The American dream idea has received numerous definitions and perceptions, but predominantly lies in attaining high income, economic security and acquisition of prestigious jobs. There have been many people around the globe who have immigrated to the America seeking for success. The American dream, however, entails a wider perception rather than economic well being of the people. However, various authors express that the American dream has further been fantasized by the people as it has been taken to mean something excellent, which is far from being excellent. This has been due to the increasing income disparity between the poor and the rich, which has led to the change of the political approaches.
The two articles clearly illustrates that although people continue fantasizing about the American dream, it is far from being excellent. For example, Hochschild in the article “What is the American Dream” illustrates the meaning of success and various tenets of success, which illustrates that the American people are far from achieving the American dream. Krugman in the article “For Richer” illustrates the rising economic and wealth disparities within the American people. This paper will provide a compare and contrast analysis of the articles on the “What is the American Dream?” and the article “For the Richer”.
The two articles tend to concur that, in the early and mid 19th century the economic system as well as the political system enforced various measures that ensured equality in income and wealth distribution. However, with time there has been an increasing income disparity between the poor and the rich. However, in the article “What is the American Dream” Hochschild develops different definitions of success into absolute, relative and competitive. Through these definitions, the definition of American dream can perceive different meaning as the American people belief that the standards of live are improving. However, Krugman defines the American dream on the basis of rising disparity between incomes of the rich and the poor. The basis of his argument is that, for the achievement of the American dream, there is a need for development of equality in terms of wealth and income distribution.
The two articles also agree that education level is an important level of determinant of the level of income as it provides people with an opportunity of acquiring better employment opportunities. Hochschild argues that there is a need for the government should formulate measures that reduce the disparity between the poor and the rich, or introduce programs for income support for the poor. Klugman attributes the increasing disparity of income and wealth to various factors such as the increasing globalization, skill based technological changes and the superstar hypothesis. Therefore, the two articles agree that there is a need for increased access to higher education, which provides people with more skills for better terms of employment.
Krugman attributes the rising income and wealth disparity to the rising perks provided to executives in companies. He explains that the of executives income over the last three decades has risen with more than 1000 times while the incomes of the middle and poor has experienced slight increases just to adjust to the existing economic conditions. Although, America is perceived as the highest income generating country globally in terms of GDP, the income it does not mean that the ordinary peoples in the country live better lives than their counterparts in different parts around the globe. For instance, in Sweden the typical citizen lives a better live than an ordinary American citizen (Krugman 172). However, Hochschild argues that each and every individual should pursue his or her own success, but the political and political system do not provide equal platform for a competitive economy.
However, in the two articles there is an agreement that the American dream is more fantasized than the reality. According to Hochschild, in various perspectives and definitions the American dream indicates success and full of riches. This is based on the measures that one uses as indicators of success, which portray America as a land of plenty. He also illustrates that people tend to think that America presents a land with unlimited resources that facilitates all people to achieve their success. However, there are limited resources in the country, and only a few citizens have access to these resources (Hochschild). He presents that the ideology of the American dream is a deception to the people around the globe and also to the citizenry. The presentation of the four tenets of the American dream and the flaws of the tenets indicates that the American dream is mostly a fantasy, rather that the reality.
The two articles present a case where the American people are optimistic that the country provides an opportunity for growth and success. However, the economic system and political structure has continued to create barriers for equal opportunity of growth and successful realization of the American dream. The political system has been divided on the policies of ensuring equality of the people. Some proposes policies that could impose taxation on the rich and maintain social spending and taxation on the poor as low as possible. Therefore, one can conclude that there is a convergence of the two articles that the American dream is from being achieved.
Hochschild, Jennifer L. "What Is the American Dream?" The American Experience (2002): 1-18.
Krugman, Paul. "For Richer." The American Experience (October 20, 2002): 169-179.