Monday, January 25, 2010
The Power of America
It’s interesting to see how many of the Americans who believe that their country is the best in the world have never been outside their country. Many have not even been outside their state. But still their conviction is unquestionable.
It’s fascinating to speak to Americans who tell you how good everything American is, just because they don’t know what alternatives exist. Coming from overseas, I – with a full medical coverage – have often argued that the medical system here is grossly inadequate, wasteful and unfair. I always find it surprising when someone with little or no medical cover whatsoever blindly defends the system as the best in the world – despite all evidence to the contrary.
It’s amusing to meet overseas Americans who travel to find Americana wherever they go. In European casinos, for instance, you can see hoards of American tourists flock onto the American roulette tables, made just for them. Non-Americans will never touch these roulettes as they are made with two zeros instead of one and therefore reduce your odds. American tourists, on the other hand, are happily paying the premium for the privilege to use American. Casinos love them.
It’s funny to hear how many Americans believe that most people around the world do not like America because they are jealous. This is despite the fact that in their own countries they may have free education, free health care, a month-off work every year, an annual maternity leave, and still work for firms that successfully compete with American companies. This competitiveness is hardly ever appreciated here, as statistics about American productivity is skewed by the longer working hours and lower wages. However, the fact is that in many industries American production per hour worked lags behind other developed countries is rarely acknowledged.
It’s heart-breaking to observe how many in the US are not aware of how America’s position in the world has deteriorated: financially, economically, politically. Everyone supported America after Sept 11, but it didn’t take a decade to erode this sentiment; it will take many decades to repair the damage, if ever at all.
It’s heart-warming to feel how despite all the problems and issues America suffers from, people here are still positive and optimistic. This optimism, positive energy and the inspiring power is America’s main strength, and the very thing the rest of the world should learn from America. But what should America learn from the world?