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Reality vs. the American Dream

In his 1931 book, The Epic of America, American writer and historian James Truslow Adams, coined the term, “The American Dream.” He wrote, “Life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement.” [42]

That dream has become the aspiration not only of every child and adult in America, but the dream of billions throughout the world. This dream translates into the belief that to be happy, one must have a home of one’s own, preferably a large, single-family home in a good neighborhood, two cars per family, and substantial savings for the golden years. In that dream, every new arrival to America can become wealthy and prosperous if only he or she works hard enough.

Unfortunately, today’s reality is not The American Dream. In reality, tens of millions in America cannot work hard and make their dreams come true simply because they cannot get a job. The healthcare and welfare systems are so unequal and warped that they only perpetuate the socioeconomic inequalities. In truth, only few people realize The American Dream while the rest continue to struggle to avert poverty.

But the biggest surprise about The American Dream is not that only a few make that dream come true. Rather, it is the fact that even those who do succeed are not any happier!

[42] James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America (U.S.A. Taylor & Francis, 1935), 415

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