View Poll Results: Is America the greatest country on earth?

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  • Yes

    54 26.87%
  • No

    147 73.13%
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Thread: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

  1. #71
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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    To answer your original question (as a non-American) -- is America the greatest nation on earth?

    On some fields yes, on some no. Perhaps it's a manner of debate if you're the greatest nation on more fields than any other nation.


    Now a bit more specific:



    Yes and no. You also have hilarious amounts of debt. And your economy is not as stable as many others. Take away the leading role of the dollar, and it doesn't look so rosy anymore. Also, your producing sector is much worse than in case of other countries (such as Germany ).

    Also, while there may be more money in America than anywhere else (not counting tiny countries such as Luxemburg, which basically are just big banks with a border around them, that provide citizenship for its employees), it is not as well distributed as in other countries which have a little bit less. While America is perhaps the one large Western country with the biggest GDP, it's perhaps also the one Western country with the largest number of poor people, and the one Western country with the worst poverty problems.

    On the GINI Index, that measures the distribution of wealth (and 0 means total equality, while 1 means total inequality), America ranks at ca. 0.4, IIRC. Canada, New Zealand, Australia and much of Europe is somewhere between 0.2 and 0.35.



    That's true.

    But here too, it goes what was said about the distribution of wealth. America is the one Western country with the very best schools and elite universities. But it is also the one Western country with the largest number of very bad and below average schools and universities.

    In many European countries, such as Germany, most universities are solid average. IIRC, there are only two or three German universities that appear on top 20 lists. But on the other side, you don't find many genuinely bad universities in Germany either. And Scandinavia is worldwide leading when it comes to quality education in schools, only challenged by some schools in East Asia (see PISA studies).



    Yes. But that's past. Today, America does not produce remotely as much anymore as it consumes.



    100 points on that field!



    Again, 100 points! No need for French bashing, though. Rather bash today's Germans.

    (...)
    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    Agreed on that field. Though you have increasingly strong competition in East Asia.



    One can argue that the manned moon landing was mostly a not really economically useful publicity stunt during the Cold War. For the sake of scientific research for reasonable costs, unmanned space exploration is more feasible. And on that field, the Russians, Europe are not bad too and China is catching up.

    But let's not be a nitpicker here. 100 points for the moon landing!



    Strong disagreement. In fact, most Europeans make fun of this American notion, as America is the one Western country where it's most difficult these days to escape poverty, and nowhere else in the West, prospects are so bad for poor people. Once poor, always poor -- that's more likely happening in America than in Western Europe, Canada or Australia.



    100 points on this field!



    100 points again! Related to America's exceptional military power and capacities, as well as the dominance of the US dollar as international currency.



    I'd say 80 points on that field. You certainly dominate pop culture in the West. But especially in non-Western countries, local cultures are still very strong and can easily compete with the American influence.
    Woah, level headed commentary with fair criticism?

    There's a rarity!
    "We have more responsibility than power, I think. The newspaper can create great controversies, stir up arguments within the community or discussion, can throw light on injustices....just as it can do the opposite. It can hide things and be a great power for evil." -- Rupert Murdoch, 1968

  2. #72
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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    Quote Originally Posted by TeleKat View Post
    The guy in this video sums it up better than I ever could:

    The first sign that Sorkin's new series was going to have little restraint or authenticity. We all started to wait for that moment when Sorkin was tired of his characters doing the work and felt like going on some naive soapbox for one minute.
    Last edited by Fiddytree; 12-06-14 at 10:54 PM.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Invisible View Post
    I generally consider nationalism to be pretty stupid :P
    I actually consider it one of our best conceptions.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    I voted "yes". America has always bounced back when put to the test. Now we have to bounce back again from being "fundamentally changed" by Obama. There still is a chance for Hope and Change from his "Hope and Change" failed policies.

