Is America the Greatest Country on Earth?
By: Chaitanya Davé
For as long as I remember, our politicians from the president down to the Congressmen and Senators have been crowing at us that “America is the greatest nation on earth”! Americans have been led to believe this. Our kids grow up believing this. Let’s examine where America stands compared to rest of the world:
- Healthcare Efficiency: According to Bloomberg.com, the United States has the forty-fourth most efficient health care system out of fifty-one countries ranked in that category. (Efficiency includes life expectancy and health care costs per capita.)
- Infant Mortality: According to the CIA World Factbook, in 2011 it is estimated that 6.06 infants die per 1,000 live births in the United States, which makes the United States tied for forty-seventh with the Faroe Islands in that category. Monaco ranks first, with 1.79 deaths per 1,000 live births.
- Education: According to Pearson, the United States (January 2015) has a “cognitive skills and educational attainment” score of 0.39, which makes the United States rank fourteenth out of forty countries ranked in that category. South Korea, Japan and Singapore are top three.
- Ignorance: According to the research firm IPSOS Mori, as of October, 2014, the United States ranks second out of fourteen countries in general ignorance about social statistics such as teen pregnancy, unemployment rates, and voting patterns. Italy is the most ignorant of the fourteen countries.
- Freedom of the Press: According to Reporters Without Borders, the United States has the forty-sixth freest press in the world (sandwiched between Romania and Haiti), a decline of thirteen spots from 2013. This decline was one of the biggest in the world.
- High School Literacy: According to the Program for International Student Assessment, the average reading literacy score for U.S. fifteen-year old students is 498 (out of 1000 possible points). That is enough to make the United States rank twenty-fourth out of sixty-five educational systems ranked in that category. Shanghai, China, ranked first, with a score of 570.
- Educational Performance: According to the 2013 report, The Learning Curve, developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the United States ranks seventeenth out of forty countries ranked in overall educational performance. Finland ranks first followed by South Korea and Hong Kong SAR.
- World’s Best Education System: According to worldtop20.org, amongst world’s top 20 Education System for children as of 2017, America is nowhere in sight. Top ones are South Korea, Japan, Finland, Singapore, Russia, Denmark, UK, New Zealand and China, in that order.
- Math and Science: The most recent PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) results, from 2015, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the PISA initiative, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science.
- Death by Violence: According to the National Academy of Sciences, in 2008 the United States had a death-by-violence rate of 6.47 per 100,000 people. That is enough to make the United States rank first out of seventeen “high-income democracies” ranked in that category. The second-ranked country was Finland, with a death-by-violence rate of 2.24 per 100,000. Japan, Austria and Norway were the least violent.
- Incarceration: According to the Brookings Institution, in 2013 there were 710 Americans imprisoned for every 100,000 residents. This makes the United States rank first out of thirty-four OECD countries ranked in that category. The average incarceration rate among the OECD nations is 115.
- Most Prisoners: According to the International Centre for Prison Studies, as of January 31, 2015, there were 2,228,424 prisoners in the United States. That is enough to make the United States rank first in that category. The second highest number of prisoners is in China, at 1,701,344.
- Drone Strikes: According to the Pew Research Center, 61% of Americans “support the use of drones to target extremists in countries like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.” That is enough to make the United States rank second out of thirty-nine countries ranked in that category. Israel ranks first, with 64% of Israelis supporting such strikes.
- Super Rich: According to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, 2013, there are 98,700 “ultra-high net worth individuals” in the world, those with a net worth of at least $50 million. Forty six percent of those individuals (45,650) live in the United States. That is enough to make the United States rank first in that category. This is nothing to be proud of when you look at the extent of inequality in America.
- Inequality: U.S. ranks 23rd out of 30 developed countries for inequality with 30 being worst, according to World Economic Forum report dated January 16, 2017. The United States is one of the richest countries in the world. It is also one of the most unequal. As a report released shows, the U.S. ranks 23 out of 30 developed nations in a measure known as the “inclusive development index,” which factors in data on income, health, poverty, and sustainability.
