Reflection Essay on The American Dream
The American Dream In order to better understand your texts for this unit, you will need an appreciation of their historical and cultural contexts.The following information has been sourced from Wikipedia.The citation numbers have been left in the text in the event that you wish to view the sources cited.
Read the content and answer the questions at the end of the document. For many immigrants, the Statue of Liberty was their first view of the United States, signifying new opportunities in life.
The statue is an iconic symbol of the American Dream. The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States; a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work. In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth. 1] The idea of the American Dream is rooted in the United States Declaration of Independence which proclaims that “all men are created equal” and that they are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights” including “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. “ History Since its founding in 1776, the United States has regarded and promoted itself as an Empire of Liberty and prosperity.  The meaning of the “American Dream” has changed over the course of history. Historically the Dream originated in the New World mystique regarding frontier life.
As the Royal governor of Virginia noted in 1774, the Americans “for ever imagine the Lands further off are still better than those upon which they are already settled. ” He added that if they attained Paradise, they would move on if they heard of a better place farther west.  The ethos today simply indicates the ability, through participation in the society and economy, for everyone to achieve prosperity. According to the dream, this includes the opportunity for one’s children to grow up and receive a good education and career without artificial barriers.
It is the opportunity to make individual choices without the prior restrictions that limited people according to their class, caste, religion, race, or ethnicity. Immigrants to the United States sponsored ethnic newspapers in their own language; the editors typically promoted the American Dream.  19th century In the 19th century, many well-educated Jews fled the failed revolution in Germany in 1848. They encountered political freedoms in the New World, and the lack of a hierarchical or aristocratic society that determined the ceiling for individual aspirations.
One of them explained: ”The German emigrant comes into a country free from the despotism, privileged orders and monopolies, intolerable taxes, and constraints in matters of belief and conscience. Everyone can travel and settle wherever he pleases. No passport is demanded, no police mingles in his affairs or hinders his movements…. Fidelity and merit are the only sources of honor here. The rich stand on the same footing as the poor; the scholar is not a mug above the most humble mechanics; no German ought to be ashamed to pursue any occupation…. In America] wealth and possession of real estate confer not the least political right on its owner above what the poorest citizen has. Nor are there nobility, privileged orders, or standing armies to weaken the physical and moral power of the people, nor are there swarms of public functionaries to devour in idleness credit for. Above all, there are no princes and corrupt courts representing the so-called divine ‘right of birth. ‘ In such a country the talents, energy and perseverance of a person… ave far greater opportunity to display than in monarchies. “ 20th century Historian James Truslow Adams popularized the phrase “American Dream” in his 1931 book Epic of America: But there has been also the American dream, that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it.
It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.  And later he wrote: The American dream, that has lured tens of millions of all nations to our shores in the past century has not been a dream of merely material plenty, though that has doubtlessly counted heavily. It has been much more than that.
It has been a dream of being able to grow to fullest development as man and woman, unhampered by the barriers which had slowly been erected in the older civilizations, unrepressed by social orders which had developed for the benefit of classes rather than for the simple human being of any and every class. Martin Luther King Jr. in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (1963) rooted the civil rights movement in the black quest for the American dream: “We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands. . . when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judeo-Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. ” Literature The term is used in popular discourse, and scholars have traced its use in American literature ranging from the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, to Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), Willa Cather’s My Antonia, F.
Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925), Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy (1925) and Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon (1977).  Other writers who used the American Dream theme include Hunter S. Thompson, Edward Albee, John Steinbeck, Langston Hughes.  The American Dream is also presented through the American play, Death of a Salesman by playwright Arthur Miller. The play’s protagonist, Willy, is on a journey for the American Dream. As Chua (1994) shows, the American Dream is a recurring theme in other literature as well, for example, the fiction of Asian Americans. 13] Political leaders Scholars have explored the American Dream theme in the careers of numerous political leaders, including Henry Kissinger, Hillary Clinton, Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln.  The theme has been used for many local leaders as well, such as Jose Antonio Navarro, the Tejano leader (1795–1871), who served in the legislatures of Coahuila y Texas, the Republic of Texas, and the State of Texas.  The American Dream is also a main theme in the book by John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men.
