The author, who shuttles between Europe and the US, notes that the quality of everything here sucks:
Everything I consume in the States is of a vastly, abysmally lower quality. Every single thing. The food, the media, little things like fashion, art, public spaces, the emotional context, the work environment, and life in general make me less sane, happy, alive. I feel a little depressed, insecure, precarious, anxious, worried, angry — just like most Americans do these day. So my quality of life — despite all my privileges — is much worse in America than it is anywhere else in the rich world. Do you feel that I exaggerate unfairly?
I am not sure why, though I think that the myth of American exceptionalism has something to do with it, but the model for American businesses is doing your job as poorly as is humanly possible.
Look at the airlines, or the cable companies, or the insurance companies, or finance, or healthcare, or pharma.
They all suck like 1000 Hoovers all going at once, and every one depends on some sort of information asymmetry, deception, or public subsidy for viability.