Why Americans are Flocking to Asia

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fountainhall
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#21 Re: Why Americans are Flocking to Asia

Postby fountainhall » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:07 pm

There does seem to be a more than slight contradiction here and whenever democracy is discussed. Our (mostly) democratically elected leaders are trashed because they are not up to the job or are not doing the job as we would want them to do it. Yet it is a leader like Lee Kuan Yew who was all but adored by many around the world for his achievements - and he was to all intents and purposes a dictator. Not just a dictator in terms of his vision, ideas and how to realise them. But a dictator who determined such matters are where you live, how you behave, what you can and cannot do, and one who totally single-handedly determined what was right for the country.

It seems to me that you cannot have it both ways, the more so in our increasingly polarised world!

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#22 Re: Why Americans are Flocking to Asia

Postby firecat69 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:32 pm

I think it is interesting how easy it is to blame the leaders in a Democracy rather than the voters. Certainly in the the USA, I blame the voters who are too lazy to get off their asses and vote . Certainly we could make it easier for them to vote but bottom line you get what you deserve most of the time.

We got Trump because over 40% of eligible voters could not be bothered to cast a vote . We can send tweets around the world . Somebody please explain to me why we can not be able to vote in our homes on a secure site. The reason of course is the Republicans would never win another election. They have lost the popular vote 7 of the last 8 Presidential elections and had to have the Supreme Court steal one election for them. Of course if useless Al Gore had bothered to visit his home state for most of his lifetime a few times in the election process , we never would have gotten G W Bush and good chance 9/11 might have never happened.

Voting Matters!

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#23 Re: Why Americans are Flocking to Asia

Postby Jun » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:00 pm

Well, as some people say, a benevolent dictator is the best type of leader. I would suggest that ability and a good grasp of how economies work is also necessary.

In reality, the vast majority of dictators are terrible. Corrupt, nasty self serving individuals and the left wing ones can be almost guaranteed to ruin the economy. The right wing ones have a more mixed record.

Democracies are not exactly run well at present either. The majority of developed states seem to be running up debts at an unsustainable rate. Possibly because there is no constitutional mechanism to require short term leaders to adopt fiscal policies which are prudent in the long term. Then politics seems to come before economics, which is how Greece and Italy got into the Euro. That will end badly. Italy has had almost no growth for 20 years & who knows what they will vote in before it is finished.

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#24 Re: Why Americans are Flocking to Asia

Postby Gaybutton » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:48 am

firecat69 wrote:I think it is interesting how easy it is to blame the leaders in a Democracy rather than the voters. Certainly in the the USA, I blame the voters who are too lazy to get off their asses and vote

I agree. I also think in this day and age the electoral college system is obsolete and long overdue to be dumped and the USA should move to a totally popular vote system. Getting rid of Gerrymandering would also be a plus.

I expect none of those things to happen and I'll be very surprised if in the 2020 election there is any major change in the number of people who don't bother to vote.

Some may say we're getting off topic, but I disagree. I think what's going on in the USA, along with what's going on in other countries as well, goes a long way in explaining some of the reasons why people choose to live out their lives as expats, whether in Thailand or anywhere else.

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#25 Re: Why Americans are Flocking to Asia

Postby Dodger » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:26 am

I think "Globalization" plays a part in this as well.

When I was growing up I rarely heard of anyone taking a vacation outside the U.S. with the exception of elderly people with money who were taking that "Vacation of a Lifetime" to some place in Europe, let alone leave the U.S. for good to live in another country.

The world is shrinking to where you can pick up a round-trip airline ticket from the U.S. to London for a few hundred bucks if you watch for the promotions. For example, a friend of my daughter who works as a shipping clerk just returned from a two week adventure at Machu Picchu in Peru. He said the whole trip cost about the same as his annual two week fishing trip to Baraboo Wisconsin.

Asia is just another option for those who want to spread their wings and experience some of that exotic allure that Asia is famous for. It's well known that the costs for just about everything are significantly less than in the West, and of course there's "The Erotic" for those who have this on their meal ticket.

Families don't all live in the same town where they were raised anymore either. Globalization in the business world created the dynamics where people simply have to move to other locations to do there work, thus you have transplants from Tennessee with strong southern accents now working at a place in upper state New York. Family get togethers at grandmas house at Christmas time usually involved everyone getting in their cars and simply driving to grandmas. Now there's a lot more planning involved because half the family has to catch airplanes from somewhere else on the planet.

I'm not so sure this trend is resulting from Americans who don't like American government anymore for the mere fact that most Americans already know that it sucks everywhere else even more. No, I think it has much more to do with cheap flights, cheap hotels, cheap meals, cheap medical care (if needed), and of course cheap sex.

