Tales of the Great Recession
In this book, I want to give a synopsis of my personal experience during the Great Recession in the United States from 2008 to 2011. This time was extremely hard financially for millions of Americans and I was part of that wave of people that lost their jobs during this time. In the United States, your job is what defines you and it is the first topic of conversation with someone at the coffee shop or at the bar. Many of my friends that emigrated from Europe in the late 2000’s was shocked and appalled by the idea that your identity is tied to your job in this country. They would say that in Europe, people judged you by the level of education achieved and not by the type of employment that you had.
In all discussions with my previous friends, I would invite them to read the Protestant Ethic by Max Weber and how this book goes into detail into the spirit of capitalism. This is the way that the American system was designed with the idea that everyone has a chance to succeed if they work hard. The book goes into detail into the spirit of capitalism, but therefore I invited my friends to read it and capture the ideas that formed this great country that they were now part of.
However, I did face resistance from most of them that I went to school with while pursuing my master’s degree in Sociology first at City College then at Brooklyn College. They did not agree with the idea that your job should define who you are as a person and looked at the level of education as a measure of one’s success or failure in life. I must admit that it is quite challenging to defend your thesis against people that were brough up in the Eastern Bloc in Europe and only saw the fruits of labor of Communism in the Soviet Bloc.
I remember growing up my father had to wake up at 3 AM every Tuesday to stand in line so that they could be given three liters of milk for the week along with portions of meat, fruits, and vegetables. The country was under a dystopian dictator whose only goal was to align himself with the Soviet Union and felt that communism was the golden standard under which every society should operate.
Even though my country underwent a brief period of Socialism, it was not at the level where it is seen in a country like Germany. That is where it perfectly aligns with the way that people should live, and the government makes sure that everyone is healthy and has a job, but they contribute a large portion of their…