We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The law of unexpected consequences again

Pakistan has a very large expatriate community scattered across the world, particularly in the UK and the USA. The peoples of the sub-continent also have a deeply engrained and entirely laudable distrust of governments poking around in their affairs, which is why the hawala system of moving money around globally is so popular with people from that part of the world.

In recent weeks there has been a huge inflow of capital from the Pakistani diaspora back to Pakistan due to the scrutiny of US investigators looking ostensibly for Al Qaeda funds. Of course there is widespread and quite justified belief amongst Pakistani businessmen that where the anti-terrorist investigators tread, the IRS will not be far behind looking to see what they can confiscate. Sub-continent businessmen have been on the receiving end of shakedowns like that from potentates, princes and nations for centuries and have well honed cultural reflexes in such matters. The simple solution: move your money where the US authorities cannot see it, by bank transfer if possible or via the invisible hawala system if not.

Networked distributed capitalist systems like this are extraordinarily resilient and are fueled by deep seated and entirely admirable non-deference to state authority. Just as the justified fight against Al Qaeda is also being used to fulfil an unjustified a wish list of civil liberties abridgements, so too are the statist enemies of free trade on both left and right using it to move against the sort of small scale (though large in aggregate) trans-border capitalism at which people from the Indian sub-continent so excel. It is for reasons of control that Big Capitalism and The State get on so well: bureaucrats can meet with a few hundred CEOs of vast companies and reach understandings to their ‘mutual benefit’ (though not to anyone else’s). Hundreds of thousands of small scale truly capitalist ventures with trans-border cash flows however are impossible to even monitor, let alone control: which is of course why they are such a good thing.

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