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If Not America, Then Where? 2349

Posted by Cliff
from the a-new-home-for-the-free-and-brave dept.
Wellington Grey asks: "Often during our heated political discussions on slashdot, several people will mention their desire to leave the country. As an American living in England, which sees much the same problems as the US, I often wonder where these Americans would go. So, I pose two questions for the restless: 1) Where would you live, if not in America and 2) What's stopping you from going?"
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If Not America, Then Where?

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  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:4, Informative)

    by antifoidulus (807088) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @12:55AM (#16572754) Homepage Journal
    According to wikitravel [wikitravel.org] if you can find a job that promises to pay you at least 45k euro then you don't need a work permit, or if you are under 30, then you only need a job that promises to pay you 33k euro.....
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:2, Informative)

    by Bios_Hakr (68586) <xptical@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:27AM (#16573014) Homepage
    I thought about moving to Italy once. Actually, I lived there for several years while working for an American company. When I looked at my Italian counterparts, I thought about having a go at it.

    Then I found out they pay almost 50% income tax. On top of that, there is a 20% VAT on most items. On top of that, gasoline was almost $5 per gallon (a few years ago...almost certainly more now).

    The high taxes were there to support their social services. Free medical. Free dental. Good unemployment and retirement. Almost no chance of getting fired. 6-hour work days and 30-days of vacation. Virtually no concept of sexual harassment or workplace misconduct.

    Then you realize that the social services suck. Want a painkiller for your broken leg? Tough. Want an annual dental checkup? Tough. Want a cop to investigate repeated break-ins? Tough.

    Europe is great if you are young or unemployed. Europe sucks if you actually want to make something of yourself through hard work.

    Personally, I couldn't live if I worked 6 days a week knowing I'd only get 3-days pay after taxes just so some 22-yo punk could sit in the park all day and smoke pot.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:36AM (#16573064)
    Would you call America civilized? It seems to put more emphasis on the armed forces and less on healthcare and education than other civilized countries
  • Mod down troll (Score:3, Informative)

    by zaxios (776027) <zaxios@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:46AM (#16573122) Journal
    "our parliament is a virtual dictatorship"

    If by "dictatorship" you mean elected body, then yes.

    "crossing the floor on the basis of principle is almost entirely unheard of and considered to be little better than treason"

    The last time a member of the ruling Coalition -- and not the opposition parties, which vote against Coalition legislation frequently -- crossed the floor was about a year ago [abc.net.au], but internal dissent scuppered some immigration laws this year. Anyway, since when was the measure of a democracy the lack of discipline of the ruling party? What's undemocratic about an elected ruling party voting for its own legislation? On the contrary, if, after being elected with a majority in both houses, the government were unable to make new laws, that would be a failure of democracy.

    "with none of the individual rights in our Constitution"

    Our constitution may suck, but Australia is still a free country. Freedom House rated us a 1 1, meaning we have an excellent record on both civil liberties and political rights.

    Come to Australia. Our GDP per capita is higher than the major European countries', and our Human Development Index is third in the world -- behind only Iceland and Norway.
  • Australia (Score:1, Informative)

    by Kell Bengal (711123) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:08AM (#16573294)
    Firstly, I don't live in the US, you insenstive clod. I'm an aussie, and I thoroughly recommend Australia. It's not just jingoism - I've lived in Australia, Canada and Thailand and travelled widely in the US, UK and throughout Asia and Australia still holds my heart. It's warm, pleasant and the people are kind. Canada is a close second, being cold but also with kind people. The government isn't quite so far along selling our rights to the highest bidder and there isn't rampant patriotism about anything but sports. The standard of living is high and we have abundant natural resources. Our tech sector is doing well and the market is screaming for engineers. We have real beer. No, seriously - real beer. I recommend starting out with a light 'training beer' before moving on to the regular stuff. We have roads where you can legally drive as fast as you want without the risk of running into anything but sand. We also boast some of the most lethal wildlife, anywhere. Our vernacular is colourful, distinctive and fun. Ninety per cent of all Australians live in cites, so you're always close to infrastructure and services. The other 10 percent don't count to anyone but politicians hoping for over-represented marginal electroate votes. Most of the world does not hate us. It is important to wear a small aussie flag on your stuff when traveling abroad. Most people have figured out that anyone wearing a huge Canadian flag is a yank in disguise and no American could ever impersonate an Australian without years of training and beer. Very little of our public space is wasted on flags, pennets and patriotic material. We don't need to constantly remind ourselves of which country we live in. We have rampant multi-culturalism. Not melting pot, but multi-culturalism. All sorts of people living together in relative harmony. This means good things in the food court. You can walk down alleyways in the dingiest parts of the city and reasonably expect not to get mugged. We use metric. We speak real English. Most of us can spell. Yes, we can teach you, too. Most importantly, you can live on an island thousands of kilometers away from the rest of the world, in relative secluded harmony, concerned only for who will win the cricket and whether we can fit in another beer before the barbeque.
  • Re:Mod down troll (Score:1, Informative)

    by caitsith01 (606117) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:20AM (#16573368) Journal
    The last time a member of the ruling Coalition -- and not the opposition parties, which vote against Coalition legislation frequently -- crossed the floor was about a year ago, but internal dissent scuppered some immigration laws this year. Anyway, since when was the measure of a democracy the lack of discipline of the ruling party? What's undemocratic about an elected ruling party voting for its own legislation? On the contrary, if, after being elected with a majority in both houses, the government were unable to make new laws, that would be a failure of democracy.

    What an absolute load of nonsense. If it is a 'failure of democracy' for members of the ruling party to vote against the government from time to time, then why have members of parliament at all? Why not just count the votes, and if one party has an absolute majority, let them pass whatever they want until the next election? At least it would save us some money. And yes, there was one very unusual instance of crossing the floor recently. But perhaps you should educate yourself about other democratic nations and the way their parliaments work - in the UK and US, which have somewhat similar parliaments, crossing the floor is not only common, it's actually expected, and as such has a constant moderating effect on legislation. Others, such as Germany and New Zealand, are proportional and thus actual consensus is required most of the time to get laws passed. In other words, these countries all have systems where 51% of the population are rarely, if ever, going to be able to pass laws to the detriment of the other 49%. We do not.

    Our constitution may suck, but Australia is still a free country. Freedom House rated us a 1 1, meaning we have an excellent record on both civil liberties and political rights.

    ASIO agents could come to your door right now and take you away for detention and interrogation, without ever identifying themselves or accusing or even suspecting you of a crime. You would be unable to tell anyone where you were, and might not even be allowed a lawyer in some circumstances. Afterwards you would face severe penalties, including lengthy jail terms, if you spoke to any other person about your experience. Anyone else reporting on your experience, such as the media, would be similarly exposed. It may also interest you that there is a criminal offence in Australia of 'possession of a thing' which is or may be used in relation to a terrorist attack, and the burden of proof is reversed - you must prove that you don't possess the 'thing' in question. All of this is real. It's all in the ASIO Act and related legislation right now. If that's your idea of a free country then you don't know what freedom is.

    Our GDP per capita is higher than the major European countries'

    Our per capita GDP is within a whisker of almost every country in western europe, and substantially behind the scandinavian countries. In any case, what exactly does this prove?
  • by corychristison (951993) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:25AM (#16573402)
    As funny as this comment is, it's not in the least bit true. Canada is actually struggling to keep it's population up. Saskatchewan and northern parts of prairies is pretty well empty. Lately there have been studies and our current birth rate is 1.1 per couple. Which is WAY below where it should be.

    Although, the part about Poutine is very true. If you don't enjoy it, get the f*ck out of my country.

