A Corrupted Culture
America has a culture of greed, selfishness and a system that rewards those characteristics. Success by any means necessary is the real American value the one that governs how people live, work and view the world. This frame of mind makes it ok to put other people down to build yourself up and measure success as the number of digits on a paycheck. All of this built upon greed, reinforced by an incentive system that rewards a lack of humility, all of which leads to a society that has a few on top crushing the people below them.
The American life is a life of greed, it is a life where no amount of money is enough, where happiness can only be found by earning more and more money. This system is exemplified in America’s world of business. America’s greatest success stories its Fortune 500 companies, do anything to please shareholders with exuberant quarterly profits. Whether it be Apple employing overworked, under age and underpaid children to build its phones, laptops and watches. In buildings that are unsafe and have suicide nets to stop employees jumping off, all in pursuit of maximum profit for executives and shareholders. Another American success, Exxonmobil the wealthiest oil company in the world which hid evidence of man-made climate change for twenty years and continues to lobby to prevent action on the most pressing issue in human history. All the while innocent people around the world pay the highest price as they watch loved ones and possessions be destroyed by record breaking weather phenomenon. Again, all in pursuit of making some of the wealthiest people in the world even more wealthy. Even after atrocities are committed in pursuit of ever increasing wealth for a small number of people, the American people never care enough to do something about it. Instead, they continually vote for politicians who will continue to let atrocities be committed in the name of profit. They do this because secretly and even overtly the American people envy these captains of industries, as success stories that the wish to become just like. The most recent example of the culture of greed in America, ruining the lives of millions of innocent human beings was the 2008 financial crisis. Bankers, hedge fund managers with the help of friendly politicians, single handedly destroyed the world economy. The did this by first removing regulation of derivatives and the bank’s ability to use leverage. Then the bankers risked their own firms as well as millions of homeowners livelihoods, simply to get a larger bonus for themselves. Then after the party ended and the world was headed for disaster they were bailed out and blocked any attempt to regulate them. As unemployment kept rising in Europe and America in which every time it went up 1%, five thousand people died, the bankers gave out billions in bonuses. Even when Europe took action to curb excessive bonuses the democratic controlled White House, Senate and House of Representatives did nothing. Greed at this level exists in other places in the world, but only in America is it supported by the people and government.
This level of institutionally supported greed is all built upon an incentive system that rewards the degradation of fellow human beings. The frame of mind in America is me vs you and the winner is determined by salary. This culture starts very young were parents and schools teach you to get ahead even if it means leaving others behind. A school system designed around the idea that children are simply cogs in a capitalistic wheel and must be groomed to make the most money possible. The weak children are weeded out by rigorous standardized tests. Everything has to have an application that can make money. This system creates some of the most stressed children in the western world, which leads to some of the least happy. This system may have some merit if it worked, but America continually does poorly when ranked against other nations. A prime example of this is Finland, they rank number five in the world compared to America’s 17th. They have no standardized tests, few multiple choice tests, almost no homework and the shortest school week in the western world. In addition, they have no private schools and all schools have to be equal, unlike the US where parents have to “shop” for the best schools. According to Finnish teachers making their students happy is the key priority and in that pursuit, they also make them more intelligent than US students. After the American school system is done creating the most profitable “child”, those children enter the world of the American workplace. Similar to school everything here is designed to maximize profits, but not for the workers instead for the executives and shareholders. This is accomplished by stripping the American worker of their human rights and dignity. The American worker is offered no paid maternity/paternity, few vacation days and longer working hours than all western nations. All for a salary that a family cannot be supported on. Just as in school all of this causes immense stress and anxiety, including the inability to be provided or afford high quality food America has one of the lowest life expectancies in the western world. A way out of this misery would be to go to college. However, in the United States college is increasingly out of reach of the majority of its citizens. Unlike countries like, Sweden, Norway, Germany, France, Slovenia and many others the United States does not offer tuition free college/university. Although few would argue that the United States does offer the best universities in the world, only the elite and already privileged citizens can afford to attend these prestigious universities. This in the end creates an ever increasing unequal society where the rich get richer and the poor stay poor. Then when the poor fall ill due to extreme stress and malnourishment they will be unable to seek medical treatment because America is the only industrialized nation left not to offer universal health care. Instead, America offers a system that only some can afford and cares about profit above the well being of millions of human beings. This system causes around 50,000 deaths per year simply because people cannot afford health care, that is an utter disgrace.
This lack of humility extends to foreign issues as well. Again the frame of mind that you have to be and are better than everyone else makes American leaders and citizens commit actual crimes against humanity. When America invaded Iraq without United Nations approval that was a violation of international law, but according to America it was ok because they were America. Then, while America was in Iraq, they had little discretion for civilians and in the end hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children were killed in that war. Wikileaks showed that we killed civilians as a sport. The United States of America committed war crimes all because our culture has destroyed our value for human life, as long as we further our goals then human life does not matter. The American people, then praised the American Sniper a movie based on a person who called all Afghans savages and enjoyed killing children. America should be ashamed of itself and should pay the consequences for committing war crimes and violating international law with no care in the world.
The culture of greed and inhumane treatment for personal enrichment only benefits a select group. The top 10% owns more than the bottom 90% and they continue to use tax havens and tax loopholes to ever increase their share of wealth. All the while child poverty increases, starvation increases and the people continue to die prematurely from pollution. The reason people get away with this fucking extreme greed is because the culture in America gives people hope that they can enter this elite group and take advantage of others as well.
The problem is the American culture, it incentives greed and reckless behavior as long as it makes money. It creates a facade of American Exceptionalism that makes it ok to commit crimes against humanity and treat your citizens, not as humans with hobbies, interests, faults and strengths but as tools for the continuing enrichment of the elite. This culture poisons education, the workplace, healthcare, efforts for international peace, it pollutes everything. This culture makes me ashamed to call myself an American.