The American Dream is Really Just Survivorship Bias on Steroids

in politics •  4 months ago

I am originally from Europe but since most of the world has been Americanized it has become harder and harder to distinguish which values stem from one country and which ones from another. Sometimes things get even more complicated since countries belong to larger sets of composite cultures. Western culture for example is one of those, and the American culture, the king. The American Dream, the crown jewel.

The American Dream always involved the idea that once someone goes to America, anything is possible. One can do anything. Eventhough a 10 year old child can decipher that this can be done in any country, Americans propagated this idea heavily since after decimating both sides of the World War, it was really the only place a human being could have a decent future.

This idea of the American dream is still very popular. The narrative that those who try the most deserve it. Those who work the hardest, or the smartest. Those who have some kind of special spirit. And unfortunately the propaganda is so massive that very few seem to notice that they are victims of one of the biggest biases in human history.


Survivorship bias refers to the idea that we only pay attention to those who made it. Nobody can or wants to listen the dead, the losers or the ones who didn't made it. I mean, they didn't make it because they weren't good enough right? They didn't have enough grit, right? Because if everyone tries as hard as those who made it, everyone would be enjoying the same wealth, fortune, health etc and the world problems will be eliminated. Right? Fuck economics, toilet cleaners, people and business to exploit. We would be the Borg from Startrek. Everyone will be the same insanely fantastic, rich, successful and every page on social media will be a facade of awesomeness!

The drug of the American Dream or the survivor-ship bias is rampant in social media and there is no sign of stopping because this is more or less another expression of the law of the jungle. Very few want to think that due to the nature of competition only few make it and at the end once power has been amassed, nobody cares how you got it. You are a winner after all. This is why everyone stops thinking about Zuckerberg, Bezos, Steve Jobs and many others that they where dirty, but hey, "this is how the world is". This is why the world has the same calamities as before. The people don't change. Only their ways do.

So suck up your survivor-ship-bias pill, work 9-5 or put your passion into a startup of a business idea and if you are "persistent" enough, you will make it. Wait for the others to tap out from the "American Dream" because they don't want it enough. Praise those who made it and try to be like them. Enjoy the rat race since really, what else is out-there to do other than "fake it until you make it" and a circle of pretentiousness about how you want the world to be.

Its not politicians that create wars. Its not the corporations that suck the life out of you. You are the creator and the one who sustains this mentality. You are the one who will pass the idea of "I am the best" to your children, and they will do the same. You are part of the reason this entire mentality flourishes. At the end of the day, every calamity you are trying to ignore in the world, every bad thought about the realities of this planet, will make you even a bigger hypocrite and more distant from what is actually going on. And will leave you wondering "Why do so many people suck and why not everybody cannot be like me?!". Said (almost) every survivorship bias victim.

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Well, "its lonely at the top" is a phrase quoted by many who have made it from rags to riches.

People like Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad/Poor Dad) tells all kinds of stories of trying to help people get into the house renting market (which is one half of how he got rich) and how many people decided to chicken out, to find some excuse to not get rich.

Then there are many stories of successful entrepreneurs who wanted to sell their companies and move on. They tried to sell it to one of their employees, and rarely do the employees want to take on the role of being boss.

Further, 80% of the stuff is created by 20% of the people.
And really, it mostly boils down to the drive to do something, to be more than you are being now. Sure, talent helps, but it is not at all a deciding factor. Likewise, being born rich does not insure any drive. Many rich men have tried to instill drive into their children and failed.

So, when you actually look at successful people, you find people that after failing, got up and tried again. So, not only the survivors but the ones that tried again. Most people don't even try.


I feel like this sentiment ignores that "trying" is a lot of work. Most of those people that are lonely at the top have to entirely ignore the rest of their lives to have that success. A lot of people would way rather have a comfortable and safe life than strike it rich and I find that totally understandable.

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Hmmm, this call for a very deep thought.
Everyone want to be like the most successful guy in town, while no one want to learn the way of the unsuccessful one.

Many of those we celebrated are the one creating problems for humanity, but who cares since we value their success and not how they acquired it.

I pity the coming generations, because the culture we are passing to them is the one that kept us where we are now.

While it may be easier or even possible to be successful here compared to elsewhere, it still ain't easy.

Strangely similar to opium for the masses, taking over from other religions. It's our own fault if we take the opium, we can't blame the outside world for that, but that doesn't mean it is not interesting to as the old question: Cui bono?

Interesting take on "The American Dream". When you say work 9-5 and you will make it, I feel like you are referring to a previous generation. Now it's work 8-6 and come in on the weekend. These concepts are also what drive capitalism to be as productive as it is on the backs of everyone in the country. Elon Musk and his companies are great examples of this. Personally, I think it's important for everyone to live balanced lives where work is balanced with the rest of our lives. It is certainly an interesting topic.