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How do you wish the US were more like Europe?

How do you wish the US were more like Europe?

Aug 9th, 2001, 09:10 AM
  #21  
DougD
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One thing that I noticed the first time we drove around in France and Austria was the wondeful lack of suburban sprawl into the countryside. Almost no strip malls, big box stores, or mega malls. Most people did there shopping in downtown areas, and saved the countryside for farmland and forest.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 09:28 AM
  #22  
mark
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Better mass transit.

The creation of better public spaces so that all classes of American could interact more ( which is why our public transportation and train system is so bad because so many Americans don't want to mix with perceived undesirables)

Better designed architecture instead of the cheap unimaginative boxes that typify America buildings. Better designed high density mix use developments.

Less suburban - more urban.

Less dependence on cars - more dependence on one's own two feet - which would facilitate better communities
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 09:28 AM
  #23  
Laura
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I agree with you again, Ryan, (xax.com). Bravo.

To Ryan ([email protected]): But at least all Americans have the CHOICE...to go to college or not (as long as they keep the grades up)....to have both spouses working....to buy "stuff"...and a lot have made choices I have not made.

But....I am so glad that the freedom is there. It sounds like you would take that freedom away (fat chance taking the opportunity for all to attend a university away in the U.S. Or any freedom, for that matter!!!!)

Health care for all kids in Europe? You mean if they wait in line, maybe they will see a doctor in six months. European health care sounds good, but in reality, the U.S. has it beat hands down. One of my English friends truly believes that if she gets a lump, she may as well make out her will, because she will surely die before her turn for a procedure comes up.

There ARE technical schools throughout the U.S.A. What are you talking about? Just because more would rather attend a university doesn't mean those places don't exist, and they are open to everyone..

Stronger family values in Europe? I don't think so. I think you are reflecting your background, maybe? (no insult meant) My kids and my husband come first and always have. I doubt there is a stronger family unit in Europe. And I am typical of a huge, huge number of Americans. Some of us have more things, some of us are working very hard to have even more, and some of us are just scraping by. But, I have never seen a country more family-oriented than the U.S. We are no more nor less family-oriented than other countries. I cannot imagine how you came to that assumption. And, don't forget, what you think is important is not necessarily that important to the next guy. What you may think is a family where the adults are slaving away to buy more things, may just be a family trying to make sure that the money is there for college and a good life for their kids, or a family where the parents grew up with nothing and are working their fingers to the bone to provide what, in their opinion, is a better life for their kids. Walk a mile in their shoes, [email protected], spend a week with that family, and then form an opinion about THAT family, and not all American families.

Yeah, I think you have a strong case of "the grass is always greener".

Escritora, you ask two things...how do you wish the U.S. were more like Europe, and what do we envy in European life. I have answered the latter, but, the former?

I wish more people appreciated the arts as they seem to in Europe. Then maybe we would have more money funded into our institutions.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 09:33 AM
  #24  
TooMuch
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Why does it always start out as an interesting question and end up a big flag waving, rah, rah USA flap? Escritora asked a simple question, something in Europe you find preferable to the US and wham bang, out come the "patriots" raving that nothings better than here.

It's a sad commentary that we are unable to find something abroad we find preferable to the US without total outrage from some and totally turning what might have been an interesting thread into another "we are better than they are."
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 09:40 AM
  #25  
Laura
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TooMuch, you are almost right, one simple question (How do you wish, etc.) and one doozy...what really substantive ways do you envy life in Europe.

Big, big difference. Major.

Escritora, herself, says she is not talking about things like Italian coffee, French flour, etc.

I think if she had phrased it differently, she would be getting a different response, since virtually all of us here love Europe and enjoy Europeans.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 09:48 AM
  #26  
Barbara
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I agree w/ Doug and Mark. I don't see urban sprawl in Europe, at least not in France & Italy. Take a look out the plane window the next time you land at LAX. Housing development after development in every piece of land you could possibly build on, criss crossing roads and highways, rows upon rows of incandescent orange lighting, and of course cars and cars looking like ants crawling to their ant hills. Land in Bologna, Italy and all you see are fields surrounding the city.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 09:49 AM
  #27  
Steve Mueller
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The question originally posted is the type that invariably brings out the mindless romanicizing. It is obvious that a few of the contributors have internalized one too many Globus brochures. "Europeans are so in love with life. Europeans care so much about each other. Europeans love their children. Even the traffic in Europe is beautiful. Yadda, yadda, yadda." Since when is hating your job a virtue?

Europe is classic example of democracy without responsibility. Much of European society is essentially a scam where everyone is trying to live at the expense of someone else. Government regulation is accepted, almost universally, as the sole solution to virtually all social problems. In countries such as France, this approach is no longer even the subject of debate.

