“We Americans are reluctant to acknowledge that our economy serves the educated classes and penalizes the rest”
When it comes to people whose lives aren’t going well, American culture is a harsh judge: if you can’t find enough work, if your wages are too low, if you can’t be counted on to support a family, if you don’t have a promising future, then there must be something wrong with you. When people discover that they can numb negative feelings with alcohol or drugs, only to find that addiction has made them even more powerless, it seems to confirm that they are to blame. We Americans are reluctant to acknowledge that our economy serves the educated classes and penalizes the rest.
Atul Gawande, “The Blight”, The New Yorker (23 March 2020), 63.