Social mobility and Obama

3 Nov 2008 by Karl Hallam

If Obama becomes President one of his biggest problems will be attempting to deal with the huge weight of expectation that has grown during the campaign. He might do well to look to the UK, where an enormous number of people feel who were very excited in 1997, now feel diappointed with Labour's impact. One area where progress in the UK has not met expectation is social mobility.

Cadence collaborator Professor Danny Dorling has done a lot work in this area and pointed us towards the new Cabinet Office Report released today, that suggests that it 'might start to rise in the future'. Now to many that might seem depressing, shouldn't a Labour Goverment have made it increase after 11 years? That's a big question, but the lesson for Obama is clear. 11 years of 'change' in the UK has not done it and the maximum he can have is 8 years.

Tony Blair regretted not being radical enough, soon enough and that was during favourable economic conditions. But, another Obama problem would be reassuring that the USA was safe under his command and of course socialism and liberal are swear words for many over there.

The other issue is that if Obama did put into place radical policies to reduce inequality and increase social mobility that worked, then there is no guarantee he would get the credit for them, as the lag between policy implementation and effect is so large. In the UK this could mean the Conservatives may end up being in power during a period when social mobility improves and it is doubtful they will want to do anything other than take credit.

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