"The unedited musings of a recovering madman"

American DREAM?

“About a year ago, James E. Hoopes, a professor of history and business ethics at Babson College in Massachusetts, began looking at what he called the symbolic aspects of Wal-Mart.

The company's approach to commerce contravenes the American dream for some people, he said. "It's a new kind of twist because it does affect the lifestyles of so many of us," he said. "It is an enormous employer, and it is identified with what's happened with America in the last 25 years." Gone are many of the high-paying skilled jobs that the automotive plants once provided; instead, people are punching a cash register at Wal-Mart for half the money, he added.

That perception of reduced opportunity carries over into spending, he says. "People have a sense of being trapped in this marketplace," he said. "You work for these low-wage jobs, and you can have your American dream as long as you buy it at Wal-Mart. So the dream is getting standardized, and downscaled, in a way that hasn't happened before."

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/27/business/yourmoney/27WALM.html?pagewanted=3&th

Clearly, there are two rants associated with the symbolism in the preceding paragraph.  

  1. The American Dream as we know it is slowly vanishing with the picket fence.
  2. Globally, what Wal-Mart is doing is good for citizens of the world, with one exception. (True costs are born by vendor's society...as our the benefits!)

Regardless, of whatever rant you buy into, it’s people that cause a Wal-Mart to become a 244 billion dollar company.  It’s NOT Wal-Mart.

I guess this is my point after all.

Academics to freedom-fighters rail about how Corporations are ruining the world.  That fits with the same mentality that they would like us to believe—that somewhere, somehow, there is a force larger than ourselves that is in control.

Deferring always to the higher authority, no personal responsibility is required.  Almost 60% of Americans own stock in “those” corporations.  Each and every day, people vote with their feet and their pocketbooks about who wins and who looses in the great corporate game.

It’s not the Corporations!

It’s you and me and our unconscious pursuit of the American Dream that is responsible for all of the actions (emergent properties) of corporations.  Wal-Mart is not to blame.  Enron is not to blame.  It is the people who own the company—shareholders—you and me.  It is the people who walk through the doors to purchase the parts to assemble our American Dream who shoulder the responsibility—plain and simple.

When the day comes that we stop blaming everyone else but ourselves and finally accept responsibility for what goes on in the world…then the American Dream will come alive.  Until then, the waters of our own disenfranchisement will erode the banks of the American Dream!

Mike Jay, July 2003


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