Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin Renounces US Citizenship — How very Atlas Shrugged of him

Eduardo Saverin: "Who is John Galt?"

Eduardo Saverin, known by most of us as the former CFO of Facebook portrayed in the movie The Social Network, renounced his citizenship right before the public offering of Facebook and now lives in Singapore.

It's typical for people to find this as an ungrateful or unpatriotic act. This roots from the concept that all taxes are good or that taxation is the best way of helping the poor and, if Eduardo Saverin stays in the US and pays taxes, he will be able to "give back" to society.

It's really quite easy to show how coercive taxation can be especially for such a big and powerful State like the US. If he didn't move, for example, regardless of his own personal position on foreign policy, millions of his justly earned money (granted that he did not steal or commit fraud to earn) will be used to fund the never-ending wars and interventionist foreign policy all over the world. That's coercion if they use your money for war even when you are against war.

If not the wars, it'll go to bankers or the CEOs of companies by means of bailouts. Even this is justified by the statist ideology that government has to step in or else thousands of jobs will be lost and that there will be chaos. Such a moral hazard when society deems people like Saverin who earned justly acquired profit as evil and justify bailouts that give a bunch of crony CEOs taxpayer's coerced hard-earned income.

And if the wars or the bailouts aren't enough (I love using those as examples because I know most social liberals, as opposed to classical liberals, hate war and bailouts and attribute them to capitalism when really both are statist concepts), his money will end up subsidizing the "welfare" of the unemployed and therefore incentivizes "freeloader" behavior. What kind of society punishes the productive and honest earners and at the same time rewards the lazy? In the market, innovation, skill, talent, and hard work is rewarded and not the other way around.

It's coercion if a system rewards the lazy and punishes those who work and justly acquires wealth. It doesn't matter if "he just got lucky" or didn't really help out with with the creation of Facebook. It's probably the same reason why he now only owns 4% of the company. It doesn't mean that you will take away his right to renounce the State. Imagine taking away the rights of lottery winners from migrating or expatriation. It is in the root of the social contract that you have the right to renounce your government.

If not for high and unnecessary taxes, he would have stayed and invested in the US and his money would have benefitted society anyway. He would create businesses and create more jobs and opportunities or maybe invest in start-ups or the businesses of others. The problem is that a society with so many red tapes, regulations, and high taxes will always discourage investment and job creation. 

Even if he decides to just squander all his money, society would still have benefitted. For example, if he wastes all his money on sports cars and clubbing, for instance, the wealth is voluntarily shared to car dealerships, clubs, alcohol companies, and many others. Paychecks are signed, products are traded and consumed, jobs are created, all in spite of the lavish lifestyle of the bourgeoisie or the "greedy capitalist pig".

In Singapore, there is no capital gains tax which is supposedly the main reason why Saverin is migrating, something that most people believe will trickle down democratic society if ever abolished (when really it is unnecessary tax and legalized theft) as if roads will stop being created and progress will be at halt. 

Migration as Indicator of Freedom: Singapore and the future of the Philippines

I remember this video I watched of Milton Friedman where he likened migration to "people voting with their feet". He told the story of thousands of migrants flocking from China to Hong Kong and not the other way around. It is quite democratic also because Hong Kong's borders were free and open. Since the days of Exodus, people have walked thousands of miles to look for freedom and opportunity. 

This reminds me of the time that video of Winnie Monsod's video that portrayed doctors who leave as traitors. I just can't agree. I believe that the State is the real traitor for not giving them the same opportunities here. If anything, these emigrants who contribute to the "brain drain" also contribute to the economy and wealth creation here. I have so many relatives who now live abroad who are able to help their families and friends here financially. What they can do instead is earn abroad and invest here. But even investment here is so discouraging. I should probably discuss brain drain and protectionism on another post so I won't stray away from the real issue at hand.

Hong Kong and Singapore are currently two of the freest economies in the world (source). Two small pieces of land with very little natural resources have become the most prosperous, peaceful, and secure nations in the world. Both have very minimal taxes and are very pro market and free trade.  I have made the case for Singapore before (see The Singapore Argument). And for those who believe society will collapse and roads will never be built if we abolish certain taxes or minimize government, you should surely check out Gurgaon city in India where a free and prosperous community was created even without the government (see Gurgaon city, India - progress where there is absence of government).

I brought up those things because I believe those are real-life tested economic models we should be following. Maybe create charter cities in every region as I suggested in one of my posts (see Paul Romer talks about Charter Cities). I have always said that we have so much unused space and so many islands that are all potentially future Hong Kongs are Singapore of this country.

Just take Eduardo Saverin as an example. He decided to move to Singapore, a small neighboring country, again with no natural resources or beautiful tourist attractions like ours. We should be more inviting to people like Saverin. We should show investors that our policies will not be a burden to them so that they will come here and invest their wealth in our country.

See Also: Atlas Shrugged Movie Review

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