Реферат: Американская мечта и возможность её осуществления в России (The American Dream like a social phenomenon and the possibility of it's realization in Russia)
Самарский Медико-технический лицей
Научно-практическая конференция учащихся
The American Dream like a social phenomenon and the possibility of it'srealization in <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Russia</st1:place></st1:country-region>.
Ниц Маргарита Андреевна
Самарский Медико-технический лицей
Научный руководитель Несмелова ЕленаБорисовна
Самара 2007<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-font-kerning:0pt; mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"> <span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-font-kerning:0pt; mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-font-kerning:0pt; mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"> <span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-font-kerning:0pt;font-weight:normal"> <span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">ContentsIntroduction……………………………………………………………………….3 The American Dream like a social phenomenon……………………………...….4 Criticism if the American dream…………………………………………….........7 The Russian mentality and the «Russian dream»…………………………………8 The comparative analysis of values of the American and Russian young
<span Arial Unicode MS";mso-ansi-language: EN-US"> The <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>United States of America</st1:place></st1:country-region>nowadays holds leading positions in the most important parts of business,economics and scientific explorations in the western world. A country thatinspired many appellations – “<st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:PlaceType w:st=«on»>Land</st1:PlaceType> of <st1:PlaceName w:st=«on»>Opportunity</st1:PlaceName></st1:place>”, “MeltingPot”, “God’s country” is still referred to people as a land of superlatives — “the richest”, “the greatest”, “the most”. The American’s style of life, whichis based on the idea of realization of the American dream, becomes more andspread all over the world. <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>America</st1:place></st1:country-region>’sculture, formed not long times ago, has already extended along many countries.
<span Arial Unicode MS";mso-ansi-language: EN-US"> The <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Russian Federation</st1:place></st1:country-region>is not the exception as during the period of the last 16 years Russian traditionalculture has changed much because of Western one.
<span Arial Unicode MS";mso-ansi-language: EN-US"> After perestroika, when theborders became opened and the Westerncivilization burst into our country, many Russian people began taking the styleof life and habits of citizens of foreign countries and adopting them to ours.The greatest influence had the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>USA</st1:place></st1:country-region>.Many young people were impressed by the original and sometimes inadmissible fora soviet citizen way of life in <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>America</st1:place></st1:country-region>,by the wealth of American citizens, by their rights and freedoms. They wantedto reach the same prosperity and that’s why they began spontaneously copyingdifferent aspects of American culture. This brought lots of pluses: the peoplebecame more determined and ambitious, they got acquainted with moderntechniques, and people got the opportunity of communicating with foreignersthat broadened their outlook. That was the useful influence, bur there was alsothe bad one.
<span Arial Unicode MS";mso-ansi-language: EN-US"> Very often young peoplecouldn’t take right from wrong that lead to very unpleasant consequences. Inthe 90’s there was a rapidly increasing number of addicts, AIDS sick persons,teenager’s pregnancies and crimes. Nowadays the situation in <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Russia</st1:place></st1:country-region> is not the same, but theproblem of Western, especially American influence is still actual.
<span Arial Unicode MS";mso-ansi-language: EN-US"> In my work I will find outthe core of the term “American Dream” and will find out the possibility of itsrealization in nowadays Russian reality. I will also compare the perspectiveson life and interests of young Americans and Russians in order to find out ifthey are common or not.
<span Arial Unicode MS";mso-ansi-language: EN-US">
<span Arial Unicode MS";mso-ansi-language: EN-US"><span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-fareast-font-family:«Arial Unicode MS»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US"> <span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-fareast-font-family:«Arial Unicode MS»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US"> <span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-fareast-font-family:«Arial Unicode MS»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US"> I .The American dream like a social phenomenon
The American Dream is a subjective term usually implying a meaningful,successful and satisfying life. This term usually implies financial securityand material comfort, but can also imply a dream of fame, exceeding social,ethnic, or class boundaries, or simply living a fulfilling life. Perceptions ofthe American dream are usually framed in terms of American capitalism,its associated meritocracy, and the freedoms guaranteed by theU.S. Bill of Rights.
