mais oui

Paul Krugman asks, "Senator Rick Santorum, are you reading this?"
Americans tend to believe that we do everything better than anyone else. That belief makes it hard for us to learn from others. For example, I've found that many people refuse to believe that Europe has anything to teach us about health care policy. After all, they say, how can Europeans be good at health care when their economies are such failures?

Now, there's no reason a country can't have both an excellent health care system and a troubled economy (or vice versa). But are European economies really doing that badly?

The answer is no.
Read "French Family Values".


Local columnist Clyde Haberman notes that when New York State Governor George Pataki announced he would not seek re-election, he managed to utter four words before invoking September 11th. That was probably a first for Pataki; he usually doesn't waste that much time.


Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Canada has a lower GDP than the us ($28K per person vs $40), but I don't think my standard of living is horribly lower. My new townhouse is around 1400 sq. ft, has maple hardwood and railings, stainless appliances, etc. I'm hardly suffering in poverty.

I know in my field, I could make more money in the U.S.. So I could drive a BMW 3 series instead of a Mazda 3. Big deal.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

I read somewhere that the happiest people on earth are apparently the Nigerians. Obviously, money isn't everything to them.

Rognar said...

Another example, in the sciences, the American system of government funding is much more cutthroat than here in Canada. The main US granting agency, the National Science Foundation (NSF) tends to give larger grants than our equivalent, but proportionally fewer grants are given and a higher standard of research success is required to get them. This leads to highly-successful science in the US, but can be very stressful for American researchers who spend long hours in the constant pursuit of funding. Although I have no specific information to back it up, I wouldn't be surprised if divorce rates among American scientists are significantly higher than here.

laura k said...

It's the stupidest cliche in the world, but it's also a rock-bottom truth for me: money can't buy happiness.

Poverty sucks, is unhealthy and stressful. But if you have a basic level of sustenance and comfort, the chase for material gain is a losing proposition. If you love what you do and become well-off in the process, that's the greatest. But I think the pursuit of money for its own sake only breeds unhappiness.

As Kyle implies, who cares if you drive a Mazda or a Beamer. I don't understand caring about shit like that.

Anonymous said...

It's a good point.

And once you start comparing rates of taxation, and more importantly, costs of external services, we balance out pretty evenly in terms of Net Income to the US. The standard of living itself is really no different. I, too, could make an addition 10K in the US, but of course I'd be paying for health insurance (generally more costly than the tax $ we pay for our Health Care), so at the end of the day I'd be able to maybe upgrade my Saturn SL1 to a Jetta. Woo hoo.