    Last time I was in the USA, I couldn't even find anywhere that offered gravy in a side dish for my fries! Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you people!?

    As much as this looks like flamebait, it is all in good fun. :-P
  • Re:Finland! (Score:1, Informative)

    by DarthBibble (1015727) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:34AM (#16573482)
    Yep! I've been to Finland. My great grandfather was a Swedish-speaking Finn. That's why I'm learning Swedish. I plan to learn Finnish too, though. And when I visited I found that almost everyone spoke English, but for citizenship I need to know Swedish or Finnish.
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:5, Informative)

    by cyclop (780354) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:34AM (#16573488) Homepage Journal

    As a 25-y.o. Italian, I can assure you that the people you see smokin'pot in the park all day are NOT maintained by the government, but by their parents. There is virtually no unemployment income in Italy (though I know there is in other European countries, often actually higher than my Ph.D. student income).

    Italian social services are not that good, but in the end of the day are actually better than nothing. Having a painkiller is not that tough at all (the E.R. or the doctor will give you a so-called "recipe" to give to the pharmacist, and you'll often have your painkiller for free), an annual dental checkup actually is, yes. But I had wonderful and very professional service at a university clinic when I got appendicitis, without having to pay a cent. I have free basic medical analyses and so on.

    "Virtually no concept of sexual harassment or workplace misconduct." - This is what keeps me at bay from USA. Not that I spend my day slapping my female collegues on the ass yelling them "yo!bitch", but sure no one minds innocent joking or even normal approaches. If you actually sexually harass someone, you're sure to be punished badly and be fired, but the approach to the thing is not as nearly as paranoid as I've read often about the USA. I shouldn't stand working in a lab where I can't talk less than strictly formally to my new female collegues just because they could feel "sexually harassed".

    I like my old Europe. I wish to leave Italy, but to go to some Scandinavian country, probably.

  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:41AM (#16573564)
    You would be surprised, but drug use among native Dutchmen is among the lowest in Europe. Mostly German and English tourists use it (when I hear/see an Englishman in Amsterdam, I can smell weed too most of the time). Labdrugs are mostly for export. OK, nothing to be proud of, but if you thought everyone and his sister was an addict, you're wrong.
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pooh22 (145970) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:55AM (#16573682)
    I'm a native dutch person and I'm very ashamed to say that the parent is more or less accurate about our current immigration policy :-(

    There's a chance that it will improve again, but currently there's a (grassroots/astroturf?) fear campaign against foreigners, mostly focussed on islamic cultured or coloured people, but americans as well (your current president isn't helping your reputation!).

    My only apology can be that I didn't vote for this government.
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:2, Informative)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:09AM (#16574280) Homepage
    As somebody who actually lives in the Netherlands, I can't help to correct some of the lies you posted.

    1. You DON'T need to speak Dutch before being accepted, no matter where you are from. Neither do you need a highly paid job. There is a distinction between fugitives and non-fugitives. If you are not a fugitive, you need to prove you either have a job (without regards for pay) or have some other valid reason to be here (e.g. marriage). If you're a fugitive (i.e. from a country at war or known for oppressing citizens), you're accepted by default.

    2. You do get a specific education with regards to Dutch history, culture but language is not a requirement. P.S. Out of interrest, I took the education too (even though I'm born in the Netherlands). The topics you describe are pure and simple lies. Most of it is about history (what and when things happened) and culture (mostly obvious things to western people, like equal rights for females and such).

    3. I have several collegues and friends who have wifes that came to the Netherlands from different countries (russia, thailand, peru) AFTER they were married with no real troubles. FWIW, none of them spoke Dutch when they became citizens and one of them still doesn't.

    4. Practically every foreigner in the Netherland has multiple nationalities. In fact, it has been the topic of recent discussions to change our laws into what you claim they already are.

    5. You are considered a Dutch citizen if you have stayed in the Netherlands for 6 years. You do have to be able to prove it, though. The 12 year number is complete and utter bullshit. There have been recent cases where people who stayed here for 5 years were required to leave but ultimately could stay as an exception to these laws.

    The fact is that Dutch immigration laws ARE becoming more strict, but they still are a lot more lenient than, for example, US immigration laws.

    But since you posted as Anonymous Coward, you're probably a right wing Dutch person who wants to scare off foreigners from trying to apply.
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ulven (679148) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:23AM (#16574384)
    Oh, and yes you can apply for citizenship in the Netherlands but ONLY if you agree to give up your other citizenship. Anyone who tells you otherwise (that it's possible to keep your birth country citizenship) hasn't actually tried to do it recently
    It's not possible anywhere in the world, although there are a few examples, like Morocco. The king there doesn't allow to give up Moroccan citizenship, so dual citizenship is possible. Same with Costa Rica, who made it possible to get a Costa Rican astronaut on board of a US space shuttle.
    If I'm reading you correctly, you are wrong. I myself have both a Swedish and British passport, and "approximately 89 countries in the world officially allow some form of dual or multiple citizenship." (source [wikipedia.org])
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:27AM (#16574420)
    I'm an American currently living in Amsterdam. The immigration policy for kennismigrants (literally knowledge immigrants) couldn't be easier! If you've got good IT skills you'll be welcomed with open arms. Oh, and how about making 30% of your income totally tax-free for the next 10 years? The government will pay for you to take 3 years of free Dutch classes (maybe depending on the gemeente, but Gemeente Zuid Amsterdam certainly does as I'm currently in the program). You just trade your US drivers license in for a Dutch one for with no test required. You can import 2 vehicles per person totally tax-free, and your partner (either gender, married or not) will get a work permit from day 1 as well. I think constantly about how Mexicans are treated back in the US, and I honestly have to say I can't imagine that there is anywhere in the world that welcomes immigrants as well as the Dutch welcome high-tech people with valuable skills.

    I've been here 13 months and can't say I've regretted the decision even once. The Dutch are obviously having immigration issues with Muslims not being integrated into the population. But as they tighten the rules for the general population, the rules for IT geeks have gotten much more relaxed.

    I work 40 hours a week, I'm home every day before 17:00. I bicycle or take public transport everywhere I want to go, I brought my motorbike over but just for fun. I get 28 days of holiday plus about 8 public and company holidays. Sure I took about a 40% pay cut from the US, but my quality of life has never been higher (pun intended :)
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:5, Informative)

    by Aceticon (140883) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:40AM (#16574518)
    I'm a portuguese living in Holland for the last 7 years.

    As i progressed in my career and my salary went up i payed an increasing proportion of it as income tax. At this moment i work as a freelancer in IT and i make more than twice as much monthly (after taxes) as i did when i started working here.

    At the moment, and due to the freaky way freelancers are taxed (i'm paying both employer's and employee's taxes and mandatory costs) the total ammount of tax levied on my base rate (the ammount that is payed for my services) is around 55%.
    In other words, for every 8 hours i work a day, about 4h20m of those i'm working to pay the belastingdienst (tax office).

    In two days time i will move to England.

