Quantifying the American Dream for Fun and Profit

So this just came across my newsfeed: The American Dream: New Models Show How Close – Or Far Away – It Is. It’s a Fox report on an exciting new something called the “American Dream Composite Index (ADCI) … a trademarked new metric developed by a team of researchers at Xavier University in Ohio.”

That may sound a little confusing at first. But don’t worry, once you visit the ADCI’s website and watch the video, it all makes perfect sense, really. You see, these three professors have come up with a way not just to quantify the American Dream, but to track how we’re all doing in relation to achieving it. And they want to sell that insight to business clients.

Now I’m out of my depth here but I’m not worried. Between their three specialties – marketing, economics, and information systems – I think these guys have all the bases covered.

Greg Smith, the Information Systems Professor, explains that it took him and his colleagues some three years to develop the ADCI – a “unique, robust measure of American sentiment.” The ADCI supposedly offers a comprehensive snapshot of what Americans  “do, strive for, wish for, and ultimately hope for”- a quantifiable metric for how we’re “living the dream.” It’s measured on a scale of 1 to 100.  That scale works for both individual Americans and the nation as a whole, by the way. But they don’t score quite the same way, because, you see, America is always going to have some unhappy people. “As long as there are people who are not satisfied with any aspect of their lives, the ADCI will never be able to reach 100 percent as a national scale. However, it is possible that there are individuals who could potentially achieve an ADCI score of 100.”

Just how it is, really.

Oh, and in case you were wondering whence the ADCI draws its impressive diagnostic power, it’s based on an internet survey of 1,000 Americans that is conducted monthly by a California polling firm.

He doesn't need to use that dream-stealing machine anymore!

He doesn’t need to use that dream-stealing machine anymore!

Now I’m not an economist, so I can’t gainsay their claims of predictive power vis-à-vis the markets, and I’m not a sociologist, so I can’t really impugn the representative depth of their survey sample – or figure out whatever it is up with the patented American Dream Diversity Index™ (ADDI). And I wouldn’t even   know where to start with evaluating whatever algorithms are going on in their patented five-part sub-indices, which include something  called the American Dream Environment Index™ (ADEVI).

But I can totally get down with the ADCI’s message of faith, the good news that “the American Dream is alive and now for the first time we can truly know its value and where to look for it.”

And the thing is, we don’t really have time to ask questions, because there’s bad news that demands our immediate attention – the dream is going down, people:

“The rating for September clocked in at 64.1, a decline of slightly more than a full percentage point. That rating doesn’t reflect the percentage of Americans who say they have fulfilled the American Dream; rather, it is a metric for how the country as a whole is doing in meeting that ideal. The minimum healthy measurement is considered a rating of 66.”

Talk about grim news. There is currently a yawning gap of 1.9 units between where our bulk national dissatisfaction should be and where it currently is. I am not exactly sure what those units are – but it can’t be a good thing that we’re down 1.03% in them. We’ve got to get our numbers up.

Thankfully, the folks at the ADCI have the answers. You can pay for access to data that will give your sales figures and dream scores a boost you won’t believe.

I can’t find the price for a subscription, but can you really put a price on your dreams?

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