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Postby vertical » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:18 am

Hello, new here to. A friend of mine introduced me to this site.

Unfortunately, the stuff Winston has posted is all true. The only thing I disagree with is the cost of living - consumer products are cheaper in America than anywhere else in the world. That's why America is a consumer society.

About me, I grew up in California, and have lived in different states. I've traveled and spent time overseas, and I know the difference all too well.

The isolation in America is real - I know people who work and buy stuff just to keep themselves going.

I've spent extended time in Australia, and it's nothing like America. When you meet people down under you actually GET TO KNOW them. Unfortunately in America, when you meet someone, there's a wall up, and everyone pretends they're fine. When you meet people you never know what they're actually going through because they'll never tell you. When I was in Aus, I would meet someone new and they would tell me the details about their life that wasn't always flattering. They would tell me things that made my jaw drop because people I've just met aren't supposed to share those kind of intimate details.

To compound the problem, in America people don't have the time and always have to be somewhere else. The go-go-go lifestyle is ingrained into the culture.

I've had friends move over to Europe and the first thing they tell me when they come back is that nobody has the time here in America.

It all comes down to core values. In America, it's all about the individual, ME, MYSELF, and I. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.

When I was Aus, I would hear on TV about the Aussie core value of helping another mate. I almost fell over when I heard that. I've lived in America for 30 years and have never heard that once stated as an American value. And it's just not lip service - I had strangers completely go out of their way to help me when I was in Aus, something that's NEVER happened to me in America.

In the end, it's the nature of beast and something you have to accept if you live in the States. I can't really see myself living this kind of lifestyle forever - it's just not sustainable.
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Postby Winston » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:27 am

Welcome Vertical. So true. We have some forum members here who claim that Australia is just like America, but I do not get the same vibe from Australians at all. There is a difference.

When I said cost of living, I didn't mean consumer goods. I meant the big expenses like rent and mortgage payments. Those are too high in America. And healthcare costs too of course.

Consumer goods can be cheap or expensive in any country, depending on where you shop at. In general though, electronic products are cheaper in America, such as digital cameras and laptops.

But most cost of living expenses are really high, higher than most countries.

Anyway, glad to see another like minded person here.
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Postby The_Adventurer » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:37 am

Yeah I don't see the thing with products, unless you mean electronics and video games. Kelloggs frosted flakes and planters peanuts are less than half the price in Philippines than in the U.S., and cigarettes are less than a quarter of the U.S. price. It is true electronics are expensive in Philippines, but in Korea they are much cheaper, at least for Korean electronics like Samsung products. In China, Japanese products seem to be cheaper. Who knows how all that works? Haagen Daz ice cream is outrageous expensive everywhere, but still much cheaper in the U.S. than anywhere I've seen in Asia.

Everyday stuff, though
Last edited by The_Adventurer on Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby vertical » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:43 am

Hi Winston, yes, there is a difference.

Their worse fear is actually that they're becoming like America Jr. If you watch TV over there, they're always asking themselves that question.

Being in Aus was like being in a time warp, when people still enjoyed company and made the time to get to know you. It's a heartening experience, one I won't forget anytime soon.
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Postby Winston » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:52 am

Terrence wrote:Yeah I don't see the thing with products, unless you mean electronics and video games. Kelloggs frosted flakes and planters peanuts are less than half the price in Philippines than in the U.S., and cigarettes are less than a quarter of the U.S. price. It is true electronics are expensive in Philippines, but in Korea they are much cheaper, at least for Korean electronics like Samsung products. In China, Japanese products seem to be cheaper. Who knows how all that works? Haagen Daz ice cream is outrageous expensive everywhere, but still much cheaper in the U.S. than anywhere I've seen in Asia.

Everyday stuff, though


What do you mean? American branded cereal and food products are either the same price in the Philippines or more. At least on Luzon Island they are. I've shopped in supermarkets all the time there and US products are about the same price or more there.
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Postby Winston » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:54 am

vertical wrote:Hi Winston, yes, there is a difference.

Their worse fear is actually that they're becoming like America Jr. If you watch TV over there, they're always asking themselves that question.

Being in Aus was like being in a time warp, when people still enjoyed company and made the time to get to know you. It's a heartening experience, one I won't forget anytime soon.


