America is NOT the Greatest Country in the World…Or Is It?

America is not the great country in the world?

Or is it…

Is the USA the absolute “BEST” place in the world?

Or an overhyped, propaganda ridden first-world country with an aging, angry population living far above their means…

I sat there nodding.

Waiting for my buddy to finish his spiel. One of my best friends in the world, but we’re different people. He was trying to sell me on moving to California with him — while we we’re sitting in a Los Angeles Starbucks drinking $6 buck espressos.

I had little to no interest in the place.

Overpriced? Yep.

High taxes? Hell yeah.

Horrific traffic? No doubt.

Shallow culture chalk full of vain people? Certainly some of that.

I could go on and on, but it wouldn’t matter. I wasn’t moving to California anytime soon. But that didn’t deter my buddy from laying it on thick…

The weather, the beaches, the quality of life, the women, etc.

He did his best, but I’m currently typing this to you while living in Paraguay. Yep, that Paraguay. The little South American country you’d probably struggle to find on a map. That you probably know nothing about. Hell, you may have never even heard of the place.

So his efforts ended in vain.

Which he eventually realized towards the end of our convo…I wasn’t moving to LA.

Hell, I wasn’t planning to move back to anywhere in the USA.

I loved my life south of the border.

But he couldn’t understand why.

“The USA is the best, man. Why wouldn’t you want to stay here?”

“It’s too dangerous down there.”

“I don’t know how you can live in those third-world, undeveloped sh*tholes.”

I just smiled and nodded. Arguing with others about the merits of my lifestyle isn’t something I like to waste my words on.

But I won’t lie, the convo got me thinking a bit.

Thinking about what the United States is actually the “BEST” at these days. Thinking about why I prefer living down south over in the USA. How my choices to live abroad could potentially affect my future.

Mainly whether…

America is NOT the Greatest Country in the World…Or is It?

I knew what my opinion was, but I decided to dig a little deeper. To look at some stats and sh*t. Get to the bottom of all the propaganda and see what the real story is.

If the USA is the absolute greatest country on the face of God’s green earth in every way, shape, and form like every American is told from birth…

Or if there’s a little more nuance to the topic than we’re led to believe.

Now, it should be noted that this little piece here is just the opinion of one bro. Just a dude from the ole’ USA who has been traveling around and living Latin America for the last 5+ years.

I’m biased in more ways than one.

So for those of you with sub-standard reading comprehension, this is an opinion piece. Opinion. Don’t get you’re panties in a bunch if you don’t like my conclusions.

Or do…and leave a comment about it in the section below.

Whatever suits your fancy.

But enough of my fluff here, let’s dig in.


P.S: I refer to people from the United States as “Americans” throughout this post. Yes, I know people from other countries in the Americas can be considered “Americans” too…but that’s a pain in the ass to differentiate throughout a whole post. Here “Americans” equal people from the USA.


USA is the BEST…Here’s Why

It’s time to get patriotic here. Make America great again and all that jazz.

MURICA’

Here’s one gringo’s take on what makes the USA the best:

  • Creating New Sh*t

Americans, aka people from the USA, are inventive. The culture rewards creating something from nothing like nowhere else .

And not only rewards it…

We encourage creating new things, acting out crazy ideas, and seeing how the market responds.

The USA invented the Internet, personal computer, mobile phone, and email. Things that we all pretty much use every single day — no matter where you live (Source).

Not to mention old-school inventions like the machine gun, light bulb, airplane, and more. Hell, we Americans even invented panty hoses and the weed whacker.

You can hate all you want on the “capitalist” gringos, but American ingenuity is seemingly unrivaled. Without it, that MacBook and iPhone you use 10+ hours everyday might not exist.

  • Individualism

Why are Americans so inventive?

I’d surmise one reason is because the USA is an incredibly individualistic society.

The focus is on the individual, on what you can do, not what the group can do collectively in the United States.

No one gives a damn about the group.

This isn’t Japan, where everyone looks, thinks, and potentially acts in similar fashion.

