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The American Dream is Killing Us

Posted by Ponderer 
The American Dream is Killing Us
November 09, 2019 07:06PM
I would really love to discuss what people think about this. This article is possibly the best thing I've read all year. This should be required reading, first day of any civics class in any American school. If such things still exist anywhere nowadays.

This is a wake up call. This is the Red Pill. This is a brilliant encapsulation of the current and past states of this country explained in an effortlessly readable, well thought out narrative that clearly explains how and why we got where the @#$%& an average American now finds themselves to be.

Please take the time to read this whole incredible article and let's discuss what you think about the realities that it illustrates.



The American Dream Is Killing Us

By almost every major statistical measurement, the average American is worse off than they were a generation ago.

Imagine this: you’re a kid again, and you want to sell lemonade in your neighborhood. So you set up your little lemonade stand with your cardboard sign written in crayon and get to work.

The first day, one person comes and buys some lemonade. Then the second day, two people come. Then the third, three. And the fourth, four. Within a month, you’re serving dozens of people lemonade every day and the demand just keeps growing.

But it gets better. Not only does the whole neighborhood want a taste of your sweet, citrus squeeze, but the price of lemons just seems to keep getting cheaper. At first, you can get five lemons for a dollar. Then the next week you can get eight for a dollar. Then the next you can get twelve. And on and on. Within a few months, you’re a lemonade money-making machine.

Of course, news gets out about your magical lemonade neighborhood. And pretty soon other kids are setting up their lemonade stands all around you.

But it doesn’t matter, the demand just keeps growing. So you welcome these other kids. You tell them, “This is the neighborhood of opportunity, where anyone can sell lemonade and make money.” Meanwhile, as if by magic, more people show up every day for lemonade, and the price of lemons just keep getting cheaper.

You and the other kids realize something: it is impossible to not make money in this neighborhood. The only way not to make money is to be either lazy or completely incompetent.1 Your lemonade opportunities are only limited by the time and energy you’re willing to put into it. The sky is the limit, and the only thing standing between you and your dreams of lemonade riches is yourself.

Unsurprisingly, a culture starts to develop around the neighborhood. Narratives are formed about certain kids who sell lots of lemonade and other kids who don’t. This kid is a genius and sells lemonade 20 hours a day. This kid is a loser who couldn’t sell ice water in a desert, not to mention he probably drinks half of his own stash.

Kids come to see life in a pretty simple way: people get what they deserve. Or put similarly: people deserve whatever they get. And if they want something better, they should have been smarter and/or worked harder for it.

Time goes by. And news of this magical lemonade neighborhood — now serving lemonade to thousands of customers daily — starts to spread widely. Kids start bussing in from faraway neighborhoods to try their hand at making it in the lemonade world. They take the worst jobs squeezing lemons and throwing out garbage because they know that with the boundless opportunity in the lemonade neighborhood, it’s merely a matter of time before they move up and start making good money themselves.

This goes on for months, and the kids in the neighborhood begin to realize something else: that their neighborhood is special. It seems to be chosen by God. After all, if kids are bussing in from all over town just to sell drops of lemonade here, there must be something truly special about the opportunities present. The kids here have far more money. And they work twice as hard as kids anywhere else. This really must be an exceptional place.

But then one day, things begin to change. First, you hear that the Japanese kids across town have figured out how to produce twice the lemonade for half the price, making it impossible for you to compete. Then, there are rumors that the massive influx of poor Chinese kids are undercutting your prices and stealing away your customers.

But secondly, some of the more successful lemonade vendors have gone around and bought up the less successful lemonade stands. So instead of hundreds of independent lemonade vendor kids, you have about a dozen uber-rich kids controlling the majority of the lemonade market. And to cut costs and bring in good returns for their investors, they start paying workers less for the same work. But instead of telling the kids this, they tell them to simply work harder. After all, people deserve whatever they earn, right?

It happens slowly at first. But then the reality becomes unavoidable: kids in the neighborhood are now making less money even though they are working harder and longer than ever before.

