The American Dream: Is it Over?

In the year 2004, while most of the world disagrees with the United States' decision to go to war with Iraq, why are so many Indians still so eager to come to the United States? If you ask the average educated person in his 20s in urban India, he will tell you it's for "opportunity". Before the year 2000, there was a significant amount of truth to that statement. The United States offered unparalleled opportunity to Indians to succeed without having to deal with bureaucracy, corruption and discrimination.

In the last several years, however, the tides have changed. Many high-tech corporations have been hiring in India and offering competitive wages allowing young Indians to live a great lifestyle highly comparable to any American lifestyle. Indian universities are recognized as some of the best institutions in the world. So why are Indian professionals and prospective students still coming to the United States when they can get a great education, make a great salary and be close to their family in India?

The answer to the question lies in India itself. If you look at large Indian urban cities like Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi, you will notice that they have transformed significantly over the last few years. Parts of Mumbai are unrecognizable if you haven't been there recently: trendy Baristas, expensive night clubs and fancy restaurants. It's no longer just opportunity that attracts most young professionals. It is much more superficial. It is the lifestyle and culture depicted in Hollywood movies, MTV and American propaganda - "drugs, sex and rock n'roll".

As we enter the middle of this decade, I wonder if the United States will continue alluring Indians in India as it does today. Technology has already made the world a smaller place and as the job landscape becomes much more competitive, wages in India will continue to rise. More importantly, Indian lifestyle, culture, art and music are making its way to mainstream America. "Monsoon Wedding" played in movie theaters across America; Indian music is mixed with hip-hop and frequently played at bars and clubs across the US; Hindi movies are gaining more popularity than ever with Indians living abroad. Are we witnessing an inflection point? Over the next decade, I think we will see a gradual reverse-trend developing where Indians in the United States will go to India to experience the Indian lifestyle. The brightest minds will stay in India, advance its economy and live the Indian dream.

Comments (3)

  1. William Prado says:

    Greetings! First, congratulations on the excellent article. I am a doctoral student conducting research on global business risk and would like to post an invitation to participate in a survey on your Blog. The purpose of this email is to request permission to do so. I could include it as part of a comment to one of your posts in the Blog. Or, you could post it separately. In advance thank you for the consideration. The invitation text would be as follows:


    I am a doctoral student at University of Phoenix, working on a Doctor of Business Administration degree. I am conducting a research study and this is an invitation to participate. The purpose of the study is to examine environmental uncertainty perceptions associated with cross-border business.

    If you have entered a foreign market (for example, your company extended credit to a buyer in a new market for the first time, or invested in a new market by purchasing shares, or established a sales office in a new market, etc.), in advance thank you for answering the online questionnaire at: This is an anonymous questionnaire. Again thank you and Happy New Year!


    William H. Prado

    Doctor of Business Administration Student

    School of Advanced Studies, University of Phoenix



    William Prado

    Director, MBA Program

    Assistant Professor

    Green Mountain College

    Office (802) 287-8250

    New England, USA (Eastern Time Zone)

    Doctor of Business Administration Student

    School of Advanced Studies, University of Phoenix


  2. Nishant Sivakumar says:


    Whatever the increases in Indian salaries have been, it’s still no way near as good as it is in North America.

    I’ve blogged about that here :-

  3. ArpanS says:

    That’s true in absolute money but not in buying power. Buying power varies from rural india to urban india and from different cities to cities. And even if they are still getting paid less than they would in the US when comparing buying power, it’s not considerably less. For example, I know solid developer with a few years of experience making 1 lakh/month working for American companies in India. While that ony equates to 2.2k a month = ~ 25k/year, that is arguably the equivalent to 120k US if buying power is 1:5. Again, rough math… but the point is that you can demand a salary roughly equal to an american salary and have a similar standard of living and be with your family and part of your culture.

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