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Wed Dec 12, 2012, 04:36 AM

10 Best Countries to Be Born in 2013 (Hint: America Isn't One of Them)

http://www.alternet.org/world/10-best-countries-be-born-2013-hint-america-isnt-one-them

***SNIP

Australia and New Zealand. Oi! The land down under comes out on top, or second to the top, in the born index, for a number of reasons. With a high life expectancy and relatively high employment, civic and community participation are particularly high. According to the Better Life Index for Australia:

Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and high levels of civic participation in Australia, where 97% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, higher than the OECD average of 91%. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 95% during recent elections.

***SNIP

Scandinavian Countries: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, are all in the top 10. (Even Finland comes in at no. 11, ahead of the US.) This group of semi-socialist nations do exceptionally well in almost every ranking of this kind. That’s because it comes down to the numbers: workforces that do well without empyees killing themselves with work and a strong social safety net. Each day, Danes are able to spend about two-thirds of their hours sleeping, eating, taking care of themselves and chilling out, while Sweden has the most progressive family leave policies you can find, with a whole culture of stay-at-home dads who are encouraged to spend time with the stroller, thanks to national policy.

***SNIP

The Netherlands has a strong healthcare system and a complex social welfare state where collectives, co-ops, government and private industries mingle together to make sure each citizen is cared for. Back in 2009, Russel Shorto wrote a long piece for the New York Times about “going Dutch,” moving to the Netherlands. One thing he noted that’s particularly applicable to the Born Index? Childcare and help with giving birth:

The Netherlands has universal health care, which means that, unlike in the United States, virtually everyone is covered, and of course social welfare, broadly understood, begins at the beginning. In Julie and Jan’s case, although he was a struggling translator and she was a struggling writer, their insurance covered prenatal care, the birth of their children and after-care, which began with seven days of five-hours-per-day home assistance. “That means someone comes and does your laundry, vacuums and teaches you how to care for a newborn,” Julie said. Then began the regimen of regular checkups for the baby at the public health clinic. After that the heavily subsidized day care kicked in, which, Julie told me, “is huge, in that it helps me live as a writer who doesn’t make a lot of money.”

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Reply 10 Best Countries to Be Born in 2013 (Hint: America Isn't One of Them) (Original post)
xchrom Dec 2012 OP
oldbanjo Dec 2012 #1
frylock Dec 2012 #10
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #2
stuntcat Dec 2012 #8
Journeyman Dec 2012 #3
xchrom Dec 2012 #4
jsr Dec 2012 #9
newfie11 Dec 2012 #5
marmar Dec 2012 #6
xchrom Dec 2012 #7
Son of Gob Dec 2012 #11
pampango Dec 2012 #12

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 04:57 AM

1. BULL

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Response to oldbanjo (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 02:52 PM

10. compelling argument

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 05:03 AM

2. I don't think it's a good time to be born anywhere unless you come out kicking.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:15 AM

8. +1

I would not give my baby this century.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 05:35 AM

3. Hmm. So I should prefer living in Singapore over San Francisco?. . .

Singapore is one of the most consistently top-ranked Asian places to live, with an authoritarian government apparently offset by great healthcare, education and infastructure.

Cool. "Great healthcare" will come in handy, given that Singapore finds caning an acceptable criminal punishment. But that "great education" may be a detriment, since:

The minimum age of criminal responsibility (in Singapore) is seven. In addition, a child above seven years of age and under twelve, is not criminally responsible if he/she has not attained sufficient maturity of understanding to judge the nature and consequence of his/her conduct on that occasion.

http://www.lectlaw.com/files/int21.htm

I wonder: Just how "great" is that infrastructure? It's gotta be something truly special, to make Singapore a better choice than the City by the Bay.

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Response to Journeyman (Reply #3)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 05:44 AM

4. i love san francisco -- but i can't deny singapore

does have a reputation for being a world class city.

wouldn't be MY choice for being some place to live.

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Response to Journeyman (Reply #3)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:23 AM

9. Singapore is a boring humid shithole compared to SF

Last edited Wed Dec 12, 2012, 11:17 AM - Edit history (1)

Also, in the news today:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2012/12/12/singapore-palmer-resigns-affair/1763263/

9:56AM EST December 12. 2012 - SINGAPORE (AP) — The speaker of Singapore's parliament resigned Wednesday after admitting to an extramarital affair, adding to a list of scandals that have undermined the city-state's reputation for clean and efficient governance...

The government has been embarrassed by a succession of scandals and mishaps that might hardly raise eyebrows in many neighboring Southeast Asian countries but have caused outrage in Singapore where the ruling party has cultivated a pristine image.

Last month, immigrant Chinese bus drivers staged Singapore's first strike in 26 years in protest at poor working conditions and low pay. Earlier in the year, the chiefs of Singapore's civil defense force and anti-narcotics unit were sacked and charged with corruption for awarding business contracts in exchange for sexual favors from female company executives.

The government's competence was also questioned after subway breakdowns and flash floods that inundated an upmarket shopping district....

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 07:23 AM

5. If I could afford to live in the Netherlands I would be gone

Retiring to Australia and New Zealand requires a great deal of cash. This is why I am still in America.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 07:39 AM

6. Every time I'm in Amsterdam, I think to myself......


...... I swear I was a Netherlander in another life.


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Response to marmar (Reply #6)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 07:54 AM

7. it's the cutest, and one of the nicest places ever.

i SO want to live on one of those barges.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 04:39 PM

11. Netherlands would be great if they got rid of Zwarte Piet

Visitors to the Netherlands in winter are often surprised to see the Dutch version of St. Nicholas’s helpers have their faces painted black, wear Afro wigs and have thick red lips — in short, a racist caricature of a black person.

Most Dutch are devoted to the holiday tradition of Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) and insist he’s a harmless fictional figure who doesn’t represent any race. But a growing number are questioning whether he should be given a makeover or banished, seeing him as a blight on the country’s image as a bulwark of tolerance.

Zwarte Piet is frequently defended as part of Dutch cultural heritage, and those who don’t like it are often bluntly invited to leave the country. Many Dutch say Pete’s black face derives from the soot he picked up climbing down chimneys to deliver presents — although that hardly explains the frizzy hair and big lips.

A sea change may have occurred during last year’s festivities, when four men were arrested for wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan “Zwarte Piet is Racism” outside a store during an appearance of St. Nicholas. They were charged with protesting without a permit. Police threw one, Quinsy Gario, to the ground, and kneed him in the back repeatedly as they dragged him away, though he offered no resistance. A video of the incident was placed on YouTube, and the slogan began trending.





http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/12/06/zwarte-piet-is-racism-criticism-of-dutch-fictional-christmas-figure-black-pete-grows/








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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 08:47 PM

12. Strong labor laws and unions along with effective health care

are common threads among the best countries. Not surprising that the "semi-socialist" Scandanavian countries are up there with Australia, Canada and New Zealand. There is a lot the US can learn from them.

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