COSTS AND GAINS OF MOBILITY Assignment Help & Writing Service


The idea that social mobility is good is. Part of our democratic ethos. We argue that a closed class society thwarts1he fulfillment of. individual personality and deprives society of the contributions of talented people. While social mobility permits a society to fill its occupational niches with the most able people and offers the individual a chance to attain his or her life goal, it also involves certain costs. A mobile society, arouser’s expectations which are. not always fulfilled, thereby creating dissatisfaction and unhappiness; a traditional society in which one is born into one's appointed place arouses few hopes and few frustrations (as long as this traditional social structure remains intact). The benefits of social mobility are inseparable from its costs, since those who break the bonds. Which hold them back also cut the protective web which keeps them from sinking still lower. An open-class society may be desirable from the viewpoint of both society and the Individual Put it still has some penalties. ' I, These penalties include the fear of falling in status, as in downward mobility; the strain of new role learning’s in occupational promotions, the disruption of primary-group relationships as 'one moves upward and onward. One who is passed over for promotion may envy the security of a less mobile society. Parents and children may become strangers due to changes in social attitudes. Social mobility often demands geographic mobility, with a painful loss of treasured 'social ties (Lane, 1977; Harris, 1981}. An offered promotion may be declined because of a fear of the burden of new responsibilities. Even marriages may be threatened when spouses 'are not equally interested in mobility. One mate resents the implied insult of being prodded, polished, and improved; the other resents the-mate's lack of cooperation in social climbing. Some studies have even found that a high rate of mental illness may accompany either upward or downward mobility [Ellis, 1952; Hollingshead et al.; 1953; Turner and Lagerfeld; 1967). In any case, the "middleclass convert" will experience a shift of attitudes and associations which will be even more drastic than that involved in' the process of religious conversion or of 'changed' citizenship p. ' Yet there:~ considerable evidence that those who.<6E:cupy top occupational 'positions are healthier and happier than 'others. Truman [l971} finds that probabilities of holding high occupational   are highest for men in continuing 'successful marriages; are intermediate for widowers or divorced men who are remarried; and are lowest for the  married,
the divorced, and the separated. A Metropolitan Insurance Company study found that the death rate among top business executives was only 64 percent of that for the rest of the white population of similar ages [Statistical Bulletin. Feb. I, 1974r. But these studies' are open to two criticisms. They do not study mobility. because they. do not   who moved up into their high rank from those who merely retained the rank into which they were born. Nor do these studies .take account of the-selective factor, in that those who are healthy and happily married are most likely to be promoted. AI- .most any employed group will show health levels above national averages, since persons in poor physical or emotional health tend to become unemployed and since, unemployment can lead to physical or emotional health problems. A number of studies have also reported that downward mobility is associated with many, unpleasant accompaniments, such as poor health,. marital discord, and feelings of alienation and- social distance; but, once again, cause. and effect are not identified, Such unpleasant developments could be either a cause "or an effect of downward mobility. For both the individual and the society, the costs and benefits of mobility and the open class society are open to debate

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