September 18, 2013


While on vacation, I'm traveling (virtually) to Liechtenstein. I was kinda feeling sorry for this little country because it's so small and completely land-locked (being stuck up in the Alps), but then I found out that Liechtensteiners (Liechtensteinians?) have it pretty darn good in their diminutive principality.
"Liechtenstein has the highest gross domestic product per person in the world when adjusted by purchasing power parity, and has the world's lowest external debt. Liechtenstein also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world at 1.5%. Liechtenstein is the smallest yet the richest (by measure of GDP per capita) German-speaking country... ."
After a couple of shrewd real estate deals, the founding family got itself proclaimed a principality by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1719. They then proceeded to ignore their new country for 120 years.
They sided with the bad guys in WWI and were "neutral" in WWII. Czechoslovakia was still pissed off about the whole thing until just 4 years ago.
It's a man's land with a reigning prince who actually governs to some degree. It's parliament finally granted women the right to vote in 1984. (Yes, you read that right.)
Liechtenstein's entire western border is defined by the Rhine River. With a lovely river and the beautiful Alps, you might think that Liechtenstein's primary income was from tourism. You would be wrong. 30% of its income is from "about 73,700 holding (or so-called 'letter box') companies" who established registered offices in Liechtenstein.."
So, go for the tax haven and stay for the schnitzel. 

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