Rank and Class: Social Order in a Changing World

Question: How would you describe the class system in England today?

 

Jeffrey Archer: I think the class system existed when I was a child, almost very clearly defined.

I do not get that today. I think the new young generation have thrown it aside and treated it for its worth. Tthat doesn’t mean there still isn’t Snowberry in Britain, there are still a literary snobs and artistic snobs, and indeed just plain out snobs, but they are far less that they used to be and they certainly no longer have this way of power of importance.

 

Question: Are there still hurdles to overcome in class struggle?

 

Jeffrey Archer: Oh! Yes, it is quite clear that if you look at some of the people who have returned to the very top, that it can be broken. I think John Major would be the first to say that he broke right through that and became Prime Minister of Great Britain, and indeed Margaret Thatcher came from a very modest background as the daughter of a grocer and went on to become the first women Prime Minister. So, I think those days are behind us.

 

Recorded on: March 15, 2008.

 

Archer explains Britain's social hierarchy.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

New alternative to Trump's wall would create jobs, renewable energy, and increase border security

A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.

Credit: Purdue University photo/Jorge Castillo Quiñones
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
  • The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
  • It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
Keep reading Show less

Is this why time speeds up as we age?

We take fewer mental pictures per second.

(MPH Photos/giphy/yShutterstock/Big Think)
Mind & Brain
  • Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
  • In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
  • The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
Keep reading Show less