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Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

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Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by Ivan on Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:38 pm

I understand ‘The American Dream’ to be the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity which are supposed to be available to every American, a life of personal happiness and material comfort. Although the phrase wasn’t used then, the concept is rooted in the United States Declaration of Independence which proclaims that "all men are created equal" and that they are "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights" including "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In 1931, in a book called ‘The Epic of America’, James Truslow Adams defined the American Dream as "a better, richer and happier life for all our citizens of every rank, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement, regardless of social class or circumstances of birth, which is the greatest contribution we have made to the thought and welfare of the world. Ever since we became an independent nation, each generation has seen an uprising of ordinary Americans to save that dream from the forces that appear to be overwhelming it."

Yet by 1933, Adams was writing in ‘The New York Times’ of the way the American Dream had been hijacked: "Throughout our history, the pure gold of this vision has been heavily alloyed with the dross of materialistic aims. Not only did the wage scales and our standard of living seem to promise riches to the poor immigrant, but the extent and natural wealth of the continent awaiting exploitation offered to Americans of the older stocks such opportunities for rapid fortunes that the making of money and the enjoying of what money could buy too often became our ideal of a full and satisfying life. The struggle of each against all for the dazzling prizes destroyed in some measure both our private ideals and our sense of social obligation." So is the American Dream only available for the 1%, not the 99%? Is it, as George Carlin joked, so-called because you have to be asleep to believe it?

The Marxist critics Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer used an image of the typist who believed she would be a movie star to reveal the American Dream as a rigged lottery that no one wins but everyone plays. Wikipedia gives us further examples in which stories and films suggest that Carlin may be right. In 1949 Arthur Miller wrote the play ‘Death of a Salesman’, in which the American Dream is a fruitless pursuit. In 1971, Hunter S. Thompson depicted in ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey Into the Heart of the American Dream’ a dark view that appealed especially to drug users who most definitely were not pursuing a dream of economic achievement. Many counter-culture films of the 1960s and 1970s ridiculed the traditional quest for the American Dream. For example ‘Easy Rider’ shows the characters making a pilgrimage in search of ‘the true America’ in terms of the hippie movement, drug use, and communal lifestyles.

Ronald Reagan often proclaimed his belief in the promise of the American Dream. In an era of growing cynicism, he proclaimed America a place where "everyone can rise as high and as far as his ability will take him", and pointed to his own meagre beginnings as proof. Reagan went on: "The American Dream is not that every man must be level with every other man. The American Dream is that every man must be free to become whatever God intends he should become.”

On the other hand, Carlin pointed to "the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions" as having a greater influence than an individual's choice, and Adams said that the dream itself was being destroyed by "the friends of big business, who dishonour the dream by saying that it has already been realised".

Writing for ‘The Guardian’, Sarah Churchwell argues that “the phrase ‘The American Dream’ was first invented to describe a failure, not a promise: or rather, a broken promise, a dream that was continually faltering beneath the rampant monopoly capitalism that set each struggling against all; and it is no coincidence that it was first popularised during the early years of the Great Depression.” She concluded: “The American Dream comes true for just 1%: for the other 99%, only discontent and bitterness await.”

Sources:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Dream

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/may/25/american-dream-great-gatsby


Last edited by Ivan on Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by Shirina on Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:07 pm

I don't know if I would go so far as to say the American Dream was always a failure ... unless your dream was to become a part of the top 1%. But the impression that I get from people is that the majority do not have that high of a goal. Sure, when you're 17 or 18 years old, on the cusp of being released into the world for the first time, a lot of kids think they're going to be the next Donald Trump or Warren Buffet. Reality, though, usually gives them a good, swift kick in the pants by the time they're 25. Once you reach this age and discover you're still living with mom and dad because you can't even afford your own studio apartment and simultaneously pay down student loans, the dream begins to sputter. Then you begin hoping to simply become middle class by the time you hit middle age.

I think the American Dream for most people is pretty straightforward: Owing your own home, a home large enough to raise a family, a home in a quiet and safe neighborhood, a home with a big back yard and friendly neighbors. It's about soccer practice, ballet lessons, and school recitals for the kids. It's about security, knowing that you have enough money to live modestly, perhaps, but comfortably - enough to know that you're wealthy enough to take care of life's necessities and still have enough for trips to Disneyland, put your kids through a halfway decent college, and be able to handle any common emergencies like car or home repairs. It's about knowing if anyone gets sick, your insurance will cover you. It's about knowing you can retire without fear of poverty. It's about being able to walk to the mailbox and get your mail without feeling as if you're marching to your own execution, fearful of utility shut-off notices and past-due warnings; it's being able to answer the phone knowing its not a debt collector. It's about being able to put a good, nutritious meal on the table every night.

