“I joined the Navy to see the world. I've seen it. Now how do I get out?”
Readers will most likely be familiar with “Dear Abby”, the American advice column that has been popular since its inception in 1956. The above question was sent to her in 1981, but may be even more relevant today.
It will be no secret to readers of this publication that some of the formally most-prominent, most-free jurisdictions in the world are now in a state of serious decline and face economic, social and possibly political collapse. Although their level of influence is still close to their all-time high, they’re each at a precipice from which they may soon fall.
The great majority of our readers were born in these jurisdictions and, at present, still live there. Many of them read publications such as this in order to find out whether it will still be feasible to safely remain where they are in the future and, if not, where else they might go.
Not surprisingly, those of us who are not citizens of these jurisdictions and/or do not reside in them, have a very different perspective.
In my frequent meetings with those struggling with the decision of whether to expatriate, the one comment that I hear most often is, “What can you do? The whole world’s falling apart. There’s no escape.”
Yet this is not the case. Although we’re witnessing the final peak of empire for the US, with its closest allies (the EU, Canada, Japan, Australia, etc.) joined at the hip and in danger of being taken down at roughly the same time the giant falls, this group of countries, however powerful at present, do not comprise all the countries of the world.
To be sure, of the nearly 200 countries in the world, most all of them are directly or indirectly economically connected to the US in some way. Some receive US foreign aid that help keep their governments afloat. Some export products to the US; some import products from them. If and when a collapse comes, their degree of dependency upon the US will determine their level of damage However, many countries trade quite a bit less with the US and receive little or no foreign aid. These countries will be impacted to a far lesser degree. Some countries have nearly zero trade with the US and, historically, tend to operate independently of US economic and political trends.
Then there are those countries that do have an overlap with the US, but are poised to actually do better economically, should the US decline dramatically. To many who live in the US and, indeed in the other countries that are closely tied to it, this seems to be an impossibility. They mistakenly believe that the entire world is little more than a subsidiary to the great empire. But this is not the case.
All empires have a shelf-life. All grow powerful through productivity, then become corrupted and eventually collapse under their own governmental weight. An empire-collapse generally happens only once in anyone’s lifetime, so, when it happens, for those who witness it, it seems altogether new, yet, historically, it is a normal part of the life-cycle of empires.
Each time it does occur, many people who have chosen to remain at the epicenter become casualties. The further away they are from the epicenter (economically and politically, but not necessarily geographically), the less they’re impacted.
So, if this is true, how does one choose a “safe haven” in tumultuous times? There are two separate options that serve to answer that question.
Destinations that Will Be the Least Affected
Once you’ve narrowed the field to one or two countries, go for a visit. Go to a supermarket and hardware store. Read the labels on goods to see where they emanate from. In some countries, most goods are produced locally, or by immediate neighbours.
Having examined which countries have avoided previous large wars, ask yourself if they’re likely to sit out the next war.
Destinations that Will Be Beneficially Affected
In reviewing possible destination countries, select those that, although they may offer a different lifestyle from your present one, that lifestyle is one that you can easily adapt to and possibly even prefer.
A final point: Those who live in prosperous countries tend to visit other countries from a tourist standpoint. However, if one’s home country is in decline, it’s wise to spend those tourist dollars by travelling to countries that are potential alternative homes and, whilst there, instead of going to the beach bar for daiquiris, spend time examining the lifestyle for residents, cost of living, business opportunities, etc.
For those individuals like the one who wrote to Dear Abby, there’s unquestionably an answer to the question, “How do I get out?” In fact, there are a host of answers amongst the nearly 200 countries in the world. Rather than complain that, say, Ghana is not a positive choice, consider Singapore or Thailand. Rather than state that Nicaragua will not work for you, focus instead on Uruguay or the British Virgins.
In any era, there are a variety of choices, some worse than your home country, some better. Amongst the latter, there’s tremendous opportunity.