    -----

    So, what are the good and the bad things about Holland (from the point of view of an european):

    Good:
    • Freedom. Freedom to be and do whatever you want. There are few "moral" laws (i.e. laws prohibiting non-mainstream private acts) in Holland and most dutch people follow the principle of "You can do whatever you want as long as i don't have to see it and you don't harm anybody". Thus pot consumption is tolerated, prostitution is lawfull and regulated, non-heterosexuals are not descriminated against and more. Although the current government (conservatives) has pushed a bit on prostitution and pot, they're about to be thrown out
    • Rational work hours. People around here usually work 8h/day period. Even in IT very, very few companies will try to get you to work more than that, and if you push back on those they will give up on it. The interesting fact is that, in IT and by comparisson with sistematically working 10h/day (which i did in another country), working 8h/day is actually more productive (as in, the projects are actually done in fewer days if people work 8h/day). Also a lot of people around here work part-time (not all days of the week and/or less than 8h day).
    • Tax break for foreigners (the 30% rule). There is a tax break for foreigners coming to Holland to fill in a position that requires expertises for which it is difficult to find someone from the local worker pool. This roughly ammounts to having 30% of the income being ignored for tax purposes. The tax discount lasts for up to 10 years and can be lost if you're without work for more than 3 months (i lost mine this way when i was unemployed for 5 months during the recession). The evaluation of suitability for the tax discount is subjective but in practice, when there is a lack of people specialized in a specific area, most applicants for jobs in that area get the tax break. At the moment there is a great lack of people in IT around here
    • No tolls on highways. All highways in Holland are free

    Not so good:

    • Taxes around here are high. The top income tax rate around here is 52% and is levied on the any yearly income above (roughly) 33000 EUR (about $50000). VAT is 17,5% on most things except things like essencials (such as food) and books. Having a car around here is a constant drain in your pocket due to road taxes and expensive insurance.
    • Public services are not public at all. Around here you pay for many so-called public services. Thus, for example, public transportation is expensive, people have to pay for any health services they use (since 2006 every resident in Holland is mandated by law to have at least the basic health insurance) and contributions to private pension funds are mandatory for most people.
    • At the moment, Holland has Swedish style taxes (high taxes) and US style public services (almost none and you pay for everything). In my opinion this is the thing that make Holland a very unactractive country to move to at the moment - during the last 10 or so years the successive dutch governments have been busy tearing down public services while keeping taxes at their original (high) level. Currently people around here are taxed as if they had lots of free public services AND have almost no free public services.
    • Traffic congestion
  • by einar2 (784078) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:48AM (#16574588)
    I am sorry to bring the news but most probably you will not get a work permit. The work permits have a quota per district. Naturally, the more interesting districts where the multinational companies are sitting that would hire an "only English speaker" are over their quota.
    For EC citizens it is rather easy to get here. The rest of the world is more or less locked out.

    Yes, I am Swiss.
  • Re:So True (Score:5, Informative)

    by xtracto (837672) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:52AM (#16574600) Journal
    Mexico's problem is really corruption. Massive amounts of it. I mean you may complain about the US and well the UN, but Latin America is trying to Silver Medal in the Global Corruption Olympics (Africa is the out and out Gold Medal winner.) And this creates Mexico's problem. Why do anything if corruption is just going to take away your hard work? So, you are left with two choices (a) be lazy, or (b) leave.

    Although the other poster disagreed with you (calling you racist) I completely agree. People wont understand how deeply is corruption mixed in Mexican's mind. I am a Mexican and I can see it. It is when you live or visit other countries were you find out that in my country corruption has become a natural way of life.

    I marked in bold the statement you wrote which has been my feeling a lot of times in ACADEMIA. The first time it happened to my mom who is a teacher at a Mexico's university, she is the founder (and was the coordinator) of the Biology career in certain University. Everything was allright when she founded the career (with the backup of the maximum authority of the university called the "Rector" in Mexico). Then as soon as this person was changed, the department director started to make things hard because he thought that my mom wanted his place. My mom would NEVER going to be department director because that purely administrative.

    The other was when I was in the bachelors degree; one of my teachers was daughter of the Rector (in another university). The department was basically divided in two groups, one where the Computer Scientists were and the other where the Soft. Eng. people where (this groups is where the daughter was).

    I had a lot of problems in the last years because I used to talk and meet a lot with the Comp. Sci. people. The Soft. Eng. people were trying to get some permanent positions in the department (called "plaza") and they made a very dirty war against the Comp Sci. people.

    Anyway, corruption is frustrating in Mexico, but as I stated in another post, it is that way because most people have learnt to live with it and to get something from it.
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:5, Informative)

    by Shaper_pmp (825142) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:53AM (#16574606)
    Correction: Weed is not physiologically addictive, only psychologically.

    Plenty of things are physiologically addictive (caffeine, heroin, cocaine, etc). Weed is not.

    Psychological addiction is "real" addiction, but:

    1. It's normally not as physically/medically dangerous as physiological addiction, because it's only your behaviour and attitudes which change, not your body-chemistry. Psychological addiction won't damage your body - the worst it'll do is make you carry on doing things that might.

    2. There's no guarantee that anyone will ever get psychologically addicted to anything. Take heroin regularly for more than a few months and (barring genetic freaks) it's more or less certain you'll get addicted. Play WoW for ten years, and it's entirely likely at the end of it you'll be able to put it down at the end of it and never touch it again.

    3. If something's "only" psychologically addictive, we historically don't tend to ban it. Shopping, chocolate, sex and gambling are all psychologically addictive, so banning everything which may cause pysychological addiction is clearly a non-starter.

    Because it's "only mental" this tend to be where we draw the line between "banning dangerous activites" and "not being a nanny-state" - ultimately psychological addiction is merely a question of discipline, determination or strength of character, and most people believe they shouldn't be banned from their hobby activity simply because some people aren't adult enough to know their own limits.
  • by Ritontor (244585) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:57AM (#16574634)
    Our "censored internet" is a joke. That entire piece of legislation, with the benefit of hindsight, smells suspiciously like something that was passed as a back scratch for some cranky senator to get his vote on another bill. I don't have any specific proof of this (and yes, I realise how stupid I sound), but how else do you explain the fact that this so-called censorship doesn't actually seem to censor anything? The AMCA seems completely uninterested in actually blocking any content, and despite a couple of vague attempts to utilize the laws that were quickly shut down, it doesn't seem like anything is going to happen in the future either. Oh, and for the real kicker, the filter itself isn't applied at the border routers, it's voluntarily installed on a home user's PC.

    I understand some people disagree with the way politicians play the game, but this is exactly how it's done. "You wanna pass your bill? Well this is what I want...". It's far more prevalent in the US that it is over here - look at the number of irrelevant amendments that get tacked on to every bill that gets passed in to US law. Is it a morally corrupt system? Arguably so. I don't see any other real-world examples of a perfect democratic utopia to which we can all strive though.
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:11AM (#16574726)
    To reply to your obviously UNINFORMED response...

    "You DON'T need to speak Dutch before being accepted, no matter where you are from."

    Sorry bud.. try again. I'm quoting from the Dutch IND website.

    =-=-=
    Civic integration examination abroad introduced

    As of March 15th migrants wishing to settle in the Netherlands for, in particular, the purposes of marrying or forming a relationship are required to take the civic integration examination abroad.

    Many people aged between 16 and 65 who need an authorisation for temporary residence (MVV) in order to come to the Netherlands will first be obliged to complete the civic integration examination abroad in their country of residence. This applies, amongst others, to people who wish to form a family with someone in the Netherlands (for example, through marriage or by forming a relationship) and to religious leaders coming to the Netherlands for employment, such as imams or preachers. In many cases, obtaining the integration examination becomes an additional condition needing to be met before an MVV can be issued.

    The examination tests fundamental knowledge of the Dutch language and Dutch society. The examination is held orally, in Dutch, at the Dutch embassy or consulate general in the foreign national's country of residence. Taking the examination will cost approximately 350.
    =-=-

    So.. read that... it DOES matter where you're from, and YOU MUST SPEAK DUTCH BEFORE YOU ENTER THE COUNTRY. That fundamental knowledge test is administered OVER THE PHONE by a computer voice recognition system. If you have any kind of accent, good luck getting it to recognize your attempts at speaking Dutch.

