Why an Italian Laborer Lives Better Than an American Executive

by contributor · 42 comments

By Jennifer Planeta
Photo credit: Knick Flanigan

I’ve never really thought of the United States as being defined as a “class/caste” society.  America is the land of promise.  If you work hard enough the sky is the limit for your success.  Here, our lot in life isn’t defined so much by what we are born into as what we do with what we have.  There are countless stories of millionaires who broke out of extremely impoverished childhoods. In America, your current socioeconomic position isn’t etched in stone.  You can always do better and work for more.

This is one of the reasons why I wanted Artur to come to America vs. me staying in Italy when we decided to take our relationship further.  I felt that our pool of opportunity was much grander than anything we would have in Europe, especially as both of us were foreigners in Italy. In America, at least one of us was native.  An immigrant in America has a lot more opportunity to live his or her dream than in any other country in the world.  Anything is possible.

One can never foresee everything that the future holds.  Nor can you see yourself as clearly from the inside out as someone else can see you from the outside in.  Artur moving to the United States has enlightened my perspective greatly on American life and our culture.  I recently read an interesting guest post by Jean Brittingham on Posterous about business culture and find that it beautifully articulates the quirky nature of culture in general.

“Culture is an amazingly strong and unwieldy force. It is largely unnamed and invisible. Asking someone to explain the essence of their organizations’ culture is like asking a fish to explain water. The Denison Culture Survey folks, arguably the holders of the world’s leading database on organizational culture, say that culture is like an iceberg—most of it is hidden and underwater. (…)

In his book Ishmael, Daniel Quinn unveils the concept of “mother culture” as a way of helping us understand not only how ubiquitous and unexamined most of our culture is, but more importantly how deeply we respect and obey these unexamined norms. Our culture is who we are and what we will become. It is our protection and nutrition. Our laws and societal norms don’t form our culture—they are built upon our culture.”

About a year ago Artur and I had a conversation about the relevance of one’s socioeconomic station in the US.  He was expressing frustration about how much emphasis Americans put on it.  He feels that Americans don’t mix much with others outside of their own economic strata.  Going to parties isn’t that fun for him as nearly all of my friends are white collar workers.

As a blue collar worker, he has always felt extremely out of place; not as important.  I found this to be unreal as I have always felt that one of the great things about America is that we all mix together.  My step father who is an architect can roll up his sleeves with the plumber, dry wall guy, painter etc.  I personally have never thought I judged my friends by what they do for a living nor them me.

This perspective was so shocking to me that I found myself analyzing this idea over and over again.  I wanted to know more from Artur and what he was seeing.  He explained to me that while an Architect here may work beside a plumber, he isn’t necessarily going to invite him to his house for dinner.  In Italy, Artur was friends with all kinds of people both at work and otherwise.

I had a conversation with a woman last week who lived in Europe as a child and she brought up this exact notion.  In Europe, you are who you are.  What you do for a living doesn’t absolutely define you.  If you are a garbage collector that is just as important and respectable as being a lawyer, banker, architect.  Everyone is equally friendly to everyone.  People are defined by so much more than what they do and what they have.

I had a huge realization after that conversation.  She and Artur were right!

One’s socioeconomic rank really does matter more to American’s than to Europeans.  It’s everything to us.  We all know that Americans are obsessed with work, talking about work and defining ourselves by our work.  What’s one of the first questions that comes up when you meet someone new at a party or see a friend?  WORK.  Could this be a product of the “American Dream”?

Because change is so possible here, we are constantly chasing it, trying to be more, have more and do more.  If it’s there, you are supposed to go after it. Being content with what you have and who you are shows a sense of apathy, laziness and perhaps someone who is utterly uninteresting.

This “American Dream Syndrom” is exactly the frenetic and unsettled energy I always feel as soon as I step back on American soil after trips abroad.  At the same time, the lack of it when I am traveling abroad, gives me a huge sense of relief and peace.

The very thing that makes living in America so great and unique is exactly what makes us miserable and unable to enjoy life.  A beautiful philosophy has turned us all into these half empty, stressed, unhappy beings who can’t appreciate what we have and who we are.  What’s more, we apply that judgment and pressure to others and the world around us.  We are swallowed up by the infinite possibilities available to us.

