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A Modern Look at the American Dream

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By: burgundy bug

Eagle overlooking Lake Billy Chinook

Source: Eagle at Lake Billy Chinook | Penelope Peru Photography P³

In the land of the free with its gold paved streets and home of the brave, the American Dream is ever changing. Although life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness remain our core values as a nation, our individual goals continue to evolve alongside our culture and economy.

A Bit of Context…

Although the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, the term “The American Dream” wasn’t coined until 45 years shy of our nation’s 200th birthday.

“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone,” historian James Truslow Adams published in his book The Epic of America. “With opportunity for each according to ability or achievement”

Adams may have fathered the phrase, but the concept was far from foreign at the time.

Taking it a few hundred years back to a time of our thirteen original colonies, plundering, pillaging, and Boston Tea Parties, our founding fathers dreamt of a land of liberty.

Thanks to George Washington and the crew, the Bill of Rights guarantees We the People freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, and justice, among other civil as well as personal liberties in the very constitution of our country.

Throughout the 1800s, owning a good chunk of land and reaping the benefits with a fruitful farm became the American Dream.

Although we prided ourselves as a free country, many of our inhabitants still sought freedom. Their American Dream was a land free of the injustice of slavery.

With the 1900s came the Second Industrial Revolution, sometimes referred to as the Technological Revolution. Cities were brimming with factories, feces, and quickly switching from gas to electric as their source of energy. Automobiles slowly phased out horses and buggies, railroads and telegraphs became mainstream.

It wasn’t enough to own land, now Americans dreamt of making the free market theirs by starting their very own businesses.

The Modern American Dream

Portrait of an eagle

Source: Framed Patriotic Eagle | Penelope Peru Photography P³

You may argue the same American Dream has carried over into the turn of this century. After all, the United States is ranked the top country for cultivating your own business, according to The Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute.

In 2016, the Kauffman Institute reported that 6.02% of adults in the United States ran their own business as their main occupation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half of the owners surveyed operated their business out of their own home.

However, the technological advancements of the 21st century serve as as sort of blessing and a curse.

On one hand, the internet has completely revolutionized the advertising industry. Through the clever use of social media platforms, business elites and mom and pop shop owners alike have the potential to expand their market reach exponentially.

On the other hand, we are at a point in time where any Joe Schmoe can test their luck and succeed online. There are countless products available across the world wide web.

It’s also worth noting that many of the major home innovations have already been invented. Although technology empowers us with the ability to create just about anything without ever leaving the comfort of our humble abodes, so much has already been invented.

Unless you are breaking grounds in the tech, health – or better yet, health technology – fields, the market for inventors and entrepreneurs that existed a century ago just isn’t there anymore.

However, it isn’t all doom and gloom for startups and small business owners. The idea of selling a service may have found its footing as the new American Dream.

Selling a Service

Countless services such us as Uber, Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify, have naturally integrated themselves into our daily lives. You could even consider platforms such as Amazon a service.

For a small, monthly fee these companies provide us unlimited access to endless TV, movie, as well as music libraries. In the case of Uber, a price competitive to that of cab fare guarantees you a ride in a safe, clean vehicle anywhere and at any time.

This is a multi-billion dollar market. Last year, CNBC reported nearly 60% of Americans were subscribed to some sort of streaming service. 51% of those surveyed were subscribed to Netflix, which starts at a rate of $8.99 per month as of February 2019, according to their website.

As of November 2018, Apple Music stood at a whopping 56 million subscribers worldwide, Statista reports. Their Student Plan starts at $2.49 per month and spans to $7.99 per month for the Family Plan as of February 2019, according to the Apple website.

These numbers add up – and fast. With 56 million subscribers at $4.99 a month (I’m basing these numbers off of the Individual Plan just to get an idea of a rough estimate), that’s $279,440,000 a month. By the end of the year, that’s an additional $3,353,280,000 in Apple’s pocket from their streaming service alone.

Services aren’t exclusive to streaming. There are services that boost your likes and follower count on social media, cloud storage services, etc… If you’ve got an idea that can make the lives of millions even easier and more convenient in the digital age, you may just have a shot at the modern American Dream.

Bell at Rose Tree

Source: Rose Tree Park Pictures | Penelope Peru Photography P³

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burgundy bug


A cynical optimist and mad scientist undercover, burgundy bug is the editor, graphic designer, webmaster, social media manager, and primary photographer for The Burgundy Zine. Entangled in a web of curiosity, burgundy bug’s work embodies a wide variety of topics including: neuroscience, psychology, ecology, biology, cannabis, reviews, fashion, entertainment, and politics. You can learn more about working with burgundy bug by visiting her portfolio website: burgundybug.com

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