The American dream is the idea that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success. It is believed to be achieved through sacrifice, risk-taking, and hard work, rather than by chance.

However, if you take a look at social media, you will stumble upon posts where people claim the American Dream has turned into a nightmare. They criticize healthcare, nepotism, education and real estate prices, and, of course, inequality.

And they might have a point. While 90% of the children born in 1940 ended up in higher ranks of the income distribution than their parents, only 40% of those born in 1980 have done the same. Of course, it's tough to compare two very different periods and draw hard conclusions but you can't ignore such studies too.

#1

The American Dream

The American Dream

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Agnieszka Gocalińska
Community Member
2 months ago

That's called European Dream

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Jim Cullen, U.S. cultural historian and author of The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea that Shaped a Nation, got interested in this subject due to his belief that it has been the great mythic glue of American society for much of U.S. history. "The notion that this nation is a place where the pursuit of happiness is a legitimate and plausible enterprise has been something a wide variety of people from all walks of life from around the world have endorsed and embraced, and that's because in many times and places this has not been the case," Cullen told Bored Panda.

"As I make clear in my book, the American Dream has in fact taken many forms. For most people, it's assumed to be economic mobility. But religious freedom, political equality, homeownership, and racial justice have long been a part of the story. It isn't solely about money."

#2

The American Dream

The American Dream

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troufaki13
Community Member
2 months ago

I thought the Nobel Prize comes with a 1 million money award as well O.o

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#3

The Only "American Dream" Left!

The Only "American Dream" Left!

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Renan Kanbay
Community Member
2 months ago

And then drowned in the swimming pool. #thesims

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Cullen thinks the American Dream is now in less repute than it has been in large measure because many Americans now consider outcomes more important than aspiration or opportunity. "The American Dream has never been about guarantees, but anything less is now often seen as fraudulence," he said. "Yet that was never really the basis of the myth, and using the postwar World War II world as a benchmark, when the nation had a unique imperial dominance and affluence, is a somewhat misleading benchmark from which to measure the success and validity of the Dream."

#4

The American Dream...

The American Dream...

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BlahBlahBlackSheepah
Community Member
2 months ago

The same time being against US fascism Became a radical and dangerous position

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#5

The American Dream

The American Dream

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Rod Egret
Community Member
2 months ago

This is the perfect summary of the current situation...

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#6

The American Dream

The American Dream

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Samtheperson
Community Member
2 months ago

It’s the sad sad truth

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However, not everyone agrees with this line of thought. D.L. Mayfield, the author of The Myth of the American Dream: Reflections on Affluence, Autonomy, Safety, and Power, grew up within white evangelicalism in the US. She was always told that both her country and her religion were good news for everyone. But as she grew older and met people outside of her community, she made up her mind that this simply was not true. "My city of Portland, OR, was actually a really hard place to live for a lot of people. When I started working for recently arrived refugees, I experienced this disconnect, and my eyes were opened to what an unequal and segregated city I lived in," she told Bored Panda.

"I sum the American Dream as the philosophy that anyone can make it in the US if only they work hard enough. This is a doubly damaging philosophy, however: for people of privilege, it reinforces the idea that they have made positive choices and deserve to be rewarded. Conversely, if people are unable to 'make it' in the US, privileged people can now blame them and say it's a result of poor individual choices instead of looking at systemic issues (racism, sexism, capitalism)."

#7

The American Dream

The American Dream

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Mtownmick
Community Member
2 months ago

$600M inheritance.

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#8

There's No Such Thing As The "American Dream". They Just Want Us All To Believe It Could "Happen To Us" While Every System Is Designed To Keep Poor People Poor And Rich People Rich.

There's No Such Thing As The "American Dream". They Just Want Us All To Believe It Could "Happen To Us" While Every System Is Designed To Keep Poor People Poor And Rich People Rich.