In the USA, your neighbor might not look like you, think like you, or have any similar values. The country is diverse. You might not feel much if any type of connection. You’re not in a “group” with these people. Or you don’t feel like you are.

You see yourself as an individual. Only responsible for you and potentially, your family.

Americans are told, “You can be anything you want to be when you grow up.”

There’s nothing about the group in that statement. It’s individualistic. It’s about you personally — not about anyone else.

This can be negative in some ways, but I believe it’s a net positive — as it produces people who think for themselves and want to achieve things personally.

  • Money Mindset

When you combine an individualistic, inventive society that’s obsessed with materialism and consumerism, you get a lot of competitive people focused on making more money.

People being sold the “American Dream” of always wanting more and more.

Now, this may sound like a negative — but I believe that’s not true.

When compared with many Europeans and Latin Americans, I believe gringos have a far more positive mindset relating to money.

Mainly…

With regards to abundance.

Americans rarely see money as a “scarce” resource that is impossible to come by.

The “American Dream” is built on abundance.

That there’s enough money for everyone to have a house, a car, money to feed their families, and provide for them.

That if you’re willing to work hard to make money, if money is a priority, you will be able to attract the money you need to live well — which varies person by person.

Outside of east Asian, northern European, and a few other countries, I’d speculate that this mindset is not ingrained into a culture like it is in the United States.

  • Strongest Military

This one isn’t really debatable.

The United States spends more on the military than the next nine countries combined — at a staggering rate of over $600+ billion per year (Source).

The staggering military spending includes the world’s largest fleet of aircraft carriers and quite a lot of research and development.

While the rest of the world seems to resent this fact, there’s no denying Americans appreciate the peace of mind that comes from having the world’s most powerful military.

I know I do.

  • Largest Economy

China should/might end up passing the United States in this regard sometime in the near future. But for the time being, the United States is still home to the largest economy in the world.

An economy expected to exceed 21 trillion in nominal GDP in 2019, while China comes in at a little over 9 trillion per year (Source).

I won’t try and attempt to predict what will happen with the economy of the United States in the future, but there’s something to be said for being too big to fail.

Which at 21 trillion a year, seems to be an accurate way to describe Uncle Sam’s economy.

I certainly hope USD stays strong for years to come.

  • Vast Country with “Everything”

Looking at a different side of things…

The USA is a massive country that literally has “everything” one could want on paper.

You want to live by the beach? California, Florida, and Hawaii all offer impressive beachfront living.

Love hiking or skiing? The mountains in Colorado and Utah offer world-class attractions.

National parks? There no denying the United States does a damn good job of keeping their natural parks pristine, with the likes of places like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and more.

Prefer big city living? New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago all are on offer.

Countryside comforts? The midwest is damn near barren and filled with opportunities to get away of all hustle and bustle.

McMansion suburban living for your family? Yeah, we’ve got that in spades too.

“From sea to shining sea…”

The United States has it all — as the country is absolutely massive and filled with many different cultures, people, and nature.

  • Freedom of Speech + Right to Bear Arms

While many in the United States seem to want to change these constitutional rights given to Americans to fit their political agendas…

These rights are still given to Americans.

Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to bar arms (Source).

While many foreigners are baffled by United States citizens desire to own powerful guns, I’m certainly pro-gun and believe this is a massive blessing which all Americans should take advantage.

Why? What about all the school shootings and attacks?

That’s a topic for a different article, but this is a net positive for the USA in my opinion and helps to ensure our government never turns into a Venezuela-esque nightmare.

  • Strong Passport

While one can argue about the absolute strongest passport in the world, there’s no denying that a USA passport is powerful when traveling the world.

As a USA passport holder, one has easy access to 165 countries all around the world (Source).

Many an American doesn’t give a damn about this fact, but for travelers like myself…this is a wonderful asset.

  • Specialized Healthcare and Medicine

The great healthcare debate in the United States rages on and surely won’t be settled for years to come, but there’s no denying specialized medicine and healthcare is fantastic in the USA.

If you have the money, you can easily find some of the best healthcare in the world throughout the United States.

