Which are the best countries to live in?

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I'm genuinely interested in people's opinions on this. It's sprung from talking to a Swedish person who was telling me a bit about how it worked there. I've been to other European countries as well and spoken to people about this, but obviously it's hard to get an impression just from that.

There are a lot of subjective factors about what makes a country 'a good place to live' and I realise this, but I guess in my eyes it would include things like a good welfare system, fair wages that rise with inflation, a place where legislation is in place to encourage business leaders to work together with workers for mutual benefit rather than exploitation etc etc. Not socialist exactly, but certainly a mixed economy. It also seems like proportional representation works well in some countries compared to first past the post.

I don't have an answer to this question about where is a nice place to live and I realise there are a lot of factors to consider. I don't know if those 'happiness' studies they do are accurate either. Would be good to hear your thoughts.

1)Not being constantly sabotaged by the United States or other servants of capital
2)Democratic
3)Socialist

In that order.

The United States fails at least two of these, and I'd argue it's not democratic either.

I like the capacity for adventure, mystery, and beauty of the natural world ... the capacity to see alien looking landscapes you won't see anywhere else.

So Australia does it for me. I've travelled fairly extensively... but I feel like the pace of life is pretty good here.

Couple of big problems... cost of living is quite high.

'Course Australia's a big place. But the Blue Mountains is like 2 hours motorbike ride away from Inner Sydney. And that's pretty glorious for freeclimbing, orienteering and hiking.

Depends who you are, what your priorities are and how much you earn. Scandanavia's great for a lot of things, but not if you like a beer. Then there's countless other personal preferences on climate, rural / urban mix, etc.

Seanchaidh:
1)Not being constantly sabotaged by the United States or other servants of capital
2)Democratic
3)Socialist

So how's about naming a country or two that in your mind doesn't fall under the "servants of capital" shebang? Not being funny, but I'd argue every state is a servant of capital.

Catnip1024:
Scandanavia's great for a lot of things, but not if you like a beer.

Thankfully, Sweden's hipster crowd has you covered there! Sweden is in the middle of a micro brewery boom and there are plenty of pubs (in the larger cities at least) that specialize in just providing a large selection of beer. It is a god send for those like me who think lagers are among the most overrated beers there are and prefer British ale to German or Belgian lagers.

So yes, Sweden is obviously the best country to live in...

I suspect many people who go abroad realise there's nowhere they're quite as comfortable as their homeland, assuming their homeland isn't a dump. The exceptions, perhaps, are when so many people from your homeland move somewhere, that somewhere becomes rather like home.

Gethsemani:
So yes, Sweden is obviously the best country to live in...

Oh, please. You guys made surstromming. That's like an automatic disqualification.
Obviously Denmark is the superior country. We're like Sweden, but without surstrom and more remoulade.

Agema:
I suspect many people who go abroad realise there's nowhere they're quite as comfortable as their homeland, assuming their homeland isn't a dump. The exceptions, perhaps, are when so many people from your homeland move somewhere, that somewhere becomes rather like home.

I didn't really mean a good place to live in a familiar comfortable sort of way. I meant more in bigger picture sense - things like feeling looked after by the country and getting back what you put in. Just imagine your family and friends all lived in said country and you'd gotten used to the food and landscape.

Agema:
I suspect many people who go abroad realise there's nowhere they're quite as comfortable as their homeland, assuming their homeland isn't a dump. The exceptions, perhaps, are when so many people from your homeland move somewhere, that somewhere becomes rather like home.

Then I guess Ireland is a dump because I've been to at least 3 places I'd rather live.

As far as I know, Scandinavian countries tend to repeatedly place highly in studies into both quality of life and happiness.

I live in the UK (London), and it's far from perfect, with shoddy public transport, poor air quality, and rudeness. Still, there are so many things about it I love.

Silvanus:

I live in the UK (London), and it's far from perfect, with shoddy public transport, poor air quality, and rudeness. Still, there are so many things about it I love.

I live in Manchester and, while I like it in a comfortable and familiar sort of way, I recognise some of the inherent problems in our country.

