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Cornstalks

Which Country Should I Move To?

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The Tories are a euro-skeptic party, who have always opposed joining the Euro, and disliked the EU. We can hardly make conclusions about the EU's economic outlook, based on a statement from David Cameron, which is the same view he's always had.

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[quote name='Cornstalks' timestamp='1323389989' post='4891999']
Let me give a small list of things that I would consider important:
[list][*]Sensible leaders and politics[/list][/quote]

Frankly, if you really care about that, what you should do is face the problem in the place where you can actually do something to help fix things yourself. Going to another country isn't going to make you happy with respect to these issues (well, perhaps Iceland might be an exception, seems they're small enough for reasonable things to happen there, but I'm probably wrong about that, too).

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I'd say it sounds like you want to move here to Canada. Not the urban one mentioned elsewhere in this thread. The bit with the rocks and trees. That's where I live: the politicians are mostly irrelevant and would be driven of your land with a shotgun if they came calling, you can go for days without seeing anyone if you want (you have to drive your truck just to get to the nearest Timmy's) and once you're used to the local accent and level of literacy the only language you'll hear outside of the schools is English.

In short, God's own country.

And, as a plus, there's a whole culture of expectation where people like you would rather not get off their ever-spreading butts and try to fix what's wrong and just whine that someone else isn't doing the job to their satisfaction.

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Honestly, no place in the world, at least that I'm aware of, is free of political stupidity. Europe used to be the panacia of high-minded, wannabe expats, but you really have to look no further than the UKs pervasive survielance, France's would-be internet censorship, Germany's insane media classifications, or this whole greece/euro thing to have that bubble burst.

Canada is not a terrible choice. taxes are high, but at least their government got actual universal healthcare in return...

Alaska wouldn't be a bad choice either. It's still part of the states, of course, but it seems relatively insulated from the minor retardations of the lower 48, Sarah Palin notwithstanding.

Other than that, perhaps the most free you can be is to take enough money to get on good terms with the despot of your choice. Ironically, freedom can usually be purchased in places where it is most absent.

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[quote name='Luckless' timestamp='1323393974' post='4892017']
But Canada isn't bad. Really, we're mostly friendly bunches up here. Just watch out for the French.[/quote]
Relative to the US? Hardly.
I've lived in Ontario from 1993 to 1998, Florida from 1998 to 2002, BC from 2002 to 2011, and now I'm in California. I've also been to about 10 other states.
The US is undoubtedly friendlier than Canada. San Francisco is probably the friendliest city I've been in, and Vancouver the least (well, Paris is a close second).
Smaller towns in Canada are more friendly (Victoria, BC is not bad) but will bore one to death.
Moreover, after the so-called "centrist" Liberal party was (deservedly) decimated in the last election, politics in Canada has become polarized in a way very similar to the US. Canadians are just catching up.

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[quote name='mdwh' timestamp='1323403899' post='4892068']
Speaking for the UK - I don't think UK is an improvement politically, each country has pros and cons (though obviously it depends on exactly what you dislike about the US Government). But if you want to move anyway for whatever reason: I think the education system is reasonably good (higher education unfortunately getting expensive, though nowhere near what it is in the US), and reasonably good salary and opportunities for computer science. I wouldn't say it's overpopulated, but houses tend to be smaller and more expensive than in the US AFAICT. Things I like about the UK include the public healthcare, and the longer holidays that employees tend to get (25 + public holidays is common) compared to the US.

There's also the question of how you're going to get here, since both the main parties seem anti-immigration - immigration from outside the EU has got far harder in the last 10 years, and the borders are almost shut except for a few categories. I will be marrying my US partner, but we still have a large amount of expense, hoops and hassle to jump through just to live together! 10 years ago you could come here with a degree; now I believe your only hope is if you're employed for a skilled job where the company are unable to find anyone from within the EU to do it.
[/quote]
Certainly no one that even on occasion checks slashdot stories would consider moving to the surveillance state that the UK is quickly becoming.
Sure, the US isn't that far behind in that respect, but at least they still have freedom of speech. But anti-hate speech laws in the UK, rest of Europe, and Canada severely dilute that right in those nations (not to mention that such laws are absolutely ineffective in curtailing hate--hate should be exposed and publicly addressed with rational arguments, not left to foment in hiding).

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[quote name='Ravyne' timestamp='1323486967' post='4892421']
Canada is not a terrible choice. taxes are high[/quote]
What's that about taxes?

