Document Type

Presentation

Publication Date

9-23-2014

Streaming Media

Publisher

Brookings Mountain West

Abstract

The issue of social mobility is at the forefront of current political debate. President Obama has described it as ‘the defining challenge of our times.’ Paul Ryan says that the ‘engines of upward mobility have stalled.’ Most approaches to restoring the American dream focus on institutions: schools, companies, and colleges. There is growing evidence that individual character strengths -- especially grit (the capacity to stick with a task or a journey), and prudence (valuing future outcomes) - matter just as much as more tangible factors. Blending history, philosophy, and economics, in this public lecture I will argue that restoring the American dream requires us to recapture - and cultivate through policy - the ideal of American character.

Keywords

American Dream; Declaration of Independence (United States); Equality; Income; Political science; Poor; Rich people; Social classes

Disciplines

American Politics | Inequality and Stratification | Political Science

Language

English


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