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Old 06-16-2009, 01:10 PM
 
3,277 posts, read 4,681,818 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lentzr View Post
GermanCiticen...America is a class society? America has always prided itself on being classless. We have no history of an aristocracy and most Americans are the descendants of poor immigrants. Yes, there is more divisions in American society, I am really concerned about the shrinking middle class. However, looking at the big picture, this certainly isn't someplace like Saudi Arabia or an extremely corrupt African country.

The issue of social integration...I fear much of this deals with issues of culture and race. Take the divisions in Washington DC. We can see the ethnic divisions most clearly between the haves and have-nots in this city. I shouldn't have to say more but I am afraid we are seeing social status on racial lines (with many exceptions of course). The correlation between higher socio-economic status and ethnicity is too great to ignore. But that leaves me with the question...Is this a racial issue or a class issue or both? How should we diffine these divisions. (Sorry if I am being too indirect, but it can be a touchy subject)
How can you say America prides itself on being a classless society and in another breath admit that the most salient distinctions are a matter of class and not race? Does that not seem, I dunno, blatantly contradictory?

Some figures on income inequality in the US:



http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/d5/Household_Income_1967_to_2003.png (broken link)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a4/Income_gains.jpg (broken link)

As you can see, the rich get richer faster than any other group, even the middle class.

Different income among individuals with the same educational attainment but different occupations:







Quote:
Fashionguy...First, it may appear that our infrastructure is deteriorating. Yes, many areas do have an unsatisfactory infrastructure system in this country. Compared to Japan or places in Western Europe it does appear that way. However, I have also traveled to a couple of countries in Africa that have almost a complete lack of any paved roads what-so-ever. I noticed a few paved roads in many cities...that's it. Most are dirt. Therefore, we need to put into perspective where our infrastructure is by international standards. I should say our infrastructure is "well developed" but not "very well-developed." Like others have said before, these standards vary by community. I live in a well-off exosuburb in which our infrastructure is quite good. However in other areas, I know it could be better. Buildings 100 years old are often falling apart, our passenger rail service is not impressive, too much graaffiti exists even in nice areas, etc. I believe too much is spent on the best infrastructure for our armed forces...but this is only part of the problem. Much of the rest has to do with the "excluded from mainstream" communities feelings of isolation from the rest of the country. (I will not debate why this is, just that it doesn't help with civic responsibility).
I don't see what sense it makes to admit that America has poor infrastructure compared to Japan and Western Europe, but then compare it to infrastructure in Africa. The nations of Africa are developing nations, the US is a developed nation. So it only truly makes sense to compare it to other developed nations, which would be Europe and a few East Asian nations. And compared to those, American infrastructure is in horrid disrepair.

Home | Report Card for America's Infrastructure

Not a grade higher than a C+...for the world's wealthiest nation, that illustrates a stunning mix up of priorities.

Last edited by Hoarfrost; 06-16-2009 at 01:28 PM..
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:29 PM
 
26,909 posts, read 53,732,052 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoarfrost View Post
And when was this time that women in America were treated so much better than women in Europe?

I know Europe is a patriarchal society, but so is America with the exception of African Americans and certain immigrant groups. A number of European nations have had female heads of state and America has not...American women prior to the women's rights movement weren't even thought of as worthy of being heard outside of home related issues. American women still face glass ceilings...
The time would have been the 25 years following WWII.

The topic came up at a luncheon I attended in Silicon Valley honoring Women in Business...

I met a number of successful business Women that immigrated to the US in the 1950's/1960's... Most from Europe and several from South America...

The subject of Bavaria came up at my table and a women from Austria was rather out-spoken on the subject... aside from being a wife... she said her only career choices as a young women in Austria in the 50's was as a Seamstress, Cook or Nun... even her school teachers were of the mind that higher education would be a waste because girls get married and their job is to be at home...

Seems some of the posters agree... citing how European Society values a women's role as mother and housewife by providing much greater latitude to women to be stay at home moms...

Several of the other Women agreed and said they never would have had the opportunities that America afforded them... even if it only met having married an American Husband with the mindset that a woman place is always in the home...

Europe today is vastly different... many didn't even have telephone service untill the late 60's...

Even simple things like a women having a Driver's license was frowned upon as unnecessary for European Women and that it would lead to trouble...

Plenty of older European Men would joke that life was much better before Women got the idea from America that they were equal to a man...
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:32 PM
 
327 posts, read 447,561 times
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I'm Norwegian. Throughout most of my life I had a very romanticized vision of the U.S. as a place of individual liberty and free market capitalism. Much to my dismay, throughout the past three years, I've come to realize that the U.S. I loved was destroyed almost 100 years ago, and that the political system it has now is corporatism—not capitalism.
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:38 PM
 
26,909 posts, read 53,732,052 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoarfrost View Post
How can you say America prides itself on being a classless society and in another breath admit that the most salient distinctions are a matter of class and not race? Does that not seem, I dunno, blatantly contradictory?
Maybe it's semantics?

Are you equating class as having money?

Not everyone is motivated by money and that's a good thing...

If money is your thing... there are plenty of opportunities to marshall one's skills and open a business...

