If there is a general sociological characteristic of western European countries that unites them and distinguishes them as a group from the USA, it is that they have developed a particular way of handling diversity through a limited number of relatively formal organizational structures. Deriving originally from the history of European Christianity, this characteristic came to affect the treatment of class differences and political cleavages in these societies. Originally the source of deep inequalities, for a variety of reasons this particular western European approach to diversity ironically led to most western European societies eventually becoming relatively egalitarian, certainly in comparison with the USA. Beyond features related to this variable, these countries are not distinguishable as a group; there are sub-groups among them (Scandinavia and, to a lesser extent, the Mediterranean region), or there are individual societies. Other aspects of convergence are parts of general processes affecting industrial societies in general or constitute a process of Americanization.