US Life vs Elsewhere

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This is about You, your children, and your grandchildren! Why and how ALL constitutional rights for corporations should be addressed, see Why Abolish All Corporate Constitutional Rights and Not All Responses to Citizens United Are The Same.

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Which 5 countries have made the most progress in advancing economic opportunities for women? (Courtesy of @iain2008 Iain Macadair)

Women’s Economic Opportunity Index:

Which 5 countries have made the most progress in advancing economic opportunities for women?


Which 5 countries have no legislation that protects women from sexual harassment, domestic violence, and sexual assault?

United Arab Emirates

Which 2 countries offer no mandatory paid maternity leave for women?

United States

A Comparison of Life in the US vs Life in Other Wealthy Nations: (Text Below):



NOTE: Substantial portions of the following were reproduced with permission from WHERE WE STAND, by Michael Wolff, Peter Rutten, Albert Bayers III, and the World Rank Research Team (New York: Bantam Books, 1992). Copyright (c) 1992 by Michael Wolff & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of the contents of WHERE WE STAND may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of the copyright owner. Requests for permission should be sent to Michael Wolff & Company, Inc., 520 Madison Avenue, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10022, phone 212-308-8100, fax 212-308-7425, or email to

The following statistics are a 1991 comparison of the United States with Northern Europe, Japan and Canada. The comparison is especially revealing because all these nations are more liberal and democratic than we are. Their voter turn-outs are 50 percent higher; their corporate lobbying systems are much less developed; their taxes are higher, their safety nets larger, their societies more equal, their labor unions stronger.

And what may depress many conservatives is that these nations beat us on statistic after statistic after statistic.

Table of Contents:
Standard of Living
Income Inequality
Health Care
Work and Leisure Time

STANDARD OF LIVINGThe economic supremacy that the U.S. has enjoyed in the second half of this century owes much to the good fortune it enjoyed in the first half. Two world wars destroyed Europe and Japan, while the prosperity that comes from running a wartime economy turned America into an economic superpower. America held this advantage for decades, but in the last 20 years, Europe and Japan have been rapidly catching up, and in many areas overtaking us. There is a mundane explanation for this: developing nations grow much faster than already developed nations, much like a child grows faster than a teenager. But the fact that they are catching up and often by-passing us with societies that are more equal, democratic, liberal, pro-environmental and pro-labor presents a serious challenge to conservative thought.

First, let’s take a look at overall tax rates as a percentage of the GDP. (All statistics are for 1991. See the following footnote for a comment on sources.1) Keep in mind that the two columns measure different things: the first, GDP, the second, personal income.

 General rate Top rate (percent of GDP) (percent of income) Sweden 53.2% 45.0 Denmark 48.3 40.0 Norway 47.1 23.0 Netherlands 47.0 72.0 Germany 39.2 56.0 Finland 37.7 51.0 Canada 37.3 29.0 Japan 30.9 60.0 United States 29.8 34.0

You might be surprised to learn that the United States has long had the lowest tax rates of any industrialized nation. And how does the level of taxation compare to each nation's standard of living? There are three general ways to measure standard of living: earning power, purchasing power and individual worker productivity. The U.S. has lost its lead in the first and is losing its lead in the other two.

Earning power is defined as GDP per capita, or how much the average citizen earns in a year. It is an important statistic because it measures how advantageously nations trade on the global market. After the Second World War, the U.S. was number one for 40 years. But in the mid-80s, the U.S. suddenly began dropping down the list.

1991 Earning Power2

Switzerland $35,490 Japan 27,300 Sweden 26,900 Denmark 24,230 Norway 24,150 Finland 24,110 United States 22,550 Canada 20,840 Germany 19,830 Netherlands 19,310

Purchasing power, however, is a rather more accurate measure of standard of living. It shows how much each country pays to buy the same item, say, a loaf of bread. With its large, diverse and well-functioning market, the U.S. has generally enjoyed the lowest real prices in the industrialized world. But, as the chart below shows, it is also true that the purchasing power of other nations has been growing more rapidly than the U.S.' For this reason we should also look at each nation's percentage of the US purchasing power in 1970, and again in 1991.3

 Purchasing Percent of Percent of Power, 1991 US, 1970 US, 1991 United States $22,204  -- -- Germany 19,500 75% 88 Canada 19,178 72 86 Japan 19,107 57 86 Denmark 17,621 71 79 Norway 16,904 54 76 Sweden 16,729 77 75 Netherlands 16,530 72 74 Finland 15,997 58 72

