The following question takes place in Medwedia, my fictional country populated by anthropomorphic bears. Medwedia is an ultraconservative totalitarian militaristic ultranationalist dictatorship that is disguised as an authoritarian one-party semi-democracy (mock elections and everything; however, those who cast the wrong votes disappear within 24 hours, etc...). Basically, anything that is beyond communal level is tightly controlled by the state. The technology is modern. However, some laws are archaic (flogging is a widespread punishment, those who steal an apple will have their hands amputated, etc...).
To fit with the "conservative" part, I want to severely reduce social mobility, e.g. the ability to (usually) raise one's social status. However, I want to do that without imposing a legal aristocracy with too many privileges as this would exclude the bourgeoise and the economical upper class. The main reasoning for this would be pure traditionalism coupled with the belief that "those who know their place and don't litter their heads with the desire to become rich will work harder".
The following measures have been enacted in various points in Medwedian history (Note: girls usually don't attend a Gymnasium or university and are instead prepared to become housewives, regardless of social class. Women can't vote or drive cars and must obey their husbands. Girls are usually kept at home or attend girls' schools.):
Attendance of a "Gymnasium", an academically oriented school, is required in order for a person to go to university (Look up the German Gymnasium). Good grades are of course a requirement; however, it is mandated that "Those who wish to send their children to the Gymnasium must show a certain level of financial credibility and be ready to sacrifice money for their son's education." Various fees must be paid prior to enrollment and important examinations; even the minimal monthly tuition fee as imposed by the state exceeds the yearly salary of a factory worker.
Same thing with universities. A price floor is enacted for universities that is not problematic for the majority of those who could send their children to a Gymnasium. However, the tuition fees for some of Medwedia's elite universities (an elite university degree makes one's life easier in many ways) are very high and the tax which has to be paid to send one's child to a foreign university makes even the rich shudder. Note: parents usually pay for their child's university education.
While a Gymnasium teaches one academic excellence, life skills and the topics covered are variable and interesting, the "Community School", "Elementary School" or "Professional School" (name varies by province), which is free or has low tuition fees affordable by everybody, limits the skills given to basic arithmetics required for monetary calculations, reading and writing and various manual skills (woodworking, etc...) which are replaced with sciences in the Gymnasium. Those who go to a "Professional School" are not able to go to university and are mandated to seek a low–qualification profession or an apprenticeship.
Some provinces require that parents who want to send their children to a Gymnasium must have attended such a school by themselves or even have an university degree.
Of course, the schools themselves may impose their own limits if they wish (and are encouraged to) such as "parents must have at least $1M to send their child here".
Many private or even state-owned boarding schools with very high tuition exist. Rich parents are encouraged to send their children here so that their children will grow up in a protected and closed society. Those schools prepare children for a life that includes many responsibilities but is luxurious: in some schools, children have servants, often poorer kids from a nearby village who attend a "Professional School" in the evening or on some weekdays only and have to support their family by working during the day.
Those who are sent to "Professional Schools" are told that they will contribute to society as manual workers just like doctors or politicians do and that one can be always proud to serve his country and fulfill his duty if he works excellently. They are told that a country where everybody is rich is damned to collapse.
On the other hand, those who are sent to a Gymnasium are told that they are privileged and will enjoy a luxurious life that will be coupled with higher responsibilities. They will be taught to feel a sense of material superiority.
Career and Taxation:
The tax rate is relatively flat with only slight variations based on a person's salary or economic status. It benefits the rich. In some provinces, those who did NOT go to university must pay an additional tax.
Men who continue the profession of their father if they do not go to university are rewarded. Women who become housewives are rewarded.
Men are drafted at the age of 18 for 2 years' worth of military service. Exempt are university students and some apprentices or those who can "buy themselves free". An university degree is required to become an officer. People who do not have an university degree but still choose to sign a lifelong contract to become soldiers or policemen are rewarded. In fact, over 5% of the Medwedian population (the total population is approximately 242 millions) consists of soldiers and policemen.
There is of course only a partial or fake democracy, which means that the opinion of the masses is rarely taken into account prior to governmental decisions. When it comes to a fake vote, all men older than 33 may vote. However, voting rights are based on taxation: citizens are separated into 10 "Taxation Classes" that correspond to the number of votes they have.
Those who wish to become politicians must have an university degree, a Gymnasium degree may be enough in communal politics. They also must show that they are "financially credible", e.g. poses a certain amount of money. Almost every member of the leadership caste has served or is serving in the military or in the police (which is a paramilitary organization and only differs from the military due to the fact that it is a subject of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, not the Ministry of Defence).
Those who wish to found a company must show a degree of education, usually a Gymnasium or even an university degree.
Those who do not have a Gymnasium degree, if founding or inheriting a company or firm, must stick to "the profession of their father or a comparable profession". It should be for example no problem for the son of a farmer to inherit the farm.
A certain amount of money and an academic degree is required to own certain amounts of land or poses firms of certain size. Sometimes, farmers who accumulate too much land and wealth are partially evicted and the land is sold to a rich landowner to prevent the farmer from becoming one.
What do you think of these measures?
Can you suggest more measures that openly or not decrease social mobility?