Perhaps the more restrictive class system in Europe allows much more personal freedom and happiness.  If you know that what you’re born into is more than likely where you will stay for your entire life, are you less obsessed with constantly doing more and trying to get ahead?  If you spend less time chasing the “dream,” do you have more time to enjoy the present and appreciate the little things?  Do relationships, community, family, food and fun become just as important if not more so than making a living?

Would Americans be happier without the “dream”?

Do Americans focus too much on what they do for a living and less on simply living it? Do Europeans (and other cultures) understand the value of “embracing life” more than Americans? What are your thoughts?

Jennifer Planeta is a part-time writer, full-time mother and an occasional tutor, teacher and translator of Italian. She met her Polish husband while studying in Italy. They now live in Washington State and are raising their daughter in English and Italian with a pinch of Polish. She is passionate about learning other languages and experiencing life through a multicultural lens. She hopes to find herself back in Italy someday living on a beautiful piece of property with sheep. You can find her at her blog, More Than One: Two Cultures, Three Languages and a Toddler.

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rea March 22, 2011 at 1:12 pm

What I have seen as a Canadian married to a Spaniard is that Europeans tend to change job, city and home much less frequently, and thus they don’t change their social circle either. If a group of childhood friends become lawyers, labourers, pilots and cleaners, regardless, they remain friends. In North America we go after our dreams physically as well, leaving behind relationships that no longer suit our current position on the ladder and adopt relationships deemed apprpriate to our current standing. So, the variety in a group of friends can be interpreted as being open to all classes, but also being closed to change. As a foreigner in Spain it has been difficult to break into social groups. I am accustomed to the constant fluidity of relationships that come and go with new jobs, towns, neighbourhoods etc.


2 Balanced Melting Pot March 22, 2011 at 5:32 pm

That’s a good point! I know that I tend to make new friends with every new job/place. Although I keep some friends from each new endeavor, I always expect to frequent people that will be open to building new relationships. I’ve found this very hard to do in Caracas, VE. I guess it’s the same idea that they tend to grow up and stay in the same area and letting a new person into the social circle is foreign. On either side (American vs. other cultures), there’s a sense of false openness and/or intolerance that’s given off.


3 Melissa March 22, 2011 at 1:48 pm

I’m in a similar position to Rea (different European country) but would have to agree with her interpretation. That has very much been my experience with specific groups of friends here. I’m not sure it’s much more enlightened, or whatever, than other methods of making friends. 🙂


4 sonja March 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Honestly I can’t understand how it would be possible to write opinion about Italian life not having lived and worked there, at least a couple of years, in two or three different cities.
I’m Italian I’ve lived in three different cities, Rome, Turin, Milan and I traveled quite often and I can tell you there’s nothing less true in the idea that Italian people can easily be friend with people from different social classes. Firstly: do not forget Italy is long and narrow. What lifestyle is in the north is the opposite of in the south, so, do not generalise. If in the Centre/South it seems easier to make friendship actually it is a shallow relationship. It is difficult to go deeper or to be invited for dinner if you’re not of the same social class. In the North you are considered only for the professional and social level you are in, and the only thing people think is to WORK and to show off their carreer (if they have one) or to pretend to have one.
After having lived and worked for 5 years in Poland, now I realise how the American/Dream polluted lives of Western Countries first and now the new societies following.
I do not say it is completely wrong, but market and business poisoned the joy and pleasure to consider people for what they can feel and not for what they do.


5 Erin March 23, 2011 at 2:55 am

I SO agree with you. I would also say that, from what I’ve noticed anyway, the southern Italians socialize also for reasons of “connections”. This happens everywhere but seems more noticeable here. It is not often that I see doctors schmoozing with street cleaners… and if they do, normally there is some kind of favor exchange going on.
And strangely enough, my French husband finds the Italian managers much more addicted to their work than the French managers. He gets call at 9 PM, 10 PM at night or notices that managers are sending out emails on Sunday mornings. !!! Huh?! (I think this is perhaps linked to cultural habits in some ways more than the American Dream having polluted Europe- the Italians being less given to organization (wink, wink)) 🙂


6 Rivas March 22, 2011 at 4:04 pm

I like the “pollution” reference to the whole idea of our societies becoming sick.


7 Amy March 22, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Many Europeans who move to Quebec find there is a difference in North American culture, even if we do speak French here.

On the one hand, there is more tolerance for pursuit of individual projects. One French woman I met, with severe vision problems, managed to run a family-friendly restaurant for awhile. Something that would be unthinkable back in her home country.

