EDIT: DISCLAIMER: I’m neither an American nor a European. Please stop referring to it as “YOUR country”. I’m Asian!
EDIT #2: I had to repost this with a small modification based on a message I received from the moderators. I apologize to /u/jjsq1 and /u/Khal-Frodo and /u/Shy-Mad and /u/SailorSpoon11 that their comments had to be removed from here.
The United States is still the land of opportunities. The American Dream is not dead yet. Tremendous self-growth and career progress is possible in the US more than anywhere else. The United States makes it possible for every individual to achieve their best if they work hard and stay determined. As a whole, the US is a better place to live, prosper, and work.
I believe that any hard-working and determined person gets their best chance of being successful and achieving their highest potential in the United States more than anywhere else for the mere fact that the number of opportunities available in the US far outnumber those found in any other developed country. Many things in the US are not as bad as people make it seem. There are so many myths about the US (working and living there) that are just exaggerations by media and people who have not lived outside the US. Yes, for example, income inequality is worse in the US than in Sweden, but wealth distribution inequality is worse in Sweden than in the US. These counter-examples can be found in every area where the US is heavily criticized–but such counter-examples tend to stay hidden because people tend to focus more on the US than on any other country. People hyperbolize everything that concerns the US because they are obsessed with finding a reason to show the US is such a dystopia that deserves to be hated.
The United States generates so much criticism because it is the only country in the world that is the center of so much attention and scrutiny. It is constantly under a microscope for whatever happens there. So many people and countries in the world care about what is going on in the US. US culture and media have tremendous presence and influence from Mexico to Japan, and therefore many people have immediate and easy access to everything that is going on in the US on a daily basis. We don’t know what terrible things happen on a daily basis in other developed nations e.g. France, Germany, UK, Australia, etc. which don’t make it the headline of NYTimes or WSJ because most people don’t care about following news from such countries and most importantly, because these countries’ media/news outlets are weaker on a global level of reach and they don’t have as impactful international presence and influence (e.g. Germany doesn’t even have a big and very well-known English language outlet that would make its news accessible to everyone in the world). Because the US is so popular and has so much influence over every single country, it is the subject of so many case studies and continuous scrutiny, so of course, we find out about every single thing that goes on there on a daily basis in a heartbeat. If we had the same amount of scrutiny and specific case studies for every other country in the world, I am pretty sure we would find caveats and problems everywhere. Perhaps, the problem of racism, as an example, would be shown to be more prevalent somewhere in Europe instead of the US if there were truly large-scale case studies and movements there as well. Other developed countries are not as diverse as the US after all. For example, compare the percentage of blacks in the US to countries like the UK, France, Germany, Norway, etc. What if the state of blacks and the amount of racism that they face in some of those countries is even worse than the US but it goes unreported because all the attention is only granted to the US and that makes us think that the US is worse in this regard. Of course, I am not at all arguing that the situation in the US is anything close to good. I understand that racism is prevalent, but I am only giving this as an example that perhaps there is so much focus only on the situation in the US that we forget there are other places with supposedly a worse situation in the developed world that get away with it because they are not under as much scrutiny as the US. I have heard from my Jewish friends that they faced significantly more discrimination in the UK than in the US.
Again, these are some examples to reinstate my point that since the US is the center of so much focus, every incident is reported internationally, whereas, in other countries, many similar cases and situations (and sometimes worse cases) go unnoticed on a global scale. And this gives rise to an image of the US as a complete dystopia which I believe is far from reality.
To get to my next point, there are many reasons why the US is the best country in the world in many aspects; e.g. for individual growth, opportunities, good quality of life, access to everything one desires. I will try to outline my reasoning below by looking at a variety of things:
The United States is the wealthiest country in the world. Both in terms of nominal GDP and GDP based on purchasing power parity (China’s numbers are fraudulent according to so many studies, a simple Google search would bring them up, and even if you don’t believe that China’s GDP growth is fake, the US is still placed at #1 in terms of nominal GDP and #2 in GDP PPP, and I think that says a lot).
US is a huge and diverse country where there are opportunities for everything one wants to do. There are communities for everything. There are big cities, small cities, rural areas for everything one could possibly want. You can pursue anything in the US. You name it, huge pieces of land for farming, Silicon Valley, cities for aspiring musicians, etc. There are possibilities for everything a person could possibly imagine in every single corner.
You want to become a successful musician? Where else can you do it except the US if you really want international acclaim and a faster road to recognition?
