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DarkTalay sums up the typical life path in America very well

What's your story? Discussions your reasons for going abroad.

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DarkTalay sums up the typical life path in America very well

Postby Winston » Sat May 17, 2008 4:39 am

I love the way he put this. So brilliant and spot on!

"Let’s see, climb the corporate ladder, work over-time doing things you hate for people who look down on you to pay for a house you can’t afford and a fancy car that depreciates as soon as you drive it off the lot.

Getting a measly two weeks of vacation time while Euros get months.

Slave away at this job only to have the company down-size or get taken over and have your position made obsolete and find out that you are unemployable since you are middle-aged.

To bust your ass trying to please American women and get their attention.

Marrying your sweetheart only to see her turn into a nagging fat shrew.

Working at said job and finally retiring when you are too old to enjoy your freedom, consigned to watching “Oprahâ€￾ at the senior center, playing canasta on Saturday nights and havingâ€￾ Senior’s Nightâ€￾ at Denny’s your weekly thrill.

No thank you! "
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"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Postby jamesbond » Sun May 18, 2008 4:27 pm

Wow, that really hit the nail on the head! It explains the 9 to 5 rat race here in America! Then you can retire and stay home and watch day time tv, how exciting! There has to be more to life than just working until retirement age and having no fun!
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The Ratrace!

Postby DarkTalay » Mon May 19, 2008 10:12 am

Guys,


James said:

Wow, that really hit the nail on the head! It explains the 9 to 5 rat race here in America! Then you can retire and stay home and watch day time TV, how exciting! There has to be more to life than just working until retirement age and having no fun!

Most men are indoctrinated from birth via the schools and the mass media into becoming enslaved for life to this treadmill.

Men become so preoccupied with covering up his ass at work (meeting quotas) and playing the political game while desperately trying to meet suitable women.

American society has changed radically over the past century before WWI most Americans worked at agrarian jobs, born, raised, marrying and dying within a few miles of his birthplace.
He probably went to a church which was a place where all the community met.
He knew and was known by all of the females from childbirth having gone to school and to the same church as they attended.
There were matchmakers, barn-dances, ice cream socials to allow singles to meet.

Finding a mate was easier as women were expected to find a decent husband and were raised to respect men.

The Industrial Age and WWI changed all that as farm-boys went to war and
were suddenly exposed to fighting in a foreign country, growing up very fast and being exposed to a alien culture.
The mass-marketing of the automobile and the creation of the Intercontinental Highway system made America a mobile society.
Now people can live in a neighborhood and scarcely know their neighbors.

Feminism has destroyed trust between genders and now men are seen as predators/criminals/fools.

Mass communication is cheaper and easier than ever with cell-phone, internet, VIOP and chat-rooms yet people are more isolated and out of touch than ever.

There is no real effective way for singles to meet nowadays as men are working overtime to make ends meet and have little time to socialize.
But that is what they were told to believe in and it makes them great wage-slaves who can be easily manipulated.

Personally I tried singles groups, singles ads and partner-danced for years with
little result.

I have friends who haven’t had a date for years and are unlikely every to meet a decent woman.

Those relationship “expertsâ€￾ are like the American Cancer Society, they are not interested in helping you but to rake in cash from desperate people dying to meet a partner.

A few men have found the courage to get off the treadmill and find their fortunes
Overseas.
It’s not easy, some men have fallen on their faces but most have succeeded.

Dark
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Postby Winston » Mon May 19, 2008 12:38 pm

Wow what a great lesson in sociology. You are good with history. Mind if I add some of your comments, Dark Talay, in my Great Letters section?

http://www.happierabroad.com/Great_Letters.htm
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Postby Winston » Mon May 19, 2008 1:12 pm

By the way, you should see the movie "About Schmidt" with Jack Nicolson, where he plays a retired insurance executive who just retired and is bored to death with his meaningless retirement life. It's very sad.

