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The end of Sears, the end of industry, and the end of the former American Dream

A recent article about the imminent collapse of Sears (see below) brings out the mythic resonances of America’s current economic and sociocultural crises with gripping clarity, and also with more than a dose of poignancy. Read it and, if not weep, then at least feel properly braced and saddened, and not only at the colossal mess the whole situation currently embodies but at the future-less dream that Sears represented for several generations of people. Although the overt thrust of the article is to point out that the company’s troubles are self-inflicted, since the company failed to change with the times and meet the demands of the new business model that arose with Wal-Mart etc., the underlying point is clear: that the so-called American Dream, as conceived in terms of open access to middle-class material prosperity and upward mobility, is not just on the rocks but is, perhaps, exhaling its last breath.

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