My one complaint about this article, and a lot of articles of the same ilk, is the part where Americans get criticized for not "traveling abroad" and not "seeing foreign countries".
I suspect most american's will travel more MILES than the average european without ever seeing another country. It's far far more expensive for an American to visit other western countries than it is for the average European. We'd absolutely LOVE to be able to fly to France for the price of train ticket from London to Paris. Sadly, the price of oversees airfare is pretty damned high.
I know visiting different states isn't the same as visiting countries but I think people living outside of the U.S. don't understand just how different various U.S. regions are from each other. Really, you might say it's a bit silly to go visiting foreign countries when you haven't even experienced all of the diversity in your own country yet.
The United States is geographically almost as large as the whole of Europe. The closest foreign border to me is Niagara Falls just over 400mi away, and even if I go there, they still speak my native tongue with pretty much the same accent. I don't think there exists any point in Germany that far from another country.
Who cares about states in a foreign country? In this context the size of the city or state is not of any interest.
A typical foreigner to the US probably knows where some large cities in US are without having the slightest clue about which state many of them reside in.
That is my perception of it.
The difference between two neighbouring countries is a huge deal and apparent (regardless if you are a local or not) where you don't even speak the same language, have the same currency (the euro has of course changed that a bit (in Europe)) and for all practical purposes a complete different sets of laws and culture.
The reason for why many cities are notable is because they are the capitals of different countries. Their identity is based on their country. You can hardly say the same about different states in America (to the same extent (of course people that live in America have different accents and prejudices for people in other states etc., but to compare that to different countries?)).
I was referring to this statement. And it is a racist statement. It is exactly as racist as saying "Try Illinois, there are few wetbacks there and fewer all the time." These are clear statements by the speaker that the group in question is both undesirable in general and worthwhile to eliminate or distance oneself from, a belief commonly called racism.
With regard to demographics, few of the thousands of undocumented immigrants likely respond to government questionnaires.
> immigrants likely respond..
Exactly, they are quite underrepresented in the data above, reinforcing the argument. They are in higher concentration the farther south you go.
If you are upset with the word gringo or "fewer..", it was a small attempt at adding levity, perhaps it is a bit flippant.
Your assumptions of my mental state, however, are known psychologically as projection.
Oh, you don't find that interesting? Well, hardly anyone outside Sweden probably does. Pointless knowledge.
No I don't find Swedish cities interesting. But I did not start quizzing you about U.S. cities. If you started quizzing me about Swedish cities, then it would be fair for me to quiz you about American ones. The issue of cities is irrelevant; the concept at discussion is "turnabout is fair play." The guy who asked about Zurich wanted to show how stupid Americans were by trumpeting his culturally specific, regionally biased knowledge. To show how this was just snobbery, an American did the same to him. It doesn't matter if you don't think America is interesting; that's not what this is about.
Note: I actually like Europe; I'm just trying to prove a point.
I don't think most foreigners would agree.
My interest in America isn't in any way related to my interest of the states within America...
That is my point, in a nutshell: the knowledge is relative.
Is the state that large US cities reside in on (foreign) peoples radars?
Only San Franciscans think that. The folks in the rest of Northern CA know better.
The real dividing line in CA runs north/south. SF and LA are on the same side of that line.
Well, yes. Then there's the enjoyment factor. Personally, I've been to Europe multiple times. Hell, I was born there. And frankly, I enjoy going to the Caribbean, Bermuda, and Mexico much more.
> I know visiting different states isn't the same as visiting countries but I think people living outside of the U.S. don't understand just how different various U.S. regions are from each other.
Also spot on. If you live in NYC, going to NOLA is plenty exotic. Vice versa as well. Air fare is almost nothing compared to going to other continents.
The only people who might truly be able to relate would be from China and India. Both countries are large and diverse enough that traveling inside of their borders becomes a rewarding experience.
Are we talking about New Orleans, Louisiana here?
In Canada, you have three choices. British Columbia/Vancouver, Ontario/Ottawa, and Quebec/Montreal. The rest is frozen tundra.
Russia? Leningrad (or whatever they're calling it now), Moscow, and the Black Sea region (might as well go to Ukraine/Odessa for that). The rest is frozen tundra.
So yeah, China and India. It's not about size. It's about the diversity of cultures and climates.
And that's just off the top of my head!
From the cia world factbook(https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/...)
Han Chinese 91.5%, Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uighur, Tujia, Yi, Mongol, Tibetan, Buyi, Dong, Yao, Korean, and other nationalities 8.5% (2000 census)
Yep.. that's a real melting pot there.
