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  1. #11
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    My father has had a couple years over his lifetime where he made good money (in the top-20 percent). He's still poor. Spending a few years in the top-20 percent of income does not make you wealthy, refute the claim that there is significant wealth inequality in this country, or refute the claim that the US has limited upward mobility.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  2. #12
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    re: OP's linked report

    Here is some more data that supports some of @Tellenbach's points made in your OP and discounts others...perhaps the most accurate statement is that upward mobility remains stable (stagnant?) in the U.S. but is not equal to other developed countries.

    http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/

    The link above has an interesting array of articles on the debate about upward mobility as well.
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  3. #13
    deplorable basketcase Tellenbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by statuesquechica
    perhaps the most accurate statement is that upward mobility remains stable (stagnant?) in the U.S. but is not equal to other developed countries.
    I just browsed through the first 8 pages of the study and I can already identify serious flaws in the design:

    1) They're defining mobility as moving up from the bottom quintile to the top quintile. Yes, that's upward mobility, but so is moving from the bottom quintile to the next quintile. By ignoring upward mobility to the middle 3 quintiles, the authors have deliberately understated the amount of mobility in the US.

    2) They're comparing incomes of people at age 30. At age 30, many people have just paid off their student debts and just started on their careers. Of course, they're not going to be making lots of money. A better snapshot would be to look at people in their mid to late 40s.

    There is no mention (that I can tell) of other countries in that paper. Thanks for link.
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  4. #14
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    ^The first page of the research paper under demographics does mention that Denmark has one of the highest rates of relative mobility, comparable to several cities in the U.S. but other cities have the lowest rates of any industrialized nation.

    I don't see a problem in the study with looking at incomes of people at age 30...millions of earning records were anonymously reviewed and data collected for the analysis doesn't invalidate the findings. It does say the findings are correlational rather than causal so there has to be caution in that respect.

    I find it interesting there is such tremendous variety when looking at geography and the characteristics of various communities where one is more likely to escape generational poverty, if at all.
    I've looked at life from both sides now
    From up and down and still somehow
    It's life's illusions I recall
    I really don't know life at all

    Joni Mitchell

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