This story is, predictably, causing outrage. The very idea that rich people should be able to just rock up and buy a passport, citizenship, just for mere filthy lucre. We think it's an absolutely marvellous idea:
The Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska has bought a Cypriot passport under a controversial scheme that allows rich investors to acquire citizenship and visa-free access to the European Union, the Guardian can reveal.
Deripaska, an aluminium magnate with connections to Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, is one of hundreds of wealthy individuals who have applied for Cypriot nationality. His application was approved last year.
The revelations will revive concern about oligarchs with Kremlin connections buying EU passports. Large numbers of the Russian and Ukrainian elite featured last year in a list of hundreds of people granted Cypriot citizenship over the past four years.
There is the obvious point that this enables freedom through exit. However robber baron or worse the Russian state becomes those who can flee are free of it. This neatly reducing the incentive for the state to dispossess of course, to the benefit of those who do not so flee.
But also consider the more subtle Georgist point. The value of land depends hugely upon what the surrounding society has built to increase said land value. That's the argument for taxing land values and it's a good one. The value of citizenship is the value that surrounding society has built. A good society, created by those little platoons over the centuries, produces a greater citizenship value than a not good society. We can see this in the migration rates in and out of certain countries, values do differ.
So, yes, just as with land value taxation, society should tax back the value society has created. It's not just that we could sell citizenship, it's that we ought to.
OK, perhaps be a tad more selective over who may buy it but the basic concept is sound.