melkreetazingo

Is the American dream over?

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In the 1950s the american middle class had a two-story house, one or two cars, good salary and family. Today, the middle class needs two jobs to have the same. Health care and mortgages, expensive. Some invest the economy of years to "invent". $ 100,000 to create something that maybe not sell (american inventor). Greed in America is generalized.

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29 minutes ago, melkreetazingo said:

In the 1950s the american middle class had a two-story house, one or two cars, good salary and family. Today, the middle class needs two jobs to have the same. Health care and mortgages, expensive. Some invest the economy of years to "invent". $ 100,000 to create something that maybe not sell (american inventor). Greed in America is generalized.

Aspiration is everyone's dream, greed is the consequence.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ben-cohen/why-wanting-to-be-rich-is_b_1419776.html

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In 1950 segregation was law of the land in 15 states, the national High School graduation rate was 58% (its 83% today), in 1950 only 6% of the population had a college degree (33% today), homeownership rate in 1950 was 55% compared to 64% today, motor vehicle death rate was 24 per 100k compared to 11 per 100k today, cigerettes were considered safe to smoke everywhere, it was acceptable to sexually harass women, and etc, etc, etc. Below I linked a citation for the homeownership rate since it most directly counters your statement about two story homes and good salaries. Less people home homes in 1950. That said I can provide citiations for the rest it needed.

https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/census/historic/owner.html

 

 

The dream is not dead. As a matter of fact the present is the best time to have every lived in the U.S.  if you're an immigrant, woman, African American, Latino, Asian, member of the LGTB community, Muslim, Hindu, Athiest, or anything other than a White Christian Male.

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The big problem with "The American Dream" was that it was everybody else's nightmare.

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2 hours ago, Manticore said:

The big problem with "The American Dream" was that it was everybody else's nightmare.

And Trump won on making America great again.

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8 hours ago, melkreetazingo said:

Greed in America is generalized.

As with most generalizations, this is wrong.

The American Dream was a two part commitment. Workers maintained steadily increasing productivity, and owners paid them well enough to participate enthusiastically in the economy. Detroit auto workers are a good example. American productivity is as strong as ever, but wages don't reflect that, and haven't since Nixon. The efficiency experts of the 70s and 80s morphed into the bean counters of the 90s and 00s, and nobody screamed when the cuts hit bone, so they kept on shaving off wages and benefits until we're at the present day, with the American Dream looking pretty nightmarish.

People in general are pretty generous, and seem to like to be that way. If they seem greedy, it could be because they feel generally screwed, like it was supposed to be better than this. Like a few have been sucking up resources for themselves that should have been maintaining the Dream for everyone, maintaining America's greatness. I'm skeptical our problems can be solved by someone who wrote books on how to overcharge others. Making America great again is going to cost the difference between productivity and middle class wages, multiplied with interest over the last 60 years, for every US worker. 

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We don't really need as much these days honestly. Some the of 'the dream' was nothing but materialism.

I do hate to see people in so much student debt. Hearing about parents still helping out with the debt of their grown, professional children. Uterly wrong.

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3 hours ago, Endy0816 said:

We don't really need as much these days honestly. Some the of 'the dream' was nothing but materialism.

I do hate to see people in so much student debt. Hearing about parents still helping out with the debt of their grown, professional children. Uterly wrong.

Student debt is a real problem in the U.S. but to a certian extent one brought on by personnal choices. Students can select to attend community colleges to knock out all their general course then transfer to a 4yr. In many states community colleges are very inexpensive. Also with the abundance of online programs and quality Universities in every state there isn't a good reason, in my opinion, for students to attend schools that require them to relocate unless they are pursuinng a highly specialized degree. I do some recruiting for my employer from time to time and travel to different campuses. I havemet many freshman and sophomores who attend school full time, do not work, and have relocated several hundred miles or more yet are pursuing degrees in things like criminal justice, general biology, Nursing, and etc; degree types they could have pursued from anywhere. My co-worker has a niece graduating this year from High school and he is trying to convince her to stay here in Washington DC area for college but she wants to attend Ohio State. Meanwhile she doesn't even know what she want to do degree wise yet. I think it is insane. Rather than live with family for free and go to school she is about the start accumulating debt to go live in Ohio. So while far too many students have far too much debt I think many students are simply making bad choices and or getting bad advice from their families.

