America by The Numbers

The first step in solving a problem is recognizing that the problem exists.

Brilliant, elegiac dialogue by Aaron Sorkin on what we once were, and what we have lost:

“Just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day, there are some things you should know, and one of them is: There is absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world.


  • 7th in literacy;
  • 27th in math;
  • 22nd in science;
  • 49th in life expectancy;
  • 178th in infant mortality;
  • 3rd in median household income;
  • Number 4 in labor force, and
  • Number 4 in exports.

“We lead the world in only three categories:

  1. Number of incarcerated citizens per capita;
  2. Number of adults who believe angels are real, and
  3. Defense spending, where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies.

“None of this is the fault of a 20-year-old college student, but you, nonetheless, are without a doubt a member of the WORST-period-GENERATION-period-EVER-period,

“So when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about! Yosemite?”

In closing, here are 12 Categories (10 of which I would classify as vital: you can guess which those are) in which other countries leave us in the dust. If you click on the image, you can see it in higher resolution.

It’s instructive to note which countries just beat us out in a certain category — for instance, our insanely expensive healthcare system is bested by Costa Rica’s, a fact that should give one pause:



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