L’effondrement du rêve américain

WASHINGTON, DC – Les États-Unis ont longtemps été considérés comme une « terre d’opportunités, » où ceux qui travaillaient dur pouvaient aller de l’avant. La croyance dans cette caractéristique fondamentale de l’identité nationale américaine n’a cessé de persister, bien que les inégalités se soient progressivement creusées au fil des décennies. Ces dernières années, en revanche, la tendance en direction d’écarts extrêmes en termes de revenus et de richesse s’est considérablement accélérée, en raison des évolutions démographiques, de la polarisation des compétences au sein de l’économie, ainsi que des politiques budgétaires. Faut-il alors considérer que le rêve américain serait sur le point de s’effondrer ?

Entre 1997 et 2007, la part des revenus s’inscrivant dans le top 1% des ménages américains a augmenté de 13,5%. Ceci équivaut à un report de 1 100 milliards $ des revenus annuels américains en faveur de ces familles – soit plus que le total des revenus des 40% de ménages américains les moins favorisés.

L’impact précis de ces inégalités sur le bien-être des individus demeure controversé, notamment en raison de la nature complexe des mesures nécessaires pour jauger cette donnée avec exactitude. Mais si les indicateurs objectifs ne peuvent aboutir à une image complète de la relation existant entre inégalités et bien-être humain, la manière de les interpréter fournit aux individus un certain nombre de signaux importants au sein des sociétés, ainsi que d’une société à l’autre.

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