IN 1845, as the Industrial Revolution gathered pace, Benjamin Disraeli, a young politician on the make, published a novel, “Sybil”, which lamented that Britain was dividing into “two nations between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy”. Today, as the information revolution gathers pace, Britain suffers from the same problem. The country is more divided than it has been for decades, with the rich consolidating their power and people who are born in the wrong class or region seeing their chances of getting ahead declining. Theresa May rightly put dealing with this problem at the top of her agenda when she became prime minister. But on December 3rd all four members of Britain’s Social Mobility Commission resigned in protest at the lack of progress. This was one of the lowest points for a government that has no shortage of low points to choose from.
Social mobility is essential to the working of an advanced capitalist society. For one thing, citizens will accept the…Continue reading