2. US/ Canada

Of course from 0:27 I am talking about the US, following a little snippet about Canada.

The United States is a big neighbour to us all. The world’s biggest economy is mainly a force for good in the world but it sometimes makes mistakes which take a lot of other people down with it! It needs us as a friend and colleague to keep it straight – except that we have a lot to learn too and have picked up some of its deficiencies.

It is a dynamic, hard working land, inventive land; owner of the main world reserve currency the biggest and best equipped military and possessed of a desire to influence the world for good inspired by a particular interpretation of Christianity.

Which is good; but what about its distressingly commercial  healthcare sector whose influences are spreading over here. People live in fear of medical bills and of being made homeless to pay them. With a decline in US industry finance houses have looked for other place and means to make money which has brought our NHS to their attention. They see it as a good way to make money but they’ve got me (and lots of other people who love the NHS as it has been historically) to contend with.

American banks and finance houses have gained an unwarranted control over government. They have used their influence to secure their right to create money out of nothing (according to monetary reformers) and this leaves the government weak and with a huge national debt. This practice didn’t start in the US but American financiers have put a lot of energy into developing this system to their advantage and apparently to the detriment of the rest of the economy.

Labour relations. America has been a famously energetic business environment at least until the recent slump. But workers have little security and employers in this “Anglo-Saxon model” have less liability for employee protection than elsewhere. This is fine if there are plenty of jobs to go to as jobs are shed but in a time of slump there is a lot of human distress. The Scandinavian model, remarkably, manages to maintain high social benefits and a rich, lively economy without people abusing the system. They can do it because of the strong communal bond people feel for each other in Nordic nations.

The US has a presence in most of the world. During the Cold War some tyrants were tolerated because America considered them “our Tyrants” and was happy to tolerate injustices being perpetrated against the people of such lands for fear that rebuke would lead to tyrants to change to the Soviet camp.

Fortunately Cold War days are past but old attitudes have hurt relations and healing is slow. I think there’s still mistrust of the US by some in Central and South America.

The US a very unequal society with, I think, 46 million below the poverty line.

Many people think the US influence on the global fora such as the World Bank and IMF and World Trade Organisation  makes it harder for the poor of the world to grow out of poverty and to thrive as measured by real human indices.

Basically, America is good but it needs us to keep it straight and to challenge it in its domestic affairs, foreign and global policy and its military expeditions.