Abhijit BhaduriGuest Author
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The future of citizenship

By | Abhijit Bhaduri |Keynote speaker, Author and Columnist

The global pandemic has shown us that global problems can be solved by thinking like global citizens. I was joined by N Madhavan on a 20 minute chat on Mentza about the future of Citizenship

Citizenship gives us territorial rights

We acquire citizenship by birth. We inherit it as part of the ovarian lottery. That makes us citizens. The laws of the territory apply to us and gives us access to territories that find us non-threatening. Citizenship isn’t absolute. It is a fuzzy concept.

In 2002 East Timor gained independence. A journalist friend described the moment, “What a privilege it is like watching childbirth. The vulnerability of the baby and the miracle of life and the pain and joy of the mother all converge in that magical moment.”

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Citizenship has many paths, not just the ovarian lottery.

1.     Medico-social norms: During the pandemic, many countries blocked out the “foreigners” who could pass on the deadly virus. During every pandemic, the infected people are isolated and confined to their own home. Their territorial limits get determined by neighbors and health authorities.

2.     Acquiring a new citizenship: It is possible to invest money and acquire the citizenship of some countries. People acquire citizenship by marriage or adoption. Refugees escape persecution and get the citizenship of another country. Many countries allow a citizen to hold dual/ multiple citizenship.

3.     ‘Merger’ or ’emerged’ of countries: When countries go to war, they win or lose the right to the territory. The Soviet Union splintered into several countries. One citizenship was lost and another was acquired. The citizens had no role to play. Even if people declare their desire to secede, the world has to recognize the new country as legitimate.

4.     Honorary citizenship: Several countries such as Germany, United States, and Canada have awarded honorary citizenship to outstanding individuals.

The world of work changes citizenship

In a connected world, territories have less meaning than before. Apple designs its products in US, builds them in Foxconn’s factories, uses parts made in Japan and Korea. The profits are booked in a different country. The trillion dollar market cap has the flags of many countries planted there.

  1. Money has no passport: Most “Indian” startups get funded by money that comes from Venture Capitalists in many countries. A look at the funding of “Indian” unicorns will reveal that their funds come from many companies. Money has no passport.

  2. Social media has no citizenship: We send emails, post videos and selfies on multiple platforms. The servers are in one country and the phones are made by a different country to post content about users in a different country.

  3. Cybercrimes have no country: My Facebook account got cloned and hacked. The crime was committed in one country, the data is stored in a different one and sold on the darknet. Crime has no passport.

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Talent makes citizenship immaterial

The world of work is making the notion of citizenship weaker. Talent defies borders. Startups in India offer services to companies based in US with the users in multiple countries. The firm is run by people in an Indian city. The mobile phone is the biggest blow to the notion of citizenship.

Estonia’s digital nation allows anyone to start a company 100% online and run your EU business from any country. Digital nomads love this. This may be a good hint of what the future of citizenship looks like. We may become global citizens.

I may become a global citizen but my heart will still beat for the Indian tricolor. I will tear up when I hear the Indian national anthem playing. I did that when Neeraj Chopra got the gold. Citizenship does not come from a passport. It is for whom your heart beats. That is the future.Do you agree? Leave your comments below

I may become a global citizen but my heart will still beat for the Indian tricolor. I will tear up when I hear the Indian national anthem playing. I did that when Neeraj Chopra got the gold. Citizenship does not come from a passport. It is for whom your heart beats. That is the future.

Do you agree? Leave your comments below

Here is a recording of the chat I had with N Madhavan about the future of Citizenship. Listen to it

Republished with permission and originally published at www.abhijitbhaduri.com

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