    So on your first point, you're WRONG.

    On point 2, you're wrong again. Have you actually viewed the video that the IND created for foreigners wishing to come to the NL? Have you? I doubt it. Have you gone to your local Stadshuis and attended the integration courses? I'm not talking the ROC sponsored courses... I'm talking about the MANDATORY course that you have to attend that is administered by the City Council. It's crap. I've gone and done it... and they did teach us important things like.. flushing a toilet and how to make that wonderful Dutch food called stampot. Apparently knowing how to make stampot was more important that learning Dutch history and the place the NL holds in the world community.

    On point 3... that was the case years ago... before Rita Verdonk got her grubby hands on the IND. Now it's pretty much impossible to bring a family here. Go get your copy of the Volkskrant... read it.. there is an article in there.. wait, I'll link it for you
    http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/article360232. ece/Aantal_aanvragen_voor_gezinshereniging_daalt [volkskrant.nl]
    For those of you who don't read Dutch, the highlights are... Up to the month August this year, 17,000 family reunification applications were filed. In 2005, there were 30,000 applications, and before that, 42,000. Since the implementation of the new law that you must speak Dutch prior to entering the NL, 1384 people have passed the exam.

    On point 4... check again... it used to be allowed to have dual nationalities here in the NL... not anymore - as of about 5 years ago actually... the Dutch Immigration law states you MUST renounce your birth citizenship.

    Quoting again from the IND website from the section on conditions for citizenship:
    =-=-=
    You are prepared to give up your current nationality. If you do not give up your current nationality even though you are supposed to, your Dutch nationality may be revoked.
    =-=-=

    Point 5... Wrong again. Geez... did you do any research at all on this? You must be a permanent resident for FIVE years, not six. The 12 year number is NOT bullshit. Again, quoting from the IND website:
    =-=-=
    Your Dutch nationality may be revoked. This can happen even as long a
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:4, Informative)

    by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:26AM (#16574850) Journal
    Perhaps, but in that case, this doesn't apply. Quite the contrary.

    Corrolary: Non-correlation disproves causality.

    A & !B => !(A => B)

    Hence the war on drugs is bullshit.
  • by MyNameIsFred (543994) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:47AM (#16575002)
    In the US, the tax burden is well under 50 percent. Local taxes [cnn.com] of all kinds - income tax, property tax, sales tax (aka VAT), etc. - are around 10 percent, max of about 13 percent. It varies from state to state. The average federal tax rate [cbpp.org] is under 12 percent. The average tax burden is around 22 percent in the US.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:58AM (#16575082)
    I don't know where in Italy you come from, but you're full of shit. You're just spewing around the typical Italian self-loathing, constantly fostered by the left wing in this country.

    Your allegations could be countered point for point, but nobody reads AC posts, so it would probably be a waste of time. Your incredibly ignorant comment about catholicism speaks volumes about your credibility.

    If you had ever worked in Italy you would know that the "office politics" are no worse than what you would find in any other capitalist country; they merely appear magnified through the lens of prejudice againt their own country carried by most Italians, or in the eyes of spoiled youths who take everything for granted and see any obstacle in their path as an evil plot to rob them of the golden future that they feel they deserve by birthright.
    But that's not the way it works: it's the hard work of past generations that made Italy one of the major economic powers in the world.

    Unfortunately, you'll never know. You took all you could from this country, you received an education, paid for by taxpayer money, that allowed you to go on and be successful in another country, and then you left, never giving anything back, and carrying your bag of prejucides with you.

    Good riddance.
  • by superdude72 (322167) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:17AM (#16575206)
    However, when in USA I feel that I am so far away from everything. Manhattan is the exception. In LA I have an hour in a car to anything. In Las Vegas it takes a day to get anywhere else.

    I would say this is true of the American West, even in the big cities on the coast. I feel disconnected from the rest of the country out here in San Francisco. Maybe it's because the population is stretched out along the coast. Inland it's just... farmland... then about 1,000 miles of nothing until you get to someplace with enough water to support civilization. If you've ever driven coast-to-coast on I-80, about 9 million of those miles seem to be in Nebraska.

    I felt more connected when I lived in Chicago. Although Chicagoland no longer has as large a population as LA, it's the hub in a wheel of fairly large cities. Something like fifteen percent of the US population lives within 200 miles of it. This is also where (if you're traveling West to East) it becomes possible you might encounter something resembling public transportation and walkable neighborhoods. Cities east of here were mostly planned before the invention of the automobile--a really good thing.
    <troll>
    Chicago also has the best pizza and hot dogs in the world. Suck it, New York.
    </troll>
    The Eastern seaboard is more dense yet. Still, it's not quite like being in continental Europe and being able to visit another country with a couple hours of travel (via train! We lack those too.) Surely the US East Coast--not just Manhattan--is more dense and varied than Scandinavia, though. Just no fjords.

    I guess I could have saved a couple of paragraphs by just linking this satellite image of North America at night:

    http://worldmapsonline.com/SatPosters/NorthAmerica Night.jpg [worldmapsonline.com]
  • Norway (Score:5, Informative)

    by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:23AM (#16575252) Homepage
    It depends on your requirements really, and your reasons for wanting out of the US in the first place. Different people will have different priorities.

    For some, I think Norway is a good choice.

    • It has a good standard of living.
    • It has good education.
    • Wages are high, but more equal than in the US. (meaning the very richest earn less, while the poorer/average people earn a lot more.
    • Taxes are progressive, for high-earners they're higher than US, for low-earners they're lower than US. When comparing, it's important to remember that "taxes" here include such details like universal healthcare, free education (all levels), pentions that one can actually live from, unemployment benefits, a full year off with 80% of your normal wages when you get a child, government-sponsored childcare, the works. For this, I consider the taxes quite acceptable. (for example, I earn on the order of $70K and pay 29% taxes)
    • Pollution is low. Nature is beautiful. Climate is mild on the coast. Not very warm summers, but neither very cold winthers. (unless you live way inland or way up north, which basically noone does anyway)
    • Worker protection laws are good. You're actually allowed a life beside work, even as a 25 year old programmer. You can actually reasonably provide for a family with a single normal job. (though most women work anyway)
    • Unemployment is at less than 3%, and falling. Enough said.
    • Our social security is dead-simple, and very good. Rules for membership fit on a single line: You're legally in Norway for a (planned or actual) period longer than a year ? Member, all benefits ! There's no fee for membership, it's financed trough your taxes.

    There are drawbacks.

    It's not the place for those of you who love the big metropolis. Our biggest cities, Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger are only in the 100.000s, not in the millions.

    Immigration can be tricky, unless you're married to a norwegian, from the EU, or have a desired qualification. Immigration also takes atleast 3-5 months for the paperwork (non-EU people, EU-people can come first, apply after), and you get only a 1-year work-and-stay permit which you need to renew yearly. After 3 years you get a permanent permit.

    95% of the population speaks varying levels of english, most educated people speak it fluently. Nevertheless you'll be at an disadvantage until you learn the language. The language is in the same language-group as english and german though, so it's not very hard to learn. (80% of the words are recognizably similar for example)

    Parts are rainy. The west-coast in autumn can be a shock (depending on where you're from). Normal rainfall in Bergen is like 2000mm/year. (less than half that in Oslo though)

    Living-costs are high, especialy services are expensive. This is a result of the fact that your waitress, your hairdresser and your burgerflipper earns a decent living.