- Gender Equality: The US, the world’s biggest economy, ranks below Kazakhstan and Algeria for gender equality, according to a report showing the countries that offer the most opportunities for girls. Niger was named the worst country in the Girls’ Opportunity Index, compiled by Save the Children to mark International Day of the Girl. The US came 32nd in the index due to its low representation of women in parliament, high teenage pregnancy rates and its record on maternal deaths. Fourteen women died per 100,000 live births in the US in 2015, a similar number to Uruguay and Lebanon.
- Peace-loving Nation: According to the 2014 Global Peace Index prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace, the United States has a peace index score of 2.137, which makes the United States rank one hundred and first out of one hundred sixty-two countries ranked in that category. The United States is ranked between Benin and Angola. The most peaceful country in the world is Iceland, with a score of 1.189 Denmark and Austria are 2nd and 3rd.
- Minimum Wage: According to World Economic Forum, United States is no. 11 in minimum wage among world’s developed countries. Australia, Luxembourg, Belgium, Ireland and France being top five in that order.
- Working Hard: As of July 2013 report, according to the OECD, in 2012, the average American worker worked for 1789.9 hours, which is enough to make the United States rank eleventh out of thirty-seven countries ranked in that category. Mexico ranks first, with the average Mexican worker working 2225.7 hours in 2012. Greece and Chile are next, followed by Russian Federation.
- Gun ownership & Gun Violence: The death rate due to firearms in the U.S. is nearly double the global average, according to the Global Health Data Exchange. Research published in the American Journal of Medicine last year found that Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed by firearms than people in other developed countries. Among countries ranked by total gross domestic product, rate of death by firearm assaults in the U.S. was more than 10 times higher than the next four highest countries combined, according to data from the Global Burden of Disease. Those four countries are China, Japan, Germany and the U.K.
- Poverty Rate: According to Oxfamamerica.org, of the 19 OECD nations, the USA has the highest rate of income disparity and poverty other than Mexico and Turkey. UN Poverty Index: US ranks 17th out of 19 countries. According to the OECD, the U.S. poverty rate is the highest in the developed world.
- Global Competitiveness: According to the World Economic Forum’s 2014-15 Global Competitiveness Report, the United States has the third most competitive economy in the world. (The U.S. ranked fifth in 2013-14.) Switzerland has the most competitive economy. Global competitiveness is “defined as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity.”
- Child Well-being: According to UNICEF, the United States ranks twenty-sixth out of twenty-nine developed countries in terms of the overall well-being of children. Netherland, Norway and Iceland are top three.
- Child Poverty: According to UNICEF, 23.1 % of American children under the age of seventeen live in poverty, which makes the United States rank 2nd out of 35 economically advanced countries. Romania ranks 1st, with 25.5% of children living in poverty.
- Freedom from Corruption: According to the Heritage Foundation’s 2013 Index of Economic Freedom, the United States has a “freedom from corruption” score of 71, which makes the United States rank twenty-fourth out of one hundred seventy-seven countries ranked in that category. New Zealand ranks first, with a score of 95, followed by Denmark and Finland.
- Arms Exporter: Ten countries are responsible for the vast majority of all major arms exports, accounting for 90 percent of global sales, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) dated February 22, 2017. The world’s top five major arms exporters are the United States, Russia, Germany, France and China. Together, they account for 74 percent of the total volume of exports. This rank is nothing to be proud of. America is in reality, the greatest “merchant of death and destruction”.
- Economic Freedom: According to the Heritage Foundation’s 2012 Index of Economic Freedom, the United States has an economic freedom score of 76.3, which makes the United States rank tenth out of one hundred seventy-nine ranked countries. Hong Kong ranks first, with an economic freedom score of 89.9.
- Income Inequality: According to the CIA World Factbook, the United States has family income distribution Gini Index score of 45.0, which makes the United States rank thirty-ninth out of one hundred and thirty four countries in that category. Namibia ranks first, with a Gini index score of 70.7. Previously, the United States ranked forty-third in this category.