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AFAIK, "American dream" means opportunity to go from shoe cleaner to millionaire.

In the last ~30 years there was plentiful of examples of very fast going unbelievable rich in newly created IT companies ("unicorn startup").

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicorn_(finance)

 

Edited by Sensei

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5 hours ago, Area54 said:

The American Dream is alive and well and living in China.

Yeah, we still possess advantages but China has been far more proactive in strengthening themselves economically and building relationships. 

5 hours ago, Ten oz said:

Student debt is a real problem in the U.S. but to a certian extent one brought on by personnal choices. Students can select to attend community colleges to knock out all their general course then transfer to a 4yr. In many states community colleges are very inexpensive. Also with the abundance of online programs and quality Universities in every state there isn't a good reason, in my opinion, for students to attend schools that require them to relocate unless they are pursuinng a highly specialized degree. I do some recruiting for my employer from time to time and travel to different campuses. I havemet many freshman and sophomores who attend school full time, do not work, and have relocated several hundred miles or more yet are pursuing degrees in things like criminal justice, general biology, Nursing, and etc; degree types they could have pursued from anywhere. My co-worker has a niece graduating this year from High school and he is trying to convince her to stay here in Washington DC area for college but she wants to attend Ohio State. Meanwhile she doesn't even know what she want to do degree wise yet. I think it is insane. Rather than live with family for free and go to school she is about the start accumulating debt to go live in Ohio. So while far too many students have far too much debt I think many students are simply making bad choices and or getting bad advice from their families.

Yeah, I was thinking that too, the promotion of the college lifestyle. I know optimism of youth isn't going to go away  anytime soon, but I feel we could educate people better as to the reality.  Should be a course by itself.

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16 hours ago, Endy0816 said:

Yeah, we still possess advantages but China has been far more proactive in strengthening themselves economically and building relationships.

My point was more the impact government policy has had on the ability of many millions of Chinese to raise their standard of living and, for some, to achieve substantial wealth. Upward mobility is now seriously compromised in the USA compared with China.

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On 8/23/2017 at 5:49 AM, Area54 said:

My point was more the impact government policy has had on the ability of many millions of Chinese to raise their standard of living and, for some, to achieve substantial wealth. Upward mobility is now seriously compromised in the USA compared with China.

Upward mobility is seriously compromised in the U.S.as compared to which other period in the U.S.? Just 60yrs ago in the U.S. upward mobility virtually didn't exist for many different groups of people. Being openly LGBT, a single female parent, athiest, or etc relegated one to 2nd class status. Of course there was also legal overt racial discrimination too. Today I work with single mothers, openly gay men, African Americans, and a long list of people with diverse backgrounds and beliefs. Such simply wasn't the case in the past. No way now how. So when you or other imply a diminishment in opportunity and mobility for people in the U.S. what is the real context? Education obtainment is at all time highs, home ownership rates at all time highs, income parity amongst all groups while not fully equal its the closet it has ever been, and etc.

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2 hours ago, Ten oz said:

Upward mobility is seriously compromised in the U.S.as compared to which other period in the U.S.? Just 60yrs ago in the U.S. upward mobility virtually didn't exist for many different groups of people. Being openly LGBT, a single female parent, athiest, or etc relegated one to 2nd class status. Of course there was also legal overt racial discrimination too. Today I work with single mothers, openly gay men, African Americans, and a long list of people with diverse backgrounds and beliefs. Such simply wasn't the case in the past. No way now how. So when you or other imply a diminishment in opportunity and mobility for people in the U.S. what is the real context? Education obtainment is at all time highs, home ownership rates at all time highs, income parity amongst all groups while not fully equal its the closet it has ever been, and etc.

