Our society is becoming more deeply aware, thanks in part to the Occupy Wall Street movement, of the immense shift in values that has occurred over the past few decades. America has transformed from a country being embarrassed about its private drive to “keep up with the Joneses” into a nation that flat out worships wealth. Income growth and income disparity increasingly favor only the wealthy and it seems like everyone “wants to be a millionaire.”
But the tide may be turning. "McMansions" and "Hummers" are becoming, to many, symbols of grotesque excess and narcissism rather than high social status. Donald Trump is a laughingstock. Our relationship to selfish greed and money deserve continued close scrutiny. Your responses to the following statements can be a starting point for some serious deliberation about what you want our country to look like in the future:
1. People with motivation and a plan to become millionaires deserve success more than those who mainly just want to live a good life.
2. It is logical for the wealthy to earn 1,000 times what an average worker earns, even when that disparity drives down wages so that average workers cannot afford to live in a middle class neighborhood and send their children to college.
3. People are essentially rational, making choices based on their own long-term self interests.
4. The conservative “free market” ideology is built upon a true understanding of how markets work, and not a scam put together by the ambitious to justify their greed.
5. Poor people are generally lazy and/or stupid and don’t deserve the good things in life.
6. I can spend tens of thousands on elective cosmetic surgery without feeling ashamed of how narcissistic that is.
7. God wants everyone to be filthy stinking rich.
8. It is fine to make large profits from wars.
9. There is nothing wrong with lying, cheating and stealing as long as you don’t get caught.
10. I deserve all the money I can possibly get, and don’t care if others don’t have the basic necessities of life.
11. People who are wealthy deserve a dominant voice in running this country because they know how to manage people and make money.
12. Life is all about competition; dog eat dog, and survival of the fittest.
13. The American Dream is the 1% and not the “middle class”.
14. What’s good for the wealthy (job creators) is good for America.
15. We need to take care of our individual needs. The earth will be just fine.