- Jeremy Rifkin (2005) defines the European dream as the dream whereby people find security through respect of human right, maintainable development and connectivity. He explores the European dream by first examining the American dream and giving the comparisons between the two sets of dreams. Most people consider the American dream as the guideline towards their prosperity. Individuals work very hard to become successful in life just like the American way. Jeremy Rifkin considers the American dream as outdated and misleading in the current world and defines the European dream as that seeks to rectify the many shortfalls in the modern world. This article seeks to examine the European dream juxtaposing it with American dream.
- According to the European dream social justice is defined as that which brings equality among individuals and rejects discrimination based on the sexual orientation, social class, gender, and ethnicity (Newman 2011). On the other hand, American dream has lagged behind in promotion of social justice in the United States. American dream is lucidly based on ability to work hard to succeed despite the fact that individuals come from different backgrounds, which influence their success in life.
- The European dream is characterized by six features, which is aimed at improving the life the citizens in the European nations. Firstly, the European countries would want to see a country where citizens are able to access minimal economic security. Secondly, ensuring safe and comfortable environment for all citizens. Thirdly, promotion of social and economic equality among its citizens. Fourthly, provision of human care for the needy. Fifthly, creation of personal dignity and autonomy. Lastly, creation of connectivity among individuals (Rifkin, 2005). The European nations have a view that it is the duty of the government to combat poverty by doing all the six “hallmark features” (Rifkin, 2005). Governments of various nations should have a collective responsibility to ensure that well-being of all the citizens are met. The European dream provides an avenue for collective responsibility where equality among the citizens is guaranteed. Unlike nations such as U.S. in which an individual’s success is purely determined by his/her ability to work hard. The aspect of hard work pays has increased the gap between the rich and the poor leading to the usual class dominance phenomenon in a society. The European dream is therefore, justifiable and practical.
- Safeguarding liberty has a mixed blessing to both European dream and American dream. European countries safeguard liberty through a collective responsibility by levying high taxes on corporate bodies. The income from taxes is then used to better the life of all individuals by ensuring that poverty is alleviated. On the other hand, the government of the U.S. is very good at safeguarding liberty by enacting laws that provides freedom to her citizens, for instance, freedom of speech. The American dream has it that every individual is at liberty to pursue happiness through hard work.
- Procedural and substantive rights brings about important aspects in the discussion of European and American dreams. The Americans strive to have the best life through working hard. This is encouraged by the feature of American dream which embraces an individual’s ability to acquire material wealth. This kills the objectives of the substantive rights. The American dream embraces the substantive rights, while the European dream embraces the procedural rights. The European dream, on the other hand, embraces honesty and concern for other by getting enough in order for others to also get the same values. European dream encourages living a modest life.
- According to August Palm’s speech about socialism, substantive rights give the capitalists an avenue to exploit the employees for their selfish interests. Palm proposes that worker can only be protected from exploitation by the private investors only if the free competition is abolished and the government creates employment opportunities for the people. This is an aspect of procedural right that fits in the European dream. Moreover, Palm brings in the facet of collective responsibility by proposing that the workers should form an association that can aid in monitoring their welfare.
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt gives a speech on the “Economic Bill of Right”, which is a clear facet of the American dream since the rights are substantive (Pederson, 2011). This is also an aspect of success through hard work that fits in the American dream. It encompasses putting rights that governs the operation of citizens without coming up with ways on how the rights can be implemented. For instance, Roosevelt states that citizens have the “right to adequately access medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health”
- Reading out a speech to citizens containing rights and leaving it there shows lack of support from the government to its citizens. Therefore, one can concurs with the European dream since it puts European nations into action rather than putting the rights on paper and leaving the citizens to work.
In conclusion, the American dream manifest in one’s material prosperity as s/he moves from tatters to riches through hard work. On other end, European dream is about improving the life of the people. It puts emphasis on the available opportunities for individuals and the welfare of the society. The European dream sets up a new era for the nations where the government should take action in ensuring that all citizens get all the basic services that they need. This is a dream that should be embraced by all nations in the world.