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Education reform ‘has failed to improve social mobility’

More than half a century of sweeping educational reforms have done little to improve Britain’s social mobility, according to one of the country’s leading experts on equality.

Instead, young people from less well-off families entering today’s labour market have far less favourable prospects than their parents or even their grandparents, despite having gained much better qualifications.

Giving the British Academy sociology lecture on 15 March, Dr John Goldthorpe, a sociologist at the University of Oxford, whose work on class has proven widely influential, will claim that little has changed in British society since the second world war, largely because more advantaged families are using their economic, cultural and social advantages to ensure that their children remain at the top of the social class ladder.

“There are good grounds for believing, consistent with the psychological theory of loss aversion, that parents and their children are yet more concerned to avoid downward mobility than they are to achieve upward mobility,” he will claim. “And thus parents in more advantaged class positions will respond to any expansion or reform of the educational system by using their own superior resources – economic, cultural and social – to whatever extent it takes to help their children retain a competitive edge in the system and in turn in the labour market.



Decades of investment in education have not improved social mobility

Education is a major factor in determining who is mobile or immobile – in terms of determining which individuals. But it does not follow from this that education will be of similar importance in determining the total amount of mobility within society at large. For education to have an impact in this regard two things are necessary. First, the link between individuals’ social origins and their educational attainment must weaken; second, the link between their educational qualifications and the level of social positions they end up in must strengthen. There must be a movement towards an education-based meritocracy. But in fact there is little evidence of any such movement.

If education is viewed not simply as a consumption good but as investment good in relation to the labour market, it would appear appropriate to measure educational attainment in relative terms. What is important is not how much education individuals have but how much relative to others and especially relative to those others who will be most direct competitors in the labour market.

What is important to recognise – but what politicians prefer to ignore – is that if social mobility is to be increased by reducing the inherent stickiness between the class positions of parents and children, this must mean increasing downward mobility to just the same extent as upward mobility. But, as against this mathematical symmetry, there is a psychological asymmetry. There are grounds for believing, consistent with the psychological theory of loss aversion, that parents and their children are yet more concerned to avoid downward mobility than they are to achieve upward mobility. Thus parents in more advantaged class positions will respond to any expansion or reform of the educational system by using superior resources – economic, cultural and social – to help their children retain a competitive edge in the system and in turn in the labour market. It is this coming together of the strong motivation to avoid déclassement and the usually adequate means for doing so that is the source of the powerful resistance to change.


 以前、心理関連のポストで書いたことは、どのような状況であれ、人が「win win situation」という表現を強調、多用し始めたらそれに続く言葉と説明を鵜呑みにはしない。なぜなら「win win situation」は物事の本質、勝つものが居れば負けるものが居る、成功するものが居れば、敗者となる必然を隠そうとしているに過ぎないから。


How London’s booming ‘butler class’ takes care of the wealthy elite


Family offices have their roots in the sixth century when a king’s steward held responsibility for managing royal wealth, a model later adopted by many aristocrats, according to accountancy firm EY. But the modern concept of the family office – an organisation that manages private wealth and other family affairs – was developed by the financier JP Morgan and the Rockefellers in the 19th century.

The number of single-family offices in the UK has more than doubled to around 1,000 since the 2008 financial crash, and they manage more than $1,000bn (£700bn) in assets, with London now the premier global hub for the secretive organisations. The figures come as researchers from Goldsmiths, University of London and Newcastle University claim the proliferation of family offices is entrenching the rise of inherited wealth and income inequality in Britain.

They conclude that the industry has promoted “entrenched elitism”, with a growing butler class of financiers and lawyers handsomely rewarded to preserve the wealth and social position of the super-rich.

Only the largest family offices, which can have more than 100 employees, usually provide in-house lifestyle management services, according to the Goldsmiths and Newcastle study. The concierge staff organise everything to the liking of the family’s members, wherever they are in the world: “Everything would be taken care of, globally, so that the right kind of drinks would be available in the car that picked them up, on the plane, and so on. Upon arrival, the properties would be perfect, not just clean but recently decorated to the owner’s specification with permanent staff whose job it was to take care of maintenance and gardening.”

The study aims to illuminate how family offices create dynasties by maintaining the wealth and lifestyles of the global super-rich. Co-author Luna Glucksberg attended a family-offices conference in a hotel in a converted castle in the Swiss Alps, which heard that only 10% of super-rich families manage to retain their wealth over three generations

The study said the most successful families shared a vision of the purpose of their wealth over future generations. The mechanisms employed by family offices to achieve this include creating family constitutions, which set out rules the family members have to follow, such as attending annual or biannual meetings, which keep the various branches and generations together. The rules “may state that all family members have to get their spouses to sign ‘pre-nups’ to protect the family capital. It may stipulate how succession is worked out, how inheritances are planned or what happens when family members are not interested in … family businesses.”

The researchers write that family offices do not just prepare the money for the children, but prepare the children for the money: “The wealth needs to be preserved just as well as the family line … It is about creating dynasties.”

Family office associations said children could be incentivised to generate their own wealth by match-funding: giving them a sum from the family’s assets equivalent to their independent earning. Johnston said some family offices encouraged entrepreneurship by enabling the offspring of the super-wealthy to turn their hobbies into businesses. For example, he said the son of a Middle East magnate, who had no interest in the family business, was given funding to set up a gallery because he collected art.

 何を書いても遠吠え、というかどこにも届かないだろうが、the more money people have, the less they want to share with the society、というのが現在の社会なのだと思う。




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