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Emigrating To a Freer Country? 1359

puroresu writes "I currently reside in the UK. In recent years I've seen privacy, free expression and civil liberties steadily eroded, and I can't see anything changing for the better any time soon. With people being banned from the UK for expressing (admittedly reprehensible) opinions, the continuing efforts to implement mandatory ID cards and the prospect of a Conservative government in the near future, I'm seriously considering emigrating to a less restrictive country. Which countries would you recommend in terms of freedom and privacy? Distance is not an issue, though a reasonable level of stability and provision of public services would be a bonus."
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Emigrating To a Freer Country?

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  • What languages? (Score:2, Informative)

    by squisher ( 212661 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:12AM (#28491265)

    Oh come on, if you're asking about this issue seriously, how can you omit what languages you speak?

    If you only speak English, then your options are obviously limited, the English speaking countries are quickly enumerated.

    Or, if you are willing to learn a language, then that is an important piece of the puzzle, isn't it?

  • Economic Freedom (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:13AM (#28491277)

    A good place to start is usually economic freedom.


  • Re:What languages? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jlechem ( 613317 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:17AM (#28491317) Homepage Journal
    I live in the US and have looked at migrating to another country. Of course one that speaks english. I am a high skilled worked I guess (programmer/IT) and on paper it would appear many countries would value my skills even though I cannot speak the native language. However in practive I have found it incredibly difficult to do this. There is a metric shit ton of paperwork involved and unless you want to spend a lot of time dealing with it your employeer usually handles it. Also I live on the west side of the US and have been looking at getting a job on the east coast for a change of pace. I'm having trouble even getting a serious look because employers only seem to want to deal with local candidates. So I can't imagine dealing with another country in all practicality.
  • Re:Economic Freedom (Score:2, Informative)

    by evenmoreconfused ( 451154 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:21AM (#28491343)

    I was actually looking forward to reading your link until I read the footer: "The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute - a think tank - whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies...".

    Clearly unbiased, then.

  • by Snarky McButtface ( 1542357 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:27AM (#28491387)

    Canada, eh?

  • by mrmeval ( 662166 ) < minus math_god> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:27AM (#28491393) Journal

    Dave Freer is having to get out of Africa. It's getting very bad there. It is a beautiful land and based on his and several other peoples comments it's like having to leave paradise so he has not been quick to leave.

    Some of his books are in the Baen free library []

  • Come to the USA! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Planesdragon ( 210349 ) <slashdot@castlesteelst o n e .us> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:28AM (#28491397) Homepage Journal

    Don't listen to the crap you might see from the libertarians on /. The USA is a great place to come if your own country is becoming more repressive than you like. Here's my best argument ("best" at 12:30 saturday morning.)

    #1: We have rights of expression, assembly, thought, speech, and, yes, privacy enshrined in the Constitution. All the UK really has is the continued good will of the crown (or, if you rather, the respect for history in Parliament.) We do, in fact, have the 2nd amendment (right to bear arms) specifically so we can unseat any tyrant who tries to take our rights away.

    #2: As a culture, we prize freedom the way Israel prizes "never again" or Iran prizes "Islam". "I just want to be left alone" is the only argument you'll need to get any American on your side. Our two major political parties argue about how we collaborate on things, and where we should extend legal privileges -- NOT on how free we should be. (At least, not the serious ones.)

    #3: America is currently in the beginings of its post-Bush era. We do reactions VERY well in this country -- and that means the principle sin of the Bush, era, "sacraficing liberty for security", is likely not to be repeated in the next 10-20 years. If ever.

    #4: you'd be in the same country as /.!

    #5: From a feudalistic standpoint, you would go from being a subject of a crown to a citizen of a country -- theoretically speaking, from a king's slave to a king's peer.

  • Re:What languages? (Score:5, Informative)

    by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:31AM (#28491439) Journal

    If you only speak English, then your options are obviously limited, the English speaking countries are quickly enumerated.

    Many of the European non-English speaking countries are actually quite suitable for English-only speakers who work in a high-tech job. In those countries (France and French-speaking excepted), it is necessary to have some level of English in order to become qualified for any high-tech job. Also, multi-national companies tend to look for (or require) English speakers. I speak from personal experience of living in a non-English speaking country and when I moved there I spoke none of the local language.

    On the other hand, Norway is top of the "Human Development Index", but would you want to deal with the long winters and seasonal affective disorder? Much of Canada and Ireland are at a similar latitude, so the SAD issue remains if you choose there.

    If you are starting from the UK, Ireland has to be the easiest country to move to.

