Is the American Dream Really Dead

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Economics

Document 1

This indicates just how difficult it has increasingly become to get opportunities to enable one to ascend the economic ladder. What exactly is the American Dream? According to American born James Truslow, financier and then Pulitzer Prize winner, the American Dream is, “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement”. As James Truslow puts it, the American Dream somewhat portrays an open economy where anyone, regardless of what ability, skills or knowledge they possess can easily eke out a living and economically empower themselves. From the first-hand accounts on the streets, it is also quite obvious that the American Dream is what drew foreigners from their native countries, some of them with nothing but are still able to make it as any other native American can, thanks to a free economy.

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Professor Raj Chetty is an immigrant from India who came to the United States at nine years of age with his family, like many other immigrants seeking the American dream- a better life and settled in the Midwest. After reevaluating the data with a colleague, Nathaniel Hendren, Chetty discovered that in order for the effects of moving into an area with a better standard of living to be felt, a longer childhood exposure was necessary. From the reexamined data, it was found that a child who moved at a tender age had adequately better chances of doing better as an adult in the present. Either they could be earning at least thirty percent more, have twenty-seven percent more opportunity to go to university or are thirty percent less likely to become a single parent.

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Whether that a program like Moving to Opportunity could work on a nationwide scale is yet to be seen, as the experiment was concentrated only within New York. That being said, Chetty claims that there is a group of five essential factors that could play a role at determining whether a person’s economic status improves, significantly. As to whether I know of someone who has actually achieved the American dream, the answer is yes. I know of several people that I grew up with, more specifically those that I shared a high school with and are now in Ivy League Universities in the US and their prospects of upward mobility if anything, have been more than stellar. In conclusion, as mentioned prior, the American Dream is still very much alive albeit in areas of the nation that do have enabling opportunities for people to exploit; Whether it’s in the way of what kind of neighbourhood, family or community one grew up in or the school someone goes to.

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