Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Moving to a third world country

At one time I considered moving to a third world country, but then I realized that I already was moving to a third world country. Or, rather, a third world country was moving to me.

Consider this:

  • Corrupt government: CHECK.
  • Bad roads: CHECK
  • Dirty polluted air: CHECK. (See: Gutting of environmental regulations)
  • Dirty water that causes intestinal diseases coming out of the faucets: CHECK. (See: Gutting of environmental regulations, various outbreaks from contaminated municipal water).
  • Tiny upper class, shrinking middle class, and huge number of poor people? CHECK.
  • Lack of electricity and running water for many homes? CHECK. (See: New Orleans, where the electrical wires in most of the city are lying in the streets, abandoned by the power company which has declared bankruptcy despite its corporate parent making record profits over the past few years, and where the water is still off in most of the city because of breaks in the mains).
  • Treasury printing money with all the abandon of a Weimer Republic government ministry? CHECK. (See: Money supply figures for past 8 years).
  • Can be thrown into jail and locked up anytime someone in authority doesn't like the way you look or the people you hang out with: CHECK. (See: Jose' Padilla. Or, rather, you can't.)
  • Your telephone calls and bank transactions are overseen by the government to see if you might be engaged in subversive activity? CHECK (See: NSA spying, Patriot Act banking regulations).
  • Large masses of uneducated people, useful only as brownshirts for the government? CHECK. (See: Entire state of Alabama, entire Fox News viewership).
  • An educational system that serves primarily as a propaganda outlet for the government, and does little educating? CHECK. (See: Your local school board.)
I don't need to move to a third world country, because one is swiftly coming here to where I already live.

So the next question: How does one survive in a third world country with a smigeon of dignity and comfort left?

One possibility is to move to a first-world country. Unfortunately, everybody else in a third world country has that same idea, and first-world countries tend to slam the doors shut pretty quickly on anybody who can't buy their way in. And buy-in typically is a *lot* of money -- as in, the equivalent of a million dollars. Some first-world countries have special programs to bring in people from third-world countries with talents that they can use (see, for example, Canada), but even that has some serious limitations -- limitations on age of people they'll accept, limitations on numbers, etc.

Another possibility is to move to a second world country. These are countries which were once third world countries, but now are increasingly prosperous and democratic, with a growing middle class, decreasing income differences, and improving educational system. Most of these countries today that welcome foreigners (to a lesser or greater degree) are in South and Central America. Costa Rica, Panama, Chile, Uruguay, and to a certain extent Argentina and Brazil have increasingly diverse and robust economies that produce everything from microchips to jet airliners, yet remain inexpensive enough that you can support yourself in fine fettle with relatively modest occupations. Once again you're going to have to buy your way in with hard currency, but the amount of hard currency is much less than for the first world countries -- for example, to get into Costa Rica will cost you $150K, Panama $100K. (Note: Verify this, it changes regularly!). And while you'll be adrift in a culture that you can't really understand and will have the typical life of an immigrant in a new and strange country (i.e., lots of hard, hard work to barely get by, little influence upon the direction of your newly adopted country, etc.), your children have an opportunity to become enthusiastic participants in that country's future -- most of these countries have been quite friendly to the descendents of immigrants (especially immigrants of European or Asian ancestry), who after a generation or two typically rise to the top of the country's socio-economic structure.

The final option is to move to a third world country, except you don't have to move to do that. The question then becomes one of how to a) survive, and b) insure some degree of comfort and dignity, while living in the third world country that the United States will become after the dollar collapses and the Wal-Marts of the land become empty shells.

And that, alas, is a question whose answer I am still working on.


Posted by: BadTux / 3/04/2006 08:06:00 AM  


Well, after a sucky day, that is a question that I have been contemplating.

I seem to be 150K short of a solution.
# posted by Debra : 4/3/06 10:35 PM  

I just checked, and Costa Rica is up to $200K now. They're tired of muy gringos swamping their country and driving up the prices of everything.

Uruguay is still just $100K, though, according to their embassy web site, and it's in a prime piece of real estate, right between Argentina and Brazil. Only downside is that you'd really need to learn both Spanish *and* Portuguese in order to get by, since Uruguay's primary economic activity right now consists of buying from one and selling to the other (they're all part of the Mercasur consortium).

# posted by BadTux : 5/3/06 12:01 PM  

Gee, thanks for bringing my attention back to reality. I had succeeded in not thinking about this truth for a bit. . .

Damn Penguins . . .

# posted by mycroftdavis : 5/3/06 6:09 PM  

I thinking Ireland. I fit in with fat people who drink and curse a lot.
# posted by Lab Kat : 6/3/06 9:47 AM  

A great insightful post. While the "third world country" may have moved to you, you're still probably not paying 3rd world prices for everything. We should all move to Nepal or the Sri Lankan highlands. Then at least we could afford a cheap cup of tea (very decent tea) as we commiserate.
# posted by Karlo : 6/3/06 11:02 AM  

I hear Norway is nice but cold, Brazil is close to third world but not quite, and it is warm all year.
# posted by Ole Blue The Heretic : 6/3/06 12:03 PM  

The hell with emigrating to an existing country; why not form your own? Shit, this guy did.

In my home state (which shall remain nameless), there is a small, football field-sized island about twelve miles offshore. Its ownership is currently in dispute between two towns, neither of which wants to pay for the upkeep costs for the lighthouse on the island. This summer, I plan on sailiing out there , annexing the island, and declaring it the Republic of Nixonia.

You are all, of course, invited to become citizens of the new Republic. And I'll only charge you a cool ten grand each. Don't delay! (Of course, I will only take payment in gold or silver, since the US Dollar is going to collapse and lose all value later this year. Still, it's a bargain.)
# posted by Pope Horatio Tyrannosaurus Nixon Rex : 7/3/06 11:35 AM  

Portland Oregon. Definitely.
# posted by Blue Gal : 13/3/06 2:31 PM  

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