What is Giving Compass?
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Giving Compass' Take:
• Brandon Tensley at Pacific Standard interviews literary scholar Sarah Churchwell on how the American dream has shifted from promoting equal opportunity to advancing capitalism.
• How can we redesign capitalism in America? What role does philanthropy play?
"I'm self-made. I grew up in the projects in Brooklyn, New York. I thought that was the American dream." That was billionaire-turned-maybe-presidential hopefulHoward Schultz, recently tossing around a clichéd phrase that means, per Merriam-Webster, "a happy way of living that is thought of by many Americans as something that can be achieved by anyone in the U.S. especially by working hard and becoming successful."
Yet neither that definition of gritty individual achievement, nor Schultz's similar emphasis on being self-made, fits with the phrase's original meaning. Around the early 1900s, "the American dream" spoke to something less capitalist, less self-involved: the broad ideal of democratic and economic equality for all.
Two years before Schultz was known for much beyond his Starbucks empire, another phrase began to be batted around political discourse again: "America first." In his inaugural address in January of 2017, Donald Trump seemed officially to embrace the phrase, which he had first used a year earlier, saying: "We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it's going to be only America first."
Read the full article on the American Dream by Brandon Tensley at Pacific Standard