America is the Greatest Nation?

Hello Dazzle! Thanks for coming and hanging out with me today, I’m glad that you are here. My recent increase in visibility has also made for more debating with other people on various political, ethic and religious topics. I expect that given the opinionated posts that I put out here and I welcome the debating. Whenever political debating happens, I notice a theme come up and that’s “America is the greatest nation.” Alright, by what standard? Which metric of comparison? Because when I compare America to other countries, I don’t come to the conclusion that it is the greatest. Today, I’m going to talk about why I don’t think America is the greatest nation in the world.

America is terrible at ensuring that women get the medical care they require to bring a healthy infant to full term. I find this incredibly enraging in a country that also just chose to over turn Roe vs Wade. When comparing data from countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), America comes in at the bottom of the pile for infant mortality.

At 5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, the United States ranks No. 33 out of 36 OECD countries (Figure 24). Japan (No. 1) has the lowest rate with 1.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. [1]

Looking at infant mortality, I would have to say that Japan is the greatest nation. It is not America. Scoring 33 out of 36 gives us an 8 if we were going to convert this to the American grading system. That is beyond failing and very far from being the greatest.

Alright, how about obesity? Well, worse. America get a big fat 0 for that score. So, definitely not the greatest nation on that metric either.

Among the 33 OECD countries with self-reported obesity data available, the United States ranks last. Korea (No. 1) has the lowest prevalence at 3.4% of adults… [1]

On the question of obesity, Korea is the greatest nation in the world. Not America, not even close.

Surely, as the country that spends the most on healthcare every year [2], America must be able to offer its citizens a long life expectancy! No, another failing mark there as well.

The average life expectancy in OECD countries is 80.7 years. The U.S. life expectancy at birth of 78.6 years ranks No. 28 out of the 36 OECD countries… [1]

Japan takes the greatest nation trophy for this category as well since it ranks as the nation that offers its people the longest life span of 84.2 years. While America only earned a 22 on that test; still no passing score. This is especially astounding since Japan spends less then half the money on healthcare then America per capita. [2]

Well, alright. America doesn’t win in regards to healthcare. That’s not the only metric, so let’s look at other areas.

Let’s look at how America compares in its ability to run its educational system. Let’s first mention that this is a really complex topic and like trying to rank a medical system it really comes down to looking at a whole bunch of different metrics. So, which is the best depends on which metric you value the most. But overall, most education experts are giving the title of greatest nation for education to Finland because their education is free and the country has been a top performer on every program for International Student Assessment Survey. For years, this country has outperformed the United States in science, math, and reading. [3] On this same international listing, America ranks 20 which is the very bottom of the list. While it is admirable to be on this list, being the last in ranking on it is far from making America the greatest nation.

So, how does America do when it comes to treating its workers well? Well, America is the only advanced nation that doesn’t guarantee paid vacation time to workers [4]. Once again, making America the bottom of the list for the metric. France would be the greatest nation in this context since they guarantee 30 paid vacation days to their workers. [4] America ranks 28 out of 30 for the minimum wage earned by its employees. Australia is the greatest nation when looking at this metric. [4] America ranked 38 out of 38 when looking at strictness of employment protection. With Australia also being the greatest nation in this metric. [4] America sits fairly well as being number 7 when looking at the countries with the lowest unemployment rates. But Czech Republic claims the greatest nation for that metric. [4]

So, when we look at world wide data, America fails at providing the best healthcare, it fails at providing the best education and it fails and taking the best care of its employees. Is there any quality of life indicator that America does take the number one spot for? No. America takes the number one place in nothing when looking at the raw data. How then can anyone claim that America is the greatest nation? Seems to me that this claim is based upon nothing more then the delusional ego.

When I point out these very real numbers that demonstrate that America is, in fact, struggling and failing when compared to other nations, I am met with the statement: “Well, if you don’t like it here, why don’t you leave?” or some variant of this statement. To this, I will say a few things. First, being a realist about the state that a country is in does not immediately mean that there is no value in remaining within that country. Like everyone who considers leaving their birth country, there is the very real attachments of family and friends that has meaning and value here. Also, leaving the country would in no way change the reality that America needs to do better; in everything.

Because there are some lists that America does sit at the top of, but they are not quality of life indicator lists. In fact, these are the lists that we shouldn’t be proud of for holding the highest rank. So, where does America sit at the top?

  1. The highest spender on healthcare ($11,072 per capita). [2]
  2. Highest rates of incarceration. [5]
  3. Number of guns owned per capita. [5]
  4. Ego. Americans are more likely to see themselves as the best. [5]
  5. America is the country killing the most people with drones. [5]
  6. America makes the most cheese. [5] So, this one is pretty harmless…
  7. The highest spender on the military. [5]
  8. Spends the most money on alcohol. [5]
  9. The country with the highest share of income going to the rich. [5]
  10. The world’s top consumer of high-fructose corn syrup. [5]

It is far past time that Americans come to the realization that this country isn’t the greatest nation in the world and that there is much work that needs to be done if we desire to be seen as serious equals on the world’s stage.

Well, that’s about it for my rambling today. Thanks for coming and spending some time with me. If you like what you read, click on that like button. It really does help! Until we talk again, you take care of yourselves!

References and Additional Reading

  1. America’s Health Rankings
  2. Per capita health expenditure in selected countries in 2020
  3. 20 Best Education System in the World
  4. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Database
  5. 21 maps and charts that prove America is Number One

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