General Article Social mobility 'slower than in medieval England'

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By Ian Dunt

The rate of social mobility in the UK is now slower than during the medieval ages, according to new research.
Researchers at the University of California found that it takes longer for a family’s economic and social status to change since the Industrial Revolution than it did during earlier periods of human history.
‘The huge social resources spent on publicly-provided education and health have seemingly created no gains in the rate of social mobility,’ said Professor Gregory Clark.
‘The modern meritocracy is no better at achieving social mobility than the medieval oligarchy. Instead that rate seems to be a constant of social physics, beyond the control of social engineering.’
Academics traced the fortunes of people with a rare surname – one rich, the other poor – from 1858-87 to now.
The holders of the ‘rich’ surname are still ‘substantially wealthier’ in 2011, four generations la

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