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If Not America, Then Where? 2349

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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  • by Hawthorne01 (575586) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:49AM (#16572706)
    But I'm in America by choice, and will be for a loooooong time. I friggin' love it here, warts and all. Lived in Latin America, raised in Canada, and there's no place I'd rather be.
  • by Anonymous Crowhead (577505) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:51AM (#16572724)
    Not because of this pipe dream bullshit of leaving the US because it "sucks", but because I can retire 20 years earlier than I could if I stayed in the US. I've even bought land. Better than my $400K house in the city now at 1/100th of the cost.
  • by Salvance (1014001) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:52AM (#16572740) Homepage Journal
    I love America, and don't want to leave; however, I see multiple reasons why I may be 'forced' to leave: the impact of our massive debt on the future economy, the shift to a stronger executive branch (and what this might yield), and the impact of a swelling unsupported lower/debtor class. If in a situation where I felt I had no other options, I'd move to Vienna, Austria. Every time I've been there, I've been enthralled by the people, the cleanliness, the relatively hands-off government (at least compared to some European and particularly Scandinavian countries), the wealth of job opportunities, the high proportion of English speakers, and the area's focus on health and fitness. It has always seemed like a home away from home.
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:2, Interesting)

    by medtest9 (1017832) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:23AM (#16572968)
    It is my understanding that residing legally in the Netherlands for 5 years or more makes you eligible to apply for citizenship. As mentioned above, if you can find a company registered with IND for knowledge immigrants, who will offer to pay you a sufficient wage (a bit over 43K euro last time I looked), obtaining a visa is a simple process.
  • by kestasjk (933987) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:24AM (#16572986) Homepage
    Having moved from England I love it here in Australia, and I've found the people here to generally be much better informed than those in England.
  • Costa Rica (Score:3, Interesting)

    by budword (680846) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:49AM (#16573146)
    Costa Rica. They don't hate Americans. You can drink the water (if you were wondering).Great weather. No army. Easy immigration. Democracy. Universal health care. I'm leaving because I was arrested and held in jail for 2 days for not having my dogs licensed in a town they didn't live in. Yes, you read that right. I had already been convicted of not having my dogs licensed, with no notice even of any infraction, much less a trial. Had no right to appear before a judge, or even call a lawyer. That's for people who haven't already been convicted. Welcome to the law for and by bored small town cops. Northern Wisconsin, for any who were wondering.
  • Re:Welll..... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @03:03AM (#16573244)
    How many kebab stores do you find in Paris?

    How many McDonalds, KFC and Burger King (combined) do you find in Paris?

    I find the notion that 'Americans are destroying world food culture' with demonstrations destroying McDonaldses quite interesting - if you want to burn a store for infringing on your country, burn a kebab store. Except that would be racist, of course. So if you want to stay 'amongst the company of good men', break a McDonalds instead.

    Even better - 'McDonalds out of the Middle East' - count the number of McDonaldses in Riyad versus the number of kebab stores in Paris. Whichever there is more of, burn them. Is this acceptable to you?

  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Matje (183300) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @03:23AM (#16573392)
    I don't think you paint a very true picture of the situation. First of all, the amount of tax you pay increases progressively. You don't pay 50% income tax over the first x amount of income (around 50,000 euro's in the Netherlands). On top of that, there's all sorts of tax reduction rules which mean you don't pay 50% of your income to the taxman. Most people I know that have incomes in the 50% income bracket calculate with 35 - 40% as the effective income tax percentage.

    Gasoline does not really matter because for some weird reason European cars are more efficient than American cars. If you want to compare transportation costs you should be looking at the amount you pay per month. In a country such as the Netherlands you don't travel nearly as much as you would in the US. In the end I doubt you really pay that much less for your car + gasoline in the US compared to Europe. Personally I pay about 400 euros a month for my car, gasoline, maintainance etc driving about 1600 miles per month.

    Interestingly, around the time that gasoline prices went up the dollar vs euro rate went down. Consequently our gasoline prices did not really increase that much. Currently you'd pay a bit less than 5 euros for a gallon of gasoline in the Netherlands, which is about $6.

    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.

    In truth, they don't suck at all. Need a painkiller? go to the pharmacy and get some (normally you'll have to pay for it unless you get a recipe, then the insurance covers it). Did you know that Europeans spend less per person on health care but get more actual care compared to the US (there was an article about this in the NYT last week).

    Annual dental checkups are covered by the national insurance in the Netherlands, and all dental care is free under 18. However, dental care in general is very expensive so the national insurance covers very little except the yearly checkup and stuff like fake teeth. As for the police, they're doing ok as far as I can tell. I've never heard stories about the police refusing to investigate cases, other than bike thefts in Amsterdam which are considered a fact of life. The differences in crime rates between the US and Europe are well documented I believe. It may have something to do with the prevalence of guns in US society.

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @03:39AM (#16573542)
    Simple process? Hahahahahaha... I've lived in this cesspit called the Netherlands for almost 10 years. It is if anything an example of exactly how not to run an immigration system.

    Yes you can come here if you find a company willing to hire you for a wage that exceeds 43K Euro - not that hard to do if you're any kind of educated professional... but you also walk into an immigration system that is broken beyond anything you can imagine. It's is simply legislated stupidity run by a government minister who hates foreigners with a passion not seen for decades.

    If you have the misfortune of owning a passport from a non-EU county other than Canada, The USA, New Zealand, Australia or Japan, then you MUST learn Dutch before you enter the country, you cannot bring your spouse or children unless they also learn Dutch prior to entering the country (no learning Dutch after you arrive is not good enough). After you arrive you must go through an integration course (you're generally exempt if you're from one of the "good' countries listed above) where they teach you all the good things about the Dutch way of life.. like how to flush a toilet (yes they taught me that useful skill), how many wheels a car has (yes that was in my course)... how great and glorious the Dutch people are... how superior they are compared to everyone else... you have to answer important questions like... "what are Dutch men best known for?" and the correct answer being "their trustworthiness"

    Trust me... the Netherlands is NOT worth the hassle. Do yourself a favor and go anywhere else in the world but the Netherlands.

    I'm leaving here as soon as I can. I'm tired of not being able to have my family live in the same damn country as me. I'm tired of being told by this same Immigration office that if I want to live with my wife, I should just leave the country - and they tell that to their own citizens too.. not just foreigners. I have a close friend who is native Dutch and married to an African woman. The IND here told him there was no chance at all that his wife of 5 years would ever be able to join him here and that he should simply leave the country of his birth if he wanted to be with his wife, or divorce her and marry a good Dutch woman like he should have done in the first place. Yup, the IND here did tell him that... I've read the letter they sent him.

    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. Used to be the case that you could retain dual citizenship, but now they won't issue the Dutch citizenship unless you've provided proof that you've legally renounced your previous citizenship. The danger here being... that for 12 years after gaining your Dutch citizenship, the IND can revoke your Dutch citizenship for any reason, and without a court order... so for 12 years your citizenship is at the mercy and whim of the IND... and they have proven that they can and will arbitrarily revoke citizenships of people leaving them stateless for no reason at all.

    Don't come to the Netherlands except on vacation, and even then do yourself a favor and give it a miss... go somewhere more interesting.
  • Easy Answer Here... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fuzzybunny (112938) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @03:40AM (#16573546) Homepage Journal
    1) Switzerland. It's clean, tidy, cosmopolitan, safe, has low taxes, great restaurants, beautiful countryside, a reasonabl educated population, a strong economy, 20% foreigners so fairly limited xenophobia in the parts that matter compared to many other European countries, isn't part of the EU, and is a few hours from Paris, Milan, Venice, Munich and other cool spots.

    2) What's keeping me from moving there? Well, nothing--I already did. I've lived on 3 continents, and it's by far the nicest country I've been to (barring Canada, but brrrr.)

    I moved for personal reasons (girlfriend), but I can see 100% where people frustrated with the way the US is moving are coming from. I have two remaining, ageing family members in the US whom I visit whenever possible, and every time I come here I notice what seems like a general decline in civility and reason. From the whiny nasal-voiced stewardesses on every US air carrier (and the $5 drinks charge on international flights--WTF?!?) to the screechy populist media, intrusive laws and lowbrow politics, it all gets a bit tiresome.

    I often catch myself feeling guilty about having such an arrogant attitude, but to be honest I'd rather enjoy the good bits from afar whenever I can, for at least as long as the US is "staying the course."

    Friends of mine have also moved to Ireland, Japan, Australia and various other countries--they all like wherever it is they moved. The most important part is doing your research and, if possible, spending some time there--I know plenty of expats who are miserable because they just didn't check their new home country out before going.
  • by htnprm (176191) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @03:46AM (#16573602) Homepage
    Note. Not flamebait, so don't mod me as such...