The term is not easily defined, and hassubjective meaning to many who claim it. The American Dream is often associatedwith immigration,as the dream of religious freedom, economic prosperity, and meritocracy hashistorically driven immigrants to the United States.The term is used by many modern Americans to signify success in life as aresult of hard work (as in, «living [or pursuing] the AmericanDream»).
The origin of the American Dream, a termcoined by James Truslow Adams in his book «The Epicof America» (1931), stems from the departure in governmentand economicsfrom the models of the Old World. This allowed unprecedented freedom,especially the possibility of dramatic upward social mobility. Additionally,from the American Revolutionary War well into thelater half of the nineteenth century, many of America's physical resourceswere unclaimed and held out the promise of land ownership and lucky investmentin land or industry. The development of the Industrial Revolution combined with thegreat natural resources of the enormous and as yet unsettled (by Europeans)continent created the possibility of achieving wealth and transitioning«from rags to riches».
The terrible living conditions in Europeand the hope of a better standard of living in America led to the migration ofhundreds of thousands to the new world. Impoverished western Europeansescaping the Irish potato famines in Ireland,the Highland clearances in Scotlandand the aftermath of Napoleon in the rest of Europe came to America to escape apoor quality of life at home. They wanted to embrace the financial mobility andconstitutional freedoms that existed in the United States.
The Industrial Revolution was one of thegreat forces that developed the American Dream. The Industrial Revolution,amidst all the government corruption of the Gilded Era,resulted in the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs. The development ofbig business, the Transcontinental Railroad, and theincrease in oil production greatly increased the American standard of living. «Rags to riches»stories of business tycoons like AndrewCarnegie and John D. Rockefeller led to the belief that ifyou had talent, intelligence, and a willingness to work extremely hard, youwere more likely to live a good life. The stories of many successful people ofthat time seem to be fairy tales but they are truthful lifestories.
Thebest example is John DavisonRockefeller, Sr. (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937), an American industrialistwho played a prominent role in the early oil industrywith the founding of Standard Oil (ExxonMobilis the largest of its descendants. ).He was second of six children and his father was was a traveling salesman ofdubious products, such as «cancer cures,» a philanderer and bigamist.16-year-old Rockefeller began his career as an apprentice bookkeeper at Hewitt& Tuttle for 50 cents a day. His seriousness, diligence, and honesty led tosteadily increasing responsibilities and pay over the next two years.Nevertheless, Rockefeller reached the point where he felt he was no longergetting paid according to his contribution and, in 1859, left to form his ownproduce commission business with a partner, Maurice Clark. Clark &Rockefeller quickly became a successful firm, and its partners accumulatedenough capital to invest in other Cleveland businesses. His business became more and more successfull.In the early 1870s,he established Standard Oil company, which soon become oneof the largest shippers of oil and kerosene in the country.Over a forty-yearperiod, Rockefeller built Standard Oil into the largest and most profitablecompany in the world, and was for a time the richest man in the world.His business career was controversial. He was bitterly attacked by muckrakingjournalists; his company was convicted in federal court of monopolisticpractices and broken up in 1911. He spent his last forty years focused onphilanthropic pursuits, primarily related to education and public health,eventually giving away most of his wealth. Rockefeller and many other businessmen reached thir wellfare only by their hard work and intelligence.
JackLondon in his novel «Martin Iden» also described a character of anilliterate «a self made man» sailor, a hardworking, determined, persistant person, who was not afraid of anytype of work, energetic and composed,so that he could learn the everithing fromreading to philosophy by himself that’s why became a famous wrighter andreached fame wealth.
Silicon Valley initiated the Computer Age andthe dot-com boom.Companies such as Hewlett-Packard, eBay, Yahoo!,Intel,Google,Apple,and Oracle remain headquartered there.