Socialized medicine provides an excellent illustration of the consequences that arise from this mentality. When a product or service is "free", demand increases and the available supply decreases. Invariably, the socialist response to the inevitable shortages is rationing. An appointment with an oncologist in the UK requires months of waiting. Is it any surprise that cancer survival rates are significantly lower in the UK than in the US? As recently reported by ABC News, the state of Ohio alone has more MRI machines than exist in all of England. Isn't socialized medicine wonderful? Isn't life in Europe wonderful? Just hope that you don't develop a life-threatening illness while living in paradise.

In at least one way, the European lifestyle is decidedly more convenient. Only rhetoric has meaning, substance is apparently meaningless. Hypocrisy is enshrined in the European continent. Europeans invent the guillotine and the gas chamber, perfect the art of racial and ethnic cleansing, unleash the likes of Hitler and Mussolini on the world, and yet have the audacity to denounce Americans as Barbarians merely because we refuse to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. I suppose that, to the indoctrinated mind, carbon dioxide is a greater evil than fascism. Incidentally, where were all the Euro-protesters when Hitler was taking over the continent? They were sure out in force when President Bush "invaded" the continent. I guess it was just too difficult to have a good party while protesting in the days of the Third Reich. It's easy to have a "conscience" when no sacrifice is required.

Fifty years ago, the fad in Europe was to blame the Jews for everything. Today the fad is blame the Americans for everything. Little has changed.







 
Aug 9th, 2001, 09:53 AM
  #28  
TooMuch
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Laura:

Thank you for taking the time from your tirades about the US to "grade" my post. Gee I'm almost right!!

What do I envy? Much of what some of those above envy--family, lack of sprawl, live and let live attitudes, the history, culture, etc.

If the Roman forum was here, it would be razed and a Wall Mart constructed. Get the idea?
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 09:59 AM
  #29  
YS
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A friend of mine (not natural born American) calls US a "plastic country." Thinking about it, I can't agree more. Everthing is available, people do not starve, but its all... plastic.

Taking an ideolistic point of view, in US we work to make more money to spend more so we can buy more/better new things, so that the company's that make these new things get reacher and we, the stockholders, get reacher, so that we can earn more money.

But... I miss 30-day vacations, good medical care where I don't have to sign 10 different forms and answer the same questions 50 times before I'm addmited to the hospital and I'm not looking into suing the HMO or a hospital or a doctor, where doctor LISTENS to me and not saying "according to the machine you feel good"... And when I'm sick I should NOT drive to the doctors, the doctor should come over.

I miss the culture in dress styles (no, sweatshirts and jeans or shorts are not acceptable at the Opera), I miss good developed public trasportation, I miss travelling by train...

But there are many things to appreciate, and that's the compromise...
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 09:59 AM
  #30  
greg
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I wish US restaurants would stop serving gut busting food portions. I would take European portions, but still pay US prices. I can cancel trips to health clubs and would still lose weight, save money, and more time to do other things than to exercise for the sake of keeping the weight in control.

You say I can doggie bag them: no, I do not always have that option. Can I choose not to eat them all? Yes, but after seeing starving children in South America and in Southeast Asia first hand, it is not an easy option to have food wasted. I would have been happier, perhaps, had I lived in well to do part of the US all my life and have never seen so many starving children; then I wouldn't wink an eye about throwing away food.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 10:04 AM
  #31  
BornintheUSA
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Ryan: No, no one is holding a gun to anyone else's head. It's just that the world of endless, endless possibilities provided by American society confront and tempt not just those capable of making terrific decisions but almost everyone, from 6-year-olds to the mentally challenged. We are bombarded with crap through almost every aspect of our culture. In the land of ultimate freedom, you can supposedly dream, achieve, acquire, or become anything you choose, no matter how unrealistic your choice is. And while this may sound great, not everyone can be Tony Robbins because Tony Robbins requires other people that he can take advantage of. When the less capable set unrealistic material goals or aspire to become a household name, then see that they are really only grist for the goals of the powerful, they often "check out" of Hotel Reality. Our thirst for personal freedom also ensures that there is a virtually limiltess supply of drugs, guns, illusions of grandeur, and unrealistic dreams, and I think many of our social problems (I don't have to go into our national statistics on violence, prisons, teenage pregnancy, or substance abuse, do I?) come about when individuals feel they have failed to achieve "America's promise" of wealth and fame. By tempting and overwhelming our citizens with options and choices, we pretty much guarantee a lot more failure than anyone really wants to live with. It's not our government, per se, although ours certainly encourages irresonsible business practices. It's the way we are. Only the $ matters. I prefer the European cultural approach which attempts to ensure that the common good of families and institutions is not compromised by the often wreckless pursuit of personal of freedom by individuals.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 10:07 AM
  #32  
hello
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Point 1: Ohio has more MRI machines than England.
Point 2: 8 out of 10 European nations have better life expectancy than the U.S. (according to the "world almanac").
Conclusion: something has gone wrong with U.S. health care.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 10:08 AM
  #33  
Laura
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Gosh, TooMuch, not grading you, not at all. Just pointing out that she asked TWO questions, not, as you state, just one simple one. Go eat lunch, maybe you won't be so cranky.

