The Son Also Rises

The Son Also Rises

Surnames and the History of Social Mobility

Book - 2014
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How much of our fate is tied to the status of our parents and grandparents? How much does this influence our children? More than we wish to believe! While it has been argued that rigid class structures have eroded in favor of greater social equality, The Son Also Rises proves that movement on the social ladder has changed little over eight centuries. Using a novel technique -- tracking family names over generations to measure social mobility across countries and periods -- renowned economic historian Gregory Clark reveals that mobility rates are lower than conventionally estimated, do not vary across societies, and are resistant to social policies. The good news is that these patterns are driven by strong inheritance of abilities and lineage does not beget unwarranted advantage. The bad news is that much of our fate is predictable from lineage. Clark argues that since a greater part of our place in the world is predetermined, we must avoid creating winner-take-all societies.
Publisher: Princeton, New Jersey :, Princeton University Press,, [2014]
ISBN: 9780691162546
Characteristics: xii, 364 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm


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Mar 27, 2014

I can't believe Princeton published this bilge! Oh wow! Highly inadequate conclusions drawn from highly inadequate data. Reads like a justification for the continuance of royal families! Back in the early 1970s, an excellent social researcher (sorry, believe it was either Jensen or Hanson ? ? ?) had a study serialized in The Atlantic Monthly, a study on economic mobility. The conclusion: the greatest indicator of success in America was the family you were born into. This author would have us believe it wasn't due to your family's connections and wealth, but lineage: so it wasn't that George W. Bush, and his nephew George P. Bush are idiots who firmly believe in their family's entitlement, but are actually quite superior guys?!?!?!? Too many fact-challenged assumptions in this sequel to Mein Kampf! (Met any geniuses lately with the surname Tesla? Riemann? Gauss? Edison? Da Vinci? Einstein? Didn't think so. If reduction to the mean works for intelligence, then it works for other mental traits, unless financial inheritance comes into the picture.) Until that time when public school systems throughout the country are nationalized, and all Americans enjoy equal access to all educational and mobility advancement resources, then inferring meritocratic structures exist, when in point of fact they do not, simply doesn't cut it, no matter how submediocre Princeton University Press has become!

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