A nation of emigrants

#1
Interesting article at vdare.com( a "paleo-conservative" site):
George W. Bush’s latest disapproval rating (69 percent) is the highest of any president in the 70-year history of the Gallup poll. Faith in the economy, as measured by consumer confidence, has dropped to levels not seen since the great stagflation of late seventies/early eighties.
We are mad as Hell, and ought not to take it any more. But inauguration day is 240 days away. (Sigh.)
Some Americans have reached the point of no return. Literally.
A recent Barron’s article by Bob Adams analyzed the responses of 115,000 Americans polled by Zogby International. [A New Life In Panama, September 24, 2007]. Extrapolating the poll results Adams reaches these rather startling conclusions:





1.6 million U.S. households have already made the decision to leave the country








1.8 million are seriously considering and likely to leave








7.7 million are somewhat serious about leaving and may do so








3 million are seriously considering purchase of non-U.S. property








10 million are somewhat serious about purchase of non-U.S. property
 
#2
Hi bigbadwolf, it has been awhile...just curious do you think that majority of these are headed South, like way south - to maybe.well..Argentina? I can only imagine the soaring and not just sky rocketing prices of real estate here in Buenos Aires alone should the exodus from USA head towards this southernly direction. This would be an exiting turn of events for the expat community here. The more the merrier!
It is always good to hear from you, for any reason. Thanks for the topic.
 
#3
Don't know where they're going. But things are bad in the US, both economically and in the sense of political sterility. For life in the US today, an article by Mike Whitney:
Look around. The evidence of a withering economy is everywhere. In "good times" consumers shun the canned meat aisle altogether, but no more. Today, Spam sales are soaring; grocery stores can't keep it on the shelves. Everyone is looking for cheaper ways to feed their families.... The bottom line is that more and more people in "the richest country on earth" are now surviving on processed pig-meat. That says it all.
In Santa Barbara parking lots are being converted into hostels so that families that lost their homes in the subprime fiasco can sleep in their cars and not be hassled by the cops. The same is true in LA where tent cities have sprung up around the railroad yards to accommodate the growing number of people who've lost their jobs or can't afford to rent a room on service-industry wages. It's tragic. Everywhere people are feeling the pinch; that's why 9 out of 10 Americans now believe the country is now headed in the wrong direction and that's why consumer confidence is at its lowest ebb since the Great Depression. This is the great triumph of Reagan's free trade "trickle down" Voodoo economics; whole families living out of their cars waiting for the pawn shop to open.
Mark Ehrman has recently written a book, titled "Getting Out: Your Guide to Leaving America," which is a guide to those seeking to emigrate (which is not as easy as it sounds). And John Wennersten has come out with "Leaving America: The New Expatriate Generation," which examines the phenomenon of mass US emigration. From the book description:
Today more than ever, large numbers of Americans are leaving the United States. It is estimated that by the end of the decade, some 10 million of the brightest and most talented Americans, representing an estimated $136 billion in wages, will be living and working overseas. This emigration trend contradicts the internalized myth of America as the land of affluence, opportunity, and freedom. What is behind this trend? Wennersten argues that many people these days, from college students to retirees, are uncertain or ambivalent about what it means to be an American…. The greatest irony in America today may well be that while argument and discord prevail in the edifice of American democracy about diversity, economic justice, equality, and the Iraq War, many of the most thoughtful citizens have already left the building.
We should remember that the US has often not been seen as a land of opportunity. As I remember, two-thirds of the Germans who came to the Mid-West returned to Germany because of their perception of the inhospitability of the place. And in 1932, in response to a Soviet advertisement in US newspapers for skilled workers, over 100,000 Americans applied (rather than remain unemployed in the US). The US has lost 3m manufacturing jobs just in the last seven years and becomes ever more polarised between a small plutocratic elite and a growing lumpenproletariat. So it should hardly be surprising that a number of Americans think the grass may be greener on the other side.
 
#4
Quoting "bigbadwolf": ". . . . As I remember, two-thirds of the Germans who came to the Mid-West returned to Germany because of their perception of the inhospitability of the place. . . ."
Writing as a former historian, I'm not so certain: Germans have generally been the most assimilatible of non-English-speaking immigrants in the United States. I do remember that roughly half of all Italian immigrants between about 1890 and 1960 and three-quarters of Polish did return to their native lands, but many of these might never have intended true immigration: that is, many appear to have come simply to accumulate property, then leave.
And that is a major concern I have about the incipient wholesale American emigration foretold in this thread: if the chief reason for the exodus is material, what does that augur for the quality of person who leaves? That he's looking out for his own gain above all? That he'll only with reluctance add to the quality of life in his destination (and that, only if it directly benefits him) and won't bring with him any applied principles beyond the getting of money?
As for myself, I leave for reasons other than financial. I hope to add to the quality of life in Argentina, not detract from it, through contributions as a volunteer in charities and through humane interactions with others. I pray that I'm not unique!
 
#5
"RWS" said:
And that is a major concern I have about the incipient wholesale American emigration foretold in this thread: if the chief reason for the exodus is material, what does that augur for the quality of person who leaves? That he's looking out for his own gain above all? That he'll only with reluctance add to the quality of life in his destination (and that, only if it directly benefits him) and won't bring with him any applied principles beyond the getting of money?
A historian might correct me, but my impression has been that mass migration is always economic in nature. There may be a few who move because of religious persecution (which itself often has its roots in the division of the economic cake) or cultural affinity but the majority move because of economics. Were I a Greek, Italian or Swedish peasant whose ancestors had lived in their homelands for centuries, even millennia, I would have to be under severe economic duress to make a move. My land -- and everything it connotes by way of extended family, friends, and culture -- would be left behind.
In any case, perhaps it's unfair to accuse American emigres of only bringing money-making skills. What else is American culture about but the amassing of material goods? What patina of culture the country has is mostly derived from Europe. What could an American bring but his entrepreneurial and technical savvy? And surely that should be enough?
 
