American exceptionalism?

Posted: 12 October 2014 in Uncategorized
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It seems, on first glance, that American Exceptionalism is alive and well.


Judging from a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, Americans still believe that individual initiative and hard work—and not forces outside their control—determine success in life. It’s a view that was born out of a long period (beginning in the nineteenth century and lasting until the mid-1970s) during which people’s standards of living increased within and across generations as, decade after decade, wages roughly kept pace with productivity increases.

Of course, things have changed dramatically over the course of the past four decades, as the gap between wages and productivity has continued to grow.

inequality-challenge free markets

But, by and large, the majority of Americans still don’t think inequality is a big problem and continue to express their support for a “free-market system.”

policies future

Yet, Americans do believe that high taxes would do more than low taxes to reduce the gap between rich and poor. And, perhaps most worrisome from the perspective of American Exceptionalism, many more people (65 compared 30 percent) expect that the next generation will be financially worse off than the current generation.

Not only are they correct. As it turns out, there’s nothing particularly exceptional in that view, since the majority of people in the advanced economies share the same dire prospect about the future.

And they should—unless and until fundamental changes are made in the way the economies of their countries are fundamentally transformed and reorganized.

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