American Social Contract
The American Dream

Those words serve as shorthand for the idea that all Americans should have the opportunity to prosper as a result of their hard work. The framework of opportunity in the United States has often been described in terms of a partnership or a contract — the New Deal, the Contract with America, the New Covenant. Today the partnership of Americans to promote shared prosperity is widely known as the social contract.

The goal of the Next Social Contract Initiative of the New America Foundation is to modernize the social contract in order to preserve and extend individual opportunity and security in a rapidly changing world.



Economic Liberty This refers to the rights of free labor, as opposed to the unfree labor of slaves, serfs, or indentured servants. more >
Economic Access This requires a dynamic economy in which concentrations of wealth tend to dissipate rather than endure and in which hard-working Americans have access to property, credit, and other resources necessary for individual success. more >
Economic Adequacy Wages for free workers should be adequate to support a minimally decent life without the need for reliance on public support the demeaning, stigmatizing "dole" or "welfare" that Americans have always dreaded and despised. more >
Economic Ability Education provides the skills that are essential to the success of Americans, whether they are self-employed or working for others. more >
Economic Security Economic security requires arrangements to support working Americans during periods when disabilities or downturns interrupt their stream of income from wage workor self-employment. Economic security also includes arrangements to support Americans when they cannot work at the beginning and in the later years of their lives. more >


Achieving the American DreamEconomic Opportunity and the American Social Contract
From the Plough to the ComputerThe American Social Contract from the 18th Century to the Third Millenium
Economic LibertyThe Triumph of Free Labor
Economic AccessFostering Ownership in America
Economic AdequacyEnsuring that Work Pays
Economic AbilityEducation for Opportunity
Economic SecurityBanishing the Four Horsemen
The Next Social ContractRenewing the American Dream