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The New Western History has focused on an examination of the focusing wholly on facets of American exceptionalism.
Table of contents

With just two questions, Ocasio-Cortez punctured a gaping hole in the myth of pharmaceutical innovation:. Kesselheim, to characterize the NIH [National Institutes of Health] money that is being used in development and research as an early investment? The public is acting as an early investor in the production of these drugs. Is the public receiving any sort of direct return on that investment from the highly profitable drugs that are developed from that research?

That usually doesn't happen. Pharmaceutical companies routinely engage in price gouging not to mention research misconduct and public manipulation —unsavory practices for which there is virtually no oversight. The political justification for allowing these entities to engage in such practices—and reap most of the profits from drug research and developmentin the process—is that pharmaceutical companies drive the innovation behind vital drugs.

The Myth of American Exceptionalism – Foreign Policy

As a result, pharmaceutical companies should be able to charge what they wish—otherwise, Americans would not benefit from these drugs at all. Martin Shkreli, the former pharma CEO and current federal inmate, epitomized this mindset in when he defended his decision to raise the price of Daraprim, the only approved drug for a rare disease called toxoplasmosis, by 5, percent. This does not mean that the private sector is completely inept or that the public sector is anywhere near perfect , but it does mean story we tell about economic prosperity in America is deeply flawed.

Such policies, the argument goes , will stifle the underlying mechanism that drives the U. This argument rests on a story of an American economy driven primarily by genius entrepreneurs, corporate risk takers, and private innovators who could solve our society's most pressing problems if government just got off their backs.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Myth of American Innovation

Typically, progressives have found themselves responding to this story in two ways: they ignore it and focus on inequality, or they reaffirm it and assure the public that private innovation will continue to flourish under progressive leaders. The power of frontier Americanism had been its ability to take social conflict, be it settler-style racism or the demand for more equitable wealth distribution, and resolve it through a vibrant, forward-moving political centrism that could credibly claim to be an expression of liberal universalism.

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Maybe after President Trump is gone, that center can be re-established. But it seems doubtful. Politics appears to be moving in two opposite directions. One way, nativism beckons; Mr.

The ungrateful refugee: ‘We have no debt to repay’

Trump, for now, is its standard-bearer. The other way, some kind of social democracy calls, especially to younger voters. Coming generations will face a stark choice, one long deferred by the allure of frontier universalism but set forth in vivid relief by recent events: the choice between barbarism and socialism. The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. Here are some tips. This became a popular view. In a article in The New York Times , the writer Erik Barnouw predicted that, as work became easier, our identity would be defined by our hobbies, or our family life.

Americans Overestimate Class Mobility

By some counts, Americans work much less than they used to. The average work year has shrunk by more than hours. Rich, college-educated people—especially men—work more than they did many decades ago.

The economists of the early 20th century did not foresee that work might evolve from a means of material production to a means of identity production. They failed to anticipate that, for the poor and middle class, work would remain a necessity; but for the college-educated elite, it would morph into a kind of religion, promising identity, transcendence, and community. Call it workism.

The decline of traditional faith in America has coincided with an explosion of new atheisms. Some people worship beauty , some worship political identities , and others worship their children. But everybody worships something. And workism is among the most potent of the new religions competing for congregants. What is workism? Homo industrious is not new to the American landscape. The American dream—that hoary mythology that hard work always guarantees upward mobility—has for more than a century made the U.

No large country in the world as productive as the United States averages more hours of work a year. And the gap between the U. Between and , annual hours worked per employee fell by about 40 percent in Germany and the Netherlands—but by only 10 percent in the United States. Huntington in his book Who Are We?

Not Fade Away: Against the Myth of American Decline

In , the highest-earning men actually worked fewer hours per week than middle-class and low-income men, according to a survey by the Minneapolis Fed. By , the richest 10 percent of married men had the longest average workweek. In that same time, college-educated men reduced their leisure time more than any other group. This shift defies economic logic—and economic history.

The rich have always worked less than the poor, because they could afford to. The landed gentry of preindustrial Europe dined, danced, and gossiped, while serfs toiled without end.

Latin American Myths

In the early 20th century, rich Americans used their ample downtime to buy weekly movie tickets and dabble in sports. But they have used their wealth to buy the strangest of prizes: more work! Read: Why do Americans work so much? Perhaps long hours are part of an arms race for status and income among the moneyed elite. Workism may have started with rich men, but the ethos is spreading—across gender and age. In other words, our elite institutions are minting coed workists.