The Upper middle class and the American Dream (7 weeks beginning May 9)
S 2018


Following the excellent book by Richard V. Reeves, we will analyze the reasons why it is the upper middle class, not the 1%, who are the main beneficiaries -and the principal cause - of inequality in America. There are certain characteristics in the group defined as "upper middle class " that insures that their children will continue to thrive in the same way and enjoy the advantages that class assigns to them. We will discuss the main explicit and implicit ways in which America's richest 20% having grabbed their piece of prosperity are fighting like hell to keep it. This is what Mr. Reeves defines as "dream hoarders". Also, we will focus our attention into possible areas of improvement in order to turn around the vicious circle of poverty.


Weekly Topics

  1. Introduction and definitions
  2. Growing gains: Education and parenting
  3. Inheriting class
  4. Meritocracy does not mean equal opportunity
  5. Opportunity hoarding: barriers to a more open and fairer society
  6. Sharing the dream
  7. What is to be done (following Robert Putnam's proposals)


Richard V. Reeves: Dream hoarders: How the American upper middle class is leaving everyone else in the dust... Brookings Institution                                 Press, Washington DC, 2017

Robert D. Putnam:  Our Kids: The American Dream in crisis, Simon &Schuster, N.Y. 2015 

Angus Deaton: The Great Escape, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J., 2013