  • Marginal Tax Rates (Score:5, Informative)

    by lseltzer (311306) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:26AM (#16575274)
    See the OECD Tax Database [oecd.org] for lots of data (in Excel format) on comparative tax rates in various countries. The US is relatively low-tax.

    This table shows top marginal tax rate, factoring in social security-type contributions if they are separate. The actual definition for the number is "The all-in (top marginal) tax rate, calculated as the additional central and sub-central government personal income tax, plus employee social security contribution, resulting from a unit increase in gross wage earnings. The all-in rate takes account of the same aspects as the combined rate, but does in addition include employee social security contributions and if they are deductible in central government taxes etc." This table is for 2005.

    Hungary 69.5%
    Denmark 63.0%
    Belgium 59.3%
    Sweden 56.6%
    Finland 56.5%
    Netherlands 52.0%
    Poland 51.8%
    Norway 51.3%
    Greece 49.6%
    France 48.6%
    Australia 48.5%
    Ireland 48.0%
    Luxembourg 47.9%
    Japan 47.9%
    Switzerland 47.9%
    Portugal 46.6%
    Canada 46.4%
    Spain 45.0%
    Germany 44.3%
    Italy 44.1%
    United States 42.7%
    Austria 42.7%
    Turkey 41.1%
    United Kingdom 41.0%
    Czech Republic 40.5%
    Iceland 40.2%
    New Zealand 39.0%
    Korea 38.2%
    Slovak Republic 29.9%
    Mexico 24.6%
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:5, Informative)

    by seresy (1017952) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:51AM (#16575448)
    I had to reply to this. I'm an American living in Noord-Brabant, and have had exactly the opposite experience you apparently have. I moved here to be with my boyfriend under "family formation." I hold an MA degree and have an extensive professional background. I have been here 18 months, and have had nothing but hassles with the Dutch immigration system. The residence and work permits that are legally required to be processed in less than 6 months took 10.5, and when I did receive my first permit, it was good for a whole 6 weeks before I had to have a renewal. The renewal took a further 3.5 months, and I was not allowed to work or even seek work until July of this year (14 months after I moved here.) I am required by law to take Dutch language and integration courses. If I attend less than 80%, I am fined by the government. If I fail to attend, I risk deportation. These aren't facts I picked up from the internet- I was informed of this when I went to my first meeting with the city after (finally) receiving my permits. I could not trade my US license for a Dutch one- though I have been driving since 1988 in the US, I had to take costly lessons, a theory exam, and a practical exam before getting my Dutch drivers' license. The CBR (drivers' branch) informed me of this, and it was long and costly. I am not in IT, and though I have a solid professional background, job agencies tell me that the only jobs they can get me into are at call centers, for about 30% of my last income and less than I lived off of while going through college (gross, not net.) If you're in IT it is a lot easier to deal with the IND, but your company will be your sponsor and if you don't stay with that company, or don't change the paperwork and have your new company become your legal sponsor, you can and will be deported. The man's lucky we have a good relationship, or I would have headed back to the US a long time ago.
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:4, Informative)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:58AM (#16575504)
    Okay, it's still a physiological process, but you are taking things out of context. There are drugs that cause addiction by upsetting the bodies natural chemistry - these are considered physiologically addictive. Then there are drugs that cause addiction in the same way that anything pleasurable does. These are considered psychologically addictive. Sure, either way your brain changes - but in one case it is to cope with foreign chemicals, and in the other case it is the "normal" process of making new neurological connections. Both paths can be bad, but consider that going cold turkey off of a physiologically addictive drug, you can die.
  • by chuckfee (93392) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:11AM (#16575584)
    The U.S. Department of State is recruiting IT people RIGHT NOW
    to work in the Foreign Service and support the work of our diplomatic
    corps at embassies and consulates overseas. The recruitment period
    ends on 11/3/06 - less than 10 days from now.

    Working at a US Embassy has some major perks. When you work for the
    government overseas they pay all of your housing and utilities. Embassy
    housing ain't like Army housing. Think mansion in the 3rd world and
    downtown apartments in the first world. Cost of living pay to help
    afford life in London, danger pay for Kabul or Baghdad, hardship pay
    for subsaharan Africa. Uncle Sam takes care of his own.

    Sure the work is boring, the coworkers are annoying, and people
    like to blow up your workplace. On the plus side, you move every
    2-4 years, sometimes to very very nice places. You get USA and
    local country holidays off (15-20 holidays per year) plus vacation
    and benefits like every other USG employee.

    Besides, how cool would it be to have a Diplomatic (Black) Passport?

    Check the Department of State recruitment page here:
    http://www.careers.state.gov/specialist/opportunit ies/infomanage.html [state.gov]

    The pay band quotes on the page doesn't seem too high, but remember
    that the pay listed doesn't include all the freebies like housing,
    utilities, cost-of-living, hardship, etc - many of which are tax-free.
    I'd pay the numbers by $30,000 to get a real approximation of the value
    of overseas benefits paid by Uncle Sam.
  • by chuckfee (93392) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:13AM (#16575610)
    Make that ' pad the numbers ' by $30,000. The tax-free housing and free utilities are h-u-g-e.

  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:17AM (#16575656)
    *I* live in the Netherlands, I AM Dutch, and YOU are the one being misinformed, sir.

    Just about all the info you posted is based on the OLD immigration rules. The NEW rules are much stricter, and like the original poster outlined.
    If you can read Dutch, which I assume, please go to buitenlandsepartner.nl and READ about the subject before you speak. Don't just have a conversation with some co-workers and then automatically assume that what they say MUST be true and totally updated, and that their info is still accurate *today*.

    I have a lot of trouble getting my white, AMERICAN fiancee in here, and we are considering moving to the States because the rules there are so much simpler. Holland officially has the strictest immigration-laws in the world, bar Denmark.

    Apart from that, the laws ARE racist. If you are a black African male, you can basically forget it. If you're a white American like my fiancee you have a small chance. See the difference???

    And speaking of money; It might be easy for some to make the financial demands (you MUST make 1441 euro netto per month, AND have a year-contract) but this leaves out 60% of the autochtone Dutch population.
    You can bring a partner here if you are RICH, basically. People working in restaurants, teachers, nurses etc aren't allowed to fall in love.
    Getting married, having kids; Doesn't matter to the IND. You must meet the financial requirements.

    You have no idea the pain Verdonk is causing on people, so please inform yourself before you ridicoulously accuse someone speaking the truth of being a right-winger. It's people like you, who make OTHER people think that it's soooo easy, that cause the voters to think we must have even STRICTER laws since "It's soooo easy"

    Sorry for the rant, nothing personal, I can see that you are an intelligent person, but please inform yourself & talk to people going through the immigration process right *now* before you spout opinions.
  • by Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:44AM (#16575952) Homepage

    Seriously, we have a young population (of a mere 4 million for a reasonably large country), theres no sectarian violence, people are well known for their friendliness, and its very easy to get in with an IT qualification. Also, you can say what you like about the Germans, Netherlands or Scandinavian countries, but lets face it; they have no sense of humour. Ireland won the "happiest place on earth to live" award not so long ago, we have a great deal of wealth, and employment is in good shape. You wouldn't bat an eyelid to see politicians and leaders ambling down the street buying groceries, although the downside is crazy property prices, which by all accounts are soon to collapse. Emigrants come home!

  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:3, Informative)

    by twistedsymphony (956982) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:55AM (#16576074) Homepage
    The US doesn't actually have an official language. Most of the population speak english but there is a growing percentage of the population that only speak Spanish.

