Miscellaneous (한 + Eng)

조국, 그리고 공정이라는 이데올로기

2021-02-26 22:21

The question exceptionalists should be asking is why America, once vaunted for its economic mobility, now trails much of the advanced world. Single-parent families clearly play a role, since poor children born into two-parent homes are far more upwardly mobile than those who are not. Housing patterns that segregate the poor from the middle class also seem to limit poor kids' chances of getting ahead. But economic inequality is also a big part of the story. Across the world, the University of Ottawa's Miles Corak has demonstrated, countries with higher inequality suffer lower mobility. The same is true inside the United States: The flatter a city is economically, the more likely its poor will rise.

Part of the reason is "opportunity hoarding." In recent decades, the wealth gap between the richest Americans and everyone else has dramatically widened. Rich Americans have used this influx of cash to give their children special advantages that keep them from losing their spots atop the income ladder to children born with lesser means. Think about test preparation, which became a national industry only in the 1970s. Or the way wealthy parents subsidize unpaid internships or buy expensive houses to gain access to the best public schools. In the early 1970s, rich families spent four times as much on their children's education as poor ones. Today, they spend almost seven times as much. Culture plays a large role in this. If the rich didn't value education, they wouldn't spend their cash on it. But until recently, they didn't have so much cash to spend. As a paper by Stanford sociologists Pablo Mitnik, Erin Cumberworth, and David Grusky notes, "Inequality provides privileged families with more resources that can then be lavished on their children, resources that raise their chances of securing desirable class positions for themselves." Whether this lavishing has contributed to an absolute decline in upward mobility in the United States in recent decades, it has certainly contributed to America's decline relative to other advanced countries.

—  Beinart, P., & National Journal. (February 3, 2014). The end of American exceptionalism. The Atlantic.

'조국 사태' 이후 민주당의 실패 중 하나를 꼽아보자면, 바로 시대적 과제와도 같은 불평등 문제에 대항할 수 있는 청사진을 제시하지 못한 데 있다. 단순히 제시하지 못한 데 그친 게 아니라, 그들은 언론 및 검찰 등의 사유를 들며 회피하였다. 물론 야당과 같은 여당 외 존재들이 제 구실을 했다고 믿지 않는다. (그들이 그 어떤 생산적인 비판도 던지지 못한 탓에, 결국 대한민국이 여당의 무책임을 더욱 방조하는 꼴이 되었다.) 그러나 분명 '조국 사태' 이후 보여준 민주당의 모습은 제1 여당으로서 다소 무책임한 행동이었다. 조국-정경심-조민이 보여준 일면의 세계에 대한 불만은 언론의 과장된 보도와 검찰의 과장된 수사로만 일구어진 것이 아니었다. 현재 대한민국의 엘리트 계층이 어떻게 교육의 기회—그리고 그것이 상징하는 물질/문화적 자본 그 자체—를 세습하는지, 그리고 그것이 대단히 잘못되지 않았는지 불만을 던지는 물음조차 제대로 응답하지 못하는 태도는 실망스러웠다. 결국 정치가 사회에 그 어떤 균열도 내지 못한 채, '조국 사태'는 공정성이라는 어휘 하나로 요약되어 버렸다. 나는 경쟁의 공정만을 외치는 시대정신이 개탄스럽다. 그리고 그것에 민주당이 책임감을 느껴야 한다고 믿는다.