Upward mobility in America is a myth.
People can’t get ahead because the “system” is keeping them down.
Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a syndicated newspaper columnist, shoots holes in those “facts,” in a March 2013 column. Despite those conclusions from academic studies, Sowell says that if you look at individuals, there are clear models of upward mobility in America today.
He cites Asian immigrants, who came to the U.S. with little money, little, if any, command of English, but who have persevered and succeeded. Their children often do very well in school.
Success does not have to be for the privileged, or highly educated, few. There are many ways out there to be successful, regardless of background, birth or circumstance. To take advantage of those many opportunities, one has to, first, look for them. Once he has found one that suits him, he has to be determined to work at it. Once he’s done that, he has to help others do the same.
One of the reasons for Asian immigrants’ success is that they initially get help from those who came before them. Their grit and determination is a shining example to follow.
Admittedly, some folks who have done just about everything right can encounter curve balls that throw off their meticulous life plans. People can lose jobs. People can be shown the door by their employers, and have their careers cut short, because they reach a certain age. People can get ill, and see everything they’d worked for eaten up with medical bills, many of which could be outrageously high.
And, everyone is different. Some people willingly take charge of their lives. Some have trouble doing that. But, the ability to move up the economic ladder is still very much present. It just may not exist in certain areas anymore, because of technology and productivity increases.
Perhaps that good-paying job you had has gone away, and is not coming back. That doesn’t mean the system is keeping people down. It means that individuals have to look elsewhere for opportunity.
It is easy to get frustrated looking for opportunity, and fall into a funk. Then, you start to believe mobility is a myth and the system is against you. Those folks would be advised to know that circumstances may not be their fault, but how you react to them is clearly under their control.
Opportunities of the past may have passed. One might think of a generation or two ago, when a person got hired by an employer, with good pay and benefits, and that person could stay for life if he wanted to. There are few of those opportunities left. Today’s employment situation is very fluid, and probably will become more so with time. One has to look at a job as temporary, with limited duration, and spend some time outside of work looking for those golden opportunities.
Then, if confronted with one such opportunity, one has to have the courage to go for it, knowing that there will be people around to help them, when they are unsure of themselves.
Take care with whom you trust. There will be people who will see THEIR opportunity in YOU, and show you little or no appreciation for it. If you are in such a situation, look at it as a way to support yourself until your own plan, takes shape.
To look at one golden opportunity, visit The value will be obvious. The opportunity will be strictly up to you.
Don’t let yourself be a victim. Don’t become a statistic that will help justify the conclusion that mobility is a myth, and the system keeps people down. There is a whole contingent of people who don’t believe that for a minute. You’d be taking a step toward your own success if you hung among them.