Ed from OC

State of the States ... and Countries

92 posts in this topic

And finally, almost every Chinese (not so much Indian, because they are prouder of their homeland) person I went to university with dreamed of moving to the US, and several managed. Those that didn't, it was because of visa issues, or because they didn't dare contemplate it. People are being forced back to their homelands by the immigration policy of the USA, but they'll be back as soon as the gates reopen.

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I'll add I know enough people fleeing Singapore, HK, and South America's presumed "high growth" economy for better fates in the US to have formed somewhat of an opinion as to the attractiveness of relocating there. And I have family in Shanghai - they can't wait to move back to Europe (and married to Chinese folks, too!). If you look at the CVs of leadership in banks and hedge funds, you always find they started off with a stint in Asia, usually Shanghai, Hong Kong or Singapore (it used to be Tokyo). Why do you think they came back?

They came back because they were offered leadership positions, probably. I was just speaking to my (Korean) partner about her industry. She said the usual practice in the high end cosmetic industry is for a foreigner to come to Korea and be president of the Korean branch for a while to prove himself in an expanding, growing market. Then he might be offered a job as vice-president back in New York after he proves himself in Korea.

You have a lot more experience than me, I'll give you that. And you're obviously more productive, since I'm young and just balancing college with part-time work and investing. I don't know what will matter more to me in 10 years, but right now I think standard of living and luxuries are a part of life that I value and would take into consideration, especially with the enormous degree that they can be improved by relocating, doing banking elsewhere, etc. I'll admit it: I hate to do the dishes, I want to hire someone to do that for me at a decent price. Plus, I have itchy feet; I love travel, adventure and learning languages. Each person has different values about career and home balance. Many people actually love the idea of location-independent work, working from home, or setting their own hours. If they have that option then moving is something for them to carefully consider. Probably moving within the US is still the most convenient option, but if the people you work with are important then it might be better for some to move to Singapore over New Hampshire. (Just my opinion, but you might not convince many people to live in New York over Dubai with what you wrote above, heh. :blink: )

I know of a successful broker-dealer in Connecticut who pays about 50% tax, deals with regulators all day, and has dramatically cut the amount of American clients he will take from now on (because the regulation is so burdensome). He's recently opened a branch of his company in Canada and is starting one in Asia too. He will be focusing on expanding his business in Asia foremost. As far as his investments, he has hardly any US holdings. His reasoning for not moving to Asia is that he has a son who lives with his ex-wife in the US.

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And finally, almost every Chinese (not so much Indian, because they are prouder of their homeland) person I went to university with dreamed of moving to the US, and several managed.

Do you think there's possibly some selection bias with this and the comments about leaving Singapore and HK? I took a course on business and economics at the graduate level in Seoul last year and all the Chinese students were getting scouted for jobs in Shanghai even before they graduated. The courses were completely in English so these were multilingual Chinese with opportunities to go elsewhere. When were you going to university, was it during the US tech boom? I used to hang out with some foreign MBA students in Canada and it seemed like the Chinese guys wanted to go back home and the girls wanted to stay in Canada, in general. This wasn't a top school.

The funny thing is that my grandparents came to India over half a century ago, now I'm the one applying for an Overseas Indian Passport for future investment and business opportunities.

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That should say "came from India."

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I appreciate the insights provided, but the thread has drifted to comparing USA to other countries, which isn't really the initial question. Within the US, which states have the best pro-freedom culture?

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I appreciate the insights provided, but the thread has drifted to comparing USA to other countries, which isn't really the initial question. Within the US, which states have the best pro-freedom culture?

Although it's been quite a few years, I lived in Delaware from 1976-1982. While the northernmost part of the state, in the Wilmington/Newark areas, puts one in close proximity to both Philadelphia to the northeast and Baltimore/Washington to the southwest -- right off the I-95 corridor -- it doesn't have the metropolitan area feel to it. If cost-of-living factors in your calculations, I would avoid Wilmington proper, however, as well as Dover (the machinery of government is all around in Dover!). The cost of living in these cities, though certainly considerably lower than in Orange County, approach and even exceed by small margins the national averages. On the other hand, I should imagine the best and most varied employment opportunities are in this area of Delaware, particularly in Wilmington.