In many respects, the American Dream is being able to have a family - and being able to provide for them. And, perhaps most of all, to have your children grow up and have more than you did ... not just in terms of money, but also in terms of opportunities.

All of that seems like a lot to ask for on a middle class income, but the reality is that countless American families managed to achieve most, if not all, of those things with just a little bit of work and patience ... and for several decades, the American Dream was able to be obtained and sustained on a single income.

Today, it's still possible to achieve those things, but the upward climb has grown steeper over the years. I'm seeing more and more middle-aged couples living in apartments that once were for college kids; I'm seeing more and more adults taking my order at McDonald's or ringing up my purchases at convenience stores. They will never achieve the Dream on a minimum wage salary, that's for certain. It was a foregone conclusion that Generation X, those born in the 90's, would be the first generation in American history to not do at least as well as their parents, and each generation after will do a little bit worse. We're already seeing it now with 48% of Americans either in poverty or considered to be low wage earners.

There are so many reasons for this. The massive wealth disparity is one reason. Stagnant wages failing to keep up with inflation is another. Those who are getting the biggest raises are those who already make more money in a year than the average person would make in 2.5 centuries. Businesses these days are out for maximized short term profits rather than smaller but steadier long term gains; they also have no vision for the nation or its people. Yet even businesses are feeling the ever-tightening pinch of out-of-control health care costs.

Increasing levels of technology also plays a role. Neither my father or my grandfather had a college degree yet they did well for themselves in the steel industry. Now those steel plants are closed and abandoned as the world clamors for cheap (and inferior) steel from China. These days, one needs a college degree in the hard sciences to make a decent living, and that isn't for everyone. The skills people need now change so quickly that the knowledge needed when you enter college is already obsolete by the time you graduate - only those already employed in the field can keep up. Good paying jobs are drying up, and those new jobs being created pay half or a quarter of what the old jobs once paid.

Single family incomes are almost unheard of today, and even two income families are struggling. I've known several families that had to raid their children's baby-sitting or candy bar sales money just to make that mortgage payment. "We'll pay you back," they always say, but that's no consolation when the kids can't go on the class trip they've been saving for. One of my friends was given the shaft when her parents announced they could only afford to send one of them to college; her big sister won out and she was sent to nursing school at a small but well-regarded university. My friend had to settle for a third-rate college and is still sweating to pay down the loans she had to take out. The financial effect was bad enough, but being made to feel like "the one girl too many" had catastrophic results on her familial relationship.

We always hear about the bad behavior of "kids today." Indeed, it has gotten worse. But when looking to the future means staring into a dark and uncertain abyss, I think it's no wonder youth has gotten out of control. When the dream seems so impossibly far away, so impossibly hard to obtain, it is human nature to just not care.
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:19 pm

"The American Dream" is part and parcel of the age of innocence. Easy to believe when there is no reason to question.
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by ROB on Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:56 am


June 12, 2012
NPR

J.L. Chestnut, Campaigning For Rights In Selma

October 3, 2008

… J.L. Chestnut Jr. campaigned to free jailed Civil Rights activists in the 1960s - an effort he detailed in his autobiography, Black In Selma.

Listen to the Story (click here, title above, or link below)
Fresh Air from WHYY

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95338969
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by Ivanhoe on Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:02 pm

The American dream in the land of low income tax and free enterprise, basically means the same as it does in Britain.

The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and that's it in a nutshell.

The Statue of Liberty means nothing. It came from France, and had meaning in France due to their former Socialist model.

The streets of New York are paved with an underclass, of bag ladies and gentlemen, who probably once had a business, a house and a family., but slowly but sure lost the lot due to free market politics.
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by astradt1 on Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:19 pm

Ivanhoe...

If you think the streets of New York are paved with the under class you should see Washington DC....

I have been to both and I saw more underclass in DC, and I don't mean politicians, struggling in DC than in NY.....
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by Ivanhoe on Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:58 pm

astradt1 wrote:Ivanhoe...

If you think the streets of New York are paved with the under class you should see Washington DC....

I have been to both and I saw more underclass in DC, and I don't mean politicians, struggling in DC than in NY.....