.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 09, 2019 08:47PM
Ponderer,
Here's my take on that commentary.

I question the oft-stated claim that the average American is worse off than their parents. We certainly have more creature comforts now than I did as a kid. When my parents bought a TV in the fifties, it was a black & white set with a round screen about the size of lunch plate. The cabinet was about the size of clothes dryer. We were able to watch about three channels (and a test pattern before 5:00 am). Now we have multiple TV's in our home, some that are giant flat-screens with many channels including new movies. It's a good thing the Japanese kids figured out how to make a high-definition television that's cheaper than our old Philco!

As a kid, if I wanted to look up something, I was limited to a dictionary, an encyclopedia set and few other reference books. Now, with the Internet, we can look up virtually anything. We subscribed to the Milwaukee Journal when I was growing up. Today I can read the Milwaukee Journal, the Oregonian and other newspapers and news sources for free. We subscribe the NY Times online for less than a local newspaper subscription cost a generation ago.

Flying in an airplane when I was a kid, was a luxury that only the very rich could afford. We never flew anywhere as a family. As an adult, with my family, we've flown more times than I can remember. You get the picture of what I am saying here, I am sure you can think of other examples where you can buy things cheaper and get more for our money than your parents could.

The other assumption is that a certain generation today earns less in inflated adjusted dollars than their parents. Maybe. But so what? Did the sixteenth century cobbler make more money than his cobbler father? Did the nineteenth century farmer out earn his farmer father? My mother growing up in the Depression had it tougher than kids of an earlier generation. (My dad's folks were well-off during the Depression but that's another story.) Is there some economic law stating that income must constantly increase and never dip?

As for the dystopian lemonade analogy, that doesn't ring true to me. I don't recall ever having a lemonade stand a kid. Maybe there was glut of curbside lemonade in our neighborhood. But I mowed lawns and shoveled snow. I sold newspaper subscriptions. I babysat. We all have to find our way in the world. We have to budget our money, live within our means and not covet our neighbors' possessions. In other words, find happiness in what we do and have.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 09, 2019 09:18PM
An increase in the % of low-paying jobs along with a decrease in the % of mid-range-paying jobs, which is what has happened, isn't a good thing, Curt. Instead of looking at your family's situation, you should be looking at what has happened to the average family. Not all of us have TVs in every room (we just have 1). And internet access isn't a luxury; you need it just to look for employment in today's world. Your commentary reminds me of Reagan's commentary on the Cadillac-driving welfare queen.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 09, 2019 09:22PM
What might be a bit hard for you to realize, Curt, is that yours is not an "average" household in this country. You don't seem to realize how much better off you are than the "average" American household. You need to stop thinking of yourself as such.

.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 09, 2019 09:36PM
Donna,
My son just bought a huge, flat screen TV for $300. In 1955, the median household income in the U.S. was around $5,000. A B&W TV with tiny fuzzy screen would have set my parent's back about $250 (in 1955 dollars).

You tend to compare your income to your contemporaries who earn more than you. Since your wife brought up the historical comparisons of the earnings of past generations, how do your possessions and lifestyle compare to what your life would have been in generations past?

I guess I should be insulted by the Reagan reference, but it's such a non sequitur I can only chuckle.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 09, 2019 10:49PM
"...how do your possessions and lifestyle compare to what your life would have been in generations past?"

That's impossible to say. We live very modestly and have no money leftover at the end of the month. We have no savings.

Something like 30% of adults between ages 25 & 30 still live with their parents because they can't afford to support themselves. How does that compare with the situation back when we were coming of age?

There is $1.5 trillion in college tuition debt. When I attended university in the 70s, I didn't know of anyone who had to take out a tuition loan. In fact I paid for about 95% of all of my college expenses from working p/t. That can no longer be done.

