American dream was the concept given by James Truslow Adams in 1931 who thinks that freedom to avail every possible opportunity in life is the right of every American citizen. Every common citizen has the equal authority to enjoy the perks and privileges of society. The idea was criticized by several authors who were of the opinion that American dream is merely a lust of having things and acquiring goods for one’s satisfaction instead of giving and sharing, which is considered to be the universal phenomenon.
Hubert Selby is of the opinion that people misunderstands the American dream with the reality of life. According to the author, thought of achieving a prosperous and rich life by sticking on the phenomenon of the American dream is inaccurate (Selby). The American dream is a psychological pressure on the lives of human being that leads the life of an individual to mass destruction and unpleasantness. The theory of American dream reflects the idea of only getting and demanding things in life which is insanity. People engage themselves in continuous efforts and hard work to satisfy their needs but at the end of the day when the demand is not fulfilled, it leads a person to dissatisfaction and discouragement.
The lust of getting stuff and accumulating wealth is a nature of mankind. American dream gives rise to such unfavorable wishes that lead the society to more desperation and despair. It does not lead to the fulfillment of desire but creates a sense of envy among those who do not have the power and wealth. The concept of American Dream spread the sense of getting and demanding the stuff for themselves so that they can satisfy their needs and enjoy a luxurious lifestyle. In order to achieve such goals, people serve their entire life in working like a mad. Such people are of the opinion that the American dream can assist them in getting what they want (Laslett and Lipset).
Unfortunately, such dreams lead the individual to agitation and self-destruction if they cannot meet their objective. It has also been observed that an individual not only risk their life in fulfilling this dream but also engage their loving ones with them. It shows how the American dream is building pressure on the lives of common citizens. Society is said to be ungrateful until they do not success in realizing their desire. The American dream is derailing people from their vision and putting their energy in collecting stuff that is inappropriate.
A report in Times by David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy says that the middle class of Canadians has now become richer than that of Americans, and hence Canadians are ranked on the world’s richest people. Canadians are therefore living easy life as compared to Americans. A writer named Nicholas Kristoff criticized the philosophy of James Truslow Adams with his opinion. He said that the American dream is no more found in the people of America. Discrimination and imbalance in the society have snatched American dream from the people. This concept was popular in America in last decades but is disappeared now due to growing inequality among the citizens (Lillie).
The writer is of the opinion that theory of American dream can now be found in Canada and Europe side. Interest of Canadian people is increasing with this philosophy, and they are taking a keen interest in the social mobility to change their class and status in the society. The writer justified his point by giving an argument that Canadians don’t have to pay for medical expenses that save their huge amount. The government of Canada provides its citizens with the health facility that is considered to be the beneficial point for Canadians. Whereas Americans have to pay for their hospital and medical bills. It depicts that Canadians can accomplish their dream by saving money to fulfill their desire. Author also argued that according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Americans have to work average 4.6 hours in excess than Canadians, 21 percent hours in excess than French and 28 percent excess hours than a German in order to earn the exact sum of money. He further added that Americans are living their life full of stress and burden. They have to give tough and surplus time to their job for the sake of the American dream.
The concept of the American dream has affected the life of Americans badly which has resulted in demotivation and discouragement on a mass level (Adam B). The tragic situation discussed by the writer is that contrary to American and European children, American children have shorter life span. In addition to that, American women have a greater death ratio in the maternal period as compared to Canadian women. Researchers have proved that the American dream has become an impossible task for the residents of America. Many common citizens of the average class have the opinion that the American dream is only possible for the wealthiest class people and is difficult to be achieved by an average class. Majority has failed to achieve it and has declared American dream as a myth. Public Religion Research Institute has conducted a recent study to find the opinion of common citizens. The ballot has demonstrated that 55 percent Americans are of the belief that the American dream has never occurred. People say that the American dream has no worth in their lives, and it will not exist in future too. A survey research was conducted in the cottage industry to discover the attitude of public regarding economical condition with the American dream. Unfortunately, the majority of the judgment was adverse. The perspective of the inhabitants was examined in CNN’s opinion research which concluded that 59 percent people find it impossible to achieve the American dream. Moreover, polling was conducted in McClatchy and Marist College which too responds negatively as 80 percent of people were not satisfied with the concept of the American dream. In addition to that, several people find it more difficult to achieve American dream than before.
