Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 23, 2014

American Dream is Alive and Kicking

Andrew Lewis reviews Tyler Cowen’s Average is Over.

“While Cowen foresees an America with more polarizing income inequality, the country won’t be entirely in the grip of the forces we have grown used to. In the past, income inequality was largely driven by differences in social status. In the future, Cowen argues, society will become more meritocratic.”

“That’s not at all to say that inequality is unimportant, but rather that income inequality is not the best gauge of societal equity. Perhaps opportunity equality should be what we strive for… Rewarding individuals for their ability and effort is an idea that rings true with the spirit of James Adams’ vision. The American Dream is alive and well.”

  • CJR

    It’s a nice sentiment. But it doesn’t bear out in reality.
    In a meritocracy, you would see a great deal of social mobility. A talented person born to a poor family would be able to earn his/her way into prosperity, and a talentless person born to a rich family would sink.
    However, we’re not seeing that, at least not in the US.
    We’re seeing people more and more stuck in the social status of their parents.
    The meritocracies are in Europe, not the US.

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