Moving Toward Solutions

The other industrial democracies are often republics (they vote for their representaives) but their social systems are typically very different.  They all have (weaker corporate insurance lobbies and) national healthcare systems and fairly strong educational systems.

Even rapidly developing countries like Brunei and Brazil, have chosen to set up national systems like interstate highways and healthcare that benefit all the citizens.  The United States remains unique among developed democracies while statistically, after peaking in the 1950′s, is trending toward third-world statistics, slipping precipitously in the realm of healthcare and education when compared to other developed countries.

The following countries are in alphabetical order and include mostly developed, industrial democracies, but the list also includes some developing countries. The links will take you off site, often to the country’s own website. Discuss with others about you find as possible solutions. Here’s a link to the Discussion Menus.

Australia

Because other citizens of developed countries to tend to travel more, ask an Australian, or any other citizen from the developed world, what they think of their legislated vacation time.  Ask others what they think their government’s role should be in their lives.  When looking at their website, look for subtle differences in how their government’s role may be different from that of the U.S.   http://australia.gov.au/

Austria

Austria is located in the European continent and is different from Australia, which is its own continent and is located in the southern hemisphere.
 http://austria.gv.at/site/3327/Default.aspx
The Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth  http://www.en.bmwfj.gv.at/Seiten/default.aspx

Belgium

In addition to being another European country, they also make good chocolate and have health insurance. http://belgium.be/en/

Brunei

Developing countries with rising economic situations are joining the ranks of the other industrial countries and are creating social policy that is similar to all the other developed countries. They are choosing to make sure that there is a national healthcare policy to cover all their citizens. Scroll down to see more details on any of the ministries.  http://www.jpm.gov.bn/

Canada

Their headline reads “The True North Strong and Free”
http://canada.gc.ca/home.html
Interesting that they highlight “People helping people.”  http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/en/home.shtml

Denmark

Denmark is also referred to as a Scandinavian country. 
http://www.denmark.dk/en

Ecuador

The Government of Ecuador just passed the rights of nature in their Constitution!  Talk about being truly green.  The website is in Spanish.
 http://www.presidencia.gov.ec/

Here’s an interesting online source for information in Latin America, in English.  http://upsidedownworld.org

Finland

Finland is another Scandinavian country that also has health insurance for all its citizens, along with a lot of other policy that makes sense in a modern democracy. 
http://www.government.fi/etusivu/en.jsp

France

France has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. http://www.premier-ministre.gouv.fr/en/

Germany

Germany also has some really good social systems, while having a comparatively strong economy.

http://www.entdecke-deutschland.diplo.de/Vertretung/entdeckedeutschland/en/Startseite.html

Iceland

Only a republic since 1944, they cover their citizens with healthcare as well as healthcare in other parts of the developing world.  Perhaps they could sponsor a few Americans.  No wait, we already pay into our own medicare system – yet it only covers the poor (who often don’t pay as much proportionally into the system as someone in the middle class) , and the old, (who often have paid into it).

http://www.iceland.is/government-and-politics/

Ireland

Click on the Government Departments on the upper left hand side to learn more about the different sectors,  healthcare included.
 http://www.irlgov.ie/

Luxembourg

This website is not in English, but if you know any of the romance languages, you’ll be able to make sense of it.  You could also take it into a translation site.
 http://www.gouvernement.lu/index.html

The Netherlands

The government of the Netherlands is also known as Holland, and the people are referred to as Dutch. They used to have full dental coverage, but the phenomena known as the revolving door has been spinning from the corporate-insurance world into the U.S. State Department. Once inside the State Department as a foreign diplomats, former corporate officers proceed to try to take apart other countries’ social systems. Not-so-nice diplomacy? http://www.government.nl/

New Zealand

Glance at their website and see what it includes, then compare it to the U.S. government website. http://newzealand.govt.nz/

Norway

Sometimes, when I think that the sky seems to be falling when I read about politics in the United States, I look at the policies of other countries, and it makes me feel better that there are countries that are looking after the interests of their own people, instead of being scared about reelections and busy calling the other side ludicrous names.  It’s like a breath of fresh air.  http://www.regjeringen.no/en.html?id=4

Scotland

“The Government aims to help people to sustain and improve their health, especially in disadvantaged communities, ensuring better, local and faster access to health care. – That’s directly from their website.  Could you imagine that on the U.S. Government site?”  (Say, “Yes!”)
 http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Home

Spain

Spain reformed their social programs in 1978 to include health insurance for all their citizens.  They found that a fragmented system of many different insurance companies was less efficient than having coverage for all citizens.  Government processes are dynamic and usually responds to the will of the people.

Here’s more information on their current government policy.
 http://www.la-moncloa.es/IDIOMAS/9/home.htm

Sweden

The Scandinavian countries do pay the highest average rate of taxes and they receive a very comprehensive list of services.  Ask a Swedish person about their maternal and paternal leave and prepare to temper your jealousy.

http://www.sweden.gov.se/

Switzerland

When you look at websites from other countries, you also find really interesting information, for example, I didn’t know what Switzerland represented Russia’s diplomatic interests in Georgia.  I haven’t heard of this in the U.S. media. How many official languages does Switzerland have?
  Something like 5?  And they also have health insurance coverage for all their citizens.

http://www.admin.ch/index.html?lang=en

United Kingdom

Otherwise known as the Commonwealth.  The Mother Country for the United States also has policies like universal healthcare for all its citizens.  They have democracy in their House of Parliament and a royal family.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/index.htm

United States of America

Our government motto on the website is “Government Made Easy”, except that it’s not.  I have a few questions about who, or what entity, actually writes the laws. In school as a youngster, I learned that the legislators wrote the laws, but I’ve heard many of legislators say that they didn’t have a chance to read the legislation before passing and helping to enact the law. Goodness.  This is the only country on this list that does not have a national healthcare coverage for its citizens, although we do have quite a strong health insurance lobby!  http://www.usa.gov/

Please let me know if links are not working or if there are other countries that you’d like to see included.

Here are links to other healthcare systems:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_health_care
Healthcare: France came in first, while the U.S. came in last in providing quick and effective healthcare to its citizens. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hGPrKA627R1svhAL7yih15Ap-bFg