Polling and survey researches from different interest reflect the idea that people have no more concern from the American dream. Locals want to keep away this topic from their conversation. Governments play a great role in overcoming people their need and desires. The rising inflation in America has deprived people of reaching their goal. Poverty in America has affected the middle-class citizens. By having the though of ‘light at the end of tunnel’ they try hard to pursue their goals. Unluckily, people failed to reach near American dream as it has become harder for Americans to make their both ends meet. The American government is equally responsible for the failure of its citizens. Parents hope to serve their children with the best they can, but rising inflation has made their goal a far cry moon. It’s a big question that why the American dream has become an empty promise? The crises like the situation in America have made people think about their plans and retirement plans. It is an alarming situation that instead of introducing American dreams in the past decades, the majority of citizens are still worried about their security and the children education. Increasing unemployment rate of America from 13% to 13.7% have created hopelessness and disappointment among the young generation. US is one of that country where income inequality has highest rate in the world. The establishment of US has failed to provide equal opportunities to its citizens. People have now realized that the American dream is merely an illusion for the middle class whereas rich class is becoming richer with the help of this concept.
The concept of American dream lacks the procedure to achieve and implement it. Unfortunately, today crime has increased in US to attain this vision. Uneducated and jobless class of US adopts inappropriate routes to fulfill their needs. A rising unemployment has created impatience in people due to which they start committing a crime such as robbery and burglary. The population of the country feels the insecurity of their life and wealth. Such violation of law is harming the economy of the state and increasing lust of accumulating wealth among the law breakers. The materialistic concept of the American dream has also pulled the young generation in committing a crime. The fulfillment of American dream requires an absolute procedure that was never mentioned.
Multinational corporations are introducing their luxury products in the US. To attain these lavish products, the company demands high prices from the customers. The publicity of such magnificent products through advertisements is increasing the wants of every individual irrespective of their class. To satisfy their wants and to live a luxury life, middle class and lower class citizens are choosing unsuitable roads.
Every American citizen dreams to live comfortable life with equal opportunities that are provided to the higher class. To accomplish these dreams, American usually follows the methodology of the American dream. The concept was established to provide a chance for comfortable life to every citizen living in US. Every citizen with an average salary and home was given a hope to live a better and successful life in future. Parents planned to place their children in higher school to provide them a quality education. Youngster dreamt to have better job opportunities after the completion of their education. Aged people hoped to receive a better retirement facilities that can help them in their remaining life ahead. Every middle-class citizen living in America started the struggle for social mobility to pursue the American dream. Unfortunately, people of US are still facing the same difficulties but the gravity of the problem is increasing day by day instead of decreasing. The unemployment rate is rising with the passage of time. Citizens are facing inequality in income due to which accomplishing American dream has become an impossible task for the majority of the middle class. Most people find American dream as an increase in the lust of getting stuff and accumulating wealth while many are of the opinion that the American dream is an empty promise that has no bright future ahead.
- Adam B, Hinshaw. The Failure of the American Dream, the Alternate Dream, and the Existentialist Solution. Pennsylvania: Bucknell University, 2009. Print.
- Laslett, John H. M and Seymour Martin Lipset. Failure of a Dream?: Essays in the History of American Socialism. California: University of California Press, 1984. Print.
- Lillie, Sandridge-Hill. American Dream: Greed, Capitalism, and the Failure of Spirituality in America. Indiana: iUniverse, 2012. Print.
- Selby, Hubert. Requiem for a Dream. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1978. Print.