James Truslow Adams invented the phrase “American Dream” in 1931. This, according to Adams, is “that dream of a land in which life should be greater, wealthier, and fuller for all, with opportunities for everyone according to talent or achievement” (Adams 2). The ability to achieve wealth, growth and upward mobility is referred to as the American dream. As a result, every person should have an equitable opportunity to achieve achievement and development through hard work and initiative. Many US people believe that achieving the American Dream in the present economic condition is impossible.The founding fathers of the nation established a revolutionary idea where individual’s desires of pursuing their dream of happiness was a necessary driver for realizing a prosperous society. A government was created which addressed the rights of every person and hence the quest for happiness portrayed to be a key engine to advancing entrepreneurial spirit in the American free market economy. Simply put, attain the basic needs as well as personal freedom were the key pillars of happiness. While this is true and that the minds of the great thinkers were directed for the betterment of the society, the American dream is dead and not attainable in the current economy.
Rationale for Attaining the American Dream
The high cost of healthcare and education put this dream out of reach. There is no doubt that many citizens view their personal goals unattainable compared to what was true a decade ago. The current economy is characterized by inaccessible and expensive necessities and top on the list is health care and education. Reports indicate that 72.2% of the Americans blame the high cost of education while 71.8% blame the high cost of healthcare as the key reasons why the American Dream cannot be attained in today’s society (High 7). Besides, 67.2% of Americans state that the low wages given to workers provide a significant hindrance to achieving the dream (High 7). Undisputedly, the student loans and debts together with the insurance cost are increasingly rising, and this reduces the quality of life. In fact, Rossi in his documentary Ivory Tower explores the growing student debt crisis. According to him, the value of education in the current society is expensive (Rossi). The realities of the current education system revealed in this documentary paints a disturbing picture of how the society will fail to achieve the Dream. The ever-increasing cost of education and healthcare has made it unaffordable to many people.
Throughout the history of the American nation, the forces of corruption and greed have been fundamental in inhibiting the set economic and social goals that are directed at the betterment of the society. It is also true to note that some of the current leaders are pledged with these undesirable leadership traits, and when they get to power, many seek to enrich themselves forgetting about the citizens and the need to make them happy (Bellamy 17). Greed and corruption have hindered many citizens in living their American Dream. Corruption in some of the leaders affects the economic growth fostering significant challenges to realizing developmental goals. Indeed, meaningless materialism in leaders coupled with selfish individualism continues to be crucial problems to the nation. If the country will remain to have this problem, improving the lives of people and the call for prosperity will be ideal factors in the American Dream.
The poor lifestyle that many people lead cannot be blamed on only corruption and greed alone. Also, the global economy, as well as the advancement in technology, makes it difficult for the poor individuals and even some of the working classes to improve their quality of life together with their economic status. Yes, the importance that comes with technological advancement and global economy cannot be refuted. It has seen an increase in production and firms have yielded more profits which add to their GDP of the nation. However, it has to be noted that these factors have replaced a significant amount of workforce and rendered many people unemployed. Technology is used in almost every organization in carrying out tasks that were initially carried out by people. The most hurting group is the unskilled people whose jobs have critically been replaced. In fact, technology is a nightmare, and the human labor is being substituted with machines due to the idea that machines work effectively for example in packaging and manufacturing (McMahon 12). The resultant effect is a high rate of unemployment, and hence many people are not happy in their lives. Some of them face challenges in getting basic needs, and the poverty level has increasingly remained to be disturbing aspects to citizens.
People who still support and believe that the American Dream is attainable cite that the nation has created a free market enterprise system which encourages individuals to make bold risks in investing. Thus, the removal of strict regulations is vital in creating happiness in the economy and denote to be an essential move that will realize the American dream. However, what the American culture has changed, and the determination driven by earning stability has remained to be constant. The low wages and the adverse working conditions that many workers are subjected to are the reasons why most American people are unhappy in their careers. The minimum wage has remained to be a heated debate in the nation. Truly, the minimum wage of $ 7.50 per hour that is designated in the country is very little to make any worker grow, become prosperous and happy. High states that “greatest challenges facing the American Dream today are the emphasis on material prosperity and the wealth inequality in the United States” (High 2). This does not only contribute to poor living standards but also attest to the large income inequality evident in America.
The goals of the American Dream are simply ideal in the current economy. The need to promote success, prosperity and social mobility through hard work has been a mere dream that will take a long time for the Americans to realize. With the high cost of education, healthcare, and unemployment, it is difficult to achieve these aspirations. Many of the people who are expected to be key in attaining this dream are the ones creating a hindrance through their greediness and corruption. Education and healthcare are expensive and inaccessible, and the rise in the school debt and loan cannot be left unmentioned. Therefore, these grounds vividly portray that the rationale of attaining the American Dream will remain to be a riddle that is difficult to solve not only on the current economic state but also in the future. Arguably, for the American dream to be achieved, it requires a balanced economy.
Adams, James Truslow. The Epic of America. 1931. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2012. Print.
Bellamy, Edward. Looking Backward. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin Press, 1995. Print.
McMahon, Darrin. Happiness: A History. New York: Grove/Atlantic, 2006. Print.
High Madeline. The reality of America Dream: Finding the Good Life in the 21st Century. Word Press. 2015. https://xjur.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/1-high_american-dream.pdf. (Accessed 11, November 2017).
Rossi Andrew. “Ivory Tower.” CNN Films. 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAGopImtOsc. (Accessed 11, November 2017).