The two friends George and Lennie dream of their own piece of land with a ranch, so they can “live off the fatta the lan'” and just enjoy a better life. But the symbolism shows this is futile due to the fact that it will never happen, and that they end up shooting Lennie in the back of the head, like Candy’s dog. This shows that not everyone can achieve the American dream, thus proving by contradiction it is not possible. Although it is possible to achieve the American dream for few. A lot of people follow the American dream to achieve a greater chance of becoming rich.
This was easier in the 1900’s and now it is really hard to achieve the American dream because of all the competition and hard work required to achieve this dream. In 2006 U. S. Senator Barack Obama wrote a memoir, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream. It was this interpretation of the American Dream that helped establish his statewide and national reputations.  Political conflicts, to some degree, have been ameliorated by the shared values of all parties in the expectation that the American Dream will resolve many difficulties and conflicts. 21] Public opinion Hanson and Zogby (2010) report on numerous public opinion polls that since the 1980s have explored the meaning of the concept for Americans, and their expectations for its future. In these polls, a majority of Americans consistently reported that for their family, the American Dream is more about spiritual happiness than material goods. Majorities state that working hard is the most important element for getting ahead. However, an increasing minority stated that hard work and determination does not guarantee success.
On the pessimistic side, most Americans predict that achieving the Dream with fair means will become increasingly difficult for future generations. They are increasingly pessimistic about the opportunity for the working class to get ahead; on the other hand, they are increasingly optimistic about the opportunities available to poor people and to new immigrants to get ahead in the United States. Furthermore, most support programs make special efforts to help minorities get ahead.  The four dreams of consumerism
Ownby (1999) identifies four American dreams that the new consumer culture addressed. The first was the “Dream of Abundance” offering a cornucopia of material goods to all Americans, making them proud to be the richest society on earth. The second was the “Dream of a Democracy of Goods” whereby everyone had access to the same products regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or class, thereby challenging the aristocratic norms of the rest of the world whereby only the rich or well-connected are granted access to luxury.
The “Dream of Freedom of Choice” with its ever expanding variety of good allowed people to fashion their own particular life style. Finally, the “Dream of Novelty,” in which ever-changing fashions, new models, and unexpected new products broadened the consumer experience in terms of purchasing skills and awareness of the market, and challenged the conservatism of traditional society and culture, and even politics. Ownby acknowledges that the dreams of the new consumer culture radiated out from the major cities, but notes that they quickly penetrated the most rural and most isolated areas, such as rural Mississippi.
With the arrival of the model T after 1910, consumers in rural America were no longer locked into local general stores with their limited merchandise and high prices in comparison to shops in towns and cities. Ownby demonstrates that poor black Mississippians shared in the new consumer culture, both inside Mississippi, and it motivated the more ambitious to move to Memphis or Chicago.  Home ownership Home ownership is sometimes used as a proxy for achieving the promised prosperity; ownership has been a status symbol separating the middle classes from the poor. 25] Ethics Sometimes the Dream is identified with success in sports or how working class immigrants seek to join the American way of life.  Criticism European governments, worried that their best young people would leave for America, distributed posters like this to frighten them. This 1869 Swedish anti-emigration poster contrasts Per Svensson’s dream of the American idyll (left) and the reality of his life in the wilderness (right), where he is menaced by a mountain lion, a big snake, and wild Indians who are scalping and disembowelling someone. 27] The American Dream has been credited with helping to build a cohesive American experience, but has also been blamed for over-inflated expectations.  Some commentators have noted that despite deep-seated belief in the egalitarian American Dream, the modern American wealth structure still perpetuates racial and class inequalities between generations.  For example, Dr. Heather Beth Johnson, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Lehigh University, notes that advantage and disadvantage are not always connected to individual successes or failures, but often to prior position in a social group. 29] Recent research suggests that the United States and the United Kingdom show less intergenerational income-based social mobility than the Nordic countries and Canada. These authors state that “the idea of the US as ‘the land of opportunity’ persists; and clearly seems misplaced. “According to these studies, “by international standards, the United States has an unusually low level of intergenerational mobility: our parents’ income is highly predictive of our incomes as adults. Intergenerational mobility in the United States is lower than in France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Norway and Denmark.