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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    America as a whole has been a positive and a most dominant force. America's hardest critics are ourselves. We have it built into our intellectual DNA. We see ourselves as having a special mission, but we put so much pressure on ourselves that we think if we do not succeed to our expectations, it will come back to haunt us in a greater capacity than another society. Our exceptionalism is the most dire catch 22.

    In other words: we often think we are worse than we are, because we think we are special enough to warrant being better than anyone else has ever been or ever will be.

    the lord make it like that of New England: for wee must Consider that wee shall be as a Citty upon a Hill, the eies of all people are uppon us; soe that if wee shall deale falsely with our god in this worke wee have undertaken and soe cause him to withdrawe his present help from us, wee shall be made a story and a byword through the world, wee shall open the mouthes of enemies to speake evill of the wayes of god and all professours for Gods sake; wee shall shame the faces of many of gods worthy servants, and cause theire prayers to be turned into Cursses upon us till wee be consumed out of the good land whether wee are going
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

  6. #76
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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Grimm View Post
    This is seen as nearly axiomatic in some circles. In others, it's seen as misguided arrogance.

    I want to know whether the maxim rings true with you, and your reasoning.


    Focus specifically on these areas, if at all possible...... 1.) Freedom 2.) Diversity 3.) Opportunity
    Diversity as in diversity is a negative ?

  7. #77
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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    Strong disagreement. In fact, most Europeans make fun of this American notion, as America is the one Western country where it's most difficult these days to escape poverty, and nowhere else in the West, prospects are so bad for poor people. Once poor, always poor -- that's more likely happening in America than in Western Europe, Canada or Australia.
    Grimm probably did not mean it this way, but if I wanted to include the acceptance rate and perpetuation of a national idea in upward social mobility being possible, it has been demonstrated for decades that Americans believe it most possible than most (or all) Western nations.

    The results have rarely been in favor of such a view (save for the immediate post-WWII economy), but the widespread belief in the desirability and possibility of upward mobility has been a fairly uniquely American feature.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

  8. #78
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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paschendale View Post
    This is not even a little bit true. We have an aristocracy. We just don't codify it into law. Most industrialized nations (if not all of them) have more economic mobility than we do. Rags to riches is not only possible and celebrated in many other nations, it is more likely. In addition, other nations are doing a much better job of keeping people from having to start in rags in the first place.

    That we have an aristocracy and are in denial about it is probably the greatest flaw of this country. It is certainly one of the big things keeping us from greatness.



    No, we really didn't. A century ago we glorified the KKK as national heroes. 72 years ago we stripped 100,000 American citizens of their rights and liberty without any due process. 50 years ago, we still had segregation. 41 years ago, we finally got the idea that a husband forcing himself on his wife was actually rape. 11 years ago, homosexuals could be jailed for having sex with each other.

    We won a big war in the 40s and we had an economic boom for a couple of decades after that. We weren't great. We just had a good period. Greatness is something you have to earn every single day, and we have yet to even come close.

    ------------------------------

    I think that we could be the greatest, if we could face our shortcomings and do the hard work to solve them. But I don't think we will. We like our myths and illusions too much. We like to think that we're the best, and we like to think that we had some kind of golden age. We like to lionize the WW2 generation, but we seem to forget that they were racist, sexist, homophobic, and religious bigots on a scale that would be completely intolerable today. We like the myth of the land of opportunity, even though we have some of the most concentrated and immobile wealth in the entire world. We are enamored with our own stories, and they blind us. Greatness is not something that we had in the past. It's not something we have now. It's something that we have to work really hard every day to earn in the future.

    Don't ever think that Americans who criticize this country do so out of hate. It's not hate. It's disappointment. This country could be so much better and when it fails to do so, it's tragic. But we're not trapped. We can improve. We could be the greatest.
    I wish I could give this multiple likes. Good post Pasch.

  9. #79
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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    Grimm probably did not mean it this way, but if I wanted to include the acceptance rate and perpetuation of a national idea in upward social mobility being possible, it has been demonstrated for decades that Americans believe it most possible than most (or all) Western nations.

