Steven Brill: The Fifty-Year Fall of America


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Jun 22 2018 26 mins  

In the face of jailing immigrant children, questions about capitalism amid tariffs and possible trade wars, and concerns about democracy as we reject western allies and warmly welcome authoritarians and dictators, a lot of us are wondering not just who are we, but also, how in the world did we get here?Steven Brill feels he has an answer.You likely know: Brill is a serial ideas entrepreneur. He founded, among other ventures, American Lawyer and Court TV. He has taken on some of our biggest issues and institutions – Law, Journalism, Healthcare, Schools. Now he’s at it again, and the topic is no less than the American decline.He has written it all down in “Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America's Fifty-Year Fall--and Those Fighting to Reverse It”Tailspin is a vital and complicated story that Brill simplifies like this: About five decades ago, the core values that make America great began to bring America down.The story’s also complicated because, as you’ll hear, Brill himself is a beneficiary of the very system that seems to have gone haywire: Meritocracy. That well-meaning approach to success – where we all get judged by what we can do rather than from where we came – has been turned against itself. As the knowledge-based economy grew, those at the top have pulled up the ladders. We live, he argues, in a country of moats.