You want to earn a lot of money as a programmer and be involved in top-notch research? USA is again the answer in both cases.
You want a career as a standup comedian? I don’t think there is an answer but the US. This concept is not so popular anywhere else.
Then there’s the American JUST DO IT, DIY, risk-taking spirit which gives birth to so many amazing individual and/or small businesses of all varieties. Furthermore, there are certain careers that are unique to the US. Off the top of my head, I can think of the Late Night Shows and standup comedian. Concepts that are not really so prevalent in Europe at all. Maybe relatively practiced in the UK but not on the same scale as in the US. And even then, the very concept of a Late Night talk show is a concept that first originated in the US, which again brings us back to the immense influence US has over everything in the world. US is sort of a trendsetter in many areas. We could say that many countries end up copying the USA in many aspects. Late Night talk shows were one example, another one is big shopping malls.
Then if we want to compare the US economy to one of its biggest competitors, namely the European Union, we could easily see that the comparison is out of balance entirely. Look at the crisis the EU has been going through for easily the past 15 years. EU as a whole nowadays looks so divided; Euroscepticism is becoming more prevalent. There are so many failing economies within the EU and it is just getting worse (Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal — all of which have still not even recovered fully from the economic crisis of 2008). Take a look at the number of countries in Europe that are in deep trouble whether financially, politically, socially, in terms of unemployment, etc. Then also have a look at European stocks and US stocks. As a whole, US seems to have been doing very well in the past 20 years and it looks like it just gets better and even when it gets bad, it still does much better than any other developed country.
In terms of scientific research output and quality, no country comes close to the US. (source 1; source 2). The same holds true for research in the humanities. Furthermore, the list of top 50 universities in the world is dominated by US universities (sources: QS Ranking, THE Ranking, ARWU Shanghai Ranking). Most, if not all, successful serious academics in Europe that I know (and pretty much anywhere else) have at some point been to the US (whether for Ph.D., Postdoc, or internship or else). I guess, that really means something.
The complete non-existence of or the universal bad ratio of work/life balance in the United States is a myth. This is very much company-dependent and it varies as much as everywhere else in the developed world. You can live in Switzerland and have a terrible work/life balance (I personally knew someone). It is very much company- and to a degree individual-dependent. So many of the friends who did move to the US never complained about their work/life balance becoming worse there compared to Europe. I am under the impression that Americans tend to be more obsessed with work, but that does not mean every company forces and threatens people to work 45+ hour workweeks in the US. There are companies that tend to be more generous than the ones in Europe.
Then there are the holidays — again a myth and company dependent, I believe. Yes, I understand that unlike Europe there is no national law forcing every employer to give all employees the same number of days nation-wide. But there have been personal accounts by my friends who worked in the US and told me that they worked for companies that were as liberal as companies in Europe in terms of holiday allocation.
At the same time, most jobs pay more in the US. Maybe a data scientist in a particular company in the US will get 5 days of holiday per year, whereas their counterpart in Germany will get 25 days off. BUT, the trade-off here is that the one in the US will have a much higher chance of being paid 4-5 times more, and will end up with more savings. I know that it is very possible, e.g. for a good software engineer, to become a millionaire after 5-10 years of full-time work in the US (with good financial management skills). This is not even remotely possible anywhere in Europe. So I guess here the balance between the amount one earns and the holidays one might get has a very generous balance. One could argue that many other professions are left out in this argument. e.g. a teacher might not become a millionaire in the US after 10 years of work. But would they become in Europe either? I do acknowledge the fact that in both cases people should have good money management skills and not fall into traps like credit card debts, mortgages, etc.
Hell, my friend is making more money as a stewardess in Texas than my cousin in Austria as a computer scientist with 3 years of experience. The friend in Texas pays less for her one-bedroom apartment (all to her own) than the cousin in Austria for his room in a shared apartment.
Lots of products are cheaper in the US. For example, electronics. Many Europeans even buy things like mobile phones in the US and bring them here because they are so much cheaper. This again leaves Americans with more savings.
It is as a whole easier to save more in the US and become financially independent sooner. People give examples of how expensive NY is, but then they fail to bring London into the same argument where it is allegedly much more expensive to rent a comparable place (to the one in NY) and at the same time earn as much as in NY. Or people forget to mention cities like Houston where one can earn much more as a software engineer than anywhere in Europe while paying less rent compared to pretty much any European city (supposing the same apartment size/quality).