For cost-of-living and pro-freedom considerations, I'd stick to the University town of Newark in the north (a short drive into Wilmington) and other, more rural areas (essentially the entire rest of the state!) beyond central Wilmington and Dover. In these areas, I think you'll find that the cost-of-living and pro-freedom advantages improve shockingly. In addition, there are prime beach areas to the south in Lewes and Rehoboth, though these are surprisingly remote and put you at a good distance from major metropolitan areas. As for climate: Delaware does have four seasons, though winters tend to be far less egregious in their effect than those to the north.

Overall, I would imagine Delaware is a good choice if you don't mind being at something of a hike from a major metropolitan area and are willing to lower your income expectations.

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I appreciate the insights provided, but the thread has drifted to comparing USA to other countries, which isn't really the initial question. Within the US, which states have the best pro-freedom culture?

That would depend on what freedoms are most important to you. For example, a previous poster wrote that he would like to defend his home with a firearm. One state may have better firearm laws but more taxes than the next. You should really list your political concerns, as well as your personal ones. For example, I wouldn't move to a farming state if I worked in finance.

The Free State Project small "L" libertarians chose New Hampshire to move to. A group of people split with them and chose Wyoming in the West, in the beginning. They looked at things such as tax burden, business regulation, gun laws and the right to home school. They also included factors that you might not care for, such as population size. They wanted a low population state. Anyway, New Hampshire, the "Live free or die" state came out on top. There is a strong tradition of liberty in that state and they list their reasons for choosing it here and here.

Also, the Fraser Institute publishes an Index of Economic Freedom report for the US and Canadian provinces. It's called the Economic Freedom of North America report. They go into what factors they evaluate in the document, but it is mainly tax burden and business regulation. Delaware, Texas, and Alberta come out on top.This is the 2010 version. That's a link to my Googledocs account so let me know if it doesn't work.

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There's a couple of different dimensions that we're evaluating. One is economic freedom, and the income tax, property tax, business tax, fees, etc are representative of that. Forecasting out, issues like state debt, size of gov't and other aspects will direct this long term. As a few people have noted, Delaware and some other states rate quite well along this dimension. The other aspect we're concerned about is personal freedom, and their overall regulations and personal constraints are what define this. From the research we have done, states like Delaware have quite low personal freedom. Surprisingly, Texas isn't as high in personal freedom as some other states. New Hampshire and Wyoming still rate quite high for personal freedom. This is something that I think is even more encouraging about some of these states. I read things like this article today about Texas running "no refusal" DUI stops, and that's directly hitting at the personal freedom of Texans.

http://www.ksat.com/news/26315388/detail.html

It appears these are at roadway checkpoints: http://blog.drivinglaws.org/2010/10/30/fri...29th-31st-2010/

Although Texas still has several cities high on our list, these are the sorts of things that concern us. This is endemic of a perspective that says personal rights are subject to the whim of lobby groups and police. And this is on a large enough scale that it isn't just one DA or one official that does something concerning.

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Why limit your search to the U.S.?
I was wondering that myself. If a better life can be had elsewhere, then why not go after it? I won't pretend I live in a Laissez-Faire paradise, but Australia is an outstanding place to live for reasons I've discussed elsewhere.

Depending on one's skill set, getting a permanent visa is a less odious process than in America, too.

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Why limit your search to the U.S.?

That would be a *very* valid question to ask if you lived in Sweden, as I do. And even more so if you lived in a society such as North Korea, Cuba or Iran.

Since I am Swedish, there are more than a dozen other countries, at least, which would be more congenial to a rational life than my own county is. For example - Canada, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Great Britain, Germany, Singapore - and even our neighbors Norway, Denmark and Finland (I am quite certain that the other Scandinavian countries, despite their being welfare states, are not yet equally bad as Sweden).

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Why limit your search to the U.S.?

