Cheapest Place in the World to Live is the US

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“Things have changed so much,” said a colleague yesterday. “We’ve been telling readers that they could live so much more cheaply overseas. But now, about the cheapest place in the world to live is the US…”

We spent Sunday with the publisher of International Living magazine.

“Prices have fallen so much in Florida that you really get more for your money there than practically anywhere else,” she continued.

“I think Florida may be cheaper than Buenos Aires,” added son Will, who’s been living in Argentina for the last three years.

Housing is cheap in the United States. In Texas and Arkansas, housing is probably the best bargain on the planet. Food prices are going up; still food in the US is much cheaper than it is in Europe. And cars? We have a friend in Paris who goes back to the US to buy his Mercedes. Even with the cost of shipping the car back to France…and the cost of refitting the car to European standards…he still saves about $10,000.

“I was just in Paris,” Will continued. “You pay $10 for a cup of coffee and a croissant. In Florida, I can get the ‘Breakfast Special’ for $5.95…and it has everything. Pancakes. Bacon… Everything.”

“But what is amazing,” continued our International Living colleague, “is that interest in moving overseas is going up. It’s not about money. Apparently, a lot of Americans are just fed up…or afraid. They want to get out. They see taxes going up or they see the society going down the tubes. I don’t know. But many say they just don’t like the way things are going.

“One thing I hear is that they think American society has become meaner…ruder…less civil. You can’t have a polite discussion of politics anymore. People get really upset and nasty. I mean, someone yelled out and called Obama a liar in the middle of a joint session of Congress. And a substantial part of the US population regards the guy – the guy who called him a liar – as a hero. They think Obama is a traitor…

“I think this is really a result of the financial downturn. People feel betrayed. Let down. They think something is very wrong. That the nation is in decline. So they look for someone to blame. And they tend to blame each other. Conservatives blame liberals. Liberals blame conservatives. They blame the bankers. They blame the capitalists. They blame the government.

“I guess that’s what happens when you get a major correction or a big financial crisis.”

We recalled what happened in Germany in the ’20s and ’30s:

“Germany was probably the most civilized country in the world – before WWI. Artists, philosophers, scientists, mathematicians, musicians… Germany had the best in the world. The war shook the public’s faith in its leaders. But then, according to people who lived through the period, the financial crises of the ’20s and ’30s were worse. Hyperinflation…depression…strikes…a decade of financial chaos and disruptions led to a breakdown in social order. By the early thirties, groups of communists and fascists were battling in the streets. People seemed to leave the center and move to extreme positions. Soon, the Nazis had the upper hand and Hitler was voted into the government.”

Until tomorrow,

Bill Bonner
for The Daily Reckoning Australia

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Best-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail The Daily Reckoning.
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22 Comments on "Cheapest Place in the World to Live is the US"

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Dan
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The people of America _know_ something is very wrong, and that they have woken up rather late. Thing is, America is not Germany before WWI (nor can it achieve what Germany did before WWII – in all fairness just look at what they achieved before the war started – the Germans went into it being clearly superior to the Brits). America has been going into a decline with regards to scientific research since the 80’s, and more so now because the old scientists are dying out. The current ‘intelligentsia’ of the US is not at all meritocratic, and therefore is… Read more »
Joe
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I’m British and I assure you Dan that no Brit will ever agree to your comment ‘the Germans went into it being clearly superior to the Brits’. Please explain on what basis you make this statement. Personally I think it is unsubstantiatable hyperbole, but I am prepared to be corrected. I believe prior to World War 1, (or Wubble-ya Wubble-ya Eye for Americans and don’t you just love how all inclusive Al-Queda were in conducting the London tube and bus bombing on the 7th July just so the American’s couldn’t get confused about the significant date … 9/11 indeed) that… Read more »
Dan
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I was referring to World War 2, actually.

brc
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I see Godwin’s law is in full effect already.

Joe
Guest
So before Wubble-ya Wubble-ya Eye Eye Germany was superior to Britain. Then how come Germany did not defeat Britain. How come Germany were frightened about confronting Britain. How come Britain could build its’ arms and military machinery inside 2 years to combat what Hitler and the German people had been building for years? On either count Dan, I still need convincing. My Daughter’s boyfiend (her first) is German (God forbid) and I don’t think even he would agree with you. (He is actually a really nice lad, and my experience of finding my family and I in a German hotel… Read more »
Dan
Guest

You win, brc. And there was I thinking that I would get away with it!

Joe
Guest

brc.

I was unaware of Godwin’s law. Just wiki’d it and am now startlingly informed.

Have I been dupped ? Is Dan leading me in some higher intellect interweb baiting game ?