People who lived during the Great Depression had many more then-modern conveniences than prior generations. Does that mean that people alive during the Great Depression still didn't suffer great hardship and that systemic changes weren't needed to ameliorate it?
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 09, 2019 11:12PM
Curt, if every single person was required to purchase a new flat screen TV every single month, your example might be relevant. But compare it to rent, food, utilities, healthcare, gas, etc. It's going to be little comfort to someone being evicted because they can't afford their rent on their meager salary any longer that at least they have a nice modern flat screen TV to sell at a garage sale.

.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 09, 2019 11:31PM
Less than 60% of Americans are earning higher real incomes than their parents while half of Americans have less real wealth. The income figure, in my view is a two sided question. Yes somewhat more than half make a little more income. But, with the improvement at the bottom and reduction in poverty the improvement in the 40% or so of those above that level is not very significant. That is good for the bottom 20% or so but not very significant above that.

The significance is in the clear transfer of the bnefits of economic growth to the higher incomes and highest wealth owners. That inequality has reached a level that is socially dangerous.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 09, 2019 11:32PM
Quote
Donna
"...how do your possessions and lifestyle compare to what your life would have been in generations past?"

That's impossible to say. We live very modestly and have no money leftover at the end of the month. We have no savings.

Something like 30% of adults between ages 25 & 30 still live with their parents because they can't afford to support themselves. How does that compare with the situation back when we were coming of age?

It's not quite as much as said. See [www.pewsocialtrends.org] Bernie likes to compare our lot with that of Europe when it comes to a social safety net. Young adults in Europe with their parents---a lot.



Quote
Donna
There is $1.5 trillion in college tuition debt. When I attended university in the 70s, I didn't know of anyone who had to take out a tuition loan. In fact I paid for about 95% of all of my college expenses from working p/t. That can no longer be done.

I don't disagree that college should be more affordable. There are many ways to achieve that. It is important to understand that a four-year degree isn't necessary for everybody or a guarantee of success (as you will attest).

In your neck of the woods, to attend California State University-Long Beach, the average annual cost for in-state students (after school, state and federal aid) is $9,699. Among two year colleges in California, Ventura College, Skyline College, Santa Ana College, Moorpark College, Foothill College, De Anza College, Cypress College or Canada College all between $2600 and $5000 per year. See [www.selectsmart.com]

If it isn't happening already, I predict that there will be many more affordable online degree programs available which, for among other reasons, makes college more affordable by eliminating the need for student housing.

Quote
Donna
People who lived during the Great Depression had many more then-modern conveniences than prior generations. Does that mean that people alive during the Great Depression still didn't suffer great hardship and that systemic changes weren't needed to ameliorate it?

The only "conveniences" that most Americans had during the Depression that wasn't widely available to their parents were radios and talkies.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 09, 2019 11:57PM
Quote
Curt
It is important to understand that a four-year degree isn't necessary for everybody or a guarantee of success (as you will attest).

I was making $79K w/full benefits in 2002. It was a successful career while it lasted, and was only made possible because I had a 4-year college degree.

Quote
Curt
The only "conveniences" that most Americans had during the Depression that wasn't widely available to their parents were radios and talkies.

First of all, I said "prior generations". And I think you're purposely missing my point. In the 30s, most people had cars. All of those things cost more money than their parents, grandparents, and prior generations spent on their lifestyles.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 09, 2019 11:59PM
Btw, that's eye-opening about the percentage of young adults in the EU still living with their parents. So on that you make a good point.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 10, 2019 12:32AM
Donna,
You probably meant households not "people" had cars. In the United States, 60% of families owned a car in 1929.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 10, 2019 07:13PM
"As for the dystopian lemonade analogy, that doesn't ring true to me. I don't recall ever having a lemonade stand a kid. Maybe there was glut of curbside lemonade in our neighborhood. But I mowed lawns and shoveled snow. I sold newspaper subscriptions. I babysat. We all have to find our way in the world. We have to budget our money, live within our means and not covet our neighbors' possessions. In other words, find happiness in what we do and have." -Curt

In the lemonade stand example, the first lemonade stand and the few that started to show up soon after that one are an analogy for everything you just mentioned. We all mowed lawns or shoveled snow or whatever. We saw HELP WANTED signs on a store window, went in, and more often than not got the job. We had careers. We were able to do what we needed to do to get by with just the basics and we did it.

