The Importance of Economic and Social Mobility

Thoughts on a Free Market Economy…
“The Importance of Economic and Social Mobility”
By Phyllis Hunsinger
Nov. 1, 2016

The history of America is replete with stories of individual achievement. Immigrants from all over the world, many empty-handed when they arrived, had opportunities in America to better their standard of living. People who were not born into wealthy families actually became wealthy, and some individuals who were born into wealthy families lost their wealth.

America was founded on the belief, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, that all men were created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. America provided equal opportunities for its citizens to succeed; therefore, America was different from societies where individuals could not escape the class to which they were born. Class warfare has never been a part of the fabric of America…until now, when it seems politicians pit one group of people against another group for political gain.

When individuals know that economic and social mobility is possible, the pursuit of happiness becomes not a class struggle but individual accomplishment. In 1848, when Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote the political pamphlet “Communist Manifesto,” they recognized that their theory of class struggles leading to communism did not really apply to the United States. Marx explained that in the United States, “the classes already exist but they are in constant flux and reflux, constantly changing their elements and yielding them up to one another.” Was Karl Marx saying that you don’t go communist when you have economic and social mobility?

In the 1850’s when Marx was making his assertions, the citizens of the United States were economically and socially mobile. In 2016, this economic and social mobility is diminished markedly, lagging behind many countries today. The Pew’s Economic Mobility Project ranks Denmark as the most economically mobile society (correlation of 0.15), followed by Canada at 0.19; whereas, the U.S. is at 0.47, closely followed by the economically immobile Britain at 0.50.

The U.S. economy has been stalled for most of the twenty-first century. There are many reasons for this including labor costs, regulations, and high corporate taxes forcing companies to re-locate overseas. Other reasons include a weakened education system and a mal-functioning justice system that tends to reward a network of elites. All of these conditions hamper economic and social mobility and make the U.S. ripe for Communism., Phyllis Hunsinger © 2013 All Rights Reserved

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1 Comment on "The Importance of Economic and Social Mobility"

  • Gege Galt says

    Excellent piece––I couldn’t agree with you more. Thanks. Looking forward to others.

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