The European Dream


| September / October 2004



The new Europe has its own cultural vision -- and it may be better than ours

The set of beliefs we call the American Dream underlies one of history's great success stories, an unbroken cultural ascent lasting more than 200 years. But how well are we doing today? In this selection from his provocative new book, social thinker Jeremy Rifkin argues that the American Dream has turned into a liability that has us clinging to an outmoded past. Meanwhile, a different vision of life that's now emerg-ing from Europe could be the world's best hope for negotiating its shared global future. -- The Editors

What really separates America from all earlier political experiments is the unbounded hope and enthusiasm, the optimism that is so thick at times it can bowl you over. This is a land dedicated to possibilities, a place where constant improvement is the only meaningful compass and economic progress is regarded to be as certain as the rising sun. We are a people who threw off the yoke of tyranny and vowed never to be ruled by arbitrary elites of any kind. We eschew class distinctions and the hereditary transmission of status, embrace the democratic spirit, and believe that everyone should be judged solely on merit.

jake foster
11/2/2010 3:59:13 PM

Way to take one side of something, a side that by the way is a minority of people, and call it the opinion of all. Saying that the American Dream is outdated is about as well thought out as Obama's healthcare plan. I wonder how it feels to be such a pessimist.