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  1. #51
    Senior Member danseen's Avatar
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    Er...

    - They believe they're more free than others, so yes, this includes being able to drink booze in public, pay for sex, etc However, they counter that by saying they should be allowed to own guns. Yay, let's own things designed to kill and injure people!!

  2. #52
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post

    Oldest surviving Democracy and all.
    It's false. For instance, Iceland and Switzerland share a much more ancient democratic history than the US. And comparatively, they perform better.

    Ideologically most of the world has become like the U.S. in this respect.
    Absolutely not. Unless consumerism is an ideology, but consumerism isn't specifically American per se. Look for instance at China.


    A lot of people have answered culturally, but I think we are at a point where culture is mostly global.
    Never, unless (once again) you confuse consumerism (which is global) with culture.

    Think Japanese anime, Korean pop music, Bollywood movies, and so on...
    This is not culture. And I fear you're confusing what is going on within America with what is really going on in the rest of the world. You pretend to have a global view when in fact yours is very local, and quite narrow I should even say.
    For instance in Africa or in Muslim states, I can guarantee you they don't care a lot about Japanese anime. Soccer, on the other hand...

    But as far as comercialized and exported brands and their recognition, U.S. companies still dominate that list.
    Only according to the American company you quoted. Americans are able to recognize American brands better than the others? Well, you made us learn something very useful today.

    The reason the U.S. is a superpower in a very real sense is the culture that is embodied in places like Silicon Valley. (San Fernando Valley, New York city, Cambridge/Boston area, Research Triangle in North Carolina, Northern Virginia, Austin in Texas, Huntsville in Alabama,...)
    This is already a more interesting theory.

    Two possibly hard to swallow message that the U.S. has managed to convince most of the world of is:
    1) Accept commercialism or risk irrelevance. It takes resources to make things happen, and markets are rather good at properly allocating them.
    2) Accept diversity or accept stagnation. Creativity does not thrive in places of intolerance.
    Not at all.
    Once again, look at the real emerging superpower: China. China contradicts all you said so far. Their markets are heavily subsidized, it's almost impossible for a foreigner to penetrate them unless they agree to build a local plant, and the structure of power is very authoritarian.

    Ygolo, the paradox is that I fear you're a little bit too American when you try to reason.
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  3. #53
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Anyway.

    It will always amaze me how American people can be self-centered. I do not mean they are extremely nationalist, but rather than most of them, even very educated ones (Take Ygolo for instance) don't seem to be able to really think globally.

    And I'm also surprised that nobody here tried to address the major issue of the US vs the rest of the world. The current American economic system is destroying this planet at an accelerated pace, and yet nobody seem to bother, even if this is clearly the most noticeable global effect of all, especially for us who do not live in America. Most Americans here clearly overestimate the impact of their culture (perhaps they imagine that everybody craves to imitate them?), while in the same time they underestimate the sheer amount of global destruction they are causing everywhere else.

    The United States of America is the less sustainable country in the world.

    This should be their top priority issue. And its not only their issue, it's also ours.

    If this country doesn't want to react very fast, and prefers to indefinitely remain so environmentally destructive and so selfish, we're all doomed. Europeans, Chinese, Indians, Africans, Americans, Australians, we're all in the same boat, it won't matter a lot who is who during the next century when our grandchildren will simply try to survive.
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  4. #54

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    @Blackmail! If you are going to make up facts, we can certainly come to any conclusions we feel comfortable with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    It's false. For instance, Iceland and Switzerland share a much more ancient democratic history than the US. And comparatively, they perform better.
    Iceland's constitution was not established till 1874. Switzerland's not till 1848. I meant established officially as a democracy, if that wasn't clear. We could certainly argue that even tribal cultures from around the globe have practiced democracy since pre-history. But that is obviously not what I meant. You are playing semantics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    Absolutely not. Unless consumerism is an ideology, but consumerism isn't specifically American per se. Look for instance at China.
    For me an ideology is nothing more than a set of beliefs. What you call "consumerism" could be conflated with indivisualism and established mechanism of property rights coupled together. Again, you're playing semantics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    Never, unless (once again) you confuse consumerism (which is global) with culture.

