The postwar American Dream is coming apart at the seams, but a new one is taking its place.

America is running out of everything in 2021: houses, workers, and all kinds of goods.
It’s caused the postwar American Dream, driven by consumerism, to come apart at the seams.
It could usher in a better economy with more freedom to live where you want, better working conditions, and less spending on stuff.

Insider’s Economy team has spent a lot of time waiting for furniture in 2021.

All 10 of us moved in the last year, and half of us bought new couches for our new pads. So far, we’ve spent a total of 45 weeks waiting for them to arrive. After a three-month wait, one editor’s couch arrived and it was the wrong size, so she had to return it. The wait is set to get even longer.

Just like us, most Americans aren’t taking couch shortages sitting down. Headline after headline bemoans the fact that many Americans won’t be reclining in the new couches they ordered for their pandemic digs anytime soon. 

This isn’t just a delivery breakdown. It’s also a sign of the way the American Dream is breaking down in 2021.

When writer and historian James Truslow Adams coined the term in 1931, he defined the American Dream as the opportunity for a better life for all. The postwar boom of the 1950s introduced the house, white picket fence, and other consumerist trappings of the suburban idyll. The global health crisis that ushered in an era of shortages 70 years later is changing everything again.

The housing shortage, the labor shortage, and the supply shortage are coalescing in 2021 to challenge every aspect of the 20th-century American Dream: The affordable house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, the job that pays well and provides meaning, and the consumer culture that meets every need and desire. Americans are at a fork in the road, so what will the next dream be?

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Housing has become a choose your own adventure

The American Dream home became a choose your own adventure quasi-gameshow during the pandemic.

Remote work freed knowledge workers from the chains of office life, bringing the postwar dream in sight as workers snapped up nearly every suburban home. But the dream of suburbia was stronger than the market’s ability to support it, as the ensuing housing shortage left America short millions of homes. It boxed aspiring first-time homeowners out of a cash-is-king seller’s market.

As housing prices continued their upward climb to a record highs of $386,888, the American Dream splintered into four different versions of a better life. “While considerable numbers of folks are still convinced that having the proverbial white picket fence will signify they’ve achieved the American Dream, many others are realizing there are other perfectly valid interpretations of the concept,” Larry Samuel, the founder of Age Friendly Consulting and author of “The American Dream: A Cultural History,” told Insider. 

A healthy 59% of Americans …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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