“Americans covet exclusive space. Each person strives to be self-contained and autonomous. That's why we put a premium on privacy. Europeans seek inclusive space - being part of extended communities, including family, kin, ethnic and class affiliation. Privacy is less important than engagement.”
Which doesn't make much sense if I consider Microsoft ran into problems with European privacy rights where Americans didn't care. This morning a complete stranger told me her friend Gerald just had a triple bypass some days before his 70th birthday. Not that I asked. Maybe it's just me, but these things happen to me constantly on this side of the Atlantic. I yet have to find a German who'd tell a random seat neighbor on a plane about her daughter's affair with the pharmacist. So much about the Americans' desire for privacy.
“We Americans [...] if we can afford it, we'd much prefer to place our home at the very top of a hill, and at a distance from our nearest neighbors, afford us a daily reminder of our autonomy.”
That must be why millions of Americans have gathered in mega-cities like LA, Chicago and New York.
That being said, I am not sure how much to trust Rifkin's elaborations on the American Dream either. Thus, I though I'll pass on the question: what does the American Dream mean to you?