can you guys in the first world, especially america, give me some help please. my friends and i are in constant argument about whether or not to live in first world countries. i say that because of the fact that they are first world and have higher per capita gdp it should be better. i also point out how much people earn. for example in america the minimum wage is almost six times ours. this of course gave some idiots the oppurtunity to ague that living there is more expensive too. of course it would be but the ratio of earnings vs expenses should be higher in developed countries than in developing countries.

so if some of you would be so kind to help out. just post whatever products and prices for me please. anything will do. a bar of soap, a bread, packet of sugar. whatever you can think of. but please also add the quantity. for example it is no use to just say sugar is ten dollars or something. say how many kilograms of sugar is how many pounds. and also say what country. dont worry about price difference amongst regions. just post your most recent shopping experience. and dont worry about pounds or kilograms. i shall convert it myself. just state whether it is pounds or kilograms or whatever your country measures in. i shall do the conversions myself. and it does not matter if more than one person from a given country give the prices for the exact same thing. in fact. it would help to average out the differences.

thanks in advance.

i don't think you want such a list because the list is so long. we buy hundreds of things every month. how about you giving us your list and we give you our prices. i would think this information should already be available someplace.

sugar -- 10 lbs is $1.49 USD

ok. here is a quick list of the top of my head.



drivable second hand car
new car
second hand car which still needs some work on

new house in a smart neighbourhood
new house in a bad neighbourhood

laptop computer
desktop computer
192 page hard cover book


that is all i can think of but it should be enough. what i am going to do is take minimum wages in a number of countries and then calculate how much of each item you can buy with say two hours of labour. that aught to be enough to end the argument. i dont want to take the exchange rate to calculate because many things cannot be traded accross a border. the exchange rate only compares wealth for tradeble accross border products. but even so i expect many countries with strong exchange rates to have more buying power per hour of munimum wage labour.

in my country minimum wages is about seven rands per hour. that is about one dollar. and sugar is about 14 rand per 2.5 kilogram. which means about 14 rand for slightly over vife pounds of sugar. so if you look at exchange rate then it is four USD for 10 pounds of sugar. this alone should score big for my side of the argument. but if you bring minimum wages into it than in america you do about twenty minutes of labour for that sugar while in south africa you do four hours. which means that on minimum wages and the price of sugar alone life in america must be about 12 times cheaper than here. that should kill of any counter arguments completely!

if you guys know some supermarkets with web sites and prices then tell me about them and i can go look for more prices myself. i would have done an internet search but i dont know any foreign supermarkets at all.

listen. just for the record. i am not bad mouthing my own country or any other third world country. i am just sure that i am right when i argue that higher per capita gdp should mean that life in a given country is cheaper. most of the guys i am arguing against should know this since they did economics or geography at school but for some strange reason they say that the higher expenses in first world countries far more than offset the differences in earnings. this is just a means to prove them wrong.

I wouldn't Call SA a third world country.

From my experience there, groceries are cheaper then the UK, as are a lot of the cheap clothes etc

Last time I was out there (October) I did notice that milk had become quite expensive in relation to the UK.

In actual conversion Cars are a helluva lot more expensive for you than here in the uk. You're looking at paying about 10,000 Rand more for a second hand car there, than you would here.

Technology products are about on par with us, as are designer clothes.

In thinking about moving from SA to the UK etc, I know a lot of people who have done it, not for the money, but for quality of life, peace of mind for their children and a (mildly) reduced crime rate.

My girlfriends family did the move nearly 10 years ago, and the first two years were the hardest that they have ever had. But they are now living happily, and have built up a good life.

If you decide to move, it will take time to find your feet both socially and finacially, but looking at the long term, if you are skilled and dedicated to a job, then you can make a reasonable amount of money more than in SA, and can have more spending money left at the end of the month.

commented: not for your post since we mostly disagree but for your signature. not only is it funny, it is also true! +1

Of course, these will vary even inside a single country, but here's a few I can estimate quickly for my area:

new house in a smart neighbourhood: $600,000+
apartment (~900 sq. ft.): $1300+/mo

cheap laptop computer: ~$600
cheap desktop computer: ~$400

and one you didn't list: broadband Internet service: ~$45/mo (some are cheaper, some are more, but the speeds are different too so I averaged them)

You are in luck, I just went food shopping:
12 large eggs $2
gallon of milk $4
loaf of whole wheat bread $2
4 boneless pork chops $5
1 pound of cheddar cheese $6
1 pound of cottage cheese $3
1 pound of butter $3
a jar of peaches $2 (actually comes from SA)

commented: :D cute +4

.sugar -- 10 lbs is $1.49 USD

That should have been 4 lbs of sugar, not 10 lbs. sorry for error.

Of course, these will vary even inside a single country, but here's a few I can estimate quickly for my area:

new house in a smart neighbourhood: $600,000+

houses are a lot more expensive on west coast USA than in mid-west where I live. your 600,000 house is only worth about 250,000 here.

