Democracy Looks Great on Paper, Until...

Recently by Simon Black: Why You Need a Second Passport

After a long trip up from Santiago and making stops in both Miami and Dallas, I arrived to Vancouver last night a bit tired… but excited for the the trip ahead. I’m leaving in just a few hours for a 2 1/2 week, 11-country tour that includes Hong Kong, Singapore, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, and much more.

[By the way, I highly recommend the new Fairmont Pacific Rim if you find yourself in Vancouver.]

Aside from getting a lot of business done and inking a few deals that my partners and I have been working on, I’m excited to just be spending time in the region again. I enjoy strong, vibrant economies where optimism and opportunity dominate the scene – not chaos and negativity.

There are a lot of places around the world that fit this mold – their economies are healthy and people are legitimately confident about the future. From Estonia to Hong Kong to Andorra to Singapore, there are common elements in these countries that have greatly contributed to their success:

1) They’re small. 2) They have governments that generally stay out of the way.

An obscure 20th century economist named Leopold Kohr wrote extensively about these factors; my colleague Tim Price introduced me Kohr’s writing last year, and his 1957 book The Breakdown of Nations has proven quite prophetic.

In the book, Kohr extols the virtues of ‘smallness’ and indicates that most of the political challenges in the world – military over-extension, debt, poverty, bureaucratic stodginess, etc. – are caused by the unsustainable expansion of nations.

For Kohr, it is simply a matter of scale. Once a country becomes too large, any system of government will become oppressive.