Top personal income tax bracket in Canada: 29% (over $128,800); comparable tax bracket in US: 28% (between $83,600 and $174,400)
So it seems a whole whopping 1% percent higher than the US, right? Now hold on a second... what about above $174,400 for the US?
33%--up to $379,150. And then, 35%. Canada at those levels? Still 29%.

But perchance you were referring to corporate tax rates?
Canada: 16.5% until January 1, 2012, then 15%. US: top bracket is 35%. Ouch!

So: fuck you for spreading disinformation.

~~~~~

The reason Canada is not a good choice is because multiculturalism is the worst possible approach, and you see it in socially failed cities such as Toronto and Vancouver. US-style melting pot is much better. For those that complain about immigrants not always integrating well in the US--you better stay out of Canada where it's 10x worse! Don't like ghettos? Toronto is turning into one, and Vancouver's downtown eastside is one of the worst slums in North America, with more junkies per square meter than anywhere I have ever seen.

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[quote name='Bregma' timestamp='1323480261' post='4892401']
I'd say it sounds like you want to move here to Canada. Not the urban one mentioned elsewhere in this thread. The bit with the rocks and trees. That's where I live: the politicians are mostly irrelevant and would be driven of your land with a shotgun if they came calling, you can go for days without seeing anyone if you want (you have to drive your truck just to get to the nearest Timmy's) and once you're used to the local accent and level of literacy the only language you'll hear outside of the schools is English.

In short, God's own country.

And, as a plus, there's a whole culture of expectation where people like you would rather not get off their ever-spreading butts and try to fix what's wrong and just whine that someone else isn't doing the job to their satisfaction.
[/quote]
The problem with living in the bush is that there's not enough variety of things like women, for example. If you're married and/or retired, or a hermit, or you only live in the virtual behind your keyboard, then the great wilderness of the Canadian north is fantastic (I'll probably end up there when I'm old, and I love the BC mountains, so I'm not knocking it, it is great). But for the rest of us, urban life has a lot of value.

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[quote name='mdwh' timestamp='1323472018' post='4892373']
The Tories are a euro-skeptic party, who have always opposed joining the Euro, and disliked the EU. We can hardly make conclusions about the EU's economic outlook, based on a statement from David Cameron, which is the same view he's always had.
[/quote]
The Euro makes no sense for as heterogenous a collection of economies as the eurozone is--unless there's full fiscal and economic integration. This is quite obvious and has been pointed out numerous times by people with understanding of Modern Monetary Theory. Why would a country give up its most powerful tool of economic policy--being the monopoly issuer of its own currency?
The Euro, in combination with Germany's mercantilist policies of huge trade surplus combined with wage suppression are the real cause of the current European crisis. The Euro chains down other eurozone members and they cannot fight back. With such a trade imbalance the expected thing has happened: Germany beggaring its neighbors. Even if the weaker states fall out of the eurozone, then the damage will simply be shifted onto others. It's just not sustainable, and the only alternative outcome to the eurozone breaking apart is significant further integration, including politically difficult to swallow pills such as common bonds for eurozone countries and so on. Or maybe the Bundesbank will give up on being guided by dated neoliberalist economic ideas and embrace the lessons of neochartalism (probably not... plus, I've no doubt some of our German friends are realizing that after two failed attempts at taking over Europe militarily, they might now be able to subjugate it economically).

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[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1323396035' post='4892027']

* [b]Living [/b]-
Crime-wise, again, can't be hard to beat the US, right? [img]http://public.gamedev.net/public/style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif[/img] There's sure to be less guns, gangs, drugs and unemployment here on average.

[/quote]

In my country, we haven't heard of anything grave happening there (terrorism, genocide, massacre, etc).

During my childhood, I remember the place being very peaceful and pleasant and that probably the most violent thing that can happen there is 2 incensed koalas fighting over a eucalyptus tree. [img]http://public.gamedev.net/public/style_emoticons/default/laugh.gif[/img]


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"UK could be an option. They have that european feel but speak english. Never been there, but it seems to have decent opportunities for educated people."

The problem with moving here from a non-EU country is that it's amazingly difficult for UK companies to hire you. The work visas for experienced people are strictly rationed. It's a bit of a pain to be honest; most tech companies I know have empty seats, are hiring, can't find enough Brits or Europeans... and simply can't get through the paperwork hiring anyone else.

It's causing companies to start leaving the UK and opening offices in other countries and so on.

