El malogrado sueño americano

WASHINGTON, DC – Desde hace ya mucho tiempo atrás, se percibe a Estados Unidos como la “tierra de las oportunidades”, la tierra donde los que trabajan fuerte salen adelante. La fe en esta característica fundamental de la identidad nacional de Estados Unidos ha persistido, a pesar de que la desigualdad se ha venido elevando gradualmente durante décadas. Sin embargo, en los últimos años, la tendencia hacia los extremos de los ingresos y la riqueza se ha acelerado de manera significativa, dicha aceleración sobreviene a consecuencia de los cambios demográficos, el sesgo de la economía en cuanto a las habilidades de las personas, y la política fiscal. La pregunta es: ¿está cerca el colapso del sueño americano?

Desde el año 1997 al año 2007, la proporción de ingresos que acumulan los hogares estadounidense que se encuentran en el 1% superior de la curva de distribución de ingresos se incrementó en un 13,5 %. Esto es equivalente a desplazar $1,1 millones de millones de los ingresos totales anuales de los estadounidenses hacia dichas familias – esta cifra representa más que el total de los ingresos del 40% de los hogares estadounidenses en la parte inferior de dicha curva de distribución.

El impacto preciso que la desigualdad tiene sobre el bienestar individual sigue siendo un tema controversial, en parte debido a la naturaleza compleja de los indicadores que se necesitan para medir dicho impacto con exactitud. Pero, no obstante que los indicadores objetivos no ofrecen una visión completa de la relación entre la desigualdad de ingresos y el bienestar humano, la forma como se interpretan dichos indicadores envía señales importantes a las personas dentro y entre las sociedades.

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