And back even just a few decades ago, as back in our halcyon snow-shoveling babysitting days, that was all much much more doable than it is today. Whatever the damned cost of a stupid flat screen TV is. And there were very good reasons those days were so halcyon as is pointed out in the article.

You're ignoring the whole rest of the lemonade stand analogy and how things progressed from where you left off. How everything was changing and growing and mutating and what the reasons for all that were and what the repercussions were. You're just ignoring all that part.

It was only the main theme of the whole freaking article.

.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 02:21AM
At my retirement, I earned double what both my parents did. My father was the only one in his generation to go to college. His father and mother never finished the 6th grade. My brother earns more than I do, but he's been in the DOD schools for about 45 years.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 05:32AM
So your parents made $7,500.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 04:04PM
Congratulations, Olde Dude. Like Curt, you are enjoying a version of America available to those in a category well above the average American citizen. Good for you. I'm so happy for you.

You are also someone for whom the thesis of this article is utterly lost upon. But it's nice to hear that your lemonade stand is still doing so well.




Meanwhile, the average American.....



.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 04:48PM
Having lived on the East coast for 7 years, I saw many immigrants start businesses, have better schools than their home countries, and work their azzes off to have a dream that was unobtainable in their countries.

I was taught early (and often) that if you fail in the American Dream, it's your own fault. This coming from my grandfather, who escaped from Slovakia before WWI. He worked at whatever he could, forging a life that was impossible there. All of his children had his work ethic. That ethos says that if you are a person of your word and work hard you can get ahead. You believe that everyone else is "lucky." That's not the case. I just refuse to become a victim of my own decisions.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 05:30PM
You really should read this article, Olde Dude. It actually addresses everything you are talking about.

The whole point is that this is not the America that you grew up in any longer. This traditional notion of The American Dream you subscribe to was actually quite possible to achieve back when we were young. Jobs were easy to get. College was easy to afford. The resources for making one's way up the ladder were largely unimpeded back in our day.

But the culture that spawned and supported the notion that "if you fail in the American Dream, it's your own fault" doesn't exist any longer. You're standing on the shore of an almost totally dried up lake that you fished in as a kid and are still saying, "if you can't catch any fish here, it's your own fault", just like you told your friends when you fished there as a kid. It might have been true back in the day, but it simply isn't any longer. Open your eyes for f*ck sake!

Those of you who early on managed through your hard work and luck to carve out a big, long lasting chunk of the American Dream are insulated in your cocoon of comfort and are not in any place to be assessing the state of what the bottom half of this country is having to deal with. You're locked in a time capsule, frozen in a time that is long passed and has been supplanted by a completely different system you don't even seem to be aware is all around you. You are alarmingly out of touch with what the real world is like out there as you still reflectively hurl your now obsolete, knee-jerk victim blaming at those who are struggling with today's reality in ways you seemingly aren't capable of understanding.

"If you fail in the American Dream, it's your own fault" is simply no longer a true statement. It sure used to be, but it just ain't no more. And this article explains very clearly and understandably why this is the case.

Please read the whole article, Olde Dude.

.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 06:47PM
"The whole point is that this is not the America that you grew up in any longer."

I agree with that. We didn't lock our doors until I was in high school. In the same town, we have to escort our elderly parents to the supermarket because of the number of daytime muggings. Are there opportunities? Absolutely. Are they handed to people? Absolutely not.

" You're standing on the shore of an almost totally dried up lake that you fished in as a kid and are still saying, "if you can't catch any fish here, it's your own fault", just like you told your friends when you fished there as a kid. It might have been true back in the day, but it simply isn't any longer."

Why am I at a dried lake to fish? That's pretty stupid. I would go to another lake and not whine about it.

