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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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  • The Netherlands (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sinryc ( 834433 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:47AM (#16572684)
    The Netherlands. The fact that I couldn't become a citizen and I can't speak the language stops me. Oh yeah, plus I like America still. :-)
    • Re:The Netherlands (Score:4, Informative)

      by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:55AM (#16572754) Homepage Journal
      According to wikitravel [] if you can find a job that promises to pay you at least 45k euro then you don't need a work permit, or if you are under 30, then you only need a job that promises to pay you 33k euro.....
    • 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: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: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.
      • Re:The Netherlands (Score:5, Insightful)

        by elchuppa ( 602031 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:29AM (#16576594)
        If you'd sent them to some suburb in Virginia or Ohio, or just about any where else in the country apart from the cultural islands of San Francisco and New York, perhaps they would have felt differently about how wonderful the USA was. Essentially San Francisco and New York are the anti-americas.
  • The future (Score:5, Insightful)

    by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) * on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:48AM (#16572698)
    I always kinda liked the idea that I get to live in the future just by staying alive.
  • Obvious (Score:5, Funny)

    by eclectro ( 227083 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:49AM (#16572704)
    Warm beach with girls. Money.

    This thread is now closed. Please submit next Slashdot story.
  • 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 Dr Reducto ( 665121 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:50AM (#16572720) Journal
    It's obviously best to simply give up and leave, rather than actually stand up and do something about changing your country.
    • by dafoomie ( 521507 ) <> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:27AM (#16573008) Homepage
      Mexicans do it all the time. But if I dare criticize them, I'm a racist.

      I fully agree with your statement, by the way. Mexico would be a far better place if more stayed and tried to make it a better place. By leaving, they only ensure that their corrupt government stays in power, this is why they encourage it so much (not to mention remittances). Not that I can blame them, leaving is certainly the path of least resistance.
  • Moon (Score:5, Funny)

    by NosTROLLdamus ( 979044 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:51AM (#16572722) Journal
    Van Allen Radiation Belt
  • by Peter Cooper ( 660482 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:51AM (#16572732) Homepage Journal
    In almost every case it comes down to visas and border controls that stop humans freely moving around their planet. 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!

    I'd rather go live out in the nowhereness of Canada or Australia or something and get out of the way, but there's no hope for any of that in the near future as countries have lots of quirky requirements, laws, and rules for gaining entry :)
  • 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.
  • by Bieeanda ( 961632 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:53AM (#16572744)
    Living just to the north of much of the United States, I often offer Stateside friends crash space in my basement in the event that things go completely pear-shaped where they live. Sure, we could be violently annexed in a depressingly short amount of time (and our supplies of uranium, oil, fresh water and lumber might make us a delectable target), but it's a relatively short trip. Besides, beyond Canadian Bacon [], there hasn't really been any real effort to add us to the Axis of Evil.
  • Welll..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrAnnoyanceToYou ( 654053 ) <dylan@[ ] ['dyl' in gap]> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:57AM (#16572766) Homepage Journal
    If it were not for the money, language, and responsibility issues, I'd move to a Scandanavian country in a heartbeat.

    As it is, I believe that America is exporting its culture at an incredible rate, and the best way to stop what I see as an unbelievably bad world situation is by attempting to modify it from within the States. I'm not doing a great job, but just being here and dissenting my little piece has more of an impact than living outside the country and bitching to other people that aren't there about how much my country sucks.

