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a matter of perspectives
hi. I originally spent a long time on a note here, but apparently the session timed out, so it all went away.|
I think the original question is difficult to answer, for there are such large differences in the commonly seen aspects of each society, but the underlying foundations are often not seen, or the importance is not realized by outsiders.
some of these anologies will not be overly accurate to many people, but they will help put things into perspective regarding America.
America is really just the Central Goverment which collects taxes and governs and protects the 50 states which make up America, hence "United States of America"
Each state also has it's own government and it's own taxes and it's own welfare system. As such, it's hard to even compare within the USA, for each state has it's own agendas which they view as important.
Some states have a functional welfare system which teaches to people, who live in poverty, a trade for which they can earn money on their own and be somewhat independent. Other states may offer the barest of assistance of food & shelter to those in need. One realizes America is only about 226 years old, and welfare only begun 50 or so years ago, and already it is in trouble. In many states, too many people are raised within the welfare system and don't seem to be able to rise above it, and there is less and less money greanted for it, for the rest of Americans are who actually pay for welfare with their tax dollars, and most would rather not.
America was the 1st to embrace consumerism, and as a result, many Americans know nothing else. We live in a disposable world where corporations make products intented for only one use then thrown away. At first, they are sold cheaply, but after a while, they are deemed as "part of life" and the price goes up to match.
I think the worst thing about consumerism is it seems to teach "new is better." So people will often use up their credit offered by the banks and go into debt to buy something new. There are so many things to buy and use up one's credit on, many trivial. At the other extreme, a new car normally takes 5 years to be paid off. A house, new or old, takes usually 30 years to pay off.
Most people in America don't have savings to last more than 1 month of loss of a good job. So for a rainy day, if they cannot recover before their money runs out, then the banks then take back the house and the car, for Welfare only covers the barest of necessities and will not help people maintain anything above poverty level.
A good way to view the social classes...is there are only 2 classes. Upper class has enough money for their wants & needs and their parents have had the same. Their estates are usually passed on for generations and kept in the family.
Lower class people are struggling to aquire or maintain the necessities of life in America, though many have credit cards and some can afford to buy a house through a 30 year loan.
Middle class is made up of family lineages who at some time either worked their way out of lower class or fell from the upper class. They have enough to focus on things that make them happy and to help ensure their childrens success - usually thru education & upbringing.