    This is not culture. And I fear you're confusing what is going on within America with what is really going on in the rest of the world. You pretend to have a global view when in fact yours is very local, and quite narrow I should even say.
    For instance in Africa or in Muslim states, I can guarantee you they don't care a lot about Japanese anime. Soccer, on the other hand...
    Once again, semantics. I use the term culture for "the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively." My Russian and Taiwanese friends tell me about Bollywood movies before I here about it through my own family. Go to Japan, and tell me that Korean pop music is unpopular there. Go to China and ask them about "Death Note". Granted, the people consuming these things tend to have at least a level of material wealth, but more and more people are getting into that category.

    Soccer, is global, and a favorite among most people I know.

    As for Muslim countries and anime. Consider that banning something someplace can have funny effects, see : http://muslimmanga.org/

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    Only according to the American company you quoted. Americans are able to recognize American brands better than the others? Well, you made us learn something very useful today.
    You are playing fast and loose with facts. You seem to be implying that Interbrand did not take a global survey for brand value, but the survey was done globally. Although, headquarter in New York City, Interbrand was founded by a native of Essex, and has more offices in Europe than the U.S. and Canada combined. See the list: http://interbrand.com/en/Interbrand-offices.aspx


    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    This is already a more interesting theory.
    This is only a more specific version of what I was proposing already.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    Not at all.
    Once again, look at the real emerging superpower: China. China contradicts all you said so far. Their markets are heavily subsidized, it's almost impossible for a foreigner to penetrate them unless they agree to build a local plant, and the structure of power is very authoritarian.
    China does not contradict what I said. There is a matter of degree. The reason that China has been more successful of late is the allowance of privatization. Even at their latest central planning meeting, their leaders announced a conscious decision to make more use of markets. I am not a free market fundamentalist. There are some things markets cannot do. I am not saying that markets are a panacea. But China has become more capitalist lately and has reaped the benefits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    Ygolo, the paradox is that I fear you're a little bit too American when you try to reason.
    I was born in India, and only moved to the U.S. when I was 7. I admit I am Americanized, and a U.S. citizen. But you are the only person who has accused me of being "too American."

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  5. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    The United States of America is the less sustainable country in the world.
    This, however, I do largely agree with. Among the countries tracked by the green index, the U.S. has the lowest scores. I think it is imperative to find was to develop in green ways. Telling developing countries they ought not become developed is deeply hypocritical, and unless something is done to curb the associated problems, we are in trouble. Entrepreneurship can be as much a part of the solution as anything else.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  6. #56
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Come on Ygolo: you're an educated man. So don't say I'm playing semantics when it's exactly what you're doing.

    For instance:

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    @Blackmail! If you are going to make up facts, we can certainly come to any conclusions we feel comfortable with.


    Iceland's constitution was not established till 1874. Switzerland's not till 1848. I meant established officially as a democracy, if that wasn't clear. We could certainly argue that even tribal cultures from around the globe have practiced democracy since pre-history. But that is obviously not what I meant. You are playing semantics.
    So according to you, to be a democracy, a country MUST have a constitution? Are you aware that many contemporary working democracies still lack constitutions?
    Are you that culturally blind?
    What you're saying is so absurdly americano-centric that I'm wondering if you're really serious, especially when you're comparing Switzerland to a "tribal culture". As a matter of fact, the Helvetic democratic tradition and "votations" are much more ancient, and much more fairer that what you see within the United States. Switzerland is not only a "state of the art" democracy that everybody should envy (including France), they're actually the inventors of democracy in continental Europe, and the local citizens were already voting there on universal suffrage (except women) centuries before the United States of America would even dream to exist.


    For me an ideology is nothing more than a set of beliefs. What you call "consumerism" could be conflated with indivisualism and established mechanism of property rights coupled together. Again, you're playing semantics.
    No, an Ideology is a intellectual structure and system that can automatically define, for instance, what is right and what is wrong. Read for instance Hannah Arendt to have the modern definition of the concept.
    Consumerism, on the other hand, is not an idea nor an intellectual system. The way you live (passive) doesn't necessarily define what we call an idea (active).

