American Exceptionalism?

Oh, I like this guy! Americans seem quite unrealistic, in a way it’s hard for me to even consider the US a developed nation, yet in American’s view the place is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Really the main thing the country is exceptional at is maximizing corporate profits, which come at the expense of everything else that is important (the middle class, the food supply, health care, even the democracy itself). Somehow this is shrugged off, and the “but Merika is still the greatest country on Earth” belief is maintained. Mass delusion?


Jeremy Grantham, chief investment strategist at GMO, has some bad news for Americans. From health care, to politics, to education, to the economy, the U.S. is far from a standout, he says. And before the nation can resolve its challenges, Americans must first acknowledge them.

“We are dealing today with important issues, one so important that it may affect the long-term viability of our global society and perhaps our species,” the strategist writes in his latest quarterly letter. “It may well be necessary to our survival that we become more realistic , more willing to process the unpleasant , and, above all, less easily manipulated through our need for good news.”

*deeply obnoxious American yawn

Corporate profits and a high GDP

these are good things

they increase the standard of living

you can’t just randomly state things, tie them together and say ‘this is wrong with America’ — well actually you have been doing that for a while now haven’t you

Yes, this is the American belief.

PA it’s because so many Americans really believe the 80’s were a great time in this country and that supply side economics isn’t a sham to funnel wealth to the top.

Don’t worry there are plenty of Americans who are quite aware of all our problems, we just have no ability to realistically cause a change in the system. Corporate interests are already far to powerful and put a stop to anything that may be harmful to their profits, despite all the benefits to the people.

are you saying that there is no correlation between

GDP per person


Income per person


I’m special. Mr. Rogers told me so.

They hate us for our freedom

There is a correlation for sure. However, the correlation between change in GDP and change in median income is likely quite low since the 1980s. It’d be fun to look at that data. Maybe I’ll do that when I have a little free time.

I agree here. There may be selection bias in the americans you (PA) interact with. Professionally, you may find yourself interacting with the educated wealthy, who tend to like supply-side views. In the media, you probably encounter the uneducated right wing nationalists, because they make for more entertaining programming. But there are plenty of Americans that fall into neither category and are reasonably sane. (The wealthy are not necessarily insane, but they are terrified that their golden spigot will be taken away from them, and so they tend to push for specific policies that increase their oligarchical privileges).

I think that what happens is that pretty much no one here wants this country to fail, and many of us are secretly worried that it will. The rich are afraid of socialism, the poor are afraid of oligarchy (or taking away their chance to be an oligarch). I think many of us are “rah rah, America is the greatest country on earth” out of fear that to say otherwise somehow makes it more liekly to fail.

The other thing is that the reasons to think “America is the greatest country on earth” vary from person to person, even if they say the same thing. Some think America is great because it allows them to get rich. Others think it is great because they aren’t locked up for saying things that the government dislikes. Others think it is great because they can set up their own cults. Others think it is great because they can break free of their family histories relatively easily.

Anyway, it’s a lot more complex than you make it out to be, and it doesn’t mean that many Americans don’t recognize a whole bunch of problems and threats to the future.

Very true, PA just likes to summarize US stance on issues into these nice little boxes without really thinking that when you look at size & freedom it is significantly ahead of other large countries.

Look at this list of countries if you sort by population. It isn’t even close! Not another country in the top 9 (I only say 9 and not 10 because I do not know enough about japan to comment) provides so many as much freedom as the USA. I do believe that general quality of life in some European countries and possibly Canada is a bit better than here, and they usually have fewer problems, but they are also significantly smaller. Getting the US to agree on a change is like getting Europe including the UK to agree to reforms, there are so many different people with different backgrounds raised in entirely different environments that everyone disagrees.

it feels like PA is working for N Korea surprise

I read the GMO article. I thought generally he was selecting specific data points to be overly negative on the US without balancing it with positives which you could easily add.

The chart which shows that French real median income has more than doubled over the past 40 years compared to America caught my eye. Is that correct? US GDP growth has been higher over that period as far as I know so what does that imply - that French productivity has boomed? How do you square that circle?

Intuitively it doesn’t feel right given that average disposable income in the US is still higher and France was not a poor country in 1970. Could it be that income dispersion is higher in the US so that the average is far higher than the median?

^^ bingo mean vs median numbers in the US would be drastically different when compared to other countries i’d imagine. There is still tons of money being made in the US, the lions share just continues to go to fewer and fewer


I think PA is just struggling with a massive inferiority complex …

PA, I don’t disagree that America has issues and there are certainly backwater areas of the country, but saying we aren’t developed is just stupid. There really isn’t much else to say there to convince you otherwise because you can’t argue with an idiot.

At least we know who helped direct this video:

^ There was a moment of rationality here, the above quite succinctly summarizes the situation. Americans know there is zero hope, the only way would be revolution, overthrow the corporate system, and they can’t do that cause they are busy watching Game of Thrones and eating pizza. So they figure, just drink the koolaid and goto sleep. :wink:

Of course deep down the smarties know it’s all nonsense. But still, overconfidence/denial, or fear of addressing the truth, whatever we call it – the lack of ability to start accepting and working on the problems, increases the speed at which the problems grow. Overconfidence is a great weakness, yet at this point it’s the only thing holding the thing together…


Dude, you have no effing clue what you’re talking about.

^ Oh, I’ve heard this many times before! And then time moves forward and the people saying this end up being the ones who “had no effing clue what they were talking about”, which they promptly forget about, and proceed to new topics which they have no effing clue about. :wink:

Tell that to your NSA… Oh wait, you already did! Some freedom.