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Vogue predictions that citizenship is diminishing in relevance or perhaps even vanishing outright, popular among jetsetters who already possess full membership status in affluent democracies, have failed to reach many applicants still knocking on the doors of well-off polities. One can excuse the world’s destitute, those who are willing to risk their lives in search of the promised lands of migration in Europe or America, for not yet having heard the prophecies about citizenship’s decline. But the same is not true for the well-heeled who are increasingly active in the market for citizenship: the ultra-rich from the rest of the world. They are willing to dish out hundreds of thousands of dollars to gain a freshly-minted passport in their new ‘home country.’ That this demand exists is not fully surprising given that this is a world of regulated mobility and unequal opportunity, and a world where not all passports are treated equally at border crossings. Rapid processes of market expansionism have now reached what for many is the most sacrosanct non-market good: membership in a political community. More puzzling is the willingness of governments – our public trustees and legal guardians of citizenship – to engage in processes that come very close to, and in some cases cannot be described as anything but, the sale and barter of membership goods in exchange for a hefty bank wire transfer or large stack of cash.
- Dangerous Liaisons: Money and Citizenship
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