    Yes, well try living in one of those countries with "ridiculous tax rates". Free or cheaper heath care. Free or cheaper tertiary education. Lower crime rates through a restorative justice system, as opposed to just "Lock 'em up". Decent public transport. But you are a "patriotic American", which from experience equals "Get a brain morans. Go USA!". So you stick with that. The rest of us are enjoying you staying right where you are.

    "If money is all you love, then that's what you'll receive" - Princess Leia
  • Barcelona, Spain (Score:5, Interesting)

    by remolacha (473415) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @03:54AM (#16573674)
    I came to Barcelona because I met a Catalan woman who was studying in the US. That was in 2000. As with anywhere, there are pros and cons. I've also picked up some different perspectives on the US living outside of it. To sum up:

    living in Barcelona: pros

    1. the flow of time is different, slower somehow. people have more time outside of work and seem to make spending it with each other a priority. It's not that the work hours are so different, it's more of a cultural thing- work is usually not the center of one's life, or something they use to define themselves. for instance, you can get to know someone over months and never find out what they do (this may be related to con #1, see below.) most people get a month of vacation each year, plus innumerable long (3 and 4 day weekends). there's a big emphasis on getting together for long, tasty meals and laughing and drinking good wine. we lived in new york for 6 months a few years ago (ending a 1-year stay 6 months early) and I felt like I was running all the time, never had time to be with my family.

    2. it's easier to be middle class. healthcare is free, education is cheap, public transit is cheap and excellent (the latter is for barcelona, not necessarily the rest of the country.) we have two little kids (9mos and 5yrs) and no car and it's not an issue. on a salary of us$60k we live well, even with the dollar worth .79 euro cents.

    3. the level of education and knowledge about the world of the average person on the street is pretty high, compared to the US. people have travelled, speak at least two languages (spanish and catalan and usually bad english, and french). the public schools start earlier here (3 yrs old) and are a lot more rigorous than the public schools I went to in washington DC.

    3. you are close to a wide range of different cultures, should you like exploring. if you travel the same distance from say, new york to cleveland, you can be in much of north africa, most of western europe, a bunch of eastern europe. turkey is a stone's throw away. even within spain there are seven or so regional languages and cultures that are strikingly different. western europe is slowly mixing and homogenizing due to the european union effort, but it still seems like an adventure every time I get on a train or a plane. maybe this is just because I'm not from here.

    cons:

    1. the work opportunities and work culture suck. education being cheap or free, you have a lot of really well educated people and not enough jobs requiring their skills. thus employers are used to paying bad salaries, paying late, not treating employees too well, etc. maybe this is a holdover from the years of dictatorship that only ended in the 70s. higher-ups generally fuck with those under them and it's not pleasant. getting a job often has more to do with whom you know or are related to, rather than what you can do (this is a cliche, but it is _really_ true here.) these negatives may be changing slowly, I'm not sure. I came on with a US company and started telecommuting about a year ago and now work for spanish firms only as a consultant, which gives me a certain amount of freedom and leverage.

    2. speaking spanish isn't really enough, to really integrate you have to learn some level of catalan (the regional language in which government and local business is conducted), which is sort of like learning portuguese- similar, but still another language (not a dialect). even if it were only spanish one had to learn, it's was a part-time job for a me for a few years to get good at a language. classes, etc. Some people learn can languages faster of course.

    on living outside of the US:

    one thing you realize is that the US is a good place for work and earning money (if you're educated and posess certain skillsets - if you aren't, it looks like wal-mart, doesn't it?) and that the fact that you can often be evaluated for what you are able to do, rather than your connections, is damn nice.

    you also see a lot of things in press that
  • France! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dmayle (200765) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @03:56AM (#16573692) Homepage Journal

    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.

    I think that the primary differences between France and the U.S. is that the citizens actively participate in their government. 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), and speech is limited in certain ways (hate speech is not protected speech).

    In spite of this, though, there isn't the feeling of distrust that exists in the U.S. with regards to the government. Something that impressed me was back during the vote for the European constitution, a book that explained the version of the constitution being voted on jumped to number one on the bestseller list during the weeks/months preceding the vote. It made me proud to be living here.

    For the French, the government is THEM, and everyone gets up and shouts when there is something they don't like, You may hear jokes about the French striking, because there is often some group in the news, whether it be the postal service, trains, air traffic controllers, on strike, but I think it's a healthy sign that not only are people working for change, but there's someone on the other side listening. Most strikes are resolved in less than a week, and life goes back to normal.

    For Americans looking to make the plunge, you don't need to know any French to get started, if you want to work either in Paris, or in southern France near Nice (Sophia Antipolis is a huge office/science/tech park 20 minutes outside of Nice), but it's good manners to try. When I arrived, I didn't speak a word of French, and have since learned it well enough that I work entirely in French.

    Also to note, you normally have to find a French company willing to hire you before you come if you are not a student. However, it's not too hard to find American or International companies who will hire you in the U.S. (pay you in dollars) to work in France.

    If you want to date the locals, you will have to learn French. However, as long as your accent isn't too horrific, it's considered cute, and just as American women go gaga when French men say "enchanté" (nice to meet you, or literally enchanted), French women seem to go gaga over the phrase "my pleasure" when used to demur after having done something nice.

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

    by Jaden42 (466735) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:03AM (#16573742)
    I actually am an American living in the Netherlands. I didn't take the time to read the other posts (sorry!) to see if someone else had posted this information but I thought I'd do it anyway since I have a personal interest.

    I moved here about 6 months ago with the help of the company I work for. Because of my salary I was allowed to get what is called a "Knowledge Migrant" (kennismigrant) visa. This is a special "fast track" visa that is granted to people who make over 45,000 euros if they are over 30 or 32,600 euros if you under under 30. It allows me to bypass most processes for migration (no requirement for degrees, language classes, etc) but does NOT allow me access to the public health or pension system. Because I was able to follow the kennismigrant procecss, it was fairly simple to get settled in. Also, since I will likely be subject to the 30% tax ruling (an beneficial ruling) I will be able to swap my US drivers license for a Dutch one without taking any tests or classes. Being that Dutch driving classes can run into the 1000s of euros this is a good thing.

    Life in the Netherlands is nice and the country is great. They say that 80-90% of the Dutch people speak English which I find to be accurate. I am always able to get around with English and the few Dutch words I know. I am currently enrolled in classes to learn Dutch, but it's an incredibly difficult language because the two languages I already speak fluently (English and Spanish) have virtually no relationship to Dutch besides some common sounding words. The society here is fairly modern and you can get everything you need at any time, except Sunday. Everything is closed on Sundays except for restaurants, which generally open around 4 in the afternoon.

    I found this article of particular interest because often time, especially from Americans, I hear things like "This country is stupid and I'd love to leave". After living in a few different countries now, I can honestly say I'd rather live no where else permanently but the US. The Netherlands and the the UK (the other place I spent considerable time) are great places, but it's not home. Life in other countries is very inconvenient (yes, I know, an American comment) and the people are generally much more orderly and nicer in the US. This may seem like a shock to people in the US (and a shock to people outside the US too) but I truly believe that is how it is. Simple things like standing in a line to wait for services or having a quick meal do not exist here. I know that for some people that is a charm, but for me it's an annoyance.

    As a final note, I recently sent my entire team (10 Dutch guys) back to the US for training on our product. It was in the SF Bay Area and they all had a great time. The weather was perfect, the people were nice, and they all particular enjoyed Starbucks (the Dutch are huge coffee drinkers). When they all came back, each and every one of them pointedly asked me why the hell I would move here and leave San Francisco. It was nice validation for me and the US and makes me even more anixous to one day return.

    I hope this post has given some insight to some people. Until you have truly lived somewhere else you won't understand how lucky we are in the US. Simply visiting a country on vacation does not give you the proper insight. You really need to experience daily life in other parts of the world to understand how good you have it.
  • by MikShapi (681808) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:09AM (#16573782) Journal
    US vs Australia? Let's have a go.

    1. Australia is by-large not religious (I'm not talking about the institutions. I'm talking about the people). Most of the issues that spark heated public debate in the US because of their religious ("""ethical""") implications are non-issues to start with here or minor issues at best. Not because people don't care but simply because religious nutcases don't have anything that even comes close to their US lobby. Oh, and our president doesn't do things because God told him to.

    2. The mentality is not a complete (at least to the limited extent of my experience from living in the US and.. well.. TV), utter shitpile. Apologies to whomever lives in the pockets of educated and civilized society in the US (which I acknoledge exist yet are somehow not nearly influential enough when it comes to interacting with the outside world). In Australia, the vast majority of people, both the ones on TV and the ones you meet, don't live in this "my-business-is-none-of-your-business" and "that's-not-my-problem" mindset.