I can believe it. America is the free market centre of the world, and we are following in their footsteps because profit is behind everything.

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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by ROB on Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:11 pm

Ivanhoe wrote:
… profit is behind everything.
 

Profit is behind your advantageous and envied state of existence. Check out your ex-“socialist” European neighbors’ states of existence (Russia, the Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Romania, Albania, the states of former Yugoslavia) and, between their states of existence and your state of existence, see which you would prefer.

Go a step further and investigate the states of existence wherein rampant corruption has extinguished profit possibilities for legitimate entrepreneurs. The UK or Haiti? Your answer, please.

Ivanhoe wrote:
Ivanhoe wrote:
The Statue of Liberty means nothing.
 

Erroneous.

You’ve obviously not listened to and heard JL Chestnut’s NPR interview, posted by RockOnBrother on Wednesday, 13 June 2012 at 2:56, directly above your post from which the referenced quote is taken. I suggest that you do so prior to publicly proclaiming this erroneous conclusion again.

Re: Has ‘The 'American Dream' always been an idea of failure?
by RockOnBrother on Wed 13 Jun 2012 - 2:56

June 12, 2012
NPR

J.L. Chestnut, Campaigning For Rights In Selma

October 3, 2008

… J.L. Chestnut Jr. campaigned to free jailed Civil Rights activists in the 1960s - an effort he detailed in his autobiography, Black In Selma.

Listen to the Story (click here, title above, or link below)
Fresh Air from WHYY

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95338969
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by Shirina on Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:05 pm

Profit is behind your advantageous and envied state of existence.
Americans have taken profiteering to ridiculous extremes, and it's killing us. In some cases, such as health care, it's killing us quite literally. In other cases, it is killing our soul.

Take for instance the number of states whose courts have partnered up with a private fine collector who tacks on hundreds of dollars in fees to the actual fine. This has resulted in tens of thousands of poor and homeless citizens being jailed for as long as 2 years over what started as a minor vagrancy charge or speeding ticket. This private firm charges $100 just to enroll in a payment plan - which is in addition to the fine itself. Some prisoners are even being billed for their incarceration, and a lawsuit is pending in the case of one man who was jailed for being unable to pay the steep fines and fees, was billed for his jail time, and now is facing re-incarceration for being unable to pay his jail fee. Remember, these aren't hardened criminals ... we're talking about parking tickets and such ... and people are going to jail for simply being too poor to afford both the fine sentenced by the court and the fees imposed by the private for-profit firm.

In the town where I went to college, there was a huge stink in local politics when it was discovered that the town was contracting out their parking enforcement to a private company. The local government paid the private firm, and the private firm made a profit from illegal parking. This meant that the more tickets it wrote, the more profitable the company was. This, obviously, is a conflict of interest, and the partnership between justice and profit led to numerous unethical practices being undertaken. For instance, "No Parking" signs were moved to hard-to-see locations to "trick" people into parking illegally, homemade signs were taken down completely even when property owners protested, and men stationed in vans with tinted windows would descend upon an illegally parked car with a ticket in hand even before the driver exited the vehicle. There was no warning to "please move your vehicle, sir," or anything like that. In fact, they began putting boots on car tires for the first offense and violators were required to pay the private firm (all major credit cards accepted, of course) right there on the spot to have the boot removed.

Things finally came to a head when a local church hosted a regional convention. Due to a handshake deal made between the church and nearby businesses, people attending the convention were allowed to park in the business parking lots. Of course, that didn't matter to a for-profit company who saw hundreds of illegally parked cars and saw dollar signs falling from the sky. When the convention finished, church-goers exited to find over 250 cars had been immobilized and a literal check-out counter had been set up nearby where people could queue up and pay off their fines. This prompted so much outrage that the church decided to cease having their conventions there - which cost the town millions in tourist dollars - and the local court was swamped with hundreds of individual lawsuits that the town ultimately lost.

And let's not forget the famous case in Pennsylvania where a brand new privately owned juvenile detention center was built - at taxpayer expense - and the town paid a for-profit company to house young offenders there. Again there was a conflict of interest since the more kids they locked up, the more money the company made. Well, guess who was one of the private investors? Why, the local juvenile court judge, of course, and he received all kinds of kickbacks for every offender he put behind bars. The end result were kids being locked up for 6 months to a year for things like skipping school, getting into a fight, or simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Many of these kids were still sitting in jail months after their sentences were up without any access to legal counsel. Fortunately, in this case, both the judge and the company owners ended up going to jail over this scheme.

