Duelling nationalities

Douglas Coupland in FT Magazine:

CiitizenA way of rethinking the global web of overlapping allegiances would be to wonder what might happen if Earth instituted a planet-wide citizenship flush. Whoever you are, you now have to choose just one passport – so, which is it going to be? The answer would probably boil down to multiple factors, the largest including personal identity, ease of crossing borders, consular access while abroad and, of course, taxes. Sure, a low tax rate is great, but if I break my arm do I really want to spend $75,000 fixing it? Yes, popping in and out of Europe is terrific, but would I want to forfeit getting a lump in my throat if I hear my ex-national anthem playing? What exactly is citizenship? What does it mean to say I’m this and you’re that? The fact that almost every country on Earth makes it very difficult to become a citizen means that citizenship has to mean something. I think this week when I was asking my guests what citizenship they would choose if they could only have one, I was unwittingly taking them to task for trying to have their cake and eat it, too. Can you really have the best of all worlds, bing bang boom, whenever it suits your needs? I suspect polycitizenry is a creation of the 20th century, and a creation whose days are numbered. As the world gets ever more pay-per-use, the luxury of low-commitment semi-disposable allegiance seems, if nothing else, too expensive. If nothing else, Canada put a number on it.

More here.