    3. Australians don't get forcefed with propaganda dumbing them down and telling them who is good, who is bad and what to think (I think Americans call this "Fox News") and don't view the world through a bipolar "everything is either black or white" oversimplified good-vs-evil prism.

    4. While the government is often accused of having its tongue too deep up the royal American Hiney, the government gets things done, and lining up what the country has accomplished and what services (social, educational etc) it provides its citizens - up against any other country you care to name, Australia is world-class and in the lead. The vast majority of things that get done here get done right, and when you ask something along "why did the government do that, there is always a simple and logical solution behind it. Things just make sense. Our policies are made listening to scientists, not celebrities or industry cartels (most of the time, at least).

    5. Most aussies don't winge about problems. They sort them.

    6. The only two things Australians worship religiously is nature and quality recreation.

    7. We don't block vegemite imports (bad, bad folate! vit B12 makes you stupid!) after they make films like "Supersize me!" about what we do consider legal (and by the same coin, not bad for you I guess) to import and/or sell as food. Anyone for an extra-fat supersize cheeseburger and a 5-gallon coke?

    Expensive? somewhat. It's the price one pays for living in modern society.

    Australian mentality is all the good traits of the American mentality pooled in with all the good traits of some European ones, minus most of the bad stuff of either side. That alone is worth spending one's life here.

    Ok. I'm done. Mod me to hell, American fanboys!
  • by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfr ... 14159et minus pi> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:16AM (#16573826) Homepage Journal
    On the surface it looks like a good idea, but it's absolutely ridiculous that a human shouldn't be able to freely roam the public spaces of their own planet!
    Absolutely. The passport is nothing more than the evolution of the Lord's Chit, from back when most people were serfs/slaves/property and needed their lord/master's permission to leave his demesne.

    Every international criminal on earth has a valid passport. Their only purpose is make governments feel like they are still our lords and benefactors.
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Macthorpe (960048) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:55AM (#16574168) Journal
    How does that stop it being addictive and how does that stop people getting addicted to it?

    Just because it's psychological rather than chemical doesn't change a thing.
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Matje (183300) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:56AM (#16574176)
    I empathize with you. I can remember gasoline costing $1 a gallon when I lived in the US. But on the other hand we would have to drive 30 minutes to get some groceries. Over here it's a five minute bike ride or a five minute drive to get to a shopping mall. So I really doubt you're paying that much less for your transportation if you look at your montly bills.

    High energy prices in Europe are simply a way to encourage people to use energy efficiently. I don't see what's wrong with that, and as long as the tax money is well spent by the government I don't see the problem with it either.
  • by shani (1674) <shane@time-travellers.org> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:01AM (#16574226) Homepage
    I moved away, just to live abroad for a bit.

    But after a few years I realised that my worldview is more similar to the country I live in (the Netherlands) than the country I'm from (the USA).

    Why should I try to convince 300 million Americans to have the life that I enjoy, when I have found 16 million people who already do? Americans like their country the way it is.

    Holland is crowded, expensive, and the weather sucks. But it's got way more actual freedom than the US, there is almost no poverty, violence is low, and people care way more about enjoying life than working. It works for me.

    One of my friends just returned from the USA, and he misses it. He misses his cars, the hundreds of channels on the TV, the cheap food with good service. He misses being able to pay money to have his problems go away. He misses people who are excited about starting businesses. These things matter to him, so I expect he'll be back sooner or later.

    No country is perfect. I don't think it's so bad to want to move to a place where life is more like you want it to be.
  • Italy vs. Norway (Score:4, Interesting)

    by orzetto (545509) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:08AM (#16574270)

    I thought about moving to Italy once.

    Hi there! I am an Italian who never worked in Italy and moved out as soon as I finished education. Almost thirty and not a day unemployed yet :-)

    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).

    Though you will hear Giovanni Birramedia ("Joe Sixpack") and populist politicians complain about high taxes, those are quite standard rates in Europe. Except for the 50% which is simply untrue (though it is a popular stereotype, you might have heard it said). Gas is currently at about 1.2 euros/litre. Anyway, I will take high taxes over social inequality any day: a bit because of I have a sense of justice, a bit because I do not like getting mugged.

    The high taxes were there to support their social services.

    Well, it's no news there is a high and endemic level of corruption in Italian politics. Again, every country has the politicians it deserves, and the current Zeitgeist is such that a former minister can be sentenced to six years in jail for heavy corruption charges (Cesare Previti [wikipedia.org] was sentenced for having basically bought the whole courthouse in Rome) and half the population will still believe that it is a persecution of communist judges. Tolerance for corruption is so high that we have boss and vice-boss of the military secret service under investigation for kidnapping and torture, and no one seems to care. I mean, no one has actually asked them to resign.

    Virtually no concept of sexual harassment or workplace misconduct.

    That surprises me. Either you got a wrong impression, or the situation in the US must be similar to the jus primæ noctis. The lower layers of society (illegal aliens and such) are regularly mistreated [repubblica.it] at the level of downright slavery. I suppose it depends a lot on the branch you work in.

    Want a painkiller for your broken leg? Tough.

    That has something to do with catholicism—you have to achieve sanctity through pain. That's not really what the doc is thinking, but just because it is unusual to give painkillers doctors are not used to that. This has been subject of debate in recent years, so maybe it has improved.

    Europe sucks if you actually want to make something of yourself through hard work.

    Italy sucks for that. If you want to be successful in Italy you must play much more politics at work and in the larger sense than in other countries, and you must be "blackmailable": the system rejects noncorrupted, as the system is built on a gigantic Mexican standoff where everybody must be able to trash anybody else in a sort of mutual-assured-destruction way. That's what comes out of endemic corruption. Of course there are bunches of honest people, but they are far away from power and kept there.

    Now, I live in Norway. The main disadvantage I have found is that locals always talk their dialect rather than standard Norwegian, which is kind of irritating. Of course, you get that if this is the main problem I could find, there aren't really that many. The Norwegian tax level is sometimes indicated as the highest in the world, but I never paid more than 25% of direct tax (income tax, social security, fortune tax and so on). VAT is high (25%) and so are food prices because of protectionism (for some reason Norwegian think of themselves as a people historically of farmers, instead of pirates (Vikings) in the past and oil exporters (North Sea) now. Wages are fairly high (especially for Italian standards: a PhD student turns in over 2,300 euros/month. That's

  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:13AM (#16574314)
    No weirdness involved.

    It's also because you don't really need air conditioning in most parts of Europe, most of the engines use higher-grade fuel instead of huge displacements, manual transmissions are far more common, Europeans would rather drive a station wagen than a SUV, Diesel engines aren't (mistakenly) believed to be dirty and just for trucks, etc.

    Really, there is no weirdness at all.

  • Vote (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kevin lyda (4803) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:47AM (#16574570) Homepage
    If you do leave, vote: http://www.votefromabroad.org/ [votefromabroad.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:09AM (#16574710)
    as for keeping guns in drawers - the primary reason for this right in the US is to kill government types who overstep their bounds
    Yeah, right... we've seen that in the news. Some guys put that right to the test and FBI put them out, including some of the kids (they blamed that on killed guys afterwards). You do that, you're done for it.
  • Re:France! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jesrad (716567) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:12AM (#16574734) Journal
    In spite of this, though, there isn't the feeling of distrust that exists in the U.S. with regards to the government.

    For the French, the government is THEM, and everyone gets up and shouts when there is something they don't like

    Surely you must be living in a parallel-universe France, instead of the one I've been living in for a quarter century. Defiance regarding the state is rampant, there are whole cities out of reach of the police power, people distrust the government with a passion. In fact being critical of the executive powers is the national sport here. Yet there is a constant obsession with politics, which I think is symptomatic of a country fast sinking into fascism (be it of the collectivist or corporatist kind), where people are paralysed into believing salvation can only come from the very same people they loathe and curse at everyday. It's simply not healthy at all, it's like a pervasive mental disease that permeates everything, from friendships to work relations and even down to simple shopping interactions.

    And there also is a fact that anyone considering moving to France should consider: french people are emigrating fast, at a rate of 100,000 to 200,000 each year, and it has been going like this for years already (2+ million people left the country, compare this with Cuba). This is the most massive exodus this country has ever known since the French Revolution ! There are reasons behind this continuous stream of people, reasons for fleeing this country.
  • Re:Italy vs. Norway (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xtracto (837672) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:22AM (#16574810) Journal
    the system rejects noncorrupted, as the system is built on a gigantic Mexican standoff where everybody must be able to trash anybody else in a sort of mutual-assured-destruction way. That's what comes out of endemic corruption. Of course there are bunches of honest people, but they are far away from power and kept there.

    Hey Amigo! Salud!

