You are browsing the archive for United States.

by inoljt

How Japanese and Americans Save Differently

7:05 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

In America a dollar today is worth much less than a dollar in 1980. Americans marvel at how much cheaper things used to be in the past, when Coca-Cola and movies only cost five cents.

In Japan the story is quite different. For long periods in the past two decades, nominal prices have in fact declined.

These facts reflect a conscious decision made by the authorities of both countries. The United States, like most of the world, has accepted and even encouraged a slight degree of inflation. The belief is that this will encourage spending, providing a continuous boost to the economy.

Japan – for better or worse, probably for worse – has done things differently. It has not encouraged inflation; prices have stayed the same or even decreased in nominal terms. This reflects the strong power of the often elderly Japanese saver, who doesn’t want her savings to lose value. Today Japan’s new government is undertaking a bold course by forcing the Central Bank to print as much money as possible until inflation hits 2%.

These different policies have created different attitudes towards saving in both countries. In the United States saving is often associated with the stock market. Americans ought to invest their money in the stock market for retirement because “the stock market will always go up.” Japan’s stock market has done poorly over the past few decades, however. As of this writing, the Nikkei 225 is at 14,937.56 – far below its high of 38,957.44 in 1989. A Japanese saver who invested all his earnings in stocks during the 1980s would have lost a lot of money. Instead, Japanese households keep their earnings in cash. This graphic, from the Wall Street Journal, shows this:

 photo household-financial-assets_zpsc5fb02c3.png

Cash is a much safer way of saving in Japan than in the United States; it doesn’t lose as much value over time, unlike here.

There is much to be said about the Japanese way of saving. The American method is complicated. Investing in stocks requires lots of tough decisions: how much money to put in, how conservatively to invest it, which mutual fund or plan is best, how to diversify, etc. There are lots of big words which the typical person might not understand. The whole process often takes a considerable amount of time and effort. The poor often lack this.

In a sense, then, the American system of saving exacerbates income inequality. Wealthy Americans save in stocks and bonds and are shielded from inflation. Poor American save in cash and bear the brunt of the blow. Is it a coincidence that Japan is much more equal than America?

For all its disadvantages, however, the American system is probably better than the Japanese system. It is Japan which is trying to create inflation and make itself more like America, not the other way around. What is more, Shinzo Abe’s government is wildly popular for doing so.

Still, few policymakers consider how a system of saving based on the stock market, due to inflationary pressures encouraged by the government, widens income inequality. Perhaps the overall economic advantages still outweigh the disadvantages. But more people ought to pay attention to the disadvantages.


by inoljt

Do Tourists Get Sick When They Visit the United States?

10:00 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

It’s a common thing when Americans visit other countries. They get sick. An American visits a friend in a foreign country, consumes everything on the plate her friend has prepared (out of politeness, not because she actually likes the food), and spends the rest of her week sitting on top of a toilet.

It’s the different environment and the lower sanitary conditions, people say. Your immune system just has to get used to the bacteria there, that’s all.

It makes one wonder, however. Do foreign tourists ever get sick when they visit the United States? Does an Indian visiting her American friend ever eat everything on the plate her friend has prepared (out of politeness, not because she actually likes the food), and spend the rest of her week sitting on top of a toilet?

I’ve never thought about this until now, and I honesty don’t know. Does anybody reading this know?

by inoljt

Japan’s Strange Isolation, and How It Hurts Us and Japan

11:03 am in Uncategorized by inoljt

Japan is one of the world’s most advanced economies. In some ways, however, its economy is quite isolated. This is a result of both geography and history. Japan is both an island alone and a former colonial power heartily disliked by its immediate neighbors.

A fax machine

Isolationism leaves the West behind on smartphone technology while Japan continues to rely on relics like the fax.

This is different from most other advanced economies. Any Western country has close links with the rest of the West. Take the United States. American culture is fairly similar to Western culture, and there is a deep degree of mixing between the Anglosphere, the United States, and Western Europe. In that sense the market for American companies is not just 300 million people, but rather 800 million people.

Japan is different. Japan should have just as close a connection with East and Southeast Asia as the United States has with Western Europe and the Anglosphere. But due to its colonial past, it doesn’t. In a sense Japan is like Israel, surrounded by hostile neighbors. The irony is that there are a lot of similarities between Japan’s culture and its path of development compared to those of its neighbors. But its neighbors would rather pretend that this similarity doesn’t exist.