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Perhaps as a (future) engineer it might make sense to make a list of requirements and pick the candiate with the highest aggregate score, but in my experience that's not how life works. At least it's not how most people choose their girl/boy friends or what they'll have for dinner. You'll find that no place is perfect; either accept it or actively try to make a change where you live now.

Having said that, I would definitely recommend visiting (and possibly living in) other countries when you have the opportunity. Being young and having (almost) finished a higher education in a technical field I think you're in an ideal situation to do that. I'm an IT expat myself, and in my experience it shouldn't be hard to find a job abroad if you're fluent in English.

[list]
[*] Sensible leaders and politics

You probably feel most comfortable in a democratic system. As you may have found out, this doesn't mean that every political decision is 'sensible' in your view. This isn't going to be any different anywhere else in the world.

[*] Good education system

For whom? You, your future offspring, or are you refering to the level of education of the general population?

And what makes it good? Having world class institutes, but which may only be accessible to the brightest or wealthiest, or having a perhaps more modest level of education but available to everyone?

And of course, education isn't everything. What about highly trained professionals that are stuck in low level jobs abroad, because there wasn't any work available for them in their own country?

[*] Good social opportunities for my future children (China and Japan sound cool and all, but there's too much pressure on school work there IMO; somewhere where a kid can be a kid, but still gain a good education)

I think it's going to be tough, if not impossible to find a place that provides ideal circumstances for you and your current or future wife/husband's professional career, and your yet non-existant children with unknown social, educational or even medical needs for the next twenty years or so. Your life will change a lot, and you'll be forced to make the choices along the way, don't expect to get everything right the first time.

[*] Good standard of living for someone in the CS industry

Fortunately, even in the current worldwide economic situation, it's still one of the better fields to be working in internationally, although I'm not sure about the outlook for fresh college graduates. Salary and standard of living surveys can be easily found online.

[*] Good work opportunities for someone in the CS industry (I haven't decided a particular area in CS yet)

Usually, most people find a job first, and then move.

[*] Not over populated (I come from mountainous Utah, so I like a decent amount of space between two houses)

I think you can find relatively remote areas everywhere in the world, although they might be difficult to find in places like Western Europe (at least if you compare it to rural Utah). However it will make finding a job and schools a little more difficult. And keep in mind that, unless you plan to live like a hermite, moving to a new place requires interacting a lot with people and making new friendships, so I wouldn't choose to live in the absolute middle of nowhere.

[*] Safe (both protected by the government and from the government)

I would think large parts of the world are relatively safe in that sense for a US citizen, but of course it often depends more on the particular area within that country you live in. For instance as an EU citizen I feel safe in the US in general, but I'm sure there are certain neighborhouds in big cities that both you and I wouldn't feel too comfortable walking around at night.

[*] Speaks English, since that's all I know and the only languages I enjoy learning are programming languages

I think you need to find a place where you're at least able to survive by only speaking Enlish, but I find that it is the case in most parts of the world. But I'm not sure disimissing the possibility of learning a second language right away just because it's not one of your hobbies is very good attitude to have. If you move to a new environment things are going to be different, and learning to adapt is a very valuable skill.

[*] Anything else you might think is important

It's your life.
[/list]

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[quote name='Bregma' timestamp='1323480261' post='4892401']
I'd say it sounds like you want to move here to Canada. Not the urban one mentioned elsewhere in this thread. The bit with the rocks and trees. That's where I live: the politicians are mostly irrelevant and would be driven of your land with a shotgun if they came calling, you can go for days without seeing anyone if you want (you have to drive your truck just to get to the nearest Timmy's) and once you're used to the local accent and level of literacy the only language you'll hear outside of the schools is English.

In short, God's own country.
[/quote]

The same places exist in the US. Hell he lives in Utah, that's God's country right there. Pretty much you can draw a big square in the middle of the US and culturally consider it a different country. The whole US is not New York City.


[quote name='Prune' timestamp='1323507147' post='4892463']
[quote name='Ravyne' timestamp='1323486967' post='4892421']
Canada is not a terrible choice. taxes are high[/quote]
What's that about taxes?

Top personal income tax bracket in Canada: 29% (over $128,800); comparable tax bracket in US: 28% (between $83,600 and $174,400)
So it seems a whole whopping 1% percent higher than the US, right? Now hold on a second... what about above $174,400 for the US?
33%--up to $379,150. And then, 35%. Canada at those levels? Still 29%.