Then again, the desperate need for vast quantities of “personal space” leads to cultural mix-ups and some Europeans find we are stand-offish and superficial in our interactions. We may say, “oh it would be lovely to have you over for dinner sometime” but the invitation doesn’t materialize.


8 Barbara March 22, 2011 at 11:52 pm

I agree with people here saying that in Europe people stay more within the area they grew up in, so they are more likely to be still friends with people from school, who may have grown up into different professions. Even then you often lose contact with those in different social areas (or working class people tend to stay behind and college degree people tend to move more). I’m German and would say that most circle of friends are within the same “class”. 95% of my German friends have a college degree and white collar jobs like me. There is not a lot of mixing. Social Status is very important in Germany.

In the United States (where I live now) I wouldn’t call it the “American Dream Syndrome” but the “Protestant Work Ethic Syndrome”. The American society is so much based on the Calvinistic approach of that some people are chosen by God and your whole life you keep trying to show that you are chosen. That’s why people chase the American Dream, why they spend their life in a rat race, working like mad. They don’t take vacation, have problems to relax outside work and compare each other by their work status and “net worth” (i.e. how much money they have). E.g. when you do overtime you can either be compensated with time or money. I always chose time, but 90% of my colleagues chose money. And I already live in the more relaxed Northwest of the United States! My boss moved from Nevada to Oregon and was surprised that people actually take a week or two of vacation in summer!


9 Barbara March 22, 2011 at 11:57 pm

P.S. After I read the headline of this article something else comes to my mind: the Italian laborer can take a month of vacation in the summer and will still have health insurance after being laid off. The American executive might take a few days of vacation but only with his Blackberry and even people with good health insurances, like executives, die earlier in the United States than in any other industrialized country.


10 sonja March 23, 2011 at 12:15 am

Barbara, sorry, as I already said it is not correct to generalise. Italian laborer can take a month of vacation if he/she is a teacher, not a blue or white collar. Generally we/they can take one or two weeks, moreover because the most part of Italians do not have money to go wherever for one month of vacation! For my personal experience I can tell you that we too go with our Blackberries or Laptops to be always able to connect with office. It is true we have a national health insurance. This is a priceless benefit in front of US condition.


11 Barbara March 23, 2011 at 12:39 am

Sonja, I know it’s not good to generalize. This last comment was only half serious. But there is a difference in attitude towards vacation at least if I compare Germany and US. Isn’t the Italian worker at least taking vacation even if he/she is staying home? I know 9-5 workers in the US who never take any vacation because they don’t know what to do with it! I know German managers who say they can’t take their full six weeks of vacation, but what they take is still more than what the average American worker is entitled to. Remember European law says you are entitled to something like 20 days of vacation as part of workers safety. In the US there is no such law and there are lots of people who have no paid vacation time at all and 10 days is still standard, 20 days only after many years in one company or companies with more generous benefits. In Germany, going on vacation is normal and considered a right, in the US it is considered a guilty pleasure.


12 Erin March 23, 2011 at 2:44 am

Having been born and raised in the US, and then having lived in France and now in Italy, I feel comfortable commenting on this article.

1) Honestly, this article is very subjective. I can think of examples of people I know (American, French, or Italian) that do and don’t fit what Ms. Planeta has written about.
2) People talk about work in Europe, too. At social gatherings, it often comes up.
3) The Italian laborer is comfortable and happy with his life, because (and listen real carefully, everyone) s/he is often part of a union that makes it next to impossible for him to get fired, thus allowing him to put forth little effort (or even none) and still come home each month with his/her paycheck. S/he has many government institutions that provide for his social/health needs (not that this is always top quality service, but still). I could go on and on (my husband is a manager in a plant in Italy and tells me all his stories about the “Italian laborers”). It IS apathy and laziness.
4) American executives and European executives probably deal with similar stresses – long hours, demanding work objectives, availability 24/7, etc. Is chasing the American dream really that great of a goal? This is debatable, BUT… there is something to be said about the person who works hard in order to better his way of life. More money IN ORDER to have a better life, be it for a home for his family, good education, etc.

Living in southern Italy (where there are alot of blue collar workers) and rubbing shoulders with them every day, I can honestly say that I could never imagine myself saying that THEY know how to live. Sure… they know how to enjoy the simple pleasures of life (food and beach), but they are also some of the most simple-minded, close-minded people I have ever met.

