Jeff Berwick at The Dollar Vigilante asked the following question:
“TDV EXPAT COMMUNITY
We’ve mentioned this a few times over the last few months but after my most recent trip to Cafayate and Doug’s Gultch it has become quite clear that it doesn’t meet everyone’s particular needs or capabilities. It certainly is not “cheap” by most people’s standards… and not everyone is interested in a golf, polo and wine lifestyle.
So, we’ve given more thought to starting our own dollar vigilante expat community. We are looking at a number of interesting locations in some very free areas… many on or near a beach. So we thought we’d ask you. Would you be interested in a TDV expat community somewhere in the world?
You can answer the poll here on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/questions/399461106732992/
The main points about our particular expat community would include things like:
- Price (cheap)
- In as free a country/region as possible
- Warm weather year round
- Near the ocean/beach
- Very good high speed internet access
- Highly self-sufficient (grow most of our own food, supply our own power)
Of course, when we get down to choosing a spot we’ll be asking you what you are looking for as well… these are just a few of our ideas for now. You’ll be surprised to hear a few of the countries we have in mind.”
This is a topic that I think about often. It is my belief that those who think that they can restore even a semblance of liberty in countries like the US, UK, Canada, etc. are mistaken. I see a relentless drive towards repression. From the inevitable tsunami of taxes and inflation required to fund the never ending budget deficits to the constant stories of police killing innocent people (all to often in the context of the hopeless war on drugs) to the increasing surveillance of civilians, events are not moving in the direction of increasing liberty. At some point, one has to realize that changing the culture is a hopeless task. Considering expatriation is the logical next step. At this point, the question becomes where.
When one considers expatriating, one realizes that conditions for citizens are not any better anywhere else. For instance, Singapore and Hong Kong are the two obvious places to consider. They consistently rank among the most economically free jurisdictions in the world. They offer 1st world standards of living. For English speakers, they offer a far less difficult road to understanding the culture due to the lack of a language barrier, although this is increasingly no longer the case for Hong Kong. However, there are obvious drawbacks. Singapore’s tax rates are not quite as low as commonly thought, the cost of living is exorbitant, the government’s debt/GDP ratio is high, there is little tolerance of free political discourse, etc. The drawbacks to Hong Kong are even more problematic. The primary problem is that Hong Kong is part of China. While the Chinese government has been wise to leave Hong Kong alone and just collect tax revenue, if China has serious economic problems leading to social unrest, what are the odds that Hong Kong will escape unscathed? I would not like to gamble my future on the benevolence of the Chinese politburo.
Let us consider what attributes would be desirable for an anarcho-capitalist expat community. In addition to those listed by Jeff Berwick above, here are some suggestions:
- a country with either an incompetent government or one in which bribery is reasonably cheap and effective
- a country where the people will not resent foreigners
- low crime
- no nearby insurgencies
- cannot be bullied by the US government
It will clearly be difficult if not impossible to find a location that meets all of these criteria. However, one way to mitigate this is via the permanent traveler concept. The great insight behind this idea is that most nations treat tourist significantly better than their own citizens.
Here are some suggestions for a suitable location:
– pros: warm weather, friendly people, English is widely spoken, low cost of living
– cons: visa issues are inconvenient, shaky infrastructure, close ties to US government, difficult to own a business, crime in large cities
– pros: friendly people, politically stable, government has programs to attract entrepreneurs, a dynamic society on the rise
– cons: taxes are not especially low, cold winters, language barrier
– Costa Rica:
– pros: warm weather, friendly people, low cost of living
– cons: crime in large cities, shaky infrastructure, language barrier
– pros: warm weather, friendly people, low cost of living
– cons: taxes are not especially low, language barrier, visa issues are inconvenient
– Honduras (RED: la Región Especial de Desarrollo):
– pros: (assuming that all goes as planned) warm weather, low cost of living, pro business environment
– cons: it is still Honduras, is the Honduran government trustworthy, it may never happen
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. I also look forward to reading Jeff Berwick’s report on his Facebook poll. At this point I want to make a radical proposal: a Native American reservation in the US. The relationship between the reservations and the state and federal government is muddled. On the one hand, the officially recognized tribes signed treaties with the US government as sovereign nations. On the other hand, the residents of the reservations are US citizens. The tribes are thus a mix of supposedly sovereign peoples, state residents, and US citizens. Despite the obvious problems this presents, would it be possible of a given tribe to carve out de facto independence from the US? I don’t know the answer to this. It would certainly be interesting to present the idea to various tribes to determine their reaction. With the chronic and rampant poverty on all too many reservations, a credible presentation from a group of entrepreneurial anarcho-capitalists to bring jobs to the tribe would be taken seriously.