It seems like social stratification goes hand-in-hand with the development of complex large economies in peacetime. The USA is astoundingly rich, but historically it seems to take political upheavals to spread the wealth across the classes. In the absence of such upheavals (examples: revolutions, world wars, economic depressions), the rich keep getting (incrementally) richer and the poor get (incrementally) poorer, and the work of Raj Chetty and Thomas Piketty says as much. In the US, we do have a system in which these kinds of problems can be addressed; examples are Tedddy Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
However, it takes either a transformative figure or a mass movement of people, and often both. In such a context, I agree that it's patently ridiculous to talk about "finding efficiencies." To me that sounds like "Let's not make our lives/careers and those of our students so miserable!" In an unequal society, more education will just make the educated make less money. The French Revolution came about because the King Louis XVI went bankrupt, but also because commoners, 98% of the population, were systematically shut out from lucrative career tracks. At the time people wanted to maintain the *ancient regime* badly, but the system was so backward and inefficient that it simply couldn't be maintained. I agree that there is a political time bomb on the way but I pray it can come about sans upheaval.
And: PowerPoint should be BANNED.