"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."

Jun 17, 2009

The Great Reset

Is the American Dream Dead -- or Just in Hiding?

Cutting Back on the Excess of the Boom Years Might Not Be so Bad, Some Families Discover


...Vanity Fair writer David Kamp notes that the American Dream is not a static concept. The evolution of this idea is reflected in popular television. In the 1950s, Ralph and Alice Kramden lived in a grubby New York tenement on "The Honeymooners." Just a few years later the American viewing audience could set its sights higher by watching the Cleavers in their modest suburban home on "Leave it to Beaver." By the 1970s, "The Brady Bunch" lived in an even bigger home and could afford a Hawaiian vacation. The families of "Dynasty" and "Dallas" played out their decadent dramas in mansions during the 1980s. All of which led inexorably to the spoiled brats of "Gossip Girl" and "The Hills."

To many, the American Dream seemed to evolve into something more like a nightmare.

"The boom grossed me out," said professor Richard Florida of the University of Toronto. "I mean I just thought it was gauche and horrible and over the top. You know, 'Hummerville' and 'Conspicuous-Consumptionville.' I never liked it."

Florida said America is now in the midst of what he calls "The Great Reset," a time when our entire way of life will be re-imagined.

"I think many, many Americans felt that they were on this kind of treadmill and couldn't keep up and actually felt empty. You can't just buy yourself into self-worth," said Florida.



At 12:46 PM , Blogger Belle Epoque said...

Hi Indigo...In the days before internet, cable and control entrenched media, often unseen political and economic analysts saw this mess coming from the early '80s/late'70s.

Have a listen to Milton Friedman on Phil Donohue in 1979...I don't know how old you are, but most of these pyramid schemes of wealth structure stem from the 80's. The global barons of the wealth structure knew how to railroad the American public in a big way...same said wealth barons collapsed it all like a stack of cards and made off with even more loot. Americans will never ever get out of this slump unless they learn to live within their means...


At 6:32 PM , Blogger Indigobusiness said...

I grew up in a boomtown, Belle. Robber Barons laid the foundation...and were seen by many as heros. It's a tough lesson hard won to get past the supercharged thrills of the good times, and the hard-bitten bleakness of the bad.

It taught me the truth of a materialist perspective, and it showed me how fast money can ruin good people.

When you're in your formative years, the concrete can set on the values of your lesser angels. Or, if you're lucky, you can find your way through the plastic fantasy of it all.

I embraced the warnings of Future Shock, Brave New World, and 1984. Without those guides, plus my curious interest in Eastern philosophy, I'd probably be the biggest pig of all.

Thanks for the link. I'll have to check it out later.

At 10:18 PM , Blogger Indigobusiness said...

I watched the clip. There are a number of objections I'd make to Friedman's analysis. I find his one-sidedness egregious, and even where I might agree were he more even-handed, I'm loath to dredge up much kinship with his utter obliviousness to the downside.

I'm all for prosperity and an honest profit, but the age of greed has been a grotesquery of corruption and mock prosperity. We have built our soulless architecture of glitz on the back of rampant exploitation of limited resources, not to mention exploited peoples of all varieties...including us.

We've let the factory farms crowd out the family farm, and Monsanto gives us terminator seeds and gorgeous produce of almost no nutritional value because the soil is dead.

I'm sure Friedman would see Monsanto as a shining example of the success story he trumpets. And Exxon and Chevron and all the offshoot chemical companies polluting the planet. He didn't seem to foresee the rise of the sociopath that our culture fostered, and the resulting big business racketeering that has crippled our dream and left us with only a printing press to prop up our economy with ever valueless money.

Things look rosy at the crest of a wave, but not so sweet after the wipeout. Of which, we are on the very brink. It won't be pretty paying the piper.

Friedman, and his ilk, are the worst sort of fools.

At 7:53 AM , Blogger Belle Epoque said...

"Friedman, and his ilk, are the worst sort of fools."

Hi Indigo...yes, like the cat that ate the canary. Pit him against financial guru Suzie Orman walking people through BASIC finances and you get a glimpse of the disparaging state of affairs in America.

Things have very much moved into a protectionist state of affairs where the wealth barons are only concerned with retaining their affluence and don't give a hoot about the virtual enslavement of a population. The "American Dream" has now become "The American dream to solve your personal debt crisis". Now that I reflect back on my father who was mistrustful of financial institutions and never ever owned a credit card...he seems like a genius to me. I'm very much his daughter - I don't get myself snared by any financial mafias (I don't own cable tv, no cell phone plan...I pay as I go, etc. etc.) Keeping up with the Jones' is not in my blood, and now I can stand at the shore and laugh at the Jones' who are sinking with the ship...

At 11:04 AM , Blogger Indigobusiness said...

You're a gal after my own heart, Belle, I'm much the same way. The cell phone wave struck me as a particularly vulgar example of crass commercialism catering to the vanity of the sheeple. With Big Brother tentacles to boot.

And texting...wtf is that? Leave it to our rampaging narcissism to turn something with possibilities into a colossal embarrassment.

Now that the money game has been exposed for the big lie that it is, it's astonishing to me how everyone just seems to want to patch it up again and get it back on track. Isn't that the track that led us here? Shouldn't we recognize the failure and the falseness...and find a better way?

At 1:12 PM , Blogger Belle Epoque said...

"Shouldn't we recognize the failure and the falseness...and find a better way?"

Oh man Indigo...you'd be surprised how little common sense people have anymore, and also how they think about living more simply and with simpler values - to youth culture that is akin to sliding back into the trenches of the dark ages. I recently had a conversation with somebody that left them with their jaw-dropping when I said I still go to the public library to do research, rent videos/dvds, etc.- they were literally floored and couldn't believe that ANYBODY goes to the public library anymore for these things. I told her simply... I get the last laugh when the coins stay in my pocket because it all adds up if you keep a strict budget and if I can get the same thing at a library why would I be so stupid...(of course, her answer was..."yeah but at the library you have to WAIT"...

Indigo, intelligence is a precious commodity, be ever so thankful that you've got it...

At 1:49 PM , Blogger Indigobusiness said...

Not so sure about intelligence, but I'm grateful for an abiding interest in the big picture. Never a dull moment.



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