  • New Zealand (Score:5, Informative)

    by Binkleyz ( 175773 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:34AM (#28491471) Journal
    Jokes about "Flight of the Conchords" (and sheep) aside, New Zealand is a modern, English speaking, very politically free and open country.. They are very much a part of the "First World", but so far have avoided many of the more "Police State-y" laws and regulations that you seem eager to be away from.

    They have a "Quality of Life" [] score just below the US and considerably better than the UK.

  • by uchar ( 166138 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:37AM (#28491499)

    I would recommend you to go to Montreal, Quebec, Canada... you would love it for sure, as for privacy, services and so on... you will have everything you wish for!!! Privacy is one of the top sensitive subject here, even inter-governmental institution doesn't share personal information on citizen... If there's camera on some street, they aren't allowed to record anything... Here you have nature minutes away, beautiful women on every corner and lots of entertainment... Most of all, you won't find a city offering that much for that cheap!

  • Re:What languages? (Score:5, Informative)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:42AM (#28491553) Journal

    If you are starting from the UK, Ireland has to be the easiest country to move to.

    Ireland is broke. Companies (and people) are abandoning it en masse. [] Ireland: Unemployment expected to reach 17 percent
    By Steve James
    6 May 2009

    A report released early May by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) states that Ireland is expected to go through the sharpest economic contraction of any industrialised country since the 1930s. The ESRI's spring quarterly commentary predicts that Ireland's gross domestic product (GDP) will fall 9.2 percent this year.

    The report continues, "Ireland's economy will contract by around 14 percent over the three years 2008 to 2010. By historic and international standards this is a truly dramatic development."

    It continues: "Prior to this, the largest decline for an industrialised country since the 1930s had been in Finland, where real gross domestic product declined by 11 percent between 1990 and 1993."

    The 9.2 percent figure for 2009 doubles the scale of contraction predicted only three months ago in the institute's previous quarterly commentary, where a contraction of 4.6 percent was anticipated. Even the figure of 14 percent over three years assumes a "moderation of the pace of decline" and a "bottoming out" in the latter part of the year.

    Unemployment is expected to continue rising. The ESRI predicts unemployment will average 292,000 over 2009, or 13.2 percent, and by 2010 will peak at around 366,000, or 16.8 percent of the workforce.

    Wages are expected to fall by 3 percent on average, while the impact of recent budget changes is expected to reduce average household incomes by around 4 percent.

    The ESRI also predicts annual net emigration from Ireland, historically an escape from appalling conditions that was sharply reversed over the last two decades, to reach 30,000 between 2009 and 2010. Emmigrate to Ireland? Sounds like the drunk driving the wrong way down a one-way street who, when asked where he thought he was going, replied "I don't know, but I must be late. Everyone's already coming back."

  • Re:List of Countries (Score:3, Informative)

    by hardburn ( 141468 ) <[hardburn] [at] []> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:49AM (#28491609)

    There's a huge difference in marginal cost between health, education, and the military. Doubling healthcare costs probably won't double life expectancy. Doubling education costs probably won't double the number of geniuses. But doubling military costs may do better than double the size and effectiveness of your units.

  • Re:Economic Freedom (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:50AM (#28491627)

    too bad economic freedom breeds economic lockdown when those who got there first build sandboxes around everyone else.

  • Re:What languages? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zaffle ( 13798 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:54AM (#28491651) Homepage Journal

    Fiji: Not too bad

    you [] are [] shitting [] me []... Right? []

  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:57AM (#28491673) Homepage
    Be aware that Canada has some interesting challenges to freedom of speech with regards to the political process, including campaign finance limits (note the US has some too) and something about a media blackout of election coverage []. There also exist certain "hate speech" provisions (for some criticism, do a quick Google search and/or see here [] here [] and here [], warning, these sites may contain bias independent of their stance on freedom of speech... that's kind of the idea behind freedom of speech, though, so I hope you can cope).
  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted&slashdot,org> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:11AM (#28491775)

    I recommend Switzerland. They have the most democratic and fair government system on the planet (from what I know).

    The fairness of the election in their capital city is mathematically proven to be the fairest system possible!

    The control of the government is very grassroots-style. People have the last word. (Read more about it on Wikipedia.)

    The nature there is incredibly beautiful! I recommend living on the hillside of a green valley, with huge mountains around you, with snow on top. In the summer, it is hot. In the winter there is much snow.

    And from what I saw, people are very relaxed down there. We in Germany joke about them being a bit "slow" when speaking. But that is only a result of this.

    Also I don't think there are many other places in the world, that offer you nice broadband connections, and such a clean nature (with the water you are drinking coming directly from the glaciers!)

