8 Bit Philosophy: Is The American Dream A Sham?

Is The American Dream A Sham?

Is The American Dream A Sham? Richard Rorty on American Pragmatism.

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hehe. 'mentions glass ceiling, shows poison'.

Bonus points for talking about 'the american dream' in an English accent... XD

Stupid stuff aside, I... Don't know what to make of this one.

To me, the American dream seems both distant (not being american myself) and, well, kind of overly optimistic.
It has advantages to think you can work your way up, but it also has major downsides.

After all, what better way to keep the peasants motivated than to tell them 'work hard and you too can achieve greatness'

Even if that is a complete fiction, if you can get the lower classes to believe it, you can get them to work harder on basically hope alone.
A clever trick...

The interesting thing is that basically every country has its form of the American Dream. It's not only American.

Is it a bad thing? Maybe the problem about ideas is not the idea itself, but the misuse and manipulation. Or maybe you should tell everyone "better do not work hard. You can't achieve greatness anyway".

George Carlin's take will always stick with me: "It's called the American Dream 'cause you have to be asleep to believe it."

the silence:
Is it a bad thing? Maybe the problem about ideas is not the idea itself, but the misuse and manipulation. Or maybe you should tell everyone "better do not work hard. You can't achieve greatness anyway".

My father in a nutshell

The American Dream might be an illusion for some and a reality for others. The best ways we can go about expanding that dream and creating greater upward mobility is to improve our K-12 education system and eliminate a great deal of our incarceration issue by decriminalizing various things that have no business being crimes in the first place. Nothing holds back upward mobility like a criminal record and poor education.

Sigh...........Capitalism cannot work without a large low paid workforce to exploit because it is purely driven by ever increasing profits and the only sure way to do this is pay less and employ less.

Now this would be countered by the fact people need money to buy your product right?... Wrong what you do is lend people money and get them into debt and because of this markets can inflate their prices to above what is affordable and maximise profit.

The American Dream is the epitome of the lie that is capitalism. Work hard and it can all be yours? how exactly? are you going to pay the nurses, firemen, police, teachers, sewage workers, street cleaners, garbage men, construction workers, farmers etc $150,000pa? the people society needs to function are poor and the people who grease the wheels of capitalism like bankers, hedge fund managers and stock brokers are given in a one years bonus what a ER nurse will earn in their career.

The number of times you see human advancement held back because it would cost to much, or there's no profit in it, money is an idiotic human invention and it will probably be the death of us.

The American Dream isn't so much as a "Is true or is it a myth" thing, but more of an idea or concept we should strive for. The American Dream is only as real as the effort we as a nation, a society, and a culture, strive to uphold. That means we should strive eliminate issues in our society that hinder the American dream. Poor education is urban environments, a broken criminal system which inherently punishes you even after serving your time, and the removal racial and gender bias and discrimination.

There also needs to be programs and actions that give extra support to the poor due to the fact that they automatically start off disadvantaged compared to higher socio-economic classes.

Another thing about the American Dream is that it needs to be tempered. The concept of "Always increasing mobility" implies that there is unlimited wealth, resources, jobs, opportunities, etc, when in fact there is not. Therefore, we have to make sure that those who may work in lower class jobs can still have the means to support themselves and there families.

What some people seem to confuse is that only caring about how we can benefit the middle and upper classes, and that the poor should "work they're way out" is a flawed belief. The fact of the matter is that a society, especially a capitalist one that thrives on competition, will always have a naturally occurring lower class. Therefore, in a fair and just society we should make sure that the poor have access to food, medicine, shelter, power, and education. This allows for those who can't move up to not squander in poverty and makes it easier for those who can move up to be able too. It's a win-win scenario.

Well the "problem" with the American Dream is that it doesn't quite mean the same thing to everyone. Thanks to heavy marketing in the 50s most, like George Carlin, talk about it in reference to the House with white picket fence and being married with 2 kids living happily in the suburbs. This I think is a dream.

The American Dream is that everyone gets their own dream. The right to pursue what makes them happy in life, even if it's not what someone else might like. For example as mentioned before the house and married with kids is what makes some people happy, but others may enjoy the single life and never want to settle down. Too often I see the American Dream spun as everyone should want the same goal and achieving it means you made it.

Heck even the making it rich is a fantasy. Plenty of people make a decent living and are perfectly happy so they don't need to be put down by saying they should want more than what they have. This is a marketing technique used to make people feel bad so they buy more under the belief it will make them feel better.

