Estonia has attracted my attention as of late. Credit to the people at futurism.com or it never would have happened. They had an article recently about a concept that Estonia is playing with called ‘E-Residency’ a concept that I have also favored for some time now. That will be our wider topic for this article. In the mean time let us give some major props to the Estonians for being a fantastic people in their own right.
By all indications that I have been able to find their embrace of Western capitalist economics in the post-Soviet era has been thorough and sincere. They boast a zero percent corporate tax rate on reinvested capital. Think about that, it seems like a pipe dream and we are supposedly the most free and capitalist nation on the planet. At least by off the cuff reaction standards. They are also on the cutting edge of other forms of corporate innovation. Finally as if all this weren’t enough they are also leading the global pack in futuristic civic reform. Currently in Estonia citizens are able to vote online with a personalized digital signature that is automatically encrypted and made anonymous. Further more a citizen can log back in and alter their own vote at any time during the election window. amazing.
This all plays into the broader idea of a new style of globalism. Globalism is some what of a dirty word among right wing schools of political thought. This has always puzzled me. the freedom of movement without imposing on the property of another would seem to me to be a key principle of freedom. For those who think that they own all state property or are some how entitled to control the movement of others between the property of yet others, this new model is the answer.
The new globalism is a digital globalism. A globalism that creates a market place for government services. Take a moment and think about this with me. If every nation embraced this sort of online residency not just for corporations, but for actual citizenship there would be an immediate incentive to create truly competitive tax environments. This same principle would apply to adjudication. Nobody would declare citizenship to a corrupt or inefficient court set up. We have the technology to ensure that these same governments are compensated for their service like any other service provider. After all doesn’t everybody in the Western world use mobile banking these days?
This would by near necessity also force the privatization of all non-essential functions that government has subsumed. If geography no longer binds regions together as states then govt’s will no longer have claim to infrastructural monopolies and abominations like eminent domain. On the other hand delivery services and such would still have a clear incentive to increase customer access. Private individuals would also still have plenty of motivation to see local infrastructure maintained.
The downside is nil from our perspective as private entities. The real downside and the reason we shouldn’t get our hopes up is that it is actively against big government interests. Breaking their geographic monopolies will also break their capacity to coerce taxation and no monopoly wants to compete if they don’t have to. We can always hope and advocate for change though, who knows maybe people will actually see the incentives of this one.