America first?

2006/05/25 at 16:00

Apparently, this list of reasons why America actually sucks is making the rounds on the internet. I’m the first to question unbridled ‘America is Number One!’ jingoism, but I’m highly suspicious of this list for several reasons:

  1. It was created to prove a point, so the data is necessarily selective
  2. The sort of short bullet points that the list employs is subject to gross oversimplification
  3. Many of the points in the list are not given comparative to other countries (e.g., “Our workers are so ignorant and lack so many basic skills that American businesses spend $30 billion a year on remedial training” So, how does that compare globally?)
  4. I frankly question the veracity or quality of some of the data (e.g., “Yet Americans work longer hours per year than any other industrialized country, and get less vacation time.” I recall seeing a chart of average work hours, and South Korea led every other country by several hundred hours. Apparently, the South Koreans have some really bizarre ideas about the average work week)

I would really like to see someone pick apart the list. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or inclination.