What would be better would be a mixture between the American executive and the Italian laborer.


13 sonja March 23, 2011 at 5:25 am

Erin, as I understand, you live in the southern Italy and your picture is perfect just because you live there. It is exactly what I said talking about opposit lifestyle between North and South. Unfortunately. It won’t be the same picture if you lived in the Northern (with exceptions of course!) and believe me, anyway I’m not pro-North!! It would be better to find the right in the middle. And each of us who have had experience with both sides can try to reach a balance. Of course you are right. Rights we still have in Italy, as health insurance, as I said, are priceless.


14 Rivas March 23, 2011 at 5:31 am

I don’t know where you took your data from but my wife is Italian and we lived some time in Italy and, despite the differences between north and south, everybody who is employed has the right to, at least, 30 days of holidays… or days off if like… you don’t have to be a teacher!!!!
Also, it is true that we musn’t generalize when talking about countries and it is also true that the approach to working is different depending on where you come from, be it Turin or Naples, but the truth is that there is a complete different understanding of life between some countries and others.


15 Rivas March 23, 2011 at 5:46 am

I am very sorry but I think you are adopting a rather simplistic stance regarding the problem north-south in Italy. There are reasons for that dichotomy that go beyond superficial analysis… it’s not simply that there are more blue collars, therefore… No, it’s not!!! It goes a great deal deeper. I also believe that understing adn enjoying the “simple” pleasures of life is the only way of being truly happy. leaving that point aside, they also go to university, engage in philosophical debates, question their own political mess… I don’t understand your “I can honestly say that I could never imagine myself saying that THEY know how to live. Sure… they know how to enjoy the simple pleasures of life (food and beach), but they are also some of the most simple-minded, close-minded people I have ever met.”
I have to disagree with you because your lack of backround contextualization


16 Erin March 23, 2011 at 9:40 am


Once again, “the simple pleasures of life” can be very subjective. So for one person, he could live in a tiny little apartment (90 meters squared) working his minimum wage job supporting his wife and 4 kids and stay home for his August vacation and be completely happy with that. For another person, he may wish to acquire a higher paying job in order to have a nicer home with a backyard and enjoy that “simple pleasure” of life.
I certainly do not boast of knowing all things related to the north and south of Italy, but neither do some Italians and they will freely give you their opinion. Of course, they go to university, but then sometimes they choose to stay where there is no work, no future. Some of the more courageous ones leave to wherever a job would take them.
How can I watch a town (province, even region) that has so much to offer but has no vision, no real leadership and say that indeed these people really know how to live? The beaches often look disgustingly gross during the winter, littering is considered normal (not a thought given to the respect of your neighbor or that the trash could end up in the sea, affecting their own environment and resources)… I could name more.
I do not want to generalize. I do not believe that the Italian laborer has the better life nor that the American executive has the worst one. I simply am saying that a mixture would be the best.


17 bee March 23, 2011 at 5:48 am

This is really interesting…but I have to agree that generalizing about all of Europe is a pretty big step! I live in Scandinavia. I work in academia and have a lot of friends (both natives and other expats from all over) both in academia and not. My experience is that in general, people matter more than their professions, but of course people ask about work. Still, the janitors from our university eat lunch with the professors. I even saw the chancellor from my uni sitting in the second class car on the train last week.

I like Barbara’s comment on vacations, though. Here taking a holiday is normal while in the US it is seen as something extra or even guilty as she said. And here, everyone asks about holidays, whether you went walking in the woods near your house or you went to Asia–a holiday is a holiday! (and not just for teachers…)

But, next time, maybe less generalization and more focus on your own experience.


18 Erin March 23, 2011 at 9:43 am


What you wrote is very interesting… especially about the janitors eating lunch with the professors. It was like that where I went in the US. My husband, who works in southern Italy, told me that at the cafeteria where he works there is a cafeteria for the blue collar workers and one for the managers. I believe that this must be something that varies all over the world in every situation.


19 sonja March 23, 2011 at 6:25 am

I will try to explain myself better.
When I wrote “Italian laborer can take a month of vacation if he/she is a teacher, not a blue or white collar” I was replying to Barbara’s Post Scriptum:
“the Italian laborer can take a month of vacation in the summer”
It is true that along the year we have 30 days, but generally we do not use all of them in the summer! Apart the teachers because the schools are closed! That’s the explanation.
Anyway, each of us has different experience, that’s why is nice to compare them here! 😉


20 Rivas March 23, 2011 at 7:37 am

fair enough!!!! 🙂
but I’ve got the feeling that there are too many generalizations and cliches about European life styles.