Among high-income countries for which comparable estimates are available, only the United Kingdom had a lower rate of mobility than the United States. “”This challenges the notion of America as the land of opportunity. “ Since the 1920s, numerous authors, such as Sinclair Lewis in his 1922 novel Babbitt, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, in his 1925 classic, The Great Gatsby, satirized or ridiculed materialism in the chase for the American dream. Within ‘The Great Gatsby’, Gatsby – the character representative of the American dream was killed, symbolizing the pessimistic belief that the American dream is dead. 35] In 1949 Arthur Miller wrote the play “Death of a Salesman” in which the American Dream is a fruitless pursuit. Hunter S. Thompson in 1971 depicted in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey Into the Heart of the American Dream a dark view that appealed especially to drug users who emphatically were not pursuing a dream of economic achievement.  The novel “Requiem for a Dream” by Hubert Selby Jr. is a study of the pursuit of American success and stability, and is told through the ensuing tailspin of its main characters.
George Carlin famously wrote the joke “it’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it. “ Carlin pointed to “the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions” as having a greater influence than an individual’s choice.  Many counter-culture films of the 1960s and 1970s ridiculed the traditional quest for the American Dream. For example Easy Rider (1969), directed by Dennis Hopper, shows the characters making a pilgrimage in search of “the true America” in terms of the hippie movement, drug use, and communal lifestyles. 38] Other parts of the world Britain The American dream regarding home ownership has been emulated in Europe. In the 1980s, the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher worked to create a similar dream, by selling public housing units to their tenants.  Russia Since the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union in 1991, the American Dream has fascinated Russians.  In 2008, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev lamented the fact that 77% of Russia’s 142 million people live “cooped up” in massive apartment buildings. In 2010, his administration announced a plan for widespread home ownership. Call it the Russian dream,” said Alexander A. Braverman, the Director of the Federal Fund for the Promotion of Housing Construction Development. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, worried about his nation’s very low birth rate, said he hoped home ownership will inspire Russians “to have more babies. “ Everyday life and culture The modernist movement caused vast changes in societies in which it took place. With the introduction of industrial developments, the American people started to enjoy the outcome of the new modernist era.
Everyday life and culture are the areas that reflected the social change in the habits of the society. Developments that occurred with modernism influenced American people life standards and gave way to new style of living. Widespread use of electricity and mass production of technological house appliances like refrigerator brought about the change of eating habits of American people. Use of frozen food became more common. After the war the U. S. government passed new laws concerning food. So some new foods came right out of the ration kits to the stores. Foods formerly manufactured solely for army use were put on the civilian market”, Frozen and dried food products also became popular after the war. National Research Corporation of Boston introduced frozen orange juice concentrate called “tang. ” The company became Minute Maid, and, by 1950, a quarter of Florida’s orange crop was going into concentrates. The frozen product quickly overtook fresh squeezed orange juice in most American homes. Full frozen meals were not far behind. In the 1950s, a Nebraska company Swanson’s brought out their TV Dinners to great success.
These changes in eating habits caused huge changes in appliances, transportation and farming. Since people began buying the new products, new refrigerators were quickly developed with bigger freezer sections Shock resistant refrigerator units for trucks had to be invented and used by the military before frozen products could distributed and marketed around the country and around the world. These developments forced farmers to change what they grew and how they grew their products to meet new consumer demands. In the following are there a few of the foods that were first produced and sold in the 1940s. – Mrs.
Paul’s frozen fish sticks – Cheerios (first sold as Cheeri Oats, the first ready-to-eat oat cereal) and Kellogg’s Raisin Bran – Minute Rice – Reddi-Whip whipped cream – Nestles Quick powdered drink mix – Packaged cake mixes – M Chocolate Candies, Peppermint Patty, Junior Mints, Almond Joy, Whoppers malted milk balls, Jolly Rancher Candies – Deep Dish Pizza (Pizzeria Uno, Chicago) With the increasing number of automobiles, American people started to get out of their homes and had dinner outside. However, during the war people drove their cars as little as possible. Gas and tires were limited by the government.
Car production ceased as factories had to manufacture tanks, Jeeps and other military vehicles. After the war families piled into cars again, as a consequence, new highways were built. The number of drive-ins increased immediately. Drive-ins became part of the social life in America by the end of 1940. Modernism showed its effects nearly in all areas. One of the immense developments was to supply the rural areas with the electricity. The REA, Rural Electrification Administration, began in the 1930s, however, it took time to build power lines scores of miles into rural areas.
