The Future of Passports
“The bottom line is that anyone can be ISIS. We therefore need an approach to securing civilized societies that doesn't allow individuals to hide behind the cloak of Western passports… The time has come for a "global passport," a parallel digital certification of a person's identity, background, criminal record, travel history, and other details. The digital record would be regularly updated based on databases from airlines, customs agencies, banks and other sources, and could be managed by an independent international authority.”
The above quote comes from CNN, an American news network that has done such an exemplary job in recent years in serving as a mouthpiece for the US Government.
The argument for global passports is a familiar one – “You are in danger of being killed by terrorists. We will save you by removing yet another of your freedoms.” Or, as Hermann Goering said,
“The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
Over one billion people presently cross borders each year. In addition, there are over 250 million people who are expatriates – living outside their home country. These numbers are higher than ever before in history and growing. As The Great Unravelling progresses, we will witness a dramatic increase in both statistics. Along the way, we can expect the more restrictive governments, particularly those of the EU and US, to institute limitations on travel for their citizens, in order to keep them captive at home.
So, we can therefore anticipate changes in the issuance of passports. There are two concepts afoot with regard to the future of passports, and they’re direct opposites to each other. The first is for a Global Passport, that all countries would issue and all would share computer information on all passport holders. The other is a proliferation of passports created by an easing of citizenship requirements in small countries, resulting in each individual having the ability to possess several passports, thus diminishing his “ownership” by his home country.
These two concepts are both almost certain to develop considerably in the coming years and for the same reason. As stated, the more restrictive countries are likely to push for a global passport – an Orwellian document that says, “No matter where you are, you travel on our document. We have all your information and we own you.” The more this trend increases in prominence, the more the second trend will increase, in direct reaction. More and more countries will offer citizenship to non-nationals, as the demand for freedom increases amongst oppressed people.
Most of the countries that presently offer “Citizenship by Investment” are small countries – Malta and Cyprus in the Mediterranean, plus five island nations in the Caribbean – Grenada, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, Dominica and, recently, St. Lucia.
A visit to any of the small Caribbean countries will reveal that, since the decline of the sugar industry, they have had few choices with regard to future prosperity. Quaint small towns and villages and nice beaches attract a certain amount of tourism, but something greater is needed to support an entire population. Decades ago, St. Kitts & Nevis decided to try Citizenship by Investment. At first, the takers were few, but, in recent years, with much of the world imploding, the programme has attracted greater interest.
The way it works is that an applicant can either buy citizenship (approval takes only a month or two) for $250,000, or he can buy into a real estate project for $400,000 or more. Due to recent success, other island nations have jumped on board, offering their own programmes… and here’s where it gets interesting.
As soon as eight or ten island nations are offering similar programmes, it will become a citizenship norm for the Caribbean. And, of course, that will mean competition will develop. With many countries to choose from, prices will need to drop. At some point, national leaders will seek to increase gross sales by lowering the sale price. Although $400,000 is out of reach to most who dream of buying an alternate passport, there will be far more takers at $200,000 or even $100,000, but I believe the magic price-point to be $50,000. At that price, hundreds of thousands of second-passport seekers will jump on board. Indeed, many will purchase passports from several islands. (If one backup-passport is good, multiple backup-passports are better.)
But, why are “bargain” passports not already available? From my own experience, as a West Indian, this is due to the fact that our political leaders often fear a dramatic influx of new voters. They feel safer appealing to natives than outsiders and worry that the electorate balance may be upset and cost them their seats in future elections.
Yet, many West Indian countries already have laws that limit the rights of new citizens (with particular regard to the right to run for public office). To date, none of these countries has figured out that citizenship without the right to vote is an easy solution. Once they twig onto this new category of citizenship, we may see a major drop in citizenship cost and a dramatic increase in the number of applicants.
At present, the passport schemes have attracted Russians, Canadians, Middle-Easterners, Chinese and, increasingly, Americans. At present, the US is the foremost objector to Citizenship by Investment, describing its purpose to be “to provide cover for financial crimes.” However, over one hundred other countries, including most of Europe accept the passports and the US is very much in the minority here.
This is an issue to be watched closely. Historically, whenever governments have put the squeeze on their citizens’ freedoms, citizens have reacted by trying to wriggle out. The squeeze in many countries is presently at its zenith and many, many people are voting with their feet. There will always be takers in the world when this occurs and, in the Caribbean, opportunities for increased freedom are very much on the increase.
Jeff Thomas is British and resides in the Caribbean. The son of an economist and historian, he learned early to be distrustful of governments as a general principle. Although he spent his career creating and developing businesses, for eight years, he penned a weekly newspaper column on the theme of limiting government. He began his study of economics around 1990, learning initially from Sir John Templeton, then Harry Schulz and Doug Casey and later others of an Austrian persuasion. He is now a regular feature writer for Casey Research’s International Man, Strategic Wealth Preservation in the Cayman Islands and 321Gold.