Is the ability to pursue happiness as unequally shared as income in the United States? While U. Do these attitudes, which are historically linked to happiness and optimism about the future, affect individual choices about investments in the future and therefore life chances and outcomes?
Far from dreaming of a better tomorrow, many Americans, especially white Americans, are deeply pessimistic about their future and the futures of their children. This book brings much to think and worry about. They are often on disability insurance, are disproportionate consumers of opioids, tend not to be married, and are isolated at home playing video games and related activities. Not surprisingly, this same group displays high levels of desperation, stress, and anger in addition to premature mortality. Unemployment figures are low in part because the drop in labour force participation simply shrinks the denominator in the calculation of the rate.
These economic indicators also mask unprecedented increases in inequality and decreasing rates of inter-generational mobility.
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My research with Sergio Pinto, based on in-depth analysis of Gallup data, finds that these same markers of illbeing match closely with the rates of deaths of despair. The places where these rates are highest are also the same ones where the bulwarks of white blue collar jobs — the auto and coal mining industries and other sources of traditional manufacturing jobs — began to disappear in the s and then accelerated in this decline in the s, in part due to Chinese competition. The other part of the story is the increased dominance of technology driven growth, which is concentrated in vibrant urban economies primarily on the coast.
A high school education no longer guarantees a stable job and a middle class life, as it did for the fathers of these workers. While these trends affect women as well as men, they are starker for men, perhaps because women are more likely to have identities outside the work place. These trends surfaced around the time of the first manufacturing declines. Yet this is not the only part of the story in the US.
Juxtaposed against desperation and deaths of despair among blue collar whites are high levels of optimism and lower levels of reported stress among African American and Hispanic minorities — poor blacks in particular — even though they are more materially deprived than poor whites, and continue to face discrimination. Yet poor blacks are three times more likely to be a step higher up on our point optimism scale than are poor whites, and half as likely to report stress, even though objectively they likely experience more stress on a daily basis than do whites.
What explains these trends? In part, minorities have continued to make gradual if hard fought progress — in terms of education, marriage, and longevity. While previously, racial differences primarily explained both education and marriage gaps, today the bulk of the explanation lies in income differences. As such, poor whites typically do not do better in education than do poor blacks or Hispanics, nor are they more likely to be married. While blacks and Hispanics have lower levels of life expectancy than whites, the gap has been gradually narrowing over time — from a seven year gap in to a three year gap in Blue collar whites are more likely to report to live worse than their parents did, while poor minorities are more likely to report that they live better.
Johns Hopkins sociologist Andrew Cherlin finds that respondents who report to live worse than their parents have lower levels of life satisfaction and are less likely to trust others and the government. Rather ironically, low-income minorities are now more likely to believe in the American dream than are low-income whites. This speaks to some of the sources of the remarkable levels of resilience that poor minorities have, likely because they — and their parents — have had to deal with adversity and discrimination over time. At the same time that blue collar whites had privileged access to the American Dream — and strongly believed that those who worked hard got ahead and those who did not were unwilling to work, poor minorities had to fight for their rights and had much more experience with unexpected shocks and falling behind.
Perhaps because of this and also due to much weaker public safety nets in the US than in other countries of comparable levels of income , they build much stronger informal support systems — such as the Baptist church for African Americans in the south and extended family ties for Hispanic migrants.
The Pursuit of Happiness: Toward an Economy of Well-Being
These ties did not provide the stable jobs that blue collar whites had. Yet they were critical in bad times, and they continue to play a strong role today. When things were going well, blue collar whites did not need such safety nets and at the same time were and still are skeptical of government support — to the point they are more willing to trust business, even when it ruins their environment, as Arlie Hochschild writes so eloquently in Strangers in Their Own Land.
More recently, my colleague Isabel Sawhill, in research based on focus groups for her new book The Forgotten Americans , finds that many low income whites who are in difficult straits still eschew government programs and simply want a decent job. As much research in behavioral economics finds, individuals value losses disproportionately more than equal sized gains. Political science research finds that economic crisis and associated losses in status often explain extremist voting.
Lost hope also matters. As Dan Witters, Diana Liu, and others find in the Gallup data, voting for Trump and his nativist, anti-immigrant, and racist agenda was highest among individuals who experienced drops in life satisfaction and optimism in the four years preceding the election. This semiannual journal from the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association LACEA provides a forum for influential economists and policymakers from the region to share high-quality research directly applied to policy issues within and among those countries.
Raquel Bernal. False Profits: Recovering from the Bubble Economy. Dean Baker. He quashes dire warnings of looming rampant inflation and spiraling debt with solid historic evidence to the contrary—evidence that supports more stimulus, not less. With a dose of optimism, Baker outlines a thoughtful progressive program for rebuilding the economy and reshaping the financial system, including new financial transaction taxes that will reduce or eliminate economic waste while providing stimulus and incentives where and when they are most needed.
Similar ebooks. Carol Graham. How the optimism gap between rich and poor is creating an increasingly divided society The Declaration of Independence states that all people are endowed with certain unalienable rights, and that among these is the pursuit of happiness.
Andrew Yang. From Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, a captivating account of how "a skinny Asian kid from upstate" became a successful entrepreneur, only to find a new mission: calling attention to the urgent steps America must take, including Universal Basic Income, to stabilize our economy amid rapid technological change and automation. The shift toward automation is about to create a tsunami of unemployment. Not in the distant future--now.
One recent estimate predicts 45 million American workers will lose their jobs within the next twelve years--jobs that won't be replaced. In a future marked by restlessness and chronic unemployment, what will happen to American society? Rapidly advancing technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics and automation software are making millions of Americans' livelihoods irrelevant.
The consequences of these trends are already being felt across our communities in the form of political unrest, drug use, and other social ills. The future looks dire-but is it unavoidable? In The War on Normal People, Yang imagines a different future--one in which having a job is distinct from the capacity to prosper and seek fulfillment. At this vision's core is Universal Basic Income, the concept of providing all citizens with a guaranteed income-and one that is rapidly gaining popularity among forward-thinking politicians and economists.
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Yang proposes that UBI is an essential step toward a new, more durable kind of economy, one he calls "human capitalism. David de Ferranti. In recent years, the developing world has seen a burst of efforts to reduce corruption, increase transparency and accountability, and improve governance. Needless to say, this is an important and encouraging development.
However, the lack of a reliable compass to describe where a country is at a given moment—and where it could be heading in the absence or acceptance of proposed reforms—can result in disastrous missteps. The unfortunate absence of such a guide has helped lead to innumerable failed governments or ineffective regimes. This important book aims to fill that void. Happiness Around the World: The paradox of happy peasants and miserable millionaires.
Immigrants' Experiences of Happiness and Well-being in Northern Iceland - Nordicum-Mediterraneum
For centuries the pursuit of happiness was the preserve of either the philosopher or the voluptuary and took second place to the basic need to survive on the one hand, and the pressure to conform to social conventions and morality on the other. More recently there is a burgeoning interest in the study of happiness, in the social sciences and in the media.
Can we really answer the question what makes people happy?
Is it really grounded in credible methods and data? Is there consistency in the determinants of happiness across countries and cultures? Are happiness levels innate to individuals or can policy and the environment make a difference? How is happiness affected by poverty? By economic progress?
Is happiness a viable objective for policy?