From a reader:
… My 3 years in Japan (which I dearly love, for some
unfathomable reason) taught me that comparisons of this sort are
The whole history of a culture plays into what kind of society is comfortable for natives. Notice I said comfortable, not efficient, better or more personally fulfilling.
I know lots of Japanese who complain about lack of mobility, hidebound traditions, etc. But when most of those Japanese have lived in the US or Europe for a while, they can’t wait to get back home. In theory, it is possible to figure out the ‘best’ society, but not in practice. Arabs would be miserable in Japan, Mexicans ready to pull their hair out in Sweden, etc.
I’m one of those odd birds who was more comfortable in Japan despite the things that drive me nuts about the place.