    Once again, semantics. I use the term culture for "the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively." My Russian and Taiwanese friends tell me about Bollywood movies before I here about it through my own family.
    1/ Are your Russian and Taiwanese friends living (respectively), in Russia and Taiwan?

    2/ A blockbuster is not culture nor art. It's a product, a merchandise: it was devised, created and produced to make money only, and it tricks and manipulates people just like an advertisement would. Once again, Art, as a cultural activity, is something completely different. To define what a genuine piece of art really is in our contemporary world, have you read Benjamin, Simmel, Klee, Kandinsky for instance? You seem to confuse entertainment with the act of creation and the freedom it necessarily involves.

    Go to Japan, and tell me that Korean pop music is unpopular there. Go to China and ask them about "Death Note". Granted, the people consuming these things tend to have at least a level of material wealth, but more and more people are getting into that category.
    It concerns only a very, very tiny percentage of the population. Unless you consider that what is real for you must necessarily be real for the entire mankind, you're not realistic.
    I know what Japanese animes are, but I do not feel concerned by them.
    There is no "global culture": Art is an autotelic activity. On the other hand, there is a "global manipulation", and a "global dumbing of the masses".

    China does not contradict what I said. There is a matter of degree. The reason that China has been more successful of late is the allowance of privatization. Even their latest central planning meeting, their leaders announced a conscious decision to make more use of markets. I am not a free market fundamentalist. There are some things markets cannot do. I am not saying that. But China has become more capitalist lately and has reaped the benefits.
    China has become capitalistic... in its own very authoritarian way. But it's not a free-market society -not at all-, at least if you use the definitions we have in the Western world. China's domestic market remains almost completely closed for foreign brands, unless they care to invest in a local plant. As a matter of fact, according to many researchers, after the initial "opening", the level of protectionism has eventually increased in China during the last decade. And the fees you have to pay vary according to each province, even when you trade between provinces. Basically, fair competition in China is non-existant. And when the government decides something, it has almost unlimited power compared to ours.
    Last edited by Blackmail!; 12-04-2013 at 09:58 PM.
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  7. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    Come on Ygolo: you're an educated man. So don't say I'm playing semantics when it's exactly what you're doing.
    You disputed my statements based on your own re-interpretation of the words I used. I simply clarified what I meant, when I stated what I did. "Playing semantics" for me is to lead a discussion to particularly talk about words, and hem and haw about those words. I understand the needs for clarifying words, but we both know in what semantic context the statements I made were true.


    As for the rest of the post, I am not going to waste further time on semantics. I am fairly sure you knew what I meant when I stated what I did. I am aware of all the things you've talked about. We are talking about different things.

    For just one point of reference, when my Russian and Taiwanese friends mentioned Bollywood movies to me, they had just returned from their home countires and watched them in their home countries. I feel no need to "prove" my "global perspective" to you. I interact with citizens from 20 different nations on a weekly basis. I am a graduate student in the sciences. Whether or not that is a "global perspective" or not, I do not care. It is mine. My impression is that your perspective is no broader than mine.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  8. #58
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Default A Sense of Humour

    What separates the USA from the rest of the English speaking world?

    This is a very easy question to answer.

    And the answer is: a sense of humour.

    To the rest of the English speaking world the USA seems to have no sense of humour but they keep telling us they have the best sense of humour in the world.

    Why is this? Why does the USA seem to have no sense of humour?

    Well, the USA is literal minded and so misses the metaphoric humour of other English speaking peoples.

    So why is the USA literal minded?

    The USA is literal minded because they were founded by a literal interpretation of the Bible.

    But even more important the USA was founded in a trance of literate and literal religiosity. And this has been generalised to a trance of ideological literalism.

    But in a trance our critical mind goes to sleep and our imaginative mind wakes up. And a sense of humour is part of our critical mind.

    So the USA has no sense of humour because its critical mind is asleep.

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