Throughout the 1940s, the REA continued to build the electricity lines. Electricity changed the lives of farm families, from the moment they got up early in the morning, through meals, chores, and work until they went to bed at night. Electricity brought power for lights to work, read, and sew at night; power for appliances like refrigerators and freezers to preserve food; power for small kitchen devices such as mixers and blenders; and power for other labor saving devices such as electric stoves, irons and clothes washers.
Electricity brought changes that just made life safer and better – like colored lights instead of dangerous candles on Christmas trees, refrigerators to keep food fresh and electric fans to bring relief on a hot summer day. In 1930, only 13 percent of farms had electricity. By the early 1940s, only 33 percent of farms had electricity. Locally in York, Nebraska, the Perennial Public Power District had strung nearly 250 miles of electric line to more than 500 customers by September 1945. By 1950 nearly all of Nebraska farms were “hooked up”, and electricity replaced kerosene lanterns in homes and barns.
There were some crucial steps taken in the communication and media devices like the invention of radio and television. Radio was the nation’s first mass medium, linking the country and ending the isolation of rural residents. Radio was so important that the 1930 Census asked if the household had a radio. Radio provided free entertainment (after you bought the radio) and connected country people to world events. Walter Winchell and Lowell Thomas were popular news commentators on the radio. Families laughed at comedians Jack Benny, Fred Allen, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Amos and Andy, and Fibber McGee and Molly.
Radio featured daytime soap operas. In the evening, people listened to the Lone Ranger, the Green Hornet, The Shadow, and Jack Armstrong. Singers Bing Crosby and the Mills Brothers, as well as Guy Lombardo’s orchestra and the Grand Ole Opry were popular. Families listened to baseball, cheering for stars like Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio. Nearly 40 million people listened to the horserace between Seabiscuit and War Admiral in Maryland. In news coverage, the German airship Hindenburg caught fire in 1937 as it landed in New Jersey.
Thousands of people across the country heard Herb Morrison describe the terrifying scene on live radio, saying “Oh the humanity! ” The first practical TV sets were demonstrated and sold to the public at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. The sets were very expensive and New York City had the only broadcast station. When World War II started, all commercial production of television equipment was banned. Production of the cathode ray tubes that produced the pictures was redirected to radar and other high tech war uses. After the war television was something few had heard of. That changed quickly.
In 1945, a poll asked Americans, “Do you know what television is? ” Most didn’t. But four years later, most Americans had heard of television and wanted one! According to one survey in 1950, before they got a TV, people listened to radio an average of nearly five hours a day. Within nine months after they bought a TV they listened to radio, but only for two hours a day. They watched TV for five hours a day. The 1940s TVs didn’t look like today’s televisions. Most had picture screens between 10 and 15 inches wide diagonally, inside large, heavy cabinets. And, of course, color broadcasts and sets didn’t arrive until much later, in 1954.
Fordism Fordism, named after Henry Ford, is a modern economic and social system based on industrial mass production. The concept is used in various social theories about production and related socio-economic phenomena.  It has varying but related meanings in different fields, as well as for Marxist and non-Marxist scholars. In a Fordist system the worker is paid relatively high wages in order to buy in large quantity the products turned out in mass production. * | Introduction The term was first introduced by Antonio Gramsci in his essay “Americanism and Fordism”, in his Prison Notebooks. Since then it as been used by a number of writers on economics and society, mainly but not exclusively in the Marxist tradition. Ford Motor Company Ford cars (Model A shown), became a symbol of effective mass production. Efficiency both decreased the price of the cars and allowed Henry Ford to increase the workers’ wages. Hence, common workers could buy their own cars. The Ford Motor Company was one of a dozen small automobile manufacturers that emerged in the early 20th century.  After five years of producing automobiles, Ford introduced the Model T, which was simple and light, yet sturdy enough to drive on the country’s primitive roads. 2] The mass production of this automobile lowered its unit price, making it affordable for the average consumer. Furthermore, Ford substantially increased its workers’ wages, giving them the means to become customers. These factors led to massive consumption. In fact, the Model T surpassed all expectations, because it attained a peak of 60% of the automobile output within the United States.  The production system that Ford exemplified involved synchronization, precision, and specialization within a company.  Economic structure
Fordism is “the eponymous manufacturing system designed to spew out standardized, low-cost goods and afford its workers decent enough wages to buy them”.  It has also been described as “a model of economic expansion and technological progress based on mass production: the manufacture of standardized products in huge volumes using special purpose machinery and unskilled labour”.  Although Fordism was a method used to improve productivity in the automotive industry, this principle could be applied to any kind of manufacturing process.