The problem were the American Dream falls short though is either in the laws or in people's own minds. In the case of the Law we had Probation which turned a bunch of people into criminals by punishing the for drinking alcohol. It was such a colossal failure that it was repealed. Yet those who don't leave from history are doomed to repeat it as we now have the War on Drugs, yet even though it's just as big of a failure it's still propped up as some great service that protects the people. Yet other countries love to point out how the US has the highest number of people per capita in Prison than any other nation and yet it's often never mentioned that well over half those people are in for drug related charges. So yea putting thousands in prison and wasting billions in tax dollars punishing people for a recreational activity that is their choice goes against the American Dream.

On the other failing of people's own minds is that mobility is someone what limited due to factors beyond a persons control. After all let's face it most people don't have the smarts to become the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs and no matter how much they wish it or work hard at it they won't ever make it. The same with becoming a sports star, actor, or any other number of celebrity style positions. Watching reality TV should make this clear to anyone as you see people under the delusion that they have enormous talent when in reality they are terrible. So they have created an unrealistic dream for themselves and thus may not find happiness. Though for some the pursuit is their dream and even if they never make it they are happy knowing they tried.

The American dream is the freedom to pursue what makes you happy without fear of oppression. As many early immigrants fled oppressive governments or religious persecution. The abundance of land and resources though also combined to create lots of opportunities for people to make a fortune which in time is what most came to associate with the American dream. But this is just the dream skewed through a industrialist view of the world.

This piece was like an 8 year olds take on reality.

Nope not real at all. Its a nice ideal but unrealistic at best, it made the US popular for a while through but in the end is just a sham.

But countries would be worse off with Communism. Capitalism right now is the meta since everyone is competing, the ones that have a true mastery over it are the Chinese more specifically Shanghai. They are going to be the world #1 Economic Power in the future no doubt.

The freedom of market there is quite nice. Which is ironic since the governing party in China has its roots in Communism, they realized the system didn't work and went full meta and now they are kicking-ass economically.

Lazule:
Nope not real at all. Its a nice ideal but unrealistic at best, it made the US popular for a while through but in the end is just a sham.

But countries would be worse off with Communism. Capitalism right now is the meta since everyone is competing, the ones that have a true mastery over it are the Chinese more specifically Shanghai. They are going to be the world #1 Economic Power in the future no doubt.

The freedom of market there is quite nice. Which is ironic since the governing party in China has its roots in Communism, they realized the system didn't work and went full meta and now they are kicking-ass economically.

You do realise there's never been a communist state on run to true communist ideals right? confusing dictatorships and fascist police states with communism is a trick coined by the US to create a global threat to consolidate power after the second world war. Also since you brought up China, there is the perfect example of what's wrong with capitalism, 99% of the population poor and exploited working in extremely low paid jobs while the less than 1% are making vast sums of money off their backs.

KaZuYa:

Lazule:
Nope not real at all. Its a nice ideal but unrealistic at best, it made the US popular for a while through but in the end is just a sham.

But countries would be worse off with Communism. Capitalism right now is the meta since everyone is competing, the ones that have a true mastery over it are the Chinese more specifically Shanghai. They are going to be the world #1 Economic Power in the future no doubt.

The freedom of market there is quite nice. Which is ironic since the governing party in China has its roots in Communism, they realized the system didn't work and went full meta and now they are kicking-ass economically.

You do realise there's never been a communist state on run to true communist ideals right? confusing dictatorships and fascist police states with communism is a trick coined by the US to create a global threat to consolidate power after the second world war. Also since you brought up China, there is the perfect example of what's wrong with capitalism, 99% of the population poor and exploited working in extremely low paid jobs while the less than 1% are making vast sums of money off their backs.

Amusing how it's basically an Authoritarian/Socialist dictatorship in China that is making a perfect example of the ills of Capitalism.

Yeah, the American/Western style capitalism SUCKS. But there's an honesty to it that you just don't find elsewhere, and there's a chance it'll be fixed before it implodes.

Well, "Nyan Captain America" and his sidekick/pupil "Nyan Hawkeye" (or whatever his name is) are now things.

I'm pretty sure the escapist did say at a point that they'd like to be more of a positive place sometime in the last few months.

So is that even gonna happen at this point, or are is cynicism gonna keep governing this place?

Firstly from the Hogfather

All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable."

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little-"

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

"So we can believe the big ones?"

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

"They're not the same at all!"

YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET-Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point-"

MY POINT EXACTLY.

Secondly, while the american dream might not be mathematically possible does not change that working hard and living generally thriftily will almost certainly put you at a much better place in life than just fucking off on everything would. The exception is if you're a single mother in which case in order to be at the same place you would be making 29000 dollars or less a year you would have to make between 69000 and 58000.

its always been a sham. an idea sold to people so they would work had for your profits and complain less.

