Axis Mundi X discussion

International Inspiration?

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message 1: by Rusty (new)

Rusty (rustyshackleford) Politicians, newscasters, etc. often compare the U.S. to other countries when talking about violence, drug use, energy consumption, etc. Pundits often point to programs they feel are successful in other countries, and argue that we should implement the same program here. But does success in another country ensure it would be successful here? In most cases, I tend to think that the U.S. is a completely different animal. What is the rationale behind looking to the other nations for political, social, government reform? Any ideas?

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
It might have something to do with people wanting to fit in... Just on a global scale??? I really don't know I usually cringe when someone suggests we should adopt a foreign policy. I think we as Americans are a different breed, we view the world (most of us anyway) through red, white, and blue shaded glasses...

message 3: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell I say we look to Middle Earth for our policies. Develop wizard technology. Put quotas on Orc immigration. Plant more talking trees (Ents?).

message 4: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell Ok, seriously, in what ways is America a different animal? We have different resources. Our population is differently edumacated. We have different technology. Once we take those things into account, however, I think it's ok to look at the strategies other human societies have come up with to satisfy basic human needs that are universal. We all need food. We all need protection from the elements. If one another country has come up with an efficient way to provide these things, it seems common sense to look at how these things could be adapted for our use.

message 5: by Lori (new)

Lori The biggest difference in our country is our size.

message 6: by Jackie "the Librarian", Cool Star Trek Nerd (new)

Jackie "the Librarian" | 1818 comments Mod
We are an ungainly country, what with states in a federation as we are. I think Lori's got a good point - it would be way easier to rule a country the size of a state, like France is about the same size as Oregon, than all these states combined.

message 7: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony Also...we pretty much run the world, so we can just tell countries like France to sit down and be quiet.

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
It is more about lifestyle and character then basic human needs Dave.

message 9: by Not Bill (new)

Not Bill | 1062 comments Efficiency id good but it has its limits as well. When efficiency comes at the expense of the rights of the individual, then we need to take a much closer look at what we are attempting to achieve. In some cases it may be decided that it's a good thing. In others, not so much. Our experience as Americans is indeed quite different from the rest of the world - that being existence outside of "The Tribe". It is such a unique mindset (from a historical perspective) taht in many cases, what might work in the rest of the world is either a nonstarter for us, or may pose a threat to how our freedoms are consttructed.

message 10: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell I don't think efficiency and a respect for individual rights are in conflict. A society that respects individual rights is the most efficient. At least in the long run. In the short run, I'm not saying upset the apple cart, but if some nation has invented a better mousetrap, we should at least see if it might work for our mouse problem.

message 11: by RandomAnthony (last edited Aug 26, 2008 10:36AM) (new)

RandomAnthony I don't think there's anything wrong with exploring alternatives then deciding whether or not they fit the contexts. The tough part is deciding whether or not the decision-makers are making excuses or if a valid reason for adoption or rejection exists. This happens intra-country all the time. For example, to use Jackie's profession, I imagine libraries hear about technologies or procedures other libraries use and have to decide whether or not the new tools or ideas work for them.

In education sometimes people adopt new ideas just because other people are using them. In education some people reject new ideas just because others are using them.

message 12: by Jackie "the Librarian", Cool Star Trek Nerd (new)

Jackie "the Librarian" | 1818 comments Mod
Oh, sure, my library system is always checking out what other systems are doing.

We let the King County Library System, with all of its resources and funding (they are in Microsoftland) go first, and if something works for them, we might give it a try.

message 13: by Not Bill (new)

Not Bill | 1062 comments ...but what if it turns out that the mousetrap doesn't work on our mice?

message 14: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell Well, not to push the metaphor too far, we should make sure first their mice are similar to our mice, and then give it a try. I'm just saying let's be open to the possibility that an idea born overseas might work here.

message 15: by Not Bill (new)

Not Bill | 1062 comments No problem ther, Dave. My point was that such initiatives are usually best undertaken in the private sector. We need to be exceedingly cautious when involving government.

message 16: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell Well, I agree with you this time.

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
The problem is context. Just because something holds true (or their version of true) doesn’t mean it will be the same here. There are massive differences between the cultures of the U.S. and European nations. I am not even sure we have the same goals.

However I think we may be all talking about different things; perhaps it might be easier for me to get a grasp on this if we name some specific programs/policies that are trying to jump the big pond. Or that you think we should adopt.

message 18: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell Yeah, this conversation is kinda abstract. What about nuclear power? France gets ninety percent of its power from nuke. Do you think that would work here? I for one don't know the answer.

message 19: by Not Bill (new)

Not Bill | 1062 comments Nuclear power would most definitely work here. The problem isn't with the technology - it's our craven pols who lack the spine to lead on such an important topic. Too busy feeding at the trough.

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
I am willing to go the nuclear route; I am just iffy on the waste side of the deal. I think it is a safe energy, but just throwing the waste in a whole and burying it doesn’t jive to well with me. We need to develop a better way to deal with waste across the board but need an urgent plan for things like nuclear waste. IMO

message 21: by Charissa, That's Ms. Obnoxious Twat to You. (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) | 3620 comments Mod
indeed, Nick. Very astute observation.