It was never overtly stated, but a case can be made that the American Dream was only meant for white Americans. (Which is why the American Dream and upward mobility are not necessarily the same thing.)

Secondly, at no time did I state that upward mobility in the US was compromised comared with previous times in the US. I stated that it was comprised in comparison with China. Do you disagree with that statement?

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The real question isn't who has the ability to promote their citizens, the real question is, the importance of being earnest...

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2 hours ago, Area54 said:

It was never overtly stated, but a case can be made that the American Dream was only meant for white Americans. (Which is why the American Dream and upward mobility are not necessarily the same thing.)

Secondly, at no time did I state that upward mobility in the US was compromised comared with previous times in the US. I stated that it was comprised in comparison with China. Do you disagree with that statement?

Segregation was overt racial discrimination and it just ended about 50yrs ago. I am sure many would argue laws prohibiting same sex couples from marrying and laws prohibiting members LGBT community from service in the military were overtly discriminatory as well.

 

Do I agree China has more upward mobility currently than the U.S.; no I don't. For starters China has a big problem with a variety of labor abuses. Everything from child labor to hazardous conditions. While it is true the standard of living is increasing in China it is also true that all are not enjoying the success of that with the same level of equality we do here in the U.S.. The average person born and raised in the U.S. still has a superior chance to excel than does the average person born in China. Which is no insult to China. They have come a long way. 

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5 minutes ago, Ten oz said:

Segregation was overt racial discrimination and it just ended about 50yrs ago. I am sure many would argue laws prohibiting same sex couples from marrying and laws prohibiting members LGBT community from service in the military were overtly discriminatory as well.

That has no bearing on the single point I made. I repeat it:  "The American Dream is alive and well and living in China."

Please also note I did not state that there was more upward mobility in China than in the USA. I stated that upward mobility is compromised in the US compared with China. Upward moves do not occur overnight. My phrasing is intended to indicate that the opportunities for moving up are now superior in China compared with the USA. If no further change occurs this will result in more upward moves in China in the future.

That said, I suspect if you consider the growth of the Chinese middle and upper classes over the last decade you would accept that the Chinese are outperforming the USA. Perhaps, your argument is that expansion of the middle class is not the same as upward mobility. That would, however, be a strange definition.

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On 8/23/2017 at 5:49 AM, Area54 said:

My point was more the impact government policy has had on the ability of many millions of Chinese to raise their standard of living and, for some, to achieve substantial wealth. Upward mobility is now seriously compromised in the USA compared with China.

"Is now" as compared to when. In years past the U.S. was seriously compromised as well for reasons already stated. 

40 minutes ago, Area54 said:

 

That said, I suspect if you consider the growth of the Chinese middle and upper classes over the last decade you would accept that the Chinese are outperforming the USA. Perhaps, your argument is that expansion of the middle class is not the same as upward mobility. That would, however, be a strange definition.

The definition for what makes someone middle class exists on a sliding scale scale. A middle class person in San Francisco is wealthy by Boise Idaho standards. It isn't enough to just say the U.S. is compromised by comparison because statistically China is bring X amount of abject poverty per year. In the U.S. abject poverty doesn't even exist so you aren't comparing apples to apples. Additionally all groups do not equally have access to the mobility you reference in China. Women as still second class citizens in many ways. When upward mobility doesn't apply to half the population that isn't good. Upward mobility is defined as having the ability to move from lower to higher levels of social status. Not everyone can do that in China. Nearly everyone can do that in the U.S.. 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Ten oz said:

"Is now" as compared to when. In years past the U.S. was seriously compromised as well for reasons already stated.

 I am not comparing upward mobility in the US with anything in the past. I am comparing it with upward mobility in China.

I seem to have touched some sort of raw nerve. I was making a very simple point. (If it helps, please think of it as a simplistic point.) Upward mobility, a central part of the American Dream, is now a prominent feature of the Chinese culture and economy.

You were happy enough to point out that many were excluded from realising the American Dream fifty years ago, yet now make a point that, in China,  women "are still second class citizens in many ways". I just don't feel you are making a coherent point, but are just offended in some way that I've called into question the viability of the American Dream and will throw up minor debating points in order to defend this.

