How the U.S. and the E.U. Tackle Addiction and Other Challenges Differently.
When people refer to the “West,” they are actually referring to two enormous entities that make up the most powerful alliance on the geopolitical scale: the United States, and the European Union. As with any world power, there comes a wide assortment of different issues that must be dealt with by the leadership in each of these countries. While there are certainly plenty of similarities between the two factions (after all, many of America’s ancestors came from European countries), there are certainly distinct differences in the way that they choose to tackle each issue that they face. Modern life brings with it plenty of problems to face. Here’s some of the different ways that the United States and the European Union are facing these challenges differently…
“Addiction is a mental disease, and one of the absolute biggest epidemics facing the entire planet. “
Millions upon millions of people suffer from addiction around the world, in rich and poor countries alike. The United States and the European Union are no different. However, addiction is affecting these two superpowers in different ways, and each of them has a different approach to solving this growing problem. In the United States, the fastest growing demographic affected by addiction happens to be seniors, who number an astonishing 35 million in the United States. Roughly 1 in 5 of those seniors currently suffers from substance abuse. To deal with this problem, the United States has, at least since the 1980’s, attempted to squash drug use by criminalizing it. For more information about drug addiction in seniors, check out this informative blog post. On the other hand, many European countries have begun to adopt policies of decriminalization, and have instead moved to more experimental methods of treatment. For example, Norway is attempting to deal with its rising heroin problem by using diamorphine, a medical version of heroin, to try to phase users off of the more toxic substances, and then on a path towards abstinence.
Business in the modern world revolves around the internet. In order for online companies to thrive, however, a society must be able to support a large amount of internet users. This is what makes internet infrastructure so important. Sadly, the United States is currently leaving a lot to be desired in this category, at least for how rich the nation is. In terms of percentage of the population that has access to the internet, along with internet speeds, the United States is falling a handful of percentage points short of most countries in the European Union, as only around 84% of the country has access to the internet.
However, this is largely due to the fact that the infrastructure required to bring internet access to everyone is incredibly expensive in the United States. America is full of open land and rural communities, far more so than most countries in Europe. This puts the country at a distinct disadvantage. However, there are things being done to actively bring higher internet speeds to the United States. For example, Google has started an infrastructure product called Google Fiber that can hook communities up with an astounded 1 GB down bandwidth. For more information about Google fiber, check out this informative blog post here.
One of the biggest hot topics on the planet right now deals with the topic of borders and immigration. In both the United States and the European Union, we frequently hear lots of fear from both ordinary people and presidential candidates about people crossing borders, or refugees entering these countries. The European Union is fairly unique, as far as borders go. One of the principles that the Union was founded on was that people from any country that was a member could travel freely through the rest. This principle is rooted in an evolution from the borders and walls that caused some of the most horrific atrocities in European history.
Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany and perhaps the figurehead of the European Union, actually grew up on the eastern side of the Berlin Wall, and spent her childhood looking across borders that she could not cross. These values cause a certain moral conflict throughout Europe, where the panic that has been spurred by the influx of Middle Eastern refugees this year is directly at odds with one of the most important bedrocks of the entire Union. This is quite similar to the situation in the United States, which is a country created by immigration and has been called a “melting pot” throughout its existence, yet many communities struggle with the influx of both refugees from the Middle East and Africa, as well as the immigration over its southern border with Mexico.
Inflation is one of the hallmarks of modern economics. Most economic policy, especially as far as international economics goes, deals with handling inflation and the inherent value of a currency. Lately, we have seen countries in the European Union struggle with the fallout of the global recession, which caused high amounts of inflation in countries like Spain, Italy, or Greece, thus putting them in a debt crisis. Luckily, with the help of Angela Merkel’s leadership, the European Union was able to traverse this economic catastrophe in all countries, except Greece, which is still an ongoing situation. Traditionally, the currency of the European Union, the euro, has been a lot stronger than the dollar. However, lately the value of the dollar has been increasing, giving the currency a renewed value against the euro. This isn’t necessarily a good thing for the United States, however, for American businesses. Strangely, European goods don’t become cheaper as the dollar strengthens. This is due to an economic phenomenon that can only happen because many manufacturers in Europe produce luxury goods, which offers them the unique situation of being able to rise their prices as American buying power increases. . . .
For more information about this phenomenon, check out this post here.
By My Guest Author, Aleksandre McMenamin