Friday, August 29, 2014

Debt and the American Dream

Everyone knows that Americans believe in freedom of opportunity and the work ethic: Work hard enough, and you'll be successful.

The top symbols of success being, of course, cars, houses, clothing and travel.

Those who have only their labor to sell are not likely to gain a whole of the big symbols of the American Dream, so, obtain them on credit.

You, too, can have a fine car, live in a lovely home, wear stylish clothing and travel to romantic destinations ... come and see us, and we'll be more than happy to put the cash into your hands, for a slice of the American Dream.

Here's where the system gets clever - if such things are not readily available to those who have only their labor to sell, then the owners make loans through their banks. The owners of capital, while withholding decent wages, are more than willing to loan you their money through their credit devices, and, of course, if there's a failure to pay off the debt in a timely manner, the owners have the law at their disposal.

So, dear reader, the owners of capital profit all the more, if not by lowering wages directly, then by interest charged on workers' debt.

Meanwhile, Americans "charge" ahead with the American Dream, believing, against everything reality reveals, that a little more hard work, maybe a few breaks, or even winning the lottery, the Dream is theirs ... if not now, then someday. If not in large part, then, at least, in small ways. In America, everyone is a millionaire waiting to happen.

Ah, yes, the power of a dream!

Or might it be a nightmare?

1 comment:

Bob Dahl said...

You get it and Steinbeck got it:

“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

― John Steinbeck