Greatest health care system in the world, everybody.
I remember Kazakhstan as being outrageously expensive. Then again this was in the immediate pre-crash period and I was visiting from Kyrgyzstan. ETA: I definitely did pay like $8 for a packet of instant coffee and some hot water at Almaty airport, though.
@Glen Raphael@facebook yes, I think it's also important for people, especially on the left, to acknowledge that "neoliberal" reforms can make the welfare state more effective, if they're done in good faith and with that aim (thinking here of the Dutch labor market reforms, for example; the French resisted similar changes but mainly because they didn't trust Sarkozy, I think.) There's no silver bullet but I think the wide variety of different ways that European countries are able achieve prosperity with a greater degree of equity and fairness actually makes for a better argument that it could be done in the US as well.
@sheistolerable It's also interesting that opposition to safety net programs in Europe is closely tied to anti-immigrant sentiment: they don't want to get rid of programs because they are costly, but rather because they believe that immigrants are unjustly benefiting from them! (think of the many BNP supporters who receive jobseekers allowance but are incensed that teenaged asylum seekers get £20/week in pocket money while their case is being decided)
@callmeprufrock ...and this is exactly why actual egalitarian policies in the real world aim not to eliminate choice, risk, and difference, but to make failures, mistakes, and bad luck *less costly*. Which actually ends up encouraging people to take MORE of the kinds of chances that these gray YA dystopias discourage!
It's interesting that one counter-argument you often hear when bringing up actually existing examples of prosperous but more egalitarian societies, such as Sweden, Denmark, or the Netherlands, is that policies like socialized medicine work well in these countries because they are "homogenous," but would not work in the "diverse" United States. At first this sounds like a non sequitur but there is some empirical support for the idea that voters tend to be more supportive of social programs and other economic equality measures when they believe the beneficiaries will be people "like them" (i.e. same race, culture, and/or religion.) If you follow this idea to its logical conclusion, then perhaps one of the biggest things holding us back from a Danish utopia of high minimum wages, low unemployment, free universities, and paid maternity leave is in fact: racism. Which I don't think is what the people who make this argument are intending to say!
@aetataureate I mean that the reason I don't have to wake up before 7 is because I pay ludicrous amounts of money for a tiny studio that is within walking distance of my workplace.
@aetataureate well does your apartment have a bedroom? If so you can lord that over me.
I'm amazed that more people pick out their clothes than pack their lunch. Also, getting up before 7 is for chumps.
"Step one: get a million dollars..."