To put your argument into perspective for me, when I was first married in 1962 I could fill the back of a full-size station wagon for $65.00 USD. Today, I could only get MAYBE two sacks.

Yeah I'm in San Francisco bay area of California, and house in a nice neighborhood is $850,000-950,000, house in 'bad' neighborhood is $549,000. Hey you know the reason you should move to the US: opportunity is endless, there is no bound to you being able to achieve your life's ambitions.

firstly thanks for all who gave info. especially to dave who gave those links. i appreciate it a lot.

yes you are right if you compare exchange rates outright. that is why i said i am going to compare how much you can buy with an hour of labour. i expect technology prices in all countries to be equal according to exchange rates. but let me make a quick example. a world cup soccer ticket in germany would have required about one day of labour in brittain where it would require almost a month of labour had you worked in south africa. of course this is only based on minimum wages.

so if you bring brittish currency here and exchange it for south african then it is going to be unbelievably cheap. but it would not be so cheap if you work for that money here. the reason why i want to compare labour hours for products is because not everything is sold accross boundaries and the everage person especially in the third world does not become much involved in the exchange rate except for where whole industries prefers to trade. one example is fruit and veg. we used to have high quality fruits and vegs for low low prices in south africa and then the industry decided to trade. now we pay top prices for low quality because first world people can buy the high quality stuff for better prices. not that i complain because now we get cheaper computers cars etc. trade always benefits everybody.

as for south africa not being third world. you have probably not see all of south africa. it is a country of contrasts. the rich are as rich as the everage new yorker or perhaps just slightly less. but the poor is really dirt poor. still i admit that we are way better of than most african countries.

@ancient dragon
...mistake. no problem. it still computes way cheaper in america than in south africa so my argument is not blown.

once again thanks.

To put your argument into perspective for me, when I was first married in 1962 I could fill the back of a full-size station wagon for $65.00 USD. Today, I could only get MAYBE two sacks.

Yeah, I've heard some of the perspective stories here too. My parents bough their house (other side of town from my apt) for about $60k back 20 years ago. The neighborhood is now selling in the $450k+ range for 30+yr old houses, some not even recently renovated...

My parents bought their previous home for 35K Guilders in 1970. They sold it in 2000 for 1.5 million.
Admittedly they'd added a 1 acre garden along the way, but still it's a major difference.

Closer to home:
In 2000 I received a brand new Ford Focus as a company car. At the time that car cost about €18K.
Today a new Focus with the same size engine and same options will set you back some €28K.

My parents bought their previous home for 35K Guilders in 1970. They sold it in 2000 for 1.5 million.
Admittedly they'd added a 1 acre garden along the way, but still it's a major difference.

In the Netherlands :-O I'm supprised homes are that expensive there.

At AD...yeah it's unbeleivable....i went to one of the islands recently (Caribbean)...saw some 3 bedrooms town-houses for 300,000 (USD)...they were all sold out. I saw a 3/4 acre peice of land for 110,000 USD there...To the original poster...whether you relocate....just remember to count the cost before you make a move. Always visit the country to see what life is like. Remember...example, what 10,000 USD could have done 10-15 years not what it can do today. Cost of living has increased all over. I don't know much about south africa (apart from cricket), if it's a slow pace life-style like the islands...then you're going to need some NOS if you move to a more developed country...Do they do lots of farming in south africa?

With an ever increasing (almost exploding) population real estate prices should icrease. If you are so inclined, you can hope for something like a bird flu pandemic, or major crop failures to reverse that trend.

Have you heard of the 'big mac index'? It is an interesting attempt to compare the buying power of different currencies called burgernomics and here is the 2007 index: 2007 burgernomics.

I hope this puts some perspective to the concept of currency exchange rates. A little googling will probably bring up similar indices like Coke and such.

I hope this helps

In the Netherlands :-O I'm supprised homes are that expensive there.

why? Space is at a premium with 16 million+ people packed into a country the size of Road Island, half of which is agricultural land or nature preserves.


yes we do a lot of farming in south africa. i think that america is a greater farming country than SA. we are located outside the temperate zones which makes agriculture a bit difficult. it is mostly a dry country and at places an almost desert country. but the areas suitable for agriculture we take full advantage of. and even in the karoo, a semi desert, we do sheep.

by the way we stand to benefit fom global warming! as tempoerate zones shifts north and south we might very well end up inside of them!

by the way. i am not sure that i want to relocate. and if i do it would most likely be to australia. funny but most south africans prefer australia or failing that england. probably because the cultural differences are smaller.

The USA is a very large country and home prices are regional. Right now you can get a three bedroom home in Detroit (depressed Michigan) for $50,000 and in San Diego (sunny California) a similar home will cost you $500,000.