For instance, where's Canada's desert? Its jungle?
Of course, that means that countries that don't want to play by US rules (North Korea, Iran, Cuba) get shafted, but it's still a better explanation of the crazy military costs than either fear or corruption.
The size of the US navy dwarfs every other country considerably, even when factoring in oceanic boundaries.
It is not very well known however that Germany saw a much
more vigilant communism hunt at about the same time. While
in the US only about a dozen people ever went to prison
for being Communists, that same number runs in the
thousands in Germany. The communist party was forbidden by
the German high court, and party members who continued
their activities were arrested and sent to prison.
The Stasi was headquartered in East Berlin, with an
extensive complex in Berlin-Lichtenberg and several
smaller facilities throughout the city. It was widely
regarded as one of the most effective and repressive
intelligence and secret police agencies in the world. The
Stasi motto was "Schild und Schwert der Partei" (Shield
and Sword of the Party), that is the ruling Socialist
Unity Party of Germany (SED). Now considered a criminal
organisation, several Stasi officials were prosecuted for
their crimes after 1990.
Incredibly, not a single mention of East Germany or the GDR in this entire document.
I see two reasons for these different approaches to charity: first, Americans distrust big organizations and third world governments; they fear that money they donate to global causes will trickle away in bureaucracies somewhere. Second, Germans intuitively don't feel much of a need to help local organizations or schools: "that's the government's job, that's what I pay taxes for."
I think the main driver for these different approaches is that the German state basically says "in the end we'll help you" while the US says "in the end you're on your own".
The German approach in my opinion does more to alleviate outcast-scale poverty. However, the quality of helping loses because:
a) those who would help mostly help people from other continents since they think that their countrymen are well off anyway
b) those who do help, are put there to help in form of public officers
But even with a strong social-net as in Germany there are still poor people. What happens when a)-people don't care and b)-people just follow orders is that our poors usually never get on their own feet and out of their dependency because their is no one telling them how to help themselves. That's what I mean with quality of helping.
And yes, this article seems very outdated, but to me the subject would still make a promising headline. One thing I observed is that both countries got less different over the years: If you look at the policies regarding the social-net, Europe has tried to become more american (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hartz_concept) while the US has tried to become more european (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affordable_Health_Care_for_Amer...).
Countries in the EU have a mandate to bring down public debt and the easiest place to do that is the welfare system (depending on the economy, most voters think it's too generous in some cases). Since social welfare is so large in Europe there are many places you can "trim".
In the US this is not the case at all. The welfare system has gotten aggressively more meager since the 80s. The AHCAA also isn't about more benefits but cutting public expenditure on healthcare in the long run. It's ridiculously expensive to treat someone in the ER for an infection rather than them having regular doctor visits. The same for birth control, pap smears, and breast exams. Treating early saves the government money. Don't confuse this act with the European welfare system, it is absolutely about saving money for the govt, your health is side benefit.
No, it's billed at ridiculously high rates. That's not the same thing.
ER docs are not paid that much more than primary care docs. The cost of treating an infection in the ER is 1 hour of a doctor's time + drugs. The cost of a regular doctor visit is also 1 hour of the doctor's time + drugs. The hospital might bill at some ridiculous rate, but that doesn't mean it costs a lot.
Breast exams are actually well known not to be cost effective (or even beneficial) for women under 50 (though oddly, congress demands they be provided).
The idea that early action is always better is silly.
You are probably right about the direct labour costs of treating an infection in ER. However, to use the language of computing, the difference between a GP and ER comes down to latency. An ER should be able to react fast, clogging it up with ailments that could be resolved at a leisurely pace earlier, doesn't strike me as a good idea.
Fortunately this is a solved problem - the solution is called "triage". No matter how many coughing people are ahead of you in the queue, spurting blood gets immediate treatment.
Breast exams are actually well known not to be cost effective
Please provide a citation.
So dying from easily treatable diseases (when they are caught) is so much better.
Annual screenings were too aggressive, not ineffective.
Note that this recommendation is solely on medical grounds - that is, the medical cost/benefit ratio suggests routine screenings for women < 49 is pointless. They don't even take into account the financial cost.
I'd be curious how this actually plays out in practice.
In the US, we have a great document called the American Housing Survey. It breaks down what percentage of poor people (and non-poor people) own various goods - e.g., 75% of poor people own a car, 65% own a washing machine and 45% own their home.
Do you know of a similar German document? It would provide some facts to support/dispute your opinion.