    Even their military is so cool, they have bunkers in the hills, were they hide their modern fighter jets. And they are so independent, that they don't even need to be in the EU. (As a military pilot, you have a good chance of flying a F-19. At least a guy who actually flew one, told me this.)

    The only thing you might miss, is the ocean. For that you have to drive to Italy. (Right below it. At Venice for example.)

    I dare you to beat that package. :D

  • by Deag ( 250823 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:21AM (#28491855)

    This is true, but you would be surprised of how difficult it can be to become a citizen in some countries.

    The traditional immigrant target countries (such as the USA, Canada) are better in granting citizenship as they have long established traditions and procedures and a well defined path in regard to it.

    Other countries though can be a bit crazy. My native country Ireland has a fairly bad citizenship path that basically boils down to "at the minister of foreign affairs discretion".

    Switzerland requires (or at least used to) that your citizenship is put up for vote in the town you live.

    And those are two European countries.

    The problem is that such procedures rarely impact the people who make the laws or the vast vast majority of voters, so reform is never much of a priority.

  • Re:List of Countries (Score:5, Informative)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:21AM (#28491863) Journal

    Dude that list is horse shit. Every single county with high HDI invests more in their military than health care or education. Propaganda bullshit.

    Dude, your comment is propaganda horse shit. Here are the top 5 in the HDI index:

    Iceland- #1 - Military $26 Million, Education $219 million (amounts converted from Kronas)
    Norway - #2 - Military $6 Billion, Education $19 Billion.
    Canada - #3 Military $18 Billion, Education, $68 Billion.
    Australia - #4 - Military - $3 Billion, Education, $40 Billion
    Ireland - #5 - Military - $1.3 billion, education $10 Billion

    Similar story for health care ...

  • Re:What languages? (Score:4, Informative)

    by supernova_hq ( 1014429 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:22AM (#28491865)
    If you are looking at Canada, the west coast's climat is VERY different from the East. Here is lower B.C. we barely even have a Winter. In fact, we've only had a white Christmas twice in the last 5 of 6 years! If you stay in the large cities, the summers are also quite mild (quite warm, but not exhaustively hot). The Rockies and Vancouver Island protect us from a lot of the cold weather systems that plague Montreal and Quebec and Vancouver Island keeps a lot of the hot, muggy weather away as well.
  • Re:What languages? (Score:5, Informative)

    by BalleClorin ( 702284 ) <> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:28AM (#28491907) Homepage

    In Norway and the rest of scandinavia (and the rest of western Europe), language will not be an issue. Only really old people will have trouble communicating in English. The exceptions in western Europe is France and Germany.

    Norway values freedom of speech and privacy. It's not legal to monitor Internet use for locating illegal filesharers, and ISP's won't and can't identify someone from and IP address.

    Norway has a relatively high tax rate, (I pay about 30% of my income) plus a 25% sales tax. But, you get almost free healthcare, sick-pay, mandatory 5 weeks paid vacation (12% of last year pay), unemployment, 12month paid birth leave (that can be divided between mom and dad as you like (except min 6 weeks for mom and 6 weeks for dad)).
    Alcohol is quite restricted in Norway, you can buy beer and similar in grocery stores until 20:00 in weekdays and 18:00 on Saturdays. Alcoholic beverages with an alcohol content higher than 4,7% you'll have to buy in special stores. Alcohol and tobacco are highly taxed so it's quite expensive.

    The winter can be quite depressive sometimes, in the northern parts of Norway the sun never gets up in the middle of the winter. But then again you have midnight sun in the summer...

    If you want liberalism on alcohol, drugs and hoockers Norway is not you country, then I'd go for the Netherlands.

  • Re:Come to the USA! (Score:4, Informative)

    by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:47AM (#28492033)

    Don't listen to the crap you might see from the libertarians on /.

    In defense of us Libertarians here on Slashdot I feel that I must point out that we are all about freedom and against violence and coercion. In fact, we have always held the United States Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights in very high esteem and wish that our Federal Government would conform more closely to the limited role outlined in those documents instead of experimenting with socialism as Obama seems determined to do. However, as Bush and others have demonstrated, there is really only so much damage that one President can do and in the long run the United States has some pretty well engineered self correcting mechanisms (our founding fathers saw to that when they set the whole thing up). In response to the emigrating author, I would definitely recommend the United States in general and the Free State Project [] states (New Hampshire and Wyoming) in particular if he is looking to maximize his freedoms. Although, compared to what we see and hear coming out of the UK these days, just about anywhere in the United States is going to be a breath of fresh air by way of comparison. The United States also has the advantage that the residency requirements and path to citizenship are easier when coming from the UK which enjoys the "special relationship" with the United States. So he really should take a second look at the United States; we really do have a lot to offer as a free country.

