Narrowing the new class divide

In case you missed it, in a New York Times piece last week, AEI scholar Charles Murray continues his exploration of the class divide among whites in America which is described in depth in his bestselling book: COMING APART. In the book Murray demonstrates how America has devolved into a class system where those at the top and those at the bottom barely inhabit the same culture.

Murray suggests "four steps that might weaken the isolation of at least the children of the new upper class":

  • We should get rid of unpaid internships: The children of the new upperclass hardly ever get real jobs during summer vacation. Instead, they get unpaid internships in Congress, think tanks and other places. "Those from the middle and working class, struggling to pay for college, can’t afford to work for free. [Unpaid] internships pave the way for children to move seamlessly from their privileged upbringings to privileged careers."
  • We can also drop the SAT in college admissions decisions: The test has become a symbol of new-upper-class privilege, as people assume (albeit wrongly) that high scores are purchased through the resources of private schools and expensive test preparation programs. Instead, elite colleges should require achievement tests in specific subjects for which students can prepare the old-fashioned way, by hitting the books.
  • Ethnic affirmative action should be replaced by socioeconomic affirmative action: "This is a no-brainer. It is absurd, in 2012, to give the son of a black lawyer an advantage in college admissions but not do the same for the son of a white plumber."
  • We should prick the B.A. bubble: The bachelor’s degree has become a driver of class divisions at the same moment in history when it has become educationally meaningless. We don’t need legislation to fix this problem, just an energetic public interest law firm that challenges the constitutionality of the degree as a job requirement.


Charles Murray is the WH Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He is available for interviews and can be reached by contacting Veronique Rodman at
[email protected] or 202.862.4871.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Charles
Murray

What's new on AEI

AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters
image A nation divided by marriage
image Teaching reform
image Socialist party pushing $20 minimum wage defends $13-an-hour job listing
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 27
    MON
  • 28
    TUE
  • 29
    WED
  • 30
    THU
  • 31
    FRI
Monday, October 27, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
State income taxes and the Supreme Court: Maryland Comptroller v. Wynne

Please join AEI for a panel discussion exploring these and other questions about this crucial case.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 9:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
For richer, for poorer: How family structures economic success in America

Join Lerman, Wilcox, and a group of distinguished scholars and commentators for the release of Lerman and Wilcox’s report, which examines the relationships among and policy implications of marriage, family structure, and economic success in America.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The 7 deadly virtues: 18 conservative writers on why the virtuous life is funny as hell

Please join AEI for a book forum moderated by Last and featuring five of these leading conservative voices. By the time the forum is over, attendees may be on their way to discovering an entirely different — and better — moral universe.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
A nuclear deal with Iran? Weighing the possibilities

Join us, as experts discuss their predictions for whether the United States will strike a nuclear deal with Iran ahead of the November 24 deadline, and the repercussions of the possible outcomes.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
The forgotten depression — 1921: The crash that cured itself

Please join Author James Grant and AEI senior economists for a discussion about Grant's book, "The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself" (Simon & Schuster, 2014).

No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.