Digital nomads

How to fire a country

For most of history, your nationality and the country you were born in were pretty much fixed. The majority of people migrated to avoid hardships or for the promise of a new land. With these people then generally feeling affiliated to that new country. Even today with transport able to literally carry you around the world at ever more affordable prices, many of us regard ourselves as <insert nationality here>.

Imagine you were born into a brand of products, never being able to change or to see if a competitor was better or worse, it would definitely be sub-optimal and is one of the reasons that monopolies aren’t allowed, and that open banking has come into force. So in principle, why should a country be any different?

At the end of the day, if we’re being fully rational, it’s just a line in the sand (or dirt) arbitrarily created by people. Like many things, we treat this fabrication as if it’s a physical barrier. This is likely because it’s mentally easier to ascribe yourself to a group and then point at external forces and groups as the cause of your problems rather than addressing your potential part in it.* For being the most intelligent species on the planet, we can be pretty lazy.

Shopping around

Technology is slowly challenging if not changing this viewpoint though and we are starting to see developments that aim to facilitate these more global citizens.

Enter the digital nomad.

If your job doesn’t require you to be physically present and you don’t have any fixed commitments, then you can do your job from anywhere in principle. Previously having no real fixed location would have been viewed as peculiar, but now it and remote working are becoming growing trends with significant bets being placed on them.

Examples of note include WeWork which had more than $18 billion poured into if from SoftBank, job sites specifically for nomads and even sites where you can compare countries and cities through a similar interface that you might use to compare and contrast shoes.


Obviously condensing cities and countries into simplified lists of metrics isn’t giving you all the information you need, but the fact that people are thinking this way is a shift, and highlights how opinions are changing.

A 9 to 5 job in a fixed location was the previous standard. Now in an age of portfolio careers, it’s looking ever more dated.

Customers have become a far more informed group than they were 10 years ago, demanding higher standards, shorter delivery times and improved ethics. Jobs are following and it looks like countries could be next.


* Thinking fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman is good introductory read about the ways in which people tend to think and how this can cause uninformed and irrational decisions.

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