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One way or another, everyone grows up believing in the American dream, an unspoken contract that if we work hard, behave ethically, spend within our means and put some money aside, we will be rewarded with economic security, a significant other and aspirations within our reach. A dream that has been augmented in recent years with the promise of smart phones, 3-D plasma televisions, eco-friendly luxury cars, and most of all, a new home with a sizable yard in pristine suburban neighborhood with good schools.

Consumption has destroyed the American dream and the earnest assumption that an ideal life is guaranteed by hard work, a college degree and playing by the rules. Instead we are left with entry-level jobs, no opportunity for advancement, no benefits, inescapable debt, and the cold comfort that we avoided a Depression. Our desire for something more has brought consequences visible in every corner of America. In these spaces, we can see the America we have become.

— Carl Gunhouse, Brooklyn, New York, USA