21 sonja March 23, 2011 at 7:41 am

Yes. Definetely!


22 Xav March 23, 2011 at 8:05 am

Some years ago, I heard a woman from Spain who lives in the Pacific Northwest saying “in Europe” you do not need to work like obsessively to have the same”. I have been asking that question to other people form “first world” countries and the vast majority of them agree without a doubt.
I loved your article and many of the comments.
I think there is a huge gap between what people think of this “American dream” and reality. Just look at the numbers (US Americans work more hours per year than Japanese) and they do not have the same benefits (health insurance, vacations, etc). I am clueless every time I hear the emphasis in the word “freedom” because I do not think there is any special kind of freedom here, there is less and less freedom. In fact, it sounds as something the government repeats to glue it your mind. Except if, you come from Laos, Cuba or Saudi Arabia, of course …


23 Elena Rumiantseva March 23, 2011 at 11:05 am

Yes, she is right! Europeans are much more relaxed lives (perhaps living without the added pressure of success) and take one day at a time. Europeans have the opportunity to get affordable health care and more social safety nets than Americans do.


24 bee March 23, 2011 at 12:17 pm

You are right, Erin. It is too hard to generalize when we have so many different experiences in different countries (and at different times as well).
Sonja, it may interest you that Swedish research has shown (!) that workers need at least 4 weeks off in a row to truly relax. 🙂 Too bad we can’t all do that…although in Sweden it is quite common for everyone to do this. The whole country shuts down in July!


25 sonja March 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm

there was a time in Italy when all the factories and the offices adn the shops shut down all the month of August and even remaining at home in town it was difficult time because there was nobody. Things changed slowly during the last 20 years, for what I remember. I’d like to have 4 weeks off in a row!!! but also other weeks during the year!!


26 sabrina March 25, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Great article! I agree 100%. I come in USA at the age of 32 just because I get married. Now after 10 years with 3 samll children ‘m wandering if I should bring back teh family to Europe in order to offer them a better quality of life …


27 Courtney March 30, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I work at what is considered a decent company and we have 7 sick days and 12 vacation days per year. But of course we need to use those days for staying home with sick children, doctor’s appointments, trips to the department of motor vehicles, etc. I would love to have 30 days of vacation every year. If I didn’t have money for travel, I’d just stay home and read, cook, and tend to my garden. I would trade some of my salary for more time off, but that’s not an option at my (or most) companies. I really think most Americans don’t want to be on a never-ending treadmill, but it seems we have no choice.


28 Xav March 30, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Courtney, I think the options have always been there, nothing comes for free, not even the obedient conformism.

Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand


29 Jackson March 5, 2012 at 11:43 pm

This article has some problems, but it is a good thing you’ve figured this out. Part of the American experience is putting on blindfolds to the truth and believing a myth. You know all those politicians who spout off about “America is the greatest country in the world” without addressing all the classism, failure to offer health care, banking system, etc. America is indeed classed. I have never felt that more than when coming back from my first experience living abroad (Ireland). Now that I live in Asia, it is clear to me every time I return to the U.S. Americans are structured by the schools their children attend, the cars they drive, the communities in which they live, the clubs they join. Of course, the American diet also includes a generous helping of all sorts of “sons of immigrants” and “we can all work together” etc. It’s the koolaid that keeps Americans believing that they live in the best and freest democracy in the world, when the truth is far from that. (Surprisingly, many Americans don’t even know that they do not directly vote for their own president.)

Unfortunately, another part of the American experience that this article falls prey to is rampant Americentrism. America vs. “Europe”? Whoa, there! “Europe” is an entire continent, not a singular culture. How can you generalize a myriad cultures into one simplistic “European” one? (The same is true for “Asian” cultures.) As others have noted in the comments, there are vast differences in just Italian culture from North to South. To speak on “European” cultures generally is a impossibility.

I appreciate your attempts to open up the conversation, but let’s start at a reasonable locale!


30 Dora February 5, 2013 at 6:49 am

I am so sorry to say that Jennifer is very young to have a broad culture to make differences between ‘Europe’, “America”, etc.
Let’s her to grow.