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
What are the Fanny franks doing with their Nuclear waste?

message 23: by Jackie "the Librarian", Cool Star Trek Nerd (new)

Jackie "the Librarian" | 1818 comments Mod
I am kind of excited about where we are right now, with gas prices high enough that other technologies are starting to look very interesting.
We've finally got the incentive to explore wind power, solar, and nuclear, and to find ways to make them work. I would think there MUST be a way to recycle and reuse nuclear material, instead of just burying it.

message 24: by Servius Heiner (last edited Aug 26, 2008 12:19PM) (new)

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
This is exactly what I am talking about...

this part

A 1990 law established that in 2006 at the latest, France has to identify a geological site appropriate for building a radioactive waste deposit. Despite hundreds of tests on numerous sites throughout the country, the National Assembly is expected in January to extend the search deadline to 2016.

Meanwhile, according to the national radioactive waste agency, there are more than a thousand sites in France being used for temporary nuclear waste storage, and some lack any type of protection. The volume of all types of radioactive waste in France grows by 1,200 tonnes a year.

I know the U.S. Navy was looking into ways to dissolve the waste from the reactors in navel vessels, but it never worked they way they intended it too, so the project was scraped before real progress was made.

message 25: by Not Bill (new)

Not Bill | 1062 comments Part of what France does can be found here. Domestic advocates also point to recycling of nuclear waste:

message 26: by Xysea (new)

Xysea  (xysea) Here, here! Bunny Watson! It's ridiculous. I don't know if its the puritanical work ethic or what, but we get lousy holiday and sick time, too.


Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
I am kind of a moron when it comes to this Donna. I don’t even know if my company has a policy… What would be an acceptable policy?

message 28: by Not Bill (new)

Not Bill | 1062 comments Doesn't matter what my company's policy is - I've got too much work to do as it is. That said, whenever I ask for time off, I get it. When my daughter's eating disorder emerged last year, I took a lot of time off. I guess I'm one of the fortunate ones in this regard.

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
I was asking about what the average policy was because I have no clue. I really don't have a lot of experience with other corporations. I would assume three months off after, and maybe two/three before?

message 30: by Jackie "the Librarian", Cool Star Trek Nerd (new)

Jackie "the Librarian" | 1818 comments Mod
That would be great, Nick! I get a year of UNPAID maternity leave with my library system. Which is helpful, sure, but...

message 31: by Lori (new)

Lori The typical maternity leave is 12 weeks after birth, paid. That's it.

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
Unpaid... I don't see how that is helpful. Perhaps a reduced salary based system.

You make $100 normally per/wk

You make $50 per/wk

message 33: by Lori (new)

Lori And then we wonder why the people in northern European countries are the happiest. Look at that leave. They may have high taxes, but they are very well cared for. I've also read their kids are doing the best in the world.

message 34: by Not Bill (new)

Not Bill | 1062 comments What kids? They're not having any. Maybe that's why they're so happy? Well...Western Europe anyway.

message 35: by Not Bill (new)

Not Bill | 1062 comments According to this "happiness map" we're doing pretty good I'd say.

message 36: by Not Bill (new)

Not Bill | 1062 comments BunnWat....could it be the reverse: that we're happier BECAUSE we have fewer kids?...just sayin', but you make a good point.

message 37: by Jackie "the Librarian", Cool Star Trek Nerd (new)

Jackie "the Librarian" | 1818 comments Mod
I think that's it, Not Bill. Fewer kids means it's easier to provide for the ones you have, and more time to enjoy life with them.
And longer lives for women not physically worn out by pregnancy and childbirth, too.

message 38: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony Wussies.

Don't tell my wife I said that. Kidding.

I think the fact that people are more likely to choose mindfully how many kids they'll have (even those who have more seemed to want more, if you know what I mean) is a factor. I've always felt the more control I have over my life the happier I am. If I feel like significant life choices are out of my control or helpless to change I get depressed.

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
Kids are a pain in the ass... I don't care how much you love them. They are still a pain in the ass; expensive pains in the ass. I don't see a big mystery here. I think I could sign on for a 4 month half pay deal. (For both parents, Mama gets 4 papa gets 4.

message 40: by Beth A (new)

Beth A | 38 comments I got 6 weeks unpaid maternity leave, and my company acted as if that was doing me a big favor.

Jackie, yes, key point, women do get worn out by childbirth, labor, then the aftercare. Six weeks for me was not only unfair to me, but to my daughters and my fellow employees. Where does the productive/healthy/happy human resource fit into that picture...she doesn't.

message 41: by Not Bill (new)

Not Bill | 1062 comments Interesting. I must admit to a bit of snark in my previous post, but glad to see it strike a chord. Wasn't long ago that things were quite different in terms of child mortality. Within just a few generations time, the West made massive gains in medical technology. The need to have many kids in the expectation that a certain percentage would no reach the teen years, and then still have a enough hands to work the family farm quickly disappeared, but we still have the vestiges of that time around us. My paternal grandmother was married and bearing children at the age of 14. She went on to have 10 (my dad the youngest). All survived to adulthood. My grandma outlived several, passing away at age 96. She was on tough woman. I can't even begin to wrap my brain around that type of existence, but I do recall her always in good humor, happiest when visiting family.

message 42: by Charissa, That's Ms. Obnoxious Twat to You. (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) | 3620 comments Mod
none of us in this generation, and certainly none of our kids, can fathom what Depression Era folks lived. We are candy asses by comparison. And that is why the Chinese will take over the world.

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