In the 20th century, the American Dreamhad its challenges. The Great Depression caused widespread hardshipduring the Thirties, and was almost a reverse of the dream for those directlyaffected. Racial instability did not disappear, and in some parts of thecountry racial violence was almost commonplace.
The comfortable, not very hard life in thefamily circle became the main idea ofthe American Dream in the 50s of the XX century. Since the end of World War II,young American families have sought to live in relative comfort and stabilityin the suburbsthat were built up around major cities. This led to the rise of the relativelyconservative 1950s, when many pursued the «perfect family» as a partor consequence of the American Dream. This period was shattered by a newgeneration of young people who embraced the hippie valuesof the 1960s,denying traditional values such as the American Dream. In modern times, theAmerican Dream is seen as a possible accomplishment, as all children can go toschool and get an education. Though the drive to it waned during those years,the dream itself has never died out.
In the 1990s, the pursuit of aneven newer version of the American Dream could be seen in the Dot-com boom.People in the United States, as well as the world poured their energy into thenew Gold Rush — the Internet.It was again driven by the same faith that by one's ingenuity and hard work,anyone can become successful in America. Ordinary people started new companiesfrom their garages and became millionaires. This new chapter of the AmericanDream attracted many entrepreneurial people from China and India and elsewhere to SiliconValley to form startups, and seek fortune in America.
Another recent example of the AmericanDream being realized is the case of Tamir Sapir.An immigrant from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, Sapir arrived in America in 1973 and started as a taxicabdriver in New York City. Saving up to buy an electronicsstore, he catered primarily to Russian clientele. Eventually he made contacts with the Sovietcontingent to the United Nations in New York, and tradedelectronics for oil contracts, which he then sold to American companies.Investing the profits in Manhattan real estate,he became a billionaire by 2002, less than thirtyyears after arriving penniless in America. Like many rags toriches stories, his is a unique one that would be hard to replicate.Yet today Sapir is becoming known as America's «billionaire cabbie».
Criticismof the American Dream
Nowadays the American Dream is oftenregarded as wrong conception of style of life, and it's ideas – errneous as itpropagandizes low moral standards. The argumets proving this point of view arethe following:It propogandizes <a href=«en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumerism» " title=«Consumerism»>consumerism and <a href=«en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_materialism» " title=«Economic materialism»>economic materialism. Its emphasis on material possessions as a way of finding happiness is seen by critics as being somewhat superficial or meaningless. Many literary works level exactly that criticism at the American Dream, such as Arthur Miller's play <a href=«en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_a_Salesman» " title=«Death of a Salesman»>Death of a Salesman. The play, a classic American work of literature, finds the main character Willy Loman struggling to come to grips with the fact that his American Dream is unattainable. The American Dream is criticized as promoting an ethic of selfishness and promoting social inequality. The American Dream is criticized as a useful ideal for social control by encouraging people to spend their time and energy working hard for material possessions rather than working to change the balance of power and the way that society is structured. The concept of the American Dream also ignores other factors of success such as luck, family, language, and wealth one is born into. Proponents of the dream argue that starting wealth is irrelevant because of the belief that there is no level of poverty from which one cannot rise with hard work and determination. Some consider the American dream to be having two children and living in a house with financial security. Currently this iconic middle class lifestyle is however not lived by the majority of the population but rather only by a sizable minority.Certain laws allow the wealthy to keep more of their money. For example, the recent cuts in the <a href=«en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estate_tax_%28United_States%29» " title=«Estate tax (United States)»>estate tax and capital gains taxes may work to further solidify wealth once it is earned. A counter to this argument are studies that show that «great family wealth» is nearly always lost in three generations. It can be difficult to successfully start a business. One reason is because of the economies of scale necessary to survive in a <a href=«en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commoditization#Commoditization» " title=«Commoditization»>commoditized market, although many markets today are not commoditized. Research has suggested that features like IQ and <a href=«en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extroversion» " title=«Extroversion»>extroversion may give certain people some advantages over others when it comes to making smart business decisions or career choices, and in establishing a social network. As in other countries, actions considered ethical vary between Americans. For example, a CEO who sees certain stock options as excessive monetary gain would find it harder to attain great wealth than one with a different viewpoint. The <a href=«en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_dream» " title=«American dream»>American dream may have an overtone and influence in promoting <a href=«en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Materialism» " title=«Materialism»>materialism philosophy with herd instinct effects.