Dan
Guest
Joe, you don’t need to agree with me, and I don’t need to convince you, but here you go anyway: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_during_World_War_II. Back to topic, I stand by my point – the US is not going into the mire with the kind of cultural and intellectual assets that would give a US citizen confidence in the future. The fact people are waking up is a sign of hope (though not Obama’s Hope(TM)), but it will eventually require a radical change to the current situation, the complete opposite of what we are seeing, with a shift back to sound economic and social… Read more »
Joe
Guest
Dan, “the Germans went into it being clearly superior to the Brits” is a general statement and your link implies only a military superiority. This was obviously likely to be the case considering the re-armament initiatives undertaken at Hitler’s direction. There are many ways to measure superiority, and as this is generally an economic journal, I doubt very much that Germany was economically superior to Britain prior to WW2. Germany was heavily endebted because this was the only way it could manage to put its’ nation back to work from the early 30’s hyper-inflation. Your argument is like saying that… Read more »
Dan
Guest

The economic superiority question of WWII is a complicated, involved but interesting area of history. Read about it and draw your own conclusions. Whatever they end up being, it really does bring a new perspective on current events. It matters not that Americans have dollars now, numbering in their squillions. The winners of the next conflict will determine who pays whom. Except, at the moment, there is no conflict.

rag
Guest
england v germany = I would rather drive a german car than a british [and I have had 3 british cars – rovers and landrovers = eccentric designbut not built to last] german workers are some of the most productive in the work even being one of the highest paid – I have worked for 2 british companies and without a shadow of doubt they are the laziest workers of any country I have worked for – that is australian, american, german, japanese, english and chinese. and then lets not talk about the soccer – no contest but really bugs… Read more »
Joe
Guest
Rag, That last point would be legitimate if Australia didn’t consider itself and act like a colony. More a 53rd State these days than an external English county, but, nonetheless Australia ties itself to mother nation skirt strings. Can’t dispute the Engineering excellence of German cars, and will happily agree they are superior to British cars (not that there are many left now). I would not be so stereotypical Dan as to claim all British people are lazy. This is not my experience which if I were asked to explain the divergence in attitudes between Australian and British workers, is… Read more »
Dan
Guest

Fair enough, Joe. But you made me think a lot about your point about superiority on economic terms. Let’s ask the question about today. Which economy is ‘superior’, the US or the collective economies of the EU, or the UK, or China, or the Asian region? I think the answer is not at all obvious.

Jake
Guest
The current ‘intelligentsia’ of the US is not at all meritocratic, and therefore is not as intelligent is that which exists in Europe, for example. This has got to be the most misleading statement of a cadre of rubbish. The europeans are still much more class-oriented in both political appointees and business leaders. Granted, world economic opportunities are leveling the playing field, but it is Indian and Chinese scientists, not European ones, applying for more patents. Massachusetts, as a state, despite the downturn, churned out more patents in 2008 than did the United Kingdom. Massachusetts, Michigan and Minnesota churned out… Read more »
Biker Pete, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
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Biker Pete, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
“As you can imagine my Accountants chances of retaining my business are squat.” Joe, 25/09/09. Sorry to learn of your negative experiences with accountants, Joe. Had we followed our two FAs’ advice we’d be many hundreds of thousands of dollars behind. We had to ‘let both go’ well before the crash. As I’ve said earlier, we only made real progress by creating our own list of questions… and researching for ourselves… testing the ‘answers’ as we progressed. Too many times we entrust advisors to determine what’s ‘best for us’ (as opposed to what’s ‘best for them’.) It’s all about OPM.… Read more »
Greg Atkinson
Guest

Biker Pete I couldn’t agree with you more. I would go further and say that in many cases the term “Financial Planner/Advisor” is almost misleading and a better term would be “Financial Product Salesperson” or maybe “Financial Sales Agent”?

Richo
Guest

Jake, registering for patents is just one measure of innovation and research.
Much of the activity is frivolous and it can be more related to financial motivations than the undelying rate of innovations.
Still the current trends are interesting.

Pete
Guest

Richo: “registering for patents is just one measure of innovation and research”

Good point. Perhaps patents growth actually points more towards the level of ‘speculation’ or available capital in that region?

And the fact that you can patent a lot of things (many that may not even require innovation?) may say more about the convoluted and litigious US legal system than it does about innovation.

Biker Pete, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Guest
Biker Pete, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Probably FSA, Greg. Discovering the extent of trailing commissions on super was enough of a shock, but the huge commissions for ‘recommended’ agroforestry schemes might constitute criminal conduct, particularly where advisors themselves bailed just days before those schemes went under… . Ignorance of clients’ specific financial options indicates lack of care, but wilfully withholding critical information from those clients to feather one’s own nest is unethical and unsustainable. Glad we dispensed with both these F A s. (And the initials do not stand for Financial Advisor, in this instance…. ) ;)

Balsaboy
Guest

Joe, go read Bood, Tears, and Folly.

John
Guest

Is this a turning of the social tide ?? The “dumbing down and the fattening up” of America has been going on too long., (Is this you ?). The sinking Dollar will allow US manufacturing to strengthen; and a new generation to look about it at what has become of that great land and its’ energetic people. The keen eyed will find new opportunities; Be one of them; If you’re smart enough., We are one humanity., Only our skills are different….

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it. Thus that’s why this article is amazing. Thanks!

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