I think there are several things that life in the UK offers over life in the States. However, I'd also suggest that what part of the country you live in may also have an impact on your quality of life.
Life in LA is very different from the reserved shores of New England. London is worlds apart from Norwich.
Nevertheless, here are a few things I think the US should take heed of when it comes to social and cultural differences:
AMTRAK vs National Rail
People in the UK don't know how good they've got it when it comes to their train network. Yes, ticket prices are quite expensive, and yes they go up faster than the rate of inflation every year - but at least the UK has a functioning train network.
Have you ever wondered why the only American movie that features a train is Under Siege 2? The reason is that Americans are forced to take planes everywhere. Crossing the country by train would literally take weeks!
2 - Political system and Budget Day
Although the US constitution and political system is geared towards equality, democracy and keeping politicians in check through a three-branch power-division, what this actually means is that nothing ever gets done.
American politics is notorious for its deadlocks and partisan scraps. Whilst the British system has its flaws too - at least decisive action can easily be taken when it's required.
An example of this would be Budget Day - a day when the Chancellor announces his budget plans for the year, and everyone can easily work out what their taxes will look like for the year ahead.
This happens in ONE DAY.
I was going to explain how the US Federal Budget is set each year - but the process would probably take up several pages
Let's just say the US government hasn't been able to agree on an anual fiscal budget since 2009, and has instead had to rely on "appropriation bills" as a stop-gap measure.
Whilst this might all sound slightly boring, I think it really highlights a political system that is highly ineffective and paralysed by partisan fighting.
The social and economic implications of this system are one of the reasons the US struggles with issues like healthcare, social care, illiteracy and poverty - despite being the strongest economy in the world.
Here are a couple of other things I like about the UK that Americans can only sit and read with envy:
- British TV - there are fewer commercials, PBS is a terrible public broadcaster (where as the BBC is renowned for its service and integrity).
- British humor and sense of irony.
- Murder rates and violent crime are much lower in the UK.
- Pollution rates are higher in most major US cities, and the United States is second only to China in terms of volume of emissions.
- The NHS. Controversial at the moment, I know... But I think not having to worry about health insurance is a major plus.
- Work in the UK is generally easier. The Americans I know push themselves too hard at work, and there are far fewer benefits in terms of holidays and maternity leave.
In my experience, English people are less cut-throat ambitious too (although that's changing in these economic climes).
- Museums and art galleries are often free in the UK. That's almost unheard of in the States - which is a shame.
- The pubs and beer are better in the British Isles. Pubs also have a sense of community that's not easily replicated in the US.
- The education system in the UK is far superior to the American system. It's less rigid, and just seems more progressive.
Having said all this, I'm not sure where I'd prefer to live long-term.
I have to admit that life in the States seems a bit more organised and convenient, and British culture can be a little too gloomy for my liking!