- The higher the Gini Index score, the greater the degree of income inequality. Sweden has the lowest score, at 23.0.
- Freedom of Press: According to Gallup, 87% of Americans believe that the United States has a free media. That is enough to make the United States tied for fifteenth with Senegal out of one hundred thirty-three countries ranked in that category. Finland ranks first, with 97% of Finns believing that their country has a free media. Finland, Sweden and Denmark are top three.
- Retirement Security: According to the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index, as of June 2013, the United States ranks ninth out of eighteen countries ranked according to financial security in retirement, with a score of 59.0. Denmark ranks first, with a score of 82.9, followed by Netherlands and Australia. This rank of nine is in the richest country in the world.
- Living the Good Life: According to the OECD “Better Life Index,” the United States ranks sixth in terms of overall quality of life among thirty-six industrialized democracies. Australia, Sweden and Canada are top three.
- Women’s Index: According to Save the Children’s publication, State of the World’s Mothers 2010, the United States ranks twenty-third out of forty-three “more developed countries” in the “Women’s Index” ranking. Australia, Norway and New Zealand are top three.
- Union Membership: According to the OECD, 12% of American workers were union members in 2004, which made the United States rank twenty-seventh out of thirty OECD member nations. Sweden ranked first, with 77.3% of workers as union members. Recent numbers (as of August, 2017) will not be too different.
- Happiness: According to the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the United States ranks eleventh in the “Average Cantril Ladder,” a measure of happiness. Denmark ranks first followed by Finland and Norway.So if anybody tells you that America is “The Greatest Country in the World, tell him: “Don’t give me that ‘Bull Shit’. I know better”.
Here are my two articles that you might want to read. They were published yesterday and the day before in an excellent online journal from Sydney, Australia. The journal reaches 100,000 subscribers in 50 countries.
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American Foreign Policy Does More Harm than Good
By: Chaitanya Davé
When we examine the history of US foreign policy actions, we can easily come to the conclusion that over the years, the US foreign policy has done lot more harm than good.
From 1945 to present, the United States has attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, and tried to crush more than 30 populist –nationalist movements fighting against intolerable regimes. In the process, the US bombed some 25 countries, killed or caused the death of several million people, and condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair.
Below is the list of Washington’s engagement from the end of WW-II to 2005:
• Attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments
• Invaded unprovoked some 20 sovereign nations
• Worked to crush more than 30 popular movements which were fighting against dictatorial regimes.
• Provided full support to a small army of brutal dictatorships: Somoza of Nicaragua, Pinochet of Chile, Mobutu of Zaire, the Greek junta, Rhee of Korea, Marcos of the Philippines, the Shah of Iran, the Brazilian Junta, 40 years of military dictators in Guatemala, Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, Suharto of Indonesia, Hussain of Iraq, the Taliban of Afghanistan and few others.
• Bombed people of some 25 countries including horrific bombing of Iraq for 45 consecutive days and nights, 78 days and nights in Yugoslavia and several months in Afghanistan where the invasion and war is still raging. All these three countries had met the first requirement as an American bombing target—being totally defenseless. None of these damaged countries were ever repaired or compensated by the United States. Afghanistan and Iraq are the latest examples.
• Used vast quantity of depleted uranium, one of the most despicable weapons designed by mankind. It produces grossly deformed babies besides other horrific sicknesses including cancers. In a civilized world not intimidated by the US, it would be banned.
• Repeatedly used cluster bombs, another fiendish device designed by mad scientist, that has robbed many young people of their limbs or their eyesight’s and still continues to do so every day in many countries as these bombs remain in the ground.
• Tried to assassinate some 40 foreign political leaders.
• Interferes crudely and shamelessly in dozens of foreign democratic elections.
• Manipulated grossly, several labor movements.
• Shamelessly manufactures and spreads fake “news” and disinformation in other countries.
• Supplied handbooks, materials and encouragement for the practice of torture.
• Resorted to chemical and biological warfare or tested such weapons and used extensively deadly herbicides such as Agent Orange, causing horrible effects to the innocent people and the environment of China, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Panama, Cuba, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Serbia.
