Brookings Mountain West presents "Grit and Dreams: Character Strengths, Social Mobility and the American Dream" a talk by Richard V. Reeves, fellow, economic studies.
The issue of social mobility is at the forefront of current political debate. President Obama has described it as ‘the defining challenge of our times.’ Paul Ryan says that the ‘engines of upward mobility have stalled.’ Most approaches to restoring the American dream focus on institutions: schools, companies, and colleges. There is growing evidence that individual character strengths -- especially grit (the capacity to stick with a task or a journey), and prudence (valuing future outcomes) - matter just as much as more tangible factors. Blending history, philosophy, and economics, in this public lecture I will argue that restoring the American dream requires us to recapture - and cultivate through policy - the ideal of American character.