100% of poor people in Germany own a health insurance
0% own a house (you have to use up your own money first)
100% own a washing machine (paid for by the government)
50& own a car (my guess, but you dont really need it in big cities)
About the house: If your house is cheap enough, I am not sure whether you have to use it all up completely. (I heard that there's even the possibility under certain circumstances of the government helping you with mortgage payments instead of helping you pay for rent.)
In general, you can live of the government welfare and even raise kids. But you need some skills for that, and they aren't that different from the skills that make for basic employability.
Also, access to financial services (e.g. health insurance) is irrelevant. Financial services are intermediary goods (like education or business suits) - irrelevant by themselves, but sometimes useful to get other things you really want.
It's the best that I know of that is somewhat comparable. In there poverty is defined as proportion to the average income.
Listing what poor people own is propably meant as a measure of quality of life in the US-Census document. I think that is a valid measurement.
The German document measures this quality of life different:
It uses social participation as factor.
From Wikipedia (2004):
I. Member of a political party
people underneath poverty-risk-line: 1.9 %
people above poverty-risk-line: 3.8 %
II. Member of union
people underneath poverty-risk-line: 5.3 %
people above poverty-risk-line: 14.2 %
III. Takes part in signature-collections
people underneath poverty-risk-line: 10.7 %
people above poverty-risk-line: 23.4 %
IV. Takes part in demonstrations
people underneath poverty-risk-line: 1.2 %
people above poverty-risk-line: 6.2 %
and in the document
There we might have another difference between our two countries? I think both approaches to measure quality of life are valid. I would go on an say, combined they would provide a much better result.
For instance, goods in Germany are often much more expensive. And in my opinion, this is due to heavier regulations that drive up costs. I already delay purchases of certain goods to my umpcoming US trips, because I know the low prices in the US will knock me out of my socks.
I should've elaborated on what I mean by "outcast-scale poverty" - that you're endangered by your poorness.
Jelly donuts rant was a nice touch in the end :) .
Yes, you can make some generalizations, but the country is huge and there are many distinct cultural zones. Attitudes and behavior vary widely between them.
Compared to what?
Compared to Madison Wisconsin, maybe, compared to all of Wisconsin, probably not, compared to Texas or CA, not a chance. Heck, South San Jose is more diverse.
In my personal experience (I grew up and spend most of my time in different parts of Germany and Europe, but have worked and lived in Boulder, CO) there is a very distinct and unifying American identity that you do not find like that in Germany. A lot of Germans in the south will define themselves first and foremost by their regional identity, the same is true for people from Hamburg - and the differences are striking, as most Germans from who are from one region but have lived in another will confirm.
That said, comparing whole nations in this manner is entertaining, yet rarely a really fruitful enterprise. People in Wisconsin probably share more similarities with people in Meckelenburg-Vorpommern than they do with New Yorkers, the latter being more similar to people in Berlin etc etc.
Hmm. Los Angeles may have something to say about that.
Re London: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/jan/21/britishidentity1
I certainly was surprised by how monocultural the US appeared to be when I visited. Most noticeable was the relative absence of people from Africa (I don't mean African-Americans), the Middle East and south Asia.
That says more about what you visited than it does about the US.
Within walking distance of my house, there are communities where Portugese, Thai, and Cambodian are the dominant languages. (Yes, separate communities.) If I was more "sensitive", I'd could identify the lines between the Mexican and Guatamalan communities.
And my area is considered "white San Jose".
I understand that there are "Iranian bars" in Mountain View.
There are relatively huge Humong communities in various places in the midwest. (No, not just the cities.)
So looking it up, I find it's a study from Rice University, which is in...Houston. Aha.
London probably is more diverse than LA, but not by a huge amount. Large communities of people from pretty much everywhere in the world.
Also, it looks a lot like you never travelled through Germany from north to south. Every piece of Germany has different traditions, dialects and food. I am from a place where I cannot understand people from the next village. Also, all those parts are pretty vocal: I think Germany is the only country that has developed regional Wikipedias (at least Bavaria, Palatinate and Northern Germany).
At least Portugal (Portuguese, Mirandes) and Spain (Spanish, Galician, Catalan, Basque) also have articles added in the supported country languages.
Different varieties of English could do that, but English tends to center on an American/Commonwealth divide with only the two prestige dialects everyone else sees as the only 'valid' ones.
NASCAR and NFL/College football fans also take such things seriously.
Arizona, which is on the continent, didn't become a state until 1912.
Did leaping, in a hostile fashion, on two words used as a preamble to the point I was making add anything to this discussion not already added by the other comment you made on the thread?
