Capital and Brain Drainage: Phenomena That Goverments Usually Try To cut By Limiting Freedom

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Pablo Edronkin

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When the situation in a country is bad, people tend to remove their money or remove themselves, sending their capital abroad or emigrating; this can leave any government in the verge of collapse so, from then on there are two alternatives: Improve the situation or start cutting individual rights and freedom.

If a characterisation of any communist or totalitarian regime around the world comes to mind, two things are often remembered before anything else: The bad life quality of the people and the lack of freedom. One of the aspects of liberty and individual rights that is severely curtailed is the freedom to travel at one's own will; such regimes tend to limit the ability to travel of their citizens, especially abroad, and the reason is to avoid mass emigration. Another thing that is seen is the limitation of free capital flow, but this can also be seen in democracies with severe, chronic financial and economic problems, and the reason for this is similar: to avoid a meltdown of the economy.

Totalitarian regimes rarely can improve the quality of life of their citizens, particularly in the bracket of professionals, intellectuals and qualified workers that naturally expect higher compensations for their higher and better skills. In other words; The educated always wants more than the brute, but totalitarian leaders always base themselves on the strength of masses that are naturally less educated than what in Western culture we would identify as middle class and upper middle class workers. High-class people either escape the regime at its inception for fear of their lives, like the Russian nobility during the Bolshevist revolution, or abide and even collude with the new leaders, like many industrials during the Nazi regime in Germany. The middle class is always the most problematic and thus, the one that receives the worst punishment by those that want to control the situation but cannot and will not satisfy the needs of that people. They just focus on the bread and circus required to keep the most ignorant relatively happy.

When such a situation becomes permanent and things settle down in a status quo that promises no good perspectives, people begin to move their savings and capital away from the country, and even star emigrating. As we said, those that emigrate have a valuable characteristic, which is entrepreneurship or initiative. Then, often they have very valuable skills that oddly, make them the most valuable for their home country despite the fact that they are officially loathed. A very distinct case of this is that of the white farmers of Zimbabwe, despised and hated by the Mugabe regime that alleged that these farmers were exploiting the black population. Their properties were confiscated and those farmers had to flee to South Africa, Mozambique and other countries where they were rather well received due to precisely, those skills that they have. Of course, it was officially prohibited to escape in such a way from Zimbabwe yet, after the white farmers abandoned their agricultural activities, the commercial chain in the country crashed to a halt. Another example is that of the Berlin Wall and the fortified border of the Iron curtain, built to stop people from getting out precisely because they felt that Western countries were far better for them.

Seeing this matter as an urban survival scenario, the inevitable conclusion is that when a regime becomes totalitarian or a leader begins to show an autocratic demeanour, those citizens that could be among the most-affected by the changes should begin to take their savings and capital away from the territory as soon as possible, and if emigration is to be considered, it should take place before the structures that would control it become developed. Surviving and escaping later could become far more difficult.

Control over the flux of capitals an money is something that could potentially affect a much larger number of people because to impose restriction and virtual prohibitions no country needs authoritarian regimes: In Iceland the government recently made it almost impossible to take money out of the country's banks after the meltdown of its economy. In Argentina, similar restrictions were imposed a few years ago. This means that governments around the world can impose dictatorial-like restrictions over the use of your own money using very democratic instruments. The best defence for this is to avoid banks at all costs, and to keep your savings in the form of cash, precious metals or jewels that a re easy to move or to conceal.

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