Perhaps because for reasons Ed from OC has not mentioned (and maybe not thought necessary to) he does not want to leave the US, which is why he framed his question to specifically cover only the US :)

You have a lot more experience than me, I'll give you that. And you're obviously more productive, since I'm young and just balancing college with part-time work and investing. I don't know what will matter more to me in 10 years, but right now I think standard of living and luxuries are a part of life that I value and would take into consideration, especially with the enormous degree that they can be improved by relocating, doing banking elsewhere, etc. I'll admit it: I hate to do the dishes, I want to hire someone to do that for me at a decent price. Plus, I have itchy feet; I love travel, adventure and learning languages. Each person has different values about career and home balance. Many people actually love the idea of location-independent work, working from home, or setting their own hours. If they have that option then moving is something for them to carefully consider. Probably moving within the US is still the most convenient option, but if the people you work with are important then it might be better for some to move to Singapore over New Hampshire. (Just my opinion, but you might not convince many people to live in New York over Dubai with what you wrote above, heh. :blink: )

At the risk of deviating further from the initial question (and with apologies to Ed from OC), in response to the side discussion about the comparison between non-US locations, would it be wrong to assume that freedom of speech/lifestyle and (legal) equality of treatment would be the foremost factors to consider whatever your age or professional preferences? If so, then a place like Dubai, with all its luxuries is not the place to be, except, as rtg24 mentioned, to build up a cushion of capital. Believe me, I was brought up in the UAE (of which Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah are a part). Salaries are sky high (for many, not all) and believe it or not, there are no taxes, but every year you spend there will take a toll on you. As a small example, you *cannot* start up a business without taking on-board a local sponsor (read moocher) who does *nothing* except fulfil the legal requirement and take part of your profit besides. Another example is that you are legally forbidden to eat in public during the month of Ramadan. The list is endless. Do the perks really outweigh all these? Maybe for a few years, not more, at least not for me. When I was younger, all I wanted was to get a degree and come back "home", until I realized that the US would be more home to me than the place where I was born, that does not regard me as even a permanent resident much less a citizen (yes I still need a visa to go back there to meet my parents, who've been there over 30 years and are still afraid to get thrown out over some flimsy reason), and which would throw me in jail for the smallest infraction of their "beliefs". The point I'm trying to make (and I'm not trying to be condescending here) is that there are factors besides luxuries and standard of living that also need to be considered carefully when deciding where to set up shop or make home.

In New York on the other hand, to paraphrase rtg24, and to quote John Travolta from Phenomenon, "Everything is on its way to somewhere". I have never worked there, just visited it (thrice) and I'm still itching to go back there, and not just to visit but to work as well.

Having servants is a convenience available in many parts of the world. Fortunately, thanks to technology, there are usually other options available. I'm right there with you about hating doing the dishes. You can always keep a dishwasher you know :). It does the job cheaper (and better, believe me :P).

Ultimately, the philosophy of the environment you are in determines your happiness.

Couldn't agree more. Great posts rtg24.

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Perhaps because for reasons Ed from OC has not mentioned (and maybe not thought necessary to) he does not want to leave the US, which is why he framed his question to specifically cover only the US :blink:
Fair enough and you make some good points about where you've lived. I added my comment merely as illustration that there are options outside the US that are at least as good as, if not better in some ways, than the US. Australia is one of them.

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I added my comment merely as illustration that there are options outside the US that are at least as good as, if not better in some ways, than the US. Australia is one of them.

Yes. If the goal is to maximize personal freedom, the places for consideration should extend to the entire world at this point rather than implicitly accepting that it will be found within the U.S.

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Why limit your search to the U.S.?

Perhaps because for reasons Ed from OC has not mentioned (and maybe not thought necessary to) he does not want to leave the US, which is why he framed his question to specifically cover only the US :blink:

There are a lot of details to my personal context that I'd rather not get into, so I'll leave the question unanswered. However, if someone wants to start a thread to compare countries, go ahead; it sounds interesting.

Another reason for asking about states is I'm aware of comparisons of levels of freedom between countries, but not between states. I've found some that compare some aspect of freedom, such as the best and worst states for business (2009 and 2010).

This page shows the CEOs grading of three subcategories: taxation and regulation; workforce quality; and living environment. For taxation and regulation, the A grades go to DE, NV, SD, and TX. California gets the only F.

Such rankings as this gives a decent assessment of the relative freedom of the different states, at least in one large area of one's life. Together with rankings of other aspects of freedom (say, free speech, gun laws, etc) one could get a measure of the overall cultural acceptance of freedom in a particular state.

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If I were a high earning programmer I'd drop my US citizenship, bank in a tax haven or somewhere like Singapore, and live somewhere nice with a good internet connection. Why pay California rent prices when you can have a château in the Andes for a quarter of the price? Why let the IRS follow you all over the world?