So Japan is left isolated. But Japan is also a big and wealthy country, with well over 100 million people. It can afford to remain splendidly isolated. Japanese companies can market to the 125 million Japanese consumers and ignore the rest of the world.

This is bad for both Japan and the rest of us. Japan, in its isolation, has developed a number of unique practices and products. Some are better than the rest of the world’s; some are worse. In an ideal world we would copy what Japan does well, and Japan would copy what we do well.

This happens, but not enough. For instance, Japan has incredibly advanced cellphones. Long before Apple came up with the iPhone, you could check your e-mail, pay for your groceries, surf the web, and watch TV on a Japanese cellphone. In fact, in the United States you still can’t do some of these things with the iPhone! Unfortunately, consumer tastes in the West were too different for Japanese electronic companies to penetrate. The natural thing for them to do would have been to market to China and Korea, and from there spread the technology to the rest of the world. Too bad China and Korea hate Japan.

The opposite story holds true with something surprising, the fax machine. Today faxing is almost a relic in most of the world. Few young people even know how to use a fax machine, and I am not one of them. In their splendid isolation, however, Japanese companies are still highly dependent on the fax machine. An enormous amount of energy, paper, and time is wasted faxing in Japan. Here Japan would do well to copy from the rest of the world and abandon this increasingly unique Japanese practice.

In an ideal world, Japanese companies would have spread the smart-phone to us years before Apple came up with the idea, and our advances in technology would have convinced Japanese companies to abandon the wasteful fax machine years ago. Both sides would have been better off. Alas, this hasn’t happened. Instead, Japan and the rest of the world continue to remain too far apart, to the detriment of both.


Read the rest of this entry →

by inoljt

Three Important Moments in America’s Economic History (in Pictures)

2:15 am in Uncategorized by inoljt

The previous post looked at the economic history of the United States over the past two centuries. In that post, what stood out most was the fact that the economy of the United States has always been one of the strongest in the world.

There are three defining moments of American history after 1800, and this post will examine them. They are the Civil War, the Great Depression, and the Second World War. How did these events affect the economy?

The Civil War

Before the Civil War, in 1860, this was how America was doing:
Economically and socially speaking, the United States was better than the vast majority of other countries in the world. The only two countries wealthier than the United States were Australia and the United Kingdom.

The Civil War was a devastating event. It killed more Americans than any other war in history and destroyed the South’s economy. How did that affect the United States?
Well, here’s the United States in 1865. In fact, the population and the economy of the United States has grown. The latter is in large part due to the effective economic policies of the Republican Party under Abraham Lincoln. It is true that living standards have grown slower than elsewhere. Still, the United States is very wealthy and very healthy after its worst war in history.

One ought to ignore the life expectancy statistic here, however. The previous post noted:

…the life expectancy data comes from several sources. From 1989 to the present, gapminder uses US Census Bureau data. From 1933 to 1988 the Human Mortality Database is used. From 1901 to 1932 the Human-Life Table Database is used. From 1880 to 1900 Professor James Riley’s compilation of life expectancy estimates (from over 700 sources) is used.

And what about from 1800 to 1879? Well, here the authors use a simple model. A very very simple model. They assume that all countries go through a health transition, and that the United States had not undergone this transition from 1800 to 1879. So gapminder sets United States life expectancy as 39.41 years for this entire 80-year period.

Obviously this model fails during the Civil War.

The Great Depression

The Great Depression was the worst economic crisis in the history of the United States. Here’s the United States in 1920, before the Great Depression:
The United States is the richest country in the world in 1920, although in terms of health it isn’t doing as great.

Let’s take a look at what happened afterwards.
By 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression, the American living standard is actually worse than almost a generation ago. The good news is that Americans are a lot healthier. So the Great Depression was really as bad as it was advertised.

Look at the other countries, however. As badly as the United States is doing, livings standards are still the world’s best. Only Brunei (due to its oil), Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom have a higher GDP per capita adjusted to inflation and purchasing power parity.

World War II

World War II was good for the United States and bad for most of the rest of the world. In a sense, the United States was more powerful than at any other time in its history in 1945. Let’s take a look at the effect of WWII, beginning in 1940 at the start of the war:
In 1940 Germany and the United Kingdom are almost at par with the United States. As is typical, however, America is slightly ahead of the First World in terms of livings standards but just above-average in terms of life expectancy.

