Well, America has lots of weird consumption inefficiencies, especially away from the coastal cities where we’re encouraged to own a lot more house, car and material goods than we need. I’d be more interested in how much it would take to provide every person in the world the kind of life they enjoy in one of the moderate-priced European “B” cities like Florence. Walkable places with incredible food, design, manufacturing, schools, racial diversity, etc. Places with great public transit AND a high level of private vehicle ownership, as well as universal health-care, cheap or free universities, and refreshing absence of paranoid security theater aimed at eliminating abstract nouns like “terror.”
The American lifestyle frankly sucks. The media is generally shit. The food stinks. We spend too much time in traffic and too much time taking care of a badly built McHouse that has the ergonomics of a coach seat on a discount airline. Add to that the lack of health care (just listened to a Stanford lecture about the American Couple that cited a study that determined that the single biggest predictor of long-term marital happiness is whether both partners have health care), the enormous wealth-gap between the rich and poor, blisteringly expensive tertiary education, an infant mortality rate that’s straight out of Victorian England, and a national security apparat that shoves its fist up my asshole every time I get on an airplane, and I don’t think that this country is much of a paragon of quality living.
America has lots going for it — innovation, the Bill of Rights, a willingness to let its language mutate in exciting and interesting ways, but the standard of living is not America’s signal virtue.
- Lawyers leaving high-paying firm jobs like crazy (New York Post)