    I lived overseas, and found that there were a few things true about me personally - 1) wherever I went, I was the same person. Ergo, I was pissed off and unhappy because that's what I started out as. I've attempted to change that. 2) wherever I went, I was followed by the influence of the things I had left the country to avoid, one way or another. Thus I am back here to attempt to modify the things about both me and the world around me that irked me so much when I was not living in the States. I don't know if I'll manage to change the world enough to make any sort of difference should I leave again, but by the time I can afford to leave again for any extended period of time, I will be able to say that I'm at least trying to alleviate certain negative influential factors that result from our social structure.
  • by Goalie_Ca ( 584234 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:59AM (#16572774)
    To immigrate to canada you must speak french, eat poutine and KD, and watch HNIC. It snows all year long and sorry we're full!
    • by Cordath ( 581672 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:21AM (#16574370)
      In Soviet Canuckistan the Beavers eat *you*! Seriously, watchout for the little bastards. They'll smack you with their tails until you fall over and then gnaw off your limbs. You do have to be pretty drunk for them to catch you, so the real danger is when you're new to the country and only just getting used to Canadian beer, which is about 3 times stronger than kentucky bourbon. (Don't even touch Canadian whiskey. Canuckistani airlines sometimes uses the stuff as aviation fuel even though it's murder on the fuel lines.)

      You'll also have to get used to keeping a continual guard up against flying hockey pucks. This skill comes naturally to native Canuckistani's who grow up dodging pucks from an early age, but newcomers to the country often suffer a few concusions before they pick up the knack of knowing when 170 grams of vulcanized rubber is rocketing towards the back of their heads at upwards of 150kph. You should also realize that global warming may soon cause a massive housing shortage in Soviet Canuckistan as temperatures rise too high for igloos to survive the summer. Truly, the country is going to become a madhouse when people's 3000sq foot 4 level split igloos with attached garages melt into ponds.

      If you do still decide to emmigrate to Canada, be sure to talk to Phil from Vancouver. He can get you set up with your government issue starter snow-shovel and official toque with genuine saskatchewan sealskin bindings and special patriotic pom-pom. (very important) Be sure the pom-pom is firmly attached. If you lose it, rest assured that a mountie will spot it. (Don't even try to run. They always get their man.) Losing your pom-pom will get you exiled to newfieland, which is a fate many consdier worse than death by poutine!
  • by Frogbert ( 589961 ) <frogbert @ g m a> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:01AM (#16572794)
    Amsterdam and you know damn well why.
  • by caitsith01 ( 606117 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:05AM (#16572824) Journal
    We do everything America does, only we do a worse job, less efficiently, and with none of the individual rights in our Constitution* that you enjoy in the United States which allow the courts to pull the executive and congress back into line every now and then.** Although we have no president or equivalent, our parliament is a virtual dictatorship at present and crossing the floor on the basis of principle is almost entirely unheard of and considered to be little better than treason. We lack media diversity, and general awareness of political and human rights issues is virtually non-existent in the wider populace even by US standards.

    In addition we are extremely poorly placed in relation to the most likely theatre of any future world war, and we have large quantities of uranium and natural gas which makes us an important strategic target.

    * disclaimer, before someone who knows about Australian law attacks - we arguably have freedom of religion and a right to vote, and a limited right to freedom of 'political' speech, but all can be infringed on by federal laws with a legitimate other purpose

    ** yeah yeah, I know how politicised the courts are, but every now and then you DO get a decision like Hamdan in which the Supreme Court clobbers the executive for overstepping the line
    • 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!
  • Mars (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kingrames ( 858416 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:25AM (#16572994)

    it will take your breath away.

    (No, seriously, that's the reason why NOT to go)
  • by Heir Of The Mess ( 939658 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @03:07AM (#16573276)
    Because I don't want a bunch of Americans following me, and I'm leaving just a soon as I tidy up a few personal things. Adios Amigos. But hey, you could always try Australia.
  • EU (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @03:29AM (#16573448)

    That's easy,

    Europe! I know it's not a country, but if you actually want to live abroad (forever, or for a few years to get a taste of a different lifestyle), then the obvious answer is somewhere in Europe.

    Why? Because after a couple of years (it varies country to country), you can grab a passport and become an instant protected member of the EU. Now you don't have a choice of one country, but 25, (27 in a few years, and hopefully 28 with Turkey in a few more years).

    And you get a choice of countries like Sweden or Denmark (consistently ranked as the most well educated, crime free, peaceful utopias on the planet), liberal countries like Germany or Amsterdam (there is no city in the WORLD like Berlin, it is just the most alive, party party, drug liberal place on Earth, no question), economic tigers like Ireland or the newer Eastern european countries (where jobs are easy to come by and the cost of living is low), or just places where you could live off a few grand and take it easy, like Portugal or Greece.

