?

Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Is America Number One?

Poll #1482759 Is American Number One?

Is the US the world leader in scientific research?

yes, US is #1 in nearly every scientific field and clearly #1 overall
3(15.0%)
yes, US is close to #1 in most fields and probably #1 overall
6(30.0%)
not THE world leader, but a world leader
8(40.0%)
no, the US is just above average
3(15.0%)
no, the US is just average or behind
0(0.0%)

Is the US the world leader in technology

yes, the US drives global technological innovation more than any other country
4(20.0%)
not THE world leader, but a world leader
13(65.0%)
no, the US is only above average
3(15.0%)
no, the US is just average or behind
0(0.0%)

Is the US the world's most "free" country?

of course, it's the land of the free, and the home of the brave!
1(5.0%)
it's one of the most free, but a handful of other countries allow more freedom
7(35.0%)
it's above average, but many countries offer more freedom
10(50.0%)
it's about the same or less free than most countries
2(10.0%)

Is the US the world's leader in culture?

yes, more countries absorb and imitate US culture than any other country which is awesome
3(17.6%)
yes, more countries absorb and imitate US culture than any other country, which is disturbing
5(29.4%)
US citizens borrow from other cultures as much or more than other cultures borrow from the US
9(52.9%)

Is the US the world leading military power?

yes
20(100.0%)
US is up there, but not quite #1
0(0.0%)
US is powerful but many countries are more powerful
0(0.0%)

Is the US the world leader in education?

yes, the US education system is the best in the world
1(5.3%)
yes, if you are rich enough to pay for it; no if you cannot afford private education
7(36.8%)
no, US education levels are only above average
2(10.5%)
the US is only about average among developed nations
4(21.1%)
the US is behind most other developed nations on education
5(26.3%)

Is the US the world leader on humanitarian issues?

yes, the US does more to further humanitarian causes than any other nation
1(5.3%)
the US is a world leader on humanitarian issues, but not THE world leader
4(21.1%)
the US is only about average among developed nations
8(42.1%)
the US is behind most other developed nations on humanitarian issues
6(31.6%)

Is the US the world leader on environmental issues?

yes, any other country would be better if it adopted the US's environmental policies
0(0.0%)
US policies toward the environment are very good, but a handful of other countries have better policies
0(0.0%)
US policies toward the environment are about average for developed nations
5(25.0%)
US policies toward the environment are a bit behind average
12(60.0%)
US policies are far worse than most developed nations
3(15.0%)

Is the US the world's leading economic power?

yes, the US has the largest and strongest economy in the world
3(15.0%)
the US has the largest economy, but it has other economies are stronger
8(40.0%)
the US economy among the largest in the world
6(30.0%)
the US economy is only above average
1(5.0%)
the US has a highly unstable economy that may collapse any year now
2(10.0%)

How much debt does the US have, relative to the size of its economy? (debt/GDP or similar measures)

more than any other country
5(26.3%)
much more than it should
8(42.1%)
about the right amount, given the recession
3(15.8%)
less than it should--the economic recovery could have been faster if we had taken on more
3(15.8%)

Is the US the greatest country in the world, overall?

Yes, go America! (Fuck yeah!)
0(0.0%)
Yes, by most measures
3(15.0%)
Yes, by some measures
7(35.0%)
No
10(50.0%)
The US is closer to the worst country in the world
0(0.0%)

BONUS1 : Which country has a larger total population?

France
2(10.5%)
Iran
17(89.5%)

BONUS2 : Which country has a larger Arab population?

France
14(77.8%)
Iran
4(22.2%)

Tags:

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
daze39
Nov. 9th, 2009 06:26 am (UTC)
Hmmm... seems like at least some of the questions should allow the user to select more than one of the check-boxes: for example, with respect to the question about the US economy, I would want to answer both "among the largest" and "highly unstable and may collapse any year"...! (Another one that seems to call for a more nuanced answer than the check-boxes allow for would be the one about environmental policy, where I would say that the US took an early lead in at least recognizing and making policy about some of the problems, but some other countries are more activist about various issues these days: note that the "Green Party" is much more in the political mainstream in at least some of Europe than in the USA...)
plymouth
Nov. 9th, 2009 08:38 am (UTC)
On the debt question... I think we should have taken on more to improve our economic recovery but I also think we should have NOT taken on so much in the years heading up to the economic problems. IF this had happened a) our economic crisis would have been less severe b) out overall level of debt would have ended up similarly, not actually higher as the answer I selected implies. But it was the closest to what I think so I picked it.
spoonless
Nov. 9th, 2009 09:09 am (UTC)
I agree, I thought of that as I was writing it but it would have been too difficult to make so many nuanced options, so I kept it simple.

