WASHINGTON—In a new study that leading economists have called a sobering assessment of social mobility in the United States, researchers at the Brookings Institution have determined the majority of the nation’s residents end up dying within the same commercial trash compactor they were born into. “Our data show that few Americans ever escape the 15-ton industrial waste disposals of their birth, as almost no one can overcome the crushing pressure of a heavy-duty trash compactor without significant outside help,” said researcher Tessa Stein, explaining that opportunities were limited inside trash compactors, which were not designed with people in mind but rather for the purpose of pulverizing garbage and reducing it to the smallest size possible. “One disadvantage of trash compactors is that they tend to be food deserts, with few options available for a healthy diet and almost none of them fresh. Compared to other wealthy nations, the United States sees a far greater percentage of its citizens condemned to the same trash compactor, shredder, of incinerator their family has occupied for generations.” Critics of the study have argued that if Americans are being crushed by 100,000 pounds of pressure inside a solid-steel box, it should only provide them with even more incentive to try to lift themselves up by their bootstraps.
We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Body Language Fact: Did You Know?