World-class surgeons, experimental procedures not happening anywhere else, and every type of therapy you could think of.

The unique nature of specialized medicine in the States is part of the American inventive spirit, where many doctors and researchers are continually looking for problems to “solve” — even if the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t want certain things to change too fast.

Europeans are baffled at why Americans tend to dismiss ideas of universal healthcare.

But after seeing tens of thousands of foreigners visiting the United States for complex and sophisticated operations that simply aren’t available elsewhere, we have our reasons (Source). Operations that would rarely, if ever, fall under the scope of any state-run healthcare system.


The list could go on and on.

For a country that gets insane amounts of hatred from people from around the world, there’s no denying the benefits of living in and being from the United States.

But the hate makes sense…

No one cheers for the favorite when they don’t have a dog in the fight.

What Else the USA is “BEST” In?

You may be reading this now thinking I’m some sort of “homer” gringo and wondering why I ever left the United States if I loved the place so much.

Well, that’s where a little nuance comes into play here.

I know I’m blessed to be from the United States and have access to the country whenever I please.

I also know that the country is far from perfect and life outside the ole’ USA has a lot to offer a young man making money on the Internet.

Here’s why:

  • “Demasiado” Fat

Americans are fat.

If you haven’t spent much time outside the USA or Mexico, you probably don’t realize how fat many of the people you know and associate with truly are.

Nearly 72% of adult Americans are overweight according to standards set by the CDC (Source).

That’s fat fat.

Over 2/3rds of the country is overweight. 40% of adult Americans are considered obese. Not just fat — obese. Unhealthy. Land whale-ish.

There’s nothing healthy about waking up, eating, sitting in a chair for 8-10 hours while working, eating again and again — then going to sleep.

Which is the average American lifestyle.

Our culture is not conducive to movement. We drive cars everywhere. We sit at desks all day long. Our recreation and social lives often revolve around drinking beer and eating sh*t.

Unless Americans make an effort to walk the dog or go to the gym, our bodies tend to add mass and decay at rapid rates.

Hell, most young Americans aren’t even getting any “cardio” these days, either ;(

  • No Walkable Cities, No Public Transport

Public transportation is one of the most un-American things ever.

Outside of a few major cities like NYC, there are little to no options for public transport. No buses, no subways, no trains.

You drive your car where you want to go.

Point. Blank. Period.

While having a car is a blessing in itself, there’s no denying it sucks to have to drive everywhere. Well, at least if you’ve ever lived in the city center of a highly walkable area.

Throughout the rest of the developed and even third-world, public transport options are usually better than in the USA. Oh, and many cities are incredibly walkable once you get outside the United States.

You can find reasonable rent where you can walk to bars, restaurants, gyms, supermarkets, parks, gyms, yoga studios, coworking spaces, and so much more. All within 5-10 minutes of your home.

That type of setup is harder to find in the USA than anywhere else — because our culture is designed to drive everywhere.

Which brings me to my next point…

  • Spread-Out Suburbs

I’m from the suburbs. Unless you’re raising a family, the suburbs blow. Not gonna sugar-coat it. And the United States is chalk full of suburbs.

Hell, one could argue a lot of the economy is built on suburban living combined with capitalism.

The “American Dream” after all consists of a a massive “McMansion” in the suburbs, with a couple cars in the garage, a swimming pool in the back, and more.

Sure, the suburbs are ideal for raising children in many respects, but got damn are they boring.

If you’re looking to live a safe, secure, and methodical existence…then the USA is sure as sh*t the best place in the world to do it.

But whenever I think of the suburbs, this quote comes to mind:

“How many men stand on a balcony and wonder what happened? He wanted adventure, and he got two weeks’ vacation. He wanted a mission, and he got a lawn that needs mowing. He wanted purpose, and he got a cubicle. He wanted a mighty steed, and he got a minivan. He wanted a castle, and he got a mortgage. He wanted a battle to fight, and he got televised sports. He wanted wisdom, and he got talking heads on TV. He wanted treasure, and he got endless debt. He wanted every part of his life to be wonderful, and here he is… standing on a balcony, in bleak, ruminating hesitation.”