(...)

I think more young Americans should think about getting out of the US and leveraging the internet to earn their income. For some, it might take the leap from being an employee to owning one's own corporation that is based in a different country, but it can probably pay off in a lot of cases.

I empathize with your view, but there's something to be said for a long tradition of the rule of law. As bad as things can go in the US, they can get much worse outside the US...

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The point I'm trying to make (and I'm not trying to be condescending here) is that there are factors besides luxuries and standard of living that also need to be considered carefully when deciding where to set up shop or make home.

I agree completely, Mohsin. Ask yourself, if you had to choose, would you prefer to be one of the billionaires in an authoritarian statist society today´s Russia or China - or a humble factory worker in a free county, such as the USA, or even Sweden? Is money really equally important as freedom? I would prefer to be where I am today, looking for work in Sweden, rather than be a billionaire who had to suck up to the ruling politicians and bureaucrats in today´s Russia or China.

I don´t think that those oligarchs are really all that happy. Their typical lifestyles, with their swinish indulgence in luxuries, argues that they are unhappy and that their money is for them merely a crutch which functions as an escape from an unbearable inner state. And look at what happened to the multi-billionaire Russian businessman Chardochevskij (I hope I got his long name right). He p-ed off Putin - and promptly wound up in a prison in Siberia. Is that any decent kind of existence? I am pretty glad that I am where I am.

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I don´t think that those oligarchs are really all that happy. Their typical lifestyles, with their swinish indulgence in luxuries, argues that they are unhappy and that their money is for them merely a crutch which functions as an escape from an unbearable inner state. And look at what happened to the multi-billionaire Russian businessman Chardochevskij (I hope I got his long name right). He p-ed off Putin - and promptly wound up in a prison in Siberia. Is that any decent kind of existence? I am pretty glad that I am where I am.

I do not think there is anything wrong with enjoying the fruits of one's labour, but that is the subject of another discussion.

That being said, Khodorkovsky was a mobster much as anybody of substance in post-Soviet Russia. He is no innocent. Micha Glenny in his stellar work of journalism "McMafia" describes any wealthy businessman as playing three roles whilst meeting you: 1. the business in talk 2. spying for the account of the Russian government and 3. spying/exploring profit opportunities for his mob connections. Putin at least put a bit of order in all that - he was put in power to replace the ailing Yelstin, but unlike Yelstin pushed back and regained power of the country from the mobsters. What he does with it is the topic for another discussion, but the Khodorkovskies of Russia are no angels and I shed no tears for him in his Siberian jail.

Back to thread: MRZ, thanks, and your parents must have had it particularly tough as Indians in Dubai! At least whites, as the "2nd rank" social class (after Arabs) receive a modicum of respect...

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At the risk of deviating further from the initial question (and with apologies to Ed from OC), in response to the side discussion about the comparison between non-US locations, would it be wrong to assume that freedom of speech/lifestyle and (legal) equality of treatment would be the foremost factors to consider whatever your age or professional preferences?
Yes.
If so, then a place like Dubai, with all its luxuries is not the place to be, except, as rtg24 mentioned, to build up a cushion of capital.
Dubai is hardly even economically free (as you will explain further down in your post) and not very socially free, so if I was going to do something there it would be my banking. I wouldn't compare it to the opportunities in Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, Australia, NZ, Macau, Shanghai, etc depending on your particular need and purpose).
is that there are factors besides luxuries and standard of living that also need to be considered carefully when deciding where to set up shop or make home.
That's a great point and one I think you didn't need to spend time proving to me.
In New York on the other hand, to paraphrase rtg24, and to quote John Travolta from Phenomenon, "Everything is on its way to somewhere". I have never worked there, just visited it (thrice) and I'm still itching to go back there, and not just to visit but to work as well.

If you like drug addicts, crime ghettos, etc, and then supporting them with your paycheque. There are like 5 homeless men in Seoul, a metropolis of nearly 20 million. Everybody works and nobody retires. Look how hard the people work.

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Here is another comparison of freedom in the states.

