Nobel winner Stiglitz: “American Dream is a myth”

by Aimee Picchi – April 23, 2015

CBS Money Watch

The quintessential American hero peppered Horatio Alger’s novels: poor boys who, through scrappy hard work and ingenuity, climbed the economic ladder.

Those days are long gone, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who looks at America’s growing income inequality in his new book “The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them,” published by W.W. Norton.

America may have once been known for providing opportunities to poor and rich alike, Stiglitz writes, but the country has now been hamstrung by growing inequality, which is creating a “vicious circle” where the rising power of the top 1 percent of American earners leads to greater political inequality, which then reinforces more economic inequality.

“America is no longer the land of opportunity that it (and others) like to think it is,” writes Stiglitz, former chief economist at the World Bank and a professor at Columbia University. He won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2001. “To a large extent, the American Dream is a myth.”

The chances of making it to the top for young Americans today “are far lower than for young persons in other advanced countries,” Stiglitz writes, noting that some “very talented immigrants” do still achieve economic success.

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