  • by D H NG ( 779318 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:49AM (#28492043)
    About 1.5 million of the 7 million people living in Switzerland are not Swiss citizens. Switzerland has some of the toughest citizenship rules in the world. []
  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:06AM (#28492151) Homepage
    These seriously are challenges to unrestricted free speech, and they seriously exist. For someone who self-identifies as being concerned with "privacy, free expression and civil liberties" and people being "banned in the UK for expressing (admittedly reprehsensible) opinions", these challenges represent something that must be seriously taken into consideration (especially the bits about hate crimes).

    Perhaps you're confused because I'm simply pointing out the existence of these issues while trying to refrain from passing additional forms of judgement as to the ultimate desirability of these measures? Perhaps my laziness in selection of my first set of links resulted in a set of sites which you did not find worthy of being taken seriously? Here, have a slightly less biased ("neutrality disputed" notwithstanding) Wikipedia article on Canadian Human Rights Commission free speech controversies []. Does that help?

  • Re:What languages? (Score:5, Informative)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:09AM (#28492167) Journal

    Edmonton, Alberta would be the northernmost city in North America, and it's at the same latitude as Liverpool.

    Bullshit. There are plenty of Canadian and American cities further north ... heck, there are whole states and provinces and territories ... Alaska, Yukon, Nunavut, NWT, Labrador ...

    Here - go to Environment Canada and look at the f'ing map [] - see all those cities north of Edmonton?

  • Re:What languages? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wise Dr Funk ( 936892 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:36AM (#28492299)
    As a former benefits consultant I can tell you that very very very few companies offer relocation benefits. In my anecdotal experience 95% didn't offer their relocated employees anything and I saw data from hundreds of companies. There are usually not even differences between high or low demand jobs, most companies have a blanket benefits package that all the employees get.

    Of course companies will make a one off exception from time to time to a relocating employee, but only if they dearly need them and have run out of local options.

    That said, it's no skin off of a companies back if you are willing to relocate without any compensation. My guess is they were too impatient to wait for someone to travel across the country and interview two or three times when the process for local candidate would be a whole lot faster.
  • Fine print (Score:3, Informative)

    by apankrat ( 314147 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:40AM (#28492325) Homepage

    1. In Vancouver it rains only once, but for 6 months. Oct/Nov through Mar/Apr.
    2. Unbelievably expensive real estate.

    A very nice place otherwise.

  • Re:Sorry but ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:46AM (#28492361) Journal
    I left the same year and feel exactly the same way. However, being a Yorkshireman, I can still be extremely proud of that (well as long as we ignore the last European parliamentary elections!). I'm now living in Canada and extremely happy here.
  • Re:What languages? (Score:2, Informative)

    by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:21AM (#28492551)

    This may be true for US citizens, but for UK ones, the whole EU is a free reign, they can go and live in the country, and get a job there for many years, and then become a citizen simply by pointing out they've been there for a long time.

  • Re:What languages? (Score:4, Informative)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:38AM (#28492607) Journal

    You know what I meant, don't be deliberately obtuse. Edmonton has a million people... most people would agree that that's a "city". The only place further north that comes close to being a major city would be Anchorage at 350k, but that's obviously much further north and off the beaten path, as it were.

    Dont' be silly. According to your pseudo-definition of a city being least 1 million people, that would mean that in 1950, there were only 83 cities on the whole planet. And only 12 in 1900. and even today, only 411 in the whole world. []

    Your definition would mean that the US currently has only 9 cities [].

    I think most of the world would disagree with your definition of a city. Here's a definition for you []

    Here's the definition of an "urban area" []. Notice how it varies depending on locale.

    In Sweden and Denmark, a village of 200 people is counted as an "urban" population but it takes a city of 30,000 in Japan. Most other countries fall somewhere in between. Australia and Canada use 1000, Israel and France use 2000 and the United States and Mexico call a town of 2500 residents urban.

    Or this: [] - note that NO country uses 1,000,000 as the definition of a city. Many have no formal definition, others vary from as small as 5 people (US) up.

    In New Zealand, according to Statistics New Zealand (the government statistics agency), "A city [...] must have a minimum population of 50,000

    Brazilian law defines a "city" (cidade) as the urban seat of a municipality and establishes no difference between cities and towns; all it takes for an urban area to be legally called a "city" is to be the seat of a municipality, and some of them are semi-rural settlements with a very small population.

