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The Canary Is Choking to Death in the Coalmine

The Canary Is Choking to Death in the Coalmine

Where a rich person decides to live, where he keeps his money, where he invests his money, what measures he takes to safeguard his posterity are infinitely more informative to us than what they simply declare, which is subject to fashions, social pressures, group affiliation tactics or plain, old disinformation. New World Wealth’s “Millionaire migration in 2015” report highlights that millionaires across the world have been speaking the truth with their feet, by engaging in a mass exodus from their respective countries. We are used to the monolithic usage of rhetoric in favor of diversity, multiculturalism, high levels of immigration and so on, being reminded of the Romanian playwright Caragiale’s insistence that “the man with the full belly never believes in another’s hunger”. But the truth is now apparent.

According to the report, France featured first on the list of millionaire outflows as it lost 10,000 millionaires, or 3% of its entire millionaire population, in just one year. And this is not the kind of upwardly mobile country were fortunes are made at the drop of a hat. A lot of these are legacy millionaires, whose flight is even more worrying, as French elites have found themselves a head shorter in times of unrest. The champion was Paris, losing about 6% of its millionaire population or 7,000 millionaires in 2015 to the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and Israel. London did not experience a decrease, but, despite being a magnet for plutocrats from the entire world, the 2015 surplus was only about 500 millionaires, representing 3,000 new entries and 2,500 departures, as opposed to past performances that fueled an imposing real estate bubble. Chicago, a city riven by gang violence (dubbed Chiraq) lost millionaires to Seattle and San Francisco. Others went to Vancouver. Generally, the countries that gained the most millionaires were Australia, Israel, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.

The report asked “high net worth individuals” (HNWI) their reasons for migrating. This is insufficiently studied in the West for fear of what they might find. It is easier to use Chinese millionaire outflow to diagnose the mote in China’s eye with regards to property rights or arbitrary political decisions, but harder to notice the beam in the West’s eye. The results were interesting – Paris: rising religious tensions, lack of opportunities; Rome (7% loss in 2015, over 5,000 HNWI): economic slump, lack of opportunities; Chicago: rising racial tensions, rising crime levels; Athens (7% loss in 2015, over 5,000 HNWI): economic slump, migration crisis. The flight of HNWI is an implicit negative bet on the future of the city or the country they are leaving and also a self-fulfilling prophecy, since the “petty millionaires” often take their money with them and invest locally, as well as their specialized knowledge and skillsets. That so many would go to Israel, which has very strict immigration laws (in contrast to other countries, even for HNWI) highlights a very disturbing trend with regards to the current third world wandering of peoples taking place in Europe, with the Jewish community acting as a bellwether for community safety.

The petty rich were once insulated enough to afford to virtue signal about the need and moral duty for unlimited immigration and for servile accommodation of cultural differences and dual loyalties, with the costs being borne by the lower classes who could not easily escape their environment. As their destinations prove, HNWI are retreating to ever smaller atolls of prosperity and security, as the rising tide moved on from drowning the lower classes to affecting the middle and upper middle classes, who lack the natural mobility and adaptability of HNWI.

Solutions must be found so that the Zuckerbergs of the world will not be the only ones to afford security and ordered liberty. Otherwise, HNWI, like the rest of us, might end up like Michel Houellebecq’s protagonist in “Submission”, who said to his Israeli lover: “There is no Israel for me to go to”.

 
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OEconomica No. 1, 2016