31 Pablo March 6, 2012 at 12:31 am

I think we tend to over-generalize too easily. And this happens in many ways. Usually, first comes the statement about the facts; for example: Europeans are “X”. This is already a huge generalization. If it is hard to include Northern and Southern Italy in the same “package”, imagine including Germany or Russia!!
But on top of the generalization about the facts, comes the reason for that fact. Tha’s often a huge jump again. For example: Americans are “Y” BECAUSE of the American Dream.
I’m not saying one can say nothing about anything. Neither I deny that there are differences between cultures and that there might be reasons for that. I’m just saying that there’s a limit to what one can say about nation or regions and their culture. I lived 30 years in Argentina, 12 in the US and 7 in Germany. Most of the time I hear a generalization about any of these countries (or even regions within these countries) there’s someone else who has a different opinion. Not to mention that most people have opinions on countries they never lived in. Based on my own experience, one needs at least 2 or 3 years to start to understand a culture in which one lives.


32 Pablo March 6, 2012 at 6:27 am

About the title: If it’s difficult to find a general statement about a culture that can be really verifiable, and if it’s even more difficult to find a single (or few) cause(s) for this, it’s even much more difficult to drive conclusions about extremely complex concepts such as “live better”. How do we measure life quality? Of course there have been numerous attepts to measure that. But it’s by no means an easy task. It seems to me that cultures (mostly unconsciously) choose “paths” (life style, ethics, habits) within which to develop. The American Dream can be one of these. A society structured in casts can be another. It also seems to me that within any of these “paths” there is always the possibility of living a good life or a bad one. At least, I find this assumption on one hand, more challenging and, on the other, more cautios and less prone to fall into simplistic explanations.


33 Yu July 29, 2012 at 6:15 am

This article and this comments are fairly interesting!
I should point out that “Europe” is not one country. You can find so many nations and cultures inside it
It is funny to think that a spanish might be as european as a dutch!
There’s a hug difference. Germans and Greeks or Finns and Spanish or then again… Swedish and French!!! They are so different from each other that it is not worth compare american society with a european society.
It does not exists an european society…..
Europe is only a economic system but each country has got a different history and culture. An american or an australian might think: “ohh let’s go to visit Europe” and every time I start laughing at their trip. ( 2 days in Rome, 1 day in Berlin, 5 days in Madrid etc etc) In this way you can’t understand anything.
What did you see?
random cities!
Americans and Australians think that Europe is a nation like their nations! US and Australia are so big in therms of geographic largesse….
If you go to NY to Texas there is a huge difference but still you are in US!
If you go to Melbourne to Perth … ok people are different but they still speak english!!!They have the same government!
Going from Perth to Melbourne is like to go from Rome to Oslo!!!!
2 different languages, societies, people, culture history!!!!etc etc etc

So please keep in mind that Europe is not 1 nation
it is too generic to define ‘ european’ a person from Europe!


34 Annasonic January 24, 2013 at 6:42 am

there are quite a few generalisations in that article and I would certainly disagree with the ending. As a French there is no way that we feel we are born in a class and will remain in it for ever, that is totally contrary to anything we stand for. We believe in equality in rights, I know there is a massive gap between what we believe in and what we really are (lol). However we do truly believe that all human beings deserve the SAME respect whatever they do for a living. We certainly do NOT think that what you do for a living matters that much. The book you are reading now matters way more. There a much lower income gap and everybody gets the same healthcare, goes to the same schools ets. There definitely is more social mixity (apart from some big cities subburbs of course)


35 Dora February 5, 2013 at 6:43 am

You are absolutely wrong about your statement.
I am from Peru (South America) and married to an Italian.
Italians are very vertical in social organization as the ancient Romans. I don’t think that people from different social stratus can mix together.
Also -as Americans do-they judge you by the color of your skin, the region, etc. You are Italian and you know better than me about differences from people form the North (pollentoni); the South ( terroni) and so on. Italians have strong prejudices. I have a lot to say, unfortunately I don’t have time.
Bye, bye.


36 Trilingual+2 March 18, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Wow! I’m only a teenager and even I can see that there are way too many generalisations in this article! From my (admittedly, somewhat limited experiences) I would say that in the USA success=money and everyone has to reach their full potential in everything, and be better than everyone else at what they do. In the places in Europe that I have been to (just about all of western Europe, almost none in the East), you have more freedom to choose what you want to do with your life, and big changes in career or projects aren’t as shocking as they seem to be in the US of A.