• Encouraged drug trafficking in various parts of the world when it served the CIA’s purposes.
• Supported death squads, especially in Latin America.
• Caused enormous harm to the health and well-being of the people of the world by controlling the IMF, the World Bank, WTO and other international financial institutions, besides imposing ruthless sanctions and embargoes on other defenseless countries.
What is amazing is that US leadership in Washington, decade after decade, is impervious to such horrific record and continues these policies every now and then spreading deaths and destruction around the world. They don’t change! The policy continues.
Also, America’s domestic and global propaganda is so powerful that vast majority of Americans are unaware of this horrific record. Most people of the world at large are unaware of America’s sinister side as they are busy making a living. The global community unfortunately is blinded by America’s wealth and power, not realizing its ghastly deeds around the world. And hence we have defenders of America. Who are they? They are the ones who have benefited from the United States within the country or living outside the country and have callous disregard for the fate of millions who have lost their lives, are maimed or injured for life or have lost their dearest ones as a result of US foreign policy or they are simply unaware of the United States’ dark history of more than a century.
Yet, there are many who know what United States does around the world. Win/Gallup International conducted a massive world opinion poll that was released at the end of 2013. Some 66, 0000 people across 65 countries were asked “which country is the greatest threat to world peace”, the majority of respondents (24%) around the world mentioned the United States as number one threat. The 2nd was Pakistan (8%), the 3rd was China with 6% and 4th, Afghanistan garnered 5 percent vote.
Despite such horrific record, there is no discussion of such dreadful foreign policy in mainstream US news media. Hence such policy will continue no matter a Republican or a Democrat comes to power as a president. Only the American public can force our politicians to change this policy of wars to the policy of peace and brotherhood amongst all the nations. But majority of Americans are not aware of this horrendous foreign policy.
So unfortunately, the policy of invasions, coups, and wars will continue for a foreseeable future.
Chaitanya Davé is an author, political and social activist, environmentalist and a world traveler. He is a successful businessman and lives in USA since 1966 when he came to America as a student. He is an author of three books and has traveled the world extensively. He ran a rural development foundation in India for 23 years and is president and founder of ‘Pragati’, a non-profit charity and developmental foundation based in Los Angeles, California.
via Chaitanya Davé is an author, political and social activist, environmentalist and a world traveler. He is a successful businessman and lives in USA since 1966 when he came to America as a student. He is an author of three books and has traveled the world extensively. He ran a rural development foundation in India for 23 years and is president and founder of ‘Pragati’, a non-profit charity and developmental foundation based in Los Angeles, California.
A Giant Step Backwards
By: Chaitanya Davé
With his dramatic announcement, President Trump has unwisely decided to take America out of Paris Agreement on climate change; the agreement approved and signed by 194 countries of the world. This is a giant step against global environment, against humanity and against all the earth’s inhabitants. It defies logic, common sense and long term well-being of humanity at large. With this decision, the US president has exhibited utter disregard for global climate and for survival of humanity because the greatest threat facing humanity today is global warming. Naturally, this decision will go down in history as one of the most irresponsible act by a US president.
It seems our president does not realize that green energy today is as cheap as dirty energy from fossil fuel and it is getting cheaper by the day as the world moves towards green energy. The whole world is moving away from coal as it is the greatest polluter of the environment.
World’s reaction—vast majority of the world’s people are in favor of Paris Agreement. Even majority of Americans are in favor of the Paris Agreement. No wonder, leaders of rest of the world have condemned Trump’s decision.
The consequences of this irresponsible act by the US president could be dire if countries like China and India follow America’s example. Luckily, all the 194 countries wisely have decided to follow this agreement on climate control with or without America.
American government has pulled out of Paris Accord, but American people are committed to Paris Agreement. Wisely led by California, 22 American states led by California and New York have decided to follow climate mitigation efforts despite the US government’s irresponsible decision. Nation’s leader in emissions reductions, California along with New York and Washington state have built an alliance that will guide the nation to Paris Agreement without the federal government’s help.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is leading cities in emissions reduction efforts that has already listed 150 members.