 
Aug 9th, 2001, 10:33 AM
  #34  
toomuchtoo
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Can you love your country and still recognize her flaws and admire aspects of other countries that your own could adopt? Of course. Can you travel abroad and refuse to see ANYTHING admirable about the countries you visit? Sadly, it appears so.

Yesterday this board was crawling with complaints about the lack of interesting topics. Today it seems the problem actually is many posters' lack of ability to discuss interesting ideas.

Sad, sad, sad.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 10:34 AM
  #35  
Steve Mueller
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Differences in life expectancy are influenced much more heavily by a healthy lifestyle than by the healthcare system. The numbers that I have seen indicate that Europeans live, on average, from one to two years longer than in the US. I would be willing to bet, however, that non-obese non-smoking Americans have an average life expectancy as great as anywhere in Europe. Moreover, my earlier point addressed the odds of surviving a life-threatening illness, not the odds that someone will stupidly kill themselves with an unhealthy lifestyle. If the American health care system is so flawed, why are so many Canadians treated for cancer here at there own expense?
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 10:36 AM
  #36  
John
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I don’t want to get into any dustups over class systems, educational systems, or social versus individual responsibility. Both Europe and the US are big enough and diverse enough that one can find statistics or anecdotes to prove just about any point you want.

So here are some of my views. I wish the US (and Canada and Mexico) could take a page from Western Europe and make border crossings more convenient. It might shift the police function of the Border Patrol or Customs Service more to state or local government, but I think the public (all three of them) would be better served with freer movement across the borders, even if it means upgrading immigration, tax, or police functions elsewhere.

I wish “foreign” language skills were more emphasized in the US. How many Dutch or Danish adults have zero English, or German or French for that matter? Most kids in the UK can get along in French at least, and the EC is making multi-lingual skills a necessity. The US is not a “melting pot” at all, but as someone cleverly put it in another thread, a “tossed salad” of cultures and languages. We should celebrate it, and while English has to be taught in a comprehensive way to everyone in the US, it would be nice to set a national goal that by some date most Americans will have received some formal training in another language. Are you listening, Sr. W?

I wish the US paid more attention to educating our kids in areas we used to call “civics” – how the world works, the differences between state or national or international institutions, how to find Belgium or Borneo on a map, all that. I actually think international soccer has done more to make Europeans aware of other peoples and countries than anything else; so how about admitting some European teams into the NBA (yes, travel would be an issue, but so what?) (Yes, I know about Celtic and Man U idiots abroad; again, so what?)

I wish I could buy a Fiat or a Peugeot if I wanted. (By the way, several of my British friends drive SUVs, Jeeps made in Austria in a couple of cases.) I wish I could ride a fast train between big cities and not feel like I’m a second-class citizen, or that my time is less valuable than that of a trainload of coal. I wish that “bed and breakfast” was an inexpensive form of lodging and not solely the domain of Martha Stewart wannabes with way too much potpourri in the parlor. I wish the Accor hotel chain had more outlets on this side of the water. I wish I could buy a bottle of Banyuls somewhere in this #@*&! country.

There are lots of areas where I’m glad that the US is NOT like Europe, but that’s another topic.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 10:47 AM
  #37  
mark
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I have to agree with TooMuch - there seems to be an attitude that we as a nation have to think / believe a certain way regarding certain principles. I get very leery when people start sying we need to all think the same way - or hold the same beliefs.

There are time when I wish we as Americans had the same sense of identity / cohesion as do the people in Italy, France, etc. Yet - I can't help but think it's our lack of a distinct identity that makes American great. Many conservatives might say that is the problem with America nowadays - things are too grey, too fuzzy. Numerous Europen friends talk about how they love coming to NYC because they can be however they want compared to the rigidity they feel in Europe.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 10:58 AM
  #38  
anon
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"....much of European society is essentially a scam where everyone is trying to live at the expense of someone else..."

Actually Steve this describes aspects of capitalism - I pay you the least I can so as to have more money for myself - I live a better life at your expense. If i'm a retailer - I charge yo the most I can get out of your pocket into mine. The reason why so many manufaturing jobs have gone to poor countries is becaue the workers there can be paid 5 cents an hour - talk about a scam. Is America the only one doing it - of course not.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 11:03 AM
  #39  
Capo
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Urban planning & design. Seattle, for example, was incapable and unwilling to close off a street for only one block downtown for pedestrians. In the U.S., cars rule.

And speaking of cars, I like the fact that the price of gasoline is high enough in Europe (due, in large part, I'm sure, to taxes) to dissuade people from driving gas-guzzling behemoths.

I also admire the liberal -- and, IMO, enlightened -- social policies of the Netherlands vis-a-vis what we commonly refer to as "vices" such as drugs and prostitution. Furthermore, I admire the fact that the Dutch have legalized both euthanasia, and same-sex marriages.



 
Aug 9th, 2001, 11:19 AM
  #40  
chuck
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more sidewalk cafes
 

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