The American Class Structure

By Joseph A. Kahl | Go to book overview

creased from .24 to .32. Thus entry into the top levels of business management is becoming slightly more open through time. (It was necessary to condense categories to make the two researches comparable.)


Table S. Recruitment of Business Leaders, 1928 and 1952 [17]
OCCUPATIONAL GROUP RATIO 1928 RATIO 1952
Professional men 4.33 3.50
Businessmen 9.67 4.73
Clerks and salesmen 0.71 0.80
Farmers 0.32 0.33
Laborers 0.24 0.32

The material collected by Warner and Abegglin illuminates this statistical finding. They discovered that small companies are more rigid than large ones, for in the former a man can pass both ownership and executive control on to his sons, but in the latter impersonal competition is more likely to operate. Furthermore, they found that a college education is becoming more and more a prerequisite for business success, and college education has been markedly "democratized" in the last few decades. Formerly the sons of the elite were almost the only ones who went to college, but now a substantial portion of middle- class boys and a great many from the working class enter ivy halls. Once they graduate, they can enter the competition for management positions with almost as much chance for success as the sons of the elite. Consequently, the important sifting process has now become that which sends some boys to college but keeps others away. That process will be studied in detail in the following chapter.

Some incidental findings of the Warner and Abegglin study are of interest. The sons of foreign-born fathers do slightly better in the competition for elite positions than do those of native-born fathers. A man has a much better chance for success in big business if he is born in a big city and in any region of the country other than the South. Although the sons of high-level fathers generally reach success somewhat earlier in life than those of low-level fathers, direct help in the form of money from one's father is rare, and is more rare now than formerly.


CONCLUSIONS

This chapter has explored data from the census, and from sample inquiries that obtained information about the relative occupations of fathers and sons, in order to measure the degree to which American society departs from the extremes of being completely open or completely closed [18].

-271-

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The American Class Structure
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xiii
  • Tables xvii
  • Figures xviii
  • I - The Dimensions of Class 1
  • References 16
  • II - Position and Prestige 19
  • Conclusions 47
  • References 49
  • III - Occupational Prestige and Social Change 53
  • Conclusions 85
  • References 87
  • IV - Income, Wealth, and Style of Life 91
  • Conclusions 119
  • References 122
  • V - The Web of Interaction 127
  • Conclusions 153
  • References 154
  • VI - Class Consciousness and Political Ideology 157
  • Conclusions 180
  • References 181
  • VII - Classes as Ideal Types: Emergent Values 184
  • Conclusions 215
  • References 218
  • VIII - Ethnic and Race Barriers 221
  • Conclusions 247
  • References 248
  • IX - Succession and Mobility: the Occupational Base 251
  • Conclusions 271
  • References 272
  • X - Succession and Mobility: Motivation and Education 276
  • Conclusions 293
  • References 294
  • Index 301
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