37 Latrice March 24, 2013 at 10:36 am

I don’t want to generalize as I don’t think the few people who were referred to on your blog speaks for the rest of Americans being so focused on achieving their dreams, whatsoever. It’s the country’s economic status, eg: more employment opportunities vs companies shutting down etc, that dictates as to why people would jump from one job to another and moving frequently vs having a long term job and to live less frequently. Hard to generalize but you’ve made your points on some areas. Thanks for this article.

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38 john July 30, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Italy is far superior to America in general. culturely, socialy,economically, health wise,morally,and mood wise. culture: Italy is obviously an ancient country. the cultural maturity of Italy (and all other countries for that matter) should be a lesson to the US. Italy goes back a couple thousand years, and has much historical teachings, especially southern Italy, which is still primarily farming/agriculture area with people who still honor the old traditions. yet, you have quite frankly, American retards acting like America is the best place on earth, when in fact, America’s “land of the free, home of the brave” culture disappeared long ago. now its just reality tv and fake people who have no respect for anyone and puppet leaders.
socially-people in Italy are far better to talk to. you can relate and get along with almost anyone. people aren’t generally depressed, not in bad moods all the time, and you’ll almost never meet someone who is openly hostile to you for no apparent reason, which is the case in America. and education, please, America’s education is in the toilet. with them continuing to lower the passing grade because of the kids stupidity, eventually you’ll have special ed students architecting buildings and working on electronics. I don’t know much about Italy’s schooling, but I can tell simply by knowing the other things listed above that is certainly much better than America’s. economic: this is mixed results. the economy of Italy, on a technical term, isn’t really all to great. but social-economic, the writer of this article spelled this one out already, it doesn’t really matter to Italians that much because they care about long, happy, healthy life, not being a millionare or billionaire who dies at age 60 from a heart attack when his stock portfolio crashes. Italians in general just say “al diavolo!” plus, not having so much money is kinda the reason Italy wasn’t ruined by the recession, that was caused by the Israeli-Zionist bankers in America. it did cause many problems, but you won’t see the horror in the streets that you see in new York or Los angeles. health/healthcare: universal, preventative/holistic medicine is the only way to go. Most ancient tradition countries still realize that. America is poisoned by this “saturated fats/cholesterol are bad for you” mentality that’s been pushed by lobbyists of the vegie oil and pharma industries. Italy still eats all the natural fat they used to, yet, gee don’t have NEARLY the problem americans have.cancer, heart disease, genetic problems, you name it, its for the most part, trivial. and with industries instead of governments controlling the healthcare, they care about profit,not people, this should be a red flag.morally: this is a no brainer. America’s military has to much blood on its hands. with bases all over the world, who are they kiddin? Italian military is forced to go to war simply because they’re a member of the UN/NATO and that means they have too.

overall, I don’t know why every American wants to move to Italy. but then again, I certainly wouldn’t want them to, because they would ruin it….


39 sb September 28, 2013 at 2:21 pm

” the more restrictive class system in Europe ”

I wouldn’t say its this as much as the restrictiveness of American culture. 2 weeks of vacation per YEAR?!? 5 or more is the norm in Europe


40 polyglot December 25, 2013 at 11:26 pm

“If you know that what you’re born into is more than likely where you will stay for your entire life, are you less obsessed with constantly doing more and trying to get ahead?”
I stumbled across this site the other day, and really liked it… well, I was starting to like this article, until I realized it was getting political. While I’m not a conservative “per se”, well-fare and socialism have never been part of my personal lexicon. As a polyglot myself who started learning languages at an early age, I’m pleased that I found this site, but I’m afraid this article is politically biased.


41 Chris Barnes May 8, 2014 at 10:36 pm

This can be really interesting…but I’ve got to consent of which generalizing regarding every one of European union is often a very massive action! My spouse and i are in Scandinavia. My spouse and i work with academia and have lots of pals both equally with academia but not. My experience will be of which on the whole, folks make a difference a lot more than their particular careers, but obviously folks question work.


42 J. Benjamin March 30, 2018 at 6:11 pm

This entire article is based on a myth: that Americans really do have greater social mobility than Europeans. http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2013/dec/19/steven-rattner/it-easier-obtain-american-dream-europe/


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