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The Land of Opportunity?
Recent research found that mobility in the United States is lower than in other industrial countries.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/13/opinion/13fri2.html?th&emc=th

When questioned about the enormous income inequality in the United States, the cheerleaders of America's unfettered markets counter that everybody has a shot at becoming rich here. The distribution of income might be skewed, but America's economic mobility is second to none.

That image is wrong, and these days it abets far too many unfair policies, including cuts in essential programs like Head Start or Medicaid. The poor, we are told, can use their own bootstraps. President Bush got away with huge tax cuts for the rich in part because nonrich Americans, who make up most of the population, believe everybody has a chance of making it into the club. Unfortunately, the American dream is not that broadly accessible.

Recent research surveyed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a governmental think tank for the rich nations, found...

(more of the article follows)

AM
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Eleven million illegal aliens have decided for themselves on this issue.


Lines form at the back to climb over any fence preventing illegals from getting into the United States.



Seattle Pioneer
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Eleven million illegal aliens have decided for themselves on this issue.


Which has nothing to do with AM's point.

Those aliens are trying top get into any Western country. If Europe was attached to the Americas the Latinos would be headed there. There is also an enormous shift from rural to urban even within third world countries.
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There is also an enormous shift from rural to urban even within third world countries. - goofnoff
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I've often wondered about this. There must be a tremendous economic benefit to living in a city compared to living in a village or in a rural area. It seems strange to me that someone (usually young people) are so ready, quick, eager, and willing to trade life in a village for life in a city even if it means ending up living in a ghetto or a favela. And your right, it's happening all over the world, even in places like Russia and the former Soviet Union. What benefit do they recieve for it? What's the attraction? I like watching documentaries on TV and I've seen so many shows about these huge ghettoes in Latin America. Mexico City has something like 20 million people. It's crowded, dirty, noisy, polluted, yet young people are just flocking to it from all over Mexico.

Life in a village seems like it would be so idyllic compared to that. I suppose access to food might be easier in a city, plus more going on. More noise, dancing, lights, nightlife in general. More opportunity for economic advancement. I used to have to African friends when I was a graduate student at the University of Tennessee. One was from Nigeria and the other was from Ghana. They told me that the best life in Africa was in a village. They told me what happens is that during the week they would stay in the city and work but on the weekend they'd ride a bus or train and go back to their home village and stay with their parents and family. My Ghanian friend, Kofe, told me that if someone would bring a tape player in the village the whole village would come out and dance to it till the batteries were dead. A tape player in the village was an opportunity for a party.

Arthur
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There is no upward mobility in most of the rural third world, none at all.
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