You may think the U.S. is the greatest nation in the world, but let’s all admit it would be a whole lot greatester if we adopted some of these genius ideas, many of which are already law in other countries:
1. Marijuana should be legal. As is the case in the Netherlands, although in some areas pesky foreign tourists are barred from inhaling.
2. The minimum wage should be much, much higher. The minimum wage here? $7.25. In Australia? $14.50, and their unemployment rate is lower.
3. There should be a maximum pay rate, too. In Switzerland, a proposal came to a vote last week to limit executive pay according to how much the company’s lowest-paid worker makes. Swiss voters rejected the proposal, but the issue of a widening income gap remains a priority in the country.
4. Every person should earn an income. Another idea proposed in Switzerland would give “a monthly income to every citizen, no strings attached,” according to The New York Times.
5. Vacation should be a basic human right. This idea comes from Europe, specifically the European Union, which in 2010 announced plans to subsidize vacations for those who struggle to afford them.
6. Assault weapons should be banned. After 35 people were murdered by a single man in Australia in the mid-1990s, the government banned shotguns and assault weapons, enacted stricter licensing rules and launched a number of gun buyback programs. Within roughly a decade, gun-related murders were down nearly 60 percent.
7. Public universities should be free. What used to be the norm at U.S. public universities still is in Argentina and many other countries.
8. The government should support artists. Anyone with an art-school degree in Germany can get government benefits, so long as they continue to apply for grants and scholarships, a decision that helps keep struggling artists afloat.
9. Big corporate boards should be diverse. A new proposal in Germany would require companies listed on DAX, the country’s stock exchange, to fill nearly one-third of “supervisory” board seats with women.
10. Cancer patients shouldn’t miss out out on pay. In both Norway and Luxembourg, a worker who must miss work for a 50-day cancer treatment gets paid for each one of those days, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
11. No one should work in the dark. Again, Germany. The country requires offices to have a “view of the sky,” according to The Telegraph.
12. Parents should get time off to watch their kids grow up. Over a child’s first eight years of life, Swedish parents receive 480 potential days off from work, in which they’re still paid a significant share of their wages. While parents can mostly decide how to split the days between them, 60 of them are reserved specifically for dad.
13. Preschool should be available to all. It is in France, where all children age 3 or older can go for free.
14. And of course, soup slurping must be outlawed. OK, so technically New Jersey is in the U.S., but if they can criminalize this horrible practice, why can’t we all?