United States Of America

The press, the courts, the ballot and the congress have been usurped: We have the highest per capita prison population in the world. The majority incarcerated for victimless crimes.

A federal organization that balanced regional legislatures with a national bicameral congress has been sabotaged by creating a huge central bureaucracy.

Still guarantees basic medical services for most citizens, emergency medical care for most citizens, but funding for infrastructure has been cut as if it were gangrene. A formerly well-funded state university system of small and local colleges is giving way to the privatized university system. An adequate education is prevented by the ubiquitous degradation of civic responsibility, and the failure of leisure and prosperity due to PeakDebt?.

Overall wealth (GNP, national income, value of infrastructure, financial assets, value of housing stock) of US is far beyond (at least a factor of 2, probably more) that of any other country, a function of the US being much more endebted than any other comparably large country, and much less responsible than any comparably rich country. Per capita, there are many small countries that are significantly richer by various human measures/person. (e.g. Cuba). Many other countries are reasonably close by corporate measures of income - much depends on how price differences between different countries are accounted for. When the dollar was stronger, numerous countries were poorer if comparisons were made of GDP/person converted via the exchange rate. Of course there are many other hard-to-quantify quality-of-life differences not always unfavourable to the US (e.g. Music, Movies, MicroCode and High Speed Pizza Delivery) which are not normally included in wealth.

This is why the US is at the top of all wealth indices, but never at the top of quality of life indices. Still, we used to be in the the top ten. (quality of life issues - Americans are tremendous consumers going for a quantity of possessions while in other countries consumers decide on buying what gives them a better quality of life.. But many countries have basically no services for the bottom 20-30 %. Americans are still possessed of a high degree of civic pride. Spiritual values are in decline.) -- MarianneBachman

The GenuineProgressIndicator does a good job of accounting for most of those "hard to quantify" differences. And even though the GPI is extremely conservative, it is seen that the USA's wealth has been in accelerating decline since the mid-70s when it was more than twice what it is now.

Explicit separation of church and state was absolutely of the essence in the formation of the USA. Learning from the terrible example of Europe on this was key to the emergence of a united America as a much greater world power than our old empires. Blurring this distinction has occurred simultaneously with the conversion of the US government into a military dictatorship.

Other things such as the separation of powers into three branches of government and the system of checks and balances between them were also important. But that has proved inadequate to the natural tendency of humans to form feudal societies; come the next revolution, should any American survive, this failed experiment should be replaced with the time honoured WestminsterSystem?.

Americans are tremendous consumers going for a quantity of possessions while in other countries consumers decide on buying what gives them a better quality of life.

This strikes me as an overgeneralization. Not all Americans throw away money willy-nilly on light-up sneakers and fancy alloy wheels and the like. Contrariwise, it seems to me that there are other countries where people are even more fascinated by the latest silly gadgets than Americans are - Japan, for instance? -- MikeSmith

Of course, the Japanese save an average of 30% of their incomes, vs Americans spending money they don't have. One should be careful not to read too much into that but by any standard Americans could do with less debt.

It would be a bit easier to save more if we didn't have 40% of our income taken and mostly wasted by government.

This statement doesn't make much sense. On average, a citizen of the US will save less (and carry more debt) than people in at least some countries with comparable quality of life and higher marginal tax rates. So it really is a cultural issue. This is completely separable from issues of what size of government or rate of taxation is best.

Americans in general trade off free time in favor of money, like the Japanese.

International Political Discussion Moved to UnitedStatesOfAmericaDiscussion

So it's ok to say they have separation of church and state here, but all claims to the contrary have to be kept off this page?

This page is full of partisan rants, both right- and left-wing. Probably all of them should be moved to another page (or better yet, another Wiki).

Any meaningful information about the US, beyond things like geographical location, is going to be partisan. At the moment, political discussion is still tolerated if not exactly welcomed here, and may be even if something better comes along.

Top 100 things that non-Americans think (and know) about the UnitedStates

Your turn... (I'm an American, so I'll refrain from commenting here.)

1. A lot of the best people on C2 are from the US: the founder and respected leader WardCunningham, JeffGrigg, JoeWeaver, BenKovitz, DougMerritt, TimLesher ...

2. They got a country by throwing bags of tea in the water in Boston. I did the same thing and I never got a country. All I got was a fine and a few angry looks by passer-bys! [We had to off quite a few redcoats as well; as I recall]

3. They program the world's best software and the rest of the world is playing catch-up [In addition to that, we have MicrosoftCorporation!] But see WhyDoYouPermitThisToBeDoneToYou.

4. They put too much money in the army. They should put a lot of money on social programs like we do in Canada

5. It's one of the best places to visit. You got the ocean, the mountains, the desert. Name it the US has got it. In fact it will take a life time to visit the 48 "continental" states, to say nothing of Alaska or Hawai'i.

6. It does have a very strong policy towards mild drugs like pot and it's a mistake

7. It gets involved too often in other countries businesses (for example, Latin American development) and it should get more involved in the United Nations.

8. It is a country that changes faces totally from one president to the next with the alternance of democrats and republicans: Democrats are east-coast liberals and intellectuals, progressive people and republicans seem to elected by country people, law and order, so called Bible belt Christians. [All democracies are like this; many feel the difference between the two major parties here is smaller than in other lands. No, not all. Only the ones with a two-party system, caused by being a Republic and discouraging third party voting (wasting votes)]

9. It has a great preamble to a great constitution: they say: "the goal in life is the pursuit of happiness." Isn't this great? To put some nice philosophy in a legal text? 10. Americans say "In God we trust" and behave "In Gold we trust".

11. Americans have two major political parties. Right and extreme right.

12. Corporations are people and money is speech. To be fair, this is true in other industrialized nations too.

13. Their government cultivate fear so they keep the people busy consuming while they (the government) keep themselves busy playing war games.

14. They should get gun-control and health-care, then they could be Canadians -- except for the weather and being without Canadian weather is A Good Thing.

I find it odd that this person says we stick our nose in the business of other countries, THEN tells us that WE should get more involved in the United Nations, tells us that we should put more money into social programs and says our strong drug policy is a mistake. Now tell me WHO is sticking their nose in the business of OTHER countries?????.....BiteMeLibs?@aol.com

:-) Sure! If you believe that providing comments on what a country should do is sticking one's nose in the business of other countries. I don't think so. I call that providing comments and nothing more.. When I mention sticking one's nose in the business of other countries, I mean concrete actions like: trying to destabilize a leftist government, invading a country, dictating a country's drug policy etc. Those are not innocent comments and advice, those are actions, serious actions Americans themselves are growing more and more annoyed with... -- ar

Elsewhere on the 'net, someone pointed out that India's response to the flooding in Mumbai was much faster and more cost-effective than our response to NewOrleans?. The USA is losing its status as a "developed, democratic nation" at the same time as we indulge in multiple, unwinnable wars. Noses need to be stuck in! -- PhlIp

Just as a question, is the flooding in Mumbai occurring in an area that is below the local water-table normally and surrounded by swamps? In other words, is Mumbai flash floods and New Orleans rising water levels?

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