Death of the American Dream

1037 words 5 pages
Death of the American Dream
Flashback to the stigma of anti-Communism in the 1950s, communism places extreme emphasis on class divisions, specifically the unfair nature of the upper class’ domination of the working class. To admit class divisions was to invite revolution and socialism. So instead, we told ourselves that, in this country, class did not exist; that a free-market capitalist society permits anyone who wants to improve his socioeconomic status to do so. In his essay "Class in America: Myths and Realities" published in Re-Reading America Cultural Context (2009) Economist Gregory Mantsios believes that the American people refrain from discussing class distinctions and its impact on our lives and instead revel in the notion that
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The wealth gap has indeed increased exponentially placing middle class incomes heavily skewed to the opposite end of the spectrum. As a result, middle class and lower income families are hit the hardest in times of economic decline due to fewer resources available. Oliver’s viewpoint illustrate Mantsios claim that income inequality is a reality evident in today’s society.
Furthermore, Mantsios explores the seductive misconception of equal opportunity, in which higher education, success in school and a career path are all interconnected and a result from the American dream. Challenging this myth Mantsios claims that the American dream has morphed into disillusionment, whereby in reality the class handed to you at birth is indeed the deciding factor on how the rest of your life is spent. In brief of Mantsios essay he states his claim in Reality 5, when he writes, “Class standing and consequently life chances, are largely determined at birth” (310). Mantsios firmly believes the lifestyle granted to people determines their economic status in society while further supporting his evidence with sharp contrasts between economically advantaged and disadvantaged life styles. Social-Psychologist Paul Piff (of the well-known research team of Keltner and Piff) whom focuses most of his research on social hierarchies and how these impact our lives and society in general. In a recent study conducted at the UC Berkeley campus Piff


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