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Is America the 'best country in the World'?


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#25 Davidson Deac II

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 06:39 PM

I doubt I'm alone in saying that financial independence is a qualifier for "success" in terms of the American way of life.

The other aspects you're talking about, housing, electricity, etc. are pretty much functions of the quality of life we try and maintain in this country, and not really measurements of success.

Here's an example... my mom.

My parents split up and the divorce cost them pretty much everything. They then decided to try and work it out, but shortly afterwards, my Dad died of a heart attack while self-employed. He left her with an almost 6 digit medical bill, so she had to sell the house, and lived with friends for awhile. Eventually my oldest brother started renting a house out to her, and she worked for awhile. The hospital eventually took her to court, and they put a judgement on her for the amount of the remainder of the bill. She's been living in poverty off social security since.

She's not been "successful". But she has housing and basic amenities.



I'd be willing to bet this is more of the exception than the rule for low income families. Hell, our housing market should indicate that.


In my experience, its generally the rule, not the exception.

My parents also split up when I was young. And by split up, I mean our father abandoned us and took off to live with someone else. We lived in poverty for a while, until my mom married a good man who worked in a factory. Even then, we weren't wealthy, but we were comfortable, especially compared to how we were before.

I joined the Navy when I was older, and when I got out, my military experience got me a job in a bank. Both my sisters went to college. The older one went to college after she got a job. She has a good (not great) job with a natural gas company and her husband repairs factory equipment. They have a very good life. The youngest one had the easiest life and ironically, has struggle the most after college, because she married a guy who is unwilling to work. Hasn't had a job in over a year now, and doesn't even try to get one.

I guess we are all colored by our own experience, but imo those that work hard and make wise decisions (especially in marriage and finance) can be very successful, while the lazy and unwise have it much harder. There are certainly exceptions to that rule, but I believe most of the time it applies.

#26 blackcatgrowl

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 06:46 PM

In my experience, its generally the rule, not the exception.

My parents also split up when I was young. And by split up, I mean our father abandoned us and took off to live with someone else. We lived in poverty for a while, until my mom married a good man who worked in a factory. Even then, we weren't wealthy, but we were comfortable, especially compared to how we were before.

I joined the Navy when I was older, and when I got out, my military experience got me a job in a bank. Both my sisters went to college. The older one went to college after she got a job. She has a good (not great) job with a natural gas company and her husband repairs factory equipment. They have a very good life. The youngest one had the easiest life and ironically, has struggle the most after college, because she married a guy who is unwilling to work. Hasn't had a job in over a year now, and doesn't even try to get one.

I guess we are all colored by our own experience, but imo those that work hard and make wise decisions (especially in marriage and finance) can be very successful, while the lazy and unwise have it much harder. There are certainly exceptions to that rule, but I believe most of the time it applies.


On the flip side... how many successful people have you interacted with, that DON'T work hard? (Again talking about financial success, since it's a measurable thing, and can greatly influence success in other ways).

I know a bunch. Most of them inherited wealth and did nothing to earn their financial independence and success (aka they knew people, their parents or relatives). In fact, I recall reading that there's a statistic that the majority of wealthy people ARE in fact 2nd generation or later benefactors of financial gains by their family.

#27 PanthaSan

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 06:55 PM

It seems to me that "greatest" is a matter of perspective.

I have been to others countries and some have better appeal in one way but not so much in others. I have always made due with what was avialable to enjoy myself.

The OP's question is similar to asking "What state is the greatest." You can ask 20 people that and get 35 different answers.

But, for me, the US is where I want to live. Greatest or not, devious CIA or half black POTUS. It is my country and I love it.
:patriot:

#28 ChucktownK

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 08:01 PM

To truly love one's own country, he must be obligated to point out it's faults in order to make it "a more perfect union".

;)

#29 Delhommey

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 08:05 PM

On the flip side... how many successful people have you interacted with, that DON'T work hard? (Again talking about financial success, since it's a measurable thing, and can greatly influence success in other ways).

I know a bunch. Most of them inherited wealth and did nothing to earn their financial independence and success (aka they knew people, their parents or relatives). In fact, I recall reading that there's a statistic that the majority of wealthy people ARE in fact 2nd generation or later benefactors of financial gains by their family.


People don't tend to transcend levels of wealth much more in the US than in somewhere like Western Europe, but our levels are still the highest in the world.

In other words it happens the most here, but it doesn't happen much.

#30 GritsRgreat

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 08:08 PM

"Our Country! May she always be in the right; but right or wrong, our country!"

#31 Davidson Deac II

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 08:29 PM

On the flip side... how many successful people have you interacted with, that DON'T work hard? (Again talking about financial success, since it's a measurable thing, and can greatly influence success in other ways).

I know a bunch. Most of them inherited wealth and did nothing to earn their financial independence and success (aka they knew people, their parents or relatives). In fact, I recall reading that there's a statistic that the majority of wealthy people ARE in fact 2nd generation or later benefactors of financial gains by their family.


I never interact with wealthy people. Don't run in those circles. Some people I work with in the office might be considered lazy, but most of them worked hard at some point in their lives.

I did know some wealthy people back when I was younger, and the second generation types were generally lazy. Of course, they mostly died at an early age due to partying to much and living unhealthy lifestyles. Not sure if I would categorize them as successful.

#32 Jase

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 08:36 PM

Bangladesh...hands down.



I agree, ever since they got rid of their sultan, that place has improved 1000 fold.

#33 Davidson Deac II

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 08:37 PM

"Our Country! May she always be in the right; but right or wrong, our country!"


That quote originated from Stephen Decatur, and its been somewhat misunderstood over the years. Still a cool quote.

#34 GritsRgreat

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 08:49 PM

That quote originated from Stephen Decatur, and its been somewhat misunderstood over the years. Still a cool quote.


Yep, one of my favs. He used this or a veriation in many of his toasts.

#35 cookinwithgas

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 10:20 PM

If the best country in the world is where the highest percentage of people are the happiest, we lose.

If money and it's accumulation at all costs are what you are into, you have a case here.

If getting whatever you want whenever you want it is important, here is a great place to be.

But I've been to places where people are happier not worrying about such things. Swiss people seem genuinely both happy in general, as well as very proud of their country. The French are more than content to live in a country which goes against the grain of Western civilization from time to time - and like many European countries, really enjoy the vacations and life in general more than Americans do.

#36 Dpantherman

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 10:30 PM

Where can I go thats better and doesn't require me to learn another language?