Completely satisfied smiling younger male backpacker tourist staying in front of Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. (Shutterstock)
America! Land of the free, house of the courageous, and the greatest nation on the face of the planet, right? A country with seemingly limitless natural assets, and in response to many politicians, anointed by God herself to steer the world out of the wilderness and right into a vibrant new age of liberty and justice for all. Too dangerous the street to that vision is pockmarked with so many potholes, as a result of we haven’t raised enough taxes on people who can afford to pay to fill them.
People, perhaps more than anybody on Earth, are responsible of the sin of hubris and excessive delight. As the good Greek poets of the traditional world have taught us, hubris can lead to some really dangerous outcomes.The truth is that a good portion of the rest of the world has far outpaced america in things like healthcare. Whereas the U.S. has painstakingly cobbled together a convoluted insurance-friendly monster referred to as Obamacare (exceptional principally for a way much better it is than what we had), the rest of the developed world enjoys one-payer authorities healthcare that outperforms the U.S. in both value and quality of care. The proof is in the pudding; they reside longer than People.
However healthcare is just not the one way America lags behind the rest of the world. Here are 11 things other countries do better than us.
1. Meals waste reduction.
In a country as bountiful as the USA, it’s exceptional how many people are hungry. Virtually 50 million People, present to a point in every single county of the country, stay in a food-insecure household. Meanwhile, while youngsters go to mattress on empty stomachs, as much as 40% of the food supply, extra than 20 kilos of meals per individual per 30 days, is wasted. That’s $165 billion value of food thrown out. Think about all the water, power and land used to supply this waste and it borders on felony.
France has a better way. This yr, national French regulation banned the disposal of unsold meals. As an alternative, the meals have to be donated to charity or used as animal feed. Food-related businesses are now required to enroll with a charity and donate unsold food. The meals have to be in a state ready for consumption (to save lots of the charities the time and money to organize it). The regulation also incorporates an schooling program to tell faculties, businesses and most of the people concerning the meals waste drawback. The aim is to cut food waste in France in half by 2025.
2. School loans.
The price of a university schooling in america has skyrocketed in recent times, as any debt-ridden school grad can inform you. A political frenzy of tax-cutting fever has hobbled monetary help for public universities, especially at the state government degree, and private school tuition has reached unaffordable heights principally because of reckless spending and administrative bloat. Caught in this upward spiral are lower- and middle-class college students who now depart faculty with school debt approaching $30,000 on common, crippling their capacity to simply accept decrease paying however engaging jobs, relocate, and even move out of their mother and father’ houses.
Most developed countries scratch their heads at the concept we should burden our youngsters with debt to be able to educate them and strengthen the nation. In countries like Germany, Iceland, Brazil, Norway, even Panama, public university tuition is free. Even in the United Kingdom, though schooling isn’t free, the federal government permits students to pay loans back based mostly on their revenue, decreasing the strain of debt and permitting extra freedom of selection upon completion of school. Additionally, the UK writes off the debt after 30 years if it has not been paid again. Examine that to the US, the place nothing, not even chapter, erases school debt.
three. Maternity depart.
We hear a number of wistful nostalgia from the right-wing political institution concerning the good ol’ days, when mothers have been house taking good care of their youngsters and fogeys have been ever-present in their lives. Yet the identical politicians gnash their tooth at any hint of government help that might go an extended way to realizing their nostalgic goals. Maternity depart policy in the USA is left totally to the whims of particular person states, and in many instances, to the whims of particular person employers. The federal authorities ensures solely unpaid depart. Meanwhile, the burden of paying payments forces many moms to get back to work as soon as they are in a position.
In many other countries, maternity depart is guaranteed and even paid for. Denmark ensures a full yr of paid maternity depart, to be cut up between mother and father, for all public sector staff. France, Spain, the Netherlands and Austria supply 4 months absolutely paid depart. Croatia, a yr. Russia, 20 weeks. Serbia, a yr. And on it goes.
4. The rights of the Earth.
The current Supreme Courtroom determination struck a blow towards clean air, permitting coal-fired power crops to emit minimal amounts of mercury and other poisonous pollutants into the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency is in a continuing battle towards conservatives who are tirelessly working to cripple the company’s energy to limit air, water and floor pollution.
In Ecuador, they’ve a special perspective. In 2008, Ecuadoreans rewrote their constitution and became the primary country to acknowledge the rights of nature to defend itself towards humankind. The constitution acknowledged nature’s proper to “exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles.” Citizens have the correct, by regulation, to enforce nature’s rights, and nature itself may be named as the defendant in Ecuador’s courtroom system. Nature is acknowledged not as the property of people to do with as we please, but as an equal associate within the safety and well being of the planet.
5. Wi-Fi service.
In america, as in much of the developed world, Wi-Fi entry to the Web is taken into account a personal service for which we pay to make use of. And we pay dearly. Not only is Wi-Fi service slower in America, we additionally pay twice as much or more than our world counterparts. The rationale for this is fairly clear. In the U.S., most of our Wi-Fi infrastructure is managed by a very few monopolistic corporations, like Time Warner and Comcast. No competitors equals excessive prices and lousy service.
In the tiny country of Estonia, Wi-Fi entry is free to all. In Estonia, you possibly can walk outdoors for miles and never lose your Web connection. And 97% of faculties have Web. Examine that to solely half the faculties in america, a rustic infinitely richer. Ninety-four % of tax returns in Estonia are executed on-line. Voting might be carried out online. Physician’s prescriptions are issued on-line. Entry to info. Banking. All this and more in a rustic the place half the citizens literally had no telephones 20 years in the past.
