On the eve of the Iowa caucus vote for the US Democratic presidential nominee, this op-ed published in Wednesday's Toronto Star is food for thought.
Likening the US to a third world country, the authors state:
[T]here is a strong predilection in most Western countries to level the economic playing field as much as possible. This seems not to be the case in the United States.
The United Nations publishes a Human Development Index that ranks countries in terms of life expectancy, literacy, education and standard of living. The latest published data were based on 2005 statistics. The U.S., despite its vast wealth and power, placed only in the 12th position among industrial countries. The top four countries were Iceland, Norway, Australia and Canada.
Making their case for the US as a third world country, they go on:
The glaring features [of third world countries] today include poverty, lack of democratic institutions, controlling oligarchies and the unequal distribution of income and wealth. In other words, the few enjoy a rich lifestyle while the many share subpar incomes and poverty.
Another characteristic of Third World countries is that a major portion of their fiscal expenditures is allocated to the military. In many Third World countries, the military is controlled by an elite or a small collection of the wealthy.
Finally, in many Third World countries one finds that leadership is passed from one generation to the next, often via a close relative. Guess what country we are talking about now?
Food for thought indeed.
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