    The results have rarely been in favor of such a view (save for the immediate post-WWII economy), but the widespread belief in the desirability and possibility of upward mobility has been a fairly uniquely American feature.
    Agreed. With one exception: The Swabians.
    "Not learning from mistakes is worse than committing mistakes. When you don't allow yourself to make mistakes, it is hard to be tolerant of others and it does not allow even God to be merciful."

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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    To answer your original question (as a non-American) -- is America the greatest nation on earth?
    German Guy, how have you been man? Haven't seen you post in a while.


    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post

    Yes and no. You also have hilarious amounts of debt.
    Yes, but what really is "national debt?" In the United States it's defined as the value of outstanding Treasury Securities. But treasury securities pay almost no interest. In other words, if I buy a T-bill worth a dollar, the government gets a dollar, and I get a promise of future payment of a dollar (most are relatively short-term loans).

    The only people who buy t-bills are individuals with a pissload of money, corporations, and foreign nations. In other words, I want to protect my money instead of having it sit in a bank, so I buy a t-bill. Since no interest is paid, all it amounts to then is a voluntary tax. Or, better put, all it amounts to is liquidity for the government to function normally at no cost to itself.

    So long as people continue to do it, there is no problem. Only when people stop buying treasuries will the government need to think about either austerity or managed inflation as an answer.

    Europe follows the same model. At the end of the day, GDP is the best measure of the wealth of a nation.

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    Take away the leading role of the dollar, and it doesn't look so rosy anymore. Also, your producing sector is much worse than in case of other countries (such as Germany ).
    Perhaps, but that's a hypothetical. How realistic is it that the leading role of the dollar gets taken away anytime soon? All we can do is to assess things as they stand today.

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    Also, while there may be more money in America than anywhere else , it is not as well distributed as in other countries....
    This is true. If parity is how you define "economic greatness," which is a reasonable position to hold although I do not share it, then you have no argument from me that the United States does not lead in that realm.

    The United States invented modern capitalism as we know it today. Capitalism, at its core, is a political-economic system designed to encourage competition, the idea being that you get the most out of people when they are competing with one another. We believe in rewarding winners and punishing losers, within reasonable limits, and we feel this is what makes those of us who do win succeed not only domestically, but globally.

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    That's true.

    But here too, it goes what was said about the distribution of wealth. America is the one Western country with the very best schools and elite universities. But it is also the one Western country with the largest number of very bad and below average schools and universities.
    This goes back to the American capitalist mentality. We believe in encouraging competition and rewarding winners. If you measure success by how the middle of the pack performs, America is probably never going to come out on top. If you measure success by the opportunity to become a nobel prize winning researcher, then America wins hands down. We'll back the winner. We fund our best universities and our best high schools very well. We don't back our under-performers. We let them see what's possible, and try to claw their way up the ladder.

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    Yes. But that's past. Today, America does not produce remotely as much anymore as it consumes.
    American businesses are more successful than any other in the world. The Chinese, who, by the way, outproduce the Germans by a huge margin, produce the majority of their goods for American (and now European) businesses.

    You see, it goes back to another tellingly American quality. We love cheap labor. We were the last western nation to end slavery. During our early capitalistic years (1860-1920), we had no minimum wage, no unions, child labor, and factory workers were, more or less, indentured slaves.

    So they got rid of all that. Doesn't work in America anymore. So what do the industrious Americans do? They open up China. Chinese factory workers are essentially slave labor for American companies. Think about it. What are they building over there? Shoes, knick knacks, stuff that is labor intensive. But they're not building Chinese-branded shoes. They're building Nike's. They're building Apple iphones.

    They're building our cheap stuff for us for pennies, and, the stink of it is.... we made them think it's THEIR idea.

    We control all the designs, the global brands, the distribution networks, and the operating capital. They do all the work and we get all the benefits.

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