This paper presents the first-ever comprehensive ranking of the American states on their public policies affecting individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres. We develop and justify our ratings and aggregation procedure on explicitly normative criteria, defining individual freedom as the ability to dispose of one’s own life, liberty, and justly acquired property however one sees fit, so long as one does not coercively infringe on another individual’s ability to do the same.

This study improves on prior attempts to score economic freedom for American states in three primary ways: (1) it includes measures of social and personal freedoms such as peaceable citizens’ rights to educate their own children, own and carry firearms, and be free from unreasonable search and seizure; (2) it includes far more variables, even on economic policies alone, than prior studies, and there are no missing data on any variable; and (3) it uses new, more accurate measurements of key variables, particularly state fiscal policies.

We find that the freest states in the country are New Hampshire, Colorado, and South Dakota, which together achieve a virtual tie for first place. All three states feature low taxes and government spending and middling levels of regulation and paternalism. New York is the least free by a considerable margin, followed by New Jersey, Rhode Island, California, and Maryland. On personal freedom alone, Alaska is the clear winner, while Maryland brings up the rear. As for freedom in the different regions of the country, the Mountain and West North Central regions are the freest overall while the Middle Atlantic lags far behind on both economic and personal freedom. Regression analysis demonstrates that states enjoying more economic and personal freedom tend to attract substantially higher rates of internal net migration.

Here is a pdf of the report.

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Here is another comparison of freedom in the states.

We find that the freest states in the country are New Hampshire, Colorado, and South Dakota, which together achieve a virtual tie for first place. All three states feature low taxes and government spending and middling levels of regulation and paternalism. New York is the least free by a considerable margin, followed by New Jersey, Rhode Island, California, and Maryland. On personal freedom alone, Alaska is the clear winner, while Maryland brings up the rear. As for freedom in the different regions of the country, the Mountain and West North Central regions are the freest overall while the Middle Atlantic lags far behind on both economic and personal freedom. Regression analysis demonstrates that states enjoying more economic and personal freedom tend to attract substantially higher rates of internal net migration.

Here is a pdf of the report.

Thank you for the link! I'll certainly read this. The list of the most free from a personal liberty perspective certainly matches the dimensions I've researched. I'll read through this.

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Back to thread: MRZ, thanks, and your parents must have had it particularly tough as Indians in Dubai! At least whites, as the "2nd rank" social class (after Arabs) receive a modicum of respect...

You're right rtg24 and thanks for understanding - not all people realize this. It's unfortunate that the Arabs (the bigoted ones - there are many that aren't) don't realize that the majority of their wealth comes not from their competence but from either the oil they did not discover or from the labour of people they do not respect. There are more expatriates in the UAE than there are citizens and their economy is driven mainly by the former, who are perpetually in fear of getting thrown out by some whimsical change in laws.

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is that there are factors besides luxuries and standard of living that also need to be considered carefully when deciding where to set up shop or make home.
That's a great point and one I think you didn't need to spend time proving to me.

When you said in reply to rtg24's post

Just my opinion, but you might not convince many people to live in New York over Dubai with what you wrote above, heh. :blink:

you did not mention what it was in his comparison of the two cities that you though would not be able to convince people to live in New York in preference to Dubai despite the clear context (was it not?) of his post comparing their relative freedoms and luxuries, and how New York had far more freedom than Dubai. Given that context, and your response, it was not clear to me what your stance was.

At the risk of deviating further from the initial question (and with apologies to Ed from OC), in response to the side discussion about the comparison between non-US locations, would it be wrong to assume that freedom of speech/lifestyle and (legal) equality of treatment would be the foremost factors to consider whatever your age or professional preferences?
Yes.

Now I know.

In New York on the other hand, to paraphrase rtg24, and to quote John Travolta from Phenomenon, "Everything is on its way to somewhere". I have never worked there, just visited it (thrice) and I'm still itching to go back there, and not just to visit but to work as well.

If you like drug addicts, crime ghettos, etc, and then supporting them with your paycheque. There are like 5 homeless men in Seoul, a metropolis of nearly 20 million. Everybody works and nobody retires. Look how hard the people work.

Working hours are hardly sufficient as an indicator of the philosophical health of a city. Three of the many links I found when Googling "freedom of expression South Korea" can be found here, here and here. Three of those I found when Googling "freedom of expression Singapore" can be found here, here and here.

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