Every year Mercer, one of the world’s largest HR consultancy firms, releases its Quality of Living Index, which looks at which cities provide the best quality of life.
Not one of the 23 is in the United States, the richest country in the world. Although 4 of the best places are right across the border in Canada.
That is a rebuke to the great lie of American exceptionalism, of American greatness, kindness, generosity, of American superiority, such that we do not have to learn from other countries. We can’t have universal health care, can’t give up our guns, can’t provide free tuition, can’t guarantee safe child care. We can’t create a safe, civilized, human friendly place to live because our “values” are incompatible with such a place where people can live happily, peacefully, with amenities that make life more harmonious and secure. That’s for Austria, Denmark, New Zealand, Canada, etc. not us. Because we’re better than that.
For the record the top 5 are:
- Vienna, Austria
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Munich, Germany
- Vancouver, Canada
It’s notable to me that 5 of the cities are in Germany, including Berlin. Germany is an industrial giant like we are, but has committed to the environment, a strong social safety net, renewable power, government support of the arts, affordable housing, unions and protection of their middle class. Britain and the U.S., which pioneered such ideals, have been shedding them in favor of austerity. To what end?