1. The voting system is rigged toward the two main parties - and one of the parties is extremely unfair to the working population, in my opinion

2. Rise of the political class

3. Rampant inequality (owing to hang ups from imperialism and monarchy from 1066 onwards) - the people at the top (and born into it) have too much power

4. Much of the UK's print media is more partisan than Fox

5. There's more poverty than you think - especially homelessness in the main cities

6. Alcohol related social problems

7. Brexit will probably end up making things like food shopping more expensive than in Europe

8. We don't have enough social housing and it's turning into a housing crisis

9. Most jobs are in services - we don't make much anymore because of the collapse of manufacturing in the 80s

10. Our NHS is now falling apart and difficult to use under the current government (I speak from experience) and I imagine it won't exist in it's current form by the time Labour get back in. This goes for the welfare state more generally

11. People in many poorer areas are unhappy and are blaming immigrants for it.

There are a million more I could list but those are the ones that spring to mind. All things considered, if it was possible to move my family and friends somewhere abroad, I could get a job somewhere else and I was multi lingual, I might move.

One thing I would miss would be the British sense of humour.

Hmm, Cananda, Netherlands, Scandinavia...am warming up to Australia (tehe) in recent years after previous worries are somewhat alleviated. I feel no emotional connection to this country I happen to find myself stuck on, so as long as I'm alive-ish in future, there will be a migration happening. Don't worry, I'll bring jobs or something fun and profitable!

Catnip1024:

Seanchaidh:
1)Not being constantly sabotaged by the United States or other servants of capital
2)Democratic
3)Socialist

So how's about naming a country or two that in your mind doesn't fall under the "servants of capital" shebang? Not being funny, but I'd argue every state is a servant of capital.

It's a spectrum. The important part is the sabotage; capital really started to sabotage the United States a lot more since the 1970s.

Seanchaidh:
It's a spectrum. The important part is the sabotage; capital really started to sabotage the United States a lot more since the 1970s.

You're dodging the question.

sweden has deteriorated quite a bit in recent years, but it's where I've grown up and where my relatives live.
I am actively trying to make it better (with the limited capacity I have), and would only abandon it if the worst comes to the worst.

Tayh:

Gethsemani:
So yes, Sweden is obviously the best country to live in...

Oh, please. You guys made surstromming. That's like an automatic disqualification.
Obviously Denmark is the superior country. We're like Sweden, but without surstrom and more remoulade.

I would definitely agree that Denmark is better than sweden.
If only you didn't sound like someone with a mouthful of porridge.
So here is some excellent Danish humor videos (With English subtitles);

Though Norway seems even better than Denmark!
Such a delightful language to listen to as well.
They have also produced a documentary called Hjernevask (Brainwash).

Xsjadoblayde:
Hmm, Cananda, Netherlands, Scandinavia...am warming up to Australia (tehe)

Not Australia. I prefer to deal with Canada's 6 months long winter than the venomous Australian fauna (like deadly spiders hidding inside my shoes)

Well, I have this pipedream of emigrating to Iceland one day. It seems... lovely. A decently wealthy small country with practically no crime, practically no political extremism, practically no violence... it seems like an absolutely lovely place. You know, what society coul be. Normal people living their normal lives and treating each other respectfully.

Norway and New Zealand seem pretty neat too.

American Tanker:

Seanchaidh:
It's a spectrum. The important part is the sabotage; capital really started to sabotage the United States a lot more since the 1970s.

You're dodging the question.

OK.

Cuba.

But of course it's suffered a severe amount of sabotage-- which is far more important to the point I was raising in the first place. Scandinavian social democracies, while they aren't terribly socialist, enjoy perhaps the minimum of such foreign sabotage, and to the extent that they've reformed capitalism in an intelligent way, they avoid the worst of the domestic sabotage by capital. And they're substantially more democratic than the United States.

Standard of living today is also predicted by:

1)the country's position as it related to the system of colonization and global white supremacy
2)whether the country listened to the IMF/World Bank (which advised South Korea to "take advantage of its competitive advantage in agriculture; South Korea, and the rest of the Asian Tigers, didn't go in for that crap)

An acquaintance of mine swears on New Zealand. Seriously, she won't shut the fuck up about it. The only things I know about it are that the largest city has like 1,5 million inhabitants (probably cool) and that Lord of the Rings was shot there (definitely cool, almost enough to convince me on its own). I'm honestly tempted to go and work there for a year or two.