The third measure is individual worker productivity. The following chart shows how other nations have been catching up to the U.S. over the decades:

Percent of U.S. individual worker productivity (U.S. = 100%)

 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990 United States 100% 100 100 100 100 Canada 77.1 80.1 84.2 92.8 95.5 Italy 30.8 43.9 66.4 80.9 85.5 France 36.8 46.0 61.7 80.1 85.3 Germany 32.4 49.1 61.8 77.4 81.1 United Kingdom 53.9 54.3 58.0 65.9 71.9 Japan 15.2 23.2 45.7 62.6 70.7

Unfortunately, the above figures give only a crude measurement of how well each nation lives. There are severe problems with measuring a nation's well-being by productivity alone; perhaps the best analogy is that of a millionaire who wastes all his money on cocaine, compared to an average person who spends it on food, clothing, shelter, education, etc. (More) When one considers exactly how each nation spends its GDP, the weakening of the U.S.' number one position in the world becomes even more apparent.

Where We Stand publishes an index of economic prosperity that takes into account all the following factors: productivity, salaries, equitable wealth distribution, luxury-goods consumption, trading strength, poverty, personal and national indebtedness, inflation control, business strength and credit-worthiness. And the best-off nations are:

Germany 1382 Japan 1363 Switzerland 1332 Canada 1216 United States 1178 Netherlands 1087 Sweden 1079 Norway 1061 United Kingdom 1049 Denmark 920 Finland 910

But let's break down these broad comparisons into their components. Perhaps the most appropriate statistic to begin with is home ownership, the central part of the American Dream: (More)

Home ownership: Ireland 82% Japan 60 Spain 80 Portugal 59 Luxembourg 77 United States 59 Norway 73 Finland 58 Belgium 72 Sweden 55 Greece 72 France 54 Italy 68 Netherlands 46 United Kingdom 67 Germany 40 Canada 64 Switzerland 29 Denmark 60

America's decline in home ownership is symbolic of a larger erosion in living standards, which Americans have met in two ways. The first is that America has gone deeply into debt to maintain its lifestyle. The second is that families have been able to hold ground only because wives have joined their husbands in the work force. (Note: this is a comment on the difficulty of making ends meet, not on working women!) Europe and Japan suffer much less from either of these problems:

Percent of families earning two paychecks: United States 58% Japan 33 France 33 Italy 20 Germany 18 Netherlands 16 Average Household Debt United States $71,500 United Kingdom 35,500 Germany 27,700 France 27,650 Netherlands 5,000 Switzerland 800 Average Household Savings Japan $45,118 Switzerland 19,971 Denmark 18,405 France 17,649 Germany 17,042 Norway 15,196 Netherlands 14,282 Finland 12,387 Sweden 10,943 United Kingdom 7,451 United States 4,201 Percent of income spent on credit cards: United Kingdom 12% United States 10 France 8 Japan 4 Switzerland 3 Netherlands 2 Germany 2 Government debt per person: Belgium $16,423 Japan 14,049 United States 12,433 Sweden 9,541 Netherlands 9,368 Canada 8,597 Norway 5,498 United Kingdom 4,635 Finland 2,798 Germany 977 Trade Balance (millions): Japan +$77,110 Germany +76,713 Netherlands +7,990 Canada +5,047 Norway +3,769 Denmark +2,426 Finland -250 United Kingdom -37,958 United States -113,240 Current Account Balance (millions): Japan +$56,783 Germany +55,477 Netherlands +6,962 Norway +226 Denmark -1,402 Finland -4,895 Canada -16,593 United Kingdom -34,065 United States -105,900 Investment (percent of GDP): Japan 30.6% Norway 28.8 Switzerland 26.6 Finland 24.8 Canada 22.0 Netherlands 21.4 Germany 19.9 Sweden 19.7 United Kingdom 19.2 Denmark 18.0 United States 17.1 INCOME INEQUALITY

As mentioned earlier, America has the greatest inequality of income and wealth in the industrialized world:

