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What Ever Happened To Upward Mobility? - TIME
"A spate of new reports ... show that it's easier to climb the socioeconomic ladder in many parts of Europe than it is in the U.S. It's hard to imagine a bigger hit to the American Dream than that: you'd have an easier time getting a leg up in many parts of sclerotic, debt-ridden, class-riven old Europe than you would in the U.S.A. 'The simple truth,' says Sawhill, 'is that we have a belief system about ourselves that no longer aligns with the facts.'"
"In the 1970s, corporate chiefs earned about 40 times as much as their lowest-paid worker (still closer to the norm in many parts of Europe). Now they earn more than 400 times as much."
"[T]echnology may soon be a net job destroyer. The best hope in fighting the machines is to improve education, the factor that is more closely correlated with upward mobility than any other. Research has shown that as long as educational achievement keeps up with technological gains, more jobs are created. But in the late 1970s, that link was broken in the U.S. as educational gains slowed. That's likely an important reason that Europeans have passed the U.S. in various measures of mobility. They've been exposed to the same Malthusian forces of globalization, but they've been better at using public money to buffer them."
"The mythology of the American Dream has made it difficult to start a serious conversation about how to create more opportunity in our society, since many of us still believe that our mobility is the result of our elbow grease and nothing more. But there is a growing truth, seen in the numbers and in the protests that are spreading across our nation, that this isn't so. We can no longer blame the individual. We have to acknowledge that climbing the ladder often means getting some support and a boost."
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november 2011 by cluebucket

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