August 6, 2010
Believe it or not, Vilnius is one of my favorite cities in the world. It’s a fairly large city with a metro population of just under 1 million, but in many ways it feels like a small town.
English and Russian are both widely spoken, and there are some ancestry passport opportunities that I will try to get to next week if I have the time.
On this particular trip, I’m in Vilnius to sponsor a sort of educational charity event. I’m funding a week-long camp for 50 Eastern European university students to learn about freedom, economics, investing, entrepreneurship, and multiple flags.
My goal is to hopefully undo years of socialist brainwashing and help them realize that they can all be successful and free if they simply have the will to take action.
I first got involved with this project last year when I was invited to speak at a similar event sponsored by Louis James and Doug Casey. It was incredibly rewarding to help energize so many young minds, and this year the local organizers asked me to sponsor my own camp.
It kicks off this weekend, and I’m really excited about it… more to follow on that next week. For now, let’s move on to this week’s questions.
On the topic of planting electronic flags, Barry asks, “Simon, any recommended offshore locations for website hosting?”
Sure. In North America, I would choose Canada or the US; in Europe, anywhere in Scandinavia or the Baltics. In Asia, I would choose Japan or South Korea.
These are the places that have modern, fast Internet architecture with professional support services. The important thing is that you want to plant this ‘web hosting flag’ in a country other than where you live and where your business is structured.
For example, you could live in England, host in Norway, and structure the company in Cyprus.
Next, Bill asks, “Simon, would you explain what being a ‘PT’ means?”
Depending on who you ask, PT could mean permanent tourist, prior taxpayer, or permanent traveler. I refer to the latter.
Regardless of the terminology, though, the meaning is the same: PT is someone who has no fixed base, never actually establishing residency anywhere. The purpose of this way of life is to ensure that you never get caught up in any country’s tax net.
For example, if you are in New Zealand for more than 183 days in any 12-month period, the government will expect a share of your worldwide earnings, even if you earn no NZ income. In this case, a PT would spend up to 183 days in New Zealand and then move on to another country.
Next, Mike asks, “Simon- My wife and I are from India, working in the US on H-1B visas. Now she’s lost her job and is having trouble finding a new one; no one will sponsor her visa due to high unemployment. I enjoy the quality of life in the US, but I’m weary of the attacks of liberty. Plus, India is really growing and we could work there. What do you think?”
I think that businesses should be free to hire whichever person they feel is the best fit for a job, regardless of nationality. The collectivist mentality that somehow we ‘owe’ jobs to our fellow countrymen just because we happen to be born within the same invisible lines on a map is intellectually offensive to me.
In a country whose Declaration of Independence starts with “… We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” it seems rather peculiar that the H-1B visa even exists.
Further, it’s ironic that leaders of western developed countries decry the evils of racism, sexism, etc., yet they still cling to nationalism like a warm blanket. This is simply another form of discrimination– that one individual has privilege over another simply by accident of birth.
Regarding Mike’s specific problem, yes, India has a rapidly growing economy. But there are other places to consider where you can work with minimal red tape and not sacrifice quality of life for economic opportunity. Singapore, Chile, and Abu Dhabi are good examples.
I’d love to hear what you think about this– should businesses be forced to hire within a particular country, or be free to hire any nationality they choose?