    Haha, that has been the best description of corruption I have read in some time. It is interesting to know from where did you got the "Mexican standoff" corruption idea. Not that it is not true, it is as truely as it gets in my Mexican opinion :)

    cheers,

    A mexican
  • by Circlotron (764156) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:22AM (#16574814)
    "The vast majority of things that get done here get done right, .... Things just make sense. Our policies are made listening to scientists," --> I heard recently that successive governments have been talking about what to do about the Murray-Darling basin soil and salinity problems since ==1917==...
  • Re:New Zealand (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hairy1 (180056) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:24AM (#16574828) Homepage
    New Zealand rules. Sure the Telecom companies have us over a barrel, the Govrenment wants us to pay several times for the same service, the health system is falling apart, public transport and roading is a joke, but on the flip side we have a Government who isn't in the pocket of big business, have the best natural scenery, a pretty relaxed way of life. I can recommend New Zealand; except that Americans arn't really that popular right now. For god sake stay and vote the Republicans out so the US can start to heal the damage the Republicans have done.
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ulven (679148) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:28AM (#16574860)

    Actually, you were right on that the first time. The Netherlands doesn't appear to allow dual nationality.

    I was only taking issue with your phrase "It's not possible anywhere in the world..." Perhaps this isn't exactly what you mean to say?

  • by scum-e-bag (211846) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:31AM (#16574874) Homepage Journal
    They just happened to prepare for massive take-overs and the conglomeration of the market by co-incidence.

    I think its got a bit to do with young James Packer selling off nine. James pulls a lot of strings within the government. He knows there is a major correction comming in the next year or so. I think he is trying to emulate his late father, same deal as when Kerry sold nine, only to buy it back again after the crash of '87. James has been lucky enough to find a sucker willing to take on nine after he intentionally wrecked it by allowing eddie loose at the helm for a while. I just wonder if we will see James try to buy it back in a couple of years for a quarter of the price for what he sold it. This wouldn't be the first time we have seen James try and emulate his late father... remember super league and how similar that attempt was to world series cricket????
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dajak (662256) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:59AM (#16575094)
    Which European country has 70% income taxes!?

    Not the Netherlands, but we used to have it. Tax brackets, with all social security
    payments (unemployment, disability, pension arrangement, widow and orphan pension
    arrangement, child rearing benefit, collective health insurance for disproportionate
    risks) included, are:

    0 to 16,893 = 33.55% (15,65% for 65+)
    16,893 to 30,357 = 40.50% (22,60% for 65+)
    30,357 to 51,762 = 42.00%
    51,762 and up = 52.00%

    Interest paid on mortgage loans is deducted from your income first (people who rent
    a home get a benefit dependent on taxable income, and profit from very generous
    government price controls). And from the resulting amount you subtract 1895.

    This results in an effective tax pressure of 9.9% on income and profits, compared to
    10.9% in the US and 14% EU 15 average (and in all of them it is the rich and the
    very poor that pay very little at the expense of the middle incomes).

    The real extortion is in consumption taxes, for instance fuel, resulting in 38.8%
    of GDP as tax revenue (compared to US 25.4% and EU 15 40.6%). People in the US on
    average spend nearly 10% of GDP more on privately financed health care, and need
    more additional insurance to have a similar level of protection against risks.
    When you factor this out, the real difference between most western countries is
    within a 3% of GDP margin.
  • by jrl (4989) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:24AM (#16575262)
    I owned an operated a small company out of Orange County California for a number of years before recently having my company purchased by a Swedish firm in the same field. I've been here for about 6 months now and am VERY happy for the change of pace. The taxes are higher here, but they actually do a lot to help the people. There are fewer extremely rich folk, but there are also fewer poor people. There is a happy medium where everyone seems to have enough to be happy.

    Sweden so far seems like one of the best places I could have ended up after leaving America. We'll see if I still feel that way after 5+ years :)
  • by mapkinase (958129) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:56AM (#16575488) Homepage Journal
    As a Muslim, I would definitely prefer to live in a Shari'a country. The problem is that there is none in the whole world.

    Paradoxically, the religious rights of Muslims in USA are more protected than in many Muslim countries.

    Your Muslim sister can freely wear headcover, veil or burqa anywhere in US, while this right is officially denied in Turkey (schools, parliament) and Tunisia (all public places). In fact, in Tunisia, a policeman might ask her to remove her headcover on the street and make her sign affidavit that she will never where it again.

    Your Muslim brother can grow a beard of whatever length (at some point he might be confused with a ZZ top fan), while this right is unofficially denied in Uzbekistan and many other Muslim countries.

    Muslim organizations that are banned in Muslim countries such as Egypt, can operate freely in US.

    As a Muslim you can read, watch, listen to any Islamic literature, video or CD (a book abd-ul-Wahhab - no problem, Hizb-ut-Tahrir booklet - no problem), while in almost all Central Asia post-Soviet republics you would likely to be targeted by police if they found out that you own this literature.

    I am quite often called a Wahhabi, an extremist, a fundamentalist, and generally very-very-very bad person. By whom? In 100% cases - by people who call themselves Muslims. I was never called or referred to as such by my fellow Americans.

    There are many bad things that US is doing now to Muslims, like, eh, killing them, for example (Muslims out of the country), by thousands, harassing them in the airports, jailing them for life for being in the wrong place at the wrong time with wrong people (inside the country), referring to them in general (not to confuse with personal attitudes of Americans) as bad people of various flavours (fascists, etc.), supporting dictatorships. On the moral level this poses really tough questions of whether Muslims can live in US and pay taxes.

    At this moment I feel like an old Jew from Odessa, who was given freedom of travelling in the dawn of post-Soviet times, went to the travel agency and after incessant queries about wide range of possibilities to travel to different countries picked by rotating the globe model, asked: "Do you have another globe?".

    But that is ok. It does not really matter where a Muslim lives as long as he can practice his religion. This world is just a test anyway. My real nationality is Paradise (Muslims believe that all people's souls originated from Paradise), and THAT nationality I would definitely would not like to lose.
  • Taiwan (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Vermyndax (126974) <vermyndaxNO@SPAMgalaxycow.com> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @08:01AM (#16575526) Homepage
    I would live in Taiwan. I've been there three times, loved it each time. The rich culture and history just astounds me with each visit. My wife is from Taiwan, so it would be a relatively easy move.

    What stops me from going? Until recently, the foreign spouse could not work in the country (that's changed now). Now what stops me from going: my children. I have a 13 year old daughter who would stay here and a 2 year old son who did NOT get along with Taipei very well. He was panicked and hard to control, thanks to all of the people and busy lifestyle. The wife and I decided that Taipei just wasn't a kid-friendly place... our small backwoods town in the southeast is sufficing just fine.
  • by meburke (736645) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @08:15AM (#16575632)
    That page is full of half-truths and poor statistics.

    I don't drink, smoke or use drugs. There are numerous reasons not to indulge, and I found them all when I used over 20 years ago. False anti-drug propaganda is not necessary in the light of the real reasons for not using drugs.

    However, the arguments for not using drugs do not support the case for making war on drugs, which is an entirely different issue. IMO, the consequences of our drug war far outweigh the harm caused by what would be legal drug use.

    A couple of factoids (not sufficient for decision-making): The UK had almost NO drug-related crime when drugs were available from the National Health Service. Since Thatcher joined Reagan's War on Drugs, the incidence of of violent drug-related crime has shot up astronomically. http://users.easystreet.com/ovid/philosophy/drugwa r.html [easystreet.com]

    I heard a lecture by an economist at Rice University (I forget his name), and he claimed that if we stopped our War on Drugs, the price of a hit of crack would drop to about the price of a couple of aspirin. (His argument was that with costs so small, violence and theft would not be worth the risks.)

    Now that I've said that, remember that the original question was,"Where would you go?" Drug availability should not be the deciding factor.

    At this time, the USA is still a slightly better place to live than almost anyplace in the World, especially eonomically. It is deteriorating, but it is still better. According to the "Pocket World in Figures" (2003 is my latest), only the citizens of Luxembourg have more purchasing power than the average US citizen. Our purchasing power is higher than Japan, Germany, France, England and Canada. I correspond every day with friends who live in Sweden and Norway. They all love it, but it's only a good place to live; not to make money. Things are scarce, money is scarcer. (They have incomes of approximately $3000/mo USD, and this is GOOD income in Sweden! But it buys a lot less than the USA.) This seems to be true of Denmark, also. A friend of mine (Chinese-American with law offices in Houston, Singapore and Rotterdam) says that taxes in the Netherlands take about 75% her income there, prices are high, and services are slow. A friend of mine in Italy said it took her 6 months to get a dial-up internet connection in Rome two years ago, and it costs 4 times what she'd pay in the States. (She met a lot of nice friends in internet cafes, though.)