Major success stemmed from three major principles: 1) The standardization of the product (nothing hand-made: everything is made through machines, molds and not by skilled craftsmanship) 2) The use of special-purpose tools and/or equipment designed to make assembly lines possible: tools are designed to permit workers with low skill levels to operate “assembly lines” – where each worker does one task over and over and over again – like on a doll assembly line, where one worker might spend all day every day screwing on doll heads. 3) Workers are paid higher “living” wages, so they can afford to urchase the products they make. (modified from ) These principles coupled with a technological revolution during Henry Ford’s time allowed for his revolutionary form of labour to flourish. It is true that his assembly line was revolutionary, but it was in no way original. His most original contribution to the modern world was his breaking down of complex tasks into simpler ones with the help of specialised tools.  This allowed for a very adaptable flexibility allowing the assembly line to change its components whenever the product being assembled, changed enough to warrant a change in tools. 8] In reality, the assembly line had already been around before Ford, but not in quite the same effectiveness as Ford would create. His real accomplishment was recognizing the potential, breaking it all down into its components only to build it back up again in a more effective and productive combination, therefore to produce an optimum method for the real world.  The major advantages of such a change was that it cut down on the man power necessary for the factory to operate, not to mention that it deskilled the labour itself, cutting down on costs of production. 8] There are four levels of Fordism as described by Bob Jessop.  Fordism in Western Europe According to historian Charles Maier, Fordism proper was preceded in Europe by Taylorism, a technique of labor discipline and workplace organization, based upon supposedly scientific studies of human efficiency and incentive systems. It attracted European intellectuals — especially in Germany and Italy — at the fin de siecle and up until World War I. 10] After 1918, however, the goal of Taylorist labor efficiency thought in Europe moved to “Fordism”, that is, reorganization of the entire productive process by means of the moving assembly line, standardization, and the mass market. The grand appeal of Fordism in Europe was that it promised to sweep away all the archaic residues of pre-capitalist society by subordinating the economy, society and even human personality to the strict criteria of technical rationality.  The Great Depression blurred the utopian vision of American technocracy, but World War II and its aftermath have revived the ideal.
The principles of Taylorism were quickly picked up by Lenin and applied to the industrialisation of the Soviet Union. Later under the inspiration of Antonio Gramsci, Marxists picked up the Fordism concept in the 1930s and in the 1970s developed “Post-Fordism. ” Antonio and Bonanno (2000) trace the development of Fordism and subsequent economic stages, from globalization through neoliberal globalization, during the 20th century, emphasizing America’s role in globalization. “Fordism” for Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci meant routinized and intensified labor to promote production.
They[who? ] argue that Fordism peaked in the post-World War II decades of American dominance and mass consumerism but collapsed due to political and cultural attacks on the people in the 1970s. Advances in technology and the end of the Cold War ushered in a new “neoliberal” phase of globalization in the 1990s. They[who? ] argue that negative elements of Fordism, such as economic inequality, remained, however, and related cultural and environmental troubles surfaced that inhibited America’s pursuit of democracy. citation needed] Fordism and the Soviet Union Historian Thomas Hughes (Hughes 2004) has detailed the way in which the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s enthusiastically embraced Fordism and Taylorism, importing American experts in both fields as well as American engineering firms to build parts of its new industrial infrastructure. The concepts of the Five Year Plan and the centrally planned economy can be traced directly to the influence of Taylorism on Soviet thinking.
Hughes quotes Joseph Stalin: “American efficiency is that indomitable force which neither knows nor recognises obstacles; which continues on a task once started until it is finished, even if it is a minor task; and without which serious constructive work is inconceivable…. The combination of the Russian revolutionary sweep with American efficiency is the essence of Leninism. ” (Hughes 2004, 251) Hughes describes how, as the Soviet Union developed and grew in power, both sides, the Soviets and the Americans, chose to ignore or deny the contribution of American ideas and expertise.
