After MPs warn that the UK faces a social mobility crisis, where does it actually rank?
In 2012, 24% of vice-chancellors, 32% of MPs, 51% of top Medics, 54% of FTSE-100 chief execs and 54% of top journalists went to private school, though only 7% of the population do. Today, the picture hasn't changed much - and the UK lags embarrassingly around mid-table. But who is doing better?
Of course. According to data from the Hamilton Project, Denmark sits atop the social mobility charts, along with having exceptionally low income inequality. Whilst this could be attributed to the redistributive nature of Denmark's tax programme, it could also be caused by the flexible labour market or the lack of taxes such as Inheritance Tax in the Scandinavian state.
So much for the American Dream - the Hamilton project cites the Scandinavian dream. Sweden sits at a solid 0.7 (out of 1) on the social mobility scale - likely for similar reasons to its southern neighbour Denmark. A good score, in this case, means earnings similar to or above that of their parents, suggesting that familial 'status' is not fixed and apirations can be achieved.
Ever so slightly higher than the UK, the USA has, however, historically been the home of social mobility and aspiration. No longer. Political culture in the USA has become one of individualism, particularly salient once more with the rise of Trump and a strong turn against state care and the welfare state. Social mobility data links social mobility to income inequality, and incomes in the USA are undeniably unequal - explaining why the world's largest superpower sits low on the list.
Ever so slightly above the UK, and still not that impressive, Italy is climbing the social mobility rankings. This is in spite of it's volatile economic predicament, with many predicting the Southern European country could become 'the next Greece.'
New Zealand cleans up with the UK when it comes to the Freedom Index, prosperity, and now social mobility. With calls for a CANZUK union (free trade and movement between NZ, Australia, the UK and Canada) getting ever stronger, this information could prove to be strong material for advocates of the policy.
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