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  #121  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 2:16 PM
10023 10023 is offline
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Make sure you don't forget to stash your guns in the trunk...
I figured the Applebee's comment was a hint that his comment was tongue-in-cheek.
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  #122  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 2:55 PM
Nowhereman1280 Nowhereman1280 is offline
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Originally Posted by FREKI View Post
~3% of your citizens lives abroad.. ( 900 times more than 50 years ago )
Not to jump in on the back and forth here, but maybe that's because the world is 900 times more global than it was 50 years ago? Think about what you just said, the age of the jet-liner was just beginning 50 years ago. Do you really think that "living abroad" was as easy as it is today when most people needed to take a steamship to get to foreign countries... Nowadays all you need to do is hop on a jet and you can get anywhere in the world in less than 24 hours. Additionally the United States has been the prime driver of globalism for the past 50 years so you'd think it would make sense for a lot of us to be abroad since we've economically colonized most of East Asia and have gigantic military outposts all over the world...
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  #123  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 3:34 PM
miketoronto miketoronto is offline
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Originally Posted by jd3189 View Post
I hope you're not speaking for the whole population. I could find these same reasons in Canada. My Montreal family haven't traveled in years.
Any country has people who do not travel.
But overall American's do travel less.
You really see the divide in border towns on the US/American border.
Even just with people I know who live on the border, the ones on the Canadian side travel more, go work abroad, etc. The ones on the American side who actually are richer and could travel every week if they want, have never been outside of the USA or even much outside of their state except for I believe NYC and Toronto.

This is why even smaller Canadian cities have more direct flights to Europe than much larger American cities.
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  #124  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 4:53 PM
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So wait, one person is talking about how bad America is because we don't travel...

But somebody else is talking about how bad America is because so many of our citizens are expats living abroad...

Seems we can't win. We just suck no matter what we do.
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  #125  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 5:07 PM
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Mike, do you ever offer any evidence that isn't anecdotal?

That being said Americans do seem to be more content staying within their own country. Only 30% of Americans own a passport, compared to 60% of Canadians, and 75% of the U.K.

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-02-04/t...s?_s=PM:TRAVEL

One of the primary reasons for this could be the fact that you can live in the U.S. and be hundreds of miles away from either Mexico or Canada. Whereas in Canada 75% of people live within 161 km of the U.S. border. Add to that the fact that there are more reasons for Canadians to travel to the States than vice versa, and the numbers don't seem so skewed. There is enough space as well as physical and urban diversity in the States to satisfy most people's travel needs.
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  #126  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 5:38 PM
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Originally Posted by suburbanite View Post
One of the primary reasons for this could be the fact that you can live in the U.S. and be hundreds of miles away from either Mexico or Canada. Whereas in Canada 75% of people live within 161 km of the U.S. border. Add to that the fact that there are more reasons for Canadians to travel to the States than vice versa, and the numbers don't seem so skewed. There is enough space as well as physical and urban diversity in the States to satisfy most people's travel needs.
This is true.

Passports themselves aren't cheap - $135 for an adult. And as a passport is not our primary form of identification (those are issued by states, not the federal government), you don't pay for a passport unless you're planning specifically to travel internationally.

For me, living in Colorado, you're looking at a very expensive flight, or a really long drive, to get to anywhere that you'd need a passport. Numbers of passport holders have gone up significantly since passports started being required for Mexico travel. That's the cheapest way to travel internationally from here, but it's still a $500 flight. To anywhere else, it's $1,000 and up. So international travel is inherently a luxury for the well-to-do, or at least upper middle class.

In my house we try and do one domestic trip and one international trip each year. But that really strains the vacation time and the budget, and we're not exactly poor. One international trip per year is next to impossible for most Americans, and even then, you'd be passing up on a lot of other neat and cheaper options domestically (the classic road trip to Yellowstone, for example).