    25 countries, most of them not requiring a second language (For sure, if you move to Scandinavia it'll be you that has the lower standard of English, I moved here 3 years ago and it's embarrassing to have an inferior grasp of my mother-tongue than do the locals). In some countries like Sweden, if you have a girlfriend here you can pick up a passport in 3 years.

    And of course, Countries that are not in the EU (such as Switzerland or Norway or Iceland), will still be open to you because of the Schengen agreement.

    Good luck! And wherever you decide to move to, just DO IT. It doesn't mean that you never have to go home, it doesn't mean you are running away from America's problems (you can retain your American citizenship and vote from abroad), it just means at a minimum that you are exploring how life in a much more liberal society would be like, and if many more people in the USA decided to live abroad in Europe for a few years of their youth, I very much doubt the country would be experiencing the problems it is having at the moment.
    • Re:EU (Score:4, Informative)

      by AlXtreme ( 223728 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:06AM (#16576236) Homepage Journal
      liberal countries like Germany or Amsterdam
      Amsterdam is a city, not a country. It's the capital of the Netherlands, and even tourists coming here don't know the difference.

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

  • where to, why not (Score:4, Insightful)

    by l3v1 ( 787564 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @03:30AM (#16573450)
    1) Where would you live, if not in America and 2) What's stopping you from going?

    Easy. 1) New Zealand, 2) Money (or the lack thereof).

    If you think hard, probably two things are keeping people to go where they think (or know) their lives would be better (for them, since this is as much subjective as objective):
    - people: family, friends, neighbors, you name it, people can become very attached to others,
    - financial resources: if you have to work 10-16 hours a day for living, paying mortages, etc., schooling your kids, its not that easy to just stand up and leave.

    Until the average level of living throughout the planet won't reach a certain level, most people will just be stuck to places, all their lives long, give or take a few travels.

  • by Zo0ok ( 209803 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @03:33AM (#16573478) Homepage
    As a Scandinavian who just visit USA occationally I guess I can tell why I hesitate to move there... From the European horizon USA looks really cool. You have the greatest companies, the greatest sports champs (except in soccer), you are the center of entertainment, modern culture and research. You have... so very much.

    However, when in USA I feel that I am so far away from everything. Manhattan is the exception. In LA I have an hour in a car to anything. In Las Vegas it takes a day to get anywhere else.

    So even if I am closer to many things when in USA, there are fewer things that I am really close to (walking distance). If it takes 5h or more to get there by car, the Atlantic ocean doesnt make a huge difference anyway.
  • by Analein ( 1012793 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @03:36AM (#16573506)
    It's been sixty years since we stopped invading foreign countries. Professional help needed.
  • Greece (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @03:43AM (#16573584)
    I mean like, how cool is a country that made their language and alphabet using all those math symbols!!!
  • 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.


    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
  • by droopycom ( 470921 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:52AM (#16574138)

    I'm sorry, but look around what your choices are:

    1) Americanized countries (eg: England, Australia) : Same crap, different accent = Might as well live in the USA
    2) Countries which hate America (eg: Middle East, France and most of Europe, Brazil, even Canada....). They dont want you, and will make your life miserable.
    3) Third world countries (Africa, part of Asia, ...) : Bye bye Slashdot.
    4) Developed Asian countries (Japan, Taiwan, HK...) : You cant take the cultural change...
    5) Sealand : Good luck getting a visa.
    6) Tropical paradise: You dont have enough money to retire there...

    • by tomstdenis ( 446163 ) <tomstdenis@gm a i> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:33AM (#16574898) Homepage
      Canada doesn't hate the states.

      There is a habit of saying "at least we're not like the states" but in fact in many regards we have the same bad habits as they have [e.g. polution, right wing movements, etc]. I think if Canadians hated the americans so much we wouldn't be visiting them so much.

      That said, I wouldn't mind a big influx of Americans to Canada. Two words: "Melting Pot".

