So much has come in, knitting the various themes of: self-pity among the rich; the elements of mutual social connection (tax, public service); how a country looks from outside; what constitutes "satisfaction," and the rest.
A few installments here. First, on the "those wacky foreigners!" front, an item from the BBC last year on how the Whiny Law Professor's continental counterparts view the tax issue:
I know, I know, Germany is not America. One of my maxims as an editor and occasional writing-teacher is that any sentence about American politics or society that begins with the words, "In Sweden, they... " should instantly be cut. Same rule applies with Germany. Notwithstanding my friend Tom Geoghegan's wonderful book on the theme of "In Germany, they...." Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?. Still...
Now, back to some all-American views, on the universal question of how money relates to happiness. From another reader:
>>1. I am in the U.S. military; I would prefer that you not use my name. I am enjoying your thread on the poor wealthy. They are to be pitied - for their lack of imagination.....
My wife doesn't like it when I make this argument, but it's basically true: We have a roof over our heads. We have food. We have drinkable water. We have clothes to keep us warm. No one is actively trying to kill us. Therefore, we have no real problems. Everything after that is gravy.
2. The focus of your thread is on money - in my experience, good health is far more valuable than money.<<
After the jump, several more on the relationship among health, money, happiness, experience, service, and so on.