Another example... I try and squeeze in a short dive trip each year too, but sometimes it's just as easy to go to Florida or Hawaii as it is to go to Mexico or Belize. I do all of the above, of course. But if you're looking at statistics... a diving enthusiast in Canada is doing all his SCUBA travel internationally. Same for most Europeans. Half of mine is domestic simply because... well... the U.S. is huge.
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  #127  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 6:11 PM
Buckeye Native 001 Buckeye Native 001 is offline
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Meh. I've lived in border states the past 15 years and while I rarely go to Mexico, I figured a passport wasn't a bad thing to have.
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  #128  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 6:26 PM
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I am very confused by this post. Are you saying the average French fast food employee makes 66k a year?
Not sure, I don't live in France, but it's about the least a rookie would make up here..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 View Post
Not to jump in on the back and forth here, but maybe that's because the world is 900 times more global than it was 50 years ago? Think about what you just said, the age of the jet-liner was just beginning 50 years ago. Do you really think that "living abroad" was as easy as it is today when most people needed to take a steamship to get to foreign countries... Nowadays all you need to do is hop on a jet and you can get anywhere in the world in less than 24 hours. Additionally the United States has been the prime driver of globalism for the past 50 years so you'd think it would make sense for a lot of us to be abroad since we've economically colonized most of East Asia and have gigantic military outposts all over the world...
Mate I'm not saying there's anything negative in it - I just pointed out that it's not just people in the European subcontinent who work abroad..
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  #129  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 6:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Buckeye Native 001 View Post
Meh. I've lived in border states the past 15 years and while I rarely go to Mexico, I figured a passport wasn't a bad thing to have.
I've always had one too. But I remember when I finally got nasty with my family and insisted everybody get a passport (on the off chance a cheap fare popped up), and it was a $500 expense! Not something everybody does without a good reason. Most people don't obsessively keep an eye on airfares the way I do.
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  #130  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 6:50 PM
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Going back to the original responses and the original post, America is the wealthiest nation on Earth for a number of reasons. We claim a lot of land, and within that land there are a lot of people as a single economic unit. But also, the fact is that wealth distribution in America is so inequitable there are entire swaths of America, as many people have pointed out, that aren't living at standards the Europeans have. Many Americans are living 3rd world or 2nd rate status lifestyles, and it isn't all tied to race. There are plenty uneducated, very rough living people in Appalachia that are all very much caucasian. On the other side of the coin, we have a class of people that are living above and beyond anything you can find in Europe; however, the question I've always asked is after a certain amount of wealth does it really matter? Why does it matter if you have $50 billion instead of $1 billion?

So the biggest error would be to reduce this to a racial discussion just because our urban cities have a lot of minority poor areas, it is only part of the story. It is a tragic story for anyone to be stuck in poverty, whether our urban centres or rural mountains.

As far as where our wealth comes from, of course it comes from the city. But where exactly are we drawing the lines? American cities are more or less large suburbs with a few small cores, unless you're talking about our largest cities. Even there, suburbs still command metro NY or Chicago and most people live in single family homes. Are European cities only drawing stats from the city?

I have a hard time believing Europe derives more wealth from the countryside than we do, but if its so, then its so.

What you can say about certain European societies, many have levels of economic security that you will never find in America. There is a form of happiness that comes from economic security, knowing you always have high quality health care, knowing you will likely have a good job with benefits as long as you don't screw it up, knowing that you have real vacation time to use instead of the joke of a few days or weeks many Americans have. There is a happiness equation in the mix, and being able to work 35 hours a week and get 5-6 weeks of vacation while stilling having enough income to afford everyday life seems pretty good for most people.

So wealth can be measured in more than $$$. Whenever someone has a heart attack and goes to the hospital, it adds "wealth" to our economy, but is that really healthy wealth?
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  #131  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 6:56 PM
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The US is wealthier because it is a huge singular nation with extensive natural resources which spurred industry which created wealth which drove innovation which spurred more industry which spurred great immigration which spurred more industry which created greater wealth which drove greater innovation which spurred more industry...
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  #132  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 7:06 PM
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^The immigration issue cannot be overlooked. Europe isn't home to masses of immigrants (at the same level) coming in to be exploited for their cheap labor (and subsequently, as stated before, abuses of human dignity).

Immigrants have been injecting energy into the American economy long before any other nation had the phenomenon. Europe has been growing with immigration, but again not the same way.

