A troubling economic message
Once upon a time, during a brief egalitarian period in postwar America, people of different classes did not live in separate worlds. The promise of mobility and prosperity was alive throughout the land.
In 1950, Walt Disney Productions was saved from bankruptcy with its smash hit Cinderella, which audiences cheered at a time when the future looked bright and it was still possible for the dream of marrying up to come true.
A new Disney film of Cinderella is a big box-office success today, but how different things look!
Cinderella marriages are getting to be as rare as golden coaches.
Economist Jeremy Greenwood has found that your chances of marrying outside your income bracket have been dropping since the 1950s because of something called assortative mating, which means that we are increasingly drawn to people in similar circumstances.
Since the 1980s, inequality has grown and mobility has stalled. Today, the rich forge their unions in exclusive social clubs, Ivy League colleges and gated communities. Unless you have a fortune or a fairy godmother, you're probably out of luck. Without that magic, the gates remain closed.
At first glance, Kenneth Branagh's remake of the classic Disney film seems to offer a sunny romp through the magic kingdom. But a closer look reveals a troubling economic message.
Text: Lynn Stuart Parramore, Reuters
Image: Lily James as Cinderella in Disney's 2015 version of the fairy tale.
Image courtesy: Reuters, Disney handout