So, on the main point, do you or do you not agree that China is now pursuing a version of the American Dream?

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While China may have a lot of billionaires ( has it surpassed the US in numbers of billionaires yet ), and is a rich country, that isn't reflected in average wages, which are about US$9000 per year. Income disparity is huuuge.
Most Chinese don't share your optimistic viewpoint, but rather, are asking their government "where is my share of the ( economic ) pie ?".
A lot of people in China live in what we would consider poverty, probably more than a billion of them out of the total population of 1.6 bill.

Never mind their version of the 'American Dream', if things don't change for the better in China, they might have a revolution on their hands.
I don't think they can keep a billion people ignorant, no matter how much they censor their internet.

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24 minutes ago, MigL said:

While China may have a lot of billionaires ( has it surpassed the US in numbers of billionaires yet ), and is a rich country, that isn't reflected in average wages, which are about US$9000 per year. Income disparity is huuuge.

If I saw anything like that amount, I would feel seriously rich - my volunteer allowance comes to $1,608 per year - I just about manage on that.

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1 hour ago, Area54 said:

 I am not comparing upward mobility in the US with anything in the past. I am comparing it with upward mobility in China.

I seem to have touched some sort of raw nerve. I was making a very simple point. (If it helps, please think of it as a simplistic point.) Upward mobility, a central part of the American Dream, is now a prominent feature of the Chinese culture and economy.

You were happy enough to point out that many were excluded from realising the American Dream fifty years ago, yet now make a point that, in China,  women "are still second class citizens in many ways". I just don't feel you are making a coherent point, but are just offended in some way that I've called into question the viability of the American Dream and will throw up minor debating points in order to defend this.

So, on the main point, do you or do you not agree that China is now pursuing a version of the American Dream?

No I am not offended and no nerve has been struck. I mentioned our (USA) past to highlight discussing upward mobility generally is rife with caveats and asterisks. In China Women do not have the same upward mobility as men. They have child labor issues and sweat shops. The average person in China simply doesn't have great upward mobility opportunity. Certainly not enough to compare it was that in the U.S.. Not if the average person includes everyone; which it must. If you were stating that the American Dream was a prominent feature of a special subgroup within China that would be different and I might agree. 

36 minutes ago, MigL said:

While China may have a lot of billionaires ( has it surpassed the US in numbers of billionaires yet ), and is a rich country, that isn't reflected in average wages, which are about US$9000 per year. Income disparity is huuuge.
Most Chinese don't share your optimistic viewpoint, but rather, are asking their government "where is my share of the ( economic ) pie ?".
A lot of people in China live in what we would consider poverty, probably more than a billion of them out of the total population of 1.6 bill.

Never mind their version of the 'American Dream', if things don't change for the better in China, they might have a revolution on their hands.
I don't think they can keep a billion people ignorant, no matter how much they censor their internet.

I think Area54 is conflating the year after year growth rate of GDP with upward mobility to a point. China's economy is growing and many people are getting rich but they still have a relatively oppressive govt and multi tiered class system which doesn't allow for equal opportunities for all. 

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I prefer to think in terms of the 'American Potential' vs the "American Myth'. That unfettered personal freedom and opportunity are available to all is the myth.  Nature/nurture is a tension that will often open paths or define limitations.  Some will succeed, some fail.  But the dream persists.  I lived for a year in a former Soviet Republic (Armenia) where a home-grown oligarchy evolved to replace the Communist elites.  For many of those who are not benefiting from the new order, the dream of leaving for the States runs deep.  Some who are fortunate enough to enter the States will find opportunities here that are not available in their country of origin.

The potential to succeed does not mean each individual will attain the economic rewards, housing security, social advancement that is perceived as the American Dream.   The myth that this is attainable through hard work and sacrifice is what sustains some, deludes others.  But from my limited experience...there is a potential here that is lacking in many other countries. Will we ever see the sustained growth and consumerism of post-WW II USA?  Unlikely.  

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