Bad Comparison – Middle Class in Different Countries

I don’t know if this cartoon is right or left wing, but either way it misses something, IMAO. The US government is far from perfect. But it isn’t as corrupt and incompetent as the others, and therefore there is less motivation to protest it.

Looking at the world corruption perceptions index, these are the values:

Country 2013 score (high is Good) rank (Low is good)
Brazil 42 72
Egypt 32 114
Turkey 50 53
Iran 25 144
USA 73 19

Incompetence is a more difficult question, because it depends on what you consider the proper role of the government to be. You can look up whatever rankings you consider relevant from the CIA World Factbook.

Another issue is the reason from the protests and what people are trying to achieve. I don’t know enough about Brazil, Turkey, and Iran, but in Egypt people were protesting against trying to ram through constitutional changes that would have turned the democratically elected Morsi into a “one man, one vote, once” kind of situation and would have ushered in a theocracy. People in the US don’t protest for religious freedom because we already have that.


2 thoughts on “Bad Comparison – Middle Class in Different Countries

  1. The comparisons with other countries are bogus, so I agree with you there. I don’t measure us against them, but against what we could be if we tried. And we could do better, I think.

    The middle class in the US is essentially bought off, living in la-la land. They’ve still got it relatively good. That will probably change drastically in the next decade, as countries we always assumed we could outcompete in everything continue outcompeting us instead. As we sink further into debt and stagnation, our government will assuredly become more corrupt and even less effective. It’s not a question of where we are relative to the others; it’s a question of which direction we’re headed.


  2. We could do better, but I don’t think we’ll get there through protests but through routing around the corrupt current system. This is part of what I’m trying to do with Lying with Memes (and future similar books) – provide liberal arts education without the school system.

    I also think we’re more competitive than one would think, but that is mostly based on comparison to Israel and I may be biased.


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