You are right about one thing. It's not in my reality to be victimized by my own decisions, which is a very popular view now days. It's always someone else's fault for the work I didn't do and the expectations I expected. I knew my folks were not in the position to pay for three kids to go to college. I chose to make my own reality and not bankrupt them.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 06:52PM
There should have been no need for your parents to pay your way through college. Back in the day, you could afford to pay for your own college expenses by working p/t, as I did. I have 3 brothers. We all graduated from college with bachelor's degrees, and my parents didn't have to foot the bill for any of us.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 06:53PM
This would be an interestibg thread if the participants would identify what version of the American Dream they favour. The idealistic one of its genesis: not al that old, incidentally, or the materialist one that most think it is today. The original was one that I could wish for. The present is an alaboration of the Horatio Alger mythology.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 07:35PM
"Are there opportunities? Absolutely." -OD

Of course there are. Want ads list hundreds of positions available all the time.

And thousands of people apply for them.

Again, this ain't the 60's or 70's, Olde Dude.


"Why am I at a dried lake to fish?" -Olde Dude

I didn't say you were there to fish. For purposes of this analogy, your fishing days are long over. Your den walls are full of mounted fish you used to catch there every time you threw a hook in the water. I said you were standing on the shore of a dried up, nearly fishless lake, blaming and disparaging others for not being able to catch fish there now like you used to haul in there when you were younger.


"I would go to another lake and not whine about it." -OD

Read the article. We're out of lakes. They all look more or less like your childhood fishing hole does now. This is the reality that your cozy cocoon of above averageness has kept you from seeing.


"I knew my folks were not in the position to pay for three kids to go to college. I chose to make my own reality and not bankrupt them." -OD

That's great! Good for you!

And how long did it take you to pay off your $30,000 worth of college loan debt and avoid bankruptcy yourself when it took you years after you graduated to even find a job in the field you had a degree in...?

.




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/11/2019 07:37PM by Ponderer.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 08:26PM
"Why am I at a dried lake to fish?" -Olde Dude

I didn't say you were there to fish. For purposes of this analogy, your fishing days are long over. Your den walls are full of mounted fish you used to catch there every time you threw a hook in the water. I said you were standing on the shore of a dried up, nearly fishless lake, blaming and disparaging others for not being able to catch fish there now like you used to haul in there when you were younger.

I understood your analogy and just continued it. Again, even if I caught thousands of fish at the lake, things change. I should look for either 1. a different sport, or 2. another lake. I believe the lakes may have changed maybe to "rivers" or "streams" but there are still fish. It may look different, it may seem strange, but opportunities are still there.

"And how long did it take you to pay off your $30,000 worth of college loan debt and avoid bankruptcy yourself when it took you years after you graduated to even find a job in the field you had a degree in...?"

No one "made me" go to college. Yes, my folks wanted me to be the "white collar" guy, but I chose not to. I chose to go to school (10 years after graduating high school). I chose to get a Masters' degree. I'm still paying for the Masters'. And I'm not whining about it.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 08:40PM
The catch phrase "ok boomer" was created for people like OD (and Curt). smiling smiley
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 11:45PM
I simply disagree with Ponderer's analogy and explicit and implicit claims about The American Dream.

The American Dream is the ideal that ever American has the opportunity for prosperity and success, as well as an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers. There is no guarantee of success, even for people who work hard and play by the rules. It's similar to the Declaration of Independence's "pursuit of Happiness". There is promise that we can pursue happiness; not a promise of happiness.

Ponderer also suggested that life today is tougher and crueler than it was for generations past. She didn't convince me of that.

The lemonade stand analogy didn't ring true to me either. Somebody's successful lemonade stand doesn't preclude my opportunities for success. Not only in other businesses that don't compete with the lemonade stand, but success could be in the form of a supplier to the lemonade stand. Somebody has to grow the lemons, build the squeezing machines, build the stands, supply the cups, etc.

