All societies have some system of social stratification. They may be categorized as:
- Open Societies
- Closed Societies
In open society, certain inequalities may exist, but individuals have the opportunity to move up to a higher social class or down to a lower social class. (A truly open society, however, is an ideal type, one that exists in theory only.) Within this system, individuals can move from one class to another through hard work, demonstrated unit, luck, or marriage, their status is thus said to be achieved. The United States has an open society system, not without barriers to be overcome.
Several disadvantages and liabilities accompany with open societies which is the reason to increase mobility.
- Some individuals who compete for high social status simply do not possess sufficient ability and may experience a feeling of loss and frustration.
- Those who can compete may feel they are giving up their principles, reducing the time spent with their families, or surrendering other values in order to devote more energy to achieving higher status.
- Once a person reaches a goal, he/she may experience downward mobility:
- Persons who move from a lower to a higher social class may change their interests and behavioral patterns, thereby losing some of their friends