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The Death Of Horatio Alger

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There is much debate in America about how its society has fallen under the cowl of social stratification resulting in the unforgiving rise of class inequality. It is becoming more and more clear these days that these beliefs have seemed to turn into truth in the last couple decades. New York Times columnist and Nobel prize winning economic professor Paul Krugman discusses why and how upward mobility has become increasingly difficult in the past decades in his article “The Death of Horatio Alger,” which was first published on December 18th 2003 in New York City. His thorough explanation makes it easy to understand just how close the United States is to being a true caste society and the imposing danger of such an event. Harvard professor…show more content…
Paul Krugman writes in indication of past socioeconomic equality in a single paragraph: During the 1930s and ‘40s, however, America experienced what the economic historians Claudia Goldin and Robert Margo have dubbed the Great Compression: a drastic narrowing of income gaps, probably as a result of New Deal policies. And the new economic order persisted for more than a generation: Strong unions; taxes on inherited wealth, corporate profits and high incomes; close public scrutiny of corporate management-all helped to keep income gaps very small. (145) Now those inequalities have returned to what they were before the 1930s with the distribution of income being as unequal as it was in the 1920s. In today’s world there are defenders of the current distribution of income in the United States such as the Heritage Foundation, which says that America isn’t a caste society because higher income individuals can possibly have a low income the next year and vice versa (Krugman 146). In response, Krugman states that countering economists, sociologists, and media outlets rather exemplify that it is more of a caste society than people would believe and the gaps have become far wider and difficult to cross (146). It is true; however, that America was once a place of substantial inter-generational mobility compared to today. In 1978 adult men whose fathers were born into the bottom 25 percent, 23 percent of those men made it into
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