Americans living abroad are not even allowed to give up
citizenship to avoid paying U.S. taxes.
Not to mention it raises the question - if someone renounces their citizenship, what right does the country have to tax them? Doesn't tax come with the right of representation?
That said, I think it glosses over the fact that US states have huge differences and he has only experienced a subset of them.
To wit: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/02/what-makes-germ...
I do. I watch American shows and films exclusively in their original version because of the really bad job they do with the translation. From time to time I catch the dubbed version by accident. Mostly I just cringe and make it go away.
It's just a matter of different welfare system(if you could say so, it applies well to the cultural differences between European countries - might be a bit of a stretch to compare it to the States... :))
I live about 8 miles or so outside the closest incorporated town. I have 1Mbps DSL that costs me, along with basic landline phone, about $90/month. I think the fastest connection I can get is about 7Mbps. 2015 is only 3 years away, I very much doubt that I will have 100Mbps available by that time.
Now consider the very large number of Americans who live much farther from a town or city than I do: the people who do monthly grocery shopping trips rather than drive 80 miles round trip to the store every week. The costs associated with providing them with high speed internet are going to be even higher.
Parts of the text seem to be ten or more years old, while other parts have been updated.
Still, a good read.
- I never heard someone discuss the environmental impact of microwave ovens.
- I have some doubts if the public TV stations are still the biggest.
- Unions appear to have lost some power in the last twenty or thirty years here in Germany. At least, the amount of serious strikes seems to have decreased.
- The requirement to be a "Meister" to be able to open a shop have been dropped in recent years, for almost all trades as far as I know.
I disagree mostly with the German description of aggression and violence. Sometimes, I wish he'd expressed a point a little bit more nuanced.
and this is only one point.
If you want to talk about different culture, email me. I'm a German living in the UK, working for a multinational American company. I also spent some time studying in Turkey.
Once again, for the folks commenting on trains: the US train system is very, very good at hauling cargo. It was designed to do that. It sucks at hauling people because they are on the cargo train tracks and don't have tracks of their own.
Drivers license Cost
National Max Highway speed
*I know, its not everywhere or all the time, but go once, and its pure bliss, cruising around ~100mph just feels right. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_autobahns#Speed_limits
So for example regarding privacy and data that is kept by you ISP - nothing on recent developement to abolish the 6-month periode in germany, as well as nothing on the recent developement in the US.
Just an example, but a lot of this comparison makes Germany look worse than it actually is.
disclaimer: I am from Germany and I really do not like a lot of things, that do go totally wrong here (imho).
So in Germany there is no concept of grounding? Why? Also, is there any scientific explanation behind no sparking in Gemany?
However, I've never seen those on a wall socket, so I guess building codes say those must be full Schuko sockets ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schuko ).
The sparks are caused by the physical design of the plug and outlet, specifically that US outlets are designed in such a way that you can actually see them. Any mechanical connection between two conductors (outlets, switches, etc.) has the potential to spark if the voltage between them is high enough. Other conductors have nothing to do with this potential.
For 3 wire systems, there is an additional ground wire. It comes into play when the hot wire shorts to a part of the device that is exposed to the environment (hopefully tripping the breaker).
Modern 2 pole plugs are constructed with different size pins, so a device can be wired to be safer when connected to a properly wired 2 pole outlet.
We do still sell some non-grounded extension cords because lots of appliances (toaster, coffee maker, lamp) have non-grounded plugs.
I have no idea what they're talking about with regards to sparks. If the appliance is switched on while you're plugging it, maybe?
If your electronics has no 'floating' metal, there is nothing for a ground wire to connect to, so there's no point to including one.
Have you not been paying attention in the last 50 years? We've made a hell of a lot of enemies, and before that it was communism, and before that it was world wars. Our military is strong because if it wasn't we would be getting attacked constantly. I'm pretty sure that a major reason why there haven't been any substantial terrorist attacks on the US since 9/11 is because our military will FUCK UP ENTIRE COUNTRIES if that happens again. Shit, we got launched into a 6-year war with 2 countries after an independent terrorist group blew up our building. If the KKK went to another country and bombed a building, would that country then attack and occupy us? Absolutely not! Because they can't.
> getting attacked constantly
Which is why Sweden, Cabo Verde, Malaysia and Trinidad are getting attacked constantly.
Or maybe the USA gets attacked because it routinely decides to "FUCK UP ENTIRE COUNTRIES" ?
Or even better, why not leave your foreign policy ideology out of a thread about a cultural/sociological article?
I was enjoying it until you ruined it
Your voice and words, dear gentleman, make you a troll.