The Term “The American Dream” was first used by American historian James Truslow Adams in his book “The Epic of America” published in 1931.
America was suffering from the Great Depression and Adams used the term to describe the complex religious, political, and social beliefs.
The “American Dream” — a way of life that most people on the planet would do just about anything to “come to America” to enjoy these “ideals” that were a bill of goods that were being sold to us to keep us moving forward, to keep us spending, and keep us buying more and better stuff.
How much of more is enough? How much do we have to “work” until we’ve arrived? In Japan, “overwork death” is called “Karoshi”, its literally people who work themselves to death.
We are taught in America, grow up, get a good education, get a good job, and then work there for 40 years so that you can retire on 50% or 1/2 of what you were earning so you can then retire. Of course the assumption of that is by the time you’re ready to retire, you’ve paid off your cars, and your home, you really dont need as much money as you needed prior to paying off everything.
Name me one person that you know are debt free at the end of their lives? Name me one person you know that is of retirement age, but you still see them working at Walmart or some fast food restaurant.
Well — the system that we’re being sold a bill of goods on NO LONGER EXISTS. Today Melinnials surpass the Gen Xers as the largest generation in U.S. labor force. More than 1 in 3 American workers today are Millennials (adults ages 18-34 in 2015), and this year they surpassed Generation X’ers to become the largest share of the American Workforce – according to the new Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau Data.
A significant chunk of Millennial population are 18-24 years olds. Millennial population as a whole is projected to surpass that of of Baby Boomers this years as nation’s largest living population. The youngest baby boomers are now 51 with the oldest approaching age 70.
Millennials are Unattached to Organizations and institutions and will move freely from company to company more so than any other generation.
What does all of this mean? No one will be keeping their cars for long periods of time and paying them off, NOR will the millennials pay off their homes. So the current generation will work until they cant work any more, they wont have any income left after they hit a point where no one will hire them any more.
What I’m seeing today is cost of goods, of basics, i.e. utilities, that used to be under $50 per month raising to over $500 per month for water, sewer, trash, electric, gas or whatever else is required to meet our basic needs.
I had a discussion with a business owner today that owns a Mower shop, and that said that his home monthly electric bills are $200 / month, and he was thinking about installing a solar system that was a grid tie one, without batteries, to help lower his electric costs because over the next 10 years he was going to pay $25,000 just for electricity alone! He also said interestingly that he has tried for 15 years to hire and keep people, and just this year alone he has hired 5 people who just do not have the motivation or aptitude to learn small engine repair skills, and that he has to do all of his work there as he cannot find good help.
So I see that the American Dream, has turned into the American Nightmare of having to work longer hours for less pay, in less meaningful jobs, with uncapped expenses for utilities, all while we are all being bombarded to buy more, simply make payments, instead of paying cash as we go.
What ever happened to the simple life that Thoreau discussed in his book “Walden”… a reflection of simple living in natural surroundings. This book is a personal declaration of independent, a social experiment, and a voyage of spiritual discovery, some satire and a manual for self-reliance.
Maybe we should all consider… our overall goals for our life and start down a different path — not one that the “system” tells us is the “way”
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