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首页 Ever higher society, ever harder to ascend

Ever higher society, ever harder to ascend.doc

Ever higher society, ever harde…

风中有朵雨做的云
2013-01-20 0人阅读 举报 0 0 暂无简介

简介:本文档为《Ever higher society, ever harder to ascenddoc》,可适用于外语资料领域

Everhighersociety,everhardertoascendWhateverhappenedtothebeliefthatanyAmericancouldgettothetopDecth|washington,dc|FromtheprinteditionTweetTHEUnitedStateslikestothinkofitselfastheveryembodimentofmeritocracy:acountrywherepeoplearejudgedontheirindividualabilitiesratherthantheirfamilyconnectionsTheoriginalcoloniesweresettledbyrefugeesfromaEuropeinwhichtherestrictionsonsocialmobilitywerewovenintothefabricofthestate,andtheAmericanrevolutionwaspartlyarevoltagainstfeudalismFromtheoutset,AmericansbelievedthatequalityofopportunitygavethemanedgeovertheOldWorld,freeingthemfromdebilitatingsnobberiesandatthesametimeenablingeveryonetobenefitfromtheabilitiesoftheentirepopulationTheystilldoTobesure,AmericahasoftenbetrayeditsfineidealsTheFoundingFathersdidnotadmitwomenorblackstotheirmeritocraticrepublicThecountry'seliteshaverepeatedlyflirtedwiththearistocraticprinciple,whetheramongthebrahminsofBostonor,moreflagrantly,theruralrulingclassintheSouthYetAmericahasrepeatedlysucceededinlivinguptoitsbestself,andtodaymostAmericansbelievethattheircountrystilldoesareasonablejobofprovidingopportunitiesforeverybody,includingblacksandwomenInEurope,majoritiesofpeopleineverycountryexceptBritain,theCzechRepublicandSlovakiabelievethatforcesbeyondtheirpersonalcontroldeterminetheirsuccessInAmericaonlytakesuchafatalisticviewButaretheyrightAgrowingbodyofevidencesuggeststhatthemeritocraticidealisintroubleinAmericaIncomeinequalityisgrowingtolevelsnotseensincetheGildedAge,aroundthesButsocialmobilityisnotincreasingatanythinglikethesamepace:wouldbeHoratioAlgersarefindingitnoeasiertoclimbfromragstoriches,whilethechildrenoftheprivilegedhaveagreaterchanceofstayingatthetopofthesocialheapTheUnitedStatesriskscalcifyingintoaEuropeanstyleclassbasedsocietyThepastcoupleofdecadeshaveseenahugeincreaseininequalityinAmericaTheEconomicPolicyInstitute,aWashingtonthinktank,arguesthatbetweenandtherealincomeofhouseholdsinthelowestfifth(thebottomofearners)grewby,whilethatofhouseholdsinthetopfifthgrewbyThefamilyincomeofthetopgrewbyandthatofthetoporgrewevenfasterBackintheaverageincomeofthetopwastimesthatofthebottombytheincomeofthetophadrisentotimesthatofthebottomfifthThirtyyearsagotheaveragerealannualcompensationofthetopchiefexecutiveswas$m:timesthepayoftheaverageworkerTodayitis$m:over,timesthepayoftheaverageworkerInthetopofhouseholdsearnedofallincomeandheldofallnetworthNotsincepreDepressiondayshasthetoptakensuchabigwhackMoredynasticthandynamicMostAmericansseenothingwrongwithinequalityofincomesolongasitcomeswithplentyofsocialmobility:itissimplythepricepaidforadynamiceconomyButthenewriseininequalitydoesnotseemtohavecomewithacommensurateriseinmobilityTheremayevenhavebeenafallThemostvividevidenceofsocialsclerosiscomesfrompoliticsAcountrywhereeverychildissupposedtobeabletodreamofbecomingpresidentisbeginningtoproduceaselfperpetuatingpoliticaleliteGeorgeBushisthesonofapresident,thegrandsonofasenator,andthesprigofAmerica'sbusinessaristocracyJohnKerry,thankstoarichwife,istherichestmaninaSenatefullofplutocratsHeisalsoaBostonbrahmin,educatedatStPaul's,aposhprivateschool,andYalewhere,liketheBushes,hebelongedtotheultraselectSkullandBonessocietyMrKerry'spredecessorastheDemocrats'presidentialnominee,AlGore,wasthesonofasenatorMrGore,too,waseducatedataposhprivateschool,StAlbans,andthenatHarvardAndMrKerry'smainchallengerfromtheleftofhispartyHowardBrushDeanwastheproductofthesamebluebloodedworldofprivateschoolsandunchangingmiddlenamesasMrBush(oneofMrBush'sgrandmotherswasevenabridesmaidtooneofMrDean's)MrDeangrewupintheHamptonsandonNewYork'sParkAvenueThemostremarkablefeatureofthecontinuingpowerofAmerica'seliteanditsgrowinggriponthepoliticalsystemishowlittlecommentitarousesBritainwouldbeinhighdudgeonifitspartyleadersallcamefromEtonandHarrowPerhapsonereasonwhytheriseofcastepoliticsraisessolittlecommentisthatsomethingsimilarishappeningthroughoutAmericansocietyEverywhereyoulookinmodernAmericaintheHollywoodHillsorthecanyonsofWallStreet,intheNashvillerecordingstudiosortheclapboardhousesofCambridge,MassachusettsyouseeelitesmasteringtheartofperpetuatingthemselvesAmericaisincreasinglylookinglikeimperialBritain,withdynastictiesproliferating,socialcirclesinterlocking,mechanismsofsocialexclusionstrengtheningandagapwideningbetweenthepeoplewhomakethedecisionsandshapethecultureandthevastmajorityofordinaryworkingstiffsIt'sstickyoutthereAllthismaysoundabitimpressionisticButmoreandmoreevidencefromsocialscientistssuggeststhatAmericansocietyismuch“stickier”thanmostAmericansassumeSomeresearchersclaimthatsocialmobilityisactuallydecliningAclassicsocialsurveyinfoundthatofadultmenwhohadbeenborninthebottomfifthofthepopulation(asrankedbysocialandeconomicstatus)hadmadeitintothetopfifthEarlWysongofIndianaUniversityandtwocolleaguesrecentlydecidedtoupdatethestudyTheycomparedtheincomesof,fatherandsonpairsfromtoandfoundthatfewsonshadmoveduptheclassladderNearlyofthesonsinhadremainedeitheratthesamelevelorweredoingworsethantheirfathersinThebiggestincreaseinmobilityhadbeenatthetopofsociety,withaffluentsonsmovingupwardsmoreoftenthantheirfathershadTheyfoundthatonlyoftheadultmenborninthebottomquarterhadmadeittothetopquarterTheEconomicPolicyInstitutealsoarguesthatsocialmobilityhasdeclinedsincethesInthesofthosewhostartedinthesecondpooreststayedput,comparedwithinthesandinthesInthesofthepopulationmovedfromthebottomfifthtoeitherthefourthorthetopfifthInthesandsthefiguresshranktobelowforbothdecadesThefigureforthosewhostayedinthetopfifthincreasedslightlybutsteadilyoverthethreedecades,reinforcingthesenseofdiminishedsocialmobilityLiz,meettheroyalsCorbisNotallsocialscientistsaccepttheconclusionthatmobilityisdecliningGarySolon,oftheUniversityofMichigan,arguesthatthereisnoevidenceofanychangeinsocialmobilityrates,downorupBut,attheleast,mostpeopleagreethatthedramaticincreaseinincomeinequalityoverthepasttwodecadeshasnotbeenaccompaniedbyanequallydramaticincreaseinsocialmobilityTakethestudycarriedoutbyThomasHertz,aneconomistatAmericanUniversityinWashington,DC,whostudiedarepresentativesampleof,Americanfamilies(bothblackandwhite)overyearsortwogenerationsHefoundthatofthosebornintothepoorestfifthendedupwheretheystartedatthebottomAnothermovedupslightlytothenexttobottomgroupOnlymadeittothetopfifthUpwardmobilitywasparticularlylowforblackfamiliesOntheotherhand,ofthosebornintothetopfifthremainedthere,whereasbarelyofthosebornintothetopendedupinthebottomfifthApersonbornintothetopfifthisoverfivetimesaslikelytoendupatthetopasapersonbornintothebottomfifthJonathanFisherandDavidJohnson,twoeconomistsattheBureauofLabourStatistics,lookedatinequalityandsocialmobilityusingmeasuresofbothincomeandconsumptionTheyfoundthatmobility“slightlydecreased”inthesIn,andofhouseholdschangedtheirrankingsintermsofincomeandconsumptionrespectivelyIn,onlyandchangedtheirrankingsTwoeconomistsattheFederalReserveBankofBostonanalysedfamilyincomesoverthreedecadesTheyfoundthatoffamiliesremainedstuckinthesameincomebracketinthes,comparedwithoffamiliesinthesandinthesAaronBernsteinofBusinessWeekpointsoutthat,eventhoughthesboomliftedpayratesforlowearners,itdidnothelpthemtogetbetterjobsThereisalsogrowingevidencethatAmericaislesssociallymobilethanmanyotherrichcountriesMrSolonfindsthatthecorrelationbetweentheincomesoffathersandsonsishigherintheUnitedStatesthaninGermany,Sweden,FinlandorCanadaSuchcrossnationalcomparisonsarerifewithproblems:differentstudiesusedifferentmethodsanddifferentdefinitionsofsocialstatusButAmericansareclearlymistakeniftheybelievetheyliveintheworld'smostmobilesocietyBacktothesThisisnotthefirsttimethatAmericahaslookedasifitwasabouttosuccumbtowhatmightbetermedtheBritishtemptationAmericawitnessedasimilarwideningoftheincomegapintheGildedAgeItalsowitnessedtheformationofaBritishstylerulingclassTherobberbaronsofthelatethcenturysenttheirchildrentoprivateboardingschoolsandmadesurethattheymarriedthedaughtersoftheoldelite,preferablyfromacrosstheAtlanticPoliticsfellintothehandsofthemembersofalimitedcirclesomuchsothattheSenatewasknownasthemillionaires'clubYetthelatethandearlythcenturiessawaconcertedattempttopreventAmericafromdegeneratingintoaclassbasedsocietyProgressivepoliticiansimprovedstateeducationPhilanthropistsmanyofthemtherobberbaronsreborninnewguisetriedtoprovideladderstohelptheladso'parts(AndrewCarnegiepouredmillionsintofreelibraries)SuchreformsweremotivatedpartlyoutofadesiretodogoodworksandpartlyoutofarealfearoftheimplicationsofclassbasedsocietyTeddyRooseveltadvocatedaninheritancetaxbecausehethoughtthathugeinheritedfortuneswouldruinthecharacteroftherepublicJamesConant,thepresidentofHarvardin,advocatedradicaleducationalreformparticularlythetransformationofhisownuniversityintoameritocracyinordertopreventAmericafromproducinganaristocracyPushyparents,drivenbratsTheevilsthatRooseveltandConantworriedaboutareclearlybeginningtoreappearButsofartherearefewsignsofareformmovementWhynotThemainreasonmaybeaparadoxicalone:becausethemeritocraticrevolutionofthefirsthalfofthethcenturyhasbeenatleasthalfsuccessfulMembersoftheAmericaneliteliveinanintenselycompetitiveuniverseAschildren,theyareferriedfrompianolessonstoballetlessonstoearlyreadingclassesAsadolescents,theycraminasmuchafterschoolcoachingaspossibleAsstudents,theycompetetogetintothebestgraduateschoolsAsyoungprofessionals,theyburnthemidnightoilfortheiremployersAnd,asparents,theyagoniseaboutgettingtheirchildrenintothebestuniversitiesItishardforsuchpeopletoimaginethatAmericaisanythingbutameritocracy:theirlivesareaperpetualcompetitionYetitisacompetitionamongpeopleverymuchlikethemselvestheoffspringofatinysliverofsocietyratherthanamongthefullrangeoftalentsthatthecountryhastoofferThesecondreasonisthatAmerica'senginesofupwardmobilityarenolongerworkingaseffectivelyastheyoncewereThemostobviousexampleliesintheeducationsystemUpwardmobilityisincreasinglydeterminedbyeducationTheincomeofpeoplewithjustahighschooldiplomawasflatin,whereasthatofpeoplewithabachelor'sdegreerosesubstantially,andthatofpeoplewithadvanceddegreesrocketedRoosevelt'swarningsgounheededCorbisTheeducationsystemisincreasinglystratifiedbysocialclass,andpoorchildrenhaveadoubledisadvantageTheyattendschoolswithfewerresourcesthanthoseoftheirrichercontemporaries(schoolfinancesarelargelydeterminedbylocalpropertytaxes)AndtheyhavetodealwiththelegacyofwhatMichaelBarone,aconservativecommentator,haslabelled“softAmerica”SoftAmericaisallergictointroducingaccountabilityandmeasurementineducation,particularlyifittakestheformofmeritpayforsuccessfulteachersorrewardsforoutstandingpupilsDumbeddownschoolsareparticularlyharmfultopoorchildren,whoareunlikelytobeabletocompensateforthemathomeAmerica'sgreatuniversitiesareincreasinglyreinforcingratherthanreducingtheseeducationalinequalitiesPoorerstudentsareatahugedisadvantage,bothwhentheytrytogetinand,iftheyaresuccessful,intheirabilitytomakethemostofwhatisonofferThisdisadvantageismostmarkedintheelitecollegesthatholdthekeystothebestjobsThreequartersofthestudentsatthecountry'stopcollegescomefromtherichestsocioeconomicfourth,comparedwithjustwhocomefromthepoorestfourth(themedianfamilyincomeatHarvard,forexample,is$,)Thismeansthat,ataneliteuniversity,youaretimesaslikelytorunintoarichstudentasapooroneOnereasonforthisisgovernmentmoneyThemainfederalprogrammesupportingpoorerstudentsisthePellgrant:ofsuchgrantsgotofamilieswithincomesbelow$,ButthefederalgovernmenthasbeenshiftingresourcesfromPellgrantstootherformsofaidtohighereducationStudentloansareunrelatedtofamilyresourcesFederaltaxbreaksforhighereducationbenefittherichStatesubsidiesforhighereducationbenefitrichandpooralikeAtthesametime,collegesareincreasinglyusingfinancialaidtoattracttalentedstudentsawayfromcompetitorsratherthantohelpthepoorAnotherreasonmaybe“affirmativeaction”programmesdesignedtohelpmembersofracialminoritiesTheseareincreasinglyusedbyeliteuniversities,inthebeliefthatraceisareasonableproxyforsocialdisadvantage,whichitmaynotbeFlawedasitmaybe,however,thiskindofaffirmativeactionismuchlessperniciousthananotherpractisedbymanyuniversities:“legacypreferences”,aprogrammeforthechildrenofalumniasifprivilegedchildrenwerenotalreadydoingwellenoughoutoftheeducationsystemInmostIvyLeagueinstitutions,theeightsupposedlymostselectuniversitiesofthenortheast,“legacies”makeupbetweenandofeveryclassAtHarvardtheyareoverthreetimesmorelikelytobeadmittedthanothersThestudentsinAmerica'splacesofhighereducationareincreasinglybecominganoligarchytemperedbyracialpreferencesThisissadinitself,butevensadderwhenyouconsidertheextraordinaryrolethatthesameuniversitiesparticularlyConant'sHarvardplayedinpromotingmeritocracyinthefirsthalfofthethcenturyAllsnakes,noladdersAmerica'sgreatcompaniesarealsobecominglesssuccessfulagentsofupwardmobilityTheyearsfromtowereaperiodofgreatcorporatebehemothsTheseproducedanewclassofAmericansprofessionalmanagersTheybuiltelaborateinternalhierarchies,andalsoacceptedtheirresponsibilitiestoboththeirworkersandtheirlocalcommunitiesButsincethesthepressureofcompetitionhasforcedthesebehemothstobecomemuchleanertoreducetheirlayers,contractoutsomeactivities,andshiftfromfulltimetoparttimeemployeesIthasbecameharderforpeopletostartatthebottomandriseupthecompanyhierarchybydintofhardworkandselfimprovementAndithasalsobecomeharderformanagerstokeeptheirjobsinasinglecompanyThereareafewshaftsofsunonthehorizonGeorgeBush'sNoChildLeftBehindActtriestouseamixtureoftestsandpunishmentsforlousyschoolstoimprovetheperformanceofminoritychildrenSenatorEdwardKennedybangsthedrumagainstlegacypreferencesButthebadnewsoutdoesthegoodTheRepublicans,bygettingridofinheritancetax,seemhellbentonignoringTeddyRoosevelt'swarningsaboutthedangersofahereditaryaristocracyTheDemocratsaremoreinterestedinprefermentforminoritiesthanbuildingladdersofopportunityforallInhisclassic“ThePromiseofAmericanLife”,HerbertCrolynotedthat“ademocracy,notlessthanamonarchyoranaristocracy,mustrecognisepolitical,economic,andsocialdistinctions,butitmustalsowithdrawitsconsentwheneverthesediscriminationsshowanytendencytoexcessiveendurance”SofarAmericanshavebeenfairlytolerantofeconomicdistinctionsButthattolerancemaynotlastforever,ifthecurrenttrendtowards“excessiveendurance”isnotreversed

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