I've had a growing sense lately that the American culture may be passing a tipping point. It seems many Americans would prefer Egalitarianism over Prosperity for all.
Tax policy is obsessed with "fairness" and ignores how changes may actually produce less federal tax revenue. Occupy Wall Street villifies the profit principle that drives the capitalism that builds prosperity for all. The election seemed to be all about pitting The 1% against The 47%.
As I said in my January 23 post, Jealousy, Covetousness and Envy are no way to live well.
Nitin Nohria is a first-generation American emigrant from India who became the Dean of the Harvard Business School. In this month's Review, he articulated this notion beautifully.
"The American Dream rests on a broad set of virtues - - including a strong work ethic, a belief in meritocracy that enables mobility, and a welcoming attitude toward immigrants -- its foundation is a spirit of optimism.... an 'ambition economy' ... many other countries have an 'envy economy'...."
"Lately there are signs that America is shifting from an orientation of ambitioin toward one of envy. Whether it is the 99% who envy the 1% or the 53% who resent the 47% who are receiving government distributions, we are beginning to show signs of focusing more on others than on ourselves. That's a shift we want to avoid. Over time, envy has a corrosive, pernicious effect on an economy... It shifts peoples' gaze toward others in a negative way and takes their focus off their own goals. In an ambition economy, people generally enjoy watching othrs get ahead, because it reinforces their sense that they, too, can succeed. In an envy economy, in contrast, people often feel like they're playing in a zero-sum game and that if someone else gets ahead, it comes at their own expense."
I suppose it's up to me - - and you - - to hold fast the merits of the unique very American Dream. Our system may not be perfect, but it has produced more good for more people around the world than any other.