    In Canada the granting of city status is handled by the individual provinces and territories, so that the definitions and criteria vary widely across the country. In British Columbia and Saskatchewan towns can become cities after they reach a population of 5,000 people, but in Alberta and Ontario the requirement is 10,000. Nova Scotia has abolished the title of city altogether, In Quebec, there is no legal distinction between a city and a town

    There is a formal definition of city in China provided by the Chinese government. For an urban area that can be defined as a city, there should be at least 100,000 non-agricultural population.

    Chile's Department of National Statistics defines a city (ciudad in Spanish) as an urban entity with more than 5,000 inhabitants

    Venezuela's Department of National Statistics defines a city (ciudad in Spanish) as an urban entity with more than 5,000 inhabitants.

    The German word for both "town" and "city" is Stadt, while a city with more than 100,000 inhabitants is called a Großstadt (big city).

    Italy: There is no population limit for a city

    Norway: The status of "city" is granted by the local authorities if a request for city status has been made and the area has a population of at least 5000

    There has traditionally been no formal distinction betw

  • Re:Where to go? (Score:3, Informative)

    by mikael_j ( 106439 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:51AM (#28492677)

    Actually up until quite recently it was perfectly legal to share copyright-protected information to your heart's content as long as you only shared it with a few select friends, then they changed the law to make it completely illegal and in true Orwellian fashion the media industry shills are now pretending that it's always been this way.


  • Re:Public's problem. (Score:3, Informative)

    by arkhan_jg ( 618674 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @04:00AM (#28492715)

    While I don't particularly object to local realtime CCTV surveillance of a public space, I do object to the much larger surveillance state CCTV has become a part of; permanent footage recording, number plate recognition cameras on all major roads, logging of phone calls, emails and recording websites visited, substantial databases of government interactions, financial records and medical records, the largest DNA database in the world, and of course coming things like ID cards which will be must-carry, and will be needed for every interaction with the state or public services, which will also be recorded.

    Here's some of my objections off the top of my head:

    - Corruption - local government has access to such personal data as my email, and can even setup surveillance units to me to follow me around for accusations as trivial as littering. Someone with a personal axe to grind could use this for personal reasons, i.e. stalking an ex lover, digging up personal info on her new partner, etc. We only have to look at businesses using facebook profiles to refuse to hire someone; how much longer before they get to dig through more private and personal details of your life?

    - Incompetence - it wasn't long ago that the tax service lost a CD containing the personal details of 25 million adults and children, including the full financial details of 8 million families. Such information losses are becoming alarmingly common, and the more data is held, the more can be lost by accident, and that's a serious risk of identity fraud.

    - identity theft - such databases are vulnerable to accidental loss; they're also vulnerable to deliberate attack, in order to gain substantial info about people; gaining access to bank accounts, setting up fake credit accounts in someone else's name, even getting a real passport or ID card in someone else's name, cloning car number plates to get other people sent the bill for the congestion charge in london; the more data is held, the more likely it will fall into the wrong hands

    - misidentity - as more people get put on the DNA database for trivial accusations (no proof needed, no conviction needed) the odds of false positives rise; especially since they go on fishing expeditions to match marginal trace dna; the odds of someone being falsely convicted rise - there have already been cases with DNA records being factually incorrect. The criminal records database designed to stop pedophiles becoming teachers has had a number of failures, both not stopping those who should have been stopped, and flagging people by mistake, causing them to lose their job for having done nothing wrong. Or the poor brazillian man who had his block of flats under surveillance; he was tentatively misidentified as the suspected terrorist, so they followed him onto a tube train and shot him repeatedly in the head. Or the several people who were thought to have illegal firearms, were dawn raided, then shot while unarmed. The bigger the databases, and the more the police rely on them, the greater the odds of fatal mistakes in data quality.

    - chilling effects - persistent surveillance can lead to a chilling effect on the participation in democracy. If protesters are video'd, then their cars tagged on ANPR watchlists so they get stopped constantly for 'random' checks, their house put under surveillance, their friends questioned (all of which have happened to protesters over the heathrow runway expansion) then people will be less willing to protest government decisions that affect them and their community. Sit down, shut up, or we'll be seeing you...

    - too much noise - vast surveillance of the public space generates so much noise, it drowns out the signal. Looking for a needle in a haystack doesn't get any easier when you massively increase the size of the haystack. Intelligence led policing and targeted surveillance on those under suspicion - with civil rights protected by court oversight - is far more effective and less likely to target the innocent than the security theatre most of us endur

  • Re:Come to the USA! (Score:3, Informative)

    by H0p313ss ( 811249 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @04:08AM (#28492771)

    p> #5: From a feudalistic standpoint, you would go from being a subject of a crown to a citizen of a country

    *snicker* Please... anyone who's lived in a commonwealth country will tell you that the "subject of a crown" BS is nothing but a formality. You know, kinda like American representative democracy. *duck*! ;)


    I'm born in Britain, I've lived in Canada most of my life and I've spent a lot of time with Americans (Even have an american HS diploma!). I'd rather be as subject of the crown than American any day.

