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America's Lost Labor

Max Feist



        Fulfillment. Contentment. Happiness. This is what lies at the end of the mythical rainbow that is the “American Dream.” However, America has strayed further and further from this path over time, subsumed by greed and instant gratification.


        Americans, similar to all humans, need purpose. We need to find sustainable and worthwhile values in our lives. Historically, Americans found their value through their religion or their work. For example, a cobbler carried on their family legacy by making shoes. They enjoyed witnessing the fruits of their labor, and if they did not find value in their work, they turned to spiritual life. They prayed, started families, and leaned on this extraordinary aspect of human civilization, giving their lives meaning.


However, the inevitable decline of religion in the West that whittled it down to one. Unfortunately, this avenue of happiness has deteriorated as well. Through the Industrial Revolution, corporations, and the detachment of labor, a vast majority of Americans no longer witness or earn the reward of their labor. They no longer see work as valuable in and of itself, but rather a means to an end, that end being survival.


This decline of career satisfaction, along with the decline of Religion, has led to a massive displacement. Americans attempt to fill their being with short term gratification, whether it is drugs, alcohol, sexual immorality, or lethargic internet browsing. These avenues, more so alleyways, are dead ends. They are not sustainable, and lead to a society that cannot find their own humanity, but rather look to artificial means to define themselves.


Now, how will America find value in our vocations and take pride in ourselves? First, we must address the problem that discourages a vast majority of Americans, economic inequality. 


The massive disparity between the 1% and the lower class has never been larger. Americans are working to put food on the table and to survive, but when they see that their boss's boss has a mega yacht, they become discouraged. They start to resent work as it seems like a game, an unfair, rigged game, instead of something to take pride in. These wealth hoarding dragons start out with advantages and put down the rest of Americans for their own sustenance of power and wealth. However, bringing down these billionaires is not the only way to advantage America.


We must craft policies that elevate the rest of America, establishing systems that encourage growth rather than targeting specific groups. Americans must be able to see a road map of the American Dream.


Americans should not have to worry about paying to keep themselves alive. We must fix and reform our healthcare system, and adopt Universal Healthcare. This would allow Americans to live healthy lifestyles while pursuing passions they love, rather than jobs to pay for their insulin. Profit should not be an incentive of the industry that is in charge of sustaining life. Profit does not equal innovation; it equals manipulation. Industries are not innovating to make money, but sustaining broken systems that bring down the average Americans for the quick buck.


Next, we must address education. Higher education should be accessible to everyone. It would be in the best interest of American innovation. Accessible education would not only allow the “skilled” job force to be more competitive, but also trade school job markets and (for lack of a better word) less “skilled” industries would be more appealing. If higher education is an avenue, not for the more privileged, but for people who actually desire to learn more, it would make careers with less schooling appealing to all people. Americans would not need to overcommit to overpriced university education to obtain a great career, because careers would be viewed differently.


Finally, the culture wars should not be fought through political slogans. We cannot solve cultural problems through force. They should be addressed through concrete labor reforms. Creating living wages, building affordable housing, discouraging lobbying, and cracking down on monopolistic practices that stifle innovation. These policy reforms will improve labor perception in America, and thus, change the culture for the better. Americans will find work as something of value, rather than a means, and will not fill their lives with meaningless actions that lead to short term gratification and long term limbo.


If anybody thinks that they can impose any ideal onto us, good luck, because our history shows that We Americans love to resent anyone who takes anything away from them and will do anything to oppose that tyranny. We are not authoritarian, we are American.