Americans simply don't know when making money is fine ... and when it's not. There comes a point when profiteering is simply predatory, unethical, and soulless, and we've crossed that threshold years ago.
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by ROB on Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:16 pm


Shirina, please choose one state of existence:


  1. Existence in Haiti


  2. Existence in the United States


Just your choice number, please.
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by Shirina on Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:38 pm

Just your choice number, please.
Nope, I refuse to be boxed in with a false dilemma fallacy. For future reference:

A false dilemma is a type of logical fallacy that involves a situation in which only two alternatives are considered, when in fact there is at least one additional option. The options may be a position that is between the two extremes (such as when there are shades of grey) or may be a completely different alternative.

It's easy to point to the worst of socialism and paint everything with that brush while pretending that capitalism is means great things for everyone. Of course, when you're eating out of dumpsters and living in a box, capitalism doesn't seem all that rosy, does it.

I prefer a third alternative, one that isn't granted by your false dilemma. How about a more egalitarian capitalist system with a few socialist benefits? We already have plenty of socialist systems in place now - police, firefighting, public schools, libraries, many museums, a large percentage of our infrastructure, etc. Imagine if we lived in a nation where the police asked, "And how will you be paying for our services today?" before they dispatch officers to save your abducted daughter?

We already have a MASSIVE ethical dilemma in the health care field now that profit has usurped the Hippocratic Oath. The last major disease cured was Polio in 1957 ... over a half-century ago. That seems rather bizarre, don't you think, given all of our advances in medicine since then? I can't help but think of the hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenue if a miracle cure for cancer was ever discovered. Instead, fighting disease seems focused on inventing new, even more expensive life-long treatments that keeps the money flowing. Jonas Sauk was able to bring a cure for polio to the world because he GAVE it to the world. No charge. Funny how that's never happened again. It would appear the bean counters learned their lesson the first time.



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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by astradt1 on Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:43 pm

Shirina

To some on here there are no shades of grey, only Black and White..hense their style of posting as you say setting out only two choices each being EXTREME opposites of each other.....

Also notice if they are given the same choice they tend to go of at a tangent and start talking about something that has nothing to do with the original subject matter of the thread......

As I said before I was horrified at the sight of the homeless in you nations capital...queues starting a s early as 3pm for a bed in the homeless shelter on D St NW and 2nd St NW, the John L Young Center for the Homeless, and just up the road there was a guy setting up his cardboard boxes over the vet which was providing heat from some where and this was in the 2nd week of November.......

And all this from a country which some proclaim loves it's people.......

The American Dream for some but a true Nightmare for the many......
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by Shirina on Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:19 am

And all this from a country which some proclaim loves it's people.......
Far too many Americans only love their own people when it is convenient to do so. This is why many conservatives try to hide their somewhat vile natures by bragging about all the charity work they do. Charity is great, and people should be commended for it. But to suggest that charity be the ONLY avenue of help for the poor, disabled, and elderly is just ridiculous. As you said yourself, there were lines for a bed at the homeless shelter starting at 3pm. Even with the government assistance available now, charities are overwhelmed.

Again, far too many Americans simply do not understand the predatory nature of today's laissez faire style of capitalism we have now. For capitalism to be healthy, it must work for the maximum number of people possible. That means an abundance of good paying jobs, a strong manufacturing base, readily accessible higher education, and a system where all of the wealth, capital, and resources aren't concentrated at the top. When America was at its most prosperous in the 50's and 60's, jobs were easy to find, people could raise an entire family on a single income with only a high school diploma, every company offered pensions, no one feared the price tag of getting sick, people took frequent vacations, moms (or dads) could afford to stay home and raise children if they wished, and the tax on the wealthy was 90% above $250,000. At that time, America had the best standard of living in the world. Today, we're 11th, and 48% of Americans are now classified as either impoverished or earning a low wage.

Those at the top got greedy and this is the result - the wholesale financial raping of lower and middle class America. We're like a car left overnight in a bad neighborhood being stripped of all its parts so there's nothing but a bare frame left in the morning.
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by ROB on Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:40 am

RockOnBrother wrote:
Just your choice number, please.
 
Shirina wrote:
Nope…
 

I’m not surprised.

Shirina wrote:
… I refuse to be boxed in with a false dilemma fallacy.
 

