Krugman Summary

Topics: United States, Social class, Social mobility Pages: 2 (565 words) Published: October 1, 2012
The Death of Horatio Alger: Summary
In the essay, “The Death of Horatio Alger,” by Paul Krugman, published in The McGraw-Hill Reader, Krugman examines the value of the American Dream. He conveys the idea that if the American Dream were to die, people throughout the nation would not be able to move up through the economic classes of the U.S as they once used too.

Krugman starts off with a short anecdote about how one day he found himself reading an article that according to Krugman, made outrageous claims about America. The article concluded that America’s society was becoming a society in which the poor stay poor and that they will likely never move up to a different economic class. Krugman then goes off to explain why the American Dream is dying. But while he is explaining it, he comes to the conclusion that if the American Dream were to simply die off, people would find it extremely difficult to be able to move up in life in order to achieve their dreams. This dream has caused many people, throughout the course of history, to strive for a better future and it’s one of the reasons why Krugman values the American Dream.

Another reason why Krugman values the American Dream is because of the tremendous difficulty that people might have to go through to live a good life. Krugman explained that earlier in the history of the United States, upward mobility in the economy was actually guaranteed and that it was an actual experience for many people. However, according to the article he read, it states that in modern America, you’re likely to stay in the social and economic class you were born into. Krugman worries that without upward mobility in the economy; a caste system would surely develop, making it difficult for people to move up into a different class. In the article he read, it stated that jobs are disappearing, money is becoming scarce and it’s causing difficulty for the different economic classes. Krugman contends that the American Dream can still...
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