Saturday, June 22, 2019

5G Illustrates Why the USA Cannot Use European Models for Public Policy

Here's a short explanation of how 5G implementation will likely play out.

I do understand the influence of European travel/academic study on many college students. They contrast the buildings, the cultural norms, the weary cynicism of the educated class - all of them seem so much better than their dreary commonplace lives in America.

But, the truth is - Americans ARE different. And, our cultural norms and our political and economic systems should reflect that difference.

We have a very large country. Not just the size of the available land, but also the tendency of Americans to spread out within our own communities. We like neighbors, but would prefer to have some physical distance from them. We are social creatures, but we don't live in each other's pockets.

We like family, but, generally, would prefer to live independent from those outside our "nuclear" family. This is not just the preference of young people who would like to live their lives without interference from parents and in-laws. This is also the preference of those parents and in-laws, who will often choose solo living far from family, if the alternative is to bunk in together.

That might be a reflection of the people who came to America - and stayed. Examples include:

  • Scandanavians, notoriously uncommunicative and with a reputation for enjoying solitary life.
  • English, whose preference for minding one's own business enabled to survive on a crowded isle.
  • Germans, Swiss, Dutch - all were among the early settlers who, when they had the opportunity to live apart from family, did.
Even within families, square footage available in the average home exceeds that of families in the rest of the world. Europeans have 1/2 the space of average Americans; Africans live in 1/26 the space available to us.

So Americans get used to having room to stretch out. The cultural expectations of the rest of the world is that adults will have to manage their interactions within their family to maintain harmonious relations. 

Outside of that family, Americans have space, Europeans do not - lots are much larger in America, allowing a bigger buffer zone between neighbors. So, what your neighbor thinks you should do has less effect on you. Acting independently, and without a whole lot of concern about what the neighbors think, is a noted marker of American culture.

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