You refuse to post your answer choice (#1 or #2) to the following question:

RockOnBrother wrote:
… please choose one state of existence:

  1. Existence in Haiti


  2. Existence in the United States


 

Perhaps another poster might wish to answer the question as posed. Anyone who so desires, please choose one state of existence:


  1. Existence in Haiti


  2. Existence in the United States (US citizens/nationals/residents) / United Kingdom (UK citizens/nationals/residents) / Canada (Canadian citizens/nationals/residents)


Just your choice number, please.

Thank you.
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:06 am

Norman Mailer bored everyone into submission during the 1960s with his novel entitled "The American Dream". He ended up shooting someone who dared to disagree.

Not everyone cares that much.
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by ROB on Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:48 pm

oftenwrong wrote:
Norman Mailer bored everyone into submission during the 1960s with his novel entitled "The American Dream".  He ended up shooting someone who dared to disagree.

Not everyone cares that much.
 

Eight pertinent points:


  1. My name is not Norman Mailer.


  2. I’ve penned no novel entitled “The American Dream.”


  3. I’ve bored no one with my novel entitled “The American Dream.”


  4. I’ve ended up shooting no one who dared to disagree.


  5. I’m not everyone.


  6. I care enough to have authored several posts on this thread.


  7. The thread initiator is not everyone.


  8. The thread initiator cares enough to have initiated this thread.


Perhaps you are capable of understanding that the content of your post of Thursday, 5 July 2012 at 10:06, quoted above in its entirety, pertains not at all to the content of my post of Thursday, 5 July 2012 at 2:40, quote below in part.

RockOnBrother wrote:
Anyone who so desires, please choose one state of existence:

  1. Existence in Haiti


  2. Existence in the United States (US citizens/nationals/residents) / United Kingdom (UK citizens/nationals/residents) / Canada (Canadian citizens/nationals/residents)


Just your choice number, please.

Thank you.
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:20 pm

How do females keep on multi-tasking in that infuriating way they have?
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by Phil Hornby on Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:24 pm

I find multi-tasking very difficult. I was in the same railway carriage as Mrs Hornby today and , as I was reading a file, didn't notice she had got on at an intermediate station until we arrived at our destination.... Shocked
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:21 pm

Phil Hornby wrote:I find multi-tasking very difficult. I was in the same railway carriage as Mrs Hornby today and , as I was reading a file, didn't notice she had got on at an intermediate station until we arrived at our destination.... Shocked

That doesn't sound especially serious until you read that former rail regulator Tom Winsor has been formally appointed Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary for England and Wales.
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by Boudica on Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:16 am

Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men has been a staple of the GCSE curriculum for years. It's a blistering indictment of 'The American Dream' and where it can lead believers.

I also studied Death of a Salesman by Arther Miller at A Level. Soul-corruscatingly sad. Willy Loman is the epitome of the pathetically unself-aware worker, enslaved by the dream.

Suffice it to say, great American literature is not particularly positive about the great American Dream.
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by Ivan on Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:16 pm

Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland have the highest rates of social mobility and are among the most equal of developed nations. The USA, once known as the land of opportunity, has the lowest level of social mobility recorded, followed by the UK. Social mobility is also declining in both. In both countries, social mobility increased as differences in income decreased after the Second World War, then declined as the income gap widened from the nineteen eighties onwards.

If you are born poor in a more equal society like Finland, Norway or Denmark then you have a better chance of moving into a good job than if you are born in the United States. If you want ‘The American Dream’, go to Finland.” (Ed Miliband, 21 May 2012)

http://classonline.org.uk/docs/Why_Inequality_Matters.pdf

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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:40 pm

Anyone still to reach retirement age probably thinks of America as the richest nation in the World. But most of the wealth in the USA originates from World War 2 when they were manufacturers to the British Empire.

As recently as 1940, tens of thousands of american unemployed queued for soup-kitchen handouts or travelled the breadth of America to look for work. It was the time of "the dustbowl", sharecroppers and Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath."

President Roosevelt declared in 1937, "I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad and ill-nourished."

The photographic record of that misery is called "The Bitter Years", published by Thames and Hudson at £38.00.
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by Ivan on Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:28 am

The American Dream is now just that for its middle classes – a dream
 
Extracts from an article by Michael Cohen:-
 
"While a majority of Americans tenaciously continue to hold dear to the American Dream – that long-standing American ideal that if you work hard anything is possible – more and more people are reporting that the opportunity for social advancement feels increasingly out of reach for them and their children. Indeed, it is hard to think of a more disquieting trend in American society than the fact that those in their 20s and 30s are less likely to have a high school diploma than those aged between 55 and 64.

