The American dream that made people leave their homelands in the past only remained a dream because there are people who still have not “made it” in America. There is something amiss in the ruckus that is about the American Dream.
On one side, the American Dream remains a dream wherein the corruption and the apathy of people continues to prevent it from coming true while on the other side, the American Dream comes with too high a price. It asks for the individual’s culture, it torments the person and convinces him into thinking that if you do not assimilate the American culture, you will never make it.
For instance, the rules for acceptance are subtle enough to be left out in everyday discussions but for the typical alien who is either yellow or black, the message of “embrace of efface” resounds like a loud gong. The American Dream will always be a Utopian dream until people realize that material wealth is not the only path for success and happiness.
For together with the positive values that the American dram has helped to bring about, there is the common criticism that such dream has ultimately resulted in the rejection of that which connects the “self” to the “other.” Just as freedom in America has brought about or permitted massive income inequalities, so did American individualism that resulted from this dream, help to produce an atmosphere of egoism and isolationism, and in more extreme cases, perpetuate poverty, racism, sexism, and self-indulgence. When left unchecked, this can cause disunity among our people. Americans should balance individualism with compassion for others.
Peak performers who manifest the great American individualist characteristics start with potential. Yet history is littered with the bones of people who never converted potential into achievement. Inherent talents turn useful only when one examines what is his.
One trait that makes the United States great is its inclusiveness. Everything gets taken in, including an interesting state of tension between a yearning for achievement on the one hand and the principles of equality on the other. The American dream is a dream that is obtainable but it all depends on one’s attitude.
To illustrate this clearly, in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, the author uses the scene of Willy with Wagner, which is supposed to be just a short encounter with his boss. But as the scene progresses, the readers cannot help but empathize with Willy’s condition. Willy seems to be really stuck in the past. He brings all the promises of a dead man and counts on that more than his relationship with Howard and what was happening between the two of them at that point (Miller). Can we keep our own dreams alive and not get sabotaged by ourselves or by life?
The American Dream promises people from all walks of life and all countries of origin that within this land, there is freedom from oppression, freedom from poverty and material wealth but for other people, it will only remain a dream for them.
As Langston Hughes remarks, “I am the people, humble, hungry, mean–Hungry yet today despite the dream.” There have been casualties during this fight for the American Dream. The land of the free is still a land of oppression and even though people would like to view it as a land of opportunity, it becomes more like a land of deception and false hopes.
Another illustration on this issue is on page 77 of Barlow’s book, Between Fear and Hope: Globalization and Race in the United States, he mentions, “The global era’s pressure means that an increasing number of Americans feel left out of the social order” saying that “morbid symptoms especially racism and fear of foreigners have appeared. In short, globalization is producing a crisis in the middle-class social order.” (Barlow, p. 77).
I think that more than the pressure of globalization on Americans, it is the use of the U.S. globalization as their tool for world domination that is anxiety-provoking. The US, according to many observers uses globalization to make foreign economies open up their markets such that these can be flooded with US-made cars, clothes, food, even movie stars, such that these foreign markets eagerly consume these products without really knowing who in the end benefits from this game.
As the capitalist economy of the United States has survived socialism, many foreign nations are now being deprived of much-needed funds for their own development, and are left dependent on foreign made products, which in turn deplete their own dollar reserves. The result is an extreme polarization of wealth, and the overextension of the gap between the world’s richest and poorest nations.
This is so true in the sense that in developing nations such as India, there are truly many customers willing to buy the products of the capitalists. For instance, on the streets of India, we see many billboards of “Coke”, or of US cigarettes. A person who purchases this product rarely has the time to ponder on the fact that part of the revenue made out of that sale enriches these already-rich capitalist nations.
Perhaps engaging in nationalist policies such as patronizing one’s own products with a matching awareness and education campaign will help make these people realize that it is time to enrich one’s own country first, before contributing to the economies of others. An opportunity lies here because local manufacturers in developing countries will be forced to do more research and development to produce goods and services that can compete with foreign ones.
The American dream and globalization play a very important and significant role in sustaining profitability no matter what the enterprise is or where such is located or how it is doing business. Reality shows that any business enterprise cannot survive without adopting the competitive global business system through the use of technology. Indeed, cultures collide through trade, and whether or not in the process of trading, technology destroys the native arts and dumps down the societies everywhere.
The influences of family norms, religion, or manners and even social practices have large influence in overall assessment of globalization. Focusing on the markets and determining the available freedom exercised in exploring the marketplace are areas affected by these influences. It is always best to study the mechanics of how the economy works in the real world.
Studies show that the measurement of success in the economy is determined by certain formulas and applied economic principles yet one must also realize that creativity and innovations that originate from non-economic background must also be applied to come up with the right kind of mix. Man’s ingenuity, his analytical mind and logical reasoning must be shared, discussed with others who are into the same exercise so that better solutions to problems are formulated to make the country’s economy work in this rapidly changing world. The American dream has swept the manner in which the U.S. is managed as well as policy decisions that were formulated.
Barlow, Andrew. Between Fear and Hope: Globalization and Race in the United States, 2003. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman.
Hughes, L. Let America Be America Again. 1938. Retrieved Jan 2, 2007 at: https://www.poetryconnection.net/poets/Langston_Hughes/2385