Here’s what five years of war did:
The destruction of World War II does enormous damage to the rest of the world, which falls behind. Only Brunei and Kuwait, due to oil, have higher GDP per capitas adjusted for inflation and purchasing power parity; their low life expectancy shows that this isn’t really an accurate reflection of their true economic strength at this time. At this time, the biggest countries behind the United States are Canada and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has a GDP per capita (adjusted for inflation and purchasing power parity) of $9,931; the United States $17,615.

Of course, this nice situation for the United States couldn’t have lasted forever. Absent a nuclear attack against the Anglosphere, the rest of the world would have started to catch up with the United States again. And, indeed, this is what happened.


It’s quite interesting how relatively little affect these great historical events had on American livings standards and life expectancy. Unlike other countries, the United States just keeps on a slow and steady growth path. It remains near the top or at the top. It would take quite a change – something far worse than the Civil War or Great Depression – to destroy this equilibrium.


by inoljt

A History of the United States Economy (in Pictures)

3:11 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

The United States economy is a subject that is very much on the mind of Americans today. It’s also a very obviously influential part of the world; the American consumer market, for instance, often sets trends around the world.

Let’s take a look at the history of the United States economy. How did the American economy become as big and influential as it is today? We begin two hundred years ago, in 1800. Note that the next post will look at three specific moments during the American economy.

This picture comes from the website gapminder, maintained by a Swedish professor. I have previously used this website to compare North Korea’s development with South Korea’s, here. That post has a good summary of what this graph is saying:

Gapminder shows graphics of different levels of every imaginable type of statistic amongst the world’s varying countries.

This is the most basic graph: it shows wealth and health…The y-axis is life expectancy. The left axis is income per person (in dollars adjusted for inflation and purchasing power parity) put on a logarithmic scale (so that the difference between $1,000 and $2,000 is just as important as the difference between $10,000 and $20,000; this makes comparing things much easier). As one would expect, wealthier countries generally have higher life expectancies.

So this is the world in 1800, more than two centuries ago. Let’s take a look at what happens next:
The United States does pretty badly this generation; it basically ends up making no progress economically nor in terms of health.

Nevertheless, even as early as 1800 and 1820 the United States is one of the world’s wealthiest and healthiest places. A lot of economic analysis has been done on how America became so wealthy. Well, the answer is that the United States always has been this way, as this graph indicates. Even during the colonial era the English colonists enjoyed arguably the highest living standard in the world.

Let’s look at what happens in the next twenty years:
This is the era of Andrew Jackson, and the United States makes progress during these years. The economy grows, although life expectancy does not.

Again, the United States is on top of the world in 1840. There are, however, two European countries (or orange circles) that have been consistently ahead of America since 1800. What countries are these? Well, the bigger circle at the very right is the United Kingdom. It’s unsurprising that the United Kingdom is the world’s wealthiest country during this period, considering that it’s at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. The smaller circle is the Netherlands.

What happens next?
Well, America’s economy grows at the fastest rate yet. The antebellum era apparently is quite good for the United States economy. Life expectancy, however, remains flat.

While economic growth has been steady during these sixty years, life expectancy has stayed flat. Here the weaknesses of gapminder come into play. One should realize that gapminder is not the literal truth; it’s a graphic that does its best to resemble reality.

This graphic is as reliable as the data it’s based off of. In my analysis on North Korea and South Korea, there was a huge problem for North Korean data – it didn’t exist or was false. So basically the entire North Korean graphic was a model using artificial numbers created by the authors of gapminder.

The economic data for the United States derives from a study titled Macroeconomic Crises since 1870. The authors of that study have created a dataset for their study. This is what gapminder uses. In general, it’s quite reliable; United States economic statistics are the best and most comprehensive in the world, even today.

On the other hand, let’s take a look at life expectancy during the Civil War and Reconstruction era:
The destruction of the Civil War doesn’t stop the United States economy from growing yet again. On the other hand, common sense indicates that life expectancy fell during the Civil War. After all, more Americans died in the Civil War than in any other war in American history – and America’s population in 1860 was a lot smaller than the population today. What gives?

