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Old 12-21-2007, 02:20 PM   #61
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Personally, it doesn't bother me who you compare the US to - I'm Canadian! I was merely pointing out that there are many countries which do not treat their citizens equally, whereas the US offers many more opportunities are available to those willing to work for them.

If you were to ask me, I would say that Canada offers even more opportunities still, what with our cheaper education, equal access to health care, discrimination laws, etc.
I think you missed my point. I am suggesting that you cannot compare the US with countries that are steeped in tradition and whose citizens are mostly poor and illiterate. Don't expect women to have much rights in those countries. As a matter of fact, don't expect much rights period.
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Old 12-21-2007, 02:49 PM   #62
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I think you missed my point. I am suggesting that you cannot compare the US with countries that are steeped in tradition and whose citizens are mostly poor and illiterate.
Why can't you? They're sovereign countries, so where's the problem? Why don't they count when considering how much worse off people could've had it if they'd only been born elsewhere?

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I disagree [...] that its necessarily easier in the US than other places.
Meaning he appears to believe that it is just as hard or harder to move up the economic/social ladder in the US as it is in other countries. I was merely pointing out that it is in fact a great deal harder for certain types of people (women, minorities, etc.) to advance themselves in some other countries.

I fail to see why those countries should be ignored - nobody said we were only allowed to compare western nations, or secular nations, or whatever.
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Old 12-21-2007, 04:10 PM   #63
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I haven't come across any UK or European forums as good as this one... so thank you all for creating such a great community... I truly feel like I am amongst kindred spirits. Fantastic - let's all continue being "not normal"
excellent first post aspire. welcome.

ps. be careful. this forum really can get to you. i had a dream about gruyere cheese last night. oddly enough the spelling on the package was missing an r. but when i looked closer at the packaging it was spelled correctly elsewhere. i wonder if maybe i need to reoccupy my brain with work.
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Old 12-21-2007, 04:15 PM   #64
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i had a dream about gruyere cheese last night.
Kinky!
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Old 12-21-2007, 04:22 PM   #65
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it was more a dry toast dream.
isbcal, don't worry about spelling. as i said, the first time i tried to spell gruyere it came out camembert.
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Old 12-28-2007, 01:39 PM   #66
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You want Ugly American?? This quote is real - off the calling card of one of my company commanders way back when:

Your Name Here
CAPT, USMC
Travel to far off beautiful places
Meet friendly, wonderful people
And kill them

Maybe you don't like the reality of it, but that pretty much summarizes the last several wars our soldiers have fought so you can live as a free person.
You've been watching Jack Nicholson's rant in A Few Good Men too many times.
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Old 12-28-2007, 05:17 PM   #67
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I view ER as

an aspiration towards becoming landed gentry so common in England, but one arrived at via work rather than inheritance.
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Old 12-29-2007, 02:37 AM   #68
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I don't know if it's is just an American concept, but it seems that Americans have more reasons to want to ER vs other wealthy developed countries where people could ER but don't.

I see so many people joining the boards or starting posts where they talk about wanting to ER because they hate their job, they're burned out, over stressed, just can't take it anymore, etc. You rarely hear people want to ER that absolutely love their job but would rather hang around the house and post on the internet all day. It seems a lot of members keep jobs they hate because they're frightened to lose their benefits including health insurance. These things are not applicable to everyone, but it's the general perception I get having been a member of the forum for about a year.

I can't speak for everyone, but you might find some reasons why many Europeans don't consider ER as frequently. Most get somewhere between 4-6 weeks annual vacation and are expected to take every bit of it. They don't fear losing their job to someone that will forgo their vacations. You don't have to keep a job you hate for health insurance benefits. You can find a job you like because you're covered regardless of where you work or what you do. Women can take from 3 months to 3 years maternity leave (depending on the country) with no fear of losing your job. No need to rush back to your crappy job 3 weeks after you have a baby cause you have to pay for daycare and keep your health insurance.

Many Europeans pay more into social taxes while they work that gives them a gov't pension when they hit retirement age, so most spend their money on their elaborate month long vacations and toys (kind of live in the present) and don't have to "eat rice and beans" for years trying to save for retirement. Along with the pension, most things (in Estonia anyway) are free for seniors or at greatly reduced prices.

And it may very well be there are some society pressures where you are expected to do something if you're fit and healthy and ER would just brand you as lazy and not contributing to society (unless, say, you generously volunteered your free time to a worthy cause, which would be seen as "doing something").

