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What’s the future of ‘the American dream’?

Futurist Brian David Johnson argues that rethinking the future can actually lead to change. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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This election year, Marketplace is casting its eyes toward the future, asking how the country can address long-term opportunities and threats — the ones that don’t fit into a single federal budget or election cycle. We’ll imagine and ask you, if the next president were to appoint a Cabinet member to worry about future generations, what would be job one? Got an idea? Tell us here


Brian David Johnson is a futurist at Arizona State University’s Center for Science and Imagination. He doesn’t quite predict the future, but he helps organizations and people imagine it. He spoke with Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio about his latest project, which explores the future of the American dream.

On how envisioning a different future can actually change the future: 

For myself, as a futurist, one of the things that I’ve learned is the way that you change the future is you change the story that people tell themselves about the future that they will live in. I’ve seen it happen time and time again in universities, in corporations, in the government. If you can change that story, people will actually make different decisions. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full interview. 

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