Sunday, 24 April 2011

Links of the Week

Some great articles this week. Here are my favourite:

Friday, 22 April 2011

Should we obsess about social mobility?

Today I came across a very interesting article from Owen Jones about how focusing on social mobility and considering it as the great test of governments ignores the more important issue of inequality.

This quote caught me in particular:

"Social mobility is the common language of today's political establishment. As Nick Clegg would have it: "For old progressives, reducing snapshot income inequality is the ultimate goal. For new progressives, reducing the barriers to social mobility is."
But social mobility has nothing to offer the vast majority of people who share the backgrounds of my old classmates. It's the idea of creaming off a small minority of able working-class kids and catapulting them into the middle classes. You accept the class system, merely offering ladders for some to escape the bottom. As Clegg suggests, issues such as inequality are sidelined."
I have always accepted this focus on social mobility without great thought. I just believed that social mobility is important and that is that. Of course it is, and Jones points this out, arguing that we shouldn't 'abandon attempts to crack open the worlds of politics and the media, to take two striking examples... It's not just unfair, it leads to bad policies and bad journalism.'

However, with social mobility, it is only a small group that get ahead into the professions, and there are still millions left in traditional working class jobs. Social mobility as it is considered today does not deal with the millions who have to work long hours, in difficult jobs that society sneers at. Social mobility does nothing for the cleaners or waste recycling workers.

Social mobility is important but so is economic inequality. Furthermore by arguing that working class people should 'move up' to professional jobs like journalism or banking or advertising, entrenches a hierarchy and a scorn of jobs at the 'bottom' of society. It ignores the fact that jobs like cleaning and recycling are socially important and that these workers are paid badly.

As Owen says,

"Rather than embracing the individualism of social mobility, we need a collective approach. In the four years before the recession hit, the real wages of the bottom half were stagnating; for the bottom third, they actually declined... At the heart of politics should be a determination to improve the lives of working-class people as a class, rather than focusing on ways to somehow rescue a small minority."

Thursday, 21 April 2011

My favourite blogpost

I was just looking through some of my old blogposts to see whether my writing had improved over time. I have to admit the jury is still out on that. The Ed Miliband post was written up in about twenty minutes at 2am in the morning so I don't think it shows a great deal of improvement, and the post on Libya was too small to see much of a difference. Having a read through some of my posts I think my post on the Lib Dems and Labour forming an electoral pact is the best so far. Although the idea of Labour and LD forming an electoral pact is, at the moment, beyond whimsical I think there are a lot of good points about not forgetting that it is the Tories that are still the enemy of the centre-left and the Coalition only reinforces this, that when Labour and the LD try to ape the Tories that things go wrong and that Labour and LD have some key common themes (whatever Clegg says). Also, this post is one that I think is fairly original (maybe that's because the argument is bonkers!)

So if you have come to my blog and want to read what I reckon is my best blog post so far then read:

'At the next election two parties should have a pact - the Lib Dems and Labour'

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Links of the Week

I know I've been bad and haven't posted anything for a while. I have several things in the pipeline. I think there are actually 3 articles that I'm writing, but for one reason or another - they are becoming increasingly longer or more complex and thus requiring more research - I haven't posted them yet. For this week I want to try something new and post my favourite links of the week. These will be philosophically and politically related; current affairs events, ideas and arguments that I find interesting. I hope you do too.