We Aren’t Always Best

Here in America, when we have a problem, our politicians really can’t do anything to fix it.  Even if we all agree we need a problem fixed, we go through endless spiral debates that take years.

In Beijing, they have a lot of traffic.  They didn’t want traffic to be a problem during the Olympics – so they simply passed an odd/even driving rule for the month.  If your license plate is odd, don’t drive on even days.  Overnight, traffic dropped by 50%.  No problem!  Try accomplishing that in the United States.

We righteous in America always think we know best.  And in some cases, maybe we do.  But when it comes to just getting stuff done, you’ve got to admit, the Chinese are way ahead of us.

5 thoughts on “We Aren’t Always Best

  • August 15, 2008 at 9:37 am
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    After reading this I didn’t know if I should comment. Yea, we (US) do suck at turning ideas into action at the national political level from a governmental perspective. But the big BUT is which country would you want to live in?

    I agree that America has become more diverse and as such figuring out what to do from a collective perspective is a tougher thing to do. And yea, I think there are a lot of Americans who think our country knows best.

    But when it comes to doing things Americans get a lot of things done and get it done pretty well. But, we can’t sit around on our asses because there are about a billion people in China wanting a piece of the American dream!

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  • August 15, 2008 at 9:45 am
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    Getting things done at what cost? What’s the impact on productivity when you restrict driving that way? What would the impact be to us?

    We had odd/even days for gasoline during the 1970s gas crisis.

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  • August 15, 2008 at 11:44 am
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    Thanks for the comments. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying we should throw out our government in favor of a Chinese one! I’m simply observing that there are cases where other governments are much better at being decisive and getting things done than we are. That is a very good trait. Adrian – of course these things come at a cost. But they also come with a benefit. That is what Americans don’t seem to understand. We’d debate it for so long the window of time for actually improving things would be gone before we’d decide what to do.

    Good point about the 1970’s odd/even days. But iif I recall were for gas fill-ups to avoid lines; not about which days you could drive.

    Hershel – I don’t believe there are a billion Chinese wanting a piece of the “American Dream”. That’s American propaganda. They don’t need an American Dream – they have their own Chinese Dreams. The Chinese are proud of their country and should be.

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  • September 7, 2008 at 7:49 am
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    Wow ! That is one retarded and authoritarian solution. I don’t know how you would feel if there was an urgent need to travel by car and it was not you day to drive !

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  • October 7, 2008 at 12:00 am
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    This trick sounds good on paper, but I’ve heard from countries that implemented this that this encourages people to buy a second car and alternate between their even and odd number cars.

    Hmmm.. and people’s second cars are often crappier than their primary one, so this might even be worse for pollution than doing nothing. But hey, you know what – this might be just what the US auto industry needs… :)

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