Inequality of income (0 = most equal society, 100 = the least equal): United States 99 Canada 83 Netherlands 82 Switzerland 79 United Kingdom 78 Germany 66 Norway 60 Sweden 60 Average CEO's pay as a multiple of an average worker's pay: United States 17.5 (More) United Kingdom 12.4 Japan 11.6 Canada 9.6 France 8.9 Germany 6.5 Percent of Union Membership in Workforce: Sweden 85.3% United Kingdom 41.5 Canada 34.6 Germany 33.8 Japan 26.8 Netherlands 25.0 United States 16.4 Size of Middle Class (More): Japan 90.0% Sweden 79.0 Norway 73.4 Germany 70.1 Switzerland 67.2 Netherlands 62.5 Canada 58.5 United Kingdom 58.5 United States 53.7 Poverty level (More): United States 17.1% Canada 12.6 United Kingdom 9.7 Switzerland 8.5 Germany 5.6 Sweden 5.3 Norway 5.2 Children under the poverty level: United States 22.4% Canada 15.5 United Kingdom 9.3 Switzerland 7.8 Sweden 5.0 Germany 4.9 Norway 4.8 Deaths from malnutrition (per million): Men Women United States 7 13 France 4 9 Canada 5 7 Japan 2 1 United Kingdom 1 2 Norway 0 1 Head Start (percent of age group enrolled in preschool) 2-year olds 3-year olds 4-year olds France 35.7% 96.3 100 Norway 22.8 31.6 44.1 Finland 20.2 16.0 19.6 Germany 9.1 32.3 71.6 United Kingdom 1.3 25.9 69.2 United States 0.0 28.9 49.0 HEALTH CARE Health Care Expenditures (percent of GDP)4 United States 13.4% Canada 10.0 Finland 9.1 Sweden 8.6 Germany 8.4 Netherlands 8.4 Norway 7.6 Japan 6.8 United Kingdom 6.6 Denmark 6.5 Doctors' incomes: United States $132,300 Germany 91,244 Denmark 50,585 Finland 42,943 Norway 35,356 Sweden 25,768 Percent of population covered by public health care: ALL NATIONS (except below) 100% France, Austria 99 Switzerland, Spain, Belgium 98 Germany 92 Netherlands 77 United States 40

Average paid maternity leave (as of 1991; this changed with Clinton's signing of the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act):

Sweden 32 weeks France 28 United Kingdom 18 Norway 18 Denmark 18 Japan 14 Germany 14 Netherlands 12 United States 0 Life Expectancy (years): Men Women Japan 76.2 82.5 France 72.9 81.3 Switzerland 74.1 81.3 Netherlands 73.7 80.5 Sweden 74.2 80.4 Canada 73.4 80.3 Norway 73.1 79.7 Germany 72.6 79.2 Finland 70.7 78.8 United States 71.6 78.6 United Kingdom 72.7 78.2 Denmark 72.2 77.9 Infant Mortality Rate (per 1,000 live births): United States 10.4 United Kingdom 9.4 Germany 8.5 Denmark 8.1 Canada 7.9 Norway 7.9 Netherlands 7.8 Switzerland 6.8 Finland 5.9 Sweden 5.9 Japan 5.0 Death rate of 1-to-4 year olds (per community of 200,000 per year): United States 101.5 Japan 92.2 Norway 90.2 Denmark 85.1 France 84.9 United Kingdom 82.2 Canada 82.1 Netherlands 80.3 Germany 77.6 Switzerland 72.5 Sweden 64.7 Finland 53.3 Death rate of 15-to-24 year olds (per community of 200,000 per year): United States 203 Switzerland 175 Canada 161 France 156 Finland 154 Norway 128 Germany 122 Denmark 120 United Kingdom 114 Sweden 109 Japan 96 Netherlands 90

Note: the murder rate for the above age group is 48.8 per 200,000. Even subtracting this entirely still puts the U.S. near the top of the list.

Premature Death (years of life lost before the age of 64 per 100 people):

United States 5.8 years Denmark 4.9 Finland 4.8 Canada 4.5 Germany 4.5 United Kingdom 4.4 Norway 4.3 Switzerland 4.1 Netherlands 4.0 Sweden 3.8 Japan 3.3 Percent of people with normal body mass: Men Women Germany 53% 37 Finland 51 37 United Kingdom 46 38 Canada 52 29 Switzerland 49 30 France 44 30 Denmark 44 25 United States 47 22 Sweden 44 25

Percent of people who believe their health care system needs fundamental change (More):

United States 60% Sweden 58 United Kingdom 52 Japan 47 Netherlands 46 France 42 Canada 38 SEX Percent of all children born out of wedlock: Sweden 46.4% Denmark 41.9 United States 21.5 United Kingdom 19.2 Canada 12.1 Germany 9.4 Netherlands 8.3 Switzerland 5.6 Japan 1.0

Having children out of wedlock, however, does not mean that the father is not living at home and offering support. Here is the actual percentage of families headed by single parents:

United States 8.0% Germany 6.7 Netherlands 6.7 Canada 5.6 Denmark 5.1 France 5.1 United Kingdom 4.0 Sweden 3.2 Japan 2.5

Sex education is more prevalent in Europe than America, where conservatives oppose it on the grounds that it condones sexual behavior. The statistics show the unintended consequences of this policy:

Sexually active teenage population: Norway 66% United States 65 United Kingdom 57 Germany 56 Canada 53 Italy 34 France 34 Percent who have not had intercourse by age 20: Boys Girls Belgium 61 63 Netherlands 58 62 Germany 33 28 Norway 33 25 United Kingdom 24 23 France 9 25 United States 12 16

Percent of sexually active single 15 to 19-year olds using birth control:

Germany 95% United Kingdom 92 Netherlands 88 Norway 87 Sweden 79 Denmark 70 United States 56 Teen pregnancies per 1,000 teenagers: United States 98.0 United Kingdom 46.6 Norway 40.2 Canada 38.6 Finland 32.1 Sweden 28.3 Denmark 27.9 Netherlands 12.1 Japan 10.5 Total teen abortions per 1,000 teenagers: United States 44.4 Norway 21.1 Sweden 19.6 Denmark 18.2 Finland 17.9 United Kingdom 16.9 Canada 16.2 Japan 5.9 Netherlands 5.5 CRIME People per police officer: Sweden 328 Canada 358 United Kingdom 400 United States 459 Netherlands 553 Japan 556 Denmark 594 France 632 Finland 643 Norway 661 Annual reports of police brutality (per 100,000 people) United States 92.5 United Kingdom 6.0 France 0.7 Prisoners (per 1,000 people): United States 4.2 United Kingdom 1.0 Germany 0.8 Denmark 0.7 Sweden 0.6 Japan 0.4 Netherlands 0.4 Death row inmates: United States 2,124 Japan 38 Europe and Canada 0 Percent of households with a handgun: United States 29% Finland 7 Germany 7 Canada 5 Norway 4 Europe 4 Netherlands 2 United Kingdom 1

Looking at the above statistics, one would think that Europe is soft on crime, while the U.S. approach to law and order is based on no-nonsense deterrence. In reality, Europe is relatively crime-free, and the U.S. has the worst crime rate in the world:

Murders committed with handguns annually: United States 8,915 Switzerland 53 Sweden 19 Canada 8 United Kingdom 7 Murder rate (per 100,000 people): United States 8.40 Canada 5.45 Denmark 5.17 Germany 4.20 Norway 1.99 United Kingdom 1.97 Sweden 1.73 Japan 1.20 Finland 0.70 Murder rate for males age 15-24 (per 100,000 people): United States 24.4 Canada 2.6 Sweden 2.3 Norway 2.3 Finland 2.3 Denmark 2.2 United Kingdom 2.0 Netherlands 1.2 Germany 0.9 Japan 0.5 Rape (per 100,000 people): United States 37.20 Sweden 15.70 Denmark 11.23 Germany 8.60 Norway 7.87 United Kingdom 7.26 Finland 7.20 Japan 1.40 Armed robbery (per 100,000 people) United States 221 Canada 94 United Kingdom 63 Sweden 49 Germany 47 Denmark 44 Finland 38 Norway 22 Japan 1 POLLUTION Travel on public transportation as a percent of all travel: Japan 18% Finland 16 Denmark 15 Portugal 14 Germany 11 Norway 9 United Kingdom 8 Netherlands 8 United States 1 Annual air miles per person: United States 1,698 Canada 1,105 Netherlands 1,014 United Kingdom 902 Norway 829 Sweden 575 Finland 506 Denmark 476 Japan 425 Germany 344 Average price of a gallon of gas: Sweden $4.85 Denmark 4.46 United Kingdom 3.56 Germany 3.05 Netherlands 3.02 Japan 3.01 Canada 1.40 United States 1.07 Energy Units of oil burned annually: United States 791.5 European Community 501.4 Japan 234.3 Germany 108.5 United Kingdom 81.3 Canada 80.4 Netherlands 24.1 Sweden 16.3 Finland 11.1 Norway 9.3 Denmark 9.0 Carbon dioxide released per person per year: United States 5.8 tons Canada 4.8 Germany 3.2 United Kingdom 2.9 Japan 2.2 OECD Europe 1.8 Total Carbon Monoxide emitted annually: United States 60,900 tons Canada 10,100 Germany 8,926 France 6,198 United Kingdom 5,264 Sweden 1,754 Netherlands 1,229 Norway 649 Switzerland 621 Total chlorofluorocarbons emitted annually: United States 332 million tons Japan 95 Germany 71 United Kingdom 67 Canada 34 Netherlands 17 Switzerland 10 Denmark 6 Finland 6 Sweden 4 Norway 1 Major oil spills (1976-89): United States 16 France 6 United Kingdom 5 Japan 4 Canada 2 Sweden 2 Finland 1 Germany 1 Forests cleared (thousands of cubic yards): United States 808,421 Canada 379,500 France 95,964 Sweden 84,612 Finland 72,864 Japan 57,272 Norway 14,810 United Kingdom 6,600 Acid rain (the lower the pH number, the worse the acidity): Japan 3.9 pH Sweden 4.1 United States 4.3 Canada 4.3 Norway 4.4 Denmark 4.5 Finland 4.5 Netherlands 4.9 United Kingdom 5.1 Energy Units of coal burned annually: United States 458.0 European Community 299.0 Germany 73.9 Japan 73.2 United Kingdom 64.0 Canada 27.6 Netherlands 8.1 Denmark 5.5 Finland 4.1 Sweden 2.5 Norway 1.0 Debris inhaled per person per year: United States 81 pounds Finland 44 Sweden 44 Europe 26 Netherlands 24 Germany 24 Denmark 20 Norway 15 United Kingdom 11 Japan 2 Government spending on pollution control (percent of GDP): Japan 1.17% Netherlands 0.95 Canada 0.89 Germany 0.78 Sweden 0.66 United Kingdom 0.62 United States 0.60 Norway 0.54 Finland 0.52 Municipal waste per person per year (kilograms)5 United States 864 kg. Canada 632 Japan 394 United Kingdom 353 Germany 331 France 304 Italy 301 Percent of all glass recycled: Netherlands 50.3% Japan 49.6 Germany 41.2 Sweden 40.0 Denmark 31.0 Finland 30.0 United Kingdom 27.0 Norway 21.1 United States 20.0 Percent of all paper and cardboard recycled: Netherlands 62.0% Japan 54.4 Germany 37.0 Denmark 32.0 United Kingdom 13.0 United States 8.4 WORK AND LEISURE TIME

Note the position of economic powerhouse Germany in the next two lists.

Average hours worked per year: Japan 2,173 United States 1,890 Sweden 1,808 United Kingdom 1,771 Netherlands 1,756 Finland 1,744 Norway 1,725 Denmark 1,699 Germany 1,668 Average paid vacation per year: Finland 35.0 days Germany 30.0 France 25.5 Denmark 25.0 Sweden 25.0 United Kingdom 25.0 Netherlands 24.0 Switzerland 22.0 Norway 21.0 United States 12.0 Average hours spent watching TV per day: Japan 9:12 United States 7:00 Canada 3:24 United Kingdom 3:10 Germany 2:13 Sweden 2:00 Finland 2:00 Denmark 1:54 Netherlands 1:42 Switzerland 1:34 News as a percent of all TV programming: Denmark 43% Sweden 35 Canada 32 Netherlands 25 Germany 20 United Kingdom 17 Japan 6 United States 2 Annual employee turnover in manufacturing: United States 40% Finland 35 Germany 25 United Kingdom 20 Sweden 18 Japan 18 France 14

How employers rate their employees (100 = strong identification with company objectives):

Japan 84.7 Switzerland 70.8 Denmark 68.4 Germany 64.3 Norway 60.7 Finland 60.4 Netherlands 58.5 France 57.9 United States 56.4 Sweden 56.0 Canada 52.2 United Kingdom 48.1 Percent of employees fired for cause: United States 52% European Community 43 DEMOCRACY

The U.S. may be the oldest existing democracy in the world, but it is also the weakest, and one of the only democracies where voting is not required by law. It shows:

Voter participation: Germany 87% Sweden 86 Norway 83 Netherlands 80 Finland 76 United Kingdom 75 Canada 75 United States 49 Average number of national referenda per year: Switzerland 169 Australia 18 Denmark 11 France 10 Ireland 8 Italy 4 Sweden 3 Norway 1 United Kingdom 1 Canada 0 Finland 0 Germany 0 Japan 0 Netherlands 0 United States 0 Number of political scandals since 1945 (More): United States 53 United Kingdom 42 France 16 Canada 5 Germany 3 Japan 2 Sweden 2 Netherlands 1 Norway 1

Number of politically motivated demonstrations, strikes, riots and armed attacks over 30 years:

United Kingdom 5,136 United States 4,258 France 1,566 Germany 622 Japan 524 Canada 260 Finland 63 Netherlands 57 Denmark 55 Switzerland 39 Sweden 33

The United Nations Human Freedom Index (0 = least freedom, 40 = most freedom. More.):

Sweden 38 Denmark 38 Netherlands 37 Austria 36 Finland 36 France 35 Germany 35 Canada 34 Switzerland 34 Australia 33 United States 33 Japan 32 United Kingdom 32

CONCLUSIONThese statistics are shattering to those who believe that greater individualism and less government somehow produce better societies. And they should serve as a wake-up call to every American that this country is headed in the wrong direction.

These statistics evoke two common responses from conservatives and libertarians. The most natural response is to blame them on 40 years of Democratic government. This, however, is a giant non sequitur. The very point of this list is that nations with far more liberal governments than ours have created better societies, even with somewhat less productivity. If liberalism were really harmful to a nation’s standard of living, then these nations should be doing worse, not better.

Moreover, as mentioned earlier, America’s truly liberal government was replaced in the mid-70s by the corporate special interest system, which introduced a conservative agenda of tax cuts for the rich and massive deregulation of business. Corporate lobbyists, and not the interchangeable “Republicrats,” have influenced legislation over the past 20 years.

The second most common response is that minorities drag down America’s statistics. Of course, blaming minorities for society’s problems is an old game in American politics, but it is especially dismaying in this case because it is not even true. Take infant mortality rates, for example. White infant mortality rates still place America near the very top of the list. (The following chart deviates slightly from the chart above because it is taken from the year before, 1990, and from a different source using different methodology. But it shows the same trend nonetheless.)

Infant mortality rates (per 1,000 live births, 1990)6 U.S. (average) 9.2 Italy 8.3 U.S. (white) 7.7 United Kingdom 7.4 France 7.3 Germany 7.1 Canada 6.8 Sweden 6.1 Japan 4.6

And consider crime. In 1992, blacks were arrested for 35 percent of all serious crimes.7 But even if you remove blacks entirely from the statistics, America still has the worst crime rate in the world, and by far! (It should also be emphasized that that these were 35 percent of all arrests; debate rages as to whether the police target blacks for arrest more than whites.)

The same generalization holds for all the statistics, but it is important to realize why minorities are not responsible for America’s worse showing. And that is because society’s most visible problems do not stem primarily from race; they stem from poverty. The poor, both white and black, share the same approximate rates of crime, welfare, teenage and single parenthood, substance abuse and other social problems. The rich, both white and black, share many of the same admired social qualities in the same general percentages. Race is only important in that discrimination against minorities has relegated a disproportionate number of them to poverty. (More)

Ultimately, the fact that America’s white statistics are still worse than Europe’s should put the race card forever to rest. White Americans are, after all, transplanted Europeans. If their statistics are worse, then it must be for a social reason. And that reason is obvious: polarized wealth in America has enlarged its poor population, and dragged down its averages despite gains among the rich. Clearly, rising tides do not lift all boats.

Next Section: Final Summary
Return to The Reagan Years Home Page

1Unless otherwise indicated, all statistics come from the international encyclopedia Where We Stand, by Michael Wolff, Peter Rutten, Albert Bayers III, eds., and the World Rank Research Team (New York: Bantam Books, 1992). The year 1991 was selected because after these dates, the U.S. turned slightly to the left and Northern Europe slightly to the right (although one could plausibly argue that very little changed in any of these nations). Therefore, 1991 provides the best date for comparing a decade of Reaganomics with 30 years of social democracy. Although Where We Stand compares dozens of nations on most lists, I have limited my comparisons to the U.S., Northern Europe, Japan and Canada. I have included every nation from this group I could find; omissions in my lists reflect omissions in Where We Stand.
2Earning power is calculated by deflating each nation’s GNP to local 1991 currency before conversion to U.S. dollar equivalents. GNP figures from U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers, 1991. Data for exchange rates from International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
3Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris, France, National Accounts of OECD Countries, annual.
4 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris, France, OECD Health Data, 1993; OECD Health Systems: Facts and Trends, 1993.
5 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris, France, Environmental Indicators, 1991.
6 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris, France, OECD in Figures: Statistics on the Member Countries (supplement to the OECD Observer, June-July 1993).
7 U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States, 1992.

Copyright Denise A. Romano 2011. Republication permitted with copyright and blog address intact. Thanks.

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