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jerryking : the_american_dream   15

A preacher for Trump’s America: Joel Osteen and the prosperity gospel
APRIL 18, 2019 | Financial Times | Edward Luce in Houston.

Optimism, hope, destiny, harvest, bounty — these are Lakewood’s buzzwords. Prosperity too. Words that are rarely heard include guilt, shame, sin, penance and hell. Lakewood is not the kind of church that troubles your conscience.....the market share of US churches run by celebrity prosperity preachers such as Osteen, Creflo Dollar (sic), Kenneth Copeland and Paula White keeps growing. Three out of four of the largest megachurches in America subscribe to the prosperity gospel. Formal religion in the US has been waning for years. Almost a quarter of Americans now profess to having none. Among the Christian brands, only “non-denominational charismatics” — a scholarly term for the prosperity preachers — are expanding.......About the only book that Trump is known to have read from cover to cover is The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, the grandfather of the prosperity gospel. It has sold five million copies since it was published in 1952. His message is that the more you give to God, the more he will give back in return......The prosperity gospel is all about harvesting the seed. The more money you plant in God’s church, the greater your heavenly bounty. Wealth is a mark of God’s benevolence. Poverty is a sign of godlessness...........The more you consider Lakewood’s business model, the more it seems like a vehicle to redistribute money upwards — towards heaven, perhaps — rather than to those who most need it. Like all religious charities, Lakewood is exempt from taxes. All donations to it are tax deductible. It has never been audited by the IRS......On the left, the prosperity gospel is attacked for encouraging reckless spending by those who can least afford it. Among Lakewood’s night classes is Own Your Dream Home. Leaps of financial faith fit into Osteen’s view that God will always underwrite true believers.
.......Some of the home repossessions in the 2008 crash were blamed on irresponsible advice from the prosperity churches, which are concentrated in the Sun Belt. In her book Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel, Kate Bowler says the churches have created a “deification and ritualisation” of the American dream.......people who are depressed should shun the company of other depressed people.... Addicts must steer clear of other addicts. The poor should avoid others who are poor.......“If you’re struggling in your finances, get around blessed people, generous people, people who are well off,” Osteen advises. Misery loves company, he says. Avoid miserable people.........Osteen’s idea of whether God would have hesitated before creating the universe. “He didn’t check with accounting and say, ‘I am about to create the stars, galaxies and planets,’” says Osteen. He just went ahead and did it. All that is holding the rest of us back is a lack of self-belief: “God spoke worlds into creation,”
........The more one listens to Osteen, the harder it is to shut out Trump. Their mutual guru, Norman Vincent Peale...Believe in yourself like others believe in their product, was Peale's message. “Stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding,” wrote Peale. “Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade.”
.........People often ask why so many blue-collar Americans still support Trump in spite of his failure to transform their economic prospects. They might need to widen their aperture. To many Americans, Trump’s wealth and power are proof of God’s favour. That alone is a reason to support him.
abundance  blue-collar  books  churches  Christianity  Donald_Trump  economic_downturn  Edward_Luce  Joel_Osteen  leaps_of_faith  mega-churches  pastors  positive_thinking  prosperity_gospel  religion  the_American_Dream  self-belief  tithing 
april 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | The American Dream Isn’t for Black Millennials
Jan. 5, 2019 | The New York Times | By Reniqua Allen. Ms. Allen is the author of “It Was All a Dream.”

....I marched up to my new, small, one-bedroom apartment on the Hill, satisfied. It felt as if I’d broken barriers.

But when I got a notice in the mail about five years after I closed, I felt dizzy. It was not long after the financial crisis. The letter said that my mortgage company had been charged with giving subprime loans to black and Hispanic people around the country and asked if I wanted to join a class-action suit. I had most likely been the target of predatory lending. I had known from the start that my income could make me a target. I’d heard the words of the broker. But because of my race? It hadn’t crossed my mind. I was devastated......How much room is there in anyone’s life for a mistake or the perception of a mistake if you’re young and black in America? How much of the American dream hangs in the balance? For the dozens of people I talked to, the reality is that if we want our dreams to come true, all too often we have to be almost perfect, making the right decisions all the time. Not getting that ticket. Not listening to that mortgage broker. Not speaking up.....I know the history of this country, know the history of redlining, know how my grandparents were locked out of neighborhoods because of their skin color. But for some reason I was still surprised. I would say I was mad, but more than that, I was hurt that I had been lulled into some kind of false bourgeois comfort that had made me think that my life was different from my predecessors’ lives. Sure, I had made it up that Hill, but at what cost?
African-Americans  downward_mobility  economic_downturn  millennials  the_American_dream  subprime  predatory_practices  racial_disparities  redlining  home_ownership 
january 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | Useless Knowledge Begets New Horizons
Jan. 3, 2019 | The New York Times | By Bret Stephens, Opinion Columnist.