Furthermore, the successful lemonade stand could create a greater appetite and demand for the citrus drink. Consider the ubiquitous Starbucks. Before Starbucks, there were hardly any coffee houses or a market for expensive coffee concoctions. Starbucks created an industry. Now there are plenty of Starbucks competitors and even appliances to make home brewed lattes, espressos and Americanos.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 11:56PM
"I simply disagree with Ponderer's analogy and explicit and implicit claims about The American Dream.

The American Dream is the ideal that ever American has the opportunity for prosperity and success, as well as an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers. There is no guarantee of success, even for people who work hard and play by the rules. It's similar to the Declaration of Independence's "pursuit of Happiness". There is promise that we can pursue happiness; not a promise of happiness.

Ponderer also suggested that life today is tougher and crueler than it was for generations past. She didn't convince me of that."


Shockingly, ditto on everything.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 12:23AM
"The significance is in the clear transfer of the bnefits of economic growth to the higher incomes and highest wealth owners. That inequality has reached a level that is socially dangerous."

That is the exact purpose of economic growth.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Build yourselves a wall of ships!" said the Oracle!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/12/2019 12:24AM by Kairos.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 05:10PM
"The American Dream is the ideal that every American has the opportunity for prosperity and success, as well as an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers." -Curt

So actually achieving prosperity and success for one's self and family is not the American Dream? Just having the opportunity for prosperity and success is the dream? Uh huh. So winning a lot of money in the lottery is not the dream of someone who buys a lottery ticket. Their dream is to merely have a lottery ticket that gives them the opportunity for winning a lot of money. Well then hey wadda ya know, they achieved their dream!

You're saying that being happy is not the goal of the pursuit of happiness? Of course happiness is not guaranteed merely by being in pursuit of it. But it's still the point of the pursuit. It's still what the pursuit is about.

So would you say that a person who had the opportunity for prosperity and success by working their asses off for their entire lives with nothing to show at the end of it but an eviction notice and bankruptcy from medical bills was living the American Dream? That working their ass off their entire life like that, regardless of whether or not they got f*cked up it, was their dream? What they were working their ass off for is immaterial?


"Ponderer also suggested that life today is tougher and crueler than it was for generations past. She didn't convince me of that." -Curt

Yeah, modern flat screen TVs make a pretty good case against me. Hard to argue against how much better everyone has it nowadays than their parents did because of cheap, modern flat screen TVs.


"The lemonade stand analogy didn't ring true to me either. Somebody's successful lemonade stand doesn't preclude my opportunities for success." -Curt

If that someone else's success leads to them buying up all the other lemonade stands around you, lowers prices and puts your stand out of business or stops anyone else from opening one it sure as hell does. Been on any derelict small town main streets lately?

Any analogy can be broken down, Curt. If you approach an analogy with the intention of tearing holes in it, you will win every time. I grant you that. It's probably why you and others do it so much. But you will have also successfully avoided the actual point the analogy was trying to make in the first place. And the point of the lemonade stand analogy does ring true with today's reality I am afraid. Deny it all you want to in your cozy little cottage in the trees.


"Not only in other businesses that don't compete with the lemonade stand, but success could be in the form of a supplier to the lemonade stand. Somebody has to grow the lemons, build the squeezing machines, build the stands, supply the cups, etc." -Curt

Now you're off the rails of the analogy. The lemonade stands represent all business and industry in this country, Curt. It's not just about the stands. It's happening to the suppliers of the lemonade stands, the growers of the lemons, the makers of squeezing machines, the stand builders, and the makers of the disposable cups. It happening with everything, Curt.

That's the point.


"Furthermore, the successful lemonade stand could create a greater appetite and demand for the citrus drink." -Curt

Sure. All everyone with a successful lemonade stand has to do to keep from getting pushed out by Big Lemon is just keep continuously coming up with new and popular innovations to their business and product. Easy peazy!

.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 05:41PM
"So actually achieving prosperity and success for one's self and family is not the American Dream? Just having the opportunity for prosperity and success is the dream? Uh huh."

