The Way We’ll Be

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After a morning full of thought-provoking plenary sessions, conference attendees lunched while listening to keynote speaker John Zogby. Chairman of the board and chief insights officer of IBOPE Zogby International, Zogby recently published the book The Way We’ll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream, based on his experiences surveying Americans.

Specifically, Zogby discussed his findings after he surveyed the nation regarding the American dream for the past two decades. He focused on three questions:

  • Are you working at a job that pays less than your previous job?
  • Are you living the American dream?
  • How do you define the American dream?

Since he began polling in the late 1980s, Zogby noticed a transformation in America: increasing numbers were working at jobs that paid less money than they previously earned. He also saw a change in attitude. More people, whom he coined “secular spiritualists,” defined the American dream as personal fulfillment—leaving a legacy behind. The percentage of those who defined the dream as material and financial success, the “traditional materialists,” decreased, while the secular spiritualists increased.

To explain this shift in the American culture, Zogby pinpointed four sources:

  • The reordering of priorities—people have now accepted that they will work for less money.
  • Those who have already “made it” financially have made the choice that they will no longer engage in the rat race. According to Zogby, these Americans believe “There is nothing about the new version of the iPhone that will make [them]  better people.”
  • The aging population of baby boomers who have chosen to retire and engage in self-fulfilling work, on their own terms.
  • Americans taking on “silent sacrifices.” Examples of such sacrifices include the widespread acceptance of recycling, non-smoking, and not littering.

Zogby ended his session placing his faith in the age cohort born between 1979 and 1993, which he coined “global citizens.”

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