Manchester is absolutely horrible and it boggles my mind as to why anybody would live there, same as Birmingham. I rant a lot about how horrible NRW is but those two cities put it to shame. Like, seriously. If I lived there, the second I had enough money for a train ticket I'd just get the fuck out and punch my way through somewhere else. Miserable. One of those places you can probably only tolerate if you were born there (?)

Objectively its very hard to measure. People always answer "something something Scandinavia" to this question but considering the problems they have with alcoholism, depression and antidepressants and suicide I'm not so sure. Take the World Happiness Index for example; Finland, Norway and Denmark make up the top 3, which the UN attributes to high income, good healthcare and good welfare. But Sweden has all of those too and is in 9th. Germany has them too and creeps in at 15th, 2 places below Costa Rica. France is 23rd below Malta, the Czech Republic and the USA, none of which are known for their affordable health care or generous welfare. Mexico is almost 20 places above Poland for Christs sake. How do you measure which country is going to make people happiest and why? Well, clearly the UN hasn't figured it out despite presumbly spending a shameful amount of money and time trying, so I don't feel guilty saying I haven't figured it out either.

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
An acquaintance of mine swears on New Zealand. Seriously, she won't shut the fuck up about it. The only things I know about it are that the largest city has like 1,5 million inhabitants (probably cool) and that Lord of the Rings was shot there

Presumably you don't listen to her for very long once she starts talking about New Zealand. Unless she's really fixated on those two aspects of it.

Baffle2:

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
An acquaintance of mine swears on New Zealand. Seriously, she won't shut the fuck up about it. The only things I know about it are that the largest city has like 1,5 million inhabitants (probably cool) and that Lord of the Rings was shot there

Presumably you don't listen to her for very long once she starts talking about New Zealand. Unless she's really fixated on those two aspects of it.

Nah, she talks about lots of stuff. The problem is I don't listen to her anyway so I can never recall what.

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
Take the World Happiness Index for example; Finland, Norway and Denmark make up the top 3, which the UN attributes to high income, good healthcare and good welfare.

Finns like to laugh at others' misfortunes and thus we got the top spot when Trump was elected president.

Tayh:

Gethsemani:
So yes, Sweden is obviously the best country to live in...

Oh, please. You guys made surstromming. That's like an automatic disqualification.
Obviously Denmark is the superior country. We're like Sweden, but without surstrom and more remoulade.

You're also the ghonorea capital of scandinavia and your words can only be properly pronounced by choking on potatoes. Norway has shitty national quisine, but we almost exclusively use foreign recepies anyway, plus our nature doesn't look like a windows background from the early 2000s

McElroy:

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
Take the World Happiness Index for example; Finland, Norway and Denmark make up the top 3, which the UN attributes to high income, good healthcare and good welfare.

Finns like to laugh at others' misfortunes and thus we got the top spot when Trump was elected president.

Rebranding as "Funland" when?

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:

Manchester is absolutely horrible and it boggles my mind as to why anybody would live there, same as Birmingham. I rant a lot about how horrible NRW is but those two cities put it to shame. Like, seriously. If I lived there, the second I had enough money for a train ticket I'd just get the fuck out and punch my way through somewhere else. Miserable. One of those places you can probably only tolerate if you were born there (?)

Hey hey hey there sonny. We're talking about countries not individual cities. No need to attack Manchester. I live in Manchester and it's a great city. It's not LONDON but that's not really a fair comparison.

1) Our restaurant scene is booming
2) Our museums and galleries are great
3) Theatre and the arts thrive here
4) Our music scene rocks...
5) ...and the nightlife is great
6) We're probably the sporting capital of the UK (and are significant in the world)
7) We have great beer
8) Our universities are world-class
9) It's a shopper's paradise
10) The cost of living is better than the south
11) There's countryside nearby...
12) ...and the farther-flung destinations you can reach from Manchester Airport
13) But most of all, the people are lovely

The UK is not the best place to live at the moment generally - mainly because we are ruled by a horrible government, but Manchester is improving all the time because it gets significant investment. Why do you hate us so?

