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Thread: Standard of Living USA/UK

  1. #1 Standard of Living USA/UK 
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    This is an interesting headline:

    Standard of living in UK better than in USA
    Mnay years ago this certainly was not true, but recent visits back to the old country support the idea that people in the UK live very well indeed on the whole. I question the overall conclusion that the standard of living is better than in the US, because the cost of goods and services seems awfully high in the UK. In the case of restaurant meals it's easily double, and clothing seems to be outrageously highly priced.

    On the other hand free health care, and lack of worry about health care are, in my opinion absolutely huge benefits that the UK has over the US. The bureacracy of the US's so called "free market" health care is a tragi-comedy that kills many thousands of people every year. Longer paid vacations also contribute to a less stressful lifestyle, perhaps.

    What do others think?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/global/ma...kliving107.xml


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  3. #2  
    Forum Bachelors Degree Shaderwolf's Avatar
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    I live in the USA. We all agree. We are falling behind internationally. There are many countries with better living conditions than the USA. The problem is that no one agrees on how to fix them. That is why the next election (It's gonna be a close one) is so important.

    As for free health care, I don't know enough about government finances to judge how we could make that possible.


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  4. #3  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    An old work colleague who lives in Texas, but works now for a completely different company visited me in the UK recently. Although I would not normally discuss salaries with anyone the topic came up. Although our jobs are different we are both in oilfield companies and at similar levels in the food chain. I told him what I made and he nodded, 'Ah, that's virtually the same as me." Which seemed reasonable until we realised that I had given a number in pounds and he the same number in dollars. Effectively I was being paid twice what he was.
    If this disparity is typical then it readily covers the much greater costs of food, gas, etc. within the UK.
    I know I relish each of my two or three trips to the US each year as an opportunity to fill my suitcase with second hand books from Half Price Book Stores. Heaven! But the TV. Yeuch!!! And beer is way too expensive.
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  5. #4  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    Free Health? Do you honestly think that the UK government can spend £10 billion pounds ($20 billion dollars ---edit this, I remember billion in UK and US as being different ---).

    We pay something called national insurance, (about 7.5% interest of our earnings EVERY pay day), we get taxed a huge amount depending on our income. Even some jobs of £13 an hour here is only enough to live in small semi-detached houses friends. You may have a big house but over here, Oh no. Living in the UK may look cosy but it sure as hell is not. It gets freezing and if you can't get on the dole when your out of work, on the street you go, begging for 10 hours just to get enough money for 2 cheap sandwiches.

    No offense here guys but, get your arse over here and live, you'll soon change your tune.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  6. #5  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Svwillmer, my arse used to live over there and so did the rest of me. I know whereof you speak, but I also know things are far better than when I lived there. The Telegraph article is about averages, and obviously there are peaks and valleys that get smoothed out in averages.

    Your perspective is informative and interesting.
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  7. #6  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Svwillmer, my arse used to live over there and so did the rest of me. I know whereof you speak, but I also know things are far better than when I lived there. The Telegraph article is about averages, and obviously there are peaks and valleys that get smoothed out in averages.

    Your perspective is informative and interesting.
    How long ago did you live in the UK? Late 80's, mid 90's?
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  8. #7  
    Forum Ph.D. Wolf's Avatar
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    There's more to "standard of living" than how much you get paid and pay.

    I have a hard time judging the difference between America and European countries. Of course, a home or hotel room in America is often twice the size of one in Europe. But then again, the expectations are different.
    Wolf
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  9. #8  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    There's more to "standard of living" than how much you get paid and pay.

    I have a hard time judging the difference between America and European countries. Of course, a home or hotel room in America is often twice the size of one in Europe. But then again, the expectations are different.
    Everyone from all nations will say the grass is greener on the other lawn. Thats the truth.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  10. #9  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    There's more to "standard of living" than how much you get paid and pay.
    Yes there is, but Standard of Living is quantifiable (in various different ways) and is different from Quality of Life which is too subjective to be quantifiable.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Bachelors Degree Shaderwolf's Avatar
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    That can all be agreed with. The living costs in the United states from city to city are extremely differant also. I live in Las Vegas, and my brother lives in Wyoming. I make $65,000 a year, and he and his wife make less than thiry combined (they are both training to be teachers, and are living on a portion of the actual teacher's salary because one is a paraproffesional and the other is a substitute. They both get their degrees next year.) I live in an apartment that I spend $1,200 a month for rent. One bathroom, three bedroom. I have one car that my entire family uses. My brother just bought a house and a van for his family (they have 6 kids! I don't know how I could do it!) they live more comfortably than I do, and their monthly house payments actualy average about $900. I'm seriously thinking about moving there. It's so cold though. I am visiting right now actualy. Who has the better lifestyle? Last year my oldest came home from school and told me a story about the mexican gang fight in the middle of his school. I am realy debating on moving back with my brother.
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  12. #11  
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    I find the big difference is 'opportunity'. I've lived in both the UK and the USA and the big advantage of the USA is the ability to pull up stakes, start from scratch, build one's own life, etc. Not everyone does it and certainly not everyone succeeds but it's more of an option.

    Having said that, there is more flexibility in life options in the UK than there was even a half geneation ago. I read somewhere that half of Brits still live within 50 kms of where they were born...but this is changing. The whole world is out there and lots of chances to experience new 'stuff'. The 'UK' is being replaced by 'Europe' and 'Europe' is more on par with the diversity of the United States.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    The mobility thing in the USA is actually hindered by the absence of a universal health system. There are old farts who are going to hang on to their job until they croak at the desk and collapse into their donut, hogging the corporate resources that could otherwise have hired two or three bright young things who would bring innovation and energy into the firm. The old farts won't retire until they're old enough to qualify for Medicare, because if they did they'd have to buy their own medical insurance which at that age is outrageously expensive. So the market works to restrict change, and to deprive youngsters of opportunity.