So I think that if Americans didn't have such a miserable work life and could get some quality balance, ER would be a much less popular concept than it is. Me though, I'm just lazy so it wouldn't matter either way.
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Old 12-29-2007, 12:14 PM   #69
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I don't know if it's is just an American concept, but it seems that Americans have more reasons to want to ER vs other wealthy developed countries where people could ER but don't.
At first I felt defensive about your post but after thinking about it I agree. As Americans we are pretty much stuck with the system we are born into. Of course, we can try to change it in small ways -- like ER'ing and chatting about it on the web (while be brag about all the fun things we get to do now ). It is not really that bad a system though compared to all the others out there. Sometimes I read about other social systems and am a bit envious. But there are, of course, tradeoffs and if you are smart about it you can have a good time in the economic system you inherited.

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And it may very well be there are some society pressures where you are expected to do something if you're fit and healthy and ER would just brand you as lazy and not contributing to society (unless, say, you generously volunteered your free time to a worthy cause, which would be seen as "doing something").
So at what age is it OK to retire in your country? What downsides to your system do you see? I am really curious.
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Old 12-29-2007, 02:46 PM   #70
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But there are, of course, tradeoffs and if you are smart about it you can have a good time in the economic system you inherited.
First, in case you didn't know, I'm an American citizen too and FIRE'd, but I live overseas. And I agree America doesn't have the worst system in the world either. I mean, look at Somalia.

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So at what age is it OK to retire in your country? What downsides to your system do you see? I am really curious.
Well, it's a free country and you can retire whenever you want. But to qualify for your state pension men have to work until 63 and women to 59. If you asking about the downsides specifically to the retirement system here in Estonia, I think the current system is pretty cool and offers a lot of personal control to financing one's retirement. But a small population with a declining birth rate together with an aging population is a strain on the system (something many other places face). So they are slowly increasing the retirement age over time (eventually to 65 for both men and women) to help ease that strain.

And Estonia has some very specific problems such as many poor elderly people (mostly Russian speaking former factory/farm workers) that lost their jobs when Estonia regained it's independence in 1991 are going to continue to live in poverty until death and receive only the minimum state pension allowed. They fell through the cracks created between the old Soviet system and the current Scandinavian/Western system.

And I'm sure there are other downsides I'm not aware of not being in the pension system myself. I'm not saying it (or any other system) is perfect. And most of the more enviable systems in the world couldn't be replicated in the U.S. even if you wanted to. The U.S. has a huge population, a huge bureaucracy and a runaway immigration problem that would be a big impediment to implementing a better system (whatever that is).
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Old 12-30-2007, 02:21 PM   #71
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You've been watching Jack Nicholson's rant in A Few Good Men too many times.
That card was used around 1971. And if the US wasn't here to defend you, you would probably be speaking German or Russian now. It really is that simple. We can just stick to ourselves of course, how good is your Arabic??
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Old 12-30-2007, 02:37 PM   #72
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Before Katrina - they had that card posted for a while near the take out/order pick up window - South Side Cafe. Nerves of steel - I always wore a Navy logo baseball cap when picking up their wonderously good sirloin burgers or even more rarely - Po Boys at Mother's.

Marines turn into real sweeties when they get old, retire, and take up cooking!

Both still in business.

heh heh heh - ER has a sport aspect - the earlier you cross the finish line(ER) - the more you can brag. Of course you can do like some old football coaches - relapse and get back in harness just cause you miss the game. I won't repeat the old stockbroker ad.
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:19 PM   #73
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I strongly disagree with this. If you look at all the nickel and dime taxes we pay in the country and please do include social security compared to what we get in return, Canadians and Europeans pay a heck of lot less than us. In many European societies, you don't even have babysitting expenses. Do you have any idea what babysitting cost in America? Try $1,000 to $1,500 per week per child and that's at a day care center!
I am sure the above amounts must be typos? Did you really mean that babysitting costs in America run $52000.00 to$78000.00 per year per child That is absurd.

