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Old Oct 5th 2017, 12:31 pm   #1
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Default US-UK compassion gap

A post in another thread (Las Vegas, I think) really hit the nail on the head when it pointed out that in the US the culture is really focused on self improvement and there is almost a belittling of failure.

In Britain it seems very much the opposite, that much of society feels compassion and responsible for those less fortunate, and even the most well to do, (often not always) feel a sense of guilt at their success. And yet, in the US, charitable giving, is considered a civic duty. There seems to be a disconnect between individuals voluntarily giving and the state having the means and responsibility to support the less fortunate.
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Old Oct 5th 2017, 4:20 pm   #2
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Default Re: US-UK compassion gap

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Originally Posted by Shard View Post
In Britain it seems very much the opposite, that much of society feels compassion and responsible for those less fortunate, and even the most well to do, (often not always) feel a sense of guilt at their success. And yet, in the US, charitable giving, is considered a civic duty. There seems to be a disconnect between individuals voluntarily giving and the state having the means and responsibility to support the less fortunate.
Not really a disconnect, they are directly linked. We set up the welfare state and pay higher taxes in the expectation that people less fortunate than ourselves will always have state help to ensure they have a) a roof over their head, b) clothes on their back and c) food on the table. Plus help as needed if vulnerable, sick, old etc.

I always remember being asked to do a sponsored something-or-other at primary school for funds for a kidney dialysis machine for the local hospital. My mum refused to sign up, saying that the NHS should be paying from our taxes and explained that in her eyes, fundraising for the hospital should be for "nice to have" stuff, like toys for the children's wards, not the medical equipment. Common enough view amongst her generation - charity is for the extras not the basics.
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Old Oct 6th 2017, 12:43 am   #3
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Default Re: US-UK compassion gap

My personal experience has been quite the opposite, I know everybody in my Town and if I go for a beer in the Brew Pub 9 miles away it would be a miracle if there were not a few people who I do not know, ditto supermarket etc etc.
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Old Oct 6th 2017, 1:45 am   #4
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Default Re: US-UK compassion gap

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My personal experience has been quite the opposite, I know everybody in my Town and if I go for a beer in the Brew Pub 9 miles away it would be a miracle if there were not a few people who I do not know, ditto supermarket etc etc.
Is this in the right thread?
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Old Oct 6th 2017, 1:52 am   #5
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Default Re: US-UK compassion gap

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Is this in the right thread?
Maybe it's a tenuous link between the ability to self improve and the consumption of alcohol?
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Old Oct 12th 2017, 3:12 pm   #6
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Default Re: US-UK compassion gap

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A post in another thread (Las Vegas, I think) really hit the nail on the head when it pointed out that in the US the culture is really focused on self improvement and there is almost a belittling of failure.
American culture definitely is focused on "self reliance". I'm not sure that this directly leads to a "belittling of failure" (whatever that means). American bankruptcy laws are some of the most liberal in the world. American business gurus constantly preach the value of failure. Americans in general love a redemption story.

Quote:
In Britain it seems very much the opposite, that much of society feels compassion and responsible for those less fortunate, and even the most well to do, (often not always) feel a sense of guilt at their success. And yet, in the US, charitable giving, is considered a civic duty. There seems to be a disconnect between individuals voluntarily giving and the state having the means and responsibility to support the less fortunate.
It's a difference in culture. Europeans tend to prefer state solutions to poverty, Americans tend to prefer private donations. American charitable giving per capita far outstrips European countries:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Giving_Index

Also, it's worth noting that while the "safety net" isn't as comprehensive as some European countries, the US in fact has an enormous "welfare state". Health entitlements (primarily Medicare / Medicaid) currently account for about 30% of the Federal budget, about double what is spent on the military. 25% of the Federal budget is spent on Social Security. Disability Insurance, part of social security, is really welfare under another name and is similarly massive. The Earned Income Tax credit, TANF and food stamps are all huge programs as well. Also, there are lots of other programs at the state level.
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Old Oct 12th 2017, 3:40 pm   #7
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Default Re: US-UK compassion gap

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Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
American culture definitely is focused on "self reliance". I'm not sure that this directly leads to a "belittling of failure" (whatever that means). American bankruptcy laws are some of the most liberal in the world. American business gurus constantly preach the value of failure. Americans in general love a redemption story.
Do you really mean "self reliance" , or did you really mean selfish? Look after number 1 first because the Government is your enemy.

