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Is the American Dream Killing You?: How "The Market" Rules Our Livesby Paul Stiles
Synopses & Reviews
Have you ever questioned the hyperactivity, the stress, and the competition of your daily life? Are you constantly fighting the pressures that surround you: the time demands, the way people relate to one another, the working hours, the long commute?Have you ever wondered if you should be living a different life — but feel powerless to escape "the way things are"?
In this groundbreaking work, Paul Stiles puts forth a simple idea with tremendous repercussions. Drawing on a decade of research and incorporating numerous photographs and illustrations, he shows that what we commonly refer to as "the market" is more than just an economic means of distribution. For the first time, we see the "free market" not as an unlimited good but as a Jekyll-and-Hyde creature that creates material prosperity at a heavy price. Here, in the unbridled rule of the market over modern life, lies the source of so many of our current ills: the spread of sprawl, widespread environmental damage, the corruption of corporate life, and the polarization of politics.
Stiles illustrates how the market constitutes a belief system unto itself, one that, far from being synonymous with America, is actually innately opposed to the traditional foundations of American life. Thus our national creed is no longer "equality" or "opportunity" but an obsession with market forces, market principles, market values — a veritable "marketocracy." The market is so pervasive in our thinking that one can even divide politics, as Stiles neatly demonstrates, into market liberals and market conservatives.
Stiles shows how this virulent "hypermarket" explains such diverse phenomena as the growth of mental health problems and obesity, the mass migration of women into the workforce and the subsequent breakdown of the nuclear family, the vulgarization of our culture, and the decline of morality and the rise of the winner-take-all society. Here at last is a single, coherent explanation for the world we live in every day.
The "market" is the collective name for every act of buying and selling we participate in. It governs our economy and our lives, determining our values, our goals, and our accomplishments. We make it—and are made by it.
In Is the American Dream Killing You? Paul Stiles shows how the pressures of the market are causing undue stress in all our lives. He explains why there is so little trust in companies, why it seems harder to feel secure, and why we never seem to be able to rest anymore. In this stunningly well-researched and elegantly argued book, Stiles shows that the harried, anxious lives we lead have one common pressure—the market.
About the Author
Paul Stiles is the author of Riding the Bull. A consultant on business strategies, he is a graduate of Harvard and a former member of the United States Navy. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland.
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