Archive for the ‘8b. Expatriating to a new Country’ Category
A tour of 108 ancient Buddhist temples in Kyoto, Nara and other areas of Western Japan. Details and photos of the temples can be found here: TEMPLES
Correspondent Kevin M. submitted this thought-provoking response to yesterday’s entry on the “return of Big Government”
Read from afar, The Return of Big Government and the (de facto) Welfare State (March 17, 2009) describes the onset of conditions here in the U.S which are decidedly third world in nature. Should that be a reality in our future, a reinforcing trend would likely develop complicating everything you and other correspondents describe.
For centuries we’ve been accustomed to the one way flow of migration into the United States; should conditions deteriorate to the levels indicated in your essay–which is hardly beyond reasonable imagination–the flow would most likely shift in the other direction. We’re already getting reports of a reverse population shift back into Mexico as recent arrivals from that country return home after encountering poor economic conditions north of the border. Mistakenly, many people think this is a positive development, and one which ultimately will improve our situation.
But the out-migration I’m referring to would be that of an exodus of the productive class, a population shift that will have a far more profound affect on conditions than most of us can imagine. So if the government does move to a system of semi-permanent/permanent welfare for the masses, the environment will become less hospitable for those who are successful tradesman, entrepreneurs, professionals or well monied investors.
We’re more vulnerable to this than we can imagine, not the least of which since an increasing percentage of the American productive class do in fact have roots in Mexico, China, India, the Middle East and other developing countries, or are no more than a generation removed, and would have less reservation about heading back should conditions here get really ugly. Eventually, self described “real Americans” may follow suit; Jim Rogers (moved to Singapore with his wife and three daughters) is a prominent example of this.
There’s a double-edged motivation for the productive class to leave the country too. Not only will they be expected to largely foot the bill for expanded mega systems here at home, but they are also the very people who would be most welcome in foreign countries, as well as most likely to survive and thrive as new (or reverse) immigrants. Punish-the-rich platforms, which are highly popular in economic downturns, would only hasten and expand the departure.
In the end, it may be far easier for a prosperous person to resettle in a traditionally poor country–which over the generations and through social norms has also found a way to cope with it’s diminished prospects in a peaceful way–than to try to wait out an ongoing and increasingly violent devolution in a traditionally richer location.
The potential for an exodus of the prosperous would not only exacerbate our problems, but also reduce options for workable solutions. The result of such an outflow would be a permanently poorer country. 16th century Spain, then the richest country in the world, is a perfect example of this.
The outflow of U.S. productive capacity to developing countries under the banner of globalization is an indication that the trend is already underway. As businesses leave, their most productive and creative employees will eventually choose to go with them. That hasn’t happened yet because the money is still in the U.S., but eventually it will always flow to the places where real production is taking place.
Few are aware that England retained it’s status as the global financial leader for several generations after America surpassed it as the most productive economy, but eventually the money did follow production–into the United States. Our situation today is looking like a perfect reversal!
There’s a saying, “capital is the greatest of all cowards”; what’s also overlooked is the fact that a huge, unheralded component of what we call capital, is human capital. What ever ideological repulsion anyone may have toward the concept, the fact is that wealth–capital represented in the form of both money and productive people–follows production. Why anyone in power thinks we can improve our lot simply by propping up the banks should remove any confidence we might have in the leadership.
Regrettably, I have to agree with your projections with a pronounced shift into a full blown welfare state since it is the most expedient course of action from a political standpoint. However we will not succeed in solving any of our problems until we initiate a serious move toward returning this country to that of a producer nation, what ever the short term costs.
The geniuses in Washington had better invest some intellectual and political capital into figuring out how they plan to make this happen. To date however, we have no indication what ever that such a course is even being considered.
If where you are is oppressive, take a lesson from birds.
