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Fri, Jan. 9th, 2009 01:36 am
Capitalism: doesn't it make you (mentally) sick?

92CommentReplyFlag

girfan
girfan
GIRfan
Fri, Jan. 9th, 2009 09:57 am (UTC)

I'm an American who has lived in the UK for almost 13 years and agree with your comment. I know so many people in the US with massive houses though they have few or no children. They drive gas guzzling cars and were the first to moan when gas prices went up. They also look down on using public transport or cycling/walking as transport.


Living in the UK, I use public transport 95% of the time, our car is fuel efficient (as are most cars in the UK other than the ones inspired by US vehicles) and our home would be considered laughably small by many US people (it's a terraced house). There are those in the UK who are trying to ape the US way of building homes and it doesn't work here doing to land issues. The suburban sprawl of the US is something that can't be done here unless all the green belts and farming land are built over.


I do think it's capitalism that is driving all this-the UK tends to be more socialist, and this might be why the US has the worst of it.


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krskrft
krskrft
Fri, Jan. 9th, 2009 12:41 pm (UTC)

The thing I've noticed since moving to Korea is that it's hyper-capitalist here (look up "chaebol" on wikipedia), yet people seem to be content to live relatively modest lives compared to US citizens. So I don't think it's the underlying economic system that is the fundamental problem. I think that the prevailing notions of individualism have a lot to do with this. Americans like to build individual sanctuaries, where they can be away from others, away from the bustle of everyday living. They like big, spacious homes and big, spacious cars for this reason. And the geography of the US supports this, because the country itself is so enormous, and so much of the land is at least reasonably habitable. Koreans, on the other hand, have no real option other than to live austere, modest lives. It is a very tech-savvy, stylish culture, so you see a lot of gadgets (cell phones, mp3 players, flat-screen TVs, fancy clothes), but the biggest signs of opulence (enormous houses and gigantic cars) are all but absent.


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