Fundamental discoveries don’t always have practical uses, but they have soul-saving applications......In October 1939, as Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin were plunging the world into war, an American educational reformer named Abraham Flexner published an essay in Harper’s magazine under the marvelous title, “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge.”

Noting the way in which the concerns of modern education increasingly turned toward worldly problems and practical vocations, Flexner made a plea for “the cultivation of curiosity” for its own sake.....The marriage of disinterested science and technological wizardry on the farthest-flung adventures of the human race is what John Adams had in mind when he wrote that he had to “study Politicks and War that my sons may have the liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy.” It is among the greatest fulfillments of the American dream.....Typically, we think of the American dream in materialistic terms — a well-paid job; a half-acre lot; children with better opportunities than our own. Or we think of it in political terms, as an ever-expanding domain of ever-greater freedom and equality.

But prosperity, freedom, equality for what? The deep critique of the liberal society is that it refuses on principle to supply an answer: Each of us lives in pursuit of a notion of happiness that is utterly subjective, generally acquisitive and almost inevitably out of reach — what psychologists call the “hedonic treadmill.” Religious cults and authoritarian systems work differently: Purposes are given, answers supplied, questions discouraged or forbidden, and the burdens of individual choice and moral agency are largely lifted. They are dictatorships of meaning.....Flexner’s case for such untrammeled freedom isn’t that it’s a good unto itself. Freedom also produces a lot of garbage. His case is that freedom is the license the roving mind requires to go down any path it chooses and go as far as the paths may lead. This is how fundamental discoveries — a.k.a., “useless knowledge” — are usually made: not so much by hunting for something specific, but by wandering with an interested eye amid the unknown. It’s also how countries attract and cultivate genius — by protecting a space of unlimited intellectual permission, regardless of outcome....All of this, of course, has its ultimate uses — hence the “usefulness” of Flexner’s title. Newton’s third law of motion begets, after 250 years, the age of the rocket; the discovery of the double helix delivers, several decades later, Crispr. It’s also how nations gain or lose greatness. The “reorganized” universities of fascist Italy and Germany had no place for Leo Szilard, Enrico Fermi or Albert Einstein. They became the Allies’ ultimate weapon in World War II.

Which brings us back to New Horizons, Osiris-Rex, InSight and every other piece of gear flying through the heavens at taxpayer expense and piling up data atop our already vast stores of useless knowledge. What are they doing to reduce poverty? Nothing. Environmental degradation? Zippo. The opioid crisis? Still less.

And yet, in being the kind of society that does this kind of thing — that is, the kind that sends probes to the edge of the solar system; underwrites the scientific establishment that knows how to design and deploy these probes; believes in the value of knowledge for its own sake; cultivates habits of truthfulness, openness, collaboration and risk-taking; enlists the public in the experience, and shares the findings with the rest of the world — we also discover the highest use for useless knowledge: Not that it may someday have some life-saving application on earth, though it might, but that it has a soul-saving application in the here and now, reminding us that the human race is not a slave to questions of utility alone.
breakthroughs  Bret_Stephens  broad-based_scientific_enquiry  Colleges_&_Universities  Crispr  curiosity  exploration  expeditions  free_speech  free_will  freedom  fundamental_discoveries  Joseph_Stalin  knowledge  op-ed  serendipity  soul-enriching  space_exploration  the_American_dream 
january 2019 by jerryking
Huawei is built on the American dream - The Globe and Mail
NATHAN VANDERKLIPPE ASIA CORRESPONDENT
BEIJING
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 14, 2018
Huawei  origin_story  the_American_dream 
december 2018 by jerryking
Book review: Truthful Living: The First Writings of Napoleon Hill by Jeffrey Gitomer
NOVEMBER 30, 2018 | | Financial Times | by Isabel Berwick.

