Relaciones Internacionales – Comunicación Internacional

España y EEUU, comparados

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Martin Varsavsky @martinvars
Just landed in Madrid flying from San Francisco and traveling around the USA where I lived for 20 years and I frequently work. The San Francisco vs Madrid change makes me wonder.

Why are homeless people so rare in Madrid and so common in San Francisco when here GDP per capita is half?

Why is the murder rate 500% higher in California than in Spain?

Why is health care free even for tourists in Spain paid for by Spanish taxpayers as a human right and so incredibly expensive and cumbersome in California? Our son fell in the bathtub and we had a $12k bill for a few stitches at Stanford University emergency room.

Why are universities in Spain free and there is no student debt while in the USA there is more student debt than the GDP of Spain?

Why are there in the USA more people in jail/parole than there are inhabitants in Madrid the third largest city in Europe?

Why is litigation so common in the USA and so rare in Spain?

Why is inequality in the USA twice as high as that of Spain?

Why does Spain who borders Africa and has a much bigger illegal immigration problem than the USA provides amnesties for those who work for three years and USA separates parents from kids and conducts violent raids? Has 11 million hard working people who it refuses to legalize.

Why do people live 4 more years in Spain than US while Spain spends 70% less per person in health care?

Spain is not perfect, housing costs are high, good jobs are tougher to find, half of Catalonians want out, political corruption is unacceptable, universities produce no Nobel prizes.

But here cancer does not mean bankruptcy, pregnancies come with maternity leave, long vacations available to all, gun deaths, opium deaths are almost unheard of and in 09 when unemployment shot up crime surprisingly went down.

Spain has the fastest growing large economy of Europe. It is a welcoming democracy loved by the millions of foreigners who live here. Looking for an alternative country to live in? Consider Spain.

USA is amazing at solving intricate science and technology problems that no other country has solved but struggles at solving every day life challenges that all other developed nations have solved.

European nominal GDP and USA GDP is coincidentally the same, both around $19 trillion. surprises Europeans who can’t believe Europe is so high and shocks Americans who can’t believe it’s so low.

GDP per capita is higher in the USA but per capita measures are deceiving as inequality is much higher in the USA, Jeff Bezos is worth over $100bn makes  those who make little seem rich on average measures. Gini coefficient explains this

A better way to rank countries is by quality of life and as you can see this index is dominated by European countries, USA ranks well at 13th best, but not as high as with GDP per capita

Maybe the best way to rank countries would be which countries have the richest poor people in the world (bottom 20% of earnings).  Because if your poor do better than anyone else’s poor then the rest are obviously better off. But I have not been able to find such index.


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