II The Russian mentality.
The way of development of Russian culture,forming of it's social and political thought, Russian ideals have always beenquiet different from the western one.
Original criterion of nationaloriginality, the special formula of «Russian» became «amysterious Russian soul ». And what the depth of this mysteriousness isverified by? It is told, that it «by arshin can't be measured ». TheRussian soul is often thought to be many-sided andrich. Distinctive and most appreciable features of Russian nationalcharacter were formed not in a one day, and developed centuries, absorbing initself such epoch, asunification of <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Russia</st1:place></st1:country-region>, theMongolian yoke, heathenism and acceptance ofChristianity, board of monarchs and arrival of the Soviet authority.
The basic, deepest character traitof Russian people is its religiousness and the search of absolute goodsconnected with it, e, such goods, which can be found only in God's Empire. Theperfect goods without any impurity of a harm and imperfections exists in God'sEmpire because it consists of the persons who are quite carrying out in theirbehavior two precepts of Jesus Christ: love the God more than itself and fellow creature, as itself. Members of God'sEmpire are absolutely free from egoism and they create absolute values — moralgoods, beauty, knowledge of true, the blessing indivisible and ineradicable,serving to all world. The relative blessings- those, using of which for onepersons brings prosperity, and for others do harm, do not combine with the ideaof God's Empire. The pursuit of them makes the main maintenance of a life of apersons with egoistical character, i. е. persons who do not possess the perfect love tothe God and prefer itself to others.
Search of absolute goods is notmeant, certainly, that by the Russian person, for example the commoner ismeaningly attracted to God's Empire, having in the mind a complex system ofdoctrines about it. Fortunately, in a soul of a person there is a forceattracting to goods and condemning angrily, irrespective of a degree ofeducation and its knowledge: this force — a voice of conscience. The Russianperson possesses especially sensitive distinction of good and harm; he sharp-sightedlynotices imperfection of all acts and customs, being never satisfied with themand never stops to search the perfect goods. According to Dostoevsky, simple,having little education people can reach high spiritual life. The best exampleis the book «Frank stories of the wanderer to the confessor ».Dostoevsky finds synthesis and end of all kind properties of Russian people inits Christian spirit. «Perhaps, the only love of russian people is theChrist », — Dostoevsky thinks. Having recognized sanctity as the maximumvalue, aspiring to absolute goods, Russian people, Dostoevsky says, does noterect terrestrial relative values, for example a private property, in a rank of«sacred» principles.
To number of primary properties ofRussian people, together with religiousness, search of absolute goods and willpower, are concerned the love of freedom and its maximum expression — freedomof spirit. This property is closely connected with search of absolute goods.Askoldov in his clause " Dostoevsky's Religious and ethical value "says, that the person as the individual essence, demands that all norms of alife have to receive his personal sanction, i. е. they have to be selected and estimated eitherthinking, or irrational moral intuition, or experience. Therefore the stronglypronounced person often enters the conflict to external conditions, can evencommit a crime «in the search of higher rules of behavior».Dostoevsky represents character of Russian people, daringly putting on trialvalues and generally accepted norms. The examples of such people areRaskolnikov, Stavrogin and Ivan Karamazov.
Owing to free search of the truthand courageous criticism of values, makes difficult to Russian people to cometo an agreement with each other for a common cause. Jokers speak, that whenthree Russian will begin to argue about any question, as a result there will beeven not three, but four opinions because someone from participants of disputewill hesitate between two opinions. In the organizations based for any commoncause, easily arise splits, form different parties, circles; in politicalparties — some fractions.
