The American Dream: Can It Survive the 21st Century?
“Daleiden writes clearly and comprehensively on trends that are pushing the U.S. toward non-stop population growth and social devolution. Especially compelling are the effects on American wages job opportunities, education, civic order and quality of life. All Americans and communities are affected, but particularly hard hit are the nation’s poorest and least advantaged citizens.....”
--Virginia Deane Abernathy, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry (Anthropology)
“An unusually balanced liberal analysis of needed policy changes in a broad range of social and economic areas. Because of his lucid style and reliance upon numerous empirical studies, Daleiden’s tour d’ force deserves the attention of our policy makers and educated citizens alike. Indeed it would provide an admirable discussion piece for public policy students in our colleges and universities.”
--Miles D. Wolpin, Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science
“The American Dream is more than a title, it is a serious question. We must remember that no great nation in history has ever survived the ravages of time. Joe Daleiden is asking all the right public policy questions in an intellectually rigorous, yet very readable book. His answers, although controversial, are extensively researched and thought provoking.”
--Richard D. Lamm, Former Governor of Colorado,
Executive Director, Center for Public Policy and Contemporary Issues,
University of Colorado, Denver
[Daleiden] has tackled the biggest question facing the nation and the world, warning that, if present socioeconomic trends continue, the nation faces social disaster by the middle of new century. Daleiden believes the trends can be reversed, but it will require the nation to reject failed policies, both conservative and liberal, regarding population growth, the national debt, trade, poverty, crime, races relations. education, social security, and tax reform among others. This is a serious documented look at where we are, where we are heading and what must be done to avoid big problems.
“...an informative and provocative book which offers a wide range of proposals for social and economic reform. The American Dream makes a forceful case that our country’s future well-being depends on sensible immigration control.... The American Dream deals with many other topics besides immigration - taxes, welfare, crime and trade, to name a few. Daleiden makes a number of interesting points which do not always follow conventional conservative or liberal dogma.
Middle American News
Applying the perspectives developed in his earlier works, Joe Daleiden identifies and analyzes the critical unresolved problems the United States faces entering the 21st century. These include population growth, environmental destruction (especially depletion and pollution of underground water supplies), the national debt (and seven other "debts" ), poverty, crime, interethnic conflict, education, and the need to reform health care, social security and taxes. Daleiden demonstrates that since the issues are interrelated, the solutions must be interrelated as well. Piecemeal solutions might actually exacerbate the problems.
An examination of the present long term socioeconomic trends indicate that despite the economic and stock market growth of the last decade, the U.S. runs the risk of social dissolution by the middle of the 21st century, if not before. The trends are a result of myopic government and business polices motivated by ignorance and short term self-interest. The American people can redirect the course of their nation, but the required policy changes are neither simple nor painless. Moreover, the longer we procrastinate in tackling these issues, the more draconian must be the policies to reverse the trends.
Part of the problem lies in the over reliance on economics to determine public policy. Although public policy must reflect the basic principles of economics, economics alone does not provide the answers we seek. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is totally inadequate as a surrogate for changes in the quality of human life. In addition to conceptual problems in the way that it is calculated, GDP ignores the benefits of intangibles such as security, social harmony, privacy, ecological sustainability and esthetics, i.e., many of the most essential elements that determine the quality of life. Economic cost/benefit analyses are often implicitly biased against future generations by discounting future benefits. Most fundamentally, some of the assumptions that are the basis for classical economic theory are found to be no longer valid.
Based upon his experience as a long term planner, Daleiden examines alternative public policies by first deciding what we want our nation to look like in 50 to 100 years and then decide on the appropriate polices to get there. For example, if we decide that a U.S. population approaching one billion people by the end of the 21st century is undesirable, we have to reduce our immigration quotas. But before such a judgment can be made we need examine the interaction between population growth, the environment, income equality, racial harmony, education, etc.
Avoiding the ideology and platitudes of many liberals and conservatives, Daleiden adopts a totally empirical approach. He relies upon the best available evidence in disciplines from anthropology to zoology to determine how public policies influence human behavior and whether that behavior advances or retards human happiness in the long run.
This work is an unique and remarkably ambitious undertaking providing such a wealth of information that it places unusual demands on the reader. But those who realize that the complexity of today's problems require more than clichés and "sound bite" answers will find in American Dream in sights and recommendations that will change their view of America's future.