Immigration has untold roots to the economic expansion in America throughout history.

Something else that has been an untold story is how many cities in America, largely southern cities, were able to achieve mass success without paying proper wages. If you study the history of Memphis, it has went from one of the cleanest cities in America to a rather grungy place in parts in the post-civil rights era. Why? Memphis city officials could discriminate and segregate its black communities out of the city, and hire them for sanitization jobs and pay them nearly nothing. While slave labor was made illegal after the civil war (and they were used as free labor to clean city streets before), the conditions really didn't get that much better as they were forced to be paid sub-standard wages, a huge savings to the city, for cleaning it up and keeping it up.

Few European cities have had this recent phenomenon. Could you imagine running a city budget on much of the labor force being non-union, disposable upon any reason, and paying them virtually no benefits with minimal wages? This was the truth in many American cities right into the 1970's, recent history by any stretch of the imagination.

We're only 40 years removed from that era in American history, and we question why so many parts of America are so strongly anti-union, anti-worker? The history of America has been to exploit labor and pump up the economy on that exploitation, with the social stratification that comes of it. People want to know why we're so unequal in incomes, well there is a starting vantage point.

MLK wasn't just marching for racial equality, it was a labor movement. He was marching for sanitization worker rights when he got shot.

And the same thing applies in Eastern Kentucky. Anyone seen first hand the dire poverty and the abuses of mine workers? It is no different from what happened in the streets of Memphis. Again, this issue is a class and economic issue, not a race issue entirely. In today's modern era, we need to address economic injustice across all lines.
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  #133  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 7:17 PM
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What are we considering Europe? Income disparity and inequality is also higer in "Europe" than in the United States, depending on what borders you draw.
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  #134  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 7:19 PM
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I'm referring to mostly western or nordic European nations, not the old bloc countries that still are recovering from communism.

Developed socialist market economies in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, France, The Netherlands, etc more so than what you see in, say, Romania. Although, I hope the people on here are educated enough to understand that socialism and markets can work together and understand how an economy like Norway operates, because it certainly isn't communism and most Americans can't even seem to understand the difference between liberalism, socialism, or communism. A lot of us here are the exception to the rule in America, many of us are educated enough to have these conversations and understand easily these simple concepts. Or rather, shall we say what should be simple concepts.

Mind you, I don't idealize Europe. I love highrise condo living, and Europe doesn't have enough of it. IMO wealth is great when you build cities with masses of condo towers and live a life above and beyond the old single family home concept. Europe certainly isn't the place for me to live, so even there I wouldn't call it "perfection" for me. Canada is far closer to the perfect society for me than Europe. Although looking at photos of Moscow somewhat puts me in awe.

But on economics? Are you kidding me?? Average of having 4-5-6 weeks of vacation? Health care? Job security? While Spain is having a rough go at it, other nations certainly aren't. What this proves is that the simple concept of having 35 hour work weeks or high wages and copious amounts of vacation time aren't what cause bubbles to burst. Nothing is perfect, perfect doesn't exist, but to be able to live with such benefits is above and beyond the American way of life.

The average right winger in America makes a keep it simple, stupid argument. They say that having universal health care is a government bureaucratic takeover. They say that these programs are what cause a nation to faulter, and what cause an economy collapse. They rewind and repeat the same, stupid, keep it simple arguments over and over until it becomes a meme that has sway in the US.

The truth is that during the economic crisis of 2008 and the Great Recession that hit the world, these programs aren't what cause the economic malaise. The next time a right winger makes the case on these stupid arguments, we have to remind them that Canada's banking system was largely untouched because it was well regulated. From 2008-2012, Canada still has universal health care much like a lot of European programs, yet it came out fine. Well, so does Spain, who didn't fare so well in the Great Recession.

So the cause-effect scenario that the Tea Party likes to put forth is utter bullshit. The right wing is hellbent on proving something based on programs and policies that have no effect on the bubble bursting. Spain had problems with real estate and bad investments, and they are using Austerity to remedy the situation. The result? 25% unemployment. The right wing response to this?? Oh, its because Spain has lavish vacation time, worker rights, vacation time, and spends on universal health care. That's the cause of every problem in the right wing world, from Paul Ryan's budget in the states to Cameron's austerity budget in the UK. Different shores, same bullshit. Only the US has been lucky not to be subject to austerity.

