“…Last winter BusinessWeek ran a cover story, ‘Waking Up from the American Dream,’ that detailed how most Americans have a small and diminishing chance of moving up in socioeconomic class.
“Evidently, Americans accept this arrangement – at any rate they keep returning to office the politicians whose policies reinforce the divisions between the haves and have-nots. But it may be worth considering what happens to U.S. institutions as class barriers grow more difficult to surmount. If Americans lose faith in the national myth that anyone can climb from the poorhouse to the penthouse, what will become of the country’s vaunted entrepreneurial spirit? And if higher education continues to evolve into a preserve of the very well-off, where will the next generation of leaders come from? Historically, America has drawn many of its leaders from a pool of those who, by dint of hard work and ingenuity, have succeeded in gaining an education and raising themselves into the middle class. Will the essential character of America change when opportunities for leadership are an accident of birth rather than the result of endeavor?” ~”Briefing” in Compass, Fall 2004, Vol. 2 No. 1, Center for Public Leadership, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University