At what point do you leave a failing country?

I know this is a hard question to answer as there are many variables: family, job, language etc…

Just curious to understand how people perceive this.

The UK is not simply floundering at this point in time, it is completely failing outside of London.

I would describe the UKs current situation as the end result of being asset stripped for about 30 years. It is now dangerous to go to the beach and swim in the rivers due to massive sewage discharges.

Nothing works well now as the infrastructure is falling apart, and we now also have to contend with deteriorating demographics. So there will be no money available for this unless we are taxed even more (we already pay very high taxes and get no services in return). Brexit is compounding this problem as well.

When I first visited the UK for school in Oxford (back in the mid 90s) not in a million years would I have imagined the situation would be as bad as it is right now. Never had to deal with living in a failing developed country.

Canada had similar problems in the 90s (huge debt load and deficits) but managed to get out of it as they could export and had lots of ressources (commodities). The UK has none of this available.

Step one would be to find another country that isn’t “failing” that will let you in with a path to long-term residency.

That’s easier said than done, especially given the “grass is always greener” phenomenon.

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I feel that the US is slowly failing. However, I’m incredibly privileged so it doesn’t particularly affect me. For example, my state has already enshrined reproductive choice into its Constitution post-Roe death and has made great strides in election integrity, including removing previous Republican gerrymandering with an independent commission. Lots of focus on renewable resources, rights for women and minorities, school lunches and funding for education, etc. Republicans are trying to block it but in my state they’re currently neutered and incompetent, run by a Q-poisoned joke.

However, if I lived in Florida for example, I would move to any country I could find a job. Beyond it being a scorching swamp at its best and underwater too often, I just don’t see the value in living in a state where the government constantly erodes your rights. I don’t understand, outside of economic inability to leave, why anyone would choose to stay there.

(To a varying degree this argument applies to all of Texas, rounding out the southeast coast up to North Carolina. Other states as well but that entire swath.)


You basically answered this question in your 2nd sentence.


The thing about the US is that you have space and options (in terms of leaving to another state).

Here, either you stick to London and surroundings or nothing. Scotland is ok but its awful in winter.

Our electoral process (First Past the Post) has an even greater democratic deficit than the Electoral College in the US.

For me it mostly comes down to why should I keep subsidising a failing country?

I don’t see that anywhere else. US has its problems (of course), but you still have a possibility for an improved future economic trajectory.

I just see managed decline and a much poorer country in the UK. A “sinking ship” essentially.

You’re basically saying your state is doing all the things that led to the UK failing. Once liberal ideologies have created unsustainably high tax rates and aborted away the next generation the state will fail. That’s what happens.

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I can leave to another state, but it’s still all controlled federally. If something horrid comes through like a national abortion ban, I have a much larger area to geographically leave than England → Scotland. Canada would be the logical best move, to be within half a days’ travel to see family.

Not engaging with Nick, haven’t the energy to debate political ideology.

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I have been building my “exit plan” for the last 12 months.

Leaving for Switzerland is workable for me, but I also have to move the entire family (no issue with passports as we have EU ones).

I am also looking at Denmark but that is a bit more complicated due to language.


Its the GOP-lite (UK Conservatives) that have bankrupted the entire country.

A good comparison is what happened in Kansas. Defunding things like that never works.


Over the next decade, or so, perhaps.

However, we have the problem of long-term revenue vs expenditure imbalances that will only get worse in the coming years, as the federal government has to first pay back money borrowed from Social Security reserves, and then come up with funds after the trust fund is depleted.

Congress loves to spend money, but hates to raise taxes.

The only way for the UK was down as it reached its zenith when it had an extensive empire. The decline has accelerated in recent years by Tory policy (e.g. Brexit) and services have worsened.

My daughter would happily leave the UK (Canada is their preferred destination) but her partner is tied in there with his English family: they are a close family and they all live within a few miles of each other south of London.

If Canada became dominated by Trumpian politics I would consider leaving it. Since I am retired it would probably be some place like Costa Rica where I could live out my final years in a peaceful, low cost warm country with a good healthcare system and provide my children with funds to come for long visits.

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London is pretty much one of the only real productive parts left of the UK.

What Brexit did was damage the long-term growth rate of the services offered from London (which still attract world class people).

So we now have to contend with being squeezed with even higher taxes to keep subsidising the rest of the country (which is old, sick, and failing).

I have run the scenarios a million times through my head and I don’t see how the economic situation improves given the electoral structure in the UK (FPTP), the tax structure, and the deteriorating demographics (sicker and older population).

The infrastructure falling apart (water, rail, healthcare, education) was basically the final straw because now the UK will have to spend even more to bring those things up to a basic standard.

That means even higher taxes and prices.

I’ve just reached the end of the line with all of it, and I don’t seem to be the only one either. Some of my peers have jumped ship already abroad, so the brain drain is happening now.


Wow. He thinks that every pregnant person will choose abortion.


Abortions for some. Miniature American flags for others.


If I was younger, and living in the UK with school age children, my preferred destination in Europe would be Denmark. They are the current poster child for a healthy economy operating in a gentler form of capitalism. Their social policies are very enlightened. They are “family friendly” in the true sense of the expression.

When I lived in the UK, one of my international clients was IKEA which, to my surprise, had its head office in a suburb of Copenhagen. There would have been no problem working there and operating in English and I expect an English speaker could survive easily in most Danish multinationals.

Agreed. My wife really liked it when we visited in July of this year.

It is a healthy society and it really contrasted against what you see in the UK.

That’s where I decided it wasn’t worth it. I thought about discussing how higher taxes on the rich for things like free school lunches for children (which my state just made law) is not going to destroy my state, to the contrary is making my state better by actually investing in the next generation. But when I saw “abort an entire generation” my enthusiasm went to 0, as I wasn’t willing to debate silly extremes.


My Dad left the UK in the late 70s because it felt a bit like that. Probably self-fulfilling but he generally felt the UK had a more pessimistic outlook whereas the US is a far more optimistic country.

Pretty much the same in Canada. Stupid conservatives always increasing the deficit, and liberals balancing the budget. It’s quite a conundrum if you want to fancy oneself a conservative. (the problem in the end is that conservatives here seem to tout that they’re fiscally conservative, when in fact they’re just socially conservative).


I agree, although globally I think I’d emigrate from the UK to Canada if given the option… although having grown up in the US I’d never emigrate since we’re #1.

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