Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Latest Yahoo Column: American Dream

My latest Yahoo! Column is on the old and new American dream.

PS. A story in Time Magazine relates to the "more time, less stuff" part of my piece: How to Live with Just 100 Things.

16 comments:

Gerardo Mora in Houston said...

OK. So I read your article. It is just common sense if you ask me. Of course, one of my favorite quotes is "common sense isn't very common", so I guess you're aiming at that crowd. So ... what type of car do YOU drive and how far from work do you live? Life changing events like Katrina are often what is needed to force people to see things from a different angle. That is why I do not fear what lies ahead.

Norcross said...

It still blows my mind when I read all the negative comments you get. It's as though these people wait for the chance to thrash you.

Luddites.

Gerardo Mora of Houston said...

Negative comment? Since my comment was the only comment made, I assume your referring to my comment? If you view my comment as a negative, it must be coming from within your own negative mind.

Thrashing? All of my comments supported what the article was about.

"I do not fear what lies ahead" is what you call negative, I'd hate to think how you would handle a truly negative comment. :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing norcross was referring to the Yahoo Finance commenters.

lauksvai

Anya said...

My husband and I live in New York City and we don't own a car. The largest part of my carbon footprint is that I travel so much by plane for work, but I am anticipating phasing that out over the next year or so.

Anonymous said...

If the American Dream is dead, I can point very clearly to the culprit - modern liberalism.

America was once a great nation because of its hard work, ingenuity and independence. How we've become the kind of nation that turns to our neighbor and demands that they subidize our health insurance and way of life is beyond perplexing.

It's like you modern liberals want us be slaves of the state. Forget Uncle Tom, it's Uncle Sam and he feels your pain. Just give him enough power and he'll legislate your life's anxieties into oblivion.

And yet, in spite of the Katrina response that you referenced, you still actually think the Federal Gov't can succeed in solving all that ills America in the 21st century...

Roman said...

Interesting article and I think it speaks to alot of people in our age group (I'm 26). The American dream might be changing for the next generation, but it's so ingrained in the mainstream's psyche (single-family home, auto dependent suburb), that they're not going to recognize the change until it's already happened.

The fact that you live in Brooklyn makes it easy to witness the changes in attitudes of people in their 20s and 30s who have been returning to the urban neighborhoods that their parents couldn't wait to abandon. Cities are catalysts for change, and this time will be no different. It's only now that the gas prices have gotten crazy that people are finally shocked into re-evaluating their priorities. It's going to take a while to reverse the trend to a more sustainable way of life, too much of our infrastructure assumes perpetual cheap energy, but it has to start somewhere. It's nice to see someone talking about it.

P.S. I think project like this (in my neck of the woods) are the wave of the future.
http://www.100khouse.com/

mac said...

The yahoo can handle this matter in a new way.
The article can show how to live.
The Americans want to increase their status.
It is really happens.
There are many negative comments are comes for the article.
But you forget all of this.
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Anonymous said...

That is true. Suburbs, not near any regional trains, will become ghettos and the inner cities will re gentrify. Now, most American big cities have thin strips of nice areas "green zones" surrounded by huge ethnic ghettos. See Chicago, New York (Manhattan), etc. These ghettos will be pushed out to the distant suburbs and Americans more focused on education, work ethic will re occupy the cores areas of our cities. I see more of a South American model coming. Very wealthy, often gated communities, surrounded by huge ghettos of the obese, and uneducated. See "Blade Runner." This is already shaping up very quickly. Maybe 10% wealthy, literate, and slim, and 90% living in the dirt. (Both literally and figuratively). This is the most likely scenario for the future. The 10% elite will be fantastically rich. The middle class will be completely dead, and the 90% will compete for the slave type jobs in the service sector (Walmart). These Americans will find themselves competing with the workers of oppourtunity from the South American zone. The bottom 90% will live in dangerous areas filled with poverty, and violence, bad schools, etc. Imagine the ghetto now, and expand it. This is the future for the next 50-100 years. Perhaps a new system will come to be after Capitalism fails. Marx predicted this kind of scenario as well. It just took longer than he thought to get to the end phase. There is no hope to avert this end phase. The trajectory is based on systemic faults, and without a major system change (not just new president) things will continue down this path. For example under Clinton the gap between the haves and the have nots actually expanded. The problem is systemic. Good luck and hopefully you are already wealthy. If not prepare for a huge change in your standard of living.

Mike Berta said...

Anya,

Thanks for using Mike's Doc Blog as a resource for your article. You wrote, "Money and security are important, but research says young people really want meaning in their jobs, too."

This is an important part of the Millennial generation work habits. It is not strictly that the work be meaningful in the global steward sense of the term but work that is important to the individual, organization, and community. Some of my research shows that the generation has a distaste for the menial tasks and/or chores often associated with getting a start in any organization.

Which goes to your point of being young entrepreneurs and doing things that are meaningful from that vantage point.

I am thrilled you found my work useful for your article and I hope to have a redrafted literature review sometime in the next few weeks.

Mike Berta
www.mikeberta.us/blog

Anonymous said...

Also wanted to say that, should there ever be another "Black Death" or Plague, then that may handle some of the problems of the ever-increasing world population.

Anonymous said...

I disagree that the standard has gone down - every where I go, in all neighborhoods, including very low income, I see pre-teens, teenagers and twentysomethings all with cell phones (probably with IM), with downloaded (paid for)ring tones, Ipods, girls with mani and pedi and many with highlights and other expensive items. Plus I see most of these groups (albeit not the lowest income levels) at Starbucks or walking around with starbucks.

This is why they can't afford homes. You're not soupposed to be able to just buy a home on your income -- I sure did not.

I was a single female and had to save for several years to buy my first home - everyone I know did.
The last year before i bought, I remember I ruled out buying anything i didnt need - didn't update either my casual or work clothes at all, just pretty much bought hose and make-up and food.

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Anonymous said...

I think that it is terrific that Millenials want to find a job with meaning, but the reality for must of them will be depressing. If they find meaning by working at Starbucks or Walmart, then their dreams will come true. I think that there will be so few jobs to go around in the future that most people wont find a job with meaning and earn enough money to survive. Of course you will have your Bill Gates, Obama, etc., but the statistics of you becoming one of those people is remote. All of my students think that they are going to be a model, a professional athlete, or an actor. They have the right to chase their dreams, and they should do so, but there is also some strength to being 'realistic' about their futures. Setting your goals so unrealistically high cannot bode well for feelings down the road. We are finding out now that America isn't that special anymore. (We don't do anything any better than anyone else can do it - except perhaps hollywood). Now we have generations of young people who are all special. Can you believe it? A whole generation of rock stars, movie stars, and professional athletes? it really blows the mind. Why this must be the greatest generation ever? Right?