The AtlanticThe Atlantic

Goodbye to the prophets of doom

By Yascha Mounk

16 Jul 2023 · 7 min read

informed Summary

  1. The Great Disappointment, a term coined after the 2008 financial crisis, refers to the pessimistic outlook on the economy, with the belief that most people would have less in the future.

During the Great Recession, public discourse about the economy underwent something of a Great Disappointment.

For much of the country’s history, most Americans assumed that the future would bring them or their descendants greater affluence. Despite periodic economic crises, the overall story seemed to be one of progress for every stratum of the population. Those expectations were largely borne out: The standard of living enjoyed by working-class Americans for much of the mid-20th century, for example, was far superior to that enjoyed by affluent Americans a generation or two earlier.

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content