Michael, as it happens, I touched tangentially on this subject in my weekend column. After pointing out that the US dollar is worth half of what it was Down Under a decade ago, I continued:
By the way, that decline in the U.S./Australian exchange isn’t the only one. Ten years ago the U.S. dollar was worth 1.6 Canadian; now it’s at par. A decade ago, the dollar was worth over ten Swedish Kroner, now 6.7; 1.8 Singapore dollars, now 1.2. I get asked with distressing frequency by Americans where I would recommend fleeing to. The reality is, given the dollar’s decline over the last decade, that most Americans can no longer afford to flee to any place worth fleeing to. What’s left is the non-flee option: taking a stand here…
Etc. But maybe I’m thinking too narrowly. I bought a timeshare in Ougadougou 15 years ago, and it’s increased in value by $27.86, so who knows?
In his novel about America in the year 2030, Albert Brooks (no right-winger) posits a land riven by inter-generational conflict where seniors are preyed on by young ‘uns resentful at having been born too late for the American Dream. In Brooks’ scenario, the escape route for codgers is an unending cruise: cash in your assets and live on a floating palace – life as an eternal NR cruise but without having to get up early for Steyn and McCarthy’s panel discussion on the Iranian nuclear program.
I thought this was just a dystopian fancy of the author’s, but it’s already here. While down in Australia, I was invited to a party on The World, which had berthed in Sydney for a few days. It’s life beyond the gated community: The floated community.
Look for more of this in the years ahead. And presumably, if you spend most of your year in international waters, there are potential tax advantages – as long as you can stay one step ahead of the Somali pirates.