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#1 Dec 02, 2019 10:46 am

New Historian
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My Favourite Shitholes: What makes a country "great"?

Nowadays we are constantly being ranked and rated. Between TripAdvisor, Doing Business Rankings, International Corruption Index and the Human Development Index; there’s a whole army of busybodies whose sole job is to tell us how useless we are. The U.N. even produces, at great expense, an annual World Happiness Report – God knows how they calculate that one. Most of these ranking methodologies look at three basic criteria: income, infrastructure and crime (as in the absence of).

All these rankings share one common conclusion: rich countries are better than poor ones. What a surprising result. Not. But is it true? I’ve lived in rich countries, some of the richest in the world; and I’ve lived in poor countries, ditto. Plus a lifetime of travel that’s seen my country count currently standing at 80-plus. Did I find life in rich countries to be more enjoyable and satisfying than life in those countries that the American president contemptuously dismisses as “shitholes”? Not necessarily. In fact: not at all.

God knows I’ve lived enough places: ten countries so far, several of them several times. My father was a nomad and I’ve kept up the nomadic tradition – and then some. And I’m not done yet: if a contract came up to spend a couple of years in some new exotic corner of the world, my wife for one would be forcing my hand to sign the contract - let’s go!

What makes a country “great” – or at least better than the rest? All the conventional rankings look at the trifecta of: income, infrastructure and crime. But what about weather? What about food? Culture? Natural beauty? At the end of the day, it is these intangibles that have the biggest impact on your feelings towards a country – for good or otherwise.

If you’re going to rank crime, what about ranking the the police – are they friend or foe? What about the government, do they exist just to make your life one enormous pain, or are they really “servants”? What’s the nightlife like? Are the locals friendly? Is there class and/or racial strife?

Having created the spreadsheet (there’s always a spreadsheet!), it took quite a while to fill it in. The first result threw up some anomalies which I needed to double-check. Because in the end you can’t judge a country in isolation: you’ve got to compare it to others. After a few more go-rounds, plus comments from the family penny section, I arrived at the definitive “Highly Unscientific, Biased and Personalized Country Rankings”!

What a surprise, not. As anyone who knows me will tell you: my favourite place in the world is Grenada. Yup, followed by Jamaica – crime and all. At the bottom end of the scale, sorry Norway, you suck!

What does this say about me? Apparently I’m not normal: I prefer shitholes to safe havens. Grenada, my favourite country is ranked only 81st in the UN Human Development Indicator, while Norway, the world’s “best place to live”, is ranked by me as the worst.

Clearly, I like living in shit!


Country-rankings.jpg

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#2 Dec 02, 2019 11:03 am

New Historian
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Re: My Favourite Shitholes: What makes a country "great"?

One point of explanation: Zimbabwe got its ranking when I lived there, not now. Now it would be at the bottom of the list

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#3 Dec 02, 2019 12:49 pm

Calypso
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Re: My Favourite Shitholes: What makes a country "great"?

New Historian wrote:

Nowadays we are constantly being ranked and rated. Between TripAdvisor, Doing Business Rankings, International Corruption Index and the Human Development Index; there’s a whole army of busybodies whose sole job is to tell us how useless we are. The U.N. even produces, at great expense, an annual World Happiness Report – God knows how they calculate that one. Most of these ranking methodologies look at three basic criteria: income, infrastructure and crime (as in the absence of).

All these rankings share one common conclusion: rich countries are better than poor ones. What a surprising result. Not. But is it true? I’ve lived in rich countries, some of the richest in the world; and I’ve lived in poor countries, ditto. Plus a lifetime of travel that’s seen my country count currently standing at 80-plus. Did I find life in rich countries to be more enjoyable and satisfying than life in those countries that the American president contemptuously dismisses as “shitholes”? Not necessarily. In fact: not at all.

God knows I’ve lived enough places: ten countries so far, several of them several times. My father was a nomad and I’ve kept up the nomadic tradition – and then some. And I’m not done yet: if a contract came up to spend a couple of years in some new exotic corner of the world, my wife for one would be forcing my hand to sign the contract - let’s go!

What makes a country “great” – or at least better than the rest? All the conventional rankings look at the trifecta of: income, infrastructure and crime. But what about weather? What about food? Culture? Natural beauty? At the end of the day, it is these intangibles that have the biggest impact on your feelings towards a country – for good or otherwise.

