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Is an American Dream is overrated these days ?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/8/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,660 times Debate No: 12716
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)




I believe an American Dream is overrated these days. By the way how can we define an American Dream ? ``American Dream is what you would consider a perfect life. It can be full of happiness, money, love, food, cars, whatever you desire, everyone has a different opinion. One person`s American Dream may be totally different from someone else`s, that is what makes us all individuals. When people think about their American Dream they tend to be idealistic instead of being realistic.``(1) In the early twentieth century the U.S. industry, in particular, the automobile and steel industry became a leading industry. For example, Ford motor company, The U.S. Steel and the General Motors offered job opportunities for many workers including immigrant people. Their strategy was to realize an economy of scale. It intended to produce and sell standardised products as much as possible. Their success ushered in large profits and stable wages for workers. This contributed to increasing the purchasing power among people and this situation enabled them to buy durable goods such as automobiles, electlic appliances, other daily necessities and personal houses. It was easy for many americans to realize an American Dream in the age of high growth economy. In particular, after World War Second the U.S. became the strongest economic power-house in the capitalist world. From the 1950s to the 1970s the income of middle and lower class increased rapidly. The main reason is that the power of labor unions increased greatly.(2) As a result leading labor unions such as automobile and steel succeeded in rasing their wages. Their negotiating power were greatly strengthened and this contributed to upgrading their standard of living greatly. From the end of World War Second to the early 1970s people in the U.S. were placed in a reasonable economic situation to realize their American Dream. They could feel the rising prosperity. However, from 1970s to the present day tough situations emerged for many american workers. The reason is that president Reagan introduced a new tax policy which levied higher tax on low-income people. This contributed to widening the income gap between the rich and the poor. This triggered the situation, in which they found it difficult to realize an American Dream. As we know, the end of the Cold War brought about a globalization such as free trade, flow of information on a global scale triggered by the Internet and freer financial transaction on a global market. Many american manufacturing companies transfered their operations to low wage countries such as India and China. This strategy deprived many american workers of their job opportunities. They were at a loss how to make a living and many of them lost their hope to realize an American Dream. And to make matters worse world financial crisis which took place a few years ago damaged seriously on the lives of many american people. Before the crisis many private banks lent money aggressively for low-wage workers. They borrowed to build their personal house. This was one of their American Dream. However, unfortunately they were thrown into the situation, in which they could not repay their borrowed money and interest because many workers lost their jobs. Why did this situation occur? The first reason is the increasing off-shore production among american companies. The second reason is that companies of India and China strengthened their global competitiveness during the last decade. To coping with the serious situation many american companies introduced a strategy to hire part -time workers or cutting wages to strengthen their competitiveness on a global market. Many workers found it very difficult to lead a comfortable and meaningful life. Bargaining power of workers toward capital has been severly weakened. Robert J. Samuelson says(3) that the relationship between labor and capital ( to borrow Marxist vocabulary) has changed. Capital has gotten stronger, labor has weakened. Judging from economic and social situation facing many american people today, an American Dream is beyond their reach. Therefore, we can say that an American Dream is overrated these days. I hope someone challenge this debate and develop my argument further. References: (1) (2) Jonas Pontusson, Inequality and Prosperity:Social Europe vs. Liberal America , Cornell University Press,2005 (3) Robert J. Samuelson, The great hiring freeze sabotaging recovery, The Japan Times, August 5, 2010


Thank you for the debate.


Overrated: a calculation that results in an estimate that is too high (Princeton.wordnet)
Dream- ambition: a cherished desire (Princeton.wordnet)

Opening statements:

The resolution of this forum depicts an element that has been around since the beginnings of our nation, to the automatronal industries of the modern era. At the stand point of our beginnings, it would said to be impossible to have many of the things we have today (phones, computers, cars, etc.). Our nation was created by individuals who did not wish to be followers, that sought equality and peace through it's people. The colonists contender was the mighty Britain. However, in relation to the topic, against all odds, our forefathers dared to dream.


1) These dreams of freedom and liberty were common thread. They believed that these principals and ideals were established. Another dream was conjured to modify this goal, a dream to end slavery and give equality to blacks or African Americans, if you prefer. Dreams do not solely create, but they can modify all of us to a better existance.
2) A dream in the past may be reality today, so there may no longer exist such a dream. Some dreams may not have existed even before, but someone, somewhere thought of it. A "space-ship" used to be science fiction-a mere dream before it was brought to fruitrition. A creation such as this was such a positive jump in the quality of our well-being. The launch of Sputnik 1 would have never of happened, this debate would not exist, if someone would not have dared to dream. Of course, the Sputnik may have occured in Russia, but it consequented in countless dreams of modifying and developing automatronic techonology that has benefieted our country.
3) An American Dream is a shakey definition, but who can define a dream? Dreams change and goals do with the changing times in America. My opponent asserts that dreams are overrated, primarily, because of difficulties. Seeing a goal through can be easy like brushing your teeth or calling a friend, but a dream isn't something you can just do, it requires work. You state that labor has weakened. In a market sense, I agree, but I also believe that the labor for dreams have also weakened. Quitting is over-rated. Giving it your everything means everything.
4) A dream does not have to nessicarily pertain to business as well. A dream can be raising children, an endevor that requires A LOT of work, but well worth it if done properly. You would never know until you try. Everyone has dreams. I want to be an author, but dreams should not be judged by how difficult it might seem or how unmarketable it is. An American Dream is to be measured by the person, it's value weighted by them. What it is to the world may not matter, and if it does, all the more reason to work harder for it, because dreams are never easy to accomplish.


