The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social by Gregory Clark

By Gregory Clark

How a lot of our destiny is tied to the prestige of our mom and dad and grandparents? How a lot does this impact our youngsters? greater than we want to think. whereas it's been argued that inflexible classification constructions have eroded in want of higher social equality, The Son additionally Rises proves that circulate at the social ladder has replaced little over 8 centuries. utilizing a singular technique—tracking relations names over generations to degree social mobility throughout international locations and periods—renowned monetary historian Gregory Clark unearths that mobility charges are under conventionally envisioned, don't range throughout societies, and are proof against social guidelines. the good news is that those styles are pushed by way of powerful inheritance of skills and lineage doesn't beget unwarranted virtue. The undesirable information is that a lot of our destiny is predictable from lineage. Clark argues that considering the fact that a better a part of our position on the earth is predetermined, we needs to stay away from developing winner-take-all societies.

Clark examines and compares surnames in such various situations as glossy Sweden, fourteenth-century England, and Qing Dynasty China. He demonstrates how destiny depends on ancestry and that the majority societies—as varied because the sleek usa, Communist China, and sleek Japan—have equally low social mobility premiums. those figures are impervious to associations, and it takes hundreds of thousands of years for descendants to shake off the benefits and downsides in their ancestors. For those purposes, Clark contends that societies should still act to restrict the disparities in rewards among these of low and high social rank. difficult renowned assumptions approximately mobility and revealing the deeply entrenched strength of inherited virtue, The Son additionally Rises is guaranteed to recommended severe debate for years yet to come.

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Additional info for The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility

Sample text

By looking at the rate at which their overrepresentation in these groups has declined over the last two or three generations, we can measure mobility rates up to 2012. 1. They show that current social mobility in Sweden is very slow—no faster, as we shall see, than comparable estimates in the United Kingdom or the United States, and no faster than social mobility in eighteenth-century Sweden under monarchic rule. 2 When intergenerational mobility is estimated using surnames, the length between generations has to be specified.

9. Assuming such a large disparity in status persistence rates to exist, consider what would happen to families with the surnames of the eighteenthcentury elite—the noble and latinized surnames. Once descendants of such families fell out of the top 1 percent, the rapid social mobility in the bottom 99 percent of the distribution would cause their status to quickly fall to the social mean. 19). In particular, there would be no marked deficiency of originally elite surnames at the bottom of the distribution.

The status differences signaled by Swedish surnames will not end soon. There are extensive records of those enrolled at the only two Swedish universities established before 1954: Uppsala (founded in 1477) and Lund (founded in 1666). These records include the surnames of more than two thousand members of three student “nations” (dining and residence associations) at Uppsala between 1942 and 1966. These records show the relative representation of different surname types at Uppsala circa 1948 and circa 2008 (two generations later).

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