Contrary to President Trump’s “Pittsburgh Not Paris March”, Pittsburgh’s mayor Bill Peduto announced the pledge to move his city to 100% renewable energy by 2035.
The developed nations such as America, Europe, Russia, Canada and Australia bear major responsibility for creating the climate change as they are emitting huge quantities of carbon for more than a century. So they bear a huge responsibility to cut their emissions and help with technology and financial assistance to developing countries to switch to green energy.
With this unwise decision by President Trump, America’s leadership in the world will be jeopardized. Paraphrasing Paul Krugman, the well-known Nobel Laureate economist, “An irresponsible leader sent the whole world careening off to hell in a golf cart”.
MONUMENTAL SHIFT: Creating A New Economy with Genuine Democracy
By: Chaitanya Davé
Monumental Shift: Creating a New Economy with Genuine Democracy, Introduction,Page: Xii-Xiii
Years ago, chiefs and kings ruled over people. Then came the dictators and despots. Democracy finally evolved in Europe and America, followed by other countries of the world as they gained their independence from imperialist powers. Around the early 20th century, communism emerged in Russia, then subsequently in China. Of course, as a system of economic development, capitalism was already getting stronger in the Western nations led by the United States in last 200 years. We saw around the late 20th century the demise of communism as it was not good for the people and could not survive. It is through this book that I will attempt to encourage the reader to see what capitalism truly is and why it must also go. In later chapters, I have tried to describe the planetary devastation the global multinationals have caused and are still causing to ecosystems and forests in the vast corners of the world. I have tried to point out the mass poverty and inequality that capitalism and its arm called globalization is responsible for around the world.
After all, what is the purpose of a society? What is the goal of a country, especially a genuinely democratic one? Isn’t it to look after all its people and their welfare rather than a select few?
How can a civilized, genuinely democratic country allow millions of its people wallow in poverty while a few of its oligarchs get richer and richer day by day? How can any sensible and decent country allow that to happen? Well, it is happening right now in the United States.
Unless those of us who are aware and compassionate stop this “March of Folly”, this “Capitalism’s Crusade” as soon as possible, the consequences for this country and the world will be dire. We see every day, increasing evidence that capitalism which was once the basis for an unprecedented wave of creativity and liberation, has transformed itself into a force for decay, destruction, and death.
Capitalism, by exploiting resources of this planet and its people, has created vast oceans of poverty with a few islands of enormous wealth. More than a billion people live below two dollars a day and hundreds of millions more survive with a dollar a day while the Forbes List continues to proudly publish its list of billionaires every year.
The greatest threat to the survival of humanity and other innocent creatures of our planet today is climate change. Through continuous exploitation of the Earth’s resources, global capitalism is the main vehicle through which our Earth is continuously being exploited. Capitalism’s dogma of ceaseless growth foolishly measured through GDPs persists despite the Earth’s devastation beyond its capacity to bear. Unless we realize that this planet has finite resources and that continuous, out of control growth through exploiting these finite resources is not only unsustainable but impossible and catastrophic, humanity and the Earth itself are all doomed.
Capitalism is on a collision course with the wellbeing of Mother Earth. This planet is warming due to atmospheric carbon emissions. The greatest emitter of this carbon is uncontrolled production and trade of commodities encouraged, sustained, and perpetrated by global capitalism. Unless the world learns to live within its earthly means, unless we humans live within a sustainable growth structure, catastrophe for our planet is surely guaranteed. If humanity survives, we will leave a horribly polluted, destroyed, and hot burning planet to our children. Is this what we desire? Can we depend on our myopic and foolish politicians who only look forward to the next election and the next few years while our planet is hurtling towards a catastrophe created by out of control growth perpetrated by our economic system?
