by Jeff Thomas
July 06, 2015
The photo above shows a scrap of paper with the word "Liat" on it.
LIAT is an airline that services
the Eastern Caribbean, seventeen islands in all. It does this rather
badly. LIAT has a very poor reputation amongst both locals and
visitors in the Caribbean Islands.
LIAT flights are scheduled, just as those of other airlines, but the
orderliness and businesslike management of the airline essentially
ends there. Flights arrive and depart at erratic, unscheduled times,
as a matter of course. Often entire flights are cancelled without
even the airport staff being informed.
Flight staff have been known to strike, take sick days or simply not
appear as scheduled. Frequently, baggage is misplaced or sent to an
Passengers are commonly stranded in whatever airport they happen to
be when a plane does not appear, and when frustrated passengers ask
when the flight will take place, they are told, quite honestly, "I
haven't any idea."
If a mealtime arrives when stranded passengers are sitting in the
departure lounge waiting for the plane to arrive, a LIAT
representative goes from passenger to passenger, apologizing for the
continued delays and handing out vouchers for a free meal anywhere
in the departure lounge.
The "voucher" is like the one pictured
above: a scrap of paper torn from a page, on which the
representative writes, by hand, "Liat."
Of course, to the weary traveler, this is absurd. If the airline is
so disorganized that it resorts to writing a voucher by hand, the
traveler could just as easily write his own voucher, and of course,
many people do just that.
However, LIAT does make good on the
vouchers, paying the restaurants for all meals that have been served
to passengers who hand them in as payment.
Should passengers still be waiting for the plane to arrive after
midnight, the LIAT representative rounds up several taxis and
arranges for the passengers to be taken to local hotels.
As can be expected, this is also done in
a very disorganized manner and the passenger may count himself lucky
if he rests his head by 2:00 AM in a hotel that he might not have
chosen for himself, had he had the choice.
So, how on earth is it possible for such an airline to exist in the
modern world? Surely, it should be bankrupt by now.
The key is that LIAT is not a normal
business. It's owned almost entirely (85%) by seven governments
(all of them islands in the Eastern Caribbean), with the controlling
shares (73%) being held by three island nations.
These three, of course, call the shots
as to the management of the airline, resulting in the chaos seen at
LIAT. This is a reminder that governments, being monopolies, don't
need to place a priority on efficiency and customer service.
They can operate ineffectively and at a
financial loss because the taxpayer will be picking up the tab, no
matter how great and no matter how senseless the loss may be.
That's an Opportunity
Now, to those who live in a large, highly organized country, who
visit such a destination on holiday, this is quite a nuisance.
It wouldn't be surprising if they were
"I could never live there; their
government is so inefficient, they can't even run their own
Quite understandable, and yet, for
those internationalizing, this situation should be looked
upon from a different perspective...
Today, those who are internationalizing
their lives are generally doing so because they are seeking to
remove themselves from the overreach of their own home governments.
In many countries (particularly in Europe and North
America), governments have become so adept at efficiency
and control that their citizens are becoming enslaved by
their own governments, unable to live in a state of relative
freedom, due to the ever-expanding controls.
To be sure, we all like to be surrounded with efficiency in our
day-to-day lives, but when a government becomes so efficient that it
can chip away at our freedoms, we take a different view.
It's axiomatic that, as Thomas
"A government big enough to give you
everything you want is strong enough to take everything you
And today, as stated above, the world's
largest governments have reached that point.
As a result, we're seeing a dramatic
increase in the number of people who are opting out and seeking to
internationalize themselves. And here we reach the principle point
of this article.
When beginning the internationalization process, most people seek to
replicate all of the conveniences that they presently have, but to
have them in a jurisdiction where the government is less controlling
These jurisdictions do exist, but
It's quite true that there are some jurisdictions (mostly small
ones) that have highly efficient governments and are excellent
places to live. But in most cases, the internationalist must expect
to pay a premium to live in one of them.
If he can afford to make this choice, he
will do well.
However, the great majority of those presently seeking to
internationalize are saying,
"I can't afford to live in an ideal
location (Hong Kong, Zurich, the Cayman Islands, etc.) Does that
mean that I'm simply to become a casualty in my home country?"
The answer is an emphatic "no";
however, what it may mean is a trade-off.
There are many countries in the world
where the government is not as invasive as in the above-mentioned
jurisdictions. But realistically, this, generally, is not for lack
It can generally be assumed that, the larger the country, the more
likely the government is a controlling one, sometimes obsessively
so. However, the less prosperous the country is, the less tax the
government is able to extract from its people and therefore, the
less efficient it is likely to be.
(In those countries that
internationalists are presently exiting, it is their very prosperity
that has allowed the governments to successfully become
Therefore, those internationalizing may well choose to live in
Argentina, Ecuador, Thailand, etc., in part,
because of an increase in freedom.
It should be borne in mind that in each
of these countries, those in power may be no better than those in
power in their home countries; however, they lack the tax dollars
and the accompanying infrastructure to enforce restrictive laws.
Often, their residents habitually ignore
This is not a freedom that should be taken lightly. Often, whilst a
less efficient, less sophisticated jurisdiction may seem like a step
down and that the standard of living may in some cases be
diminished, the quality of life may be enhanced.
Countless individuals who at first were skittish about making the
leap have reported a year or two later that their lives had been
Their initial fear of living in a place
where they couldn't find a Starbucks, or, for that matter, one where
the airlines were inefficient, was washed away with the realization
that those priorities had become secondary to the acquisition of a
new life that was, quite simply, happier.
Those who are travelling in search of a new home,
rather than travelling on holiday, must take with them a new
To be sure, this is a trade-off, but
often, the very things that create concern for someone on holiday
are symptomatic of an opportunity with regard to
For many, increased freedom tends, ultimately, to override
the desire for convenience and efficiency and replace it with