s move out of the equation for now. I’m just focusing in the now.

    04:07 Social effort, I mean, personal effort reflects your standing.

    04:11 And we know, we definitely know, in our society that’s not how things actually were setup.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Patterns of Social Mobility – Social Class (SOC) by Tarry Ahuja, MD is from the course Social Inequality.

    Author of lecture Patterns of Social Mobility – Social Class (SOC)

     Tarry Ahuja, MD

    Tarry Ahuja, MD

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