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It's a difference in culture. Europeans tend to prefer state solutions to poverty, Americans tend to prefer private donations. American charitable giving per capita far outstrips European countries:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Giving_Index
A lot of people give to charity to save taxes, the same as some people have bigger mortgages because they think it will save on taxes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
Also, it's worth noting that while the "safety net" isn't as comprehensive as some European countries, the US in fact has an enormous "welfare state". Health entitlements (primarily Medicare / Medicaid) currently account for about 30% of the Federal budget, about double what is spent on the military. 25% of the Federal budget is spent on Social Security. Disability Insurance, part of social security, is really welfare under another name and is similarly massive. The Earned Income Tax credit, TANF and food stamps are all huge programs as well. Also, there are lots of other programs at the state level.
Also in some cases unemployment benefits are much higher in the US.
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Old Oct 12th 2017, 4:16 pm   #8
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Default Re: US-UK compassion gap

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
American culture definitely is focused on "self reliance". I'm not sure that this directly leads to a "belittling of failure" (whatever that means). American bankruptcy laws are some of the most liberal in the world. American business gurus constantly preach the value of failure. Americans in general love a redemption story.

.
Sure, in the tech world, and to a lesser extent the business world, failure is a badge of honour. But amongst individuals or families if someone lacks the capability or conditions to be "self reliant" there seems to be a more judgemental tone than in Europe.
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Old Oct 12th 2017, 4:31 pm   #9
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Default Re: US-UK compassion gap

I really have not go to grips with some American work culture. I work 80 hours a week for 3 weeks, get sick, no paid sick time, so work when sick , make mistakes because trying to focus while sick is hard, spend 6 months cleaning up the mess because I could not focus well on my work while I was sick.

Repeat

Last job, worked 40-50 hours a week, has vacation time off, quite often worked a bit during vacation, hardly got sick, made very few mistakes, if any. Many more times productive.
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Old Oct 12th 2017, 7:33 pm   #10
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Default Re: US-UK compassion gap

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I really have not go to grips with some American work culture. I work 80 hours a week for 3 weeks, get sick, no paid sick time, so work when sick , make mistakes because trying to focus while sick is hard, spend 6 months cleaning up the mess because I could not focus well on my work while I was sick.

Repeat

Last job, worked 40-50 hours a week, has vacation time off, quite often worked a bit during vacation, hardly got sick, made very few mistakes, if any. Many more times productive.
What kind of work? Unless you are in your 20's, 80h sounds a bit much.
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Old Oct 12th 2017, 8:02 pm   #11
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Default Re: US-UK compassion gap

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Is this in the right thread?
Exactly my thought! Another Boiler special ...
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Old Oct 12th 2017, 10:30 pm   #12
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Default Re: US-UK compassion gap

Americans, if I can speak generally, want more control over how their money is spent, thus they want charity to lead. Europeans on the other hand are more receptive to taxation and for experts to decide how the money is spent. It is part the American wish for freedom, and part anti-intellectualism.
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Old Oct 12th 2017, 10:44 pm   #13
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Default Re: US-UK compassion gap

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What kind of work? Unless you are in your 20's, 80h sounds a bit much.
IT project work. I don't get paid for 80 hours as I am an exempt employee. Also it's not every week, just when management is flapping. Over worked, tired workers do not do good work, but they really do not understand that concept.
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Old Oct 13th 2017, 5:31 am   #14
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Default Re: US-UK compassion gap

I think there's always been a feeling in Washington that the Federal Government should not be involved in anything to do with a national health plan like the NHS or the plan in Canada
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Old Oct 14th 2017, 11:33 pm   #15
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Default Re: US-UK compassion gap

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Americans, if I can speak generally, want more control over how their money is spent, thus they want charity to lead. Europeans on the other hand are more receptive to taxation and for experts to decide how the money is spent. It is part the American wish for freedom, and part anti-intellectualism.
I love the shit this forum comes up with.
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