– Zan Perrion

If you’re looking for a life of adventure, this ain’t it, chief. And I’d argue that living abroad offers much more adventure for the average young American.

  • Being Upset About Nothing

Americans are world-class at making up problems on the spot and getting upset about absolutely nothing.

Oh, you’re “literally shaking” with anger about what some chode said on Twitter a few moments ago.

Here’s a thought…

Sign out of the app.

Go outside.

Take a walk.

Do you have food in your fridge? Roof over your head in a safe area? Your health? Ability to communicate with loved ones day in and day out?

Some don’t.

People from the United States are blessed, yet many choose to bitch about everything under the sun instead of focusing on the positives.

A lot of this has to do with the high levels of mental illness and SSRI prescriptions found in American society these days (Source).

And the fact that most gringos don’t have “real” problems, so they have to make some sh*t up to feed their need for drama.

Not my type of scene.

Positivity is cooler, and I find more of those vibes abroad.

  • Pointless Political Correctness

Political correctness is pretty ghey. Uber fookin’ ghey.

You don’t like how I worded that?

That’s fine.

Plus, political correctness is boring as hell, wholly inefficient, and a net negative to society.

Don’t @ me.

I’m all for respecting people, individual rights of marginalized groups, and all that jazz. I dunno what you want to call it.

But there’s no denying things have swung too far in one direction…a degenerative direction that I believe isn’t good for society as a whole.

Bringing children to drag shows and pride parades before they’ve even hit puberty (Source). That ain’t right. Let kids be kids for Christ’s sake.

Hell, they’re seemingly trying to normalize pedophilia in certain circles these days (Source).

  • Putting People in Prison

As a gringo, I take no pride in how fantastic we are at putting people in prison for pointless crimes.

Oh, and for-profit prison is scam, fam.

According to the stats, the USA house 4.4% of the world’s population — but nearly 22% of the world’s prisoners (Source).

So…

Are yankees simply blood-thirsty monsters who need to be controlled? Or is this something else going on here?

The USA imprisons 698 people per 100,000 residents — which is tops in the world by far (Source).

Yeah, violent crime rates in the United States are far from tops in the world. In fact, only 3 cities in the United States even make the world’s most dangerous cities list.

So what’s really going on?

The United States is a police state…and that’s only going to get worst. There massive money in putting people in prison and keeping them there.

And our government isn’t going to be giving back any civil liberties to the populace anytime soon.

One quick example…

In nearly every Latin American country, you can get slam hammered on the streets and no one will give two sh*Fts about.

In the USA, drinking in the streets is 100% illegal and public intoxication can land you in jail.

Lame.

The land of the free, eh?

  • Keeping Americans from Traveling

“American is the BEST!”

Quickly followed by…

“Why would I need to go anywhere else?”

The powerful propaganda found throughout the ole’ USA keeps a lot of Americans from traveling the world.

Everywhere else is “TOO” dangerous to visit for many Americans.

Why go to the beaches in Mexico when you can just go to Florida?

Why hike through Patagonia when you can just go to Colorado?

The travel industry propaganda machine pushes people to stay in the States instead of traveling abroad — a vast cry from the beliefs of many Europeans.

For example, even though Central America is far closer to the United States and the USA is a much larger country, I met many more Germans when traveling throughout the region a few years back.

I found that odd.

Then I looked up USA passport statistics…

Only 36% of Americans have a valid passport. Only a third of the country!

In contrast, nearly 70% of Brits and Aussies have passports (Source).

The reality is Americans simply don’t travel like other countries. We’re either too lazy, not curious enough, or we’ve bought into the propaganda machine fueling domestic travel.

  • No Vacation Time

Or maybe it’s because Americans simply don’t have time to travel.

The USA is one of the only developed countries that doesn’t guarantee vacation days for workers. Whereas most European countries are guaranteed 4-6 weeks of paid vacation each year, the lowly gringos get ZERO guaranteed days (Source).

None.

Now, of course many people in the States get vacation days — but usually not many.

