Now we have radio presenters talking about how Margaret Thatcher fostered “social mobility”. Other conversations turn on things like “aspiration” and people being able to buy their council houses. My inner social scientist protests: don’t these people know that social mobility is down since Thatcher, that it’s now harder for people to escape the circumstances of their birth than it was then? But the true observation that it is more difficult for people to rise come up against the pervasive perception that people can now be what they want to be and aren’t constrained by strong expectations of social role. The decline of democracy in the sense of popular control contrasts with a sense that society is more democratic in that anyone is as good as anyone else; the intensification of real economic inequality has coincided with a much greater cultural egalitarianism than existed before.
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In a sense what we have is the Americanisation of Britain, or at least of England. A society where everybody has then sense that they can be anything they want to be [but] hardly anybody can.
That's the natural outcome of a meritocracy. People with "merit" rise to the top, instead of luck or noble birth. Merit, of course, includes the ability to make sure your children have the same properties of merit as you do, so they will stay at the top.
Where is it written that people are always entitled to something better?
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