Social Immobility

Gregory Clark, The Son Also Rises (Princeton University Press, 2014)

When I first came to Britain ten years ago, one of the things that struck me about British society was the extent to which social class is physically manifested. As the classic sketch with John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett suggests, you literally do look up to the upper classes. Princes William and Harry are both 6’3″, and that’s not unusual: go to any an upper- or “upper middle”- (i.e., rich but not titled) class gathering, and you will be hard-pressed to find anyone of below average height. Similarly, for someone of average height, it is striking to walk around some of the more deprived neighbourhoods in the UK and find that the average height is noticeably shorter. Lamarckian inheritance notwithstanding, the correlation between height and class in Britain suggests that there could be a significant genetic component ... Read More

Cutting Red Tape

Following on from my post about the importance of entrepreneurship a couple of weeks ago is a new report from the Institute for Justice on the burdens of occupational licensing. It finds that, in the US, the top 10 worst ranked jobs in terms of average licensing burden are:

  1. Preschool teacher
  2. Athletic trainer
  3. Earth driller
  4. Cosmetologist
  5. Barber
  6. School bus driver
  7. HVAC Contractor
  8. Skin Care Specialist
  9. Pest Control Applicator
  10. Bus Driver

Who knew earth drilling was so heavily regulated? We’ve had some personal experience with excessive licensing requirements: m0y wife briefly considered looking after one of our friends’ children as a way to make a bit of extra money until we discovered that to ‘child mind’ you not only need to be licensed but have an educational qualification in childminding! Because the burden was too high, we lost out on extra income, our friends weren’t able to have a person they already knew look after their child, and ... Read More