Thursday, November 24, 2011

Society:  Fatalism and the American Dream

Of the five nationalities polled, Americans were least likely to believe that success in life was determined by forces outside our control.
Put another way, Americans are (not surprisingly) more likely to believe in the American dream.
These findings are particularly interesting when juxtaposed with a separate report from the Pew Economic Mobility project. That report, which examined economic and social mobility in 10 Western countries, found that Americans actually appear to have less control over their success in life than their counterparts do.

In particular, the educational attainment of a person's parents — a factor usually determined before that person's birth — seems to matter more for mobility in the United States.

“There is a stronger link between parental education and children's economic, educational and socio-emotional outcomes than in any other country investigated,” the report says.

As Richard Wilkinson suggested in a recent TED Talk, if you want to live the American dream — and have greater control over your own likelihood of success — you should probably move to Denmark, where the poor have a better chance of moving up in the world.

For more, see Fatalism and the American Dream by Catherine Rampell, November 23, 2011 at Economix.

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