Thoughts on the Decline of the American Dream

Ignorance and complacency are the great enemies preventing solutions for what is happening in our society. We go about our business, education, diversions, with insufficient thought given to the economic erosion of our nation and the growing loss of income for most of our people. Our system, created by wealthy land owners or merchants, was designed to protect the privileges of the prosperous.

The Industrial Revolution started a process that replaced humans with machines. This process continues today, with automation continuing to replace blue collar workers who were once the backbone of the nation. The loss of manufacturing jobs effectively destroyed an entire class that labored for basic comforts and the advancement of its children to a better way of life. A class that was willing to resist the abuses of the bosses. The loss of jobs and stature as breadwinners undermines the idealistic concept of parents wanting more for their children then they had, a cultural enhancement, now ending.

The great democratic experiment, more spontaneous than planned, offered virtually unlimited opportunities for those capable of adapting to their times. A working class flourished like no other time in history, producing goods and resources in hitherto unimaginable amounts. After World War II, millions of ex G.I.’s went to college, the most radical educational revolution in history. They jumped, in a few short years, to the middle class. Their children were given unprecedented luxuries, once reserved for the wealthy.

And so our nation prospered and we achieved material abundance. But we did not understand our system. As capitalists, bloated with profits, replaced more and more workers with automation, they speculated wildly. And when their financial bubbles burst, they took losses, but they destroyed the lives of millions who lost jobs, homes, savings, because they couldn’t absorb the losses. Now the workers spared by automation, are facing extinction form information technology.

The few who control the bulk of our nation’s wealth do not care about the sufferings of the many. They refuse to recognize the value of ordinary citizens, whose labors keep delivering food, fuel, keep transportation moving, repair planes, security systems, power supplies, yet they are being abandoned. The wealthy, like French aristas of the 18th century, are blind to who enables the flow of goods and services. The wealthy are so swollen with acquisition that they do not realize the system will collapse without maintenance. They are deaccessioning the maintainers.

We, like the dinosaur and dodo before us, have neither an inherent right to life, nor a guarantee of continuation. We have moved so far away from nature that we no longer comprehend interdependence. Greed prevails over reason. The wealthy revel in their possessions. Their ignorance and complacency of the need to sustain those who keep the machinery functioning reveals how they live: après moi, le déluge. As they doom the future of our children, they also doom the future of their children. Wealthy parents seem to be oblivious to the troubles to come. Unless the system is controlled by single old men, beyond humane concerns and compassion, there is a lack of awareness that we’re all in the same boat, even though most of us are in steerage. If the boat sinks, we all go down together. We are hurtling to destruction and, so far, no one knows how to prevent the fall.


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