I certainly hope they don't become like America. Now, are you saying that mainstream Aussies are pretty friendly too? Some say that only the backpacker Aussies I met in hostels are the friendly ones but that the mainstream folks are a different story. What is your take on that?
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Postby The_Adventurer » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:58 am

What I noticed is that there is a difference between US products that are imported, and US products that are made domestically or in Indonesia. Check the label to see where it is made. Companies like M&M Mars, Kelloggs and so on have branches locally, or nearby in Indonesia, and produce versions of the products there and sell them cheaper in the region. Most are the same, except Pringles, which actually taste slightly different and the package is a little different.
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Postby vertical » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:08 am

Sorry for the confusion. I was referring to things like cars, electronics, computers, gas, clothes. All of that stuff was 2x-3x more expensive in Aus. It's the same in Europe. My friends wait until they come back to the States for a visit before they buy anything. Also eating out is very expensive in Europe and Australia, although you do get what you pay for and the food is so much better.
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Postby djfourmoney » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:40 am

vertical wrote:Sorry for the confusion. I was referring to things like cars, electronics, computers, gas, clothes. All of that stuff was 2x-3x more expensive in Aus. It's the same in Europe. My friends wait until they come back to the States for a visit before they buy anything. Also eating out is very expensive in Europe and Australia, although you do get what you pay for and the food is so much better.


Well there are several things and welcome aboard!

Firstly I'm sure you know our factory food farms (and Federal Subsidies) allow companies to produce food in large numbers for rock bottom prices. They have paid off the FDA and CDC to get things past as well, you hardly know what your putting in your mouth.

So food is cheap.

Cars are cheaper and that's based strictly on a volume sales model much like many other products in America. Europe and Asia generally have much better public transportation options. Owning in a car in those cultures is truly for that want one and can afford one. In America is almost as important as water or air, especially if you live in a rural area.

Homes are generally much larger and less expensive in America than in Europe or Asia where space is a premium. With the depressed prices now, you can get short sales for $150,000 or less for homes 1200-1500 square feet, try that in Europe or Asia, won't happen.

I'm not tooting the horn, its just economic structures are different. That's why you'll never hear a politician talk about raising the Federal Gas Tax. Poor people need cheap fuel to go to those "jobs", public transportation in most urban settings is not reliable or easy to use. They raised the fuel tax so high in Europe that its made Diesel cars popular because of their fuel mileage, even cars like the Prius are not popular in Europe...

Anyway, I couldn't agree more about the selfish nature of our society.
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Re: New here.

Postby NorthAmericanguy » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:59 pm

vertical wrote:Hello, new here to. A friend of mine introduced me to this site.

Unfortunately, the stuff Winston has posted is all true. The only thing I disagree with is the cost of living - consumer products are cheaper in America than anywhere else in the world. That's why America is a consumer society.

About me, I grew up in California, and have lived in different states. I've traveled and spent time overseas, and I know the difference all too well.

The isolation in America is real - I know people who work and buy stuff just to keep themselves going.

I've spent extended time in Australia, and it's nothing like America. When you meet people down under you actually GET TO KNOW them. Unfortunately in America, when you meet someone, there's a wall up, and everyone pretends they're fine. When you meet people you never know what they're actually going through because they'll never tell you. When I was in Aus, I would meet someone new and they would tell me the details about their life that wasn't always flattering. They would tell me things that made my jaw drop because people I've just met aren't supposed to share those kind of intimate details.

To compound the problem, in America people don't have the time and always have to be somewhere else. The go-go-go lifestyle is ingrained into the culture.

I've had friends move over to Europe and the first thing they tell me when they come back is that nobody has the time here in America.

It all comes down to core values. In America, it's all about the individual, ME, MYSELF, and I. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.

When I was Aus, I would hear on TV about the Aussie core value of helping another mate. I almost fell over when I heard that. I've lived in America for 30 years and have never heard that once stated as an American value. And it's just not lip service - I had strangers completely go out of their way to help me when I was in Aus, something that's NEVER happened to me in America.

In the end, it's the nature of beast and something you have to accept if you live in the States. I can't really see myself living this kind of lifestyle forever - it's just not sustainable.



Excellent post. A few things however, while it is true that consumer products are VERY cheap, at the same time, the cost of medical care, education, and a basic home in a decent area is outrageously expensive! So for me, I could care less that I can buy a nice flat screen TV for 300 bucks when I'm paying 1500 dollars a month in rent, and I have to forgo medical coverage and pursuing a degree because I can't afford it.

As far as Americans not having anytime for each other, to a degree, I don't have much sympathy for them because Americans make life hard on themselves. For example, people rarely chose not to have children, Americans pay extra money to live in "luxury" or "exclusive" areas, the average Amercian wedding people hand over around 30 grand, Americans chose to pay 300 bucks to attend a professional baseball game, Americans live in homes that are way to big for them, Americans feel the need to buy designer clothes/shoes, and on and on and on......