    Americans spend a great deal of time talking about freedom, Canadians actually are free.

  • Re:Economic Freedom (Score:3, Informative)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @04:38AM (#28492947)

    Uhh, that's not true at all, if we're going to be complaining about words being corrupted here. Conservatism is historically the philosophy of a strong government that is specifically oriented towards protecting (i.e. conserving) the social status quo, public order, respect for tradition, a strong Nation, and public morals. The American founding fathers were mostly liberals in the liberal-conservative debates of their day, which is one reason there's a bit of confusion. Things like the banning of "obscene" literature, sodomy laws, blasphemy laws, anti-Communist laws, mandatory pledges of allegiance, and similar, are continuations of that conservative tradition though.

  • Re:Sorry but ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @06:11AM (#28493371) Journal

    By getting them not to rubber stamp it?

    Not possible. The Treaty of European Union means that they have to or face various penalties. It's odd that the grandparent complains about the electoral system for the British Parliament, and complains that this government has no power, but completely ignores the fact that the European Parliament has a much fairer electoral system.

    A lot of the problems we have with the EU now are due to the compromises put in place by Eurosceptics. We gave more power to the Council of Ministers than to the European Parliament because the Council is made up entirely of national government leaders. Unfortunately, this means that they are not directly elected. In the UK it's particularly bad because the people vote for the legislature, the legislature selects the executive, and the executive selects the members of the Council.

  • Re:What languages? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @06:42AM (#28493491) Homepage

    Long story short, EU does not make law. The EU passes directives, that each member country has to implement their variation of. This is very typically used by lobbyists and others to push unpopular directives to be made on the EU level, for then the national government to throw up their hands and say "we must pass this, it's a directive". For the most part, the general population doesn't learn about it until it's being implemented nationally, and there's a delay in that system. So basicly now in 2009 they're implementing directives passed maybe like 2007, and if you try to protest it's like "the decision's already been made, you should have complained to the EU two years ago". For most people that sounds like a scene from the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy where the files have been on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'.

    A good example is the mandatory data storage directive that says everyone must keep logs for 6-24 months of who, what, when and from where you've been communicating on the Internet or on your cell phone. It was passed in the EU around 2006 I think, passed into law in some countries last year and some still haven't. But you can't undo the directive, the national governments can't really say no without getting ESA (no, not the space agency) on their backs. It's a ugly backdoor to the democratic process and the Lisbon treaty isn't really fixing it. There's a vast democratic deficiency in the EU system.

  • Norway (Score:5, Informative)

    by C4st13v4n14 ( 1001121 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @07:13AM (#28493615)

    Just to correct a little of what you said. Norway values privacy, but yet publishes everyone's name, age, income, tax paid, and wealth information on the internet that is accessible to everyone. No, I'm not giving out the URL, I'm on there, too. Norway, in theory, values freedom of speech, but enforces divergent opinions and speech socially. If you say something that Norwegians don't like, they'll let you know it through passive aggression.

    It is legal to monitor internet use, but they've just stopped renewing the licences given to law firms to do this. Effectively, you could already share files and download as much as you want without fear of prosecution, but now the "large filesharers" don't have to worry, either.

    Norway does have a high tax rate. We all pay a minimum of 36% tax, but most people pay 50%. Foreigners are able to take 10% off this up to a certain sum for their first two years here. As of 2003, you are no longer able to import your own car tax and duty free. You can drive a foreign-registered car for up to a year, apply for a one-year extension, but then you're out of luck. The average car here is 3-4x more expensive than in the United States, but it depends on weight, engine size, and CO2 discharge of the car. A new Range Rover that costs 70 000$US will cost almost 500 000$US here.

    Health care is not free. Every time you see your GP or go to the "triage" centre for emergencies (legevakt) you have to pay a co-pay (egenandel) that isn't a trivial amount and varies according to the time of day and other things []
    Sick pay and short- and long-term disability is what really sets Norway apart from the rest of the world, but this is seriously abused. You can get a couple of weeks paid time-off for "problems with your neighbours" and very mild miscellaneous psychiatric diagnoses.

    The 5-weeks holiday is not exactly mandatory, you do not have to take it, but you will be taxed at 50% for any work you do whilst you should be away, so almost everyone goes away. Depending on where you live, you get, for example, 12% of your salary so that you can go away on holiday. I will not attempt to explain how this works because it's very complicated, look up "ferieloven" if you want to know more.

