There is an article about movies. It mentions an actress from the former Soviet Union who was denounced by some communist for playing a role in the wrong western movie. He says:

The Soviet Union gave you free education, free medical care but nobody knew you would commit an act of intellectual and moral betrayal...

Basically it's about defecting after a person gets whatever a country gave them. From a moral point of view, how much is he right?

  • 2
    It is rather questionable that the Soviet Union "gave" its citizens something they would not otherwise have gained if the socialist system did not take away the opportunities for it in the first place. It is a common adage in statist ideologies, especially totalitarian ones, that citizens "owe" them, but often they, in fact, take away rather than give. And if a state fails its social contract it is perfectly ethical to leave it. This said, there could be an ethical issue if one does get social benefits (in a more benevolent country, like Sweden, say) and then leaves without giving back.
    – Conifold
    Jul 16, 2020 at 20:35

2 Answers 2


Review the concept of morals, and review your economy concepts, because you're subjectively implying a lot.

Morals is a system of regulation like religion or law, which ultimate goal is improving the survival probabilities of the group. Economy is not a zero-sum game, that is, living in a country is normally a win-win (except when you're clearly destructive for the country, or the country is destroying you).

So, your question reduces to "Do I decrease the survival probabilities of a group living in a zone if I move to another zone?" Probably not, because the impact caused by your change is global (you decrease the probability in one group but increase the probability in another, which will ultimately impact the first in a positive fashion; basically because you still exist and improve the probability of existence of humans, which prevails against the mental idea of borders).

  • "Morals is a system of regulation like religion or law, which ultimate goal is improving the survival probabilities of the group." ~ Terrorists also would adapt these words giving their own special meaning to the term 'morals'. What I implied here is the usage of the term 'the group'. "(So, your question reduces to "Do I decrease the survival probabilities of a group living in a zone if I move to another zone?")"~ Actually this question is not only about survival of a creature but about the old relations and new relations. Jul 18, 2020 at 6:03
  • Regarding terrorists, yes. They have their own systems of regulations, which are not coherent with ours, so it's their survival against ours. Regarding "old relations", that's precisely what the answer addresses.
    – RodolfoAP
    Jul 18, 2020 at 6:09
  • I am sorry if I said/commented anything wrong about an answer which is treated as correct. I believe its (morals') aim is spiritual development eventually; though we don't know about it now. Jul 18, 2020 at 6:11
  • @SonOfThought altough I stand by my statements, certain definitions of morals aim to spiritual development, you are correct. Nevertheless, the point here (or at least my interpretation) is not related to spiritual development. Just pure interaction. Don't be sorry, you have a valid perspective, we're all learning.
    – RodolfoAP
    Jul 18, 2020 at 17:51

'Leaving' and 'better life' are the two terms that make this question rather subjective.

You can leave your native country for study purpose or for other good purposes and then return and lead a better life as many people do. Often this can be treated as moral. But we can't admit intellectual and moral betrayal. It is always immoral.

If your question is about migration it may come under either moral or immoral, if you could differentiate them clearly. It completely depends upon the activity done after your migration. You needn't have to treat it as amoral.

While leading a selfish life in your new country you may say that you are leading a better life. This also is completely immoral.

If you realize that leaving is better than living in your native country, you may do so and lead there a better life throwing light to the whole world (I mean, giving great contributions to the whole world). If so, it is completely moral.

You are obliged to return what you received from your native country (your native country is also a part of this world). When you throw light to the whole world your activity becomes moral. As you mentioned in the question a few people might have done harm to her (I believe that might be the reason for the intellectual and moral betrayal, though it is not mentioned directly). But that is not an excuse for an activity done against a country. A normal person will not feel any repentance for leaving his country for a good purpose. Since it will not badly affect the person's spiritual development there is no need to have a feeling of guilt. So we can confirm that it is moral. This may be a matter of our unnoticed path of socialism; but never a matter of capitalism.

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