      Canada prides itself on the pluralism and "mixed salad" style of immigration. You know what that gives you? Places like Toronto. Where none of the residents share any common values and the quality of life takes a sharp nose dive. I lived there for a while and honestly it's like you moved to another country. I'm all for respecting other cultures, but this is Canada, not a gathering place for everyone and their brother who want to change the land from under me.

    • by Gruneun ( 261463 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:12AM (#16577382)
      I can't fathom where you get off with this assessment, so I have to assume you're not very well-travelled and you base your entire opinion on what you see on CNN. I think it's quite asinine, not to mention insulting to Europeans, to assume that every non-American is incapable of recognizing that politicians don't always lead as expected or represent the will of the vast majority. Do you think their politicians have a 100% approval rating?

      I have yet to visit a European country where the people weren't open and inviting, even after learning I was an American. In fact, most Europeans are quite the opposite of what you described. When we lived in Italy, most of the locals were excited to talk about everything (With French and Spanish being so popular in US schools, I think Italians are especially excited and supportive when we attempt their language). When my father visited relatives in Bavaria and mentioned to a local that he was born in a nearby, small town, he couldn't have paid for drinks that night if he wanted to. A few years ago, my brother spent a week in Norway, skiing, drinking, and hanging out with complete strangers. A co-worker went on several, recent trips to Germany, Austria, France, and Switzerland. The only political conversation she had was with a couple Canadians who were only asking if her nationality had been an issue. Obviously, it isn't.

      I think even the Middle East assessment isn't completely fair. Ask some of the US soldiers and they'll tell you a large portion of the people are happy to have them, even if they won't yell that fact from a street corner. At the same time, I have friends in Jordan who have told us that it's really not a good time to visit, so I'll take them at their word.
  • by opencity ( 582224 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:12AM (#16574302) Homepage
    We have less to do with the rest of the US than with Europe and Asia. All the worlds cusines cheap and delivered. Don't need a car so take that off your balance sheet. My part of town is covered with hot European expatriate chicks and all the cool kids from fly over country. Plus we still get to use the Constitution and Bill of Rights! (sort of-insert Bush joke) 24 hour subways so take that, London. Cheapish beer and taxis. More live music than is doable. Tall buildings and not too many crackhead bums.

    Actually Rome probably has better food but that's just me. And Beijing is cool but there are always visa problems.
  • Vote (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kevin lyda ( 4803 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:47AM (#16574570) Homepage
    If you do leave, vote: []
  • Norway (Score:5, Informative)

    by Eivind ( 15695 ) <> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:23AM (#16575252) Homepage
    It depends on your requirements really, and your reasons for wanting out of the US in the first place. Different people will have different priorities.

    For some, I think Norway is a good choice.

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

    There are drawbacks.

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

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

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

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

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

  • 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.
    • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @12:12PM (#16579484) Homepage Journal
      As a Muslim, I would definitely prefer to live in a Shari'a country.
      As a non Muslim, I'd prefer it if you did too. Would you like some help packing your bags?
    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:30PM (#16581126)
      See here's the problem: You seem to want a country that enforces YOUR viewpoint on everyone. When you say you are interested in a country that has Shari'a Law, you seem to mean that you want it as you understand and would choose to practise it. That's understandable, but the problem is that barring you running the show, you aren't going to find a place that everyone agrees with your views. I'm not an Islamic scholar and I can't claim to understand all the intricate differences but even my cursory level of research has revealed some major differences in opinion as to what Shari'a Law ought to encompass and how it ought to be enforced.

      So, if you want to live your life according to the beliefs you have, the best bet for that is a nation that is tolerant of all beliefs. While they won't force others to conform to what you believe is right, they won't tend for force you to conform to what they think is right.

