“The End of the American Dream – USA”

Here’s another piece, a 30-minute documentary from Journeyman Pictures, that engages the topic of the American Dream.  Again, here are the instructions for the take-home essay due April 6th.

There will be more children in the US this year with bankrupt parents than divorced parents. With around 120,000 people declared bankrupt each month, many of the squeezed middle-class see the American dream slipping away.

“Our national myth is changing”, explains author and journalist Thomas Hartmann. Whereas hard work was once seen as the route to prosperity in the US, nowadays the best most people can hope for is a lottery win. Three generations of farmers in Vermont ring the changes of the past fifty years. Doug Lyford remembers that his parents never argued about money: “There were five of us and we all went to college. No farmer could afford that any more”. Disenchanted with the mainstream politicians, who have not done enough to help them, many are turning to the traditionalist Tea Party. For others, such as bicycle shop manager Anthony Laskaris, hard times are only to be expected: “this is the effect of globalisation: our living standards go down a little, so that others’ can rise”.

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One response to ““The End of the American Dream – USA”

  1. The notion of the “American Dream” has been promoted ever since our country became a hegemonic superpower. The ability for our country to build capital and allow its citizens to consume and produce, led to this notion of promoting home ownership. Having and establishing a home in the United States is a value that has been growing ever since the Reagan administration. This has allowed the influx of debt to increase ever so much, allowing individuals to invest their life savings and future income into a home.

    Unfortunately this notion is what led us to the most catastrophic economic state since the Great Depression. Individuals yearning for this “American Dream” has allowed them to invest in homes when at times they are not able to afford it. This along with individuals “moral hazard” created this housing bubble, and has made purchasing a home a much harder process.

    As shown in this video, the notion of the “American Dream” is starting to change, however only for the worst. Individuals are becoming a lot more concerned with the accumulation of wealth and depending on things such as the lottery to bring them economic pleasure and self-gratification.

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