Truthful Living: The First Writings of Napoleon Hill, with foreword, actions and annotations by Jeffrey Gitomer, Amazon Publishing, RRP$19.95.

[See also The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, the grandfather of the prosperity gospel. ]

Napoleon Hill was one of the founders of the American self-improvement movement. Born poor in Virginia in 1883, by the time of the first world war he had developed a set of principles for success in advertising and sales......Hill — who died in 1970 — was a staggeringly effective cheerleader for himself and his philosophy and that is exactly what one would expect from a self-help guru.

The book that made him famous, Think and Grow Rich, distilled Hill’s thinking and analysed the strategies of hundreds of the US’s most famous and successful businessmen. Published in 1937, it has sold in the tens of millions, making it one of the best-selling books of the 20th century. It offered optimism and the idea of the American dream to those suffering in a post-crash economy. The appetite for Hill’s particular brand of self-belief remains strong......Hill's message endures: Hard work, imagination, honesty and service....Hill's insight is that getting oneself into the right frame of mind to become rich and successful — emphasizes having a positive attitude and self-confidence......Jeffrey Gitomer, a US sales trainer and motivational speaker, adds notes and annotations. Gitomer writes in the foreword (ambitiously titled “The First Thoughts of the Father of American Achievement and Wealth”) that he was first exposed to Hill’s writing in 1971, as a sales trainee: “I read Think and Grow Rich 10 times that year — studied and implemented both the principles and the directives. The result for me has been an unbreakable positive attitude and steadfast march toward success over the past 45 years.”

* Don't neglect to cultivate your ‘AMBITION’.
* “Take a plain sheet of paper, ordinary letter size, and write on it in large letters — the largest it will carry — I AM GOING TO BE A GREAT PERSON!”
* the magic key turns out to be “CONCENTRATION”.
* a timeless tip: “The great mass of people are demanding at least the necessities of life at a lower cost than they are now paying. If you can help solve this problem, even on one commodity, you can write your own salary price tag.”

While Christian Science and other outcrops of the New Thought movement have fallen from favour, Hill’s work endures, perhaps because he stresses the importance of happiness, self-confidence and other qualities now fashionable in the self-improvement sphere. Above all, the enduring popularity of Hill’s writing demonstrates that most in-vogue of all the modern mantras: resilience.
affirmations  book_reviews  books  perseverance  self-help  self-improvement  Jeffrey_Gitomer  resilience  the_American_dream  self-confidence  personal_enrichment  hard_work  honesty  imagination  positive_thinking 
december 2018 by jerryking
Steven Brill's "Tailspin": How My Generation Broke America
May 17, 2018 | | Time | By STEVEN BRILL.

From matters small – there are an average of 657 water-main breaks a day, for example – to large, it is clear that the country has gone into a tailspin over the last half-century, when John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier was about seizing the future, not trying to survive the present..............The Meritocracy’s ascent was about more than personal profit. As my generation of achievers graduated from elite universities and moved into the professional world, their personal successes often had serious societal consequences. They upended corporate America and Wall Street with inventions in law and finance that created an economy built on deals that moved assets around instead of building new ones. They created exotic, and risky, financial instruments, including derivatives and credit default swaps, that produced sugar highs of immediate profits but separated those taking the risk from those who would bear the consequences. They organized hedge funds that turned owning stock into a minute-by-minute bet rather than a long-term investment. They invented proxy fights, leveraged buyouts and stock buybacks that gave lawyers and bankers a bonanza of new fees and maximized short-term profits for increasingly unsentimental shareholders, but deadened incentives for the long-term growth of the rest of the economy.....[We need 'guardrails' against legal and financial excesses.]......Forty-eight years after Inky Clark gave me my ticket on the meritocracy express in 1967, a professor at Yale Law School jarred the school’s graduation celebration. Daniel Markovits, who specializes in the intersection of law and behavioral economics, told the class of 2015 that their success getting accepted into, and getting a degree from, the country’s most selective law school actually marked their entry into a newly entrenched aristocracy that had been snuffing out the American Dream for almost everyone else. Elites, he explained, can spend what they need to in order to send their children to the best schools, provide tutors for standardized testing and otherwise ensure that their kids can outcompete their peers to secure the same spots at the top that their parents achieved.

