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Sunset for the American Dream

Kenneth Bruce Taylor (Department of Economics, Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania, USA)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 4 December 2017




The purpose of this paper is to present and explore the deleterious socioeconomic consequence of six interrelated trends upon the sustainability of the personal portion of America’s social contract.


Neoclassical economic growth theory is used to frame the discussion of the trends in significant variables. This paper is a general review and draws on widely available data and academic insights of scholars.


This detailed examination leads to rejection of ergodicity and concludes that the existing social contract is unrealizable and unsustainable in present form for all but a shrinking minority of citizens.

Research limitations/implications

The conclusion is robust but tentative since the trends reviewed are not fixed and may deviate from existing trend lines given undetermined government policies and unforeseeable technological developments.


The paper examines the origins and implications of six adverse systemic trends, highlighting the fact that existing policy prescriptions lack understanding of – and/or scale to comprehensively address – a growing existential threat to the Liberal Tradition’s entrenched social contract.



Taylor, K.B. (2017), "Sunset for the American Dream", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 44 No. 12, pp. 1639-1653.



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