#6
"RWS" said:
Quoting "bigbadwolf": "A historian might correct me, but my impression has been that mass migration is always economic in nature."
I'd agree that economic and physical advancement almost always is the chief motivation. Creation of the foundation of the present United States, in the early and mid 1600s, would be a major exception.
"What else is American culture about but the amassing of material goods?"
So, I fear, it's become. I'm glad that there are many for whom the silver screens, big and little, hold scant allure and the acquiring of endless quantities of things, less. But such Americans are mostly older folk; after they've died, there'll be little left.
"What patina of culture the country has is mostly derived from Europe."
Again, there are many -- a few millions? only hundreds of thousands? -- Americans who are sterling, not simply a void beneath the patina. Again, sadly, these are mostly older men and women.
"What could an American bring but his entrepreneurial and technical savvy? And surely that should be enough?"
If combined with honesty, it probably would be. Perhaps we'll see.
 

windy

Active Member
#7
100 years ago Argentina was one of the richest countrs on earth, It was on a par with France(G7 Today). Then something happened (many things did in fact) But one main thing happened THE GROWTH OF THE ECONOMY STOPPED. With that slowly but surely the money sterted leaving following higher returns(mainly in the USA)
Today in the USA the growth has stopped and the wealth is leaving for China India Europe ect. (Believe me it can leave a lot quicker today than it did in the old days) Argentina which was once dependent on the USA now has markets in the new world economys of China India And Russia. These markets were not long ago penniless but are now flush with cash. So for Argentina the growth is back and the future could be rosy. For the USA there could be along slow decline unless they re-invent themselves very quickly. The dollar is where it is because the rest of the world has stopped buying it and are dumping it.
 
#8
Argentina is worse off today than it was 100 years ago, 50 years ago, 20 years ago, and with the way things are going a year from now will be worse than today. In case people haven't noticed this is a dysfunctional culture. Argentina has enormous potential but unless there are big changes it will always remain just potential. People may be correct that the U.S. is in decline but I wouldn't expect plane-loads of Americans to be arriving anytime soon. Even with the current economic problems in the states people there are still much better off than here. You might see a few retirees arriving if the cost of living stays below the U.S. but that advantage is quickly eroding with 30% plus inflation here. The bargins in real estate from a few years ago are long gone.If Argentina by some miracle was able to get some decent leaders willing to follow reasonable policies the country could be turned around. Just have good government for 15 or 20 years and the people could start to seeing the advantages of higher incomes etc. Given the past history here you would have to say that this is an unlikely prospect.
 
#9
"Stanexpat" said:
Argentina is worse off today than it was 100 years ago, 50 years ago, 20 years ago, and with the way things are going a year from now will be worse than today. In case people haven't noticed this is a dysfunctional culture. Argentina has enormous potential but unless there are big changes it will always remain just potential.
If Argentina by some miracle was able to get some decent leaders willing to follow reasonable policies the country could be turned around. Just have good government for 15 or 20 years and the people could start to seeing the advantages of higher incomes etc. Given the past history here you would have to say that this is an unlikely prospect.
I agree. Even though commodity-producing countries are enjoying a bonanza right now, I'm sure it's just a privileged minority that is enjoying it in Argentina. Trickle-down economics with a vengeance. Coupled with endemic corruption and incompetence. Argentina is somewhere along the spectrum between Norway and Nigeria (and I suspect closer to the latter).
 
#10
In the Palm Beach Post:
Since the United States doesn't keep statistics on dual citizens, it's impossible to know exactly how many people have applied for citizenship in Europe. But it's estimated that more than 40 million Americans are eligible for dual citizenship, and a growing number of Americans want to try their luck elsewhere.
"I have to say that over the past few years, calls I never would have received before have been made to the office," said Sam Levine, an immigration attorney in Palm Beach Gardens. "It's not like a tidal wave, but it's certainly more substantial, and it's remarkable."
...
Mulvehill's mother was born in Romania, which became a member of the European Union last year.
She's obtaining Romanian citizenship, which she estimates will have taken about three years, a ton of paperwork, $750 in fees and a trip to the Romanian consulate in Washington.
But once she receives the passport, probably early next year, she'll be able settle anywhere in the EU. (not true--BBW)
...
And as the value of the euro - the currency shared by 15 EU countries - rises and America's economy slumps, it's an attractive alternative for Amber Alfano, a recent University of Florida graduate who is becoming an Italian citizen like her father.
"I'm doing it as an exit strategy of sorts," Alfano said. "I like knowing that I have another place to go if things get even worse here, or if I just get tired of running on the American mouse wheel.
"My dad was actually the one who put a bug in my ear about the whole citizenship thing. He said that Europeans are more interested in the quality of life than the quantity, and that it was a good place to have and raise children because of the way their social systems work. I don't care much about the child-rearing part, but I would gladly trade in some of my material possessions for a little flat, a scooter and more vacation."
When Alfano went to fill out her paperwork at the Italian consulate in Coral Gables, she said "the waiting room was full of second- and third-generation Americans (of Italian descent) picking up passports."
Pickus said he's heard stories of parents getting their children European citizenship as an 18th birthday present - "We didn't get you a car, but we got you an Italian citizenship."
 
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