“American meritocracy has thus become precisely what it was invented to combat,” Markovits concluded, “a mechanism for the dynastic transmission of wealth and privilege across generations. Meritocracy now constitutes a modern-day aristocracy.”.....
Daniel_Markovits  baby_boomers  entrepreneur  income_inequality  politics  revenge_effects  Steven_Brill  political_polarization  fractured_internally  books  meritocratic  America_in_Decline?  elitism  lawyers  self-perpetuation  upper-income  inequality  privilege  the_best_and_brightest  tailspins  guardrails  the_American_dream  cultural_transmission  wealth_transfers  partisan_politics 
may 2018 by jerryking
Have Americans Given Up?
MAR 5, 2017 | The Atlantic | by DEREK THOMPSON.
...this is a mirage, according to the economist and popular writer Tyler Cowen, whose new book is The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream. In fact, the nation's dynamism is in the dumps. Americans move less than they used to. They start fewer companies. Caught in the hypnotic undertow of TV and video games, they are less likely to go outside. Even the federal government itself has transformed from an investment vehicle, which once spent a large share of its money on infrastructure and research, to an insurance conglomerate, which spends more than half its money on health care and Social Security. A nation of risk-takers has become a nation of risk-mitigation experts...So, what happened? Cowen’s thought-provoking book emphasizes several causes, including geographic immobility, housing prices, and monopolization.....several studies have shown that many U.S. workers don’t start new companies because they’re afraid of losing their employer-sponsored health insurance. A single-payer system might increase overall entrepreneurial activity. As I read Cowen’s book, I thought of an acrobat show. No circus performer wants to leap between swings without a net to catch them as they fall. The trick is to design for safety without designing for complacency.
large_companies  dynamism  America_in_Decline?  self-defeating  Tyler_Cowen  economists  books  innovation  illusions  Silicon_Valley  geographic_mobility  economic_mobility  housing  Donald_Trump  elitism  restlessness  safety_nets  risk-mitigation  monopolies  the_American_dream 
march 2017 by jerryking
A Different Bargain on Race
MARCH 4, 2017 | The New York Times | Ross Douthat.

Instead, the demographic transformation of America has given us a Democratic Party more attuned to racial injustice or committed to ethnic patronage (depending on your point of view) than ever, and a Republican Party that has exploited white racism or ridden a white backlash against ethnic patronage (again, depending on your perspective) on its way to control of the House, the Senate and the White House.

At one end of this polarized political landscape, you have the liberal acclaim that greeted Ta-Nehisi Coates’s case for reparations, his argument that the debt owed by “the people who believe themselves to be white” to the descendants of African slaves is vast and essentially unpaid.

At the other end you have the fears of those white Trump voters who feel like the new liberalism offers affirmative action for everyone but them, allowing immigrants and minorities to “cut the line” (to borrow an image from Arlie Russell Hochschild’s recent study of working-class Republicans) and claim an American dream that they themselves can no longer reach.

These views are worlds apart, but it is actually possible to accept elements of both. It can be simultaneously true that slavery and Jim Crow robbed black Americans on a scale that still requires redress, and that offering redress through a haphazard system of minority preferences in hiring, contracting and higher education creates a new set of reasonable white grievances in its turn.
Ross_Douthat  race  race_relations  slavery  GOP  identity_politics  Democrats  reparations  affirmative_action  bargaining  one-time_events  the_American_dream 
march 2017 by jerryking
Education Gap Between Rich and Poor Is Growing Wider - The New York Times
SEPT. 22, 2015 | NYT | Eduardo Porter.