Our nation's past, present, and future RELIES upon people to dream. Our nation's existance is tethered to dreams, stitched by the labors of love, and united by our people. We will always dream, but the testiment of the fruitition of those dreams relies upon our labor. I rest my argument now with a quote:

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed...

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today."

- Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech.

Debate Round No. 1


I thank you for acceping this debate. The most important thing is that an American Dream is closely connected with stable employment, stable wages and stable job mobility. At the same time this contributes to creating a stable life and stable future for most of the american people. As I pointed out, high growth economy and the highest competitiveness of american companies contributed to realizing an American Dream among many american workers from the end of World War Second to the middle of 1980s. Plaza agreement of 1985 brought about a depreciation of U.S. dollar. This sybolized a declining power of U.S.economy. These days it is very difficult for many workers to keep a long -term employment contract. They are always worried about the fear of unemplyment. This situation deprives many workers of realizing their American Dreams. Harold Meyerson argues that the kind of long-term, structural unemployment that we haven`t seen since the 1930s. It locks into place a generation of reduced incomes.(1) And his analysis about what is happening today in America tells us that many workers are suffering from serious situation. He says that fully 46 percent of the unemployed have been without work for six months or more- the highest level since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began measuring such things in 1947. Two years ago, just 18percent of the unemployed were jobless for more than six months.(2) Michael A. Fletcher says that mass unempolyment has been triggered by recent recession. His analysis is that now the vast majority of the 8 million jobs lost since the start of the recession in 2007 appear permanent. (3) And he adds that many Sun Belt cities, long magnets for job seekers from economically depressed areas, have joined long- suffering Rust Belt areas as places with the highest unemployment rates. The Las Vegas metropolitan area has a 14.5 percent unemployment rate, higher than the rate of Flint,Mich.(4) By the way, it is often said that history repeats itself. We look back on the american history, we realize that situation surrounding workers is similar to that of the Great Depression. At that time New Deal policy contributed to the revitalization of american economy which had been seriously damaged by the poor management of banking bussiness. Today many manufacturing companies are not interested in increasing employment. Top management are desperately accumlating cash to protect against a future financial crisis. Moreover they are seeking many profits not inventing in labor and new machine which create many job opportunities. Robert J. Samuelson says that Depression -era CEO, highly sensitive to job insecurity, retired. Younger executives worried more about competitive challenges and corporate takeovers. (5) He also adds that in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first and second quarters of 2009, business investment dropped at annual rates of 24percent, 50percent and 24percent. Nothing like this had occurred since at least the 1940s. If labor is cowed and capital is less aggressive in investment of capital goods and human resources, the american economy and society will suffer for a long time. At least we can say that realizing an American Dream is difficult hurdle to coping with for the present generation of many american people. Therefore my conclusion is that an American Dream is overrated today.
References: (1) Harold Meyerson, Profits soar with an unplugged jobs machine, The Japan Times, August 1, 2010
(2) Harold Meyerson, The Japan Times, August 1, 2010
(3) Michael A. Fletcher, Americans immobile in anemic economy, The Japan Times, August 2, 2010
(4) Michael A. Fletcher, The Japan Times, August 2, 2010
(5) Robert J. Samuelson, The great hiring freeze sabotaging recovery, The Japan Times, August 5, 2010


Itsallovernow forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Itsallovernow 6 years ago
An American Dream could occur in an Americanist's sleep :( You need to exact the resolution, becaue I could have destroyed you with that. And furhermore, not all American's dream is of employment. It could be finding happiness.
Posted by Sniperjake1994 6 years ago
same here ---v
Posted by burningpuppies101 6 years ago
If you reorganize your first speech so it's not just one block of text, and has structure, I'll probably take it. as it is right now, i can barely read 2 lines into it before i start to zone out and lose focus. :)
Posted by Narwal19 6 years ago
yes it is overated.
Posted by Puck 6 years ago
ooo Missed it by thaaaaaaaaaat much.
Posted by Puck 6 years ago
You seem to be missing your references. Also:
Posted by goldman 6 years ago
I forgot to write sources in my debate. Please look at below.
(2) Jonas Pontusson, Inequality and Prosperity; Social Europe vs. Liberal America, Cornell University Press, 2005
(3) Robert J.Samuelson, The Great hiring freeze sabotaging recovery, The Japan Times, August 5,2010
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Itsallovernow 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:07