      There's really no paradox here. If you go to a country like Iran that's run by Ayatollah, well you get THEIR version of Islam which might not mesh with your own. You also tend to run in to the whole "All power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely," thing. If you go to a country like this US that's very free you are going to see all kinds of people doing all kinds of things you don't like, but they aren't going to tell you that you have to join in for the most part.
  • by chuckfee ( 93392 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @08:11AM (#16575584)
    The U.S. Department of State is recruiting IT people RIGHT NOW
    to work in the Foreign Service and support the work of our diplomatic
    corps at embassies and consulates overseas. The recruitment period
    ends on 11/3/06 - less than 10 days from now.

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

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

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

    Check the Department of State recruitment page here: ies/infomanage.html []

    The pay band quotes on the page doesn't seem too high, but remember
    that the pay listed doesn't include all the freebies like housing,
    utilities, cost-of-living, hardship, etc - many of which are tax-free.
    I'd pay the numbers by $30,000 to get a real approximation of the value
    of overseas benefits paid by Uncle Sam.
    • by Dr. Donuts ( 232269 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:39PM (#16581266)
      You might want to take a bit of caution when applying for this kind of work. I speak of this from first-hand experience.

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

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

      Government employment has very nice benefits, and provides a very stable work environment. However, keep in mind that whenever you work with classified information there is a lot of risk/stress involved.
  • by SickLittleMonkey ( 135315 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:54AM (#16577072)
    I can't believe no-one linked to this:

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

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

    Almost pointless at the end of such a long thread, but hopefully some lucky soul reads this.
  • by J05H ( 5625 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:59AM (#16577178) Homepage
    But really the old USA that never quite existed. If it was all Liberty, this place would be great. I'm going to put my fist in the face of the next "love it or leave it" twit I hear, they're the ones turning this beautiful land into the New Soviet.

    With what's been going on the last while, yes, moving crosses my mind. The place I'd go would be to one of several South Pacific or equatorial islands: Kiribati, Palau, Tuvalu, etc. The reasons I haven't left include friends, family, finances, and that I haven't assembled my ninja army to take one of those islands over. No, I'm not talking about being an American ex-pat who smokes and does the local hotties, I'm talking about going someplace and conquering it to live out my libertarian-anarchist fantasies. Anyone know where I can get a crate of AK-47s and a cheap hydrofoil?

  • by ReadParse ( 38517 ) < minus math_god> 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.
  • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:15AM (#16578462) Homepage 82276 []

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

    Book Description

    Had enough?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    About the Author
    Mark Ehrman is a frequent traveler and freelance writer whose work regularly appears in the Los Angeles Times, Playboy, Travel and Leisure, and numerous travel magazines city guidebooks.
  • 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 [](PDF Alert), which was signed by Bush on October 17, 2006 [] 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 [] 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.

  • by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:50AM (#16579082)
    So this is what it has come to, has it?

    You quit.

    That's it?

    It's over?

    You're going to let your country expire because you're too lazy to get up off your asses and take it back? The US is (or was) the perfect example of a country. You were oppressed by some ruling class that wanted to tax you with representing you, take away your rights, and treat you like the lousy commoners you are. Instead of leaving to go to other countries, your ancestors said, "Hey, that's not right. We can do a better job." You overthrew the government and made the biggest, roughest, smartest country that the world has ever known. You invented electric lights, developed flight, split the atom, and you walked on the fucking moon. You showed the world, "This is what we are capable of as human beings when we work together. Man and woman, rich and poor, white and black, side by side."

    Yeah, you've had some rough times. A few dickheads have metagamed and bent the rules towards their own sociopathic ends. It's hard to stage a revolt and take back your country when there are laws preventing you from doing so.

    But you know what? There were laws against revolting from England, too. I'm sure that your founding fathers would have been hanged (lethal injection not being around at the time) or sent to The Tower (Gitmo not being around at the time either). Yeah, you might die. You might have to go to war. You've done that before - twice, and internally! - so that the side of freedom would prevail.

    I am not an American. I think that for the most part, you're a bunch of arrogant assholes. But you know what? You deserve to be arrogant. A large part of the hostility you get from foreigners is jealousy. Yes, jealousy. You're a young country. You're less than 300 years old. How does that make a 3000 year old country look when you completely surpass their technology, human rights, and standard of living? Yeah, they'd look stupid for just sitting around in the desert when they could have been using the tools that were just lying around. You are the most powerful nation in the history of the planet. There is nothing in this universe that you cannot do. All you require is the will to do it.

