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Current Economic Downturn is Redefining the “American Dream”


Aired 5/13/09

Where did this concept of the "American Dream" come from, and is that idea sustainable in today's economy? We speak to reporter Sam Eaton from the Marketplace Sustainability Team, and Stephen Smith from American RadioWorks, about the history and future of the "American Dream."

Maureen Cavanaugh: From the time of the first settlers to the immigrants of today, America has offered the world a dream of a better life. But what that dream has come to represent in recent years, may have less to do with freedom and opportunity and more to do with McMansions and six-figure incomes. As the American dream became glossier and more unattainable, many Americans have resorted to credit and creative financing to make their dreams come true.

So as we persevere through the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, it may be time to re-evaluate the values and assumptions that got us into this mess, and invent "the next American dream."


Stephen Smith, executive editor of American RadioWorks on Minnesota Public Radio.

Sam Eaton, sustainability reporter for Marketplace in Los Angeles.

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