📕 subnode [[@protopian/dream hoarders]] in 📚 node [[dream-hoarders]]
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Dream Hoarders

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  • There is one good reason why many Americans may feel as if the upper middle class is leaving everyone else behind: They are. Americans in the top fifth of the income distribution—broadly, households with incomes above the $112,000 mark—are separating from the rest.4 This separation is economic, visible in bank balances and salaries. But it can also be seen in education, family structure, health and longevity, even in civic and community life. The economic gap is just the most vivid sign of a deepening class divide. (Location 75)
  • Meanwhile, class barriers have risen, in five areas in particular: economic fortunes, educational attainment, family formation, geography, and in terms of health and life expectancy. (Location 330)
  • Dear upper middle-class reader (if that is indeed you), I’ve been putting this moment off for a few chapters. If you really want a fairer and more socially mobile society, there is no avoiding an uncomfortable, attendant fact. More of our own kids will have to be downwardly mobile. This is not a moral claim but a simple mathematical fact. The top fifth of the income distribution can accommodate only 20 percent of the population. So, if we want more people climbing up the ladder into this top quintile, we need more to be sliding down the chutes. (Location 1002)
  • So, where is the line drawn? The best philosophical treatment of this question I have found is the one by Swift and Brighouse. Their suggestion is that while parents have every right to act in ways that will help their children’s lives go well, they do not have the right to confer on them a competitive advantage, in other words, to ensure not just that they do well, but that they do better than others. This is because, in a society with finite rewards, improving the situation of one child necessarily worsens that of another, at least in relative terms: “Whatever parents do to confer competitive advantage is not neutral in its effects on other children—it does not leave untouched, but rather is detrimental to, those other children’s prospects in the competition for jobs and associated rewards.” (Location 1413)
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