But perchance you were referring to corporate tax rates?
Canada: 16.5% until January 1, 2012, then 15%. US: top bracket is 35%. Ouch!
[/quote]

Maybe income tax is similar, but you guys also have VAT (close to 15% I think?), and I noticed a lot of stuff was taxed either overtly or under the table. Gas, tobacco, and alcohol are good examples. A 6-pack of Coors was $12 last time I went and a can of dip (my friend chews), was $20. I'm surprised the alcoholics and nicotine addicts are not rioting in the streets.

$30,000 here goes a lot farther than $30,000 in Canada.

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[quote name='Prune' timestamp='1323508128' post='4892467']
[quote name='mdwh' timestamp='1323472018' post='4892373']
The Tories are a euro-skeptic party, who have always opposed joining the Euro, and disliked the EU. We can hardly make conclusions about the EU's economic outlook, based on a statement from David Cameron, which is the same view he's always had.
[/quote]
The Euro makes no sense - snip[/quote]Well, I'm making no comment of the pros or cons or the Euro, just saying that "Tories against Euro/EU" isn't news, and doesn't inform us about anything to do with the EU's economic outlook.

[quote]plus, I've no doubt some of our German friends are realizing that after two failed attempts at taking over Europe militarily, they might now be able to subjugate it economically).[/quote]Nothing like a bit of racism :/

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[quote name='ChurchSkiz' timestamp='1323529930' post='4892530']
Maybe income tax is similar, but you guys also have VAT (close to 15% I think?), and I noticed a lot of stuff was taxed either overtly or under the table. Gas, tobacco, and alcohol are good examples. A 6-pack of Coors was $12 last time I went and a can of dip (my friend chews), was $20. I'm surprised the alcoholics and nicotine addicts are not rioting in the streets.

$30,000 here goes a lot farther than $30,000 in Canada.
[/quote]
VAT (called HST) where I live is 13%. I've been to many jurisdictions in the US where the local and state sales taxes combined are not dissimilar.

And yeah, we have "sin" taxes on alcohol and tobacco, but marriage and sex are legal (you can marry who you love and prostitution is legal), and a lot of people avoid the sin taxes by brewing their own (beer and wine) and getting their smokes tax-free from the local rez.

Then again, I don't have to say with an exploitative job I can't stand because I'd lose my health insurance. At the end of the day, things come out pretty even.

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[quote name='Cornstalks' timestamp='1323400560' post='4892052']
a country that doesn't have HR1540 (please Obama, do the right thing), doesn't have the DMCA (drives me nuts I can't legally get around the DRM on my iTunes music)[/quote]
These two requirements alone demonstrate to me that you have a very loose grasp on the politics of the rest of the English-speaking world, and just how many freedoms you enjoy as an American citizen.

The United States and Canada may be the only English-speaking countries that don't *already* have the 'indefinite detention' provision of HR1540. When MI-5 beats down your door, there's no ACLU kicking and screaming to find out which middle-eastern nation you have been renditioned to...

The UK has an automatic '3 strikes and your out' policy for copyright violations, with no route to appeal. Australia only just narrowly defeated their 'great firewall of China' legislation...

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Why not just get a job with a large international corporation (heck, even a government job) where you have an opportunity to change countries? Preferably try living in a place on a temporary basis before a permanant move. (Most of the companies I've worked with have had opportunities for people to work abroad for 3-6 months). Heck, I've had problems relocating just within the USA, outside of Canada I'd probably turn it down.

My first job offer out of college was for a company in Iceland. It was because of my experience from going to a college fairly far away from where I lived most of my life that I decided to turn it down, even though at the time I had no other offers. Probably the last thing you want to do is be living in an area without a support system, especially if things go south.

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I moved to New Zealand from Ireland. I wouldn't go back, I love it here. It fits most of your criteria, although you will be better paid in australia. It actually wasn't that difficult to get residence either.

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[quote name='Prune' timestamp='1323507147' post='4892463']
[quote name='Ravyne' timestamp='1323486967' post='4892421']
Canada is not a terrible choice. taxes are high[/quote]
What's that about taxes?

Top personal income tax bracket in Canada: 29% (over $128,800); comparable tax bracket in US: 28% (between $83,600 and $174,400)
So it seems a whole whopping 1% percent higher than the US, right? Now hold on a second... what about above $174,400 for the US?
33%--up to $379,150. And then, 35%. Canada at those levels? Still 29%.

But perchance you were referring to corporate tax rates?
Canada: 16.5% until January 1, 2012, then 15%. US: top bracket is 35%. Ouch!

So: fuck you for spreading disinformation.
[/quote]

According to this: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_Canada, the average Canadian family with two kids pays nearly twice as much income tax. I don't care about the highest brackets, because it's not representative of the typical family. Admittedly, the gap is essentially negligable for families with no children.