The Soviets did this because they wished to portray themselves as creators of their own destiny and not indebted to their rivals. Americans did so because they did not wish to acknowledge their part in creating a powerful rival in the Soviet Union. In Regulation theory Fordism is a key concept in the theories of the Regulation school, often in contrast to post-Fordism, and is also used in Western Marxist thought. Mass consumption is the other side of Fordism. In Regulation theory, it is a “regime of accumulation” or macroeconomic pattern of growth developed in the US and diffused in various forms to Western Europe after 1945.
It consisted of domestic mass production with a range of institutions and policies supporting mass consumption, including stabilizing economic policies and Keynesian demand management that generated national demand and social stability; it also included a class compromise or social contract entailing family-supporting wages, job stability and internal labor markets leading broadly shared prosperity—rising incomes were linked to national productivity from the late 1940s to the early 1970s. At the level of the labor process Fordism is Taylorist and as a national mode of regulation Fordism is Keynesianism.
The social-scientific concept of “Fordism” was introduced by the French regulation school, sometimes known as regulation theory, which is a Marxist-influenced strand of political economy. According to the regulation school, capitalist production paradigms are born from the crisis of the previous paradigm; a newborn paradigm is also bound to fall into crisis sooner or later. The crisis of Fordism became apparent to Marxists in late 1960s. Marxist regulation theory talks of Regimes of Capital Accumulation (ROA) and Modes of Regulation (MOR).
ROAs are periods of relatively settled economic growth and profit across a nation or global region. Such regimes eventually become exhausted, falling into crisis, and are torn down as capitalism seeks to remake itself and return to a period of profit. These periods of capital accumulation are “underpinned”, or stabilised, by MOR. A plethora of laws, institutions, social mores, customs and hegemonies both national and international work together to create the environment for long-run capitalist profit. Fordism is a tag used to characterise the post-1945 long boom experienced by western nations.
It is typified by a cycle of mass production and mass consumption, the production of standardized (most often) consumer items to be sold in (typically) protected domestic markets, and the use of Keynesian economic policies. Whilst the standard pattern is post-war America, national variations of this standard norm are well known. Regulation theory talks of National Modes of Growth to denote different varieties of Fordism across western economies. Fordism as an ROA broke down, dependent on national experiences, somewhere between the late 1960s and the mid-1970s.
Western economies experienced slow or nil economic growth, rising inflation and growing unemployment. Cultural references In Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World. “Our Ford” (evocative of Our Lord), is a centre-point in the quasi-religious celebrations. The name is used both as an incantation and source of authority throughout the book, which can be read as a satire of Fordist industrial society. Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times parodied the alienation and stress that the worker in a Taylorist production plant is subjected to. Other senses The term may also refer to Henry Ford’s social views.
Post-Fordism Information technology, white-collar work and specialization are some of the attributes of post-Fordism. The period after Fordism has been termed Post-Fordist and Neo-Fordist. The former implies that global capitalism has made a clean break from Fordism (including overcoming its inconsistencies), whilst the latter implies that elements of the fordist ROA continued to exist. The Regulation School preferred the term After-Fordism (or the French Apres-Fordisme) to denote that what comes after Fordism was, or is, not yet clear. In Post-Fordist economies: New information technologies are important. * Products are marketed to niche markets rather than in mass consumption patterns based on social class. * Service industries predominate over manufacturing. * The workforce is feminized. * Financial markets are globalized. QUESTIONS 1) What is James Adam’s definition of the American Dream? 2) How is the American Dream related to independence? 3) What American idol became a symbol of the American Dream for migrants approaching the coast of the United States? 4) How has the meaning of the American Dream changed over the course of history? ) Summarise public opinion concerning the American Dream. 6) What are the four dreams of consumerism? 7) What is the negative impact of the American Dream (clue: see ‘Criticism’) 8) How has Modernism and its derivative, Fordism, influenced notions of the American Dream? In other words, how has the drive for the American Dream influenced American culture in the past and today? Further reading: Search ‘1960s’ and ‘Hippie’ on the Wikipedia site and consider how the American Dream could have contributed to the events of this period.