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Monday, 28 February 2011

Political Consciousness and the American Dream

In a survey carried out in 2008 in the US by Pew Research, 91% of those interviewed claimed they were middle-class. In sociological terms, only 45% of people in the US are members of the middle class with 54% being members of the working-class or under-class. Less than 1% of the US population is considered to be members of the upper-class.

In a study in 2005 only 2% of Americans described themselves as “rich”, 31% thought it very likely or somewhat likely they would “ever be rich”. The latest official statistics show that just 1% of Americans own 42.7% of all financial worth. The next 19% own 50.3%. In other words, the bottom 80% own only 7% of all financial worth.

There appears to be a difference between people’s perceptions of reality and the facts of the situation. It seems that the US population has bought into the myth of the “American Dream”. It shows the power of the mass media to develop a false political consciousness. It also explains why the US electorate votes mainly for two political parties that support the status quo.

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