In Israel we always complain that the main stream media gives us a black eye. Reporting is certainly unfair specially coming out of England and some US networks (CNN, Fox.) The Internet was suppose to be the great leveler, now anyone can get the real story from anywhere. It turned out a little that way and more not that way. The networks, newspapers and states themselves put up great big sites, steams of news and buzz on all the social networks. Now news needs to be attractive more than balanced. I can't complain, in Israel you can read anything and search for anything, not true for China, N. Korea and Burma.
But the saddest outcome is the "standardization" of writing with blogs and portals. Did this article really need micro financing??? I guess it's good to have 10.
Freedom of life and all kind of things in Israel: http://bit.ly/h0X7w
Israel is a funny country where the roots were socialist but today the business sector is a majority. Until the 1970's and Bibi Netanyahu (the current prime minister which is giving Obama heart burn with 1,600 apartments in Jerusalem) the country was run by unions and government (read socialist) companies. All the infrastructure (water, electricity, communication, roads) were state companies. So everyone's salary was determined by seniority and skills. Also, everyone knew the salary range in each "rank". It is like the American GS (federal ranking) and the military rank system. So people here got used to discuss salaries and benefits in the open. The trick was to get a higher position. Now came the privatization of public companies. The phone system went first and is now broken into a few companies. Then came construction (up to the 1970's 90% of all construction was by the government INCLUDING PRIVATE APARTMENTS.) Today construction of all building is completely private. BUT the people here did not suddenly become LESS nosy (that includes British moder-in-law ;8-) Today most people do not discuss details of salary but you can ask someone if his salary is in the 10,000 shekel per month or the 30,000. You can ask them if the car they drive is a company car? You can ask how many paid vacation days they get and if they get continuing education or extra retirement investment... more than that you certainly can CALL someone at night at home and ask if a job is open at their company what they think the salary range is. You can even ask them to ask someone about for these numbers.
Americans do have issues about money and about privacy. American also do not think that they have issues about these things. I think it's because the American worker is very isolated from other workers. In Germany you are allowed to talk about salaries in a bar with friends. In France it is not that open but you can talk to friends about how much things costs and what the company will cover (like vacations together with a business trip.) Anyway, you Americans need to figure out how to communicate between yourself better. Otherwise some of you (as someone said the "underpaid") will be taken advantage of. I have an American friend who is a great programmer and worked at great companies for a long time. A few years ago he found out that he was getting paid 30% to 50% less than everyone around him. This has been going on for decades! Now he is depressed about his whole life. He realizes that he has been taken advantage of for years even by bosses who really liked him and were "taking care of him". How do you deal with these problems without open salary surveys and numbers... Oh in Israel recruiters hold salary surveys all the time. They give ranges and are considered accurate. More about Israeli life http://bit.ly/h0X7w