So what it all comes down to is that Americans don't pursue a quality of life, Americans chose to pursue materialism, status, fame, and "success" and the byproducts of choosing this route is having to work all the time and forgo a quality social life to be able to pay for all this crap.
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Postby have2fly » Sun Dec 19, 2010 12:23 am

This is all good stuff.

Cars in Russia are MUCH more expensive because government is trying to protect domestic Soviet-style manufacturer called "AvtoVAZ", it makes LADA cars, they are sold in Europe, I've seen a LADA dealership in France, needless to say I was very surprised :)

Actually Prius is getting more popular, even in France. Yes, 70% of cars they drive are diesel due to good mileage and cheaper Diesel price over gasoline. French are very nationalistic about their cars, almost all of them buy Peugeot, Citroen or Renault.

The problem with Americans is that they are NOT willing to accept anything besides what they are used to. Every American tells me "just be yourself". OH YEAH! Bullshit! No one wants real "ME" here, but rather another brain-washed self-centered lonely selfish individual who is job-crazy and goes to work out 3 times a week. And for biggest fun time - go to football game once a month. This is life, yay!

Corporate culture in Russia for example is very different too. They actually supply vacation packages for free or cheap for co-workers to go for vacation to Turkey, France or Egypt. They have special dinner socials and invite famous pop-stars to sing live. It's all about gathering, socializing, meeting, having fun and enjoying time. Not like America - Me-me-me, loneliness, private life and sexual harassment!

I am totally sure Australia and other English-speaking countries are much more open and friendly than the US. If it is that shocking to go to Australia, I can't even imagine how shocking it is for Americans to go to Europe or Asia. I just can't forget seeing Americans taking pictures of girls on the streets when I lived in Ukraine. I thought they were just having fun/joking around. Now I understand that they probably had pure brain psychotic shock :) LOL Because there are no places in America to see so many stunning girls.
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Postby vertical » Sun Dec 19, 2010 5:29 am

Winston wrote:I certainly hope they don't become like America. Now, are you saying that mainstream Aussies are pretty friendly too? Some say that only the backpacker Aussies I met in hostels are the friendly ones but that the mainstream folks are a different story. What is your take on that?


Well, Aussies love to travel. But the native Aussies are very friendly and easy-going. It's a very laid back, easy going lifestyle over there, so after awhile it becomes a part of your personality. Just like living in America where everything has to be done NOW, that becomes a part of you too.

But above all, they're genuine people. You don't have the fake pretense or wall up that you do in America. So you actually get to know and connect with people.
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Postby vertical » Sun Dec 19, 2010 5:33 am

have2fly wrote:No one wants real "ME" here, but rather another brain-washed self-centered lonely selfish individual who is job-crazy and goes to work out 3 times a week. And for biggest fun time - go to football game once a month. This is life, yay!

So sad, but true. But what else are you gonna do? It's a self propagating cycle. People focus on work because they're lonely, and then because work is all they have, they get even lonelier. Then they work even more and buy stuff to try to fill the void.
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Postby vertical » Sun Dec 19, 2010 5:45 am

djfourmoney wrote:Firstly I'm sure you know our factory food farms (and Federal Subsidies) allow companies to produce food in large numbers for rock bottom prices. They have paid off the FDA and CDC to get things past as well, you hardly know what your putting in your mouth.

So food is cheap.

Well, I didn't know that. I knew the lobbyists control things, but I hadn't really thought that far. I read briefly the book "Coke Machine" which explains how Coke gets into all of the high schools (by giving the schools much needed money). I always wondered why there was a Coke machine at my high school while I was growing up. They don't even allow the schools to dispense juice in those machines!

The food in America is cheap, but the quality is terrible. I'm referring to produce and fruits. That's the one thing I loved about Aus - the food was just out of this world.

Cars are cheaper and that's based strictly on a volume sales model much like many other products in America. Europe and Asia generally have much better public transportation options. Owning in a car in those cultures is truly for that want one and can afford one. In America is almost as important as water or air, especially if you live in a rural area.

Yeah, also the taxes they put on the cars. Everyone drives a little hatchback in Aus. When I came back to the States, I was in shock that everyone had a medium to full size car. But I always tell people, if you want to drive a BMW or Mercedes, America is the place to do it. It's really cheap here to own and drive one, compared to other countries.
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Postby vertical » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:04 am

djfourmoney wrote:Cars are cheaper and that's based strictly on a volume sales model much like many other products in America. Europe and Asia generally have much better public transportation options. Owning in a car in those cultures is truly for that want one and can afford one. In America is almost as important as water or air, especially if you live in a rural area.

Yeah, unfortunately Portland, OR is the only place I've lived in America where you could get away without being trapped in your car. They have light rail and streetcar throughout the city. It was also the nicest and most livable place I've lived in America.
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