    Although the Pocket World in Figures somehow calculated that Canada has the highest quality of life (the US second), I have relatives in Regina who had to come to the US for heart surgery because they couldn't get it in Canada; they were too old. Even if you are young enough, it may take 3 months or more to get a bypass or heart transplant.

    I have friends who live in Japan and teach English (earn about $50,000/yr USD), and one who is a CPA working for an American firm, and they all say that the money goes a lot further in Japan, but most Japanese don't earn proportionally equivalent incomes.

    It will change shortly: Those of us who are baby boomers will be retiring shortly. Social Security and Medicare represent about $50 TRILLION dollars of unfunded liabilities. Figure about $250,000 of debt for every man, woman and child in the USA, or about $1,000,000 per household of 4. (These liabilities are reported off-balance-sheet. If the US Government was Enron, Congress would go to jail.) The only way to fund these liabilities will be to raise taxes and create inflation, because it is such a huge amount of the GDP. Since most retirement funds are in the stock market, withdrawals will probably cause the stock market to decline rapidly and deeply. The repercussions will be felt all over the world, and places that might seem a great place to live today will not be so attractive when they can no longer sell their stuff to the USA and the USA is no longer a good place to invest. We
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:11AM (#16576316)
    *You* wanted to move to this country, so *you* should make an effort of blending into society.

    When you build a bridge, you do it from both sides.
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:1, Interesting)

    by elamdaly (590256) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:29AM (#16576614)
    How about Ayaan Hirsi Ali? A member of Dutch parliament so constantly threatened with her life, she chose to flee the Netherlands.

    The problem isn't violence, it's the threat of violence, from a large segment of the Dutch immigrant community. You don't wait until bombs(or people) are exploding all over the country to realize you have a HUGE problem.
  • ISP in France (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Brome (988118) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:32AM (#16576676)
    Oh, and since we're on /. and the vast majority of us are computer geeks, maybe you should also consider this : in France you can have what is probably the best offer for Internet providing in the western world. From what I've seen, only Japan and Korea can top that.

    For 29.90 euros per month, you get triple play : 25 Mbit/s internet access (with 1024 Kbps upload), a phone line with free calls to 28 foreign countries (including USA), and television (100+ free channels, and VoD). Plus a TV box that can record shows, much like a Tivo, and stream video from and to your computer through MIMO wifi.

    That may sound strange and out of proportions, but the internet service providing is what I would miss the most if I had to move from France.
  • by MECC (8478) * on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:38AM (#16576780)
    The 'war' on drugs best illustrates how the US government works. One group of governmental entities confiscates illegal drugs, and another, the CIA, imports them. At one point in time, the CIA (cocain importing agency) was smuggling 21 tons [sonic.net] of cocain into the USA per year. This during the administration of George Bush Sr., who supported/declared 'war' on drugs to the public. Now his kid, not nearly as smart as he is, is making a mess of Iraq the the USA will need to spend the next 15 years cleaning up and all but publicly soiling his shorts to the rest of the world.

    Right now, the USA is a good place to live, economically speaking. That's because most people work hard as dogs (most, not all). As the population ages and declines (we're all too busy to reproduce and can't afford it anyway), how exactly can a government turned against itself and run by a bunch of hippie neo-cons help a situation like that? The fall of the roman empire comes to mind.
  • by mcsestretch (926118) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:41AM (#16576848)
    Spent 2 weeks in Australia for work in 2000.

    Would live there in a heartbeat.

    Everyone I met was really nice and the food was great!
  • Re:New York City (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mr]-[at (71563) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:02AM (#16577218)
    Lived in NYC the last 14 years. Everything you describe is fairly accurate but I want to add two things: 1) Cost of housing is f'd up. How about $1,500 for 300sq feet 'closet'? Good luck trying to find something affordable close to work... http://newyork.craigslist.org/search/abo/mnh/135?m axAsk=1900 [craigslist.org] 2) I don't like confining myself to the city, and renting every time I want/need to be out of the city doesn't make financial sense. - Look up car insurance rates for NYC. - Try looking for parking in Manhattan (below 90th st). I'm 27, my girlfriend's 26, I'm in IT, she's in finance, both make decent money yet still can't really afford anything decent (housing) in the city we've lived most of our lives in, went to school/college, work in. She has an EU citizenship, so if/when we marry we'll think long and hard indeed about moving to an EU country.
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:02AM (#16577226)
    I'm the original AC you replied to. I think the major difference is that I came in under the Kennismigrant program. Seems to be related to, but maybe not the exact same set as the 30% ruling program. Once I had that letter from the belastingdienst saying I qualified it opened all sorts of doors for me. Attached a copy to my drivers license application form and didn't have to take the test, etc. Also the reason why my wife got a work permit on day 1. That's what I mentioned initially -- it's a lot different for us than the usual procedure. I figured a large percentage of the slashdot audience would be interested in and possibly qualified for this program.

    I also found the IND slow, but not as slow as you did. In fact my verblijfsdocument is currently expired and I've been waiting a little over 2 months for my replacement. We'll see how long it takes. My verblijfsdocument is also my work permit, unlike the rest of the immigrants. That means I hold my work permit, not my employer. Big difference!

    As to the language classes, I don't tend to have much sympathy for you if you can't be bothered to go to 80% of the classes that they're providing for free. I work full time, but have only missed classes due to work or pre-planned trips all year. It's important to me to learn Dutch, as I feel it should be. As an immigrant it's my duty to learn the local language and customs. I suspect I'm in the same sort of classes you're in -- most of the people in my classes are not IT people, so it's not just a Kennismigrant class. In fact I had to make several trips to the gemeentehuis and fill out several forms to get my free classes. I did that because it's over 600 EUR per semester per person at university. I suppose the cultural part of the inburgeringscursus will come later? I've heard you have to watch a video of two men kissing or something, we'll see.

    And as to pay, it's definitely a lot lower than the US. I personally took about a 30% - 40% cut and I was in a small town in the US where pay wasn't so impressive. My wife is not working here at all so our household income is well under 50% of the US level. We live a much simpler life, which I feel is a lot higher in quality, as well as a lot more sustainable as a citizen of the planet. In the US we lived in a 2500 square foot house (250 m^2) and had 2 cars and a truck. Now we live in a 75 m^2 apartment and don't own any cars. We eat out maybe twice a month, don't have a TV, don't have any electrical appliances in our kitchen other than an electric teakettle, and use a lot less resources in general. We only produce one small bag of trash a week! I get over an hour a day of exercise cycling to work (although I'm about to quit for the year and take the Metro until March). For me the pay isn't an issue - I learned long ago that money can't buy happiness. I'm definitely happier here although I miss my friends and family dearly.

    The other main thing is that's important to me is that I will legally pay $0 in US taxes this year. Not one penny of what I pay will go to fund those assholes in Washington and what they're doing to the world. I know the Dutch aren't perfect, but they are a hella lot better than the current US leaders! Get rid of Verdonk and things will be even better.

    Also don't forget the fact that the grass here is the best in the world. I've smoked daily for around 15 years (while working as a senior IT consultant -- bite me DEA) and it's a nice feeling to know that I don't have to fear the police. I don't smoke any more because it's legal, in fact I probably smoke less because the quality is so good (and I hadn't smoked schwag in the US for over a decade). I am a lot more relaxed not having to worry that I'm committing a felony just growing and smoking some plants. Since I also don't drive and therefore don't speed, I actually don't have any reason to fear cops for the first time in my adult life!

    All things considered I feel extremely lucky in my situation here. I have a lot less feeling of cognitive
  • by ReadParse (38517) <john@funBOYSENnycow.com minus berry> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:09AM (#16577324) Homepage
    When I was younger (late teens), I had feelings about leaving the country to live in Europe or somewhere. Then I joined the Air Force and had the good fortune to visit 14 countries and to live in one of them for 3 years. Nothing made this American prouder of his own country than visiting others. I'll take America, thanks.

    Moderate me as patriotic troll, I guess.
  • Cuba, Yes, Cuba. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wonkavader (605434) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:13AM (#16577398)
    But not this moment.

    Castro is (probably) going to die soon. When that happens, there will be an escuse to open the doors up, and end the insane blockade of the place. Before Castro, we'd made it an extension of the United States, where the people lacked the privilidges of US citizenship. Look around: we're actually much better at doing that now. When the doors open, it's going to happen FAST. There will be a huge growth curve, lots of wealth to be made, and the country will explode with success.

    They have something we don't have: a large educated populace. We will be exploiting that.

    They are also a vacation paradise, by their position on the globe, and an easy hop from florida. Your dollar will go very far, for a long while, there, so you can get established with a mansion and some servants. Look to see an explosion of all-inclusive resorts and right behind them (physically, a half-mile from the beach), an IT industry.