Plus, sales tax is generally higher and lower income families are spending a larger percentage of their money on necessities (which I presume are tax exempt?) and small-scale creature comforts. then there's the greater presence of excise taxes, and a value added tax on some goods.

frankly, I'm not even saying Canadians pay too much in taxes, I don't believe that the American system is sustainable for all the programs we have. But the average canadian certainly does seem to pay more, all things considered.

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[quote name='Ravyne' timestamp='1323641187' post='4892908']
I don't believe that the American system is sustainable for all the programs we have.[/quote]
Huh?
Taxation is not what pays for government spending, because under a fiat system the government is not revenue constrained. It can create money ex nihilo on an as-needed basis. It doesn't need to borrow that money from the public or abroad by issuing debt instruments either--that's purely a political choice. And saying that inflation is the reason this is not done is also false, because inflation depends more on aggregate demand. Macroeconomic debt between treasury and central bank is not real debt in the sense people understand it--it's an accounting fiction and it doesn't have to be "repaid". This misunderstanding of the nature of debt in macroeconomic terms is a good example of the most basic economic fallacy, the fallacy of composition.
[url="http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=11218"]http://bilbo.economi...t/blog/?p=11218[/url]
[url="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1905625"]http://papers.ssrn.c...ract_id=1905625[/url]
It is exactly such misunderstandings by the politicos of some very fundamental aspects of how modern monetary systems actually work that have a lot to do with why the economic crisis was poorly dealt with, and even allowed to happen (the MMT people predicted what happened very well, and also the weak effects of remedial measures such as "quantitative easing"). People still seem to, by inertia, think of money in the outdated tradition of gold-based currency that Nixon nixed decades ago. This is also why we still have persistent myths such as that banks create money by the money multiplier in fractional reserve systems (false because money loaned out by banks (assets) are deposited at other banks (liabilities)--you have to look at the system in totality--and this nets to zero; banks loan out as much as possible during the day and, if needed, borrow on the overnight market to refill their reserves at the central bank, which means they are NOT reserve constrained in practice--another common myth; banks are constrained by the capital/asset ratio instead, and that's what's critical to be enforced).
[url="http://pragcap.com/your-textbooks-lied-to-you-the-money-multiplier-is-a-myth"]http://pragcap.com/y...plier-is-a-myth[/url]
[url="http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=1623"]http://bilbo.economi...et/blog/?p=1623[/url]
Also relevant:
[url="http://moslereconomics.com/mandatory-readings/a-general-analytical-framework-for-the-analysis-of-currencies-and-other-commodities/"]http://moslereconomi...er-commodities/[/url]
[url="http://www.moslereconomics.com/wp-content/pdfs/MMT-Scott-Fullwiler.pdf"]http://www.moslereco...t-Fullwiler.pdf[/url]

I actually went to talk to some of the Occupiers in San Francisco on MMT topics and almost got mobbed by Ron Paul supporters. WTF? Ron Paul is as Randian as the most extreme right wingers and I was surprised to see something so Tea-partyesque in the Occupy movement. Fail! Things will never improve as long as people refuse to properly educate themselves and instead pull out opinions out of their asses just because it lines up with their emotional commitment to irrational ideology.

On the positive side, after being quite vocal on Slashdot about MMT under articles which generate discussion on economics and monetary policy, I've noticed several other posters pick up the torch and start correcting the usual misconceptions by referencing MMT. The downside is, nerds have little influence among the circles where it would make a difference.

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[quote name='swiftcoder' timestamp='1323545431' post='4892592']
[quote name='Cornstalks' timestamp='1323400560' post='4892052']
a country that doesn't have HR1540 (please Obama, do the right thing), doesn't have the DMCA (drives me nuts I can't legally get around the DRM on my iTunes music)[/quote]
These two requirements alone demonstrate to me that you have a very loose grasp on the politics of the rest of the English-speaking world, and just how many freedoms you enjoy as an American citizen.

The United States and Canada may be the only English-speaking countries that don't *already* have the 'indefinite detention' provision of HR1540. When MI-5 beats down your door, there's no ACLU kicking and screaming to find out which middle-eastern nation you have been renditioned to...

The UK has an automatic '3 strikes and your out' policy for copyright violations, with no route to appeal. Australia only just narrowly defeated their 'great firewall of China' legislation...
[/quote]

This isn't just english speaking countries, freedom is under heavy attack all across the western world, The war on terror/piracy/whatever has quite rapidly turned into a war on freedom, while the middle east is moving in the right direction we are moving in the wrong one, most likely we'll end up meeting eachother somewhere in the middle :(

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