I would suggest that the work ethic, variously Puritan, Catholic. Confucian and Muslim, is alive and well in America, though not among the cynical scions of the white middle class; and that the Horatio Alger myth continues to thrive on Wall Street and - rather more respectably - in Silicon Valley. I would also suggest that even the most superficial acquaintance with, say, the works of Prof. David Riesman suggests their decline, if any, began long before Generation X was a gleam in a marketer's eye. But let Prof. Brinkley continue.