In the US, people tend to have a DO IT attitude. They take more risks and try to push more towards progress. In a way, I think, the United States teaches individuals how to think of themselves and stand on their own feet rather than counting on someone else to save them. And I think because of that there are so many unbelievable success stories of underprivileged individuals who manage to make it to the top. Furthermore, people are given a chance to progress in the US. People are given second chances. For example, nobody looks at you as a loser if you change careers in your mid-30s. Or you are not going to be rejected for a PhD degree in music if you did an undergraduate in philosophy. But in Europe, things seem to be set and perceived through a more orthodox and traditionalist lens; people are not as open to dramatic shifts in life.
Pretty much everything is first made available in the US. Google Fi, PS5, and even online services. As a whole US is ahead in terms of access to the latest technology. There are things that are available in the US and take even a year or two to get to Europe.
Healthcare problems are hyperbolized in my opinion. People tend to view basic national healthcare as some sort of an ideal case. But take a look at countries like Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic. Believe me, it’s not so great in these places where you are given free healthcare (of course by paying contribution from your salary). Having lived in all those three places and having had access to the healthcare system, I have mostly NOT had a good experience. I saw them fail easily in many areas. Not being provided with proper care is one example. Having to pay from pocket for the dentist entirely or partially for expensive surgeries. So it is not always totally free either. Whereas, I believe you get superior healthcare in the US. At least you have access to the best. And again, it also becomes company-dependent when it comes to insurance. I know people personally who are provided health insurance in the US and their premiums are out of this world, nothing like it exists in Europe. Yes, those people I am naming work in big corporations (Google, Facebook, Amazon), but so do their European counterparts but they don’t get as good a premium as their US counterparts. So I believe that it is not all black and white with healthcare. You DO have access to the best healthcare in the US if you have a job and a good company.
USA does a better job making foreigners feel at home and integrated. Foreigners don’t feel as alienated in the US when you talk to them, whereas in Europe it is common for foreigners that I talk to say they do not feel like they are really a part of the country they live in.
There are many more homeless people in wealthy EU countries (UK, France, Sweden, etc.) than there are in the US. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_homeless_population
In the US, individuals have the power to challenge corporations. They can stand for their rights. People sue each other easily for everything and they can also win such cases. In the EU, good luck filing a complaint against your landlord for having half of your deposit not returned because of damage you didn’t cause. It is much easier in the US to claim your rights.
In the EU, one psychopath can abolish abortion entirely (Poland) easily and the world wouldn’t even notice it, and the EU would do nothing about it. Now can you imagine the same happening in the US? It wouldn’t even pass the Supreme Court no matter what. There will be an international outcry and the process would probably take years and not even succeed. Yes, I know they have been trying to ban abortion for many years, but have they succeeded in the US? Specifically, these last elections in the US are a prime example of how robust the rule of law in the US is and how alive democracy is there that no matter how someone (be it even the president) wants to undermine democracy is confronted even by the people from the same party. It just shows that American democracy is functional as good as it ever was and that no one can suddenly decide to do crazy things on a national level, like abolish abortion out of the blue like in Poland.
Freedom of speech… There has been a lot of discussion on that in this sub. So I won’t go there much. But one example just for the sake of it: Germany has blasphemy laws. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law
US is the most progressive country in just so many aspects.
In the US, you can get immediate media coverage reporting harassment. What happens in the EU? It can go unnoticed on an international level and even national level, and be marginalized easily. I personally know of a case in Central Europe in my own workplace where a reported case of harassment was not taken seriously by the DIRECTOR of a big scientific research center well-known in the whole country.
A hard-working, determined individual will have better and guaranteed chances of a larger scale success and a more fulfilled life in the US. It is much more possible to kickstart a career of your choice and actually become successful in the US than anywhere else. Sometimes maybe for the mere fact that you are from the US.
US has a much better balanced version of everything. If there was a way to ‘normalize’ and ‘balance’ all the factors, I am sure US would come at the top. I think all the factors have to be taken into account with each other. e.g. Switzerland might be better at generating higher income, but it fails on so many other levels.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying the US is perfect and faultless and a utopia. I am saying that it does many things better than most, if not all, countries in the developed world.
All factors taken into consideration as a whole, it’s impossible to name any other country that ticks all of the good boxes at once. When I take all of the factors into account as in a balanced formula then it makes me believe that the US is doing a better job and is THE place to be.
Please change my mind. I am extremely open to having it challenged and shredded to pieces.