Here are some clips from it on YouTube.

http://youtube.com/results?search_query ... arch_type=
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Postby momopi » Tue May 20, 2008 9:29 pm

http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?art ... the_french

Why We Don't Vacation Like the French

How come Americans don't take a month off every summer, even though we'd like to? Blame it on individualism.


Ezra Klein | July 19, 2007 | web only


The most astonishing revelations in Michael Moore's Sicko have nothing to do with healthcare. They're about vacation time. French vacation time, to be precise.

Sitting at a restaurant table with a bunch of American ex-pats in Paris, Moore is treated to a jaw-dropping recitation of the perks of social democracy: 30 days of vacation time, unlimited sick days, full child care, social workers who come to help new parents adjust to the strains and challenges of child-rearing. Walking out of the theater, I heard more envious mutterings about this scene than any other.

"Why can't we have that?" my fellow moviegoers asked.

The first possibility is that we already do. Maybe that perfidious Michael Moore is just lying in service of his French paymasters. But sadly, no. A recent report by Rebecca Ray and John Schmitt of the Center for Economic and Policy Research suggests that Moore is, if anything, understating his case. "The United States," they write, "is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation." Take notice of that word "only." Every other advanced economy offers a government guarantee of paid vacation to its workforce. Britain assures its workforce of 20 days of guaranteed, compensated leave. Germany gives 24. And France gives, yes, 30.

We guarantee zero. Absolutely none. That's why one out of 10 full-time American employees, and more than six out of 10 part-time employees, get no vacation. And even among workers with paid vacation benefits, the average number of days enjoyed is a mere 12. In other words, even those of us who are lucky enough to get some vacation typically receive just over a third of what the French are guaranteed.

This is strange. Of all these countries, the United States is, by far, the richest. And you would think that, as our wealth grew and our productivity increased, a certain amount of our resources would go into, well, us. Into leisure. Into time off. You would think that we'd take advantage of the fact that we can create more wealth in less time to wrest back some of those hours for ourselves and our families.

But instead, the exact opposite has happened. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American man today works 100 more hours a year than he did in the 1970s, according to Cornell University economist Robert Frank. That's 2 1/2 weeks of added labor. The average woman works 200 more hours -- that's five added weeks. And those hours are coming from somewhere: from time with our kids, our friends, our spouses, even our bed. The typical American sleeps one to two hours less a night than his or her parents did.

This would all be fine if it were what we wanted. But that doesn't seem to be the case. One famous 1996 study asked associates at major law firms which world they'd prefer: The one they resided in, or one in which they took a 10% pay cut in return for a 10% reduction in hours worked. They overwhelmingly preferred the latter. Elsewhere, economists have given individuals sets of choices pitting leisure against goods. Leisure doesn't always win out, but it is certainly competitive. Yet we're pumping ever more hours into work, seeking ever-higher incomes to fund ever-greater consumption. Why?

A possible answer can be found in Frank's work. He argues that the U.S. economy has set its incentives up so as to systematically underemphasize leisure and overemphasize consumption. Much of what we purchase are called "positional goods" -- goods whose value is measured in relation to the purchases of others. Take housing. Would you rather live in a land where you had a 4,000-square-foot house and everyone else had a 6,000-square-foot house, or one in which you had a 3,000-square-foot house and everyone else had a 2,000-square-foot house? Given this choice, studies show that most respondents pick the latter. They'd rather have less home in absolute terms if it means more home in relative terms. That makes housing a positional good.

Being concerned with one's relative position rather than one's absolute position is not irrational or merely motivated by envy. In order to retain your relative standard of living, you need to keep up with the purchases of others in your income bracket. Housing works as an example here, too: Part of the use of an expensive home is the nice neighborhood, which gets your child into good schools what matters, again, is not your square footage, but your relative affluence. Good schools, of course, are also a positional good your education largely matters in terms of how much better it is than everyone else's. Retaining your relative position also ensures that you don't send the wrong signals when a client comes over for dinner. Houses, cars, clothing -- they all help send those signals. And because the rich in this country keep getting richer, we're caught in what Frank calls "expenditure cascades" in an effort to keep up with them. Their purchases raise the bar for the group right below them, which in turn increases the needs of the next income set, and so on. To retain our position, we're constantly needing to increase our incomes and affluence.

