North Americans are jealous people. You would think that they would be more self-satisfied and happy, what with their freedoms and their iphones and all that American dream crap, but they are jealous bitter people. Take the current EuroZone crisis. For years before this financial calamity occurred, North Americans have been taking pop shots at Europeans for their lazy, decadent lifestyles, their abundant vacations, wine-soaked lunches and annual beach getaways. Instead of using the example of Europe to demand more for themselves, North Americans in general have been content to insult them from their offices where many of them will eventually collapse either from mental inertia, cardiovascular issues from prepackaged crap or just old fashioned boredom.
There is a pervasive mentality of "everyone should have to suffer what I have to suffer", a sophisticated thought process dating back to the time when dogs snarled at each other anytime one of them had a bone. This is dangerous thinking as a society. To think that because you get 2 weeks off a year means that those guys across the pond don't deserve their 5-6 weeks is backwards. You should actually be thinking about what it would take for you to get 5-6 weeks and the plus benefits all around, rather than calling them lazy. This is the difference between creative thinking and old fashioned jealousy.
But North Americans remain obsessed with work, material wealth and convenience. And this mentality will not slow down anytime soon with the European crisis. It's a shame that we never learned how to better our society through Europe's example. It's a shame that pursuit of wealth is very likely to destroy those good lessons that Europe once had. Quality of life is no longer a philosophy about putting friends, family, good food and wine over work- it is an index factor used to calculate rate of pay with cost of living to see who's economically comfortable.
One only has to look at a series of comments on a news post to know that jealousy, coupled with its old friend bitterness, is in style. Anytime something goes wrong for someone, there's always a handful of people who will chip in with their go-to comment of 'stop whining you babies, everyone just wants a free ride, when I was young I had one pair of pants and a wooden spoon for my porridge, etc etc.' It used to be that the cantakerous old man routine was funny; now it's just getting old and nasty.
The world economy is not in a good place. People are not in a good place. It's normal that when things get lean and mean, people are going to start baring their teeth. But maybe it's time that we all took a good long hard look at ourselves and made the decision to stop resenting everyone for the things that they have that we don't. Especially since it seems that we're at risk of losing a lot of it.