Tono Makt:

Amusing how it's basically an Authoritarian/Socialist dictatorship in China that is making a perfect example of the ills of Capitalism.

Yeah, the American/Western style capitalism SUCKS. But there's an honesty to it that you just don't find elsewhere, and there's a chance it'll be fixed before it implodes.

not really conidering that China is capitalist dictatorship with a fancy title. Its as much socialist as Soviet union was communist - that is in name only.

you cant fix capitalism. capitalism is broken as a concept.

The thing with The American Dream is that it's not a principle that is intended to stand on it's own. It's also connected to American ideas of free enterprise, competition, and of course capitalism (we are very much capitalists even if we do not believe in unfettered capitalism). The idea is that in the US anyone in theory can advance, there are no caste systems, noble houses, or other such institutions that inherently decide what a person can aspire to. The only real advantage which a person starts out with is what their family can provide for them, which of course came from their own achievements. There is no government say burning a mark into some people's foreheads that dictates what their place in life will be thereon out.

The thing is that while a person can work hard and advance, everyone else is doing the same thing, and as a result the best people are the ones who advance. What is an advantage can of course vary greatly, it can be anything from charisma and making the right friends to win in the rat race, ruthlessness and persistence, athletic ability, beauty, intelligence, or some kind of freak talent. Just because you work hard does not guarantee your advancement even if it's possible. As society by definition mandates that the majority of people are always going to be on the very bottom, which means that as everyone works hard, the majority will not advance at all. The system generally ensures that the best people tend to wind up being at the top of the pile. Those born with advantages who lack the ability to maintain it in light of people coming up can and do lose their wealth to the hungry sharks that are always circling, a few generations of irresponsible partying youth who never grow up and even the biggest and most untouchable seeming dynasties will crumble, that money trickling back down one bottle of $10,000.00 champagne at a time when those people don't wind up putting in as much as they take out, or more to keep the fortune growing. It's hard to always judge given that there is a skill to picking people you can trust, but socialites like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie seem to be the current generation's examples of this, rich party girls who spend tons of money, but don't seem to achieve anything themselves, causing their respective dynasties to run at a deficit. Of course what you see on the surface is not always all there is to it, some stories imply Paris is actually quite savvy nowadays, most of the hotels she plays at do VERY well when she's in charge, and she has a good eye for talent and picking people she can trust with her back, a lot of her partying actually having netted her a wide array of useful contacts despite disapproval from her family, she's charismatic enough to have become very well liked in some very important circles and charisma is a highly competitive advantage.

At any rate, at the end of the day to the people at the bottom who will always be unhappy for being there they will argue that it's unfair and want a different system. To these people any kind of underlying social philosophy is going to seem "dead" or not working, because to any person at the bottom all they know is they work hard for very little, and do not advance, and this will of course be the majority of any society at any given time. To the people at the bottom in the US they will maintain that "The American Dream Is Dead" because the idea of hard work, competition, and advancement in no way winds up benefitting them. People of course will rarely look at themselves as the problem and be content, or accept they are right where they are supposed to be. They will instead blame the system, demand a change to a different social philosophy, claim there is racism, bigotry, or some kind of glass ceiling loading the deck. If nothing else can be pointed to you'll see arguments about intangible privilege and invisible knapsacks. These kinds of arguments are ways for people to justify their position without impacting their own concept of self worth, having an enemy to strive against is more noble than just accepting one's own lot in life and limitations. This might sound sort of dismissive and like something a person justifying slavery or whatever might say, but at the end of the day when you look at a system like the US where people advance every day, you see little kids sometimes making millions off of an idea, and people of all ethnicities climbing to fame and fortune the people at the bottom saying they are oppressed doesn't ring true, they just happen to be the large foundation that will be a part of any society.

Let me also be blunt in saying that while I understand such things I do *NOT* like them. At the core of some of my uglier ideas on various subjects is the ideal of making a finer world, albeit with the understanding it's something that can only come at a terrible cost given the holes we've dug ourselves into. Basically there are too many people on the planet right now, and not enough resources, as any environmentalist can tell you just at the current rate of consumption we're going to run out of material, never mind what happens if we raise it, we just run out quicker. In such an environment the conditions of those at the lowest rungs of a society, especially the poorest societies, can be very wretched indeed. To really be able to build a working social order where people will be content, one needs to create a world in which even the lowest standard of living is enough to make a person pretty happy. In a realistic context this means needing to reduce the population through wars and other occurences to bring it in line with what planetary resources can provide, as well as organizing the planet under one world government and culture (which in the process will probably amount to warfare and even genocide sufficient to bring down the numbers) to make space travel and things more practical with the goal of getting more resources to expand our population further. The key to success is fundamentally to never have so many people that anyone has to endure wretched conditions. Ignore this and over the span of time countless people suffer and die in misery as the realities perpetuate themselves, compared to say one huge series of blood baths which brings the population in line. One of the big reasons a lot of my overall attitudes involves "hey, let's just get World War III going already", since peace right now is just preserving a degenerate series of societies that breed misery on the overwhelming majority of the human race. Kind of depressing and grim, but there you go.

