Eight Myths Americans Need to Unlearn About America
I’m someone who wants better lives for Americans - but is also quite critical, sometimes unsparingly so, of America. If we are to ever suggest Americans should be doing better, then we must be critical of America too, and examine why it hasn’t flourished and developed. Either these strange and foolish myths can be true, or America can be where it is - but you can’t have both. America does have a high rate of charitable giving - but that is because contributions are tax deductible, and the ultra-rich use them as a way to shield themselves from taxes. Virtue is a thing which results in the public good - and yet America has no public goods, from healthcare to retirement to childcare to elderly care.
America doesn’t make the best stuff - it doesn’t make stuff anymore at all, really. In America, these things are mostly left to billionaires to fund, and so Americans have Tesla and weird startups that let people buy teenagers’ blood - but Europeans have cleaner energy grids and advanced public healthcare. America is full of people trying to do the right thing!! Maybe it is. If your bar for collapse is Mad Max meets the Strain sure, America hasn’t collapsed yetto that point.
Just go away!! We don’t need to listen to people who are critical of America! They’ll never help us!! Listen. There are not many people in America who observe it in that way, which is the way that I do - because not many have a lens that isn’t just made of the same old American myths.
Mostly, American commentary is made by people who’ve only ever lived, studied, worked, played in America.
Why capitalism is like a broken down car
Professor Muhammad Yunus was at his provocative best here at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos. In a special one to one debate with Rana Foroohar from Time magazine, he claimed that the current capitalist system simply had to be replaced altogether. He likened the current capitalist system to an old car. When you have an old car, he said, it starts to break down and you have to repair it. This starts to happen more and more frequently until it is only logical to replace the old car with a brand new model.
Logic dictates, he maintained, that as the current capitalist system keeps breaking down it must be replaced with a completely new economic system. There was a glint is his eye when he said this because he knew that he caught everyone’s attention but he went on describe what a new economic system might look like. Yunus was full of ideas about what a sustainable economic system might look like in a world where poverty no longer existed. There has been a great deal of discussion in Davos this year about how to change the current economic model. As the engine of the current economic system seems to be straining and spluttering with high unemployment, so the idea of having a completely new car to deal with the challenges of today seems quite appealing.
Pictured: A man repairs a car on a street in Havana in this September 22, 2010 picture. The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
Compassionate Capitalism With David Meltzer
You’re one of those people that every time I’m with I feel like I’m at home. Part of the reason people are so curious about other people’s pivots is that the word pivot has a connotation of something went wrong and something went bust. One of the most famous pivots that I sometimes share with people that people don’t know is that YouTube was originally a video dating site. Sometimes we didn’t have food, but the only time there was any awareness of unhappiness in my home was when I’d catch my mom crying because the car broke down or the dishwasher didn’t work or she couldn’t afford me to go to a camp and she was worried about how she was going to pay for college with all these bright children. I’m going to be rich because when I graduate law school from Tulane and I studied really hard, top of my class, I had two job offers.
That’s my first prayer every day, that God put ten people in front of me I can help. Most people go the whole day and they don’t get the car back to center where you can just have one finger on it. For a lot of people, it’s really important what you’re talking about, something that’s pragmatic in the spiritual realm. We’re getting into some fun things here with people who visit. Most people are not making time for themselves and for their own self-care.
I’m going to ask you the final question, David. You can get there by going to PivotFB.com, a really simple shortcut to get to that spot.