New Socialism – On Class and Intergenerational Mobility

Class is central to the Marxist view on history but seems to have lost the focus of many socialist and social-democratic policies. Revisionism and liberal fiscal theories dominate even the views of traditional socialist parties, whose policies are often reduced to limiting income disparity and preserving public services.

Class cuts across generations stifling individuals with the inheritance of ownership of capital. The origin of the class conflict of capital interest is the loss of the means of subsistence by the working class and the subsequent accumulation of capital by capitalists. Even in our time, the income gap continuous to grow and the accumulation of capital continues to rise. This law of capitalism resists most efforts to level distribution of capital in revisionist socialist countries. Old Socialism reacts to this inequality by attempts to disown property owners and nationalize wealth, and considered class over individual. Since private property lies at the root of the class conflict between those with and those without, those with should be disowned in order to create a new society where capital ownership is socialized. New Socialism considers class and group identity only as an attribute of the individual, not as an independent entity.

Central to the new socialist debate on class is the intergenerational mobility or persistence of wages. Capitalism despite its promise of individual liberty, traps the individual in their class and intergenerational mobility is the lowest in those societies where capitalism has progressed furthest, in the US (defying the American Dream) and the UK. Many of the public services policies are not aimed to liberate the individual from this capitalist class trap, but only to sooth the disparity stemming from it by lowering access to basic education and healthcare. Revisionism has suffocated the aspiration of the traditional working class to free themselves from the class funnel.

Links:
NYTimes – Class Matters: An Overview
A Family Affair: Intergenerational Social Mobility across OECD countries
The Lancet – Child Development in Developing Countries

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