Here is a link to Oren Cass’s (’05) latest piece: The New York Times

Here is one of his main points:

… “material living standards,” measured in dollars of consumption (or inches of flat-screen TV), are not the same thing as “quality of life.” They say little about relationships, dignity, agency, or life satisfaction.

I find myself agreeing with this and some of his other points, like this:

By Senator Toomey’s and Dr. Strain’s standards, the past few months were the greatest in human history to be alive. The pandemic has allowed more time than ever to enjoy air-conditioning and color televisions, computers and phones. One can joy ride for hours streaming podcasts.

However, he veers into partisanship when talking about solutions:

the left-of-center tends to dismiss their frustration as backward or racist. Candidate Barack Obama lamented people who “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.” Hillary Clinton placed such people in her “basket of deplorables.”

and while some of his concepts appeal to me, he does not offer any specific ideas:

America could slow, or partially reverse, elements of globalization that have most disrupted working-class lives, if that were our priority. We could reorient our education system toward serving the majority of young people who still don’t earn even a community-college degree. We could reform our system of organized labor to provide workers a genuine seat at the table and an institution in the community. We could emphasize geography when we talk about diversity, aiming to distribute talent and investment more widely.

Of course, in DDF’s classic theoretical cocktail party, I could ask Oren some questions and maybe come to understand what he means by slowing or partially reversing “elements of globalization.”

Print  •  Email