I found an interesting post and discussion about whether France is considered “poor” by the standards of the US:
Working Hard Or Hardly Working?
The discussion after the post has a lot of interesting stuff.
The US normally defines “standard of living” solely on average income. Sure, the US has higher GDP than (I’m assuming) anyone else, but does this equate to a better life? Of course not. If you factor in average vacation, health benefits, etc, most European countries come out ahead of the US. So why the obsession with the almighty dollar? I agree it has the potential to improve standard of living to some degree, but when you’re working 80 hours a week you don’t have time to spend it anyways. I guess a lot of the yuppies are doped up on feel-good drugs by their doctors anyways, so they must feel happier.
Along that same point, I’ve never understood the obsession on economic growth by a lot of people in this country. When discussing US vs. European life, I’ll inevitably hear “But the US has 8% economic growth! [substitute country here] only has 3%. Why would anyone want to live there?” When did positive economic growth become a bad thing? I’d say that this is, to some extent, a defensive reaction since it’s one thing that the US definitely has over the European countries, at least on paper.
Well, no one here has yet been able to convince me that I shouldn’t want to try living in Europe, so I guess the arguments haven’t been very compelling.