    So wait. Don't bail yet. You can be an American in another country, be on the top of the economic food chain, be close to the States and family and friends, and make a lot of money.

    Besides, you don't have to learn Dutch, French, Japanese, etc. It's Spanish -- a language you already know a little of, and it's arguably the easiest language to learn short of Esperanto.
  • by otis wildflower (4889) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:14AM (#16577410) Homepage
    I'd take Vancouver CA over almost anywhere else in the US, if I had enough $$$ to buy an expensive-enough home to qualify for expedited citizenship. GREAT sushi, though they're way too indulgent on DTES riffraff, they really should just suck it up and hire a Giuliani for mayor.

    And if there were enough good tech jobs that didn't involve Windows.

    To be honest, taxation in the US is not _that_ much lower, considering what we get back in services compared to Canada. It used to be much different, but I'm finding that very near 50% of my paycheck goes to government in one form or another (local, state, federal) and I, as a single middle-class male of European descent, don't get fuck all back. At least in CA if I were paying 50-60% of my check in taxes I'd get "free" healthcare, and as I'm not elderly or suffering from chronic medical issues at this phase in my life I don't care about queues or rationing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:17AM (#16577478)
    As a Swede living in Stockholm, but having been around the world quite a bit, I can see why many people think of the scandinavian countries are utopias; it's clean, orderly, safe, we are at the top in all rankings of quality of life and freedom, and everyone speaks decent english. And the people are, of course, probably the best looking in the world. ;)

    There is, however, another side of the coin, and that's cultural differences. On the surface, there's of course not much difference between people from the western hemisphere; we listen to similar music, eat the same crappy fast food (in varying degrees) and watch the same movies. But there is a difference in attitudes that's larger than people think. I've heard about lots (and known a few) of foreigners who've moved away after living a few years here, because they couldn't get a real grip of swedes. There are of course lots of good things to say about us, but there are a few things you have to at least be able to stand, if not appreciate, if you want to live permanently here. Swedes (and Scandinavians in general) put a lot (if not conciously) into the concepts of "vemod" (Bergman-style not-quite-depression), "lagom" (just about right, but not to much) and jantelagen (an unspoken rule saying that you should not think that you're better than other people). Those concepts are of course not all-encompassing, but they are there under the surface, and people will frown at you if you break them too flagrantly (but not say anything to your face, of course; that would be most unswedish!).
  • Costa Rica (Score:3, Interesting)

    by evronm (530821) <evronm@dtc i n c . n et> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:23AM (#16577580) Homepage
    And I'm actually doing it. My wife and I have been planning it for about 7 months and we're finally moving next Tuesday. The reasons we chose Costa Rica:
    • Stable Government
    • No Army
    • Great weather (where we'll be living, parts have terrible weather)
    • Very low cost of living
    • Availability of most services, including high speed internet, in the central valley
    • Very nice people, for the most part
    • Large, established expat community
    • Close to the U.S. so it's easy to visit friends and family
    We will, of course, be blogging about our move (see my sig for the URL). If you're looking to ditch the States, I don't blame you one bit, and I highly recommend you look into Costa Rica. It's got most of the comforts of home, plus rainforests and monkeys and stuff.
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:30AM (#16577698) Homepage
    I am not in IT...

    Read the post you're replying to again. It's about kennismigrants (knowledge immigrants), specifically those with IT skills. What kind of "professional" degree are you talking about? Unless it's an MD or similar, there's no demand and that's why you're getting treated like anybody else and not fast tracked.

    I have to admire the system described there in the Netherlands, as well as the one in Candada. It makes perfect sense to try hard to attract workers with skills that benefit your country instead of those that only break even or drag it down.

  • by constantnormal (512494) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:40AM (#16577866)
    ... and largely civil, something that doesn't happen much anymore on Slashdot.

    I thought the comment about money not buying happiness, but rather freedom (a larger pallet of choices in life), was spot-on.

    The table of marginal tax rates was pretty interesting as well, recognizing with each country, that tax rate comes with a completely different set of "features" -- take the U.K., which has a LOWER marginal tax rate (41% vs our 42.7%), and yet has national health insurance (something I am increasingly aware of, as my wife nears retirement and we lose her employer health insurance). OTOH, in the U.K., one has FAR fewer civil rights as compared to the U.S., and bureaucratic nonsense with permits and regulatory claptrap for many other things that are freely available here in the USofA.

    Another example? South Korea. They have marginal tax rates of 38.2%, and one of the best national telecom networks on the planet. But would you REALLY want to live with Kim Jung Il next door?

    Or Mexico, with a marginal tax rate of 24.6%, yet widespread crippling poverty (thus giving the lie to the theory that the path to prosperity lies solely with lower tax rates) and wholesale corruption that makes our "finest government that money can buy" just that. You might pay less in taxes, but you would end up having to finance your own private militia (and health care system, etc, etc) to have the security that one has here, and unless you get off shopping via the web (and losing much of your merchandise along the delivery chain), I think you'll wind up missing the shopping malls. There's a reason all those Mexicans come streaming across our borders, and it's not to live under the rule of our whacked-out politicians. And I don't see a flood of millionaires streaming south, renouncing their U.S. citizenship in order to live like billionaires in Mexico.

    OTOH, there's no torrent of Scandinavians clamoring to enter the USofA, despite crushing tax rates and generally socialistic governments. They're better educated and have a very free and open press, so why aren't they eager to get out of the cold?

    I think it's pretty tough (and pointless) to try and distill national comparisons down to a single number. A life experience isn't so easy to classify, and each of us has a different scale that we evaluate our life experiences by.

    All this is not to say that the USofA doesn't have it's drawbacks. Things like a widespread (and growing) intolerance of others, massive corruption in a government that grows without limit and a permanent legislative class (about 90% are reelected, term after term [utexas.edu]), a health care system that is increasingly expensive, and an educational system that largely fails to deliver spring to mind.

    The best option is to become a billionaire, buy one's own island and become your own monarchy.

  • by QMO (836285) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:08AM (#16578328) Homepage Journal
    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.
    When I think of pot-smoking and stupidity I tend to believe the correlation, but question the cause/effect. Your experience doesn't help me resolve the question.
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:3, Interesting)

    by albyrne5 (893494) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:11AM (#16578372)
    Couple of quick points.

    I'm an Irishman living here 2.5 years. The missing out on the 30% ruling must have really kick you in the nads, I am still on it and I pay 28% of my gross (~euro180k) on tax. (It's actually closer to 35% until you factor in the mortgage-interest refund).

    Having lived in Dublin most of my life, and Porto, Portugal for 6 months, and London for 6 months I can say that traffic here is non-existent compared to the other places! I bicyle 15k each-way to work everyday unless it's a lightning storm or I'm diabolically hungover, and I find the public-transport is cheaper than Dublin.

    I absolutely love the vibe in Amsterdam, and the city certainly FEELS a lot safer than Dublin, except perhaps in the Red Light District, but I only go there to show visitors around.

    I'm making slow progress at learning Dutch, but in general most people are receptive to my attempts. For me, and of course it's a personal thing, I cannot see any downside to living here, and I think the whole Muslim issue is being blown out of proportion. Things in Northern Ireland were 1000 times worse for 30 years solid and that never led to WWIII or whatever the right-wing nuts are predicting will happen here.
  • by orzetto (545509) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:15AM (#16578460)

    You're just spewing around the typical Italian self-loathing, constantly fostered by the left wing in this country.

    What was I saying about people blaming the communists all the time...?

    Your allegations could be countered point for point,

    ... which you do not. Strong arguments, Anonymous Coward.

    Your incredibly ignorant comment about catholicism speaks volumes about your credibility.

    Forgive me, father. From now on I will listen more carefully to the pious voice of Pope Germanus I [youtube.com].

    [...] 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.

    Oh yeah, today's brats, no respects for the elders...

    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, [...]