In a public life love of freedom ofRussians is expressed in propensity to anarchy, in pushing away from the state.K. Aksakov has developed the characteristic doctrine for Slavophiles about thestate. It approves, that Russian people sharply distinguishes «their Land»and the state. The «Land» is a community; it lives according to theinternal, moral truth. Shubart writes: «to Russian and in general toSlaves is peculiar the aspiration to freedom, not only freedom from a yoke offoreign people, but also to freedom from fetters of all passing and transitory».
Contempt for narrow-mindedness, forbourgeois concentration on the property, on earthly blessings, on that «tolive as all», to have good conditions, a dress, an apartment is anextremely characteristic feature of Russian society. Herzen, Dostoevsky,L.Tolstoj, having seen a life of the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Western Europe</st1:place>,with disgust describe its petty-bourgeois character. Ivanov-Razumnik haswritten three-volume, rather detailed work «History of Russian publicidea. Individualism and narrow-mindedness in the Russian literature in a lifeof XIX century.» The term «narrow-mindedness», according toIvanov-Razumnik, includes such conceptions as collective mediocrity, amoderation and accuracy, hatred to bright individuality. Lev Tolstoy at thebeginning of his literary activity in the story "<st1:City w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Lucerne</st1:place></st1:City>" has described egoisticalisolation in itself of the rich people living in magnificent hotel with greatindignation. In blossoming of the art creativity he has stigmatized narrow-mindedness,having represented in «War and peace» Berg's and his wife'spersevering diligence «to live as all». In his «Dead souls»N. V. Gogol depicts a brilliant character of Chichikov, a person, whose aim oflife was the pursuit of richness. The reader can see the sarcasm the authorspeaks not only about the main character, but about the whole Russian nobilityand officialdom, i.e. about the ruling rich classes.
Unlike others, «Russian dream»includes such rare component as social. The main Russian question formulated byDostoevsky is: «And whether there is all happiness of the world of tear ofthe unique children?» Europeans,especially Americans, are not really interested in humanism; they just want toseem philanthropic. As <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Russia</st1:place></st1:country-region>has always had ideas about public happiness the communism, with it's ideas ofequality of all people and their well-being because of collective labour, in <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Russia</st1:place></st1:country-region> has beenprogrammed.
III The comparative analysis of values of Americanand Russian young men
l<span Times New Roman"">Purpose:To make a social questioning among youngRussian and American people in the age of 14 – 19 years about their values andplans on future in order to compare them and to find out the possibility ofrealization of the American Dream in Russian reality.
l<span Times New Roman"">Tasks:1) To make a social inquiry among Russianyoung men
2) To make a social inquiryamong American young people.
3) To compare the results ofboth tests.
4) To make a conclusion.
1.<span Times New Roman"">Methods of research.In the work was used a method ofsocial questioning. The Russian and American young people were asked the samequestions, concerning their plans on future life, their values and moralstandards. In addition the Russians were asked special questions about theirpreferences of a choice ofproduction of a masscult concerning the country of the manufacturer. Theinterrogation of Russian young people was made in the gymnasium №11 and Artschool №1. The Americans were asked on the Internet.
The questions the respondents wereasked are the following.
1.<span Times New Roman"">Choose the most important for youvital value:
The results: (number of people)
<img src="/cache/referats/24805/image002.gif" align=«left» hspace=«12» v:shapes="_x0000_s1036">
2.<span Times New Roman"">What is the most important thing youneed to do in the nearest 15 years?
The most popular answers are (innumber of persons):
To success in my career
To establish a family
To get a good education
To earn money
To travel round the world
Russian young people's answers
<img src="/cache/referats/24805/image004.gif" v:shapes="_x0000_i1025">
American young people's answers
<img src="/cache/referats/24805/image006.gif" v:shapes="_x0000_i1026">
The special questions, consideringthe attitude of Russian young people to American culture, and to <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>America</st1:place></st1:country-region> ingeneral were the following:
1) — Nameyour three favourite films and the country of the manufacturer.