KentingtonClark Report

Amy Pattie
Community Member
2 months ago

“He started in his parents garage” bruh who has parents with an empty garage? Also don’t forget; if you live with your parents, you’re a selfish burden. There is no winning.

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#9

Cross An Imaginary Line & Things Become Very Different

Cross An Imaginary Line & Things Become Very Different

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Eric Law
Community Member
2 months ago

If you work hard and dream hard, the CEO of your company might be able to afford that upgrade he's always wanted to his Learjet.

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#10

Is This The American Dream?

Is This The American Dream?

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Bobert Robertson
Community Member
2 months ago

Not sure what this has to do with being a millennial. This coming from a millennial. Also, when someone is working it's not "likely" their livelihood, it IS their livelihood.

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American linguist, philosopher, and social critic Noam Chomsky, for example, says that the American Dream has collapsed. In the past, if you were poor and you worked hard, you got rich. According to Chomsky, it was possible for a worker to get a decent job, buy a home, get a car, have his children go to school. But that is no longer the case.

In the movie Requiem for the American Dream, Chomsky explained how he thinks concentrated wealth creates concentrated power, which legislates further concentration of wealth, which then concentrates more power in a vicious cycle. He listed and elaborated on ten principles of the concentration of wealth and power in the film, principles that the wealthy of the United States have acted intensely on for 40 years or more, principles that, according to him, have killed the American dream. 

#11

The American Dream

The American Dream

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Dan Buczynski
Community Member
2 months ago

I swear to god if I could take my entire family with me, I'd be gone yesterday.

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#12

The Death Of The American Dream (2008)

The Death Of The American Dream (2008)

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Amy Pattie
Community Member
2 months ago

This is too real

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Chomsky argued that the problem with inequality at the scale it is developing in the United States is that it is corrosive to democracy and that the history of democracy in the United States from the time of the founding fathers, has been a cyclical battle between the elite, trying to protect its position in power, and sporadic uprisings of working people and the marginalized in protest.

"The hatred and anger [towards] virtually all institutions is just overwhelming," Chomsky said in a 2016 interview. "Support for Congress has pretty much been in single digits for many years. There is tremendous anger, disillusionment, fear ... if it does not take a constructive, organized form, as it did in the 1930s and to an extent in the 1960s, it could be a very threatening development."

#13

The American Dream

The American Dream

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BlahBlahBlackSheepah
Community Member
2 months ago

Sounds a lot better than the US rat race that ends with a shot gun retirement.

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#14

The Millennial American Dream

The Millennial American Dream

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Bobert Robertson
Community Member
2 months ago

It's possible to achieve those things, but it's tough. I'm fortunate as a millennial to have a house, a spouse, two kids, a yard, two cars... But I don't take it for granted and realize that a good part of why I am able to achieve these is dumb luck and being in the right place at the right time, and taking a bit of a risk when I was younger to have the job that affords these now.

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#15

The American Dream According To The 2nd Highest Paid Player In The Nfl

The American Dream According To The 2nd Highest Paid Player In The Nfl

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EQXL
Community Member
2 months ago

And just like that your awfully overhyped branded recycling system has been reduced to what child labour is for loads of children in third world countries.

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#16

Requiem For The American Dream

Requiem For The American Dream

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Raven Sheridan
Community Member
2 months ago

Amen!

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But what do the people say? In 2018, the American Enterprise Institute and political scientist Samuel J. Abrams joined forces with the research center NORC at the University of Chicago and surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2,411 Americans about their attitudes toward community and society.

"What our survey found about the American dream came as a surprise to me," Abrams wrote. "When Americans were asked what makes the American dream a reality, they did not select as essential factors becoming wealthy, owning a home, or having a successful career. Instead, 85 percent indicated that 'to have freedom of choice in how to live' was essential to achieving the American dream. In addition, 83 percent indicated that 'a good family life' was essential."

