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UC Davis Economics Professor: There Is No American Dream

DAVIS (CBS13) — A UC Davis economics professor has determined there is no American Dream.

Gregory Clark is sharing his research as a hard truth with no hope—whether or not you can get ahead in America is as predictable as any formula.

In fact, he says, the formulas for social mobility in the United States show there's nothing to dream about.

"America has no higher rate of social mobility than medieval England, Or pre-industrial Sweden," he said. "That's the most difficult part of talking about social mobility is because it is shattering people s dreams."

Clark crunched the numbers in the U.S. from the past 100 years. His data shows the so-called American Dream—where hard work leads to more opportunities—is an illusion in the United States, and that social mobility here is no different than in the rest of the world.

"The status of your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren your great-great grandchildren will be quite closely related to your average status now," he said.

UC Davis students CBS13 spoke to dismissed the findings.

"The parents' wealth has an effect on ones life but it's not the ultimate deciding factor," Andy Kim said.

Clark has heard the naysayers before.

"My students always argue with me, but I think the thing they find very hard to accept, is the idea that much of their lives can be predicted from their lineage and their ancestry," he said.

Stuck in a social status is no American Dream—Clark says it's the American reality.

"The good news is that this is coming from an economist, because economists are used to being unpopular, and so we are the right people to bear this message that the world is a limiting place," he said.

There's one caveat to the study, and that is for any one of us, there is always an exception to the rule.

Clarks' study was published by the Council on Foreign Relations.


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