The standard salaried employee in the USA gets around 8-12 paid vacation days per year. Vacation days that they usually have to request or “apply” for from their HR department — essentially begging for approval.

This was one of my biggest gripes when working in corporate America. I had 10 vacation days all year and zero sick days. If I had the flu, there went 20% of my vacation days for the YEAR.

Lame.

So maybe we don’t need passports when we don’t even have enough time for a longer international flight anyway.

  • Huge Healthcare Costs

Healthcare costs in the USA are absolutely out of control as of late.

There’s absolutely no doubt about it, and you “have” to have a policy due to new regulations.

I don’t have any idea about how to remedy this issue, but the facts are:

The USA spends more per capita than any other developed nation…and it’s not even close!

While I don’t believe universal healthcare is ideal for the United States, there’s no denying the people who want it have good reasons. Medical care costs are absolutely out of control in the USA — especially when you factor in the insurance plans and policies.

  • Insane College Tuition

Just like healthcare, the costs of going to university in the United States tend to be higher than anywhere else in the world — or close to it (Source).

While many countries around the world have figured out ways to offer free or cheap tuition to may students, the USA just keeps charging more and more every year.

While many of these public universities are “not for profit” institutions, some have billon dollar endowment funds just laying around creating capital for the university — meanwhile, many graduates finish their degrees with over $100,000 USD in student loan debt.

Now there’s a few arguments to be made here…

Namely that some of the universities in the United States are the absolute best in the world and more than worth the price of admission.

However, the vast majority of students are graduating from these types of institutions. They’re graduating from run-of-the-mill state colleges that are more of a place to party — than an institution of higher learning.

Somethings gotta give with USA universities and the student loan bubble…

Methinks it’ll be popping sooner than later.

  • Spending Money on Wars

While I personally don’t mind the USA spending more on the military and technology than anyone else, we surely don’t have to use it all the damn time.

Do we?

Pointless war in the middle east after pointless war in the middle east…all shilled by the same pundits and politicians.

Democrat, republican, blah fookin’ blah.

Nearly all of them suck the teat of the military industrial complex and ensure the United States is technically always at “war” with some random ass nation.

There’s always somebody who needs a little “freedom” from Uncle Sam, right?

The United States is amazing at spending money on wars, but it’d be nice to see that change in the coming years.

  • Cultural Decline

Culturally…

The United States is becoming more and more degenerate, while the level of discourse continues to plummet.

The media and more have done an excellent job of further dividing the country down economic, racial, and political lines.

This could be a whole article on itself, and many would consider this my personal opinion.

That’s fine.

But to me, people in the States were way more fun to be around just 4-5 years ago. Not too mention back in the day.

Back in the 90s and early 2000s.


The Verdict?

Whew!

That sh*Ft turned out way longer than I expected it to — nearly 4,000+ words of comparing, contrasts, and making sure me points had some validity to em’

The verdict?

My verdict?

However you want to say it…

The United States has a culture of ingenuity and abundance built into the fabric and framework of the country.

This is the absolute best part about being born in the USA to me.

We are taught we can be anything we want when we grow up…we just have to work for it.

This mindset oozes through the veins and into our lives as we get older. It’s the reason many gringos become incredibly productive members of society.

It’s a major reason why the United States is an economically prosperous country.

But culturally…

The USA is on a sharp decline.

Negative discourse, division, and whining has seeped into the national conversation. Quality of life isn’t what it used to be for many an American.

The country is falling behind in several key metrics and the economic prosperity simply cannot continue along a similar if changes are not made.

So that’s my opinion, my verdict…

The United States offers economic opportunities unlike anywhere else in the world, but is severely lacking from a cultural standpoint.

Lacking to the point that I prefer living outside of the country most of the time.

While in many ways it’s unfair to say America is not the greatest country in the world, we need to make some changes before it’s too late.

The United States might still be the absolute BEST country in the world for now…

That’s far from guaranteed in the coming decades.

P.S: What did I miss? Many full books have been written about this topic, so there’s a lot of missed here. Sound off in the comments below. Right my wrongs.

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Jake D

Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.

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