The US swaggers along on the world stage with a certainty and sense of moral purpose that no other country can match. Blessed with practically limitless national resources, a dynamic and diverse population, a relatively stable political system and innovative technological capabilities that other nations can only dream of, how can so many Americans be falling behind – and how can the nation's leaders allow it to happen?

We chose this path. It is the direct result of a political system that has for more than four decades abdicated its responsibilities – and tilted the economic scales toward the most affluent and well-connected in American society. The idea that government has an obligation to create jobs, grow the economy, construct a social safety net or even put the interests of the most vulnerable in society above the most successful has gone the way of transistor radios, fax machines and VCRs. Today, America is paying the price for that indifference to this slow-motion economic collapse."

 
For the whole article:-
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/26/middle-class-american-dream-just-dream
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by boatlady on Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:09 am

For many years I've felt as if I'm living in the middle of a dangerous social experiment - seems I may have been right - goodness knows where we'll all end up.
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by Ivan on Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:34 pm

boatlady wrote:-
For many years I've felt as if I'm living in the middle of a dangerous social experiment
Exactly, and the ‘laboratory’ which invented it was the Chicago School of Economics, while the ‘scientist’ responsible was Milton Friedman. The aim of the ‘experiment’ is to privatise the world and return everywhere to the unbridled capitalism which was discredited by the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Despite there being another global financial meltdown in 2008, it hasn’t dampened the ardour of people like Cameron and the rest of his rabid right-wing government to use that event as a distraction while they sell off everything they can lay their hands on.
 
If you haven’t already done so, I strongly recommend that you read ‘The Shock Doctrine’ by Naomi Klein:-
 
http://cuttingedge2.forumotion.co.uk/t601-the-shock-doctrine-by-naomi-klein
 
At least watch the video, either on that thread or here, it will be eighty minutes well spent:-
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iW1SHPgUAQ
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:40 pm

The analogy of Republican thinking about The American Dream may be that of a canal boat proceeding through the various locks but leaving every one dry behind them as they themselves progress ever upwards.

It's a peaceful scene, but depicting famine for everyone else.
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by boatlady on Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:00 pm

Nice image - once had a holiday almost ruined by someone doing that very thing
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by Ivan on Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:21 pm

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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:30 pm

For background material, google "Snake-oil Salesmen" and/or "Carpetbaggers". There's nothing new under the US sun.
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by boatlady on Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:03 pm

What a lot of words to say nothing
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by Ivan on Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:41 am

Harry S. Truman:-

"Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home - but not for housing. They are strong for labor - but they are stronger for restricting labor's rights. They favor minimum wage - the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all - but they won't spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine - for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing - but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing - so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire of government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it."
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by Aspca4ever on Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:44 am

"all men are created equal" and that they are "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights" including "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
What my 'founding fathers' meant and what my current 21st century meaning has evolved into --- you can't/we can't connect those dots and expect those men to comprehend what there often quoted words to mean the same thing.  "all men are created equal"...for those men at that point in history only meant 'landed gentry vs indentured servant'; people of color and most certainly slaves had no connection to their words  scratch --- IMHO 
And sadly, for such a fine example of 'passive resistance' and what he worked his entire life to achieve to have it all so horribly become futile when within his own organization the strife just fed off of it's self.
Rev. King had a 'DREAM' and it inspired thousands of people {black & white} to be better humans, but it still to this day is a work in progress; yet he'd be so very amazed that we have a bi-racial president.  I've often wondered what conversations POTUS Obama and Martin Luther would be having. confused But we humans seem to be willing to buy into the 'freedom speeches' and the 'I have a dream' rhetoric that moves us and the 'passive resistance' message but at least keep trying from the mind of Mahatma Gandhi---the need to elevate one's position in life is/has/always will be a struggle.  The US vs THEM will always be what motivates mankind, isn't it?
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:17 pm

Sometimes referred to as "tribalism".

The joke on us is that no human has ever been able to choose its parents, or where to be born.
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:21 pm

This week, "The American Dream" has been stress-tested to the point of destruction in Las Vegas.

A retired professional white male with no Police Record, used legal weapons to attack hundreds of his fellow citizens.

How could that have ever been the intention when the founding fathers revealed their American Constitution?
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Re: Has ‘The American Dream' always been an idea of failure?

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