We have not yet seen such a secular crisis, despite the best efforts of seekers of political power to pin that label on Islamofascism or environmental decay or for the n-th time, the fatal collapse of capitalism. That noted, it is difficult not to like a book that includes, at page 289, this.
Nevertheless, the fact that many Americans have been unable to take proper advantage of the new economy's immense possibilities. That fact must be considered a major disappointment -- and one that is not easily remedied. For while economic incentives matter, sometimes culture matters more. And many Americans have been raised in a working-class culture that does not sufficiently encourage education or long-term planning. As a result, they lack the skills that are now so highly rewarded -- and what is worse, they lack the capacity to develop those skills. Until relatively recently, working-class culture was consistent with upward mobility. But things have changed, and low-skill, high-paying jobs are increasingly a thing of the past. Consequently, the anti-intellectual mentality that remains deeply engrained in large segments of the American populace has become a socioeconomic dead end.So let it be with the Rust Belt.
Elsewhere, Mr Lindsey extends his argument to the underclass, noting a connection between the absence of "middle-class skills" in that population and its prolonged misery. That squares with a contention of mine, that misplaced emphasis on eliminating hegemonic biases and other mushy-headed substitutes for real learning keep the poor poor.
(Cross-posted at the Fifty Book Challenge).