Re: True Abundance

From: James Rogers (
Date: Tue Feb 20 2001 - 11:34:20 MST

At 12:18 PM 2/20/2001 +0930, Emlyn wrote:
>I've got a reference to a study somewhere (80's I think), which showed that
>people were far more socially mobile under Ruski-style socialism than under
>US capitalism. The study showed that it was viable for people to move from
>peasant to high ranking party official in their own lifetime, for instance,
>whereas the norm by far under capitalism is to move very little from the
>social position in which you are born.

While I understand this is true of many European countries (not through
personal experience -- I've been told by many, many of my European
co-workers that some rigid social/economic legacy glass ceilings exist
there), it would be completely inconsistent with my experience in the
U.S. Fortunes here seem to be made and lost overnight, which isn't
conducive to a rigid class structure because hereditary class seems to have
little staying power for the most part -- the handful of exceptions are

In my relatively short lifetime, most of the people I know have moved from
technical poverty into the middle-class or better. The vast majority of
poor people I've known were also young; experience seems to fix poverty
most of the time. Of the people I know that started out wealthy, probably
half of them dropped back into the middle class (or worse). Mind you, back
when I was very young and poor and my income was about half the income
required to cross the "poverty" line, I didn't starve or even live
particularly badly; I just had to be frugal. Most young people can survive
on far less than the poverty line. The proverbial "family of four" living
below the poverty line is very much the exception rather than the rule in
my experience (though I grew up in one and it was a family of seven).

As a rule, if one can get into the middle class, there is nothing keeping
one from entering into the upper class, assuming one has the drive to do so
and doesn't squander their resources. In fact, I would claim that it takes
substantially more effort to move from the poor classes to the middle class
than to move from the middle class to the upper class; the barriers to
entry require more determination on the part of the individual, yet people
do it all the time. However most people are quite content to be in the
middle class and don't bother investing the relatively small effort
required to go any further in my experience.

-James Rogers

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