CNN’s incredibly smart and prolific contributor Fareed Zakaria recently posted in his Blog about how the US is lagging in Quality of Life. The post was about an interview with Michael Porter, a professor at the Harvard Business School about why the US is nowhere near the top in the Quality of Life Index. The United States being 16th overall, after Germany, Ireland, Japan, etc. All the way down at 70th place in Health and Wellness.
The whole post mainly just confirms a lot of things that I already knew but couldn’t convince most of my american friends of. I was actually quite surprised how high the US ranks in most of the statistics cited. I really didn’t think the US was doing that well in terms of opportunity and freedom. The Healthcare thing was obvious to me, since I haven’t lived a big part of my life in countries without universal healthcare (there actually aren’t that many of them that I would voluntarily visit). What did surprise me was just how horrible the US is doing in terms of healthcare. I wouldn’t have thought that they couldn’t beat Niger, Nepal or Liberia. I usually cite statistics from the CIA factbook (especially stats on infant mortality and life expectancy) when arguing how bad the American healthcare system is and how badly it had to be reformed before Obama actually had the balls to do it and the stamina to get it done…. eventually. Obviously there still is a lot of room for improvement and I hope that someone will eventually get to it, but I’m losing hope seeing how there was an obvious need to change things, widespread republican support and it still almost didn’t pass at all.
It’s really interesting to see how the countries rank when you play around with the statistics a little. My home country of Germany is actually doing fairly well in pretty much any regard, but we’re quite obviously never at the very top. But that’s a topic for a different time and Post. I have quite a few beefs with the German politics of today.
Spend some time playing around with the statistics and have a look at the CIA factbook (go to Guide to Country Comparisons), both will be surprising in many ways.