I'm sort of agnostic about whether we should have taken on more debt to fix the recession... it might have worked, but then again I think the way things went was perhaps the safer route.
geheimnisnacht
Nov. 9th, 2009 11:02 am (UTC)
On the culture question, I wouldn't want to associate any kind of value to the spread of American culture. To me it is neither awesome nor disturbing overall, but there are plenty of specific points which are either. For example, France is now the second largest consumer of McDonald's products, despite being the de facto culinary holy land. Then again, I have used McDonald's here more than I ever did in the US because they pretty dependably have clean toilets and free internet access. It addresses some cultural deficiencies at the cost of some of the benefits.

To me the humanitarian question is kind of vague. Did you intend it to include a valuation of the US civil rights laws? Or is it just about what the US does abroad, helping other countries in need?
spoonless
Nov. 9th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
Yeah, those are my thoughts exactly on the awesome vs disturbing question. Ideally, it would be nice to have more nuanced choices, but I was kind of curious how many people would pick one or the other if they had to choose. Actually, maybe that's why so many people were picking the third, just because they didn't want to make an absolute value judgement about the first two?

I noticed though, that nobody has picked the third after I made that followup post, which is interesting. That was part of the reason I did it, to see how much giving my own interpretation affects the answers.

Regarding the humanitarian question, I was intending it to include a bit of both, and I realize that some people care more about one vs the other and it could be split into two questions. The responses on that one are pretty spread out, indicating that probably, different people interpretted it in different ways.
easwaran
Nov. 9th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
I don't see how anyone could give any answer other than 1 to the science question. There are a few sub-sub-fields that are better-developed in some location that is outside the US, and it's certainly not the case that the top people in every single field are all in the US, but it's hard to think of a field where none of the top people are in the US, or probably even where a majority of the top people aren't in the US.

Technology is less clear. There are a bunch of examples of ways in which Japan or Korea seem to be ahead (look at car technology, or consumer electronics) but it's really hard to see how to weigh that against other things, like medical technology and software technology.

"Freedom" is really difficult. Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a quantum leap above the Bill of Rights, which I guess is what you would expect given that they had 200 years more development in law and politics and morality before they wrote it. But the UK has serious limits on one's free speech with their oppressive libel laws, and France has serious limits on one's practice of religion with their laws against wearing headscarves and the like, and lots of other developed countries similarly lack some of our important first amendment rights. Of course, it's hard to compare all this with the various freedoms that are both given and taken away by the existence of very strong corporations in the US.

And for the culture question, it's very hard to answer. I think the US borrows more from other cultures than most other countries do, but also exports more finished product. Also, just as in the sciences, artists come from all over the world to work in America. Sure there are some Americans working in Paris, Berlin, or Tokyo, but people from all those places come to work in New York. I don't know if it's as dominant in art as it is in science, but to do all that with much less government subsidy is still pretty impressive.

Military is obvious.
spoonless
Nov. 9th, 2009 09:03 pm (UTC)
Right--this time I think all of my answers pretty much agree with yours, aside from cases where as you say, it's "mixed" and one of us chose to emphasize one part of it rather than another.

I was surprised that you, me, and geheimnisnacht were the only ones to say US is clearly #1 on scientific research. There was a PEW poll recently showed that there is a huge gap between scientists and non-scientists on their answer to that question (nearly all scientists agree we're #1 in science, whereas only about half of Americans or fewer realize this.) Presumably, the confusion is because you always hear people in the media saying "we're behind on science education", but people don't realize what that means (it's referring to public primary and secondary schools, not universities or research). Even knowing about the gap, I was still surprised, because several of the people who did not say "clearly #1" have science backgrounds.
spoonless
Nov. 10th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)

I was surprised that you, me, and [info]geheimnisnacht were the only ones to say US is clearly #1 on scientific research.

