Americans need to seriously consider migrating
I am a rare immigrant that returned to sender. I left from America when I was 17 and never came back (to live). Most people in Sri Lanka looked at me like I was crazy, but not so much now. Today Americans need to seriously ask themselves: should I try and make a better life abroad?
The American Dream is dead. It’s as real as a romantic comedy. You know those movies, where someone works at a magazine in New York, lives in a place with windows, and has enough time and money to go on crazy escapades? That’s not real. A real Rom-Com is marrying someone with healthcare. The only millennials living that movie lifestyle are living off the looted wealth of their boomer parents.
Forget the economic climate, there’s barely a climate climate. American boomers haven’t just robbed my generation, they’ve robbed every single generation to come. My entire lifetime has been a wholesale transfer of over $50 trillion in wealth from the young and poor to the old and rich.
The truth is that, structurally, I had no hope of a better life than my parents. Millennials don’t have shit and never will have shit. Here’s one graph from @Trihnomics, all the graphs are bad:
For another way of looking at it, here’s intergenerational wealth at different points in their lives. Boomers had 21% of the nation’s wealth by the time they hit 35. Millennials will never 7X their meagre 3.2% in the next few years. It just won’t happen. Boomers will hoard that shit until they die.
In the 1950s there was this idea of paying your way through school, getting a job, starting a family, and moving up in the world. For my generation that possibility just doesn’t exist. It doesn’t matter how little coffee you drink and how early you wake up, it’s structurally impossible. The only way to get ahead is to start ahead — to inherit wealth and launder it through education, keep it as assets, or use it to start a ‘self-made’ company.
Do a few people make it from scratch? Sure, capitalism has its fairy tales, but just look at the numbers. Structurally, it ain’t likely to be you. Remember that Cinderella never overthrew feudalism, she left all the other scullery maids in the dirt. Girl should have cut a prince with the glass slipper and brought revolutions to their gates.
Today Americans are deluded on Disney. They cheer their new feudal lords while becoming a distributed servant class under the ‘gig economy’. This isn’t progress, it’s a wholesale, generational collapse.
This is bigger than you and it’s not going to be overcome by you ‘hustling harder’. You can’t self-help your way out of social collapse. The biggest lie capitalism told my generation that it was our fault, that if we ate less avocado’s we’d be fine. It’s complete bullshit. People my age in America can’t afford houses, can’t afford families, and live our entire lives in debt. These are not personal failings. We’re structurally fucked.
The Inheritance Of Inequality
Today, American inequality is at pre-Great Depression levels, leading to great depression among the young. Just look at this graph from Thomas Piketty, who has a whole hefty tome on the subject:
Hollywood Rom-Coms are set in something like the 1950s, whereas we’re living in something closer to 1920, just before the crash. As Laurene from Twitter said:
the year is 1954. LIFE magazine pays me to write one article of 500 words. i use this money as the down payment on a 2 bedroom townhome that will appreciate in value by 50,000% before i die, so i spend the rest of my life thinking our economy makes sense.
The reality is that young Americans start life in debt and they die there. People start with $30,000 in student loans and they die $60,000 in debt. They never get out. America is a nation of debt peons, distracted by Hollywood fantasies. Bread and circuses has become Netflix and chill.
In my lifetime, a staggering $50 trillion in wealth has been ‘transferred up’ (ie: stolen) by the 1%. I have seen multiple bailouts of rich asset-holders while working people have drowned. Indeed, all the debt that working Americans carry shows up as an asset on rich people’s books. They get rich in good times, and bailed out in bad, but ordinary people are always screwed. The only people able to live the Rom-Com lifestyle are the children of the already rich, living off the misery of the terminally poor.
American capitalism has completely devoured its young, its society and the very Earth. I was lucky to get out when I did.
Getting The Fuck Out
I didn’t know any of this structural stuff. Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, I believed in the American Dream. After university, however, I just didn’t feel it. I never thought that America would crash, I just thought the real growth would be somewhere else, like in Asia. So I went to Sri Lanka, the place many Sri Lankans are trying to get out of. I let my Green Card lapse, which to any Sri Lankan is nuts. It’s like having Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket and making a joint filter with it.
But I was right. It was just dumb luck, but I got lucky. America has collapsed and usually shambolic Sri Lanka is (relatively) fine. I found my dream on the other side of the world. I can work as a writer (earning in dollars) and make a decent living here. I earn maybe $1,500 a month, which is well below the US poverty line, but quite good over here. I also don’t worry about stuff like healthcare because we have a society.
I am not saying that I work for our lifestyle. I don’t, we have a lot of inherited wealth. My only point is that the exact same advantages would make me barely middle class in America. All of my wife’s capital would maybe buy us a studio apartment in NYC, whereas here it buys us a life. The American Dream is perhaps nowhere today, but at least it’s not a nightmare here.
And this is something Americans need to consider. Not that the world wants your crazy asses, but on a personal level you need to think like your migrant ancestors did. When life got too damn hard, they left. Americans are too exceptional to process this, but I have some bad news for you. Life is getting impossible. Y’all need to consider getting the fuck out.
People are always talking about how do we fix America? Sometimes the answer is you just don’t. Sometimes it’s just bigger than you, you got your own family to worry about, and you leave. Sri Lanka was fucked 30 years ago and my parents left. People left Korea, they left Vietnam. All of these countries are (relatively) fine now, but those parents made the right decision for their families at the time. Now they’re kids are like “shit, all the good healthcare is over there.”
Can America fix itself? Sure, it’s possible, but it’ll take at least 30 years, and America doesn’t even recognize it has a problem. The country needs to be fighting fascism and it’s tripped and fallen over the fucking filibuster. It will take generation to get out of this hole, and you haven’t even stopped digging. You need to consider whether this is your problem.
This isn’t just Trump or COVID-19 and it won’t just go away. You can’t just exhume Biden and Ctrl-Z back to the Obama era. America has been structurally dismantling itself since Reagan in the 1980s. You need another generational change. Old idiots literally need to fuck off and die.
In truth it will take till at least 2050 to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again, if it’s even possible (the nursery rhyme says no). Meanwhile you, as human beings, need to have conversations your immigrant ancestors had. Like, what life do we have here? What life will our kids have? Should we leave? By the time this becomes obvious, it’s usually too late.
Again, it’s not that I want Americans over here, or anywhere. It’s frankly nauseating that white people can so easily make that choice. Colored people get drowned and demonized under passport apartheid, and y’all get to be ‘expats’. It’s bullshit.
Americans are honestly the least desirable migrants of all. Americans have poor hygiene (won’t wear masks, dirty butts, wear shoes in the house), follow a weird and violent religion, and don’t accept the basics of modern civilization, like science, or not having children shot to death in schools. You’re not sending your best but some of you, I assume, are good people. The world doesn’t want you, but you have to consider what you need.
You have to ask whether you see these giant structural shifts turning around in your lifetime, and if you can see a better future for your kids. This is a question migrants to America have asked for decades, but now Americans have to start asking it of themselves. At what point do you realize that you’re not living in a romantic comedy, and realize that it’s turned into a tragic farce?
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