The title alone reminds me of what used to be said of the United Kingdom — that it was the world's wealthiest Third World country. (I remember this from the 1980s, but I don't know when it began or whether people still speak of the UK so.) Paul Krugman, speaking with Eliot Spitzer and Bill Maher on HBO in September, 2009, effectively said the US is going the way of a Third World country:
Sometimes I wake up and think I'm in a Third World country.... The American Dream is not totally dead, but it's dying pretty fast."In his essay, James Kwak notes a couple of nice quotations Huffington pulls from Tocqueville's Democracy in America, including what struck him as "the general equality of condition among the people."
Of course, Tocqueville was missing one group — the slaves. Hardly a minor oversight. Neither was he particularly concerned with the denial to women of the vote or the right to own property. But these can be "controlled for" in a comparison of American ages.