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Old 09-24-2009, 10:33 AM
 
4,503 posts, read 3,619,794 times
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I just returned from a vacation to New Zealand. Ten days is not a long time to see any country. Also, I think one sometimes has a tendency to "romanticize" the new and overlook faults until one is more familiar with an area.

Nevertheless, I think it is time for the USA to consider the shocking possibility that other countries are doing a better job in some areas than we are. I hear too many mindless idiots say things like "In America we have freedom" or "America is No.1!"

Here are some realities I observed in New Zealand.

1. There is an almost total absence of slums. The poorest houses in the country don't look bad.

2. There is universal health care which according to the people I talked too, while not perfect, satisfies most New Zealanders.

3. Life expectancy is longer in New Zealand than in America.

4. The country is very concerned about environment. Water pollution is virtually non-existent. The lakes, streams and oceans literally sparkle. Air pollution is a problem, but they are doing more about it than we are. More vehicles are powered by natural gas, more people are walking, automobiles are smaller (and more fuel efficient), and more people are bicycling than we could imagine.

5. Violent crime is a much smaller problem than it is the USA. Stories about murders make the front page because of their rarity.

I'm not saying I want to move there or that New Zealand doesn't have its problems. I am saying that we Americans have a sort of xenophobia in which we automatically think if something occurs in our country it is "best" and if something occurs in a foreign country it must be problematic or "second best". This just isn't true.

IMO, as a country we really need to start thinking "out of the box" and look around for new ideas. Crime is too high here. Our health care system is too costly and there is no excuse in such a prosperous country for having something other than universal health coverage. We need to look much more at problems like global warming rather than simply wishing them away.
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Old 09-24-2009, 11:10 AM
 
30,398 posts, read 18,719,620 times
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Shrug. Most rational people realize that the US is not *best* at everything. It is a pretty good place to live in general though.

Read through any number of threads here and you will actually start noticing there is also a group of morons in the "US is to blame for everything" camp.

In my opinion the US had a period of ABNORMAL wealth due to a number of factors (like rebuilding Europe etc.) We are transitioning back to a more sustainable level but we are spoiled and don't want to work hard, take personal responsibility etc.
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Old 09-24-2009, 11:22 AM
 
Location: MichOhioigan
1,412 posts, read 1,554,865 times
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I'm not sure we were ever #1. I think it was a line we fed ourselves. We are on a downward trend in the rankings every year. Also you tend to find few foriegners who think the U.S. is #1. Better than the place they came from perhaps but far from #1.
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Old 09-24-2009, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
38,753 posts, read 38,397,978 times
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New Zealand actually has a very low crime rate, so I don't know how to account for these statistics, but New Zealanders are the most crime-fearful people of the developed nations included in these surveys, and has a very high rate of reported assaults:

Perception Of Safety burglary by country. Definition, graph and map.

Perception Of Safety walking in dark (most recent) by country

Assaults (per capita) (most recent) by country (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_ass_percap-crime-assaults-per-capita - broken link)
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:01 PM
 
8,534 posts, read 9,841,502 times
Reputation: 4258
Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
I just returned from a vacation to New Zealand. Ten days is not a long time to see any country. Also, I think one sometimes has a tendency to "romanticize" the new and overlook faults until one is more familiar with an area.

Nevertheless, I think it is time for the USA to consider the shocking possibility that other countries are doing a better job in some areas than we are. I hear too many mindless idiots say things like "In America we have freedom" or "America is No.1!"

Here are some realities I observed in New Zealand.

1. There is an almost total absence of slums. The poorest houses in the country don't look bad.

2. There is universal health care which according to the people I talked too, while not perfect, satisfies most New Zealanders.

3. Life expectancy is longer in New Zealand than in America.

4. The country is very concerned about environment. Water pollution is virtually non-existent. The lakes, streams and oceans literally sparkle. Air pollution is a problem, but they are doing more about it than we are. More vehicles are powered by natural gas, more people are walking, automobiles are smaller (and more fuel efficient), and more people are bicycling than we could imagine.

5. Violent crime is a much smaller problem than it is the USA. Stories about murders make the front page because of their rarity.

I'm not saying I want to move there or that New Zealand doesn't have its problems. I am saying that we Americans have a sort of xenophobia in which we automatically think if something occurs in our country it is "best" and if something occurs in a foreign country it must be problematic or "second best". This just isn't true.

IMO, as a country we really need to start thinking "out of the box" and look around for new ideas. Crime is too high here. Our health care system is too costly and there is no excuse in such a prosperous country for having something other than universal health coverage. We need to look much more at problems like global warming rather than simply wishing them away.
They also don't have the number of people living off of the government teat like we do.. That alone makes a big difference.
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn
40,059 posts, read 19,764,449 times
Reputation: 10129
Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
I think it is time for the USA to consider the shocking possibility that other countries are doing a better job in some areas than we are. I hear too many mindless idiots say things like "In America we have freedom" or "America is No.1!"
To whom (other than the mindless idiots you referenced) is this a shock? And as far as it being a possibility...it may be more than just a possibility.
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
11,290 posts, read 9,906,076 times
Reputation: 10327
I think the country slipped into complacency and started falling backwards. Meanwhile, we still loudly proclaiming our superiority over the world, but failed to notice (or admit) the downward slide.

It is the fate of all top dogs, I suppose and we don't have a chance at getting back unless we collectively admit we've screwed up, then start working again toward that "better place".
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:14 PM
 
487 posts, read 365,957 times
Reputation: 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
I just returned from a vacation to New Zealand. Ten days is not a long time to see any country. Also, I think one sometimes has a tendency to "romanticize" the new and overlook faults until one is more familiar with an area.

Nevertheless, I think it is time for the USA to consider the shocking possibility that other countries are doing a better job in some areas than we are. I hear too many mindless idiots say things like "In America we have freedom" or "America is No.1!"

Here are some realities I observed in New Zealand.

1. There is an almost total absence of slums. The poorest houses in the country don't look bad.

2. There is universal health care which according to the people I talked too, while not perfect, satisfies most New Zealanders.

3. Life expectancy is longer in New Zealand than in America.

4. The country is very concerned about environment. Water pollution is virtually non-existent. The lakes, streams and oceans literally sparkle. Air pollution is a problem, but they are doing more about it than we are. More vehicles are powered by natural gas, more people are walking, automobiles are smaller (and more fuel efficient), and more people are bicycling than we could imagine.

5. Violent crime is a much smaller problem than it is the USA. Stories about murders make the front page because of their rarity.

I'm not saying I want to move there or that New Zealand doesn't have its problems. I am saying that we Americans have a sort of xenophobia in which we automatically think if something occurs in our country it is "best" and if something occurs in a foreign country it must be problematic or "second best". This just isn't true.

IMO, as a country we really need to start thinking "out of the box" and look around for new ideas. Crime is too high here. Our health care system is too costly and there is no excuse in such a prosperous country for having something other than universal health coverage. We need to look much more at problems like global warming rather than simply wishing them away.
Its a bit unfair comparing the crime and poverty rate to New Zealand because they have a much more homogenous society, making it easier to manage these things.
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
38,753 posts, read 38,397,978 times
Reputation: 28816
The difference between the USA and the New York Yankees. When the Yankees suck, their fans admit it.
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:17 PM
 
Location: UK
296 posts, read 538,496 times
Reputation: 299
How many times have I heard US politicians say things like, "the USA is the greatest country on earth"? And many Americans are convinced that this is true, which is exactly what the politicians want - then they don't really have to do a whole lot while in office.

Generally speaking, there are good and bad aspects of all countries. In this regard, the USA is no different.
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