How the American Dream Died

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DetroitFlickrMemories_by_MikeThey told us all we had to do to get rich was work hard. They said we had a world of opportunities to achieve all the success we wanted. Yet an uncomfortable truth is dawning over America: the American Dream was simply never meant for everyone. Anyone could get rich – but not everyone at the same time. It’s only a dream for a privileged few, and a nightmare for everyone else.

Let’s take the “Dream” apart so we can take a closer look of what it’s made of. I can reap the fruits of my own hard work. I can forge the career of my dreams, and through that career, I can make good money and live the good life. I can free myself from the oppressive chains of government and oligarchy. Me, myself and I. If there’s a single underlying issue with the American Dream, a single virus behind the symptoms of sick lady America, it’s the individualistic mentality that has it locked in a futile battle against none other than itself. It is this mentality that has academics at the country’s most elite institutions concluding that the United States is not a democracy but an oligarchy.

So how did a country that once provided asylum to refugees of Europe’s aristocracy come to be ruled by a modern-day aristocracy? Part of the problem is the inability to realize that certain freedoms and liberties inherently conflict with each other. My freedom as an executive to make as much money as I want conflicts with your freedom as an employee to be able to make a living and afford basic human rights such as food, shelter, education and health care. I could show you some compassion – but not in hyper-individualistic America. Instead, my power as an executive allows my freedom to prevail, whereas your lack of power as a mere worker leaves you deprived of yours.

That is why Detroit, once the embodiment of the American Dream, now epitomizes its sad end: the unleashing of international trade anarchy opened the door to outsourcing, which in turn wiped out the Motor City’s economy. Wall Street finished it off. Neoliberal economists, feigning scientific-ness in order to legitimize the world’s plundering by the corporate elite, preach free trade in the name of maximizing “efficiency”. Poverty, unemployment and thousands of abandoned buildings aren’t exactly a perfect illustration of efficiency.

Hyper-individualism is unsustainable, and until people find meaning beyond the dollar, the American nightmare will continue to be a harsh reality for many.


How America’s Work Obsession is Killing Our Quality of Life


How the American Dream Died

Abby Martin comments on a recent poll showing that a growing number of Americans believe the ‘American Dream’ is impossible to achieve; and urges US citizens to rethink what the dream should truly be.


Written by Ming Chun Tang; image by Flickr user Memories_by_Mike

3 thoughts on “How the American Dream Died

  1. I agree with Dandy. We’re going through education form in the US. Puke. Apparently, there are no enough Americans in the fields of Science, Technology, Math and Engineering. I beg to differ. We hire from outside the country and there are plenty of ‘techies’ here needing work; the problem is Americans are spoiled. We want to be paid what we’re worth. We want to be paid enough to pay off $100-400K+ in student loans for the STEM careers we were told were needed. You see, if the market is flooded, it drives wages down. Big business knows that and that’s why they’re behind education reform. Education doesn’t need reforming. We have too many children living in poverty. That’s what needs reforming. Fix poverty and education will be fixed too. Instead, we outsource our jobs or insource work to prisons; cheap labor there. The US has a huge and growing prison population. That happens when people have no work. Teachers are blamed for poor test scores and new EXPENSIVE curriculum introduced when there was nothing wrong with the old curriculum or the teachers. Testing and curriculum companies get rich testing kids to death, and blame teachers when the new shoddy curriculum doesn’t work; the validators refused to validate it because it wasn’t good and inappropriate for children. It’s especially bad for elementary school children. Big business and big US government forgot to consult early education experts and child psychologists; it seems brains have to develop first. So our kids are pushed through schools like a Model T once moved on a conveyor belt through Ford’s factory; only now they’re tested and retested every inch they move down the assembly line. But the jobs are all gone because people like Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and the Walton Family of Walmart need one more freakin’ dollar.

  2. Meaning beyond the dollar? I think yes, if you simply look closer at the dollar.

    The dollar is a fiat currency (fiat – let it be thus, let it be so). It exist as a matter of law. The American Dream is determined by the same thing that determines money – law. If the rule of law is fair and equitable then you have predictable outcomes for all. Anyone can repeat the same process and get the same results. People are then free to take it as far as they want to.

    On a deeper level, fiat currency forms the basis of the rule of law. In other words, the fundamental aspect of the rule of law is to control: the issuance, allocation, and volume of money. Whoever has this power has control over the rule of law and the American Dream.

    We now realize that the monetary system is privately controlled by the Banks, which makes the American Dream a private affair for them. This 1% experience the American dream to their heart’s content, while the 99% are forced to experience the American Nightmare in ever increasing measure.

    So the heart of the problem is that Bankers who have control and that place the value of the dollar over that of humanity. This sets the moral compass of the American Dream. This suits the heartless bankers and others that share the same values but it dismays anyone else trying to work within it.

    The “dollar” is supposed to serve humanity as a tool like the rule of law, and not be the master of it.

    So the challenge is, how do you argue for a greater value of humanity than the dollar to overturn the current system. The constitution states that is should be self evident. Why is it thus?

  3. It’s actually become the job of the 99% to grow the wealth of the 1% – there is enough money in the world to allow every living person to live a comfortable life style. I’ll never understand the acceptance and apathy the people are showing.

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