Chaitanya Davé lives in Southern California, USA. He can be contacted at email@example.com
You can invite Chaitanya Davé to give a talk on one of the following topics of his expertise:
- History of US Foreign Policy since its founding
- Climate Change and its devastating Effect
- Capitalism and its Fatal Flaws
- American Oligarchy and Hijacking of American Democracy
This book describes in vivid details how our current path using fossil fuels and emitting enormous quantities of carbon into the air is taking us towards the climate catastrophe of epic proportion. The book cites examples of past civilizations–such as Easter Islanders, Mayas of Mexico, Chacos of New Mexico or the Green Islanders–that collapsed because they destroyed their environments. We are on the same path of self destruction as these past civilizations, but on a massive scale. Read the details…The book is available at http://www.amazon.com or http://www.amazon.com.uk (Europe).
This book gives you a detailed account of how United States carried out invasions, coups, assassinations, overthrow of democratic governments or destroy democratic movements around the world since last 150 years or more.
Since a long time, religious conversions have become common in secular India. Usually religious conversions are practiced by Christian Missionaries who specifically come to India just to do that. Usually the poor Hindus are converted to Christianity for some kind of rewards such as money, medicine or even food. Hinduism is a non-proselytizing religion.
Article 15 and article 25 of the constitution of India gives everyone the freedom of religion in India but that should not be misunderstood as freedom to convert others.
Currently, five Indian states—Orissa was the first state to pass anti-conversion laws in 1967; followed by Madhya Pradesh in 1968 and Arunachal Pradesh in 1978. Catholics protested against this, arguing that propagation of their faith was an important part of Christianity. Both laws, enacted by Orissa and Madhya Pradesh High Courts were challenged pointing out Article 25 of the Constitution. But the Supreme Court supported the laws saying “What is freedom for one is freedom for the other in equal measure and there can therefore be no such thing as a fundamental right to convert any person to one’s own religion.”
Chhattisgarh in 2000 and Gujarat in 2003 passed anti-conversion laws. In February 2007, Himachal Pradesh also passed anti-conversion laws and now have anti-conversion laws in place to stop forced conversions. As long as these conversions are voluntary, the laws do not ban conversions. Arunachal Pradesh has enacted anti-conversion laws, but its government has yet to frame the rules to enforce it. In 2008, Rajasthan passed a bill that has yet to be converted into law.
All states’ laws are strikingly similar. All of them prohibit conversion from one religion to another by the use of coercion, allurement or by fraudulent means. Allurement or inducement is defined as a gift or material benefit while force is defined as the threat of injury which includes threat of divine displeasure or social excommunication.
In Gujarat and Chhattisgarh, a person seeking to convert must seek permission from the district magistrate at least 30 days prior to the date of the intended conversion. In Himachal Pradesh, an individual is required to notify the magistrate 30 days in advance that he/she intends to convert.
In 2013, BJP had declared that they would bring anti-conversion laws nationwide if they came to power. Amit shah has challenged the opposition parties to support these laws as BJP does not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha at present.
Why should India allow any kind of conversions to take place? We are already divided enough; why should we allow further division of the country on religious line? It is very important to note that foreign missionaries who are in India have only one mission on their
agenda; that is to Christianize the country as much as possible. Why should India allow foreign missionaries to enter the country in the first place? They should all be banned from entering the country.
India is the most religiously tolerant country in the world. But nobody should be allowed to take wrong advantage of this.
The Indian parliament must pass the law banning any conversions from any religion to the other unless people themselves want to change their religion without any outside persuasion. Any person or group of persons who are found converting other people by force or by inducement or gifts should be prosecuted, and if proven guilty should be given appropriate punishment. The foreign missionaries should be totally banned from entering India, period. They are up to “no good” anyway.
When Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was luring thousands of American Christians to Hinduism, Reagan administration prosecuted him on a technical immigration violation and jailed him for quite some time and ultimately deported him to India. It is also highly suspected that the US government reportedly poisoned him with slow poison which ultimately took his life after he was deported to India. The truth will never come out but the fact remains that he was deported back to India on minor technical immigration violation.
We just hope that the BJP government of Prime Minister Narendrabhai Modi gives this matter its upmost consideration and bans religious conversions as soon as possible.