Also, I worked for the federal government and enjoyed my job for the most part. I earned a decent salary, had 26 work days of vacation per year and all of the federal holidays, earned 12 sick days per year, took a 3 week vacation one year (normally took 1 or 2 weeks at a time) and was able to take my health insurance with me, but still wanted to take an early retirement. I have the feeling that I would have wanted the early retirement no matter where I lived.
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Old 12-31-2007, 02:28 PM   #74
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That card was used around 1971. And if the US wasn't here to defend you, you would probably be speaking German or Russian now. It really is that simple.
Hmmm, 1971. That would be the Vietnam fiasco: an entirely pointless war that the USA ultimately lost, at a tremendous cost of financial and human resources.

Nothing was gained by that futile endeavour. Perhaps things aren't so simple after all.
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Old 12-31-2007, 04:15 PM   #75
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I am sure the above amounts must be typos? Did you really mean that babysitting costs in America run $52000.00 to$78000.00 per year per child That is absurd.
That should read per month.
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Old 12-31-2007, 07:20 PM   #76
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Hmmm, 1971. That would be the Vietnam fiasco: an entirely pointless war that the USA ultimately lost, at a tremendous cost of financial and human resources.

Nothing was gained by that futile endeavour. Perhaps things aren't so simple after all.

Never said it wasn't a fiasco - and one I was involved in, albeit at an early age. Still withholding judgement on the current situation we are in. But every major power has those. It's the other ones where the fate of the world really hung in the balance that we did make the difference. If you get a chance, watch some of the alternative history movies making suppositions about how the world would have been if the US had been neutral in WWII. ER would not be something you would be thinking about right now. In all probability many of us boomers would never have been born to have to worry about retiring.
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Old 01-03-2008, 11:08 AM   #77
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If you get a chance, watch some of the alternative history movies making suppositions about how the world would have been if the US had been neutral in WWII.
Actually, the USA was neutral for much of WWII (Sept. 1939 to Dec. 1941). And it didn't enter the war voluntarily: Japan attacked on America on December 7th, Germary declared war on December 11th.

If you want to thank someone for the outcome of the war, thank the UK and its dominions (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa). They didn't have enough resources to win the war, but just as importantly they didn't lose it. See generally John Lukacs, Five Days in London, May 1940 (1999).
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Old 01-03-2008, 11:17 AM   #78
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Actually, the USA was neutral for much of WWII (Sept. 1939 to Dec. 1941). And it didn't enter the war voluntarily: Japan attacked on America on December 7th, Germary declared war on December 11th.

If you want to thank someone for the outcome of the war, thank the UK and its dominions (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa). They didn't have enough resources to win the war, but just as importantly they didn't lose it. See generally John Lukacs, Five Days in London, May 1940 (1999).
Actually also thank Russia for the Eastern front for 1940 onwards. Without them draining 50% of the German resources, it would have been considerably more painful both before and after the Americans entered the war. What tipped the balance in the Allies favour was the ability of American industry to build war materiel in quantities exceeding the capability of military personnel to use it (in 1943 and 1944 in particular).
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Old 01-03-2008, 01:06 PM   #79
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Actually also thank Russia for the Eastern front for 1940 onwards. Without them draining 50% of the German resources, it would have been considerably more painful both before and after the Americans entered the war.
The USSR and Germany had a non-agression pact which was broken when Germany invaded the USSR. The USSR had a small army of agents in Europe too. The fiction writer Alan Furst does a good job of describing this situation before and during the war. Also see Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia .

The US was doing a lot under the table before we entered the war. After the losses of WWI which were only about 13 years before, it was natural for people to consider war as an undesireable state.
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Old 01-04-2008, 09:37 AM   #80
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Actually also thank Russia for the Eastern front for 1940 onwards. Without them draining 50% of the German resources, it would have been considerably more painful both before and after the Americans entered the war.
Very true. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if Germany had not attacked the Soviets, it is far from certain that it would have been possible for the other Allies to successfully win the war.

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What tipped the balance in the Allies favour was the ability of American industry to build war materiel in quantities exceeding the capability of military personnel to use it (in 1943 and 1944 in particular).
Full marks.

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After the losses of WWI which were only about 13 years before, it was natural for people to consider war as an undesireable state.
WWI actually ended 21 years before the beginning of WWII, but your point is well taken.

This is something that people should remember when they laugh at France for capitulating in 1940. During WWI, almost 1.4 million Frenchmen were killed.

Other countries' WWI deaths (figures approximate):

Australia 59,000
Great Britain 700,000
Canada 67,000
New Zealand 18,000
South Africa 7,000
Russia 1.7 million
USA 117,000
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