Well, the life expectancy data comes from several sources. From 1989 to the present, gapminder uses US Census Bureau data. From 1933 to 1988 the Human Mortality Database is used. From 1901 to 1932 the Human-Life Table Database is used. From 1880 to 1900 Professor James Riley’s compilation of life expectancy estimates (from over 700 sources) is used.

And what about from 1800 to 1879? Well, here the authors use a simple model. A very very simple model. They assume that all countries go through a health transition, and that the United States had not undergone this transition from 1800 to 1879. So gapminder sets United States life expectancy as 39.41 years for this entire 80-year period.

By 1880, the United States has caught up with the United Kingdom. Out of all the countries in the world, only Australia is wealthier. On the other hand, Americans are generally in worse health than the wealthiest European countries.

Here’s the United States as a new century dawns:
With a new dataset in use and the advent of new medical technologies, American life expectancy jumps enormously. On the other hand, the economy doesn’t do that great. It’s commonly said that during this era the United States undergoes industrialization and becomes a world power.

One reason for American power is due to the population increase, fueled by immigration. The United States population is on par with most big European states during this period. It seems that a lot of the expansion of American power in this time is based on population growth; progress in living standards isn’t exceptional. Despite this, the United States has become the world’s richest country.

This continues during the Gilded Age and World War I:
The Gilded Age is commonly thought of as the time when the United States really became a great power. The population and life expectancy increase is impressive (note that the outlier in terms of low life expectancy is the year 1918). Yet there’s an awful amount of economic backsliding and economic crisis during this period.

In relative economic terms, however, the rest of the world has been doing even worse. This is mostly the result of World War I. American living standards are squarely ahead of everybody else in 1920, although once again American life expectancy is somewhat subpar.

Then comes the Great Depression. Did that knock the United States off its track?
Kind of. Life expectancy continues to improve, but again the improvement in living standards isn’t great. Indeed, this whole era from 1880 to 1940 features regular economic crisis and chaotic patterns in economic growth.

Nevertheless, the United States is still very wealthy and fairly healthy in 1940.

Let’s take a look at World War II:
Here a new pattern sets in. Unlike the previous 80 years, the United States economy starts growing at a steady rather than chaotic rate. Life expectancy also increases, but by a lesser extent. There’s a huge economic boom during the war years and – surprisingly – no drop in life expectancy during the war.

The ’50s and ’60s are commonly and nostalgically seen as the time when the United States was on top of the world, and this picture provides good evidence. Economically the United States is ahead of everybody else to the greatest extent in its history. On the other hand, the Soviet Union does have a bunch of nuclear weapons pointing at the United States. People tend to forget that fact.

So what happens during the Vietnam War and oil crisis?
Well, the economy does pretty well, although it slows down during the latter period. Life expectancy is the opposite; it slows down during the first part and then increases during the second part of these two decades.

After a great economic boom, the rest of the West and Japan have almost caught up to the United States. In a sense, things are back to normal. In another sense, America’s allies are closer to its economic living standards than at any other time in history.

Then come the Reagan and Clinton years:
The pattern here is quite similar to that from 1960 to 1980. Both living standards and life expectancy increase slowly but steadily.

Again, the rest of the First World is nipping at America’s heels. Yet only four tiny countries are actually richer than the United States. As is historically the case, life expectancy in these countries is higher than in the United States.

And finally, the past decade:
It’s a pretty terrible decade; the United States basically goes nowhere.

Strangely enough, however, the picture looks pretty similar to that in 1980. Despite a decade of terrible American economic growth, the rest of the First World hasn’t surpassed the United States. Right now a total of eight “countries” are wealthier than the United States: Brunei, Hong Kong (China), Kuwait, Luxembourg, Macao (China), Norway, Qatar, Singapore. As throughout history, American health is relatively worse.

There are several patterns throughout this analysis. Relatively speaking, the United States has always been at the top. It’s always been wealthier than almost all other nations. On the other hand, the United States has also always had relatively low life expectancy for its living standards.

The United States has also always grown at a slow but steady rate. There are periods of slower growth (such as in the early twentieth century) and periods of faster growth (such as in the middle of the twentieth century). But the growth is always there.

Finally, ever since World War II there has been a cluster of First World countries just behind the United States. This cluster of countries, however, has never actually caught up. I am quite curious to see if that day will ever come. Will countries like France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom ever actually surpass the United States?


by inoljt

Tourism in the United States

2:25 am in Uncategorized by inoljt

By: inoljt,

A lot of people visit America. According to the latest estimates, about sixty million people came in 2011.