The point is that we have the opportunity to achieve the American dream. What you do with that is not up to me or anyone else. It is up to the you.

"Yeah, modern flat screen TVs make a pretty good case against me. Hard to argue against how much better everyone has it nowadays than their parents did because of cheap, modern flat screen TVs."

I would say that because of the fluid culture, each individual has more of a chance to raise in both what they can do as an individually, and for their family. This fluidity is pretty unique in the world. Other than "comfort items" (the TVs, etc), I think there is easier access to necessities for a wider swath of the population.

In your lemonade analogy, a person has the capability to make a better lemonade to sell more. Some people will pay more for fresh squeezed, some not. Some will pay more for not using the same cup as everyone else. Maybe I make a lemonlime drink instead. That is the "opportunity" of the American Dream.

*editor's note; I was thinking about this, talking to my wife. Then it came to me. One of the reasons we differ so much is that I take a Buddhist's view. Basically, life is nothing more than suffering, sickness, and death (so basically, life is sht). It's up to me to make good happen to me. No one else. My expectations are that life is a continual set of trials. I can choose to lay down and let it run over me or I can look for the good things.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 07:02PM
"The point is that we have the opportunity to achieve the American dream." -Olde Dude

And the point of the article and the reality that we are living in that you and Curt refuse to recognize is that such "opportunity" is a perilously endangered, bordering on extinct species. It is simply completely different nowadays than it was back in our day. Deny it all you want to.

The traditional myth of the American Dream is gasping its last breaths. It's just that you and Curt can't see it because of the insulation your situations provide you.


"What you do with that is not up to me or anyone else. It is up to the you." -Olde Dude

Yeah. That myth. Today it's also up to outside forces that we never had to deal with in our day, back when you stqarted saying and believing that.

Olde Dude, your Buddhist outlook is great and all. I don't substantially disagree with it. But the point of this article and the reality we now find ourselves in is that there are more impediments and roadblocks thrown up for our dealing with all the suffering, sickness and death in people's lives today because of where it is all heading. Roadblocks that for an increasingly larger and larger percentage of the population make it impossible to ever make good things happen to them. Roadblocks we never had to deal with.

.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 07:21PM
yeah, well whatever. I'm not going to waste my time on this. It is interesting that "The current life expectancy for U.S. in 2019 is 78.87 years, a 0.08% increase from 2018."
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 08:24PM
Interesting, sure.

Relevant, no.

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Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 08:44PM
I will tell you that I have never been good with people that defeat themselves. You want to be a victim in your own life, go for it. I just hate hearing you whine about how it's everybody else's fault that you can't put your big girl panties on and be an adult.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 08:50PM
The Life Expectancy in Canada is 3.5 years higher than the US. It looks like you'd be better off in this regard following the Canadian dream.

Here we expect people to live into their 80s, not to die in their 70s.

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"Build yourselves a wall of ships!" said the Oracle!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/12/2019 08:52PM by Kairos.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 09:14PM
"I just hate hearing you whine about how it's everybody else's fault that you can't put your big girl panties on and be an adult." -Olde Dude

And we're sick of listening to you constantly degrading and insulting others, whose situations and circumstances you are blitheringly pig-ignorant of, for being less fortunate than you are from your hallucinatory position of being more hard working and better than everyone else.

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Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 09:27PM
Ponderer,
I just don't see how opportunity is less today than at other times in our history. For most of America's history, most Americans have been farmers and mostly subsistence farmers eking out a living. Up until recently, throughout the world history, if you were a male, you had no career options other than doing whatever your father did for a living. If you were girl, just hope you had good birthing hips.

Compared to other people throughout history and even with most people throughout the world today, Americans enjoy a good deal of upward mobility. Although there have times and places where upward mobility was greater than it is for Americans living now.