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#26 Re: Why Americans are Flocking to Asia

Postby Gaybutton » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:59 am

Dodger wrote:I'm not so sure this trend is resulting from Americans who don't like American government anymore

I agree with your post. I never thought about this part of your post, but it does make sense considering that most of us retirees retired long before Trump.

History refers to the time of Joseph McCarthy as the "McCarthy Era."

Why do I have a feeling history will refer to the time of Donald Trump as the "Trump Error" . . . ?

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#27 Re: Why Americans are Flocking to Asia

Postby fountainhall » Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:20 pm

Lots of interesting points.

Dodger wrote:When I was growing up I rarely heard of anyone taking a vacation outside the U.S. . . . Families don't all live in the same town where they were raised anymore either.

I had completely forgotten that this is exactly how I grew up. My mother’s parents lived three doors up from us. My father’s mother lived literally around the corner and my mother’s only sibling and his wife lived about 100 meters up the road. For holidays, every year until my mid-teens we drove less then 100 kms away to a hotel at the mouth of a river. What made those holidays such fun was that the same group of people who always returned at the same time. We became great friends.

Dodger wrote:Globalization in the business world created the dynamics where people simply have to move to other locations to do there work

So true. Yet, this is far from a recent concept. From my one semester in economics I recall that in his “Wealth of Nations” 250 years ago, Adam Smith was advocating the free mobility of labour as one of the means of equalising wages and promoting economic growth and prosperity. Such mobility would not be limited to national borders. He considered poverty and unemployment as push factors for migration and wages high enough to provide for a worker and his family as a pull factor.

That said, had he lived today in our far more complicated world, I think he would have realised that the costs of moving a family from A to B is so much higher and so much more complex that in practice it cannot be considered one of the general engines for growth.

firecat69 wrote:I think it is interesting how easy it is to blame the leaders in a Democracy rather than the voters . . . who are too lazy to get off their asses and vote.

Again, I agree. But it is not just in the USA where there is voter apathy. Many advanced democratic countries are roughly similar - apart from those countries where it is mandatory to vote.

But surely a follow-up question then becomes obvious. If voters are not voting, why are they staying at home? No doubt there is a wide variety of reasons ranging from the “my vote won’t affect the outcome” to “I don’t understand what I am voting for” and so on. Add to that the increasing toxicity of mainstream politics over the last few decades. In recent years this has morphed into an acceptance on the part of many voters in many countries of outright lies that then become virtual truths. They are frequently racist and abusive.

And that is not just Trump. The Brexiteers campaigning for the UK to leave the EU used outright lies again and again, and played on fears. Perhaps the other side did too (I did not follow the debate much). But if you continuously lie and get away with it and this becomes the common currency of politics, how can we expect reasonable voters to make up their minds?

Jun wrote:The majority of developed states seem to be running up debts at an unsustainable rate

Perhaps today’s politicians should return to the “Wealth of Nations”. Smith was a passionate advocate of balanced budgets. Most of us as individuals have some debt, be that in mortgages, car payments etc. Yet in general we live within our means. We also set funds aside for emergencies and for our retirement. When Britain raised £22.48 billion through the sale of 3G licences in 2000, the Chancellor, George Brown, used it to pay down part of the national debt.

Yet when George Bush inherited Bill Clinton’s surplus of 2.4% of GDP, instead of keeping it in the kitty for the bad times that would eventually arrive for the country, he returned it to voters as tax cuts. Then came 9/11. Later came 2008. By the time Bush left office, the national debt had soared to around 70% of GDP. During his 8 years he had increased it by around 75%.

My own view is that in its early form many centuries ago we know democracy worked only for certain sections of a population, because the right to vote was limited to a tiny group of people. The vast majority of peoples had no alternative than accept their lot. For most, an interest in democracy and voting only came about as the franchise was finally extended to an entire population (not so long ago!). I assume that for many their main interest would have coincided with the post-war economic booms after World War II when, as the British Prime Minister claimed in 1957 – but it was even more true in North America – “you’ve never had it so good!”

But Britain’s population over the last 100 years has increased by little more than 50%. And the average number of those able to vote who visited the polling booths voters has rarely exceeded 50%. The average increase is higher in the US, but only because the population has tripled and there were several extensions to the franchise after 1918. But still, less than 50% of the population have historically bothered to vote in the two oldest democracies in the world. Something is clearly very wrong with the system!