Others are content working for someone and trade risk for stability...
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:43 PM
 
26,909 posts, read 53,732,052 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikMartinsen View Post
I'm Norwegian. Throughout most of my life I had a very romanticized vision of the U.S. as a place of individual liberty and free market capitalism. Much to my dismay, throughout the past three years, I've come to realize that the U.S. I loved was destroyed almost 100 years ago, and that the political system it has now is corporatism—not capitalism.
I would agree if you substituted socialism for corporatism...

If the US was a corporate society... corporations would rule and there would be no Environmental Impact studies lasting decades for a refinery to be built or a new power plant...

CA Central Valley Farmers would not be put our of business because a single Judge has deemed a fish more important than 150 years of agriculture.

The President of the United States would not be able to engineer the ouster of the President of General Motors...

Exxon wouldn't be paying out almost 1 billion dollars for one oil-spill...

Last edited by Ultrarunner; 06-16-2009 at 02:10 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:45 PM
 
Location: 59°N
5,342 posts, read 6,086,167 times
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New York City:

  • Cleanliness (at least in Midtown).
  • $350 fine for honking
  • Friendly people, with the exception of what I think must be the «typical rude New Yorker». Encountered a few but I guess it's more like a big city phenomenon.
  • Many stores looked cheap and outdated, ex. Duane Reade and Macy's. So was the case with the airport bus from Newark to Manhattan. It was really old and dirty.
  • The customer service at certain stores (Footlocker) was a big joke.
  • Ugly dressed people. Young women wearing clothes suitable for a 50 year old. Weird and not very attractive, in my opinion.
  • Public toilets. What's the deal with the foot long gap between the floor and the door?
  • Security guards, even at H&M.
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:47 PM
 
Location: 30-40°N 90-100°W
13,856 posts, read 23,403,296 times
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The UN places our "gender empowerment index" as below Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain, the UK, and even Austria but not below all of the most developed European nations. We're placed above France, Ireland, and Switzerland.

Human Development Report 2007/2008 - Gender empowerment measure (GEM) rank

On class this was more a difference in the past. In America the idea was social mobility. There was economic inequality, but you were not in a "class" in the way of the British class system. This is no longer as relevant as the class system in Europe eroded. Still America does not have anything equivalent to the House of Lords or the various noble families of Europe.
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:51 PM
 
26,909 posts, read 53,732,052 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post
The UN places our "gender empowerment index" as below Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain, the UK, and even Austria but not below all of the most developed European nations. We're placed above France, Ireland, and Switzerland.

Human Development Report 2007/2008 - Gender empowerment measure (GEM) rank

On class this was more a difference in the past. In America the idea was social mobility. There was economic inequality, but you were not in a "class" in the way of the British class system. This is no longer as relevant as the class system in Europe eroded. Still America does not have anything equivalent to the House of Lords or the various noble families of Europe.
Thank you for saying much better than I could
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Old 06-16-2009, 02:16 PM
 
327 posts, read 447,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrarunner View Post
I would agree if you substituted socialism for corporatism...

If the US was a corporate society... corporations would rule and there would be no Environmental Impact studies lasting decades for a refinery to be built or a new power plant...

CA Central Valley Farmers would not be put our of business because a single Judge has deemed a fish more important than 150 years of agriculture.

The President of the United States would not be able to engineer the ouster of the President of General Motors...

Exxon wouldn't be paying out almost 1 billion dollars for one oil-spill...
I actually had Fascist-type corporatism in mind. As Mussolini said:

Quote:
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."
That, of course, is exactly what the U.S. has today. This video gives a brief introduction to true laissez-faire capitalism:

YouTube - Money and Capitalism
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Old 06-16-2009, 02:20 PM
 
44 posts, read 70,407 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lentzr View Post
GermanCiticen...America is a class society? America has always prided itself on being classless. We have no history of an aristocracy and most Americans are the descendants of poor immigrants. Yes, there is more divisions in American society, I am really concerned about the shrinking middle class. However, looking at the big picture, this certainly isn't someplace like Saudi Arabia or an extremely corrupt African country.

A classless society?


Do you speak about the pilgrim fathers ?

There are white protestant and jewish elites who rule everything (policy, military, media, economy, culture), they built and still are building powerful lobbies

This goes back the industrialisation and the victory of the Union, with every war, the rising dependence on oil, the founding of the FED, the merger of the companies to mega corporations their power is enlarging more and more ...

If you research well, who´ll find that many of the old company founders still exists, their sons, grandsons and grand- grandsons still have a powerful influence in politicy or economomy - take the Rockefellers, the Bushs, the Kennedies and many more!

The elites marry each other to elarge the lobby networks ...
Who is the wife of the terminator Schwarzenegger ?

Obama is only a puppet, it has nothing to do with "black power", he was the best fitting candidate for the american image campaign after the Bushdesaster!

There isn´t a nobility in the USA like in Europe, but there is a class system. Its boarders are money and the degree of access to the lobbies ...


Women:

Ok let´s count the number of women heading one of the houndreds of big corporations ...

They forced women to work and they brainwash the society, that a mother, who wants to care about here children only and doesn´t work ist a "looser" - but within the elites they´re still underrepresented and their income still is lower than that of men (though in Germany maybe the difference is more significant)
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