Back to my point which you angrily discounted, namely we live more luxurious lives than our ancestors. What matters more: making it higher on the economic ladder than the Jones or having all your needs (and many of your wants) met? Would you want to be king if it meant actually living like Henry VIII in cold drafty castle with no plumbing or electricity? Unless one is homeless and living under an overpass, I doubt many people would like the lifestyle of a bygone king or even a JD Rockefeller. We'd be wanting our cell phones, TV, internet, cars, fast food, etc.

If is often pointed out how medical bills can be crippling. That's true, they are, and that needs to be solved. But 100 years ago, you would not have had the opportunity incur a bill for an MRI, chemotherapy or delicate surgery. Are we worse off because we can run up a huge medical bill?
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 09:34PM
We are all worse off, because in the mad drive towards material excess and comfort we have ruined the environment which sustains us, in the process driving numerous species to extinction and threatening our own existence as a result.

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"Build yourselves a wall of ships!" said the Oracle!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/12/2019 09:35PM by Kairos.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 09:44PM
"I just don't see how opportunity is less today than at other times in our history." -Curt

Similarly to how pb doesn't see any evidence of Individual-1's guilt.


"Back to my point which you angrily discounted, namely we live more luxurious lives than our ancestors. What matters more: making it higher on the economic ladder than the Jones or having all your needs (and many of your wants) met?" -Curt

Having all your needs met, Curt. And that is precisely what more and more Americans are finding it increasingly impossible to do because of all the points mentioned in the article.

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Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 10:15PM
Quote
Prosperity, Not Upward Mobility, Is What Matters
There's too much focus on whether Americans can move up the economic ladder, and not enough on the basic question of their quality of life.

Advancing social mobility—a phrase that's shorthand for making it more likely that children will grow up to be better off financially than their parents—elicits universal approval as a virtuous endeavor. It's a progressive cause that most people instinctively support without giving much thought to all that it signifies.

Calculating three alternative measures of mobility, the researchers offered persuasive evidence that the United States has one of the highest rates of mobility in the world, ranking fourth, just behind Finland, Denmark, and Norway. [According to a U.S. Department of the Treasury, Harvard University, and the University of California, Berkeley study]

As for movement up the income ladder, the Harvard-Berkeley study revealed that children born to parents in the bottom fifth of the income distribution had a 9 percent chance of making it to the top quintile. That may sound dismal, but in judging this movement by international comparisons it's important to bear in mind that the range of incomes varies among countries. When the income ladders differ in height, it takes a greater increase over a father's earnings for his son to move up one income quintile on the taller ladder—and the U.S.'s income ladder is one of the tallest in the world.

So, rather than comparing how one's income ranks relative to others all across the country, it would be wiser to focus on an absolute measure of social mobility, one that describes an individual's changing level of prosperity over time. After all, average citizens are typically unaware of whether the rate of relative social mobility has gone up or down; they do, however, have a keen appreciation of whether their material standard of living is better than what they experienced as a child under their parents' roof.

In this regard, America is doing quite well. According to the Brookings Institution, 67 percent of Americans born in 1968 had higher levels of real family income between 1995 and 2002 than their parents had a generation earlier. The overall proportion of children who were better off than their parents increased to 81 percent when incomes were adjusted for family size; most of those who were not better off than their parents were born to families with the highest incomes.

[The author, a UC Berkeley professor, concluded with] In this sense the American dream is alive and well: In a society of abundance, the tangible benefits of absolute mobility leave many citizens immune to the presumed sting of relative deprivation.
[www.theatlantic.com]
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 10:27PM
Most of the posts so far are nothing but the dog eat dog world of the libertarianism that underlies the perverted and distorted version of the "American Dream" that Right Wing conservatism has persuaded the people is the beautiful life. Everyone can try and everyone has the opportunity. Sounds great but most will fail no matter how hard they try. There is always room at the top but only a few can gt there and the rest will be at the bottom no matter how hard they work. If acquisition and concentration of wealth is the dream, then welcome to it.

This is the original of the legend and it is far more entrenched in Europe, though struggling there. A more equal and happier society

The term "American Dream" was apparently invented in 1931 by historian James Truslow Adams; he was referring to "That dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement.
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