As Americans, we have this naïve assumption that people all over the world are struggling and way behind us. They’re not. Sweden and South Korea have more advanced high speed internet networks. Japan has the most advanced trains and transportation systems. Norwegians make more money. The biggest and most advanced plane in the world is flown out of Singapore. The tallest buildings in the world are now in Dubai and Shanghai. Meanwhile, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
There are two areas where the USA is way out in front of the rest of the world: war and prison. The technology of killing is the main investment of US national energy, and of course the semi-public semi-private incarceration economy is flourishing while schools and roads crumble. In many other quality-of-life terms — housing, healthcare, public transportation, public access to technology, mental health support, support for people with disabilities, childcare, primary education, maternity support, social safety net — I think a lot of US Americans personally know that things are not exactly rosy but see no options for fixing it.