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:

Manchester is absolutely horrible and it boggles my mind as to why anybody would live there, same as Birmingham. I rant a lot about how horrible NRW is but those two cities put it to shame. Like, seriously. If I lived there, the second I had enough money for a train ticket I'd just get the fuck out and punch my way through somewhere else. Miserable. One of those places you can probably only tolerate if you were born there (?)

Manchester and Birmingham are pretty good, really. Tons of places to go and things to do. They're not the scarred and decaying postindutrial hellholes of a generation ago.

The bottom line really if you're going to slag off the likes of Manchester and Birmingham is to argue the UK is a choice between London and sheep-ridden shire countryside. Because sure as shit you're probably better off in either Manc / Bham than virtually any other major city or provicial town.

dscross:
Hey hey hey there sonny. We're talking about countries not individual cities. No need to attack Manchester. I live in Manchester and it's a great city. It's not LONDON but that's not really a fair comparison.

1) Our restaurant scene is booming
2) Our museums and galleries are great
3) Theatre and the arts thrive here
4) Our music scene rocks...
5) ...and the nightlife is great
6) We're probably the sporting capital of the UK (and are significant in the world)
7) We have great beer
8) Our universities are world-class
9) It's a shopper's paradise
10) The cost of living is better than the south
11) There's countryside nearby...
12) ...and the farther-flung destinations you can reach from Manchester Airport
13) But most of all, the people are lovely

The UK is not the best place to live at the moment generally - mainly because we are ruled by a horrible government, but Manchester is improving all the time because it gets significant investment. Why do you hate us so?

Yeah well you know what, fuck London too for that matter. Most overrated city I've had the misfortune of visiting. I ain't lookin to get food poisoning in your restaurants and besides that scene is booming everywhere because of foodies. I don't care about museums and galleries because I'm an uncultured fuck. I don't know a single band from Manchester. I ain't lookin to get shanked so keep your nightlife away from me. I'm an Arsenal fan so if you mention United or the fake oil club I'll probably begin frothing at the mouth.

I'll stop here because that last one is actually like 50% of the reason I don't like Manchester, but lets just pretend my criticisms are valid. To give my honest opinion outside of irrational hatred for football clubs I don't think the city is all that great - its dirty and unorganized even by British standards and the people are horrible, same goes for Birmingham. But you're right, its not THAT bad and I've certainly seen worse in other countries.

For what its worth though, I prefer Birmingham and Manchester to London by a country mile.

Agema:
Manchester and Birmingham are pretty good, really. Tons of places to go and things to do. They're not the scarred and decaying postindutrial hellholes of a generation ago.

The bottom line really if you're going to slag off the likes of Manchester and Birmingham is to argue the UK is a choice between London and sheep-ridden shire countryside. Because sure as shit you're probably better off in either Manc / Bham than virtually any other major city or provicial town.

Ayo now listen up, Liverpool is great and don't you dare tell me otherwise.

EDIT: On a side note, a small part of this might be unfairly tained because I only very recently visited Birmingham and experienced something of a culture shock - the kind violent enough to induce nausea - upon stepping off the plane. Going from the smooth, straight forward, clean efficiency of D?sseldorf airport to essentially anywhere in Birmingham is like being sucker punched. And on another side note, what in the actual fuck is that bit in the airport where you have to go through roughly 30 kilometers of perfume shops before reaching the terminals? I've just gotten off a slow moving train, I'm tired, hungover, hungry and in Birmingham. The last thing I need before boarding a bloody flight is a gruelling march through the heavy scent of every perfume known to man combined. Rant over.

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:

I ain't lookin to get food poisoning in your restaurants and besides that scene is booming everywhere because of foodies.

Not really a valid criticism and it's clear you know nothing about the variety. The city now boasts the fastest-growing food and drink scene in the country, with new restaurant and bar openings outstripping everywhere else, including the capital.

I don't care about museums and galleries because I'm an uncultured fuck.

That's YOUR failing

I don't know a single band from Manchester.

That's silly of course you do. There are loads. But I wasn't really talking about that. As you'd expect from a city that spawned The Smiths, Joy Division, Oasis and the Courteeners, Manchester's music scene is a major stop-off on the UK gig circuit and its venues regularly host global superstars as well as up-and-coming acts.