If you’re going to rank crime, what about ranking the the police – are they friend or foe? What about the government, do they exist just to make your life one enormous pain, or are they really “servants”? What’s the nightlife like? Are the locals friendly? Is there class and/or racial strife?

Having created the spreadsheet (there’s always a spreadsheet!), it took quite a while to fill it in. The first result threw up some anomalies which I needed to double-check. Because in the end you can’t judge a country in isolation: you’ve got to compare it to others. After a few more go-rounds, plus comments from the family penny section, I arrived at the definitive “Highly Unscientific, Biased and Personalized Country Rankings”!

What a surprise, not. As anyone who knows me will tell you: my favourite place in the world is Grenada. Yup, followed by Jamaica – crime and all. At the bottom end of the scale, sorry Norway, you suck!

What does this say about me? Apparently I’m not normal: I prefer shitholes to safe havens. Grenada, my favourite country is ranked only 81st in the UN Human Development Indicator, while Norway, the world’s “best place to live”, is ranked by me as the worst.

Clearly, I like living in shit!


https://i.postimg.cc/d7YjDrWn/Country-rankings.jpg

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#4 Dec 02, 2019 12:54 pm

Calypso
Active

Re: My Favourite Shitholes: What makes a country "great"?

Calypso wrote:
New Historian wrote:

Nowadays we are constantly being ranked and rated. Between TripAdvisor, Doing Business Rankings, International Corruption Index and the Human Development Index; there’s a whole army of busybodies whose sole job is to tell us how useless we are. The U.N. even produces, at great expense, an annual World Happiness Report – God knows how they calculate that one. Most of these ranking methodologies look at three basic criteria: income, infrastructure and crime (as in the absence of).

All these rankings share one common conclusion: rich countries are better than poor ones. What a surprising result. Not. But is it true? I’ve lived in rich countries, some of the richest in the world; and I’ve lived in poor countries, ditto. Plus a lifetime of travel that’s seen my country count currently standing at 80-plus. Did I find life in rich countries to be more enjoyable and satisfying than life in those countries that the American president contemptuously dismisses as “shitholes”? Not necessarily. In fact: not at all.

God knows I’ve lived enough places: ten countries so far, several of them several times. My father was a nomad and I’ve kept up the nomadic tradition – and then some. And I’m not done yet: if a contract came up to spend a couple of years in some new exotic corner of the world, my wife for one would be forcing my hand to sign the contract - let’s go!

What makes a country “great” – or at least better than the rest? All the conventional rankings look at the trifecta of: income, infrastructure and crime. But what about weather? What about food? Culture? Natural beauty? At the end of the day, it is these intangibles that have the biggest impact on your feelings towards a country – for good or otherwise.

If you’re going to rank crime, what about ranking the the police – are they friend or foe? What about the government, do they exist just to make your life one enormous pain, or are they really “servants”? What’s the nightlife like? Are the locals friendly? Is there class and/or racial strife?

Having created the spreadsheet (there’s always a spreadsheet!), it took quite a while to fill it in. The first result threw up some anomalies which I needed to double-check. Because in the end you can’t judge a country in isolation: you’ve got to compare it to others. After a few more go-rounds, plus comments from the family penny section, I arrived at the definitive “Highly Unscientific, Biased and Personalized Country Rankings”!

What a surprise, not. As anyone who knows me will tell you: my favourite place in the world is Grenada. Yup, followed by Jamaica – crime and all. At the bottom end of the scale, sorry Norway, you suck!

What does this say about me? Apparently I’m not normal: I prefer shitholes to safe havens. Grenada, my favourite country is ranked only 81st in the UN Human Development Indicator, while Norway, the world’s “best place to live”, is ranked by me as the worst.

Clearly, I like living in shit!


https://i.postimg.cc/d7YjDrWn/Country-rankings.jpg



Living a nomadic lifestyle is good for traveling is the best experiences to learn. I will be going to Malta in August '20. It's the heart of the Mediterranean. I wouldn't mind to return to Jamaica at the end of my life but I will have to wait and see. Why do you like Grenada more than Jamaica?

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#5 Dec 02, 2019 2:59 pm

Real Distwalker
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Re: My Favourite Shitholes: What makes a country "great"?

How can you compare the USA to Grenada. 

What is the weather in the USA?  It ranges from arctic to tropical. 

What is the crime in the USA?  It ranges from terrible to virtually zero.