    At what point exactly did I sign a contract with the Italian state? Don't get me started on the education I received, no well you have already:

    • First thing, at age three I was regularly beaten by nuns at the kindergarten. I kept having nightmares and falling from the bed for months, until my parents got the cue and relocated me to an institution not run by nuns. I still hate nuns.
    • In elementary school, I had to endure five years of a blatantly fascist teacher, an old bitch of the old school. She was so obnoxious that, when WW2 broke out, her husband immediately volunteered for the African front if only to get away from her, one of her sons shot himself, the other is kinda weird, and her niece will not let her anywhere near her grandson. That's the sort of people that used to take care of children in school. I used to be beaten regularly by other children, and when I asked her to do something she would say "Give'em a good kick in the legs!"; never mind I was 1 against 20. She also praised regularly Fascism for bringing bananas from Somalia and order and many other nice things.
    • At age 9 my father slams in a truck with his car. That's not something I blame on the state of course, I blame it on my father, who drove (and still drives) like an idiot and without seatbelts. However, he got hospitalised with three broken ribs and an insane pain in the right foot. The medics say the foot is no problem. After a few weeks, he relocates to a new hospital and, Voilà, here is the problem with the foot: the Cuboid bone [wikipedia.org] is, well, missing. It was not really difficult to notice as the shrapnel after its explosion fracture was all over the foot's tissue and an X-ray looked like ground zero. Thanks to the incompetence of the first doctor, my father is still walking weird almost 20 years afterwards.
    • General preparation of teachers in high school... well, one example: the IT-course teacher could not format a floppy disk at the first lecture we had. She knew the command was format a:, she only missed the "Enter" key. Another example, the impressive inverse correlation between skirt length and marks in physics for girls. Too bad I'm not a Scot, I would have given it a shot. In the last year, we arrived at about Italy's unification a few weeks before the end of the year. We had WW1, fascism and WW2 in one hour of lecture, the very last one, when it was already known history would not have been an examination subject. Not a word on post-WW2 history, which I know only because I was interested. To top it off, our teacher for history and philosophy was actually the best one in the whole district.
    • University: not from Milan? Need a place to stay? Tough luck. At least teacher preparation was a bit better than in high school, on the other hand sup
  • Why to move (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mhollis (727905) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:19AM (#16578552) Journal

    I very quickly summarized the commentary here on why one would move from the US to several flamewars based on a lack of understanding of the culture in various non-US countries to arguments about tax burdens and arguments about what constitutes an addictive drug.

    These are side-issues.

    The reson one might be interested in leaving the US relates to something that my father shocked me by saying just some weeks ago.

    He referred to the current administration in the US, along with their supporters in Congress at fascists.

    Now, I respect my father. I'm not just out of his house and I'm not still reacting to the "awful way he treated me" when I "turned insane" shortly after puberty. My father has consistently earned my respect by tending to be right and by letting go of a lot of his own personal garbage. I also know that he lived through a time in which fascism was considered a viable political system in three countries in Europe -- with other countries admiring the "benefits" of a totalitarian regime that gives itself a pass for criminal activity. This is a serious and very shocking statement from a man who watched as the entire world fought against fascism and managed to win.

    The US government is fascist due to several factors:

    The Military Commissions Act of 2006 [georgetown.edu](PDF Alert), which was signed by Bush on October 17, 2006 [whitehouse.gov] suspends the writ of Habeus Corpus in a time that is definitely not a national emergency.

    This preserves the "Law-Free Zone" set up in Guantanimo. These detainees are kept in isolation from US Courts who, if there is adequate proof would be all too happy to confirm that these people are dangerous. Camp X-Ray also serves as a zone where the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of Prisoners of War may be utterly ignored. We broke off relations with North Vietnam (and later, Vietnam) due to their treatment of US prisoners in a manner that ignored the Geneva Conventions.

    The act also pardons everyone and anyone for all acts that violate the Geneva Conventions, including the procedure of Extraordinary Rendition [aclu.org] and backdates that exemption from prosecution to September 11th, 2001.

    The President and his Executive Branch are given full reign in defining what an "enemy combatant" is. I recall that Hitler regarded Jewish persons within Germany and the territories acquired by Germany, as well as allied countries as enemies of the state. Also, anyone giving material aid to any enemy was branded with the same. There was no Habeus Corpus in Germany and the courts were puppets of the state.

    What I'm saying here is that we have a very serious situation in the US where civil rights have been nullified by a political party that considers self-examination wrong and unpatriotic (there have been no committees in either the House of Representatives or the Senate to examine the conduct of the "war on terror") and are fully prepared to negate the entire Bill of Rights in order to maintain their grip on political power.

    Many Americans aren't aware of how their rights have been suspended. Those who are find it hard to continue to live here.

    Countries who honor the rights of their citizens and who do not give their executive branch the right to run roughshod over the rights of minorities and persons who hold political beliefs that may differ may look a lot better than the US today for a citizen concerned with our present government.

  • Czech Republic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Seto89 (986727) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:35AM (#16578812)
    I live in Czech Rep, the land of tall people with large feet (I'm serious, I know many kids around 15 that are over 190cm and wear feet size 53 - sorry for the EU units :P). You get treated as shit, cause Czechs not only hate foreigners, but also other Czechs (as weird as it may seem), so you'll hang out with English speaking peeps anyway, by which I mean other foreigners, cause people here expect you to know their funky language... Also as an Economics student I can see that there is something wrong with this country's economy and if you think your government is corrupt, you haven't see the one here. If you ask me, avoid coming to Czech rep for other reason that tourism...
  • by EComni (998601) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:43AM (#16578952)
    I don't expect to get a reply at all, but what's the best place for a black person? I hear all these "the people are so nice" comments for various places, then I see read news reports about rampant racist soccer hooligans, that rampage that happened in Australia not too long ago, and these other snippets of news that suggest that not all everyone is nice and accepting, at least not to darker-colored people.

    So, my question is, how are the race relations in all these suggested countries (Holland, Sweden, Norway, Australia, etc.)?

    Somewhat related question: Are black people still "in vogue" in Japan?
  • fine with me (Score:2, Interesting)

    by brainspank (515274) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @12:17PM (#16579610)
    If you want to leave the greatest country on the planet (my arrogant opinion, but easily debated), I'll do my best to buy you the ticket. I'd be happy to see you go, considering you're probably destructive while you're here. Do you: want constitutional rights for terrorists? not think we're at war? think terrorists will forget about us if we quit "provoking them" (9/11 anyone)? think more taxes are good for citizens? think we shouldn't spy on phone conversations of terrorists? think the social security system is viable long-term? think we should let anybody walk across our borders and get benefits paid by us? get lost and remember not to take your finger-nail clippers on the plane.

    sorry for the venomous response, but I'm sick of this anti-patriotic crap. I fully expect to get burnt to a crisp on slashdot.

    if you're foreign to the US and want to immigrate, welcome aboard. just follow the rules and I'll buy you a beer.
  • by nebosuke (1012041) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @12:45PM (#16580258)

    Yes, I can. Earning more does not significantly increase your need for health care, state education, etc., yet socialist policies require you to contribute progressively more to public works the more you earn. The reason, like I said, is that the philosophy behind socialism places more weight on the side of socioeconomic safety for all than socioeconomic freedom.

    As for whether or not this translates into better circumstances in reality, take my personal situation as an anecdote. Neither of my parents holds a degree, and neither have ever held a job that paid higher than 150% of the minimum wage, despite the fact that my father has kept the same job for nearly 20 years. We live in a very poor area, and my HS was rated among the worst in the state—and rightly so. I'm currently earning my degree through a scholarship to Harvard. I'm taking some time off from school to help manage the family expenses, and can put far more of the $2000/week that I'm earning as an IT/resource management contractor to paying off family loans than I would have been able to in a more socialist country.

    On the other hand, I had to study until 3am basically every night for the last 3 years of high school to make up for the non-education I was receiving from the state, and I regularly work 14 hour days right now. It's definitely not easy, and perhaps I should just kick back and relax a bit more like some of my friends, but at least here I have the option to work hard and see real returns.

    I don't believe socialism to be evil—or even wrong—to be honest, it's just that as one of those people who are willing to work hard, I prefer to see proportional compensation for my efforts.

  • Re:France! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SysKoll (48967) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:10PM (#16580766)

    french people are emigrating fast, at a rate of 100,000 to 200,000 each year, and it has been going like this for years already (2+ million people left the country, compare this with Cuba). This is the most massive exodus this country has ever known since the French Revolution ! There are reasons behind this continuous stream of people, reasons for fleeing this country.

    Parent is right, we are witnessing a mass exodus of Frenchmen with marketable skills. To give you an idea, when the 18th century Kings of France offered 40 acres and a mule to French farmers accepting to go colonize the New World, less than 50,000 Frenchman ever accepted and left the country. We aren't talking Ireland here: The French historically never emigrated massively. If they are suddenly doing so, there must be a problem.

    Indeed, engineers and scientists are fleeing to England and the US, mostly. This is not good for a country that heavily spends on public universities and has low tuition. It means that the French taxpayers are subsidizing foreign countries to the detriment of their own.

    Also, there is a massive level of illegal immigration in France, and the illegals are, in their majority, unable to occupy a high-tech job for lack of qualification (by definition, immigrants with marketable skills don't need to be illegal, they will easily go through the work permit procedures). Most of the illegals end up in either low-paid jobs or on the dole, thus requiring social services paid by the taxpayer.

    Conclusion: This means that France is effectively swapping highly qualified workers for unskilled immigrants. French taxes are quite high as a result, and more importantly, the country's future is bleak: this continuous brain drain cannot improve an already bad situation.

