A Harvard study released today says that the ever-widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and the lower class is “unsustainable,” and it doesn’t appear that it will improve in the near future.
The study, “An Economy Doing Half its Job,” shows that while large-to-mid-sized American companies are regaining their competitive status in the world, workers and small business owners continue to struggle.
“We argue that such a divergence is unsustainable,” said the report, which was based on a survey of almost 2,000 Harvard Business School alumni in and outside the US. The study examined problems with the American education system, transport infrastructure, and political system.
The survey showed that around 47 percent of respondents expected that American companies would be less competitive in the global market over the next three years and less able to provide better benefits and pay higher wages to their employees.
In terms of education, “America has among the most literate 55-to-65-year olds in the world, but the same is not true of younger cohorts,” the study said.
“[O]ur society is not fulfilling its promise to children to educate and prepare them …our democracy cannot work well when many citizens are denied the opportunities that strong educations afford … companies cannot succeed without well-educated, highly skilled employees. Moreover, the living standards of most Americans will not rise if their workplace skills lag much of the world’s.”
Authors wrote, “Shortsighted executives may be satisfied with an American economy whose firms win in global markets without lifting US living standards. But any leader with a long view understands that business has a profound stake in the prosperity of the average American.”
“Thriving citizens become more productive employees, more willing consumers, and stronger supporters of pro-business policies,” the report said. “Struggling citizens are disgruntled at work, frugal at the cash registers, and anti-business at the ballot box.”