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Sell Sovereignty Rights

Imagine if you knew someone with a house made of solid gold. Imagine if he had run out of food, and had no income. Would you buy him food for the next ten years? Or would you suggest he sell a small piece of his house, and pay for his own food?

Right now, many countries are in a similar position. Venezuela and Greece are the most well known, but dozens of other countries are struggling and demanding foreign aid.

But the fact is: they don't need foreign aid. They all have large quantities of the most valuable resource on earth: sovereign territory.

Normally, when you buy land, you don't also buy sovereignty rights. You cannot treat your house like a private country, setting your own laws, regulations, and taxes.

But any country can theoretically sell you those sovereignty rights. Sovereign rights over land have been sold many times in history. Obviously sovereignty rights are much, much more expensive, but that just makes them a great way for desperate countries to quickly raise capital.

Most countries have huge amounts of unused, state-owned land. Selling sovereign rights to that land to private companies would quickly raise billions of dollars in capital. For some countries, the sale of a small piece of sovereign land could eliminate their entire debt.

Other countries might consider selling sovereignty rights to current property owners. Those who already own large amounts of land or developments could also be interested in purchasing sovereignty rights.

Of course, the creation of new, private countries would benefit everyone else. How much would a hundred new Hong Kongs help the global economy? As private nations competed with public nations to offer better services, lower taxes, and lower regulations, it would force all countries to improve.

Citizens would also have more choice. You could choose to live in a private nation in which all drugs and all alcohol were banned. You could live in a nation where everything was legal. Because private countries would be smaller than public ones, you could easily leave or avoid countries whose rules you found objectionable.

Some private countries would look like Hong Kong. Others like Monaco. Others like Silicon Valley. And there would be plenty like nothing we've ever imagined before.

The U.S.government should first stop all foreign aid, and stop any direct or indirect funding of the World Bank or IMF. Then, encourage countries to sell sovereign territory, allowing the creation of many more private nations. Finally, we must politically pressure our own governments to extend preemptive and immediate diplomatic recognition to all new sovereign nations.

The benefits: more money for desperate nations...without IMF strings attached. More choice for citizens who want to move to an innovative, new nation...or a very traditional, conservative new nation. Many different experiments in governance, as we find new and better ways to run countries.

Small, private, entrepreneurial nations will revolutionize and improve governance just as much as small private entrepreneurial companies have repeatedly revolutionized and improved business.

In Liberty,

Arvin Vohra
Vice Chair
Libertarian National Committee

Free Trade

Free trade with a bunch of obligations and restrictions attached to it isn't free trade. It's trade with a bunch of obligations and restrictions.

Free trade simply means eliminating tariffs, trade quotas, and the like. A country can simply eliminate its own tariffs, and that presents a major step forward. That country can enjoy cheaper access to the tools of production, and thus become more productive.

As a simple example, Brazil and Argentina could eliminate their self destructive taxes on computers, and immediately allow their productivity to increase as more people have access to modern computers.

If you encourage other countries to also eliminate their tariffs, that helps free trade even more. But beware! Once you get into negotiations, you often end up adding a bunch of government wastefulness and burdensome obligations. Big corporations and big unions will demand special favors in exchange for supporting lower tariffs. Usually, those special favors end up costing almost exactly as much as the savings from lower tariffs. As an example, look at TPP.

The EU isn't free trade. With the EU, access to lower tariffs comes with major obligations and restrictions. There are the direct costs of the EU fees. There are the nearly guaranteed costs of bailouts (given that at least some of Europe's socialist economies are collapsing.) There are the welfare costs of having to support basically anyone who comes to your country.

There are the lost free trade opportunities with other countries. As part of the EU, Britain could not set up free trade agreements with other countries (e.g. the US). Free trade agreements had to be with the entire EU, or with no one at all.

Any divorce can be a little messy at first. But if you were married to 27 deadbeats, who felt that they had the right to barely work, retire at 40, and spend all of your money on their laziness...dropping that dead weight would help you out. And even if one of those 27 deadbeats (Germany) actually worked, you could still divorce the group and start a new relationship with any one of them individually.

Even better: you can now set up new relationships. You've learned not to share a bank account with people who lie about their finances and debts (Greece). You've seen that other people can get the same benefits without the burdens (Switzerland). You realized that the most successful people (U.S., China, Japan) weren't a part of your 28 person expensive marriage.

Britain is now free to pursue better opportunities. It no longer has the massive obligations of carrying around EU socialist deadbeats.

It may still fail. After all, Britain has its own wasteful welfare socialism to eliminate. But it will now succeed based on whether it embraces free market capitalism or welfare socialism, not based on whether other nations embrace free market capitalism or welfare socialism.

In Liberty,
Arvin Vohra
Vice Chair
Libertarian National Committee