But researchers such as Ann Marie Leshkowich, assistant professor of anthropology at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., also say these families understand that not everything about modern U.S. families is ideal.
"There's a vision of independence and material prosperity, but the downside is that other kinds of social connections are being lost," she says. "American families may have money but don't have time and bonds together."
Leshkowich and other panelists at Emory University talked about visions of the modern family as viewed from other countries. Since the late 1990s, she has spent months at a time in Vietnam, where she says American families are criticized for being too materialistic and too focused on the individual rather than on extended family relationships.
"There is a sense that maybe the family is a residential center and people are going off during the day into his or her world," Leshkowich says. "They see family life as emotionally empty."
Similar views were noted by other researchers, who have spent time in Barbados, Egypt and Mexico. Others are working with colleagues studying families in Argentina and Nepal.
"There's a very clear criticism of American life, at least in Mexico, as being overly individualistic, as being selfish," says Jennifer Hirsch, associate professor of sociomedical sciences at Columbia University. "My experience of life in rural Mexico is that it's a society that takes much more pleasure from human connection."
But she says there also are aspects of America that Mexicans seek to emulate. "People want to shop like Americans," she says. "There is a great global envy for American patterns of consumption."
So here is the thing foriegn folks
Individualism is key to the human prosperity we have in the U.S.A. Now, you want to try to get the same level of prosperity you go ahead -to date- no one has achieved it yet.
The materialism has part to do with individualism, and part to do with the fact we work darn hard instead of cultivating those human ties y'all like so much ....people need to have something to fill the void.
I agree to much of a things centered approach is a bad way to go but its how we developed the level of comfort and prosperity you envy.
So if you can find a way to do what we did without doing it the way we did good luck to you...
If you realize maybe thats to hard and to likely to make you poor for a long period... Welcome to the world of America