Oh, correction! I guess it was you, me, and elphie. Interesting.
easwaran
Nov. 9th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)

Education is much harder to say. I would say that in our primary and secondary education system we tend to be far worse than most other industrialized countries. But our university system is by far the best. Even completely ignoring the research and academia part, the United States is the only country where you can get a liberal education. In every other country, you enter a university already having chosen a course of study, and you only get a few chances to take courses that aren't immediately in that discipline or a closely related one. For instance, my friend who studied philosophy in Italy wasn't allowed to take any math classes, even though he was studying logic - he was only allowed to take literature or history or art if he wanted to take something outside philosophy. (He made up for this at Berkeley though.) Also, I believe the US has a higher percentage of its population that go to university than most other industrialized countries, though I'm not certain of this. And although higher education has a far higher price tag in the US than in other countries, that's actually generally a somewhat progressive feature, since it means that the rich and the middle class pay more, while the poor get financial aid. Of course, there are probably too many people that get loans rather than grants, but at least there is some progressiveness to the cost of education, while in other countries it is totally flat.

I interpreted humanitarian issues in a foreign policy sense rather than a domestic sense - the US probably does more on a total basis for international humanitarian aid than any other country, but probably far less on a per capita or per GDP sense than most industrialized countries. (Norway would probably be the leader here - even ignoring the peace prizes, just look at how much work they do with the peace processes in Sri Lanka, Israel, Somalia, and everywhere else.)

Environmental issues - like in many other causes, private US individuals probably contribute more to this cause than private individuals elsewhere, but the government lags. I suspect that you'll find the same thing with gay rights and animal rights and various other left-ish causes. I suspect that homosexuality is more widely accepted in the US than in Europe, though this may be a decade or two out of date. (Note that there are countries in Europe where same-sex marriage is legal but same-sex adoption is illegal. In the US there are probably 40 states where same-sex adoption is legal but same-sex marriage is illegal.)

It's hard to say a lot about the "strength" of the US economy, but it's just a factual matter that it's the largest economy. Also, anyone who says the US has more debt/GDP than any other country is just wrong. Japan and Italy both have substantially more, and I believe the US is #8 on this measure.
spoonless
Nov. 9th, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)

Norway would probably be the leader here - even ignoring the peace prizes

Wait, how would giving a prize to Gore and Obama for making good speeches count at all as "humanitarian aid"? I'm glad you're ignoring that :)

I wonder if homosexuality is more accepted in the scandinavian countries than in the US--I would lean towards saying yes. Actually, my guess would be that the average European accepts it more than the average American, but that the US has more pockets where it is very highly accepted.
easwaran
Nov. 9th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
I'm really not sure about this acceptance of gays stuff any more. I suspect it may be more accurate if I were talking about acceptance of non-traditional gender roles. But even there, it's probably a three-way divide. The US is probably more feminist in most ways than France or any of the Southern European countries, while the US is probably substantially less feminist than the Germanic/Scandinavian/Benelux countries. (There are probably some individual differences - France is probably better for abortion rights than the US, but probably worse for a woman who wants to have a job free of sexual harrassment, or who wants to occasionally go out in public without wearing makeup and a stylish dress.)
spoonless
Nov. 10th, 2009 01:55 am (UTC)
Huh, I wonder if I have a distorted picture of France, you are saying that they have stronger gender roles there than in the US? Or just fewer womens rights in the workplace and stuff?

When I think of Italy, I think of them as having very strong gender roles, stronger than the US. But I always pictured France as the opposite... actually, I guess everyone in France seems more feminine to me. I guess I also would have thought feminism would have been big in France, just because there are some many left wing academics there... although I guess academics make up such a small portion of the population.
easwaran
Nov. 10th, 2009 02:08 am (UTC)
I'm not totally sure - I may just be working with stereotypes as well. I suppose I don't think of France as being as extreme with this stuff as Italy, but I also think of France as a place where part of being a woman is being expected to use your sex appeal to your advantage. I think they have a different vision of feminism than American feminists do too, though I'm really not clear on this at all.
datavortex
Nov. 10th, 2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
These are both true
the US economy among the largest in the world
the US has a highly unstable economy that may collapse any year now
datavortex
Nov. 10th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
Debt
Treasury liabilities: $56.4 TRILLION
Your share is currently: $184,000
Explanation: http://www.pgpf.org/about/nationaldebt/
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

Profile

blueshirt
spoonless
domino plural

Latest Month

May 2017
S M T W T F S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lizzy Enger