Economic Mobility

Thursday's Editorial - March 14, 2013


1. What is the main idea of Thomas Sowell’s commentary?

2. a) Which of Dr. Sowell's statements about economic mobility are new ideas to you?
b) For each one, do you think Dr. Sowell's assertion is reasonable? Explain your answers.

  1. "The very same attitudes and behavior that landed a father in a lower income bracket can land the son in that same bracket. But someone with a different set of attitudes and behavior may rise dramatically in the same society. Sometimes even a member of the same family may rise while a sibling stagnates or falls by the wayside." (from para. 5)
  2. "Just speaking standard English in an English-speaking country can improve the odds of rising. But multiculturalists' celebration of foreign languages or ethnic dialects, and of counterproductive cultural patterns exemplified by such things as gangsta rap, can promote the very social stagnation that they blame on 'society.'" (from para. 9)
  3. "Meanwhile, Asian immigrants or refugees who arrive here are not handicapped or distracted by a counterproductive social vision full of envy, resentment and paranoia, and so can rise in the very same society where opportunity is said to be absent." (from para. 10)
  4. "Most working Americans who were initially in the bottom 20 percent of income-earners, rise out of that bottom 20 percent. More of them end up in the top 20 percent than remain in the bottom 20 percent." (from para. 12)