A recent ad in my Facebook feed rhapsodized about a village or region in the south of France where Americans can retire for cheap and the culture is still unspoiled blah blah blah.
I commented, “Hey, fellow Americans! come retire to France and spoil the unspoiled culture!”
In a thread on Degrowth someone commented that the decision to retire to an older, European, village-based culture was very rational given the reduce dependence on fossil fuels and the village structure making it easier to build community.
Well I totally agree with the good sense of that, I don’t think that’s why most Americans are doing it.
Most USA Americans I know who are retiring to other countries are doing it for purely economic reasons that have nothing to do with petroleum, car dependence, etc. It’s all about saving money; making the retirement check go further.
The fact that it sucks to get old in the USA, the rich white Boomers are finally figuring it out now that they are reaching retirement age. Wish they had figured it out earlier and voted (with their wallets and their loud voices) for less car dependence, more community cohesion, actual health care — but instead we have always reinforced, entrenched, and normalized car culture and brutal individualism.
I actually think my country, the USA, has possibly the least civilized culture on the planet. And ultimately not viable. Unfortunately we’re going to do a lot of damage in the meantime. Spreading our ways to places that used to be sustainable.
I am afraid us Americans are going to ruin Europe. Like, will get tired of the village thing and start messing with the roads etc and making them more wide, America-like. And pressure-washing all those old buildings so they look “clean”. Yikes, hope not, but it would be totally in character.
I am so mad that we wrecked our own country (which we stole from the natives), and now we’re retiring to other countries.
We’re doing it not just to Europe but also to Mexico, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and other places. Our “economic moves” are gentrifying the planet, jacking up costs and creating hardships. We throw our money around and wreck the planet.
I hope we don’t end up doing the same in Europe. Or that if we try to get too loud and brash and widen the roads and straighten out the impractical curves and cut down the trees and expand the train station and stuff, Europe will kick us out.
What those of us in the USA who “get it” need to do is roll up our sleeves and start retrofitting the stroad-cankered messes we’ve made here, so that our existing places become more village-like and more livable to the elderly and everyone else. It’ll solve a lot, not just for us but for the rest of the world.
I do believe we can do it. We may fail, but at least I have to try. I guess it’s as good a way to occupy my hours taking up space on the planet as any.