    Maternity leave is 12 months, minimum of 4 weeks for dad. The part about alcohol, which fits in nicely with a discussion about maternity leave, was accurately reported already. A bottle of 20$US spirits (liquor) will cost 100$US here at the State-owned and run off-licence (or liquor store). Interestingly, Sweden has to do away with these now as they are against the European Union's ideas of free trade.

    The Winter here is quite depressing ALL THE TIME. If you don't like winter, then seriously do not come to Norway. This last one was hell, even in the southern part of Norway. Snow and cold every day for nearly six months! Dark, overcast're asking for psychological problems if you are in any way affected by the cold and lack of light.

    The poster I'm replying to mentioned "hoockers" (sic). You don't need hookers in Norway. It's number one in terms of one night stands. You literally just go out, buy some girls some drinks, and if they're in the mood, they'll ask you to go home with them. If they aren't and you are, then it's slightly more complicated. It involves getting drunk together at least twice.

    The problems with Norway that can make living here unbearable are as follows. The Norwegian people up until 30 years ago were just farmers. They had no money, no culture, a poorly expressive language... Now, suddenly, there's a lot of money. The problem is, the farmer mentality prevails. There are, of course, exceptions, but the majority of the country is xenophobic, naïve, and follows the rules blindly. The people are very closed to outsiders, you as a foreigner will never be treated as an equal no matter how long you live here. In order to make Norwegian friends, you wil

  • Re:Come to India (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @07:53AM (#28493751)

    gopla wrote:
    > the society as a whole is lot more tolerant...
    > People may gawk at you, but they welcome all with open heart.

    I have two words for you: Gujarat Riots [].

    "More tolerant" my ass!

    India's full of Hindu fundamantalist fascists, like the BJP. Anyone going to India expecting "tolerance" is going to be in for a big surprise (especially if they're Muslim or of the wrong caste).

  • Re:List of Countries (Score:3, Informative)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @09:34AM (#28494231) Journal

    Iceland- #1 - Military $26 Million, Education $219 million (amounts converted from Kronas)

    That number is surprisingly high as Iceland does not have anything even resembling an army or military... []

    " Iceland does have limited military forces with the Coast Guard and Crisis Response Unit. Iceland maintains a well trained Coast Guard, National Police forces, Air Defence system as well as a voluntary expeditionary peacekeeping force. These services perform many of the operations Iceland's NATO allies relegate to their standing armies.

    Iceland holds the annual NATO exercises entitled Northern Viking; the most recent exercises were held in 2008[7], as well as the EOD exercise "Northern Challenge". In 1997 Iceland hosted its first Partnership for Peace (PfP) exercise, "Cooperative Safeguard," which is the only multilateral PfP exercise so far in which Russia has participated. Another major PfP exercise was hosted in 2000.

    Iceland has also contributed ICRU peacekeepers to SFOR, KFOR and ISAF.

    The Government of Iceland contributes financially to NATO's international overhead costs and recently has taken a more active role in NATO deliberations and planning. Iceland hosted the NATO Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Reykjavík in June 1987.

    The Icelandic Crisis Response Unit (ICRU) (or Íslenska friðargæslan which in English means "The Icelandic Peacekeeping Guard") is an expeditionary peacekeeping force maintained by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

    The Unit is manned by various personnel from Iceland's other services, armed or not, including the National Police, Coast Guard, Emergency Services and Health-care system. Because of the military nature of most of the ICRU's assignments, all of its members receive basic infantry combat training. This training has often been conducted by the Norwegian Army, but the Coast Guard and the Special forces are also assigned to train the ICRU. "

    There's more ... just follow the linky ...

  • Re:What languages? (Score:3, Informative)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:24PM (#28496201) Journal

    If you are a slashdot poster, you could do worse than hop over the pond - no visa, similar culture, etc.

    Non-EEC citizens are required to get a work permit (the application fee is 500 euros for 6 months) that binds them to only that employer. Get fired/laid off - out you go asap.

  • Re:What languages? (Score:4, Informative)

    by raju1kabir ( 251972 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @04:48PM (#28497535) Homepage

    It's been a while since I looked at any stuff like this, but I believe that to become a US citizen you have to renounce citizenship to all other countries. The exception is if a country does not allow you to renounce your citizenship, in which case you get a dual-nationality. I'm not sure how citizens-by-birth are affected by this.

    That is entirely incorrect. The US makes no requests or demands with regards to other citizenships, in fact policy is to pretend that they don't exist.