Manchester Arena is one of the largest indoor music venues in Europe and has set the stage for shows by everyone from Madonna and Prince to Take That and Kylie Minogue over the last 20 years.

The Apollo and the Academies also command plenty of heavyweight acts, while more intimate venues like Dry Bar and Night and Day have helped to launch the careers of countless bands and offer audiences the chance to say 'I saw them first'.

I ain't lookin to get shanked so keep your nightlife away from me.

You never go to any bars or pubs or go to watch music or see comedy ever? Nightlife doesn't just mean going to a club. If house and techno aren't up your street, Manchester's eclectic nightlife offers something for everyone.

I'm an Arsenal fan so if you mention United or the fake oil club I'll probably begin frothing at the mouth.

It's not all about football here. The legacy of the Commonwealth Games has left us with world-class facilities including the Manchester Aquatics Centre, Regional Athletics Arena, National Squash Centre and Manchester Velodrome.

We're also home to one of England's most renowned test venues at the Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground. And don't forget the National Football Museum.

I'll stop here because that last one is actually like 50% of the reason I don't like Manchester, but lets just pretend my criticisms are valid. To give my honest opinion outside of irrational hatred for football clubs I don't think the city is all that great - its dirty and unorganized even by British standards and the people are horrible, same goes for Birmingham. But you're right, its not THAT bad and I've certainly seen worse in other countries.

'Dirty and unorganised?' What the hell do you mean by that? All of Britain is unorganised. That's not a failing of Manchester. The 'dirty' is clearly just your misconception about the place (possibly you are remembering something from a long while ago). It's very clean. And the people DEFINITELY ARE NOT HORRIBLE. They are lovely, warm chatty people. What are you basing this on?

You have some sort of irrational hatred here mate. You are picking holes in nothing.

Gethsemani:

Catnip1024:
Scandanavia's great for a lot of things, but not if you like a beer.

Thankfully, Sweden's hipster crowd has you covered there! Sweden is in the middle of a micro brewery boom and there are plenty of pubs (in the larger cities at least) that specialize in just providing a large selection of beer. It is a god send for those like me who think lagers are among the most overrated beers there are and prefer British ale to German or Belgian lagers.

So yes, Sweden is obviously the best country to live in...

The reference was more to do with the price of said alcohol than the quality.

Catnip1024:
The reference was more to do with the price of said alcohol than the quality.

I've got nothing to say in Sweden's defense. Our alcohol tax is really high.

Come to Australia, you might accidentally get killed. I like it here, I've never really had the desire to move anywhere else, even if the summer is fucking hot and a pale arse whitey like me just lobsters up in the sun. If I had the time and money I'd love go visit places, but I doubt I'd want to live anywhere else.

Gethsemani:

Catnip1024:
The reference was more to do with the price of said alcohol than the quality.

I've got nothing to say in Sweden's defense. Our alcohol tax is really high.

Is it high enough to cover the expenses incurred from drinking alcohol such as impact on one's health which not only results in medical expenses but also in terms of welfare provided to those suffering from medical conditions caused by alcohol in addition to alcohol related deaths and injuries? I think the high tax is a good way to offset to expenses created by it's consumption, which are many.

Gethsemani:

Catnip1024:
The reference was more to do with the price of said alcohol than the quality.

I've got nothing to say in Sweden's defense. Our alcohol tax is really high.

Yup. That's my main bugbear with Sweden and Norway - beautiful places, generally better run than the UK, climate wise probably the ideal place for someone like myself, but pretty expensive if you like a drink or two. And from what I've seen coffee's seem comparatively expensive too, although that is from fleeting impressions rather than any actual knowledge.

That said, the south of England isn't exactly much better.

dscross:

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:

[quote]I don't know a single band from Manchester.

That's silly of course you do. There are loads. But I wasn't really talking about that. As you'd expect from a city that spawned The Smiths, Joy Division, Oasis and the Courteeners, Manchester's music scene is a major stop-off on the UK gig circuit and its venues regularly host global superstars as well as up-and-coming acts.

A city that has produced Oasis should be eligible for automatic disqualification. Horrible band.

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
Ayo now listen up, Liverpool is great and don't you dare tell me otherwise.

The best thing about Liverpool is the word "Liverpudlian".

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