Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Like the Ottoman Empire, The U.S. Is Not Immune From Decline

By Simon Black

Last Friday, as one of the last things I did before leaving Chile, I hosted a party at my home in Santiago for entrepreneurs from the Startup Chile program.

These were all incredibly bright, talented people who came from all over the world. One was from Kenya and grew up in Saudi Arabia. Others were from
Sweden. Australia. Mexico. Italy. The United States. And all around South America.

Each was accepted into Startup Chile, and received not only an initial grant from the program, but also a residency visa that includes permission to work and run their businesses in Chile.

This is no small benefit.

A lot of places in the world <cough, cough, United States> go out of their way to drive away productive, talented foreigners. In Chile, they roll out the red carpet for them.

Panama has a similar policy. It's so easy to obtain residency in Panama, in fact, that citizens from dozens of countries can become residents of Panama with almost no prerequisite whatsoever.

Even in stodgy old Europe, many countries like Belgium and Lithuania provide residency visas for individuals who set up companies there.

Estonia (which is definitely on Europe's cutting edge) recently announced a program for foreigners to apply for and receive residency, all online.

They aim to grant residency to a whopping 10 million foreigners over the next decade.

Singapore is another place famous for its straightforward residency programs, especially for those who come to Singapore and start a business.

And according to an article this morning from Xinhua News, even 'Communist' China is looking to drastically lower the bar for foreigners to obtain permanent residency "in order to attract overseas talent."

Talent is everything. Just like a business which cannot thrive without productive, talented workers, nations too need talented, productive people.

There are obviously a lot of places in the world which understand this very simple concept. The United States is not one of them.

Here in the Land of the Free, the government chases talented people away.

If you're from here, they've sucked out almost every possible incentive for you to take risks and achieve more.

They'll take a massive portion of your earnings. Regulate the hell out of you. Burden you with unnecessary compliance costs. Get the IRS to chase you around. And even the President of the United States will point his finger and say "you didn't build that.."

Meanwhile, if you're a foreigner, the US government can't build a wall quickly enough to keep you out.

Talented foreigners who get trained here at the universities are shown the door and thrown out on their bupkis as soon as they graduate.

Other foreigners whose sole desire is to come to the United States, start a business, and create American jobs are being shot down like pheasants at a hunting lodge.

It's hard to imagine this government being any more anti-job, anti-business, anti-growth. But I have no doubt they'll soon figure out an even dumber approach and slide further down the slippery slope.

It doesn't take a rocket scientiest to see where this is going. People. Savings. Ideas. Businesses. In the long-run, all of these things will go where they are treated best.

Those nations which welcome them will thrive. Those nations which punish them will decline. It's always been this way.

In the mid 16th and 17th centuries, the Ottoman Empire was the greatest power in the world, feared by all of Europe.

But during the Renaissance, Europe began to change. The printing press revolutionized everything. Knowledge and discovery flourished. Sound currencies and financial markets were established. Private property rights became sacrosanct. The individual triumphed. And the continent grew.

The Ottoman Empire, on the other hand, lived in the past. They forbade the printing press, forestalled new technologies, made corruption a fine art, and chased people around with abusive tax authorities.

When Isaac Newton died in 1727, an Ottoman emissary visiting London watched the funeral procession with utter astonishment. Newton was being buried like a King. And the Ottoman couldn't understand why anyone would treat an intellectual with such esteem.

The Ottoman Empire declined because their government just didn't get it.

Neither does the United States. We'd be foolish to think this place is immune to the same decline, that this time is any different.

In reality, though, this is a good news story.

No nation in history has held the top spot for very long. Empires always rise, peak, decline, and fall. There will always be other places full of opportunity to take its place.

The real rewards are for those who see the writing on the wall and who have the courage to act ahead of the trend.

Simon Black is Senior Editor  at SovereignMan.com. Follow Sovereign Man on Facebook, Twitter, Google+

1 comment:

  1. Simon Black needs the read the Bell Curve before he's allowed to post drivel like this.