The American Dream Has Moved to Scandinavia

“Rags to Riches” Much Easier In Scandinavia than America

We noted in 2010 that the American Dream – the possibility of a “rags to riches” success story – has moved abroad … since social mobility in the U.S. is much lower than in many other developed nations.

(And we pointed out that conservatives are as disturbed as liberals by the collapse of social mobility in modern America.)

A paper published last year by University of Ottawa economics professor Miles Corak tells us exactly where the American Dream has gone … to Scandinavia.  Here’s a chart from the study:

Denmark, Norway and Finland have the most social mobility (and Sweden is not that far behind).

On the other hand, the UK, Italy and America have the least social mobility.

True, the UK and Italy are a tiny bit worse than the U.S. in terms of social mobility.  But the U.S. has the most inequality.  Indeed, the U.S. arguably has the worst inequality anywhere in the world at any time in history. Indeed, inequality is so severe in America that most of the profits are flowing into the hands of an incredibly small group of people … and you’re not very likely to become one of them.

On the other hand, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway have the least inequality. In other words, it’s a lot more likely that you can get a reasonable slice of the pie there.

Indeed, Norway is arguably the world’s most prosperous country. Denmark is 4th; Sweden is 6th; and Finland is 8th … but the U.S. has dropped down to 10th place.

The American Dream is now spoken with a Scandinavian accent.

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  • Jayson j

    you are dreaming…Sweden for example is becoming far more totalitarian an the U.S. And serves as a satellite state.

  • Redwan

    But who will save Scandinavia from the Ruskies? Surely not themselves.

  • I hear Sweden has their own issues as well so I would not start packing my bags just yet.

    Author “The Art of Debt Guerrilla Warfare, how to beat debt collectors when
    your back is against the wall.”

  • Peter Pacheco

    All countries have issues: but in the meantime they have free healthcare and free education and an election process that is not totally corrupt. It’s like talking to a door sometimes.

  • The paper does not intend to address whether a country has any “issues” because all do. It addresses the perpetuation of the “rags to riches” ideal that America once embodied and has become simply a myuth, thanks to decades of neoconservative *and* neoliberal drivel and brainwashing that has stolen the minds of the electorate who have been convinced to vote for the enrichment of their masters instead of themselves. Hopefully this will turn around before the creation of a full corporate-feudal state. The only hope for such a reversal of such misfortune is Bernie Sanders becoming POTUS and the People backing him in office.