American Depressions Series: Introduction

Posted on November 13, 2011 by


Editorial Note: Socialist Agenda will be running a week-long series. The series was originally published on in January 2010. The author is Harriet Fraad. Dr. Harriet Fraad has a thriving private practice in New York City. Her special interests include problems in intimate relationships and eating disorders; her special competence lies in the practices of psychotherapy and the uses of hypnotherapy. She publishes widely on the social causes and consequences of psychological problems.

By Harriet Fraad

An unnatural economic and psychological disaster has struck America. Five contributors, each interacting with and shaping the others, have devastated the American moral, economic, psychological, and social landscape. Each is fed by related streams, but each contributes its own force to the disaster. The American dream in which each generation surpassed the previous generation in real wages has all but disappeared, along with dreams of an intact family, a steady job, a home, and an honest supportive community.

This article looks at each of five collaborators in the crisis in order to answer the following questions:

How did this happen? What forces are responsible?

Why are Americans passive as millions lose their homes, their jobs, their families, their hopes of justice, and the American dream?

Why do Americans remain disorganized at home while their European and Asian counterparts flood into the streets and strike in militant, organized protest? Why do others believe in their potential to reclaim their lives while we do not?

What happened is a result of at least five major, interrelated forces. One is a transformation of American morality, and with it the loss of belief that the social and political realms could be shaped by morality, ethics, and secular spirituality. Another is an economic depression. A third is a transformation of the family, which has been the foundation of American emotional life. A fourth is the decimation of Americans’ social participation in all areas, from bridge clubs and PTAs to political parties. A fifth is the tranquilizing and numbing of the American population with psychotropic medications.

Monday: The Crisis in Morality and Social Ethics
Tuesday: The Dying of the Economic Dream
Wednesday: What Produced the Crisis in Personal and Family Life?
Thursday: Americans’ Increasing Isolation from One Another
Friday: The Drugging of America
Saturday: What Can We Do? Internet Organizing

Posted in: Freelance