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Monday, March 07, 2011

The American Dream and its Impact on the Global Economy | A NOTE FROM THE FOUNDER

The American Dream and its Impact on the Global Economy

by Adam J. Kovitz

The "American Dream" is one of those classic concepts and phrases that often gets misconstrued through the years, yet we at TNNWC believe that such nationalistic aspiration is not necessarily limited to the United States, but to the entire world and the global economy.  So this week, I'd thought I would take a look at the history of the term and its true implications.

In last week's posting, I spoke about another "American" concept:  "Rugged Individualism" and how around the turn of last century the United States experienced a considerable influx of people from other countries with cultures vastly different than those of the so-called "first settlers" from England, France, The Netherlands and Germany (although the "Native Americans" were settled here long before that, it was this group that formed the country now known as the United States of America).  These new immigrants came here to escape famine, poor economic conditions and religious persecution to the U.S. because there was opportunity here.  In time, this eventual integration of cultures, both old and new would become known as the "Great American Melting Pot";  the amazing collaborative and synergistic result of people of varying races from the rest of the entire world coming to the U.S. to pursue the American Dream.

In his 1931 book Epic of America, historian James Truslow Adams wrote the following:
"The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, also too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position."
And while this was certainly true for many self-made individuals, it demonstrates something very interesting - the American Dream could never have existed without the socio-economic conditions of the rest of the entire world at that time.  There was a void in the Global Economy of the early 1900s, which led to its very formation.  The United States needed the hearts and minds of people of varied walks of life from other countries to make it possible.  The result led to a highly-robust economy which peaked in the mid-twentieth century.

Therefore, the American Dream was neither "American", nor was it a "Dream" (I know, I know..."talk amongst yourselves").  A more correct term would be the "Entrepreneurial Spirit", because it developed in America due to Global Economic circumstances of the time and there was certainly nothing dreamlike about it - it was real.  Many individuals such as Andrew Carnegie were living proof.

Fast forward to today.  Several major powers have embraced a Global Economy despite our current crisis.  There is unrest in the Middle East, while countries like China, India and Brazil are up-and-coming economic powers.  And there are many who believe the American Dream to be dead.

That, of course, remains to be seen.  If we look at the Entrepreneurial Spirit as more than just a means to get rich quick, but a means for many to live better and freer lives, no matter their prior economic standing, status or class, then aren't we now in a fertile enough landscape for the seeds of entrepreneurship to bloom again?

Will outside interests look to the United States as a bargain basement for investment?  Will more individuals flock to other countries to chase the Chinese, Indian or Brazilian dream?  Thanks to the internet connecting the entire world, will it matter where opportunity takes place, just as long as it does?

The key, my fellow entrepreneurs, is not to get caught up in the general malaise around us (thanks news media), but to greet the problems of the day with a smile, knowing that there is opportunity gold hidden somewhere in those "hills".  It is much easier said than done, but it is key to unlocking a new era of Entrepreneurial Spirit and earning your place in the Global Economy.

All my best,


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The Emergence of The Relationship Economy

The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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