Of course in theory if us humans don't have to solve these problems we brought on ourselves and say "god" intervenes, or heck maybe just a higher alien race bearing gifts of technology, things could change radically. Endless resources such as say rapidly regenerating forests, bottomless mines, etc.. or in more scientific terms technology like Star Trek's "Matter Replicators" could of course render all of these points obsolete. That said even as a Christian who believes in a benevolent god literally existing, I do not believe anything miraculous will happen to dig us out of this mess of our own creation, the price of free will is having to do it ourselves, and that means enduring the horrifying realities of getting our own population under control and bringing order to what is the multi-tiered chaos of global society. Basically sort of like in "Watchmen" we need a bad guy like Ozymandias to win, and thereby save us all, since good is fundamentally incapable of winning this particular kind of battle... and thus the world sucks.

Well duh, took a philosopher to point out this one? (even if they try to spin it as a positive)

Strazdas:
its always been a sham. an idea sold to people so they would work had for your profits and complain less.

Tono Makt:

Amusing how it's basically an Authoritarian/Socialist dictatorship in China that is making a perfect example of the ills of Capitalism.

Yeah, the American/Western style capitalism SUCKS. But there's an honesty to it that you just don't find elsewhere, and there's a chance it'll be fixed before it implodes.

not really conidering that China is capitalist dictatorship with a fancy title. Its as much socialist as Soviet union was communist - that is in name only.

you cant fix capitalism. capitalism is broken as a concept.

You can argue about how close China is to your idea of socialism, but to say that it's not socialist is... well, frankly it's like saying that Mormon's aren't Christian. They're Christians - just not the mainstream Christians. And trying to call it a CAPITALIST dictatorship is a just a step away from utter insanity. It's barely capitalistic right now - maybe in 20 years it will be a point of legitimate debate, but right now China is still a country where a single party - the Communist Party of China - has essentially absolute power over the nation and everything in it and is merely allowing people (the "correct" people for the most part) to run aspects of the economy they are willing to be run with less oversight than other area's. And if the CPC decides that something needs to come back under CPC direct control there is little to nothing that can be done to stop it.

At best, China is trying on a Capitalist shoes to see if it's worth buying the rest of the outfit. That is the depth of the capitalism in China right now - superficial and non-committal.

KaZuYa:

Lazule:
Nope not real at all. Its a nice ideal but unrealistic at best, it made the US popular for a while through but in the end is just a sham.

But countries would be worse off with Communism. Capitalism right now is the meta since everyone is competing, the ones that have a true mastery over it are the Chinese more specifically Shanghai. They are going to be the world #1 Economic Power in the future no doubt.

The freedom of market there is quite nice. Which is ironic since the governing party in China has its roots in Communism, they realized the system didn't work and went full meta and now they are kicking-ass economically.

You do realise there's never been a communist state on run to true communist ideals right? confusing dictatorships and fascist police states with communism is a trick coined by the US to create a global threat to consolidate power after the second world war. Also since you brought up China, there is the perfect example of what's wrong with capitalism, 99% of the population poor and exploited working in extremely low paid jobs while the less than 1% are making vast sums of money off their backs.

Except that Shanghai is growing and there are less poor Chinese people the more it does. China was waaaay waaaaay poorer during the Communist Maoism. China wouldn't be so powerful atm if they didn't used Capitalism the way they are doing it.

And I know... "dictatorship" you will say well I agree but its a lot easier to have a dictatorship in a communist goverment, way easier they just lower the salaries of everyone else and the party members rise their own. *Bam* there you go is that easy since they control most of the economy not the private people, since there is not a private property sector.

I'm not praising Capitalism tho I know its flaws and I know why it can crash on the long term but it is a lot better than communism, just for the simple private property and freedom of market there is. Maybe someday something better, new and fresh will replace this economic meta.

Tono Makt:

At best, China is trying on a Capitalist shoes to see if it's worth buying the rest of the outfit. That is the depth of the capitalism in China right now - superficial and non-committal.