What is the culture in the USA?  New Orleans, Miami, Vermont or New Mexico?

Food?  Natural beauty? Nightlife?  It pretty much has every extreme and everything in between.

What is income?  Averages don't mean much and the range is zero to billions.

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#6 Dec 02, 2019 4:40 pm

New Historian
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Re: My Favourite Shitholes: What makes a country "great"?

Why I like Grenada more than JA? The same reason you are trepidatious about going back there - dem too damn tief! I can't take living in a prison again and watching your back, Jamaica is great but for a younger man lol! My wife, who is Jamaican, agrees: we love the place but it's nicer to visit than to live there!

As for USA, yes of course there's variations in weather, crime and culture, but all of that is overlaid with an overarching deep coating of Americana; go into any supermarket or Mac Donald's from Alaska to Arkansas, they're all identical. Differences in culture between regions of the USA are minor, it is a more homogenous society than you think. And like I said, this is a "Highly Unscientific, Biased and Personalized Country Rankings" - is that so hard to understand? For your edification, this is based on spells spend in: La Grange Illinois (just outside Chicago). Ann Arbor and DC.

By the way I used boxing's "10 points must" scoring system, where the best country in each category gets 10 points, the rest less, compared to the top country. In the "Police" category, Grenada scored a perfect 10, and USA a 3! Grenada police really are good: fair, dedicated and don't even THINK of trying to bribe your way out of a jam!

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#7 Dec 02, 2019 4:55 pm

Expat
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Re: My Favourite Shitholes: What makes a country "great"?

Real Distwalker wrote:

How can you compare the USA to Grenada. 

What is the weather in the USA?  It ranges from arctic to tropical. 

What is the crime in the USA?  It ranges from terrible to virtually zero.

What is the culture in the USA?  New Orleans, Miami, Vermont or New Mexico?

Food?  Natural beauty? Nightlife?  It pretty much has every extreme and everything in between.

What is income?  Averages don't mean much and the range is zero to billions.


Like climbing a mountain..... because it's there.

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#8 Dec 03, 2019 8:04 am

Slice
Active

Re: My Favourite Shitholes: What makes a country "great"?

OK, NH that was very bias. Grenada #1 Jamaica #2 now ah know you and you wife.  NH, I know you do not make that mistake, but here what Grenadians do, when they think in terms of America they often tink in size of Grenada.  I think RD has ah great point.  From the South of Grenada to the North, they are the same.  Not the same for America.  America is ah very diverse country, in every way you can possible think.

In my life I spent time in St Lucia, Trinidad Barbados, England and Canada. I cant compare with NH, but ah love Grenada. You cant pay me to visit Jamaica.  Ah doh care how much you give me, I wont visit that island.  America made me.  It gave me an oppurnity, that no other country would of given me. I would forever be grateful to her.  My three favorites, are Grenada, America and Trinidad n Tobago.

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#9 Dec 03, 2019 9:40 am

New Historian
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Re: My Favourite Shitholes: What makes a country "great"?

Yes it is biased, I said so from the off. Yes, USA is a "better" country than Grenada, in terms of incomes, infrastructure etc, but I was simply asking the question: which place do I prefer to live? One man's meat is another man's poison, and especially under the current regime, wild horses couldn't drag me back to the USA, to live that is.

You love T&T but not JA? 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. America is diverse at the edges, but at its core it is remarkably homogenous. Same values, educational systems, political systems, materiality, sports, TV, language, values ... and on and on. Grenada and Jamaica are far more different from each other than any two places in the USA.

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#10 Dec 03, 2019 11:19 am

Real Distwalker
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Re: My Favourite Shitholes: What makes a country "great"?

I have always said that, with enough money, I could live almost anywhere.  For example, it would be awesome to live in the heart of London or Paris if I was a billionaire but I am not sure I would want to live in either at all on minimum wage.

Just standard middle class lifestyle?  I feel like I could live anywhere I suppose.  I mean Switzerland seems like some kind of a paradise but I suppose I don't know what I don't know about living there.

I would be a fish out of water in the Caribbean but I like to think I could adapt and be happy in a place like Grenada.

At the end of the day I suppose I like living here in Iowa because I am an Iowan.  My parents were Iowans.  My grandparents were Iowans.  Even all eight of my great grandparents were Iowans.  Sometimes if feels like a place gets in your DNA.

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