Remember the story your family tells you they came to America to come for the “American Dream?” You know, a good job that pays the house, a car, food, education, etc.? Those were wonderful stories. Sadly, the “American Dream” may sound like a fantasy.
Recent research done by Joseph Ferrie and Jason Long looked at 10,000 British and American men and found that while the U.S. had a huge advantage in economic mobility over the United Kingdom in the 19th and early 20th century. After World War II, the economic mobility gap shrank and in the 1970s, the U.K. surpassed the U.S .and haven’t relinquish the lead. How is it possible that U.K. surpassed the U.S .in economic mobility?
The economists and researchers had two theories. The first theory was the geography mobility theory as if you have a family in the U.S., you had many choices to go to earn a living. Then in the 20th century, the economy matured and the expansion plateaued. The second theory; and in my opinion, the most intriguing; is while both were building a modern welfare state, the U.S. still believe that America is the land of opportunity and focus the bill for themselves in the future like social security and medicare, while the U.K. focuses on education to help children, from a family of unskilled laborers, to be educated when they grow up. As a result, what the U.S. and U.K. were doing then is doing the opposite today in economic mobility. We know how the U.K. became more mobile, but why?
Looking at articles of individualism, there is not much separation between the US and UK:
According to the individualistic index (IDV), the US ranks the highest at 91 and the UK is not far behind at 89. If you dig deeper, the 2 points do make a difference.
Although both countries value individualism, the US took it to another level by adding elements of social Darwinism to the mix, while the UK were open-minded on economics and religion. If you consume the U.S. news, you hear about social security, healthcare, retirement plans, medicare, corporate greed, and pay gaps. Sounds like a “me” culture. I can’t tell you what the main political issues the U.K. talks about (you have to ask Bill Boorman, Andy Headworth, and Nigel), but of what I heard, the U.K. parliament sounds civil (although they’re have been some incidents).
In my opinion why the U.K. is ahead in the U.S. in economic mobility, just look at our U.S. businesses and government. They focus on getting paid and receiving benefits for themselves, while young adults have to find jobs that have a lot of competition and they have to pay the inflated rate of student loans and necessities caused by adults of the older generation(s). Meanwhile, the British focuses on the future to give their children an opportunity, via education and training, to earn a living when they grow up .
Maybe we need to stop with the “American Dream” myth and might have people move to the U.K, to live the “British Dream.” There’s a better chance your child will have success there than over here. Not a good sign for the U.S, job market.