— Do you prefer to listen to domestic orforeign music?
— Do you prefer books of the American orRussian writers?
About preference of a choice offilm-production it was found out, that 63 % of the interrogated teenagerschoose the American cinema for viewing. But, despite of this choice, the groupof teenagers (46 %) says, that if in Russiahigh-quality film-production was made, they, certainly, would look our cinemawas made. 31 % interrogated prefer only Russian films, and these are films ofSoviet times. The remained 6 % can't choose the answer.
43 % of young people have chosen theAmerican singers and the American groups. 28 % are declined aside Europeanmusical production and only 29 % listen to exclusively Russian music.
The Russian young people answered aquestion on preference on book production as follows. 62% read only Russianliterature. And in the majority it is the classical literature. 22 % chooseforeign writers, 16 % from them prefer the American literature (Steel, Sheldon,King). At this part of interrogated the style of a fantasy uses success.
2) In orderto understand what do Russian young people think about the influence of theAmerican culture and the American Dream upon them they were asked the followingquestions:
— Whether the American cultureinfluences personally on you?
-How do you think, whether there isan Americanization of Russian culture? In what degree?
-Do you agree with the main idea ofthe American Dream?
The majority of young people (83 %)are assured that there is a strongly pronounced process of penetration of theAmerican masscult in the Russian youth subculture, i.е. process of Americanization. Though 62 % ofinterrogated speak that they don't feel on themselves influence of the Americanculture, in their answers the following idea is traced: the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>USA</st1:place></st1:country-region> at thegiven stage of historical development takes the leading positions, including inmanufacture movie and musical production.
The answers referring to theAmerican Dream have divided approximately 50:50. 54% of people say that itsidea is right as we live in the epoch of capitalism and only a person himselfcan reach success in every sphere of life and prosperity that is the main aimof life. Others (45%) say that American Dream propagandizes egoism, the peoplewho live according its principles often forget about humanity, friendship,family relations and kindness.
According to the results we come toa conclusion that American and Russian people's values are still quietdifferent. Russian young people put an emphasis on such aspects of life asfamily, friendship. They are also interested in getting a perfect education, tobe erudite persons, but they do not forget that it is impossible to live inmodern society without money. Americans, on the contrary, are mostly interestedin getting success in their career, earning a big sum of money. But they arenot much concerned in studying hard and getting high education.
Speaking about the impact of theAmerican culture on Russian one it is necessary to note a high degree ofinfluence of the American masscult on subculture of the Russian young people.Traditional values of the Russian culture are steady, and the hobby for theAmerican culture is explained by aspiration for «the present»,fluidity and variability of a youth fashion.
The American culture impacts greatlyon other subcultures and the Russian one is not the exception. Mostly thisinfluence becomes apart among young people in the sphere of a masscult as mostof teenagers prefer the American films, music, games. This can be explained bythe better quality of American production and its entertainment character. Theyoung people recognize the penetration of the American culture and they see itas normal, appropriate process as the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>USA</st1:place></st1:country-region> nowadays holds world leadingpositions in many spheres.
But the core of the American cultureand the American Dream itself (half of respondents even criticize its idea) haven'tintegrated in the Russian traditional culture. This proves the statistics. Itreflects that the main part of traditional Russian values hasn't changed: themain part of young people prefer national classical literature, Russian societyis still a patriarchal country, regarding family the most important vitalvalue, respecting friendship, education, healthy style of life. Americans, onthe contrary do not attach importance to family, friendship, education. Theyput emphasis on success, career, material comfort, fame. But, it is necessaryto say, that capitalism has changed the attitude of Russians to money, as both,Americans and Russians, consider earning money one the most important thing.
To sum up, it is possible to saythat nowadays, in view of economical and social situation in <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Russia</st1:place></st1:country-region> andbecause of Russian mentality, the American Dream can't be realized in ourcountry.
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