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Obama and the Closing of the American Dream

September 10, 2008

In this article, n+1 writer Aziz Rana discusses several variations of the American Dream including the promise of professionalism, the strength of the agrarian, and boom of the industrialist small business owner. He notes that all of these have failed. Regarding small business he writes: “The quantity of small businesses begun each year suggests that the aspiration of having one’s own shop persists. Yet for the past half-century bankruptcy has been more likely than success.” As for the promise of professionalism, “we have been left with the professional ideal, which values only certain types of work and thus implicitly disdains the rest. It is an inherently exclusive ideal, structured around a divide between those engaged in high-status work and those confined to task execution.” What then is the solution to the American Dream? He closes the article by saying: “If Obama hopes to save his party and to address the interests and experiences of working-class citizens, he will have to challenge the hegemony of the professional and with it the closing of the American dream.”

Can our presidential candidates sufficiently address the closing of the American Dream?

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