  • Re:What languages? (Score:3, Informative)

    by raju1kabir ( 251972 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @05:15PM (#28497817) Homepage

    Could you please give some first-hand clues about criminality rates and cost of living?

    Crime seems to be about the same as you'd get in UK or France - bag snatching, burglaries predominantly. In 5 years I haven't experienced any crime personally, despite frequent post-bar walks through dark alleys at 3am. Nor has my petite western wife, who walks everywhere with her laptop.

    Cost of living in Kuala Lumpur (which is a lot more expensive than most of the rest of the country):

    • 1500ft2 3-bedroom apartment with pool and tennis court in nice part of town: US$1200/month.
    • 1200ft2 3-bedroom apartment with no pool in typical neighbourhood: US$600/month.
    • Cheap meal out: US$1
    • Fancy meal out: US$15
    • Mobile phone service w/400 minutes per month: US$15
    • Broadband internet, 4mbps: US$50
    • Broadband internet, 1mbps: US$25
    • Car: twice whatever you'd pay elsewhere, due to huge protectionist policy for local car industry
    • 15-minute taxi ride: US$3
    • Typical metro ride: US$0.50
  • Re:Norway (Score:2, Informative)

    by BalleClorin ( 702284 ) <> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @06:25PM (#28498353) Homepage

    If you pay 50% or even more in taxes that means you have a high salary. There is something called toppskatt that means that if you make more than NOK 441.670 == EUR 48770,98 You pay about 50% of what you make over that. Normal people pay 36% minus deductions. So I could agree that beeing rich in Norway kind of sucks unless you are a social democrat, but for the average worker it's great. Sure the health system is not perfect, and will never be, but it's still great. And, we still complain...

    According to "ferieloven" 5-1 the employer is required to make sure the employee takes at least 25 working days of vacation. The same section also says that the employee has to use the vacation.

    The fathers part of the birth leave has been raised from four to five and now six weeks.

    I agree with you about that Norwegians are not good at expressing feelings etc. and the Norwegian language lacks a lot of words. That does not mean that Norwegians in general are unfriendly, but it's in our nature not to talk to strangers unless it's strictly necessary. And I understand why that to a foreigner might seem unfriendly or even rude. I actually struggle some times to find adequate Norwegian words, and have to substitute them with english ones. and most of the forms are available in among others english language.

    Datatilsynet is an organization that makes sure your privacy is not violated, and has the power to stop surveillance and other privacy violations within the boundary of the law.

    I live south of the polar circle, but not in Oslo as I guess you do, and here it never gets dark in the summer even though the sun sets. And the winter is not all that depressing, there's a lot of outdoor activities you can't do in warmer countries.

  • by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @10:23PM (#28500089) Homepage

    I didn't really have to read the privacy report [] which ranks Greece at a comfortable #1. I come from Greece and I happen to know first hand how obsessed the "Personal Data Protection Agency" is with privacy. I actually find it silly that they won't even allow google street view, or even police cameras in public spaces. The only area where Greece does not rank higher in privacy is telecommunications, my guess is due to the fact that there was a well known wiretapping case. Of course the fact that the wiretaps were on politicians of all parties and especially of the governing party kind of tells you that it was not the Greeks who were doing the wiretapping (if you get my drift). But I digress. Anyway, after 6 years in NYC I am going back to Greece as well. My wife especially is sick of the feeling she gets that she is in "1984" (your belongings are subject to search, thumbprints please etc), and of course the climate is really annoying to both of us. We briefly considered going to the UK, however we have the same concerns you have, plus the Greek climate cannot be beat. Well, actually it can be equaled by Spain and Italy, but people don't speak English there, whereas most not too old people speak English in Greece. Now, the wages are much lower than the UK, however people manage to have a much better quality of life than, for example, most parts of the US, and housing, services etc are not as expensive.

  • Re:What languages? (Score:4, Informative)

    by raju1kabir ( 251972 ) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @05:08AM (#28502049) Homepage

    In fact, YOU are entirely incorrect. When my father was naturalized a few years ago he was required to renounce any allegiance to "all foreign potentates."

    As of 1990 the State Department has stopped pursuing this issue. You can make all the oaths you want in front of the naturalization court judge but it's basically considered to be a matter of heart and mind rather than legal status. You do not have to follow up with your original country of citizenship and make any renunication to them, so effectively you can maintain your original citizenship. Whether or not your father was aware of this is, of course, another matter. It's not something the naturalization officials advertise.

    I invite you to read the long-standing and well-respected dual citizenship FAQ [] from Rich Wales.

    Or, as I've done (not necessarily for the purpose of this discussion on Slashdot) date a lawyer who works on this stuff.

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