I like that analogy. Those shoes are Shanghai and they are kicking-ass with them. I'm highly interested in what will happen with the rest of China in 20 years from now I'm quite sure they will take the #1 economic super power spot.

Tono Makt:

Strazdas:
its always been a sham. an idea sold to people so they would work had for your profits and complain less.

Tono Makt:

Amusing how it's basically an Authoritarian/Socialist dictatorship in China that is making a perfect example of the ills of Capitalism.

Yeah, the American/Western style capitalism SUCKS. But there's an honesty to it that you just don't find elsewhere, and there's a chance it'll be fixed before it implodes.

not really conidering that China is capitalist dictatorship with a fancy title. Its as much socialist as Soviet union was communist - that is in name only.

you cant fix capitalism. capitalism is broken as a concept.

You can argue about how close China is to your idea of socialism, but to say that it's not socialist is... well, frankly it's like saying that Mormon's aren't Christian. They're Christians - just not the mainstream Christians. And trying to call it a CAPITALIST dictatorship is a just a step away from utter insanity. It's barely capitalistic right now - maybe in 20 years it will be a point of legitimate debate, but right now China is still a country where a single party - the Communist Party of China - has essentially absolute power over the nation and everything in it and is merely allowing people (the "correct" people for the most part) to run aspects of the economy they are willing to be run with less oversight than other area's. And if the CPC decides that something needs to come back under CPC direct control there is little to nothing that can be done to stop it.

At best, China is trying on a Capitalist shoes to see if it's worth buying the rest of the outfit. That is the depth of the capitalism in China right now - superficial and non-committal.

It is a dictatorship because as you say a single party is ruling the country and its leader is a doctator. the fact that the party likes to call itself silly names is irrelevant. the mere fact that the party has absolute power is in direct contradiction to communism.

Now, china is very heavily capitalistic. vast majority of transactions that happen there are based on capitalism principles and thats why companies move capital there - its capitalism with less socialistic needs.

And yes, CPC being a dictatorship is what makes them able to nationalize anything.

China is more capitalist than most western countries.

Lazule:

And I know... "dictatorship" you will say well I agree but its a lot easier to have a dictatorship in a communist goverment, way easier they just lower the salaries of everyone else and the party members rise their own. *Bam* there you go is that easy since they control most of the economy not the private people, since there is not a private property sector.

It is impossible to have a dictatorship in communist government because dictaotrships are in direct contradiction to communism.

My ancestors were Belgium and germen immigrants who fled WWI and the German economic collapse that came later. They were destitute when they arrived. My (paternal) great grandfather managed to start a farm, and it provided a livelihood good enough for my farther to go into law school.

He's now a lawyer who represents employee interest.

I don't care how many cynical pessimists or textbook philosophers say that upward mobility is a sham; my family experienced it first hand, and it is very, VERY real.

KaZuYa:
The American Dream is the epitome of the lie that is capitalism. Work hard and it can all be yours? how exactly? are you going to pay the nurses, firemen, police, teachers, sewage workers, street cleaners, garbage men, construction workers, farmers etc $150,000pa? the people society needs to function are poor and the people who grease the wheels of capitalism like bankers, hedge fund managers and stock brokers are given in a one years bonus what a ER nurse will earn in their career.

Speaking as someone whose family had directly benefited from hard work and gained upward mobility, I find this claim hard to believe. Especially since my Grandfather is one of the "poor" people (he owns a farm on the outskirts of Milwaukee) And my father is one of the "rich" ones (A lawyer for MichaelBest&Friedrich) How would you explain two people from the same family occupying both the demographics you just mentioned?

KaZuYa:
The number of times you see human advancement held back because it would cost to much, or there's no profit in it, money is an idiotic human invention and it will probably be the death of us.

I'm sorry, but I don't think you've thought this through.

-Money is a store of value, (the value of goods deteriorate many times faster than currency inflates)
-Money allows for there to be a standard market value (there would be no price tags, and establishing a value to goods would be mush harder.)
-Money removes the need for a double coincidence in every transaction you make. (I.E You grow apples for a living, and you really REALLY need coats for the winter, but the person who sells coats HATES apples and wont accept what you offer.)

Honestly, if you get rid of money, the poor would suffer far more than the rich; the rich have trade routes and connections established, whereas buying a load of groceries would be nearly impossible.

EVERYBODY! the picture put up right at the start when he says "white picket fence" is from an NES game called Deja Vu. it was kinda like a lucas arts adventure game, but different... i dunno, hard to explain, but it was super fun and i think it might be kinda obscure, and i was super excited to see it used, and i wanted to share that.

 

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