….Life expectancy F/M Pop. density GDP Pop Growth 2050
Belize 73.8 69.1 10 $ 5,351. +110%
Brazil 67.9 59.4 20 $ 7.537. +25%
Cambodia 60.4 55.4 72 $ 1,563. +94%
Colombia 74.8 67 37 $ 6,519. +52%
Costa Rica 78.8 73.6 79 $ 7,838. +51%
Cuba 79.1 74.2 101 $ 3,168. -2%
Dominica 76.8 70.9 93 $ 5,192. +17%
Dominican R 75.9 71.5 180 $ 5,792. +54%
Ecuador 74.5 68.9 45 $ 3,905. +73%
Fiji 71.4 6.3 46 $ 5,596. +15%
Greece 81.6 76.3 80 $ 16,247. -12%
Guatamala 66.2 64.3 79 $ 4,144. +120%
Honduras 68.0 65.3 57 $ 2,510. +114%
Indonesia 71.4 66.5 111 $ 3,269. +43%
Italy 82.5 76.4 191 $ 26,169. -9%
Macau 84.8 79. 19 $ 18,500. +76%
Malaysia 74.5 69. 67 $ 9,030. +86%
Maldives 64.4 62. 902 $ 3,933. +77%
Mexico 75.4 69.2 50 $ 8,903. +46%
New Zealand 81.4 75.3 14 $ 20,764. +27%
Nicaragua 71.7 67.6 39 $ 2,027. +98%
Panama 74.7 69.9 38 $ 6,524. +68%
Paraguay 77. 71 14 $ 4,171. +142%
Peru 73.4 68.4 20 $ 4,888. +58%
Phillipines 72.2 66.4 252 $ 5,166. +63%
Portugal 80. 72.8 108 $ 17,573. -10%
Seychelles 76.8 65.7 176 $ 12,700. +11%
Singapore 83.6 77.4 6,502 $ 25,394. +6%
Spain 82.8 75.8 79 $ 21,351. 0%
Sri Lanka 75.2 70. 288 $ 3,362. +11%
Taiwan 79.8 74.1 612 $ 13,248. -2%
Thailand 73.5 69. 122 $ 6,896. +15%
Tunisia 76.1 72.7 122 $ 7,183. -23%
Turkey 74.3 69.4 86 $ 5,830. +37%
USA 80. 74.3 30 $ 35,182. +45%
Uruguay 79.3 72.5 19 $ 8,878. +24%
Vanuatu 63.2 60.2 16 $ 2,782. +103%
Venezuela 77 70 27 $ 6,402. +62%
Vietnam 72.7 67.5 236 $ 2,620. +45%
One has the incredible opportunity of being in a place where one knows very little.. has to figure it all out again, a kind of second chance at the best of childhood, where one must make new connections and understand how to communicate, associate and learn. I daresay it keeps ones brain cells young as most expats Ive met seem much younger than their biological age, brainwise.
One can escape the tedium of hearing and understanding everyone in casual circumstances speaking your tried and true language, so that the voice in ones head becomes much louder and one’s sense of self becomes rather pristine again. A very positive sort of solitary bliss.
The contacts one does make become very special, because your life is almost starting all over again, therefore everything becomes crystalline and very personal. Fabulous friendships are made, both with other expats and with the mysterous locals.
One grows up by going through a loss of ones roots and a remaking new roots. No tried and true to fall back on, so that one becomes in a way ones own roots and very very much stronger for it.
It is possible to let go of ones biases and test out life again with a clean slate.
If one is in a place where no one knew you before, you are starting in a mileau where no one will judge you based on anything you did in your past, and so you have a second chance.
Ones senses get sharpened and younger.
It’s possible to become so enamored with the experience of being in a whole new culture, that when the new culture becomes more and more understood, you might want a third culture and then a fourth and graduate from expat to perpetual exile, in a growing capacity to understand more and more, and to get multiple perspectives on what is “normal” on your own country of origin, and who you are, how acceptable your different sides or qualities are to different cultures, new perspectives politically etc etc etc.
One learns what was really valuable about ones culture of origin, and what was not. Distance and time bring a new appreciation of the best you received.
New sensual delights. New food, new music, new sounds you make, new dances, new air to breathe, a whole new environment to explore.
Best of all, at least for the present, one can do this while having the current luxury of remaining in touch with ones family friends country of origin by phone, skype, photos, blogs, and have the fun of sharing it all.
Most likely much better medical care. Most of the worlds medical care is a lot more informal and responsive. See the Dr. the same day, have more variety of healers to choose from. Cheaper prices. Can you say hospital stay for $200 dollars?
Your own military, tax man, lawyers, and anyone else back home who might want to take something away from you, can’t find you. This is gratifying, and a topic of some hilarity between expats.
Lots of things can be much much cheaper in price to acquire.
Expats are a pretty happy bunch. Their kids dont die slowly in dumbed down schools, their spouses dont come home bored and worn out from the same ol job, married people find a new project to share together, and I’d be willing to bet, it is considered a reward by most, to be able to live a second life.
“It is only towards the end of 2010 that the situation will start stabilizing again and improving a little in some regions of the world, i.e. Asia and the Eurozone, as well as in countries producing energy, mineral and food commodities”
From the GlobalEurope Anticipation Bulletin