lifting barriers. lifting lives.
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Ensuring that the next generation’s opportunities for success exceed those of their parents is the defining challenge of our time. While the United States is still a beacon of freedom in the world, economic mobility is stagnant, business dynamism and labor force participation are on the decline, and social polarization is at an all time high. In many cases, the situation outside the United States is similarly distressing.
This state of affairs has led to increased skepticism of a market order in which property rights are respected, mutually beneficial exchange is conducted, and the rule of law is enforced. Unfortunately, such foundations are often ignored as radicals of all stripes point to income or wealth inequality as the root of all social ills and float increasingly dramatic policy proposals to remedy the situation. This has become an obsession of some in the academic and policy world and reduces the American Dream to little more than a materialistic mission to equalize outcomes. Unfortunately, economic facts are misconstrued along the way, and discussions of opportunity and mobility are too often haphazardly intertwined with inequality.
At the Archbridge Institute, we have a different vision. The American Dream is much more than merely pursuit of material gain. It’s about the opportunity to live better, richer, and fuller lives though hard work, individual achievement, and an enterprising spirit. We recognize that achieving the American Dream goes beyond simple economic success, but instead strives to maximize the choices and opportunities for people to succeed on their own terms. When faced with the chance, people will act to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.
To that end, our mission is not to push people into situations in which we believe they’ll be better off, but rather to lift the barriers that stand in the way of their ability to set and reach their own goals. We work to identify and lift the artificial barriers to success put in place by public policies that often reduce the opportunities for success for those they intended to help. But public policy is only a part of this equation.
Beyond roadblocks put in place from government policy, every person has a unique set of challenges that can hold them back from achieving their goals. These natural barriers are every bit as important to lift, but are simply beyond the reach governments, think tanks, or large organizations. Only interpersonal relationships based on trust and mutual respect that comes from working with people on an individual level will be effective. Here, civil society and the independent sector must take the lead. As a think tank, we strive to highlight the work of the independent sector and civil society as an essential part of achieving our mission.
Though we recognize that much of what is important in life is beyond empirical measurement, metrics are an important part of measuring whether our goals are being met. While not perfect, one approximation often used to measure the health of the American Dream is the rate of economic mobility. Our academic research centers on economic mobility, drawing on the insights and expertise from some of the most influential scholars in their respective issue areas.
By combining high quality research, actionable public policy solutions, and a holistic approach to the challenges we now face, the Archbridge Institute is well positioned to help secure the American Dream for a new generation. Please join us in working to lift the barriers to human flourishing by following our work, collaborating in our research, or making a donation.
President and CEO, Archbridge Institute
The Archbridge Institute conducts multidisciplinary academic and policy research on artificial and natural barriers to social mobility and human flourishing, seeking to drive a consensus on these factors in the academic and policy community.
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The Archbridge Institute is a non-partisan, independent, 501(c)(3) public policy think tank. Our mission is to lift barriers to human flourishing.
1367 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 200,
Washington, DC 20036