Not by a long shot. While many of today’s students might be considered fortunate, not everyone is. Today, many of us do not have adequate access to food and water during some of the world’s worst droughts. Furthermore, people with good health habits are living longer than they did a generation ago. However, our luck has never been as bad as it is today.
In fact, according to the World Bank, life expectancy for an American male who has not completed high school is 83 years, the same as those who have just completed college. But if you are alive today, chances are you will not reach your full potential in all aspects of your life as you would if you were in the 1990s.
“Some of the big challenges in health today are that we need our kids to get more exercise, and they’re working way more hours than they were 20 years ago,” says Joseph P. Collins, president and CEO of the World Bank. “These are significant problems, both that we can solve in terms of the labor force and in terms of health.”
So how could luck help people survive? Some, like my father, think it’s all part of the fun and the mystery:
“Luck is a very good explanation for things we don’t fully understand today, like diabetes,” says Frank Zimring, senior vice president at the Charles Gerdes Institute at Harvard Medical School. Zimring has been leading “America’s Great Luck Project,” a study of the causes of America’s poor health, and he knows firsthand what can happen, particularly in places outside the United States.
“The U.S. is the best country in the world in terms of a sense of destiny, because, if you’re poor in the U.S. and rich in the world, you end up in the same place,” he says.
“But it’s an American miracle all because of our luck.”
Other Americans, such the authors of this piece, worry that good fortune is a curse even on American citizens—who make up a disproportionate number of Fortune 1000 companies and who are in danger of becoming one of the global superpowers. But others question whether luck is even a thing.
They don’t want to see Americans suffer while we do. But they have their own theories.
The idea of luck is not new. But until about 60 years ago, it is more or less absent from our everyday lives; it took a bit of digging to
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