Thursday, November 18, 2010

Observations in America

Capitalism is so ingrained in the American culture. Underlying it is the theory of the survival of the fittest, which sets competition as the basic driving force of life. The importance of success and winning is reinforced with an obsession with competitive sports, and their glorification of the best athletes and the richest people in the world. Even getting into the political system involves offering and selling ourselves as candidates, by publicizing how much better we are than our rivals for office. "Selling yourself" is like the mantra you would find everywhere.

It appears that most local people have embraced this culture. In general I have not observed much rebelling tendencies. People tend to be totally tame and seem to accept the system with their heart too. Almost everyone follows rules in all forms, be it traffic rules, standing in queues or waiting for people to pass by. People seem to be highly courteous. I witnessed almost a true "Dignity of Labor" concept here where people from all spheres are equally respected including blue collar workers. Maybe all this is related to the maturity level of the economy. Back in India, fat people were usually rich and thin people were mostly poor. Here, the economy seems to have already passed through that stage. Rich people here seem to have greater awareness about fitness and maintain themselves and conversely the poor people are the ones who tend to neglect the quantity and quality of food consumed and tend to become overweight.

The credit system in the US also seems to be quite convenient for consumers. The credit handling companies are in the middle of everything. The consumer, mall owners etc are all related to these companies. So the person selling the product to you does not really lose much even if you fail to pay your bill by credit because he would have a tie up with the credit companies. (The credit card companies would in such a case impact your credit history and privileges and through your SSN). The helpers in the store are paid on an hourly basis. So going to a store for window shopping is quite pleasant and the helpers are very friendly and do not appear to have any vested interest in you buying the product.

The amount of disposable income around here is crazy. This might be aided by the credit system too since people buy most things on credit. There are so many commodities and varieties, its staggering. Owning a private boat here isn't uncommon and there's a huge variety for that too. Everything is laid out in a platter with all the variety well sorted according to category,quality and price. The variety is especially surprising in the recreation, arts and music sections. E.g.: Huge variety in archery sets, other hobbies like building remote control toy cars etc

You tend to wonder, where did all this come from? and are there really so many people here buying all of these? The shop doesn't seem so crowded? How do these guys make money? How do they handle the logistics part? How can such systems exist?

It almost seems like a melting point of all the best items manufactured in the world. This combined with all the variety laid out in a platter showing you everything from the lowest quality - lowest price to the highest quality - highest price creates a high motivation to be rich thus strengthening and keeping the system alive.

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