    Naturally, I don't fit this category. I hog more than my share of resources because - well - because I'm worth it. :P
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  14. #13  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Going along points that Ophiolite and Shaderwolf brought up, I'm not sure that salary and day-to-day expenses are necessarily a good measure of quality of life. If you live in big cities or other similar areas, things cost a lot more - rent, food, clothes, etc. But, jobs on average pay more in those areas. So they tend to even out, as far as I can tell. My boyfriend and I live in DC, but we're from Michigan. For what we're paying for our itty one bedroom apartment here, we could probably rent a whole house in Michigan. But, Michigan's job economy sucks right now. If we wanted to get new jobs there, we would make proportionately less. *shrugs*
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by svwillmer
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    There's more to "standard of living" than how much you get paid and pay.

    I have a hard time judging the difference between America and European countries. Of course, a home or hotel room in America is often twice the size of one in Europe. But then again, the expectations are different.
    Everyone from all nations will say the grass is greener on the other lawn. Thats the truth.
    Well for some it is , thats for sure.

    Im not sure I'd be thinkinh the UK is better than US because we get free health care , in my experince its lousy and more likely to cause serious problems in the long run.

    Besides our healthcare is on par with 3 rd world countries - nuff said

    US is far better for options , food so on , more diversity of landscape etc etc

    The only nice parts of the uk now really exist up in the Highlands and thats why theres so many imports here now, something I dont care for given theres too many poles / hinglish etc as it is.

    Wallace would turn in his grave.
    "When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." - Jonathan Swift
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  16. #15  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 33
    Besides our healthcare is on par with 3 rd world countries - nuff said
    That seems to be an unsupported statement.

    It's actually the healthcare in the US that is on par with 3rd world countries.

    That's because the system is made to make profit for a few people. Not to deliver healthcare.

    Since I lived in the US and in two different European countries I probably have an opinion that is based on something. Unfortunately it made me realize that I never want to live in the USA again for the rest of my life.

    There is a distinct chance that your life will turn into of a slave in the US due to the absence of a social safety net. In fact many people lead a restricted life, as in lacking freedom, because they want to prevent falling in that abyss in the USA.

    Americans work more hours. Have shorter holidays. No social safety net worth mentioning compared to European social welfare states.

    Let's even assume the wages are the same for the same jobs. In the US it comes with something like 2 weeks holiday.

    I take 4 weeks in the summer and 2 weeks with Christmas. And I'm one of the colleagues who takes the least amount of holiday around here.

    Overtime? In many European countries there is a 36 hour workweek. If you work more, you get extra days off.

    Currently I am enjoying the same post doc salary in Europe as I had in the US. With the difference (same as with Ophiolite) that my current salary is in Euros and not in dollars.

    In the US i did had health cover provided by the university. But that still meant I had co-payments. That would still have been 5,000 dollars a year off my salary.

    Here I pay nothing or symbolic fees.

    Here I do not have to worry about losing my job. I get another one or I will be caught by the social security network.

    Here I can move between all EU countries and have equal rights. In fact, I live in another EU country than is my nationality. No paperwork.

    Here (Finland) I have no bureaucracy. It was probably the thing that annoyed me most in the USA.

    So some things were cheap in the USA. Meat was cheap and plentiful. Vegetables and fruit also (although the same price as in Europe).

    Electronics are much cheaper in the USA. But I don't even have a TV.

    Cars are much cheaper in the USA. Yeah, but I don't have a car. And I don't want one.

    The USA is based on a dream that is not connected to reality.

    True freedom can only be accomplished if people are free to protest. Have time to protest. Are truly free to quit a job. Have access to the same education as everybody else. etc.





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  17. #16  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    I expect everyone's familiar with the WHO ranking of health systems. This goes back to 2000, but is probably still close. France is (or was) No. 1.

    The U.S. health system spends a higher portion of its gross domestic product than any other country but ranks 37 out of 191 countries according to its performance, the report finds. The United Kingdom, which spends just six percent of GDP on health services, ranks 18 th . Several small countries – San Marino, Andorra, Malta and Singapore are rated close behind second- placed Italy.
    http://www.who.int/whr/2000/media_ce.../en/index.html
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  18. #17  
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    I prefer socialized medicine BUT i don't give a flying f..k what the WHO says about such things. Country rankings on any subject are always biased.

    I'm not american but am always amused by these 'ranking' that have the USA down below country 'x'. One that made me laugh was lambasting the US education system a couple years ago ....then in the same month all 5 Nobel Laureates announced in the sciences were Americans. The random absurdity of that are 1/19th (% of world poplation) x5x5x5x5. No one published a study explaining why the USA is miles ahead of everyone else in scientific innovation...no agenda to do so and 'France' or 'Norway' might end up dead last.
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  19. #18  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    The WHO doesn't advocate socialized medicine, or any other system although they do criticize overly-socialized countries for neglecting the private sector. How is the WHO ranking biased?
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    The WHO doesn't advocate socialized medicine, or any other system although they do criticize overly-socialized countries for neglecting the private sector. How is the WHO ranking biased?
    You must be kidding. An agency of the United Nations? Ha! Ha! theyare made up of third world hacks and bigoted assholes. Bureacracy at it's worse.

    I like our state run health system in Canada but any 'advice' from the WHO is best stuck back up their asshole.
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  21. #20  
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    No answer then.
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  22. #21  
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    Is there anyone with a health-care solution that works perfectly and doesn't drag on the citizens?

    I can think of only one, but executing anyone who gets sick is a bit taboo...
    Wolf
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