One interesting way to track tourism in America, and by association the country’s openness, is through looking at the number of nonimmigrant visas granted to other countries. The State Department has a number of interesting statistics on the issue, which can be accessed here, here, and here.

Let’s take a look at the statistics. Here is the total number of nonimmigrant visas granted by the United States:


Nonimmigrant visas are essentially tourist visas, although they cover a bit more than that (for instance, they might include special visas for diplomats or airline staff). In theory they provide a good, albeit somewhat exaggerated, estimate of the number of tourists from poor countries who go to America each year.

There are quite a few interesting things in this graph. Firstly, there are a lot fewer than sixty million visas issued. This is because the vast majority of tourists in America come from countries in which visiting America doesn’t require a visa. These countries are places such as Japan and Germany, which send very few immigrants to the United States.

There is also something to be said about the number of visas issued. It’s worth noting that America issued the highest number of visas in 1988, more than two decades ago. Nonimmigrant visas then declined greatly in the early ’90s, before rising again. In the aftermath of 9/11 the number of visas issued declined once more; indeed, America still issues fewer visas than before 9/11. The opportunity cost in lost tourist revenue due to these restrictions is unknown, but probably fairly significant.

Let’s take a look by continent:


I could only get continent data up to 1991. Nevertheless, the data is quite interesting. The highest number of visitors to America from poor countries come from Asia and North America, although South America’s share is rising.

Here is a better look:


One can see a lot more detail here. The patterns by continent are very different.

Let’s take a look by continent, ordered alphabetically. Here is Africa:


Nonimmigrant visas issued increased substantially until September 11th, upon which time the harsher security measures drastically cut visas. Not many Africans visit America; only several hundred thousand are allowed per year.

Here is Asia:
Read the rest of this entry →

by inoljt

The Real Meaning of Labor Day

9:54 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

Today is Labor Day. When I was younger, I didn’t understand what that meant. A day to celebrate labor? It was a strange concept. It didn’t mean much to me.

That was because to most Americans Labor Day means nothing. They take a day off work. They go shopping. They mark the end of summer.

The rest of the world doesn’t celebrate Labor Day, either. Instead, they celebrate something called May Day, or the International Workers’ Day.

May Day in China

May Day celebrates the contributions of the worker. It celebrates the union movement and the working class.

During May Day, there are numerous rallies and political protests.

May Day in Ecuador

That’s what Labor Day in the United States should about. It should be a day to commemorate the contributions of the American worker and the American working class. It should be a day of marches and rallies, a powerful reminder of the working man’s presence.

Indeed, May Day started out as a form of protest. People around the world protested an event which happened in America: the Haymarket Affair. During the Haymarket Affair, violence during a rally of workers led to the crushing of the anarchist movement in the United States. Ever since then, people around the world have celebrated May Day in commemoration of those workers in Chicago.

May Day in Paris

With the exception of America, of course, where the Haymarket Affair actually happened. On International Workers’ Day, people throughout the world have a holiday. Americans do not. Americans work on International Workers’ Day.

May Day in Tunisia

There’s a reason for this, of course. No American government will ever switch from Labor Day to May Day for the foreseeable future. Because if that happened, you see, America would turn Communist.

May Day in Russia

All this shows the weakness of the American working class. Traditionally America has always been very right-wing economically speaking; unions, for instance, are far less powerful here. The steadfast American refusal to celebrate May Day, a worldwide holiday commemorating a working-class protest which happened in America, is just another sign of this weakness. In a sense the American working class has been defeated.

May Day in the Philippines

by inoljt

Military Spending Doesn’t Equal Military Strength

3:21 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

One of the great themes in American politics involves national security. Right-wing hawks argue that America must increase military spending to protect itself from its enemies. This is a very common theme, and it works. America spends five dollars on military spending for every dollar that China (ranked #2 in military spending) does. It spends ten dollars for every dollar on the military that Russia (ranked #3) spends.

But this doesn’t mean that America will win the next big war. If you look at history, military spending seems to have little correlation with military strength. There are tons and tons of examples of one country soundly winning a war against another country which outspent it militarily. These examples aren’t obscure. They’re some of the most famous events in world history.

