The American Dream has always been an unachievable ideal. Prosperity is never evenly distributed. Even without it being achieved it is useful. Without the ideal to measure against, it’s difficult to tell when we’ve strayed.
All of this is moot if we don’t agree on what the Dream *is*.
Do you see the difference? President Trump is talking about the opportunity of anyone to succeed while Adams was talking about the the opportunity of everyone to succeed. … Rather than an expectation of prosperity for all, it is merely prosperity for some who are able to achieve it. Often, this prosperity is achieved on the backs of others.
Our culture has become obsessed with wealth, while simultaneously forgetting what wealth is.
It is possible for everyone to have enough. It is not possible for everyone to get ahead. Getting ahead by definition leaves people behind. Without limits on wealth accumulation at the top, there will be starvation and death at the bottom.
What is wealth? It’s not money. Money measures wealth.
When you work, your wage is an agreement between you and your employer as to what you’re worth, influenced by the common practices of the day. When people lack opportunity, then the least their time is worth is in the hands of those willing to pay for their time.
When you spend your money, you are trading your past time spent for some need. When companies use psychology to convince you to make decisions that minimize the value of your time, they retain control. This is not a conspiracy, but the expected result when we enable people based on their ability to obtain the most for themselves.
If your goal is to maximize your money, you will move to where there are high paying jobs. Areas with high paying jobs end up having an accelerating cost of living due to number of people attracted to the area.
If your goal is to maximize your wealth, then you would move to someplace that needs someone with your skills. Move to where you would be most valued, rather than the place that pays the highest salary.
Real wealth is a prosperous life, and that is measured on a per-person basis.
If you can move from day to day without worrying about having a roof over your head, food in your stomach and clothes on your back, then you are wealthy.
If you own your land, grow your food, and have more than you need, than you are wealthy, even if you only have enough money to sustain. The value of the land will vary based on your geography, but the value of survival remains the same.
How can we look at another human and say that the value of their time is not enough to sustain their life?
Worse, how can we lift up people who build their own wealth by destroying the wealth of others? How do we fail to protect our own people from this greed? The wealth of a nation has been sold or stolen for short term cash on a national scale for decades.
“The best defense for Mnuchin was the Obama administration’s own difficulties. Committee chairman Orrin Hatch constantly brought up Jack Lew, the current Treasury secretary, who also had holdings in the Cayman Islands and who also worked at a big bank, Citigroup, responsible for the mortgage meltdown. Hatch pointed to the failures of HAMP to meet its modification goals, asking Mnuchin, “Was Tim Geithner a predatory loan modifier?” Sadly, he was, though the reason for HAMP’s failure is that it put total discretion in the hands of servicers like OneWest. But it’s harder to get a clean hit on Mnuchin when the administration neglected the foreclosure issue and failed to crack down on OneWest and others. This effectively rehabilitated the reputations of people like Mnuchin, who then may be placed in a position of power.”
Democrats Missed an Opportunity to Expose Steve Mnuchin as a Predator
Treasury-secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin came to the Senate Finance Committee hearing room prepared to fight a war… www.thenation.com
People like Donald Trump, Steve Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross are extreme examples of this world view. Some of their choices would be comically over the top if they weren’t so devastating.
By trading the lives of others for short term cash, people like this create hell on Earth. Injustice always creates anger, which gets manipulated by power.
Unaddressed, anger at injustice can be redirected but not destroyed, much like a derivative of bad debts. You can take terrible something you created, and shift the burden onto someone else, or spread it thin so that it impacts everyone. You can turn the inevitable consequences of your greed into an externality.
What remains needs to be addressed somehow. We could use education and compassion, or we can use LAW & ORDER.
We can use State sanctioned violence to clean up the mess created by greed.