    Speaking english certainly helps living here, but it's not required.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:59AM (#16576122)
    The idea of tipping was originally to provide someone a bonus for an exceptional job well done. That business interests in the US turned it into an excuse to pay people a couple dollars an hour isn't a problem with tips themselves. Nor is it a problem with tips when companies start forcing the staff to turn over all their tips into a big pot to divvy them up.

    I no longer tip on my credit card, and carry a stack of $1 bills for this purpose. I'll give out $1 to $3 (for a $10 lunch) depending on how good the service was, if the person is smart, they'll pocket a buck and turn in the rest.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:59AM (#16576126)
    Yes and no.

    Yes we have a bad attitude, but it is not to muslims in general. For instance, some of the animosity is due to the more dangerous muslim-oriented gangs doing driveby's and the like in sydney streets. Another reason is the continued problems we have with the Indonesians (such as East Timor), which is at heart a Muslim Theological society, and we have had major problems with muslim based terrorist groups from our neighbouring country (Bali bombing).

    I wouldnt say it is WORSE, I would say that at least if there are those in the community who have a poor attitude against muslims, then they can give a decent explanation of why it is so. Most dont (I for one, dont - my best friends are all muslim).

    To say that the attitude is worse is to say that we are all alike here, which isnt the case.
  • venezuela (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @08:06AM (#16576234)
    Venezuela-they are building a social safety net after generations of shafting the poor in favor of some rich elite, and they have *huge* reserves of energy, a critical factor for any nation in the years to come. Nations that have to import energy will be experiencing declines, unless they have something critically important to trade, in abundant enough surplus that they can afford it. Recently we just had an article about Iceland, which might be another good choice, as a country that has abundant energy now that they are going mostly geothermal and hydrogen.
  • Re:EU (Score:4, Informative)

    by AlXtreme (223728) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @08:06AM (#16576236) Homepage Journal
    liberal countries like Germany or Amsterdam
    Amsterdam is a city, not a country. It's the capital of the Netherlands, and even tourists coming here don't know the difference.

    I think mistakes like these show the problem with most 'mericuns: clueless when it comes to anything outside the States. No offense, but your president thinks Africa is a country. We don't call Miami a state, or Florida a city. Get your facts straight before you come over here. That's all.

  • by laurieknight (895682) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @08:16AM (#16576392)
    I'd be willing to bet that table is completely meaningless. Does it take into account local taxes? Transportation taxes? In the UK we have pretty low income tax but the tax burden as a whole is massive, thanks to what is known here as Stealth taxes, pretty much all introduced in the last 9 years by Gordon Fucking Brown. (The scumbag).

    There is /NO Fsking way/ that the UK is so far down the table in terms of taxes as a whole...

    So whats the point of quoting a table which lists only ONE type of tax??
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:2, Informative)

    by Zaphod69 (1017986) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @08:24AM (#16576522)
  • by JasonBee (622390) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @08:39AM (#16576804) Homepage
    Whaa??

    I know nothing of this: "none of the residents share any common values and the quality of life takes a sharp nose dive."

    My immediate circle of friends and acquaintances includes people of these backgrounds:

    Tanzanian (my wife wife whose family is Goan Catholic)
    Mauritanian Chinese
    Hong Kong Chinese
    Chinese; Jamaican (black)
    Jamaican (German descent)
    Trinidadian (pick a colour and background - it's hilarious seeing five different types of people speak in the same Caribbean patois - chinese/indian/white/mulatto/etc)
    Czech
    English Canadian
    French Canadian
    Acadian Canadian - not the same thing as Quebecois (New Brunswick)
    English American
    Scottish
    Irish
    Irish Canadian
    etc...

    My neighbors are Persian and Serbian.

    You get the idea. What you may be seeing is your own sad shortsightedness. And you must be panhandling on the street if Toronto has this purported "low standard" of living. I'l remember to toss you a few extra quarters next time.

    I've traveled the planet and except for a few countries that admittedly "look" like mine (NZ, AUS, Japan (well maybe not so similar but fun), Sweden, Norway, etc.), Canada has always been my preferred stop. It feels like home because it feels like home to so many others as well. Toronto's major strength is something that some people fear: multiculturalism. My wife and I have been mulling a move out west for some time, and may yet still do so, but the one major thing we can't tear ourselves away from is the Variety (with a capital V) Toronto exhibits. Seeing people whop have risked life and limb to get here may be a detraction for you, but hey, even Holocaust deniers have their day every once in a while. I on the other hand like to know a little bit about what the world is like, and in doing so find that my neighbors may have lots of things in common with me.

    Having lived 7 years in the US and traveled to every corner of the country, I know too, that the US is not so homogeneous, as is Canada. I say don't abandon your country, just find a nice corner that is more comfortable. If you're being driven out with pitchforks and firebrands, then I guess you're welcome to pitch a homestead here.

    JB
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:3, Informative)

    by Damek (515688) <adam.damek@org> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @08:47AM (#16576962) Homepage
    The Netherlands and the the UK (the other place I spent considerable time) are great places, but it's not home.

    Simple things like standing in a line to wait for services or having a quick meal do not exist here.


    OK, you must be talking about The Netherlands here because I know you're not talking about the UK. Queues are practically a religion in the UK, and every dang drug store has quick packaged foods you can pick up (not to mention other "quick meal" options).

    On that note, there are so many factors that go into how "at home" one would feel anywhere, it ends up being a very personal, very individual decision. This Slashdot story seems tailor-made for a bunch of people who all think the same (usually libertarian technophiles around here) to come up with "the one true solution" for them. Luckily it seems there's more diversity showing than usual.

    For me, an American who's only been to the UK for three weeks over two years, but is a minor Anglophile and hodgepodge history buff, the UK feels more like home than the US or anywhere else I've been.
  • by SickLittleMonkey (135315) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @08:54AM (#16577072)
    I can't believe no-one linked to this:

    "The world's top cities offering the best quality of life" [citymayors.com]

    Since half this thread debated the Netherlands, I'll point out that the top 12 cities are not in the Netherlands, but in these countries:
    - Switzerland
    - Canada
    - Austria
    - New Zealand
    - Germany
    - Australia
    - Denmark

    Almost pointless at the end of such a long thread, but hopefully some lucky soul reads this.
    SLM
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:4, Informative)

    by 19thNervousBreakdown (768619) * <davec-slashdotNO@SPAMlepertheory.net> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:08AM (#16577302) Homepage

    No, THC is not stored in your fat cells, the metabolites for it are. That is, the stuff THC turns into after it is metabolized, or used. That stuff doesn't get you high, and it doesn't "wean" you, any more than eating your own feces is just like that steak you had last week.

    THC is not physiologically addictive. I smoke cigarettes, have quit for almost a year, and I know what addiction is. I spent 4 years of my life stoned basically 24-7. Then I got bored of it, and stopped. Since then, I've tolked up about once every 6 months or so, and never had a "craving" before or after. I even spent a week high because I hurt my hands and was bored as hell. At the end, I put the pipe down, no craving.

    I have noticed, however, that for some people, smoking pot makes them flat stupid. I don't understand why it happens to some and not others, but it seems to attack those who weren't that bright to begin with, and as far as I can tell is permanent. Careful.

  • Re:New York City (Score:3, Informative)

    by Xentor (600436) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:09AM (#16577322) Homepage
    You missed a few things, mostly specific to Manhattan

    CONS (First, because I'm a pessimist)

    1) Crowded, crowded, crowded.
    2) VERY high cost of living.
    3) No nature (There are parks, but landscaping != nature)
    4) No stars. I'm talking about the ones in the sky, not the ones on the screen. Too much light, so you can't see many. Maybe I just miss my telescope...

