Throughout history, millions of people have seen the United States as the country of opportunity or the so-called “American Dream.”
However, others who, for various reasons, have not accessed it, in the event of their inability, assert that it is false. While others say it is true.
The fact is that everyone lives their own story and, accordingly, they have their own view of things. Because history has also seen many who have gone from destitution to millionaires who today are a model of improvement for many.
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Is the United States still the land of opportunity?
says economist and philosopher Daniel Markovits in an interview with BBC.
He calls it the “merit trap,” a socioeconomic system that not only prevents the middle and lower classes from aspiring to climb the social strata, but also affects the wealthier classes.
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The philosopher points out that “we think of it as a way of giving everyone a fair chance of success.”
He is also a professor at Yale University, who maintains that the perception that those who persevere in his country are wrong. Because according to him, there is a separation in these times.
Why is the United States no longer the American dream?
For the professor, currently, “the United States has become a very rigid and selective hierarchy in which the elites are separated from the rest of society.”
He explains that members of the richest families, as they say, “marry in different styles, and raise their children in different styles.”
Most important of all, they invest huge amounts of resources in educating their children so that the children can win the competition of merit.
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A vivid example of this is the prestigious US universities of the so-called Ivy League: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Yale, and many other top executives, businessmen, economists, politicians and people who make decisions in the country.
To get in, Americans and immigrants do not start out on equal ground from their early years of school, Markovits says, but aspiration to these prestigious institutions is determined by families’ wealth.
The rich are hurt too
The economist tells that after investing tens of thousands of dollars in education in elite schools, that investment returned through income.
“We have a system of higher education that makes people great bankers, for example, but not great citizens; great managers of great companies, but not good presidents in the traditional sense,” says the university professor.
What can we do?
At Oxford, a private British institution comparable to those in the Ivy League, director of admissions Samina Khan, they say they have achieved integration of up to 60% of students from public institutions.
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“We are very interested in attracting students from different backgrounds, because diversity of background means diversity of thought,” Khan told the BBC.
Markovits says that the way of education in European countries is a good example of comprehensive social policy.
“Ordinary people in the United States are less likely to climb social class hierarchies than are ordinary people in Germany or Denmark and most of Europe.”
In Scandinavian countries, such as Sweden or Denmark, there are no elite schools and almost everyone attends public schools, according to official data from those countries.
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