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When the American Dream Becomes A Mall

July 17, 2019



Live bunnies!

85% leased!

How will people get there?

Theme parks, deluxe shops and more!

Coca-Cola themed green rooms!

Did I mention LIVE BUNNIES!!


A giant mall is being built in New Jersey called “The American Dream.”  The drooling hoopla about this giant palace of stuff to buy is sadly optimistic.  It is optimistic because the writers are so hopeful that the mega mall will be a success.  It is sad because the American Dream is now a mall.


Where is the introspection?  Does anyone stop and think what the American Dream actually means, and how putting that ideal on the name of a mall is gross?  No, since you ask.


Just a few ideas: an American Dream mall suggests success in the United States is no longer based on your actions and character, but on the stuff you can buy.  


If you equate success with buying stuff, you are selling its meaning.  You are using a high ideal to sell lip gloss. The mind trick is convincing people that they have real access to the American Dream if they just buys those sneakers.


All they need is a giant neon sign showing credit cards as a gateway to Heaven.  


Let’s look at what the American Dream actually is:


The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is 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. - coined 1931 by James Truslow Adams (1878 to 1949), U.S. writer and popular historian (unrelated to the Massachusetts Adamses), in "Epic of America."


The American Dream is about the hope of success.  “It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages only.”  That means buying $200 socks is not the American Dream.  Neither is a giant temple to consumer goods.  Traditionally, success in America was about not being flashy or bragging.  Success meant not being in debt, and certainly not to impress others with your socks.


The American Dream is “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 ...”  So the American Dream is about a new social order - as opposed to the feudalism in Europe - where ability determines social standing.  Not who your parents are or how much money your family has.  


James Truslow Adams takes the time to make a snide comment about European aristocracy, which was apparently was still a sore point as late as 1931 here in America.  That is a surprise.  But his point is important because criticizing the aristocracy means Adams is telling us that the American Dream opposes inherited social position.


College and credit cards aren’t even mentioned.  


Linkedin: Christine Axsmith

podcast: Success Without College

Instagram: SuccessWithoutCollege

Twitter: SuccessWithoutCollege


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