Tag Archives: American Dream

The Chinese dream, the British dream, and the American dream, compared

By Zheping Huang – The world’s major powers might all have dreams, be they British or Chinese, South African or American. But these national dreams contain very different promises to each country’s citizens.

In her speech, May described the British dream as the vision that “life should be better for the next generation.” She said her grandmother, a former domestic servant who ended up having three professors and a prime minister among her grandchildren, was proof that the dream could be real.

But she admitted the dream was out of reach for many people today and promised to fix that. In this incarnation, the British dream isn’t so different than the American dream. One sign the British dream needs fixing? The large numbers of the ruling elite who come from this university and do this degree.

Every supreme leader of the Chinese Communist Party has his favorite political slogan. And so it is with the Chinese Dream for Xi jinping, who proposed the term shortly after he stepped into power in late 2012. Xi initially described the Chinese Dream as the vision of “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

The term “American Dream” was coined by financier-turned-historian James Truslow Adams in his 1931 book The Epic of America. Adams defines it as the vision that everyone in America can climb the ladder if he works hard.

Today, the American dream is somewhat frayed. Only 23% of Americans believe that it is common for someone to start poor, work hard and get rich. more> https://goo.gl/BAooXf

Updates from Chicago Booth

What has happened over the past 40 years in the United States, particularly in cities?
By Veronica Guerrieri – It is well known that the US has experienced a large increase in income inequality, which, in my view, is one of the biggest problems of the US economy. At the same time, there has been an increase in neighborhood segregation, especially in larger cities: the rich are more and more concentrated in rich neighborhoods and the poor in poor neighborhoods. Alessandra Fogli of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and I document a strong correlation between inequality and residential segregation.

The data show that cities with more segregation have a bigger education gap between the children of rich and poor families—and have less intergenerational mobility, which measures how hard it is to become rich if your parents are poor. In rich neighborhoods, it’s easier for kids to get a good education, and the return on education is higher. There are better schools, parents invest more in after-school activities, and there are stronger peers. This means that segregation amplifies inequality. At the same time, inequality increases segregation because richer people are happy to pay more to live in better neighborhoods. more> https://goo.gl/Qxi1wD

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Why the American Dream Is Making You Unhappy

By Ruth Whippman – Hard work will lead seamlessly to stratospheric success, while homelessness is essentially just another word for carelessness.

This story, or some version of it, is the mighty engine that propels the American experiment. Greatness is within all of our grasp, and there are no problems, just “opportunities.”

As a Brit in America, all this star-spangled exceptionalism feels alien. There is no “British Dream” (other than a nice cup of tea, and someone else’s misfortune). Telling a British toddler that they, too, could one day be Prime Minister would likely give them nightmares.

At its best, the American Dream can be both moving and inspiring, but it is also problematic, not least because it is largely false.

Research shows that in reality, American social mobility is among the lowest in the developed world. Far from being the Land of Opportunity, a child born poor in America is more likely to remain poor than in any other comparable country. more> http://goo.gl/JVRIEq

AEI-Brookings Working Group on Poverty and Opportunity

Brookings.edu – The political difficulty arises when we turn to solutions.

Most new ideas for helping the poor are controversial and expensive, and when one political party offers a proposal, the other party usually disagrees with its premises or specifics.

The parties often have deep philosophical differences, but research shows that the mere fact that one party proposes an idea can motivate partisans on the other side to dismiss it.

We were particularly heartened when the same three values recurred throughout our discussions: opportunity, responsibility and security.

The vast majority of Americans endorse these three values, at least in principle. When policy recommendations are grounded firmly in these widely shared values, they become immediately understandable and more politically achievable. more> http://goo.gl/JHKZBl

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The American Dream Is Dead: Here’s Where It Went

By Adele Peters – In the late 1800s, it might have been true that a penniless immigrant moving to the U.S. from, say, England, would have had better chances in the New World. But upward mobility in America has been declining since the 1920s.

In Denmark, the odds of making it are now about twice as high as the U.S.

Why is the U.S. less mobile?

Going to school doesn’t really help level the playing field, probably because the differences between schools are also so great in the United States.

“We used to think we might have a lot of inequality in the U.S.—but so what, because we have a lot of mobility,” says Janet Gornick, director of the Luxembourg Income Study, who studies inequality and poverty.

“This showed that not only is inequality high in the U.S., but mobility is relatively low.” more> http://tinyurl.com/p7s3u6e

The American Dream Is Leaving America

By Nicholas Kristof – The best escalator to opportunity in America is education. But a new study underscores that the escalator is broken.

A basic element of the American dream is equal access to education as the lubricant of social and economic mobility. But the American dream seems to have emigrated because many countries do better than the United States in educational mobility, according to the O.E.C.D. study. more> http://tinyurl.com/kcqjela

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