about those tales of the wild west, in the fictions of Zane Grey, Oliver
Strange and Louis L’Amour and the likes, made me admire, in awe, at the
tenacity of those rough, ill-kempt, horse riding pioneers, who spent their
entire life hunting for gold and hunting each other down in their lust for
rough landscape, snowy mountains, the Grand Canyon, the Colorado and the Great
Plains - all made for a magnificent piece of painting that one can only
visualize in one’s imagination! The tales were not merely about lust for
gold or greedy acquisitions; they are tales of great intensity, ambition,
perseverance, vision and above all, tremendous belief in oneself!
1848, a European named John Sutter landed on the shores of California, with a
gift of thousands of acres of land for military services rendered and with
dreams of establishing an Empire, and set about his task of expansion. During
one such daily chore, one of his men, James Marshall, discovered Gold and
another Californian merchant, Sam Brannan, leaked it to the world because he
wanted to make quick money by selling mining tools to gold rushers!
weeks, it is said that Brannan had bought all mining tools in the region and
had sold them for a profit of $36, 000!!
here, starts that great American Dream.
a dream about realization of an opportunity, with a fairness that holds no
inferiority to anyone; it is a dream about achievement in a land of abundance;
it is a dream about fulfillment of ambitions!
Great American Dream is probably one of the longest recounted, modern-day
grandma tales of them all and now, they say, it has come to an end! Even
President Barack Obama talks about “reclaiming it” as if someone has
stolen it from America!
it is also this very dream that has brought about not only significant
advancements in the world but also left us with some needless practices.
draw some parallels from this dream, its merchants and from history to
demonstrate what they are and how they have affected the world.
1700, India, China and Europe had the biggest share of the world GDP rate at
22.6, 23.1 and 23.3 %, respectively. The USA had no figures to show then! The
rate of growth from then on phenomenally changed - with the USA registering a
consistent growth rate of over 1.5 % capping at 2.57 % by the year 1820.
India, China and Europe were doing 0.26, 0.85 and 0.68 %, respectively!
year 1890, the picture had changed dramatically with Europe holding a share of
40.3 %, in world growth, with India at 11.0 %, China at 13.2 % and the USA
emerging at 13.8 %!
did this happen? Let us move from statistics to history.
USA became the first "new state" to emerge from the shackles of
colonialism in mid-eighteenth century and, within a century, had marched into
industrialization with production that equaled the combined volume produced by
Great Britain, Germany and France!
around 1848, that immigrants flowed in millions and died in millions due to
poor infrastructure, but the shine of gold invited more to a new world,
regardless of all hardships!
of Sam Brannan and the likes flew around the world and the dream of making it
big in America looked the easiest occupation for most and millions,
from all over the world, pounded the land to make the quick buck!
itself from Civil Wars and the various strife associated with change, America
went into the Gilded Age, “a term that author Mark Twain used to describe
the period of the late nineteenth century when there had been a dramatic
expansion of American industry”, Wikipedia.
also brought with it more reforms, some good and some bad, with the Sherman
Antitrust Act, which outlawed monopolies in business, more noteworthy in our
context. “Twain believed that this age was corrupted by such elements as
land speculators, scandalous politics, and unethical business practices!”
see the parallel in the many companies' monopoly cases against Microsoft? Have
some decisions, in the past decade, been based on age old policies that should
have been redundant today?
see the same “speculators” - the chief cause behind the recession that has
hit the world today?
has always had its tycoons and individual influences like Rockefeller or J.P.
Morgan, leading the country with their vision and shaping its economy with
their entrepreneurship and this has been the key to realizing the Dream. By
breaking away from the tradition of American idealism and getting after
Microsoft, the breaking of the dream begins to appear.
in time again.
has now moved into the "progressive era" for America and the country
witnessed tremendous economic growth in the "roaring twenties" of
the early 20th century but eventually the Great Wall Street crash brought the
great country to a state of high recession. This state of economic turbulence
saw the emergence of another "deal" dished out by politics! The all
new deal was appropriately named "The New Deal"!
pledge myself to a new deal for the American people. This is more than a
political campaign. It is a call to arms!” (Franklin Roosevelt).
the fact that "The New Deal" was seemingly effective in that the
recovery of the economy happened, there was some typical spending that we can
identify and recognize as politically inclined. Government treasury
distributed over $1.5 billion dollars to the World War I veterans!
there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a
nation conquer fear itself with a 'New Deal', new jobs and a new sense of
common purpose." Barack Obama, President-elect speech, about a 106 year
old woman citizen of the US.
referring to “The New Deal”, the president was probably showing the public
how to interpret his own forthcoming proposal, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Chrysler bailout, in 1979, and possibly the forerunner to the current recovery
plans of the US is another candidate for the breaking of the dream. Many
believed, then, that the bailout challenged the American idealism. The recent
bailouts of many US institutions, in the wake of the recession, is a cause for
“American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” is
another cause for concern for any country even if it is the internal concern
of USA. Already Canada has been affected by the “US Protectionism” seen in
the act and has levied back sanctions on American Civil Contracts in Canada.
Of course, the US must protect its own interests but…
reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth...",
Barack Obama, President-elect speech.
the same pioneering spirit that started the dream. Is the spirit of the
forty-niners still there? If not, well, it must be reclamation, as President
Obama says, and not a renewal.
Ravichandran Jv is working as a Group Manager with JK Technosoft Ltd, Noida, India. He is a certified internal ISO auditor and a Microsoft Certified Professional among other certifications. Other description of his professional career would include software developer and trainer on Information Technologies. His hobbies and interests include sports, theater, video photography and music. More details available at: http://www.geocities.com/jvravichandran . His Email id: email@example.com