Eng 1302- Honors
30th March 2014
Does the American Dream Exist?
“Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island, Manhattan, New York, NY”(Library of Congress).
The American dream drives people from all over the world to come to America. People in most countries dream about getting a visa to enter the U.S. As an evidence of this, they sacrifice their savings, family, and business for that. What is the American Dream? According to James Truslow Adams,
The American dream is “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position (p. 214-215).”. (The American Dream)
In the debate about the current existence of the American dream, there are three perspectives including: The American Dream does exist, it doesn’t exist, and it’s stolen by political parties.
In the book Is The American Dream a Myth?, Burn sheds light on the point that the American Dream still exists (11- 22). She believes that “Americans have sought to realize the American dream of success, fame and wealth through thrift and hard work”(11). She mentions that the “ three leading ways to instant wealth are large-prize television game shows, big-jackpot state lotteries and compensation lawsuits”(11). In sum, she continues confirming that the American Dream does exist by adding that, “Little reveals the shift in the quest for the American Dream more than the insanely popular television show, ‘ Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,’… An average of two hundred and forty thousand people per call in on ‘Contest Day’ attempting to become contestants… it is safe to say that Americans are captivated by what many consider to be an easy avenue to achieving financial success”(14). She tries to prove the presence of the American dream by announcing that Americans still believe in the dream through their participation in such contests that lead to instant wealth. Therefore, she admits the existence of the American Dream by mentioning the fact that the means of the instant wealth, which leads to the existence of the American Dream, is still alive in America. Another book named American Dream Dying. Its authors -McClelland and TOBIN - emphasize that the American Dream is dying as time passes (1). They explain the dying process by talking about the following: standards of living and financial security. They assert that we have to change our vision of looking at standards of individuals “ The hidden assumption is that, for any given country [America] in any given year, the value of the output created is roughly equivalent to the incomes earned by those who created the output-or national income equals national output”(9). In other words, the total output of Americans is roughly equal to their total income.Moreover, they claim that correcting data for inflation is needed. For example, if the total income of a given year remains constant, the price level doubles. They also add, “if no correction is made for inflation, the data imply a huge leap forward in living standards during the year in question”(10). In other words, if an income doesn’t increase, people will suffer from the increase of the daily products that they have to purchase in order for them to live. Additionally, they inform the reader that the annual income of families in America is still the same or even increasing a little bit while the price levels increases drastically (12-14): i.e. Americans are striving nowadays to get their daily food. The