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The economic ladder…

From Dan Froomkin via Brad Delong:

Is America the “land of opportunity”? Not so much. A new report from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) finds that social mobility between generations is dramatically lower in the U.S. than in many other developed countries.

From what I’ve seen of Europe (my wife is from Geneva), it’s easier for most to move up the ladder, but not get to the top of the ladder. In the States, at least in theory, it’s easier to get to the top of the ladder, but not for most to move up the ladder.

For the States at least, this is by choice – Americans have been sold a vision of success that is not just making a comfortable living, but making a killing. Unfortunately for most now, that’s our only goal. And in fact, the worse it gets in terms of inequality and job security, the more we all want to hit it rich so that we can get out of the rat race. It’s a self reinforcing sickness.

Thus we’re becoming a nation of “gamblers”. Rather than giving up an iota of freedom so that we’d have a better chance of all being “comfortable”, we want to maintain the big lottery to become “rich”. A lottery, which the vast majority of us lose.

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