Anyway, wealth is measured in many ways, and we always have to be cogniziant that right wingers will always make the same bullshit, stupid arguments and try to destroy public programs on the basis that they destroy the economy.

Last edited by Dr Nevergold; May 1, 2012 at 7:41 PM.
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  #135  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 7:49 PM
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And just to give you an idea, even without the UK and Ireland, the nations I am referencing add up to about 200 million people:

Nation - Population (in millions)

sweden - 9.4
norway - 5
denmark - 5.6
germany - 81.8
netherlands - 16.8
belgium - 11
luxembourg - .5
france - 65.3

Total - 195.4
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  #136  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 11:10 PM
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^^^ You forgot Finland.
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  #137  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 11:41 PM
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Oops.
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  #138  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 11:45 PM
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Austria? Switzerland? Iceland?



I don't understand this random grouping of countries? Why leave off the UK and Ireland, or Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece for that matter?
There's a definition for Western Europe in the original report that includes all these countries
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  #139  
Old Posted May 1, 2012, 11:49 PM
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I was just using a sample. To be fair, I left out the UK, Ireland, Spain, Italy, and others. Italy is only the world's 8th largest economy onto itself, so I was just taking a snapshot out of a larger picture.

All I was trying to say is that there is a huge chunk of Europe that is doing relatively well, post-recession. Not every nation is facing Spanish unemployment, or Greek unemployment. I also don't think Americans appreciate how much larger Europe is as a whole, or how the fact that cities that were built many centuries ago are harder to maintain when you already have a set population and have existing infrastructure to take care of on a more massive scale. None of this is taken into account when we assume the "US is wealthier" when it isn't so clear.

You see the same situation within the US. Older, more established cities like where I live have a harder time rebuilding than the new US sprawl economies in the south and west, where you don't have to rebuild you just throw up some new big box stores and new suburban housing to make economic "growth" happen. But is this really sustainable over the next century, are these stats on paper really that great?

Bottom line is that social programs aren't the cause of economic malaise, they are simply a standalone set of programs that hurt or find success along with the greater economy, other factors tend to cause economies to go up and down.

The point I was trying to drive home is that in America, where right wing politics have been a problem for several decades, you can't trust the message of that ignorant movement and provided the examples listed.

Last edited by Dr Nevergold; May 2, 2012 at 12:00 AM.
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  #140  
Old Posted May 2, 2012, 12:33 AM
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OK I understand and you are right.

btw you have to view the whole Spain situation in context. It's not as if the country is at the edge of the abyss or something. The only country in Europe that is truly screwed is Greece. People are getting hit hard there, maybe for a decade to come or more.

Spain always had "high unemployment". It also has a relative big informal sector. And those 25% unemployed do work some of the time, it's just that they go from short term (sometimes just a week) work to short term work while being registered as unemployed. In the US those people don't even show up in the statistics. My cousin is "unemployed"...yeah, he helps out in my family's store. They make money...
In truth the "real" unemployment figure of Spain is a lot closer to the real unemployment figure in the US though still higher. What is lacking is a common definition here.

It's not an ideal situation and especially for young, highly educated people it's tough at the moment. The job market in Spain is highly immobile and outdated.
But people are not starving, living on the streets (living with your parents at 30 is not unusual). In fact, the lifestyle in Spain is something to be envied, even now. Going out (to eat) is even cheaper than in the US, with quality places everywhere and the climate can't be beaten.

My aunt and uncle did have to fire all their employees in their store. Well those guys/girls made about 900 euro a month, still live at home and are now collecting 600 euro or so in benefits and a lot of time to spare to do the odd job here and there. Their financial situation hasn't changed much. The smart ones went back to school. Career prospects remain grim though, hopefully Spain will lift itself out of this crisis soon, it certainly has a lot of potential. In 2000-2008 it was absolutely booming.
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