BASICS: "Hummingbirds.....where is the person, I ask, who, on observing this glittering fragment of the rainbow, would not pause, admire, and turn his mind with reverence..." (J. J. Audubon).
This is a blog about my summer life at the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary, at my winter garden, Calypso, in the Bahamas, and aspects of life in general.
This private sanctuary is now permanently closed to the general public, as a result of a lawsuit brought by a neighbor. Only my friends and personal guests may visit (paul.adams%stonybrook.edu).
Monday, August 17, 2015
If you cannot come, PLEASE CANCEL! Why is the US so litigious? Legal Blackmail
Before writing more about the ongoing lawsuit that seeks to close down the hummingbird sanctuary, I should address the following question: Why is the US so litigious, even compared to other countries? For example, the country that is in many ways closest and most similar to the US is Canada, but according to the above table the US litigates at 4 times the Canadian rate (on a per capita basis; the number hardly changes on a GDP/capita basis).
Very simple: if you file a suit that does not have a high probability of succeeding, in Canada your will likely have to pay the defendant's legal costs. Thus only very strong suits get filed. In the US filing a suit is often - even usually - a legal form of blackmail: if you don't do what I want, I'll sue you, so even though you are right and I'm wrong, you will incur tremendous costs, and possibly make a mistake and let me grab your assets.
Of course another factor is that there are 15 times more lawyers per capita in the US than in Canada! However, this partly reflects US litigiousness rather than the other way round: in the US the best and safest way to make money is legal blackmail, fraud and robbery.
Are Americans healthier, wealthier or happier as a result? No.
Life expectancies : Canada 82 US 79
median per capita wealth: 48K v 40K
Happiness Ranking: 5 v. 17
Indeed, I suspect one of the reasons we are poorer, less healthy and less happy is our litigiousness, which hardly fosters social harmony.
On a happier note, here's a recent photo by Mike Chachkes
If you cannot come please let me know so I can open a place for another. Thanks!