Take the Roman Empire in the late fourth century. The Roman Empire arguably had the highest military budget of any entity in the world at the time. Military spending by the Romans certainly vastly outnumbered military spending by the barbarian tribes to their north.

We all know what happened next, however. The declining, decadent empire was repeatedly invaded and defeated by those tribes. Rome was sacked multiple times. The Western Roman Empire fell in 476.

Let’s take another example. The major regional powers of the West during the seventh century were the Byzantine and Persian Empires, locked in perpetual conflict. Nobody paid attention to the desert tribes in the Arabian Peninsula. Certainly nobody looking at their military budget. Yet those desert tribes had one thing that the Byzantines and Persians didn’t have: they had God. A century later the Islamic Caliphate, with its tiny amount of military spending, had destroyed the Persians and broken the Byzantines.

Then there were the Mongolians, who carved out the largest land empire the world has seen. Every single foe the Mongolians initially defeated – the Arabs, the Chinese, the Eastern Europeans, the Persians, the Russians – probably had a higher military budget. Yet as the Mongolian state grew and Mongolian military budgets with it, military success decreased conspicuously. Kublai Khan outspent the Japanese only to watch his fleet founder in a tsunami.


But things have changed, you might say. Today is the age of guns and atom bombs. No longer can a tribe of barbarian horseman topple an empire. Today the country with a higher military budget generally has the upper hand.

Which is why the United States, for instance, won the Vietnam War.

Military spending does do a lot of useful things. It helps the technology that a country’s soldiers have, for instance. But military spending provides no guarantee about the quality of those soldiers. It couldn’t make enlisted peasants able to resist Mongolian horse-archers. It couldn’t make the American elite willing to send their sons to die in Vietnam. That’s a lesson that many people would prefer to ignore.


by inoljt

The Demographics of America’s Governors: Religion

1:07 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

This post will look at the demographics of America’s governors by age, as of August 2012. All in all, this series on the demographics of America’s governors examines:

  • Religion

Outside of place of birth, this was the hardest category to get information on. Unlike race and gender, which are pretty obvious, your face doesn’t indicate which religion you are.

There are a lot of varying Protestant denominations in the United States, but there’s not much meaningful difference between them. There’s a much greater difference between Catholics, Protestants, and Mormons. I put all governors belonging to a Protestant denomination as merely Protestant, which simplifies things by a lot.

Sometimes governors, especially Republicans, talk about how much religion has guided them in the lives while never actually revealing their denomination. It takes a bit of searching to confirm that they’re actually Protestant. John Kasich and Rick Scott are good examples of this.

Other times it’s extremely unclear what religious affiliation a governor actually holds. Wikipedia indicates John Kitzhaber of Oregon as being “Other Christian,” but other sources indicate him as Jewish. I put him as Jewish (feel free to inform me if I’m wrong). Information is also very scarce on Peter Shumlin of Vermont, who apparently is Agnostic or Atheist.

In any case, my research led to the following map. The map below indicates the religion of each governor of the United States as of August 2012:


America, unsurprisingly, is a country dominated by Protestants and Catholics. Combined the two account for the governors of 46 out of 50 states. 28 states are governed by Protestants, while 18 states are governed by Catholics.

Read the rest of this entry →

by inoljt

Colonialism As Portrayed By the British Media

9:01 am in Uncategorized by inoljt

Imperial Federation, map of the world showing the extent of the British Empire in 1886

(Photo: Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL/flickr)

British news is quite influential in the United States, especially with respect to international affairs. British news about international affairs also quite naturally sometimes deals with India, which is a very important country internationally.

Something quite peculiar sometimes happens when the British press deals with India, however. One occasionally comes across a news article hinting about British benevolence during the colonial era. Often this may take the form of a local Indian purportedly speaking to the reporter about how he or she missed life under the British Raj.

Strangely, this doesn’t seem to happen much with that other great former British colony (the United States). British media is far more familiar with American culture than with Indian culture. Yet nobody in the British media ever mentions Americans missing life as a colony. British rule in India being much harsher than British rule in the thirteen colonies, one would think that Americans everywhere would be talking about how good life was before independence. But, strangely enough, this never happens. Indeed, in my time in the United States, I’ve never met an American who thought things were better under British colonialism.

Nor have I ever met a real-life Indian who thought things were better under the British. Of course, one rarely talks about these topics with Americans and Indians. But it does show the ridiculousness of the concept of benevolent colonialism.