Twenty-First Century Blues: Growth, Ecology, and the American Dream

Twenty-First Century Blues: Growth, Ecology, and the American Dream

To speak the truth: that is the most urgent item on the next president’s agenda. We have been lied to, systematically and patronizingly, ever since the Gulf of Tonkin incident, deceived, manipulated, flattered and lulled by
illusions. Call it glasnost, or truth in politicking: one way or another, the great challenge of the next century will be to reintroduce reality into our political rhetoric.

That is a weighty agenda: a revision of the great illusion into which the American dream has degenerated. Our society has for a century been characterized by the belief that ever-rising individual consumption sustained by an openended economic expansion is both the meaning of individual existence and a sufficient goal of public policy. This faith has become so intertwined with our conception of modernity that we cannot face the prospect of giving it up: We would sooner believe lies and incur massive debts, as the Reagan presidency demonstrates.

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