    PROS

    1) Everything is here. Everything. Most things are within a few blocks of you.
    2) Anything breaking rule #1 can be delivered.
    3) There are GOOD pizza places everywhere (None of that Dominos/Pizza Hut garbage)
    4) 24-hour subways (I know the parent said it, but it's worth repeating)
    5) And the kicker....

        Over 80% of us voted AGAINST Dubya in 2004.

  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms.infamous@net> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:19AM (#16577514) Homepage
    What are the harmful effects of marijuana? What are they, compared to alcohol and tobacco?

    Physically, the harmful effects of cannabis result from inhaling smoke. Use of a vaporizer or oral injestion eliminate these and make its use quite safe. (Presuming one doesn't do something stupid like drive a car or operate power tools while high, a problem with any intoxicant.) The effective dose to lethal dose ratio for THC is trendously high; you'd have to smoke hundreds of pounds to die by overdose. (Which isn't to say you can't overdose into an unpleasant "too high" experience; that's distinctly unfun, but doesn't have long-term toxic effects.)

    Psychologically, some people like using cannabis a whole lot, and have trouble moderating or stopping. This can also be a problem with TV, MMORPGs, sex, relationships, thrill sports, music, exercise...

    Of course, no amount of harmful effects would justify the state interfering with a person's choices about their body. But given the safety of cannabis use, its prohibition is particulary hypocritical.

    (Once upon a time, "addiction" was a well-defined syndrome marked by tolerance, withdrawl, continued use in the face of health problems, and repeated failed attempts to quite. When it became obvious that cannabis use and other behaviors that moralists wanted to ban didn't fit this model, the bullshit notion of "psychological addition" was invented.)

  • by lseltzer (311306) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:39AM (#16577834)
    Lots of folks are objecting to a focus on marginal rates (I do think they're important, but whatever). From the same database, here's spreadsheet (Excel) [oecd.org] that looks at "All-in average personal income tax rates at AW" (AW=average wage). And remember the US doesn't have a VAT.

    Some data excerpted: "All-in less cash transfers: The combined central and sub-central government income tax plus employee social security contribution, less family benefits (in respect of dependent children) paid by general government as universal cash transfers, as a percentage of gross wage earnings. " These numbers are for a one-earner family with two children.


    Turkey 30.4%
    Poland 30.3%
    Denmark 29.2%
    Sweden 23.7%
    Finland 23.6%
    Germany 22.3%
    Belgium 22.2%
    Greece 22.1%
    Netherlands 21.7%
    Norway 20.4%
    United Kingdom 19.4%
    Hungary 18.4%
    France 17.1%
    Austria 16.7%
    Japan 15.3%
    New Zealand 14.5%
    Italy 13.7%
    Spain 13.0%
    Canada 12.3%
    Australia 10.9%
    Switzerland 9.6%
    Portugal 9.1%
    Korea 8.6%
    Mexico 7.9%
    Iceland 5.9%
    United States 5.0%
    Slovak Republic 3.0%
    Czech Republic 1.5%
    Luxembourg 0.3%
    Ireland -1.8%

  • by C4st13v4n14 (1001121) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:05AM (#16578290)
    Actually, Denmark is the happiest place to live with the happiest people so bollocks to Ireland at #11.

    http://www.le.ac.uk/pc/aw57/world/sample.htm [le.ac.uk]
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-07/uol -uol072706.php [eurekalert.org]

    And that's completely false what you're saying about Germans, Dutch, and Scandinavian people having no sense of humour. The Dutch are pioneers of hilarious commercials and when you go out in the evening anywhere in Scandinavia all people are doing are telling jokes, funny stories, and laughing. Germans might not laugh very much, or smile very much at that, but it doesn't mean they don't have a sense of humour. They laugh at the fact that so many people in Ireland died of starvation during the "potato famine" of 1845-1849 when Ireland is completely surrounded by water. All they had to do was go fishing.
  • Re:France! (Score:2, Informative)

    by langelgjm (860756) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:13AM (#16578396) Journal
    As an American student currently living in France, I thought I'd add my two centimes.

    I recommend France to anyone looking to make the plunge. It's what I did, and you really can't beat it. Good food, beautiful women, nice people.


    Hm. I live in Nice, and if your idea of a beautiful woman is one that chain-smokes and has more piercings than fingers, come on over. I know it's not like that everywhere (Nice is particularly bad in this respect), but still. At least the smoking in public places will be going in 2007-2008.

    There are some things I'm not entirely happy about. Police here can ask you for ID on the streets (though it's never happened to me)


    It happened to me twice in less than two months. I have a theory about why, too - I think it's because I'm brown. Seriously, though, in over 20 years of living in the US I have never been stopped by the police. Be prepared for it here - _always_ carry ID.

    In all, I really can't recommend France as a place to live for disenchanted Americans (and yes, I do speak French). It's a blast to visit, but I'd never want to live here.

  • by Catbeller (118204) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:15AM (#16578462) Homepage
    http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Out-Leaving/dp/09760 82276 [amazon.com]

    [All of the following is quoted from the Amazon book description]

    Book Description

    Had enough?

    Whether you find the government oppressive, the economy spiraling out of control, or if you simply want adventure, you're not alone. In increasing numbers, the idea is talked about openly: Expatriate.

    Over three hundred thousand Americans emigrate each year, and more than a million go to foreign lands for lengthy stays.

    But picking up and moving to another country feels like a step into the void. Where to go? How to begin? What to do?

    Volume 2 of the Process Self-Reliance Series, this smartly designed two-color guidebook walks you through the world of the expat: the reasons, the rules, the resources, and the tricks of the trade, along with compelling stories and expertise from expatriate Americans on every continent.

    Getting Out shows you where you can most easily gain residence, citizenship, or work permits; where can you live for a fraction of the cost of where you're living now; and what countries would be most compatible with your lifestyle, gender, age, or political beliefs.

    So if you've had enough of what they're selling here and want to take your life elsewhere-well, isn't that the American way? At any rate, it's not illegal. Not yet, anyway.

    About the Author
    Mark Ehrman is a frequent traveler and freelance writer whose work regularly appears in the Los Angeles Times, Playboy, Travel and Leisure, and numerous travel magazines city guidebooks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:11AM (#16579458)
    I don't get it either. Some people become utterly brilliant when stoned, others become completely stupid. I've never been able to predict which way someone will go. For a lot of people you can't really tell they are stoned unless they are REALLY stoned.

    I can also vouch for the non-addictiveness of pot. I used to smoke pot regularly, many of my friends as well. Quitting was easy - you just don't buy anymore and that's it. I've smoked a few times since I stopped smoking it regularly and felt no urge to go back to smoking it regularly afterwards. I would have a harder time ending my Battlestar Galactica "addiction".
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:33AM (#16579998)
    As a European living in the US, that doesn't sound very much different how the US treats high tech workers.

    Driver's license was cheap, but I had to wait in line at DMV for 2 hours, study for an exam, do the exam, wait 6 months until I could take a driving test... I was still able to drive legally during this time with a provisional license.

    My visa is tied to my current employer. If I get laid off (without warning, as is the custom here) I have 10 days to leave the country. Getting a visa took something like 6 months, but I could bring my family with me. My spouse can not work at all, not even for charities, for free. The visa is good for 3 years, the renewal taking months, and then good for another 3 years after which I have to leave.

    For permanent residency ("green card") you have to go through a process that used to take as much as 6 years, now you may be able to get it in a year. Costs about $10,000. Incredibly bureacratic process, that includes health exam of all things (don't you think me being here 6 years would have caused me to spread whatever disease I might have?). In my area the final parts of the process include going to wait in line starting at 3 am in the morning, or you will not be able to get in to the office during the day.
  • Re:Absolute right? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms.infamous@net> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:36AM (#16580048) Homepage
    I would accept that a person generally has a right to control their own body, until they show that they are incapable (murder, theft, public intoxication?, etc.) of self-control.