    When President Chirac was challenged by journalists about this problem, he said that skilled workers leaving the country are "making room for unemployed people". This clearly shows the French elites are clueless: high tech jobs are hard to fill, and retraining unemployed people to take these jobs is rarely a solution. Especially when they arrive from a poor country and lack even basic skills.

    The OECD has nice little graphs [oecd.org] showing the level of general government spending in various countries, which is to say, how much of the country's production ends up in the government's pocket. Right now, France is at about 54% and still growing: Out of 8 hours, you work 4 hours and 20 minutes for the government in France. As a comparison, the US is at 26%, The UK at 34%.

    I fail to see why a Slashdot reader would want to move to a country that will tax him/her so highly in order to support such a disastrous policy and such moronic, disconnected elites.

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

    by Damvan (824570) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:34PM (#16581210)
    I assure you that it is not enforced in any way, shape or form. I know people who have lived in the US for decades and don't speak a word of English. Citizens as well.

    Interesting though, because if there is a requirement to read, write and speak English to be a citizen, why the hell do they print ballots in Spanish?
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@NoSpaM.yahoo.com> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:53PM (#16581532) Journal
    Puritans have a strong ethic of moderation. Modern capitalism requires a different ethic, one of conspicuous consumption, in order for the rich to make lots of money. In order to reconcile the basic ethos of the country with the needs of the ultra rich to have herds of sheep-like consumers purchasing everything in sight, certain things or activities need to be defined as automatically showing overconsumption. Therefore, as long as people with this protestant ethic are not doing the prescribed things, they are practicing moderation and can feel good about themselves. Therefore, buying loads of useless crap is not overconsumption, but smoking even one joint is.
  • by mapkinase (958129) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:06PM (#16581770) Homepage Journal
    Well, if you agree with me that the war that US is leading against Muslims is evil, then yes I am "voice of reason and temperance".

    So called "Wahhabi" sect is nothing more than a label applied to people like myself who try to get away from centuries of innovations in religion (like celebrating Prophet's, sal Allahu 'alaihi wasallam, birthday or building mausoleums on graves) and return to the original Islam of the Prophet, sal Allahu 'alaihi wasallam, his Companions, and two generations after them (called otherwise Salaf).

    And yes, I support every single harsh punishment specified in Shari'a (that was actually in the first sentence of GP post), as well as gender separation, gender-based roles in society, strictly modest dress for men and women, stoning of open homosexuals, etc... given that it is applied in a country ruled by Muslims.

    Pretty much everything of it is covered by traditions and laws of Abraham, Moses and, yes, Jesus, which, alas, modern Jews and Christians, somehow forgot. So, please, if you one of the crowd of liberals, take back your words calling me voice of "reason and temperance", because that term is usually reserved by non-Muslims to "progressive Muslims", which I am not. Let my criticism of "Muslim" governments do not fool you, a Western person, because I am not criticising them from a Western point, but from the opposite point.

    People hear horrible things about someone ELSE just because (a) they like to hear something exciting and that is the nature of journalism, and nothing excites more than "horrible" and (b) because it is someone else, and when someone else is "horrible", "un-normal", "weird", "outragious" it sends your satisfaction centers in the brain the waves "I am not horrible", "I am normal", "I am modest and moderate", "I am in the middle of the people".
  • by jamesshuang (598784) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:15PM (#16581932) Homepage
    You bring up an EXCELLENT point. I completely believe in your message - most people should try and stay to fight. But I also pose another question - how? During the American Revolution, the American "patriots" had guns - and if they did not, they could actually build an industry around the British-controlled one and produce their own guns. Obviously, hostile overthrow today is politically WAY out there, but it's also technically impossible as well. What liberal American "patriot" now can build a Tomahawk missle? Better yet, how would he build a missle DEFENSE system for when the government decides that he's a big enough threat?

    The United States in 1700 is very different from the United States now. A "revolution" like in 1700 is completely impossible because military/violent action is obviously far outstepping the very idea of the country. Also, the controlling country is now itself, not some distant government on today's equivalent of another planet. The country's own government has been pretty damned efficient at brainwashing its citizens. Just to imagine... half of the population actually voted for the guy who said "I like your wife and I've watched your children" during a nationally televised debate.

    IMHO, the entire CULTURE of the nation is slowly being perverted to these socipathic ends. Science is to be distrusted - God will give you the answer (such as which countries to invade). Not only is there a new branch of fanatical religion to fight against, we're also fighting the entire capitalistic culture of short-sighted goal-seeking, an ideal even the educated have become indocterinated in. Even the scientists try to stamp out research papers, regardless of whether they're crap or not just so they can have a nice list on their CVs.

    I know that I will most likely be staying to "fight" as you suggested (partially because my dad would disown me if I left the country, haha), but increasingly it seems like we're fighting a losing war. The biggest difference today and in the 1700's is that the American population is effectively fighting itself. They hate what they've become, but they can't help continuing in their own one-dimensional path. What would you suggest as a good way of fighting this strange internal war?
  • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:49PM (#16582548)
    I don't know why I bother sometimes, but hey, you took the time to respond to me.

    First, I'm not sure where you're getting your information. It's not what I'd call "accurate".

    Yes, most of America's achievements were performed by immigrants. Everyone except the First Nations are either immigrants or descendants of immigrants. (And even that is only in a temporal context, as the First Nations walked over from Siberia.) So all the stuff that America has done, for good and for ill, is done by people who wanted to get rid of the oppressive bullshit that their homeland stank of.

    That's my point. America shows the world what people are capable of when we all work together.

    People don't come to America to get on with white women. That's... delusional. People come to America because America is The Land of the Free. You can worship whomever you want. You can watch whatever TV you want. You can work in any field you choose. You can go to school. You can buy food and it is plentiful. There are hospitals. There is a very low risk of invasion.

    These are things you take for granted. That's one of the things that piss people off. There's no global conspiracy.

    And even if there was, I would MUCH prefer to be run by Jews than by corporations. At least I'd get Sundays off.

    And yes, Canada kisses the US. We're brothers.
  • Re:The Netherlands (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gronnsak (228090) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:06PM (#16585398)
    "This is true, but legalizing drugs doesn't just effect the people that are going to use them. It will effect society as a whole."

    Of course, more on that below.

    "If anyone can start taking something like cocaine or heroine (even in small doses), addiction will climb and so will the care of the people addicted, which will mean higher prices for health care for us."

    Do you have any evidence that supports that addiction rates will climb? Seem like run-of-the-mill anti-drug hysteria to me.

    "Not only that, but what about the people that decide to drive while stoned/high? There are enough people in this world killing the innocent while drunk..I don't think we need to add even more due to being high."

    People drive under the influence of drugs right now. Legalizing won't make any difference. Irresponsible drivers are the real problem here, drugs and alcohol are just what they use.

    "If drugs were ever legalized, we would also need a registration program. That registration program would allow potential employers to decide whether or not to hire you based on your legal drug usage."

    How would you like it if you were denied a job because you're doing a perfectly legal activity in your own free time? A registration program? WTF? Should it include race, sexual orientation, hair color, religion, sports team preference, film taste, music taste etc. too? Wouldn't want to hire any unsavory elements.

    Here are some benefits from legalizing drugs:
    - Police resources would be freed up to go after other criminal activity
    - Border police could use more resources checking for weapons, terrorists etc.

    - Prices of drugs would drop, which would lead to...
    - Lower crime, since people don't have to commit crime to support their habits
    - The breakdown of the drug cartels and other organized crime
    - No more funding of civil wars in various drug-producing third world countries

    - Increased quality of the drugs, so less overdoses and other health problems
    - People being allowed to do what the fuck they want with their own bodies

    So you see, in addition to GP's point that using drugs is a personal issue, there are also economic and moral arguments for the legalization of drugs. The only arguments I see against legalization is that there *might* be more people using drugs. Well, that a few more people use cheap, clean drugs is easily outweighed by the fators outlined above.
  • by JhohannaVH (790228) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @11:12AM (#16593912) Journal
    I'm with ya. That's why I'm about to bap my husband in the nose for pushing me to live outside the US. He thinks I need the 'exposure'. But, I love this country. My ancestors have fought and died for it for 400 years. Why the hell would I leave? I want my kids born here, and I'm almost too old to even have them! Sure, I'd love to go live in Australia, but not at the expense of losing my citizenship and way of life. I've spent 15 years fighting for what I've got... I don't want to risk it.

    Not to mention the fact that I'm terribly political outspoken, active, and reactive. I couldn't send a hundred faxes and letters a week if I expatriate. No way. What right would I have to tell people how to run a country I don't live in? But Gods Help Us All if Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker of the House or Harry Reid the Majority Speaker. {shudder}

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