Unless one has been living under a very large rock, one is aware that the The American Dream, while perhaps not dead, is, for many of us, on life support. As a sign of this alarming state of affairs, a plethora of articles have cropped up in various main stream media outlets about how to exist in three hundred square foot dwellings, vacation and recreate within one hours drive of home, and devise meals for the entire family that cost less than five dollars. Recently Yahoo even ran a piece on a man who "chooses" to live life at virtually no monetary cost by inhabiting a cave and foregoing such niceties as heat, refrigeration, and health insurance.
Frankly, these stories, in the aggregate, suggest that our choices of self abnegation are along the lines of virtuous fads made of our own volition. Perhaps, but I doubt it. The truth is more probably that between massive job losses, sizable pay cuts, and the epic private swindling of uber crooks like Bernard Madoff and the even more epic pillaging by Wall Street serpent firms, there is even less wherewithal in the hands of the nation's bottom ninety five percent than ever before. And so, living in houses the size of tool sheds, and preparing dishes about as scrumptious as military MREs, and enjoying one's free time at the local lending library are about the best many of us can scrounge up these days. In the meantime, the disparity between the winner (take all) contingent and the rest of the nation grows greater each day. This growing chasm is nothing but a recipe for both social unrest, and the inevitable response to social unrest, which in our present not so crypto-fascist nation probably involves coercion and restrictions on Constitutional liberties.