This makes the purchase of positional goods more pressing and urgent than non-positional goods. And so they "crowd out" their less context-contingent cousins. People want to spend less time at work, but they also want to retain and improve their standard of living relative to their neighbors -- and the latter triumphs, time and again.

This isn't because people are stupid, or irrational, or don't know what they want. Rather, it's because the incentives are all fouled up. Frank calls it a "smart for one, dumb for all" problem, but it's really just a classic failure of collective action. An individual would be made worse off were he to unilaterally opt out of the positional competition. But we would all be better off if we decided collectively to ratchet down the economic one-upmanship and instead devote a bit more time and resources to the leisure goods we claim to desire.

Here in the sweltering D.C. summer, there's nothing worse than wearing a necktie when the thermometer reads 95 and the humidity is so thick you could swim laps. But on your own, there's not much you can do about this state of affairs. If you're the only one who shows up dressed down, you'll look bad for it. But if your office, or meeting, were to collectively decide to ease the dress code, all would be better off.

This is what the European Union just did, imposing new regulations on its bureaucrats barring ties in the summer. Cutting down on air-conditioning costs was the rationale, but centralized action was the only way to end the practice. Otherwise, every individual would still have had the incentive to show his commitment by dressing in a tie. Only the collective could remove that spur.

So too with vacations. Very few individual workers in the United States can ask for four weeks of vacation. It is not only outside the benefits of their job but far outside the culture of our workplace. The incentives for most every individual, particularly if they want to keep their position and amass a reputation as a good employee, is to abide by those norms.

But if the crowd outside Sicko was any indication, most people would love a substantial increase in vacation time. This is what other advanced nations have pursued, using the government's role as an enforcer of collective sentiment to legislate the preferences that individuals could not, on their own, enact.

In this country, we've left it to the individuals, and thus the average American worker only takes 12 days of vacation a year, and many get none. We could do better, but that would require sidestepping American individualism for a moment and engaging in some American collectivism.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times on July 15.
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Postby momopi » Tue May 20, 2008 10:00 pm

I posted the article above -- hope you guys liked it.


America is a country with lots of economic and educational opportunities. Except for few cases of true poverty, most people here get into perpetual debt by choice and not necessity.

There's nothing wrong with working hard to make money, but gee, have an exit plan so you won't be a Walmart greeter at age 70!

http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/
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Postby jamesbond » Wed May 21, 2008 9:54 am

momopi wrote:I posted the article above -- hope you guys liked it.


America is a country with lots of economic and educational opportunities. Except for few cases of true poverty, most people here get into perpetual debt by choice and not necessity.

There's nothing wrong with working hard to make money, but gee, have an exit plan so you won't be a Walmart greeter at age 70!

http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/


Very good article Monopi, thanks for posting it. We are working ourselves into an early grave here in America. We do need more free time and more time off. Those five weeks off a year for vacation in France sounds good to me!
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Postby Enishi » Wed May 21, 2008 1:05 pm

Good article. However, I strongly dislike the way it insinuates near the end the view that we need more centralized control. IMO, for every good which comes from centralized control, there are fifty wrongs. America already has more than enough of that. The whole Big Business vs. Big Government duality which the media sets up is inaccurate. The regulations and property rules are set up in such a way as to facilitate the money making power of corporations. their shareholders and their lapdogs in government. It has nothing to do with TRUE individualism.
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Postby jamesbond » Mon Jun 02, 2008 6:01 pm

American workers are the most productive workers in the world! Yet, they only get 1 to 2 weeks of vacation time a year! In Europe the workers are not as productive as US workers but get 4 to 6 weeks paid vacation a year! I guess that tells you a lot right there!
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Postby DarkTalay » Sun Jun 22, 2008 4:13 am

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