The Dark Side of the American Dream

Monday, March 15

By Shea Berkhouse

Photo by Clément Falize on Unsplash 

Capitalist societies profit off of the American Dream, this idea that if you have money you will always be happy. But, we know for a fact that money cannot buy happiness (to a certain extent), we’ve been told this for as long as we can remember. So, what makes it acceptable for the American Dream to still hold these same values when they have been proven to have negative impacts on mental health?

People who are more financially stable aren’t always happier because of the stress of these assets and the work that they have to put into keeping them. Those who are working lower-level jobs or who get to spend more time with their families or doing what they love tend to be happier. 

With all of this evidence against the American Dream, why is it still such a big goal in the back of everyone’s mind? If I’m being honest, there are still times when I fantasize about being rich and famous. Having that attention and knowing that your hard work has paid off is something that everyone hopes for. But, why are we so conditioned to believe that what we have is never good enough. We can never just sit back and enjoy the present because we are conditioned to want the newest model and to always be better. And the way we are told to get that is through working more and working harder. 

From what I have observed and heard from other countries, the amount of work is not quite as much as it is in America. Employers let their workers have family time or personal time and make you not feel as if you are not going to get everything done on time. I know that nothing is what it seems and that no country is perfect, but these values seem better to me than those in America. I need my alone time and time away from my job and school work, but I have been told that that makes me lazy. Does it? I don’t think so, and I’m just starting to realize that I can take my time because I have so much of it left. So that raises another question; Is the new American Dream to get out of America? 

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