Just over 4 months ago I moved to America. It is basically pretty similar to England in many ways, which is perhaps why I notice the small differences so much. Naturally I decided to keep score.
I’m focusing on my entirely subjective experience of living here, and particularly on non-tradables, so there will be no thorny discussion of who has the best pop music or anything like that. I will gladly take suggestions but can’t guarantee to acknowledge or give any credence to them. And this is basically just a list of random stuff tapped into my phone over the weeks, with no reflection or analysis.
Without further ado:
Points for Great Britain
- Ubiquitous chip-and-pin security for credit cards. Seriously America you can’t manage that?
- (A decent) Minimum Wage. Meaning proper salaries for waiters, meaning I don’t have to worry so much about tip-maths in restaurants.
- Universal (and simple!) healthcare coverage. Ugh, paperwork, thank god I never actually go to a doctor.
- Sensible politicians. You all make the Conservative Party look really really nice. My first week here, the first bar I went to, O’Donnell was on the TV talking about closing the Department the Education.
- Sensible people. Generally speaking, people get the representatives they deserve right? Far fewer crazies in England.
- Liberalism. The proper, fully evolved grown up variant which includes social liberalism as well as economic liberalism.
- Location. Being geographically closer to the rest of world, and foreign cultures.
- Towns. That are walkable.
- Public transport. The tube is way better than the NY subway in my opinion. And so are the buses. And there is a Congestion Charging zone.
- Mobile phone contracts. For some reason there is fierce competition in the UK driving down prices but not in the US. What’s going on defenders of capitalism?
- Better date formats. It obviously makes far more sense to start with the day than the month.
- Better sports. We are not the only country who play our sports, therefore they are better. This is almost a tradable as its pretty easy to follow the Premiership over here, but not quite. You can’t enjoy reading the sports pages of a physical newspaper here.
- Bank ATMs. Somehow Britain managed to get rid of fees for using other bank’s ATMs. It’s good.
- No flags. Seriously, why are there so many flags everywhere? Are you worried about forgetting which country you are in?
Points for the Unites States of America
- Turning right at stop signs. Definitely a winner.
- Better usage of the phrase "public school." I could go on forever about grammar and spelling but that would be really boring. Here is a case where the American version is clearly objectively better.
- Better weather. Hotter, colder, either way, at least there is actual weather rather than just cold grey drizzle.
- Food. Enough said.
- Ubiquitous Pizza. It is everywhere, and it is good. So good that it gets its own point in addition to the point for food above.
- Automatic cars. Why do we still bother with manual transmissions? Aren’t automatics just a better technology?
Which makes it;
Great Britain 14
United States of America 6
Pretty damning. But I am genuinely trying to be agnostic here. Show me the evidence America! What else do you have going for you!