The
Philosophy Hammer
Philosophy, Economics, Politics & Psychology Tested with a Hammer

23 Things they Don't Tell You About Capitalism
By: Chang Ha-Joon
Major Topic: Economics
Minor Topic: Politics

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         Thing 10: The US Does Not Have the Highest Living Standard in the World

         We are told that the US has the highest living standards in the world based on the amount of goods and services the average US citizen can procure.

         However this is not the only measure of living standard. It can be argued that lower general health care contributes to a lower general living standard. It can also be claimed that higher incidents of violent crime lower the general living standard. Based on both of these standards the US has a far lower standard of living than most developed countries. Also consider the quality of life; that is, the amount of time spent working verses enjoying leisure time. Some would say that the average amount of time Americans spend working is too high for such a developed country. The author's point is that access to the highest level of material wealth is not the same as the highest standard of living.

         One other point that is often cited as proof that the US has the highest standard of living is how far the US dollar will go to buy things. When you visit a western European country, most things are extremely expensive compared to the US, therefore it is argued that the US's system is the best one for the people.

         However the truth is not so clear cut. The typical US consumer is able to buy so much for their money because labor power is so abundant and (as a result of supply and demand) so cheap. This is great if you are a consumer but not so great if you are a worker in the labor force. A US worker, in his labor force with cheap wages, works much harder compared to a European worker in his high paying labor force. Americans, per unit of work are getting a lower compensation than in other developed nations.

Added on: 2012-10-05 12:17:23
Text Crawl by: James Jeff McLaren
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