6. Vacation time.
America is the only developed nation with none legally required paid holiday or trip day. Zero. Conservatives have typically argued that trip time reduces productiveness, and that as a way to remain productive, American staff must outperform and out-work the remainder of the world.
Then again, working continually and productivity are not all the time linked. The US is the fifth most efficient country, lagging behind Switzerland, Singapore, Finland and Germany, all of which mandate paid trip and holiday time. Within the European Union, every single nation grants its residents a minimal of four paid workweeks of vacation time per yr. Specialists have shown that productivity on the job will increase after a protracted trip. John Schmitt, a senior economist at Middle for Financial Coverage Research advised the enterprise web site 24/7 Wall Road, “paid vacation and holidays don’t appear to have any meaningful impact on macroeconomic outcomes.”
7. Bike friendliness.
In 2015, 150 cities have been ranked for his or her bicycle-friendliness. Factored in, among other things, have been political leadership, amenities, tradition, and visitors discount. The highest metropolis on the planet for bike friendliness, no shock, is Amsterdam, the place biking is protected, enjoyable and efficient. Other cities rating excessive are Copenhagen, Utrecht, Berlin, and Barcelona. Just one city on this prime 20 is an American metropolis, Minneapolis, ranked 18th. (No less than in the course of the non-frigid months.)
Research have shown the big advantages of a bike-friendly setting. For every dollar spent building a new bike lane, cities save as much as $24, resulting in decrease well being costs, lowered air pollution and lowered visitors.
8. Tipping practices.
The rationale that tipping in our culture has advanced is that we simply do not pay our service sector anything approaching a dwelling wage. A hundred years in the past, tipping was not widespread in America. We thought-about ourselves a classless society, and tipping pointed to a troubling angle of a servility that was the other of the American perfect of class mobility. This modified with Prohibition. With the decreased income eating places suffered from the elimination of alcohol service, tipping was inspired to help servers make ends meet. The apply took off from there, and restaurant lobbyists went further, uncoupling tipped staff from minimum wage requirements. Since 1991, tipped staff’ federal minimum wage has been frozen at $2.13. In effect, the meals business has shifted the duty for paying its staff to shoppers.
In most other developed nations, waiters, cab drivers and other service staff, who are paid respectable salaries, do not anticipate to be tipped, and if they do, they are pleased with a lot much less than the standard 15-20% tip People fork over to their service suppliers. In reality, in other countries, tipping can sometimes be thought-about an insult to an worker, as it’s in Japan.
9. The metric system.
Outdoors of Burma and Liberia, the USA is the one nation on the planet not using the metric system. We obtained close to metrification in the course of the Jimmy Carter years, when Congress mandated a change to the system. Nevertheless, the change was scuttled with the election of Ronald Reagan, who deemed it too expensive and presumably un-American. Meanwhile, in an increasingly globalized financial system, the refusal to go metric has begun to have an effect on the U.S. backside line. In a worldwide financial system, companies anticipating to prosper have to be talking the same language, the universal language of science, drugs and commerce. The metric language.
In 1991, the Mars Climate Orbiter undertaking, a NASA initiative to review climate on Mars, literally went up in smoke. Its orbit was too low, causing it to expend from the friction in the Martian environment. The rationale behind the low orbit was eye-opening. Whereas Lockheed Martin, a NASA subcontractor that helped design the Orbiter, was using American imperial models, the remainder of the designers, from partnering countries, have been using metrics. Conversion errors have been made, and $328 million evaporated.
10. Belief in science.
A Gallup ballot in 2014 revealed that 42% of People, 4 out of every 10, reject evolution. This large swath of the country believes that God created humans just 10,000 years in the past. How backward is that? Distinction that with Europe, the place more than 80% of the population accepts evolution as reality. Right-wing American politicians use the rejection of science as a wedge difficulty to realize office and energy, polarizing the country and perhaps endangering the planet, because the similar People who reject evolution additionally reject the science behind local weather change.
With the US lagging far behind many European and Asian countries in science and math schooling, in an increasingly aggressive world the place science and economics are intertwined, it bodes poorly for the future of the nation and its lifestyle.
11. Abortion rights.
Abortion is turning into an more and more troublesome medical process to obtain within the US. Right-wing lawmakers, who decry authorities intervention in the workplace or air quality control, haven’t any objections to government intrusion into a lady’s physique and private reproductive selections. Republicans have passed state laws making it increasingly more troublesome to even discover an abortion clinic. Some states have only a single clinic in all the state. Clinics are closing in document numbers because of the difficulties of jumping via the hoops conservative lawmakers have arrange as a way to deprive ladies of their rights.
We all already know that the majority Western democracies would not dream of intruding on a lady’s right to decide on, however even the tiny country of Nepal outperforms the U.S. in this space. Formerly a country that outlawed abortion outright and prosecuted ladies who acquired abortions, Nepal legalized the process in 2002, setting aside the difficulty of faith and putting ladies’s well being entrance and middle. From that point on, Nepal labored to integrate abortion into the remainder of ladies’s well being rights, turning into a mannequin for the remainder of the world. Abortion clinics are obtainable in all 75 districts of Nepal, 50,000 female volunteer counselors are out there to assist pregnant ladies, abortion-inducing drugs are distributed extensively, and midwives are educated to perform abortions.
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