Four suggestions for discussion

1. Political parties and aspiring politicians who run on a platform should by law be forced to cost them and prove to the voting public that they can be paid for - and how. Not voodoo economics and not “tax cuts will pay for it.” Actual facts and figures. Equally, a certain portion of GDP must be set aside as an emergency fund. How you do that I haven’t the faintest idea. But I believe politicians have to be held accountable more than just at the ballot box. If once the party/individual is in power there is a deviation of more than a certain very small percent, they should be kicked out.

2. A key problem with democracy in our day and age – as opposed to, say 50 years ago, is the availability of information. IMO that has led to politics slithering down the ladder to the lowest common denominator of debate and discourse. Somehow a way has to be found to raise politics from the gutter.

3. Ban big money from politics. This is already largely the case in the UK and some other countries. In the USA it is not really the voters who elect their leaders. It is individual squillinaires like the dreadful Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson and big business.

4. There needs to be a much closer look at term limits! If a government only has 4 years to complete a programme – or in the case of many under-developed countries, for its politicians to enrich themselves, how can that be said to be good for a country? Why hasn’t the USA’s crumbling infrastructure been fixed before now, or at least a start made? Because the politician cannot get the credit and the voter cannot see the benefits before the end of the term. Short-termism has an inevitable result – short-term solutions.

Does anyone actually believe that Singapore could have developed as spectacularly as it has if Lee Kuan Yew had been limited to the maximum parliamentary limit of 5 years? He knew that would destroy his vision. Lee needed time. So he ensured Singapore was unicameral – no senate or House of Lords to veto his plans. He ensured that for most of his term there was just one member of an opposition. The other 99 members were from his own party. After a second opposition MP was elected a few years before he retired, Lee then jailed the first.

That sort of dictatorial behaviour would never be countenanced in most developed societies. Cries of Hitler, Stalin, Castro, Putin, Chavez and their like would be screamed from all quarters. But shouldn’t something be done to stop the continuing cycle of vote-for-me caviar and the resultant cabbages?

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#28 Re: Why Americans are Flocking to Asia

Postby Dodger » Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:07 pm

fountainhall wrote:

1. Political parties and aspiring politicians who run on a platform should by law be forced to cost them and prove to the voting public that they can be paid for - and how. Not voodoo economics and not “tax cuts will pay for it.” Actual facts and figures.


This has left me dizzy for years.

In Corporate America an executive applying for a top position doesn't even get considered for an interview unless he or she has a proven background of measurable accomplishments directly aligned with the position being applied for. The actual factual data supporting these accomplishments is scrutinized and validated long before these positions are filled. No voodoo, just facts.

In U.S. politics the primary focus has always been on "Perception" versus actual results which is evident at the highest levels of government. In many cases a new U.S. President pulls in his executive staff who have executive authority and extremely important decision making jobs with an absolute ZERO on their resumes as far as fact-based accomplishments aligned with the position they are being placed in. Trump is a great example. Only 4 months in office and we had those buffoons who resembled the cast from the Godfather running the State Department.

The voters are at fault...there is simply no one else to blame.

So many people vote for a person (in any government position) based on their perception of how they are going to personally benefit from that person being elected versus scrutinizing or validating anything.

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#29 Re: Why Americans are Flocking to Asia

Postby Jun » Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:53 pm

The voters can only select from what is put in front of them.

Trump is, as expected, a dismal president. On the other hand, what management skill and track record does Mrs Clinton have ? I doubt she would ever be considered for the top job at Apple or some other real company. But the voter had the choice.

Where I am in the UK, we have an MP in a safe constituency. So I go and vote, but it makes no difference. We also have this odd little anomaly, where she belongs to my preferred political party, but she is also pretty useless, not replying to letters, appearing on all sorts of TV shows that have nothing to do with being an MP. There is no mechanism to vote for the preferred party, but request them to put forward another candidate.

In a marginal constituency, the idiots eventually get removed.
In a safe one, we are stuck with them.

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#30 Re: Why Americans are Flocking to Asia

Postby fountainhall » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:52 pm

Dodger wrote:The voters are at fault...there is simply no one else to blame.

I understand that view - but the voters are in a straightjacket. They have no option. They have to operate within a system of government that was determined probably before they were born. In my view it is that basic system that is wrong and needs radical rethinking.

I certainly believe that is true in the UK. As a British citizen, I am just one of around 50 million of voting age. But I don't have a vote! Having lived overseas for three weeks short of 40 years, after 20 years I was stripped of my vote. I don't know why. I was never informed about it. I assume it is because I have no property/address in the UK and the electoral system is still based on old fashioned geographical constituencies where the first past the post wins. I therefore don't fit in with the system. Having paid my taxes when I worked there and my National Insurance contributions for 40 years even when living overseas, I consider this a disgrace.

The UK is similar to the USA in the respect that one party can win a majority of total votes but not be in power. Another fault in the system!


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