Monday, January 28, 2013

Kaputt - social mobility in Germany

A crack in how Germans see themselves.

Phrases like "it's not what you know but who you know", or "it's not what you know but where you come from", can be heard in many countries, including Germany.

Until recently, research seemed to suggest that upward mobility in Germany ranked on par with similar Western countries. Of course, there are the nagging statistics showing low percentages of lower class kids making it to university, but still. The country seemed to be a decent place to move up in life, not a great one, mind you, but good enough for self-congratulatory patting on the back.

But now, there much less encouraging numbers. As published in Die Zeit, some 40 percent of lifetime earnings can be attributed to family background, and for educational achievement, the figure is about 50 per cent.

The German education system is likely to be one culprit. Despite reforms, the system by and large still selects early, making it harder for kids from more modest backgrounds.

The the K-Landnews team more or less agrees that this study reflects reality better than others.
The newsers also agree that life at the bottom of the totem pole in Germany used to be less bad and dangerous than in the US. But with changes in the laws in the past two decades, life at the bottom has become more precarious around here, everyone agrees on that.

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