The American dream is a phenomenal concept: everyone is created equal, therefore deserves an equal opportunity to get a fair reward for their efforts and achievements. Who wouldn’t love that?
It’s often contrasted with communism, which says that everyone gets the same reward regardless of your effort – theoretically, a life-saving doctor should be rewarded in exactly the same way as a ball boy in a tennis match. Same beginning thought, but a different conclusion: everyone is created equal, therefore deserves an equal reward.
But communism doesn’t work in practice, does it? High achievers realise they’re not being rewarded fairly, so put less effort in. And low achievers realise they can rely on the harder workers, so they put less effort in too. Society suffers.
Here’s my question, though: does the American dream work in practice? Does everyone really have an equal opportunity? Well, the answer to that one’s easy: No! In a capitalist society your success is partly already prepared for you before you’re even born; children who are part of incredibly wealthy families are more likely to get better jobs than children born into poverty, and they don’t have the same environment which encourages them to try as hard. The system favours the wealthy. Your fate is also decided by things you can’t control; some people are naturally more academically gifted than others, or just happen to be in the right place at the right time with the right person; the American dream is just as flawed in practice as communism is.
The truth is that in a perfectly-designed capitalist society, communism would be working in practice; everyone would be putting in an equal, perfect amount of effort, and be rewarded equally for their hard work. So the problem isn’t in capitalism itself, or in communism itself – the problem is in people.
That problem is what the Bible calls ‘sin’: selfishness, laziness, pride, anger, greed, and the list goes on. Imagine a world without sin, and suddenly we realise that the Bible presents a perfect world, where everyone shares everything, but where each one is rewarded based on his or her own efforts.
That’s called grace.
- The Inflated American Dream – Day 450 (paintersjourneytolife.wordpress.com)
- The American Dream turns nightmare (humanevents.com)
- American dream : an empty promise (reussistaprepa.wordpress.com)
- Secret to Achieving the American Dream (recessionsavedmylife.wordpress.com)
- Between THE AMERICAN DREAM and THE NIGERIAN NIGHTMARE (radegoke.wordpress.com)