#17

The American Dream

The American Dream

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Daria Z
Community Member
2 months ago

😢

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#18

The American Dream

The American Dream

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EQXL
Community Member
2 months ago

Well somebody is paying for it. People dying with still huge debts aren't paying them, the rich aren't paying for them, in the end the masses are paying for them one way or the other. Whether it being higher taxes, less government investments in your neighbourhood, higher interests on whatever debt you have and even higher prices on everything you buy. And in the meantime a big percentage of that money trickles up.

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#19

The American Dream

The American Dream

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Eric Law
Community Member
2 months ago

To be fair, this is far from new. You can go back to any year in America's history, even before we were officially a country, and find cases of groups being oppressed.

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What many consider 'traditional' factors were actually seen as less important. Only 16 percent said that to achieve the American dream, they believed it was essential to 'become wealthy.' Additionally, only 45 percent said it was essential 'to have a better quality of life than your parents,' and just 49 percent said that 'having a successful career' was key.

This pattern — seeing the American dream as more about community and individuality than material success and social mobility — appeared across demographic and political categories. So is the American Dream dead? No. Is it suffering? Probably.

#20

The American Dream

The American Dream

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Red Hair Blue Soul
Community Member
2 months ago

Don't judge me!

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#21

The New American Dream

The New American Dream

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mph seti
Community Member
2 months ago

Don't forget high speed internet access in said apartment.

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#22

The American Dream

The American Dream

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Becca Gizmo the Squirrel
Community Member
2 months ago

Me too, Sabrina. Me too.

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#23

The American Dream

The American Dream

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cursed--alien
Community Member
2 months ago

And yet, people simultaneously believe both.

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#24

The Reason They Tell You If You Work Hard And Invest, You Can Have The American Dream, Is Because They Know You Have To Be Asleep To Believe It.

The Reason They Tell You If You Work Hard And Invest, You Can Have The American Dream, Is Because They Know You Have To Be Asleep To Believe It.

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cursed--alien
Community Member
2 months ago

Is this about GameStonks?

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#25

The American Dream

The American Dream

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kjorn
Community Member
2 months ago

luck has a big, big,big,big part of it

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#26

The American Dream

The American Dream

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WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

City puts a ban on assault rifles. NRA takes them to court because 2ND AMENDMENT. NRA wins. 4 days later there's a shooting with an assault rifle. 10 people dead. This is not a scene from some satire. It's USA, March 2021.

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#27

The American Dream

The American Dream

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Eric Law
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

They're clearly not there yet though, because nobody has an assault weapon. It's not enough to be able to conveniently kill only one or two people.

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#28

The American Dream

The American Dream

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Monday
Community Member
2 months ago

This might just be the adult dream in general. I enjoy my job and I'm lucky to have it but I still really wish I didn't have to work tomorrow.

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#29

The American Dream Is Alive And Well

The American Dream Is Alive And Well

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Marcellus the Third
Community Member
2 months ago

You've peaked early. Now it's all downhill.

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#30

The American Dream

The American Dream

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Uncommon Boston
Community Member
2 months ago

What percentage of those who received the money used it for food? Rent? Clearing credit card debt or saving it was not possible for many Americans..

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#31

This Is What We Call The ‘American Dream’, Right?

This Is What We Call The ‘American Dream’, Right?

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Paul Budhram
Community Member
2 months ago

flappy won't live

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#32

The American Dream

The American Dream

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Eric Law
Community Member
2 months ago

Sounds like Donald Trump.

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#33

The American Dream

The American Dream

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N G
Community Member
2 months ago

Hey! Barrow-in-Furness is lovely!

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#34

The American Dream

The American Dream

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Scagsy
Community Member
2 months ago

Or a hefty inheritance.

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#35

“Most Of The World Is Broke. The American Dream Is A Global Dream.”

“Most Of The World Is Broke. The American Dream Is A Global Dream.”

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Lou
Community Member
2 months ago

I may be broke but i still don't want to move to the US, i enjoy not going bankrupt for a broken foot too much. Also, getting a university education without being in debt for 30+ years.

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