Journalist William Greider, one of the most thoughtful analysts of political economy, writes in The Nation that “Americans need a new vision that helps them deal with reality, a promising story of the future that helps them let go of the past.” That vision should be grounded in something deeper than material wealth or acquisitions:
Here is the grand vision I suggest Americans can pursue: the right of all citizens to larger lives. Not to get richer than the next guy or necessarily to accumulate more and more stuff but the right to live life more fully and engage more expansively the elemental possibilities of human existence. That is the essence of what so many now seem to yearn for in their lives. People–even successful and affluent people–are frustrated because the intangible dimensions of life have been held back or displaced in large and small ways, pushed aside by the economic system’s relentless demands to maximize yields of profit and wealth. Our common moral verities have been trashed in the name of greater returns. The softer aspects of mortal experience are diminished because life itself is not tabulated in the economic system’s accounting.
Greider’s articulation of the New American Dream is consistent with many of the themes raised in this blog about meaningful work and psychologically healthy workplaces. In the workplace, the “markets and management” ideology that has led us to this difficult juncture should be supplanted by an embrace of individual dignity that affirms a decent day’s pay and fair treatment at work in return for a job well done.
Full article: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090525/greider