For all the progress in improving educational outcomes among African-American children, the achievement gaps between more affluent and less privileged children is wider than ever, notes Sean Reardon of the Center for Education Policy Analysis at Stanford. Racial disparities are still a stain on American society, but they are no longer the main divider. Today the biggest threat to the American dream is class.....Financed mainly by real estate taxes that are more plentiful in neighborhoods with expensive homes, public education is becoming increasingly compartmentalized. Well-funded schools where the children of the affluent can play and learn with each other are cordoned off from the shabbier schools teaching the poor, who are still disproportionally from black or Hispanic backgrounds.
poverty  African-Americans  income_inequality  racial_disparities  real_estate_taxes  education  achievement_gaps  social_classes  public_education  sorting  segregation  geographic_sorting  neighbourhoods  children  affluence  upper-income  super_ZIPs  compartmentalization  the_American_dream 
september 2015 by jerryking
You won't achieve the American Dream by dreaming - CBS News
November 22, 2011 9:05 AM

Print
Text

You won't achieve the American Dream by dreaming

By
Steve Tobak
inspiration  entrepreneur  the_American_dream 
november 2011 by jerryking
Why business despairs of Obama
October 2, 2011 | FT | By Mort Zuckerman.

businesses are trying to enhance productivity, not create jobs. Polls show that business leaders are growing increasingly pessimistic. In the past six months a third of companies have delayed or cancelled plans for capital spending...

The era of frugality is back. Today it is not a stock market crash or a crash in residential real estate but a crash in confidence that will constrain the effectiveness of public policy and have long-lasting impacts on the consumer and the economy. The historic American optimism has dramatically eroded. The great American dream is no longer a house in the suburbs. It is a secure job, but almost any job will do.
Obama  Mort_Zuckerman  business_confidence  confidence  CAPEX  the_American_dream 
october 2011 by jerryking
American Dream is Changing | Nye - Gateway to Nevada's Rurals
Oct. 31, 2010 | Nye Gateway | by Fareed Zakaria. What can
you do to make yourself thrive in this new global economy? (1) Be
unique. Try to do something that is a specialized craft or art,
something that is as much art as craft, something that feels more like
artisanship than routine work, things that are custom & custom-made
still survive. (2) Go local. Do something that can’t be outsourced,
jobs involving personal face-to-face contact will never go to India. (3)
Be indispensable. Can everyone become indispensable? Well, no, but if
you learn a difficult craft and are good at it, if you can collaborate
well, synthesize well, put things together, work with others and work
well across countries and cultures, you will have a leg-up. (4) Learn a
foreign language (e.g. Spanish or Mandarin or Hindi). (5) Excel at
mathematics, able to manipulate data, algorithms, symbols, graphs,
balance sheets and all of these skills are the essential skills for a
knowledge-based economy.
Fareed_Zakaria  21st._century  ksfs  indispensable  specialization  local  languages  mathematics  organizing_data  advice  new_graduates  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  bespoke  quantitative  global_economy  digital_economy  knowledge_economy  the_American_dream  in-person  face2face  uniqueness 
october 2010 by jerryking
Fareed Zakaria on How to Restore the American Dream -- Printout -- TIME
Oct. 21, 2010 | TIME | By Fareed Zakaria. Job growth divides
neatly into 3 categories. (1) managerial, professional & technical
occupations, held by highly educated workers who are comfortable in the
global economy. Jobs have been plentiful in this segment for the past 3
decades. (3) service occupations, involving "helping, caring for or
assisting others," e.g.security guard, cook and waiter. Most of these
workers have no college education and get hourly wages that are on the
low end of the scale. Jobs in this segment too have been growing
robustly. In between are (3) skilled manual workers & those in
white collar operations like sales & office mgmt.--the beating heart
of the middle class. Those in them make a decent living, usually .the
median family income ($49,777), and they mostly did fine in the 2 two
decades before 2000. But since then, employment growth has lagged the
economy in general, It has been this middle-class segment which has been
hammered.
blue-collar  Fareed_Zakaria  America_in_Decline?  high-school_graduated  college-educated  hourly_workers  global_economy  the_American_dream  white-collar 
october 2010 by jerryking
Charlie Rose - Fareed Zakaria
October 25, 2010 | Charlie Rose | Interviews Fareed Zakaria who
discusses his story in 'Time' magazine called 'Restoring the American
Dream'
Fareed_Zakaria  Charlie_Rose  America_in_Decline?  the_American_dream 
october 2010 by jerryking

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