    Non sequitor. Murder, theft, and disruptive public behavior are not examples of controlling one's own body.

    Obviously one can lose rights by engaging in criminal behavior. I took that as an unspoken axiom, but in case there's any ambigutity: competent adults have certain absolute rights, including self-defense, controlling their own bodies, freedom of belief, etcetera. People who demonstrate incompetence by engaing in behaviors that significantly violate the rights of others, or credibly threaten to do so, may be placed under close supervision (including incarceration, probation, and parole) and have those rights restricted to the degree necessary to protect the rights of others. Since they are not "competent adults", this does not alter the proposition that "competent adults have certain absolute rights".

    Both of these [drug purity and anti-intoxicated driving laws] seem to contradict the word "absolute" in your initial statement of faith.

    Not at all. Threatening my safety by getting behind the wheel when you're not fit to drive is not an example of controlling your own body. Nor is fraudulantly selling impure drugs (or food or anything else).

    Is it true, in spite of extensive experience with banning other products and pretty solid economic theory, that legal prohibition doesn't decrease drug use?

    Drug use, sitting home getting drunk/high/stoned/tripping/whatever once in a while, it ain't nobody's business if you do [mcwilliams.com]. Extensive experience and pretty solid economic theory shows that drug abuse is increased by prohibition; prohibtion drives people towards more concentrated (easily smuggled) drugs, removes assurances of purity (increasing the risks of poisoning or overdose), encourages unhealthy usage patterns, and shackles the free-market forces that would lead to the development of more pleasant and less harmful drugs.

  • by VdG (633317) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @12:28PM (#16581088)
    What a load of ignorant nonsense.

    VAT is 17.5%. If a business is VAT registered it does not pay VAT on the materials and services which it buys, specifically so that consumers don't get charged twice. A small business may choose not to be VAT registered, (although there's a maximum turnover, above which they don't get a choice). In that case, their customers are effectively paying VAT twice, but the company saves the effort of dealing with HMC&E. The threshold is quite low, I believe.

    Some categories of goods have a reduced rate, e.g. domestic fuel. Some goods are zero-rated, e.g. food, (although that doesn't include snack foods, restuarants and a few other things). The full details are available on the Customs and Excise site, here: http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/ [hmrc.gov.uk]

    Your knowledge of our income tax is also clearly quite flawed. Everyone gets a tax-free allowance of about £5k - more for married people and the elderly, plus there are other allowances available for various things. Starting rate on income above this is 10%, on the next couple of thousand income. Basic rate is 22%. Then you pay 40% on income above about £40k. You don't pay income tax on pension contributions, and a bunch of other stuff paid directly from your sallary. Nor do you pay income tax on the returns from certain types of investments, (ISAs).

    There's National Insurance, too, which is not paid by the lowest earners, (effectively those on less than the £5k income tax allowance), then at 11% on upto £645 per week, and 1% on anything above that. This is specifically to cover the state pension and other social benefits, so once you reach the state retirement age you stop paying it - even if you're still working.

    Tax is complicated stuff - perhaps needlessly so - but I'm prety sure those details are correct, since I just looked them up on http://www.direct.gov.uk/ [direct.gov.uk]. (And I must remember to complete my tax return soon.)

    Your comments on illegal immigrants are just as ludicrous: the sort of misleading garbasge spewed out by the most reactionary tabloids.

    For a start, you're probably confusing illegal immigrants with assylum applicants - or more likely don't understand the difference. Illegal immigrants won't be getting any handouts because they're not known to the system! Assylum applicants don't have an easy time of it and certainly don't get "dole", if by that you mean job-seeker's allowance, (what used to be Unemployment Benefit). They do get some social security payments, because we're not the sort of country that would let them starve to death whilst their application is considered - nothing to do with being racist or not. Some will be accepted, some will be kicked out, (the majority). Being a bureaucratic process it takes a while.

    There are quite a lot of perfectly legitimate workers coming in from outside the UK, but at the moment most of those are from Eastern Europe - new members of the EU like Poland - and they're providing valuable services to the UK economy, and paying UK taxes. Plenty of good Polish builders around at the moment, which is great for us homeowners who need roofs fixing and the like.

    I'm glad you're happy in the USA, and I don't care too much what you think of the UK, but please, if you're going to slag us off take the trouble to make your claims at least vaguely resemble reality.
  • by Dr. Donuts (232269) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @12:39PM (#16581266)
    You might want to take a bit of caution when applying for this kind of work. I speak of this from first-hand experience.

    Dealing with classified information is very high risk from a personal standpoint. The penalties of a security breach due to personal negligence is *very* harsh. And by the job description, you'll be up to your ears in it.

    Also, an Information Management position isn't strictly IT work. It's a hybrid position consisting of both IT work and your rather mundane office-assistant paperwork shuffler.

    Government employment has very nice benefits, and provides a very stable work environment. However, keep in mind that whenever you work with classified information there is a lot of risk/stress involved.
  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary&yahoo,com> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:10PM (#16581846) Journal
    I did computer security for one of the best clubs in San Francisco. We had city supervisors and official from the Department of Public Health visit our club to see a model of how it should be done right. We also had a federally funded critical care hospital contract with us to deliver cannabis to their AIDS patients. We gave away free food, had free counselling services and support groups for people with HIV, cancer, and hep-c as well as groups for people trying to get off harder drugs.

    We taught harm reduction techniques, and in fact everyone that worked there had to take a class in harm reduction. Everything Mr. Slippery is saying is true. Smoking is the problem, not cannabis. We sold many varieties of baked goods and tinctures. We also sold several brands of vaporizers, and every new member was told of the dangers and options during their hour long orientation.

    You can not smoke enough cannabis to kill yourself. You would pass out first. You would have to eat several kilos of high grade hash to do the job. Cannabis is mildly physically addicting, having withdrawal symptoms ranging in severity from coffee withdrawal to nicotine withdrawal (only without the intense cravings.)

    The main danger of cannabis is demotivation, which generally only happens with people who smoke it to escape anyway. People who smoke it as a medicine for pain or appetite stimulation do not generally suffer from amotivational syndrome. But if you are smoking pot as an escape, as with any other escapist behavior, a lot of life can pass you by while you are engaging in that behavior.
  • Re:Welll..... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:03PM (#16584600)
    Not sure if you'll even see this, but I figure I'll ask, everyone talks about how easy IT people have it, but what about Engineers? I would move to Europe in a heartbeat once my school loans were paid off, if I were to just find a job there. Currently I've worked for a private Engineering firm in the States for 2 years (I graduated in '04), but I've never looked into trying to find a job overseas. Is Engineering a harder field to move into overseas as compared to IT?

    Language I thought would be a barrier, but some of you guys make it sound like it's not a big deal. I'm fluent in Spanish, though, so I guess Spain is always an option. I speak a little French, but it's basic - although if I were to live in France again I'm sure I could pick it up fairly quickly considering its similarity to Spanish.

    Shoot, I'd even take a lower paying job than one in Engineering (until I found a real one, of course), that's how bad I want to move out there. And for the record, yes, I've visited Europe several times (UK, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain on short trips; lived in France for a summer) so I know how much I've loved it there.

    I've also lived in Vietnam for a summer, and I was raised in Mexico until I was 10. So yes, I've been around, for me it's more of a personal desire to move to Europe rather than one of trying to get out of the US.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell

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