    If you leave, if you give up, that jealousy will turn to hatred - hatred that you threw out one of the best things that's happened to the world. And you are. Yeah, sometimes the US is a belligerent force. You've made some mistakes - and we all know what they are. But when there are earthquakes, the US is there. When there is starvation, the US is there. When there are floods, tsunamis, or hurricanes the US is there. Sometimes you go to the wrong places or have misguided or corrupt leaders. For the most part, you are a force for good. At least, you try to be.

    We all make mistakes. Mistakes can be forgiven.

    Don't give up.

    If you don't like what's happening to your country, then don't quit it. Fight it. Fight to keep your country safe and secure. The only threat to your country comes from within.

    Be strong. Stay and fight.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:08PM (#16583742)
      You're going to let your country expire because you're too lazy to get up off your asses and take it back?

      I protested the illegal invasion of Iraq before it happened. All that was accomplished was that Bush emasculated the UN.

      The US is (or was) the perfect example of a country. You were oppressed by some ruling class that wanted to tax you with representing you, take away your rights, and treat you like the lousy commoners you are. Instead of leaving to go to other countries, your ancestors said, "Hey, that's not right. We can do a better job." You overthrew the government and made the biggest, roughest, smartest country that the world has ever known. You invented electric lights, developed flight, split the atom, and you walked on the fucking moon. You showed the world, "This is what we are capable of as human beings when we work together. Man and woman, rich and poor, white and black, side by side."

      None of this is true. What actually occurred was that wealthy white Americans wanted to get wealthier faster and decided to break away from England. The rest of the inspirational patriotic junk was a cover.

      We annihilated the natives. 200 million dead during our drive to extend from "sea to shining sea". We were one of the LAST industrialized nations to eliminate slavery. We dragged our feet on giving women the vote. We traded with Hitler while knowing full well what he was doing to the Jews. We invaded the USSR in 1918 and lied about it in our history books for the next 70 years.

      I am not an American. I think that for the most part, you're a bunch of arrogant assholes. But you know what? You deserve to be arrogant. A large part of the hostility you get from foreigners is jealousy. Yes, jealousy. You're a young country. You're less than 300 years old. How does that make a 3000 year old country look when you completely surpass their technology, human rights, and standard of living? Yeah, they'd look stupid for just sitting around in the desert when they could have been using the tools that were just lying around. You are the most powerful nation in the history of the planet. There is nothing in this universe that you cannot do. All you require is the will to do it.

      I am American, and living in the South. Frankly, you don't know what you're talking about. If other countries envy us, it's merely because they don't know us. Y'all think we're great just because we survived WWII? Look at Russia which beat back THREE TIMES the best armies in the world, once in the middle of their own revolution! Yes, we have freedom of speech, but that doesn't do much good when 95% of us believe that the world is going to end because the Bible says so.

      If you leave, if you give up, that jealousy will turn to hatred - hatred that you threw out one of the best things that's happened to the world. And you are. Yeah, sometimes the US is a belligerent force. You've made some mistakes - and we all know what they are. But when there are earthquakes, the US is there. When there is starvation, the US is there. When there are floods, tsunamis, or hurricanes the US is there. Sometimes you go to the wrong places or have misguided or corrupt leaders. For the most part, you are a force for good. At least, you try to be.

      Read your history again. Hurricances and tsunamis you say? New Orleans is still uninhabitable in the poorest areas and much of that tsunami money hasn't materialized.

      We held out a powerful dream to the world, especially during the Cold War, a dream of individual freedom combined with collective strength. But it was just a dream. If you are angry to find out that it was a fabrication from start to finish then you have only yourselves to blame for falling for it. The French said in 1789 that they would be a shining democracy and they begat the Reign of Terror followed by Napolean; USSR said it would create a laborers paradise and begat Stalin and the gulags.

      We all make mistakes. Mistakes can be forgiven.


I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel