The End of the American Dream?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Benjamin Wallace-WellsNew York Magazine staff writer, talks about the economist who thinks there might not be a full recovery from the 2008 financial crisis and that the American Dream's time has passed.


Benjamin Wallace-Wells

Comments [19]

1970 GDP was $1.053T, average income ~$6,400.
2013 GDP $15.86T, average income $43,460

Wages have gone up less than HALF of what the overall economy has grown. More wealth is concentrated into fewer pockets. It generally means that people cannot afford to buy things that they used to be able to buy. There are many causes behind this fact - dereg/denuding of savings and loans, anti-unionism, effect of immigration (illegal and H1B's)...but the chief among them (in my opinion) is the fact that our politicians are for sale to the highest bidder. If we had a system of public election finance, we could less likely - not certain, just less likely - to have our own tax policy rigged against the common man. Corporations and fat cats are robbing the middle and bottom.

[Sorry, jgarbuz, your competition for resources argument doesn't hold. If the US economy were constrained by external competition, the result would be lower GDP. The economy produces it but we let the rules aggregate it into fewer pockets.}

Jul. 28 2013 08:07 PM
Jessie Henshaw from Way Uptown

Well, the natural science says we need innovations 8 times as powerful as before too, as well as... 8 more earths in the next century, to keep money gowing.

Jul. 27 2013 12:41 AM
Michael M Thomas

Factored into the Gordon view must be the two periods (post-WW1, post-WW2) during which America held most of the economic and financial power in a world that didn't include Asia. Gradually, starting in 1973-75, this hegemony was worn away. The USA suffered lethal blows to the three legs of the stool/throne from which it ruled (or presumed to rule) the world. 1: our economic hegemony was upset by the 1971-73 departure from the gold standard (effect largely symbolic, but no less resonant for that) and the 1973- OPEC price increases (I recall my father, an investment banker and director of oil companies, telling me ca.1955 that "I hope the Arabs never learn how to read."). 2. our military hegemony was was lost in Vietnam. 3. our moral hegemony went out the window with Watergate. It's really all there in Sec State John Foster Dulles' 1950s assertion that the future of the Japanese economy lay in the production of goods like cocktail napkins.

Jul. 26 2013 08:42 PM
John A from Goeth Pride

Can't wait for the audio - I'm already reading "The Blip" online. I'm tired of the waking dream that is exceptionalism. Unfortunately, it appears that the vast majority of votes are won by perpetuating this fantasy. In this democracy the voters are the ineffectual emperor and the elected and their campaign staff are our clothiers - emperors new clothes, anyone?

Jul. 26 2013 11:36 AM

I'm shocked, I was unaware that WNYC could to use comments from an economist other than Paul Krugman.

I am not shocked that you bring a guest on to discuss the demise of US exceptionalism in business by booking a staff writer from the cutting edge NY Magazine.

If you read this crapper magazine for anything other than mediocre food and movie reviews, you are a moron.

Jul. 26 2013 11:07 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

jgarbuz from Queens said:

>Robots are just at the very beginning of their development. Future robots will be able to do EVERYTHING, including providing sex.

So THAT's why I saw Anthony Weiner first in line outside the Apple Store.

Jul. 26 2013 11:03 AM

WNYC - You have a reporter talking about a writer, but don't have the writer on??????

Hearsay/readsay doesn't work well in court trials or for "reporting."

Jul. 26 2013 10:58 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Jim

How we got "poor?" It's because we have something today we didn't have in the 1950s: competition. Competition for resources. In 1950, hardly any Russians or Chinese or Asians or Latin Americans or Africans owned cars. Only we needed gasoline. We had no competition for resources. That's dead ancient history.

Jul. 26 2013 10:45 AM
josh Karan from Washington Heights

So many things missing from this analysis that it requires another speaker to rebut.

This segment represents the limits of the Brian Lehrer show format with a guest , who goes unchallenged at the time he is interviewed. The guest is not even an expert in his field, just a reporter of someone else's views

One indication of an alternative view: why does there need to be a 40 hour a week job for everyone?
Create a 25 hour work week for 40 hours pay, with the massively rich corporations paying for it through increased taxes, that puts the country back to work with a panoply of jobs in education, health care, renewable energy etc.

This kind of vacuous discussion is what makes me often change to another radio station.

Jul. 26 2013 10:43 AM
Jim B

Gordon's model explains how we got rich but doesn't account for how we got poor.

Jul. 26 2013 10:41 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Robots are just at the very beginning of their development. Future robots will be able to do EVERYTHING, including providing sex. Eventually everyone will have a robot companion just as virtually everyone has a car. The rich will have many; the poor will have maybe one. It's all just a matter of time.

Jul. 26 2013 10:40 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The new reality is virtual reality. People will be going out less, and staying home more surrounded by movies, video games, soon robots, etc. Surrounding ourselves with home-based entertainment is the new reality. Large screen TV's. Oculus-Rift virtual reality helmets. Immersive video games, et al, replaces the need for large amounts of real estate, or having to travel to get entertained.

Jul. 26 2013 10:35 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The "American Dream" in the 1950s and '60s was to get out of the crowded cities and rat-infested small apartments, and the new American Dream is to either stay in the city,or get back into it. The suburban Disneyland has turned into the American Nightmare.

Jul. 26 2013 10:29 AM
Joe Mirsky from Pompton Lakes, NJ

Too long to post here. Google Requiem for the MIddle Class Joe Mirsky

Jul. 26 2013 10:11 AM
gary from queens

I have friends who belong to "sustainable living" groupthink.

Try convincing them that we're barely at replacement level birth rates.

Paul Ehrlich has been proven wrong on several predictions, but they're still living in the 70s.

Jul. 26 2013 10:05 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

What is the "American Dream" anyway? To me, the "American Dream" is Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. It doesn't guarantee happiness. It doesn't guarantee big houses in suburban cul-de-sacs with lots of cars, nor a private plane or yacht. Life and Liberty is the American Dream.

Jul. 26 2013 10:02 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I agree with ED, that abortion and the other reasons keeping native baby-production low is going to keep economic growth low. Few young native-born young people and the booming growth in old people is not conducive to great economic growth. However, the increase in automation, particularly robotics, could help out.
Older people don't need big houses that much. Don't need new furniture that much. Nor much new clothing. What they need is more health services and personal assistance.
And the same goes for Europe, Japan, and will be true for China as well soon.

Jul. 26 2013 09:43 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

How can we ever recover when our "President" can blatantly lie about the facts in his speeches this week "on the economy" and the media won't utter a peep about it ... and Barry doesn't allow any questions. (As if they would ask him any.)
Whassup, Brian?

"I cut the deficit in half since I came into office." WHAT???
"We've created twice as many jobs in this recession than they did in the last recession." WHAT ????
This guy just makes stuff up and gets away with it.

Jul. 26 2013 07:20 AM
Ed from Larchmont

How can the economy recover when there aren't enough young people?

Jul. 26 2013 05:52 AM

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