Britain’s mobility rates are not distinctively low, but are uneven; lower among the elite (neglected in much mobility analysis); professionals and managers; small businesses; and routine operatives. Class and gender interact in producing these patterns, prompting questions of fairness and effectiveness of low mobility ‘pockets’. Policies need a generation to work fully, but both SAD and DIM explanations point to low probabilities of increasing mobility rates from the lower classes. Also, the expansion of desirable jobs /classes needed to accommodate extra upwardly mobile numbers is far greater than contemporary occupational transition rates. ‘More mobility’ will not solve social inequality, but reducing inequality may promote mobility and make life more bearable for the inevitable ‘losers’. We need a new approach, which combines solid sociological evidence with fresh thinking about the interconnection of upward and downward mobility, and addresses the micro-causes, and experience, of being mobile.
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