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A noticeable difference

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,985
Points
29
I have noticed that when a flood or disaster strikes continental Europe there are very few "civilians" lending aid and sandbagging. They seem to rely on the civil authorities to do this kind of work – almost exclusively. While the same disaster is often met with a sizeable “civilian” response in the US and Canada. Having had professionally attended to disasters and other incidents in the US, Europe and Asia I can say the Europeans are unique in my observation. The citizens don’t pitch in – consciously. Suggesting to an individual they do so will get you a dirty look.

I believe it may be different in the UK, but in the Benelux, the FRG, and Italy it was uncommon to see a citizen response to anything, including something as small as a car wreck. - Other than looting.

I’m not trolling – honestly. I was just struck by my observations while in Europe and the current floods brought back these memories. Any comments.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
?

Maybe, at least in France, it has to do with a history of paternalistic governments? That could explain your observations.

Its an interesting observation, because Americans tend to be more mobile, and thus less tied to a community or place. You would think that Europeans would in fact be more responsive.
 

Jen

Cyburbian
Messages
1,704
Points
24
This reminds me of a comment a woman in one of my PA classes made; she was an exchange student from Poland and said that AMerica was unique in its variety of volunteer nonprofit organizations. And that there wasn't really anything (in Poland) like the many civic associations that American citizens join.

Volunteerism is practically an institution in America!
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,985
Points
29
I could be wrong.

I was watching the news yesterday and they did show many regular citizens manning the sandbags. Perhaps things are changing there.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,346
Points
53
I still haven't forgotten the gesture made by a group of Masai in Kenya, who offered 14 cows to the United States to show their condolances for the World Trade Center disaster. It might seem insignificant, given our material wealth, but it was a huge sacrifice on their part. They gave until it hurt, and went beyond.

Asanteni sana.
 

Journeymouse

Cyburbian
Messages
443
Points
13
Your sort of right about the UK. The suggestion of volunteering does tend to get a dirty look. And people do take a while to pitch in. The majority of the responsibility goes to the government, or it's representatives in this matter, i.e. the emergency services and the environment agency. However, if something obviously (and seriously) needs to be done, the locals will help out, if only to protect their property, their family and other things that are dear to them.

The best example are the flash floods over the last two or three years. The townspeople will pitch in, but beleive that the ultimate responsibility lies with the developers (who either built the area without thought to runoff or built below sealevel without thought to drainage) and the government (for allowing it). This is slightly erroneous, as no system in the UK has been designed to handle that much water in so little time, as it was never expected. But it is due to our expectations of the government and our acceptance of our 'Nanny state' - which is intended to look after us, not screw us over (which it also invariably does).

I'd imagine the thinking is similar in many other EU countries.
 

green22

INACTIVE
Messages
101
Points
6
I think that's one of the reasons so many Americans are religiously against taxes.While in many other countries you get something for your money,health care,decent public schools,universities,public transportation etc.Here you get corporate welfare,more jails and a never ending military buildup.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Except most Americans LIKE more jails (keep them druggies in prison) and military buildup (we have to have a strong military so our messianic complex can continue to be projected, we can get cheap gas for our LIncoln Navigators, and we can figtht them darn commies/muslims/evil axis folks.)
 
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