The American Dream is in decline. Americans are increasingly overworked, underpaid, and squeezed for time. But there is an alternative: the European Dream-a more leisurely, healthy, prosperous, and sustainable way of life. Europe's lifestyle is not only desirable, argues Jeremy Rifkin, but may be crucial to sustaining prosperity in the new era.
With the dawn of the European Union, Europe has become an economic superpower in its own right-its GDP now surpasses that of the United States. Europe has achieved newfound dominance not by single-mindedly driving up stock prices, expanding working hours, and pressing every household into a double- wage-earner conundrum. Instead, the New Europe relies on market networks that place cooperation above competition; promotes a new sense of citizenship that extols the well-being of the whole person and the community rather than the dominant individual; and recognizes the necessity of deep play and leisure to create a better, more productive, and healthier workforce.
From the medieval era to modernity, Rifkin delves deeply into the history of Europe, and eventually America, to show how the continent has succeeded in slowly and steadily developing a more adaptive, sensible way of working and living. In The European Dream, Rifkin posits a dawning truth that only the most jingoistic can ignore: Europe's flexible, communitarian model of society, business, and citizenship is better suited to the challenges of the twenty-first century. Indeed, the European Dream may come to define the new century as the American Dream defined the century now past.
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At one time the American Dream was the ideal and envy of the world. But today, at the dawn of the new Millennium, Europe is pointing a new way to the future. In this major new book, best-selling author Jeremy Rifkin argues that Europe has a vision of its own and is overtaking America as the world’s next superpower.
The American Dream was based on economic growth, personal wealth and independence. It was synonymous with love of country and patriotism, frontier mentality and the unbridled exercise of power. Yet what were once considered prime virtues - cherished and idealised not only in America but throughout the world - are increasingly seen by many as drawbacks and even impediments. But while the American Dream tires and languishes in the past, a new European Dream is being born. Today we see a new set of values emerging which are focused on sustainable development, quality of life and multilateralism. More cosmopolitan and less concerned with the brute exercise of power, the European Dream is better positioned to accommodate the many forces that are propelling us into a more interconnected and interdependent world.
Where does Britain fit into this story? The British find themselves betwixt and between a fading American Dream and a newly emerging European Dream which is gaining the upper hand in our contemporary global age. Rifkin argues that Britain is uniquely positioned to play a bridge role between Europe and America and has the potential to help create a synergy between the two superpowers of the 21st century. But in order to exercise any real influence in world affairs, Britain must choose to be part of a larger political entity. In a globally connected world, no people can exist any longer as an island unto themselves. The only question for Britain is whether it will make its home with America or with Europe.About the Author :
One of the most popular social thinkers of our time, Jeremy Rifkin is the bestselling author of The European Dream, The Hydrogen Economy, The Age of Access, The Biotech Century, and The End of Work. A fellow at the Wharton School's Executive Education Program, he is president of The Foundation on Economic Trends in Bethesda, MD.
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