The greatest impediment to reviving the American dream is that Americans have lost confidence in their ability to control their own destiny. A nation long noted for its "can-do" spirit--for self-assurance often bordering on cockiness--has become mired in pessimism and self-deprecation.
It has become fashionable, indeed almost obligatory, to predict decline in America's economic strength and stagnation in its standard of living. Those who view with alarm often voice inconsistent fears. They worry that America's manufacturing jobs will be lost to low-productivity countries like Mexico or India, where unskilled peasants are willing to do repetitive jobs for little money. At the same time, they predict that the United States will be unable to keep up with high-productivity, high- wage countries like Japan and the members of the European Economic Community, whose workers are more skilled, factories