Economic citizenship can be used to represent both the economic contributions requisite to become a citizen as well as the role in which ones economic standing can influence his or her rights as a citizen. The relationship between economic participation and citizenship can be considered contributing factor to increasing inequalities and unequal representation of different socioeconomic classes within the United States.
Republican Notions of Citizenship
The republican model of citizenship emphasizes one’s active participation in civil society as a means of defining his or her citizenship. Initially used to describe citizenship in ancient Greece, the republican notion focuses on how political participation is linked with one’s indent as a citizen, stemming from Aristotle’s definition of citizenship as the ability to rule and be ruled.
In relation to economic citizenship the civil participation discussed by Aristotle can be described as economic participation so critical to the capitalist system. Defining one’s ability to be a full citizenship by his or her economic participation will establish a variegated system of citizenship in which those who can contribute most to the economy will be better represented and have a broader range of rights than those who cannot contribute as much. Variegated citizenship represents the concept that those within a different regime or status receive different levels of rights and privileges.
Economic Citizenship in Theory
T.H. Marshall acknowledges this concept in his discussion on the relationships between social class, capitalism and citizenship. He argues that capitalism is reliant upon social classes which directly relates to differentiated concepts of citizenship.
Similarly, Alice Kessler-Harris discusses the relationship between one’s ability to labor, and his or her right to equal wages as a component of citizenship. Her central argument addresses how denying a woman the right to labor and equal wages limits her identity as a citizen.
The arguments by both of these theorists contribute to the notion of economic citizenship because they highlight both how economic standing and participation can be linked to one’s identity and privileges as a citizen.
Economic Citizenship in the United States
The ongoing Occupy Movement (2011) has brought to light the issue of economic inequalities within the United States through their cry of the 99% vs. the 1%. In an article by Joseph Stiglitz (2010) he argues that at current the top one percent of country represents nearly a quarter of the country’s income every year. He introduces the marginal productivity theory which implies the more economically productive one is the more he or she contributes to society. This can be directly connected to the republican notion of citizenship used to describe economic citizenship. Stiglitz also introduces the idea that as economic inequalities continue to grow the wealthy are less willing to support social programs.
"The more divided a society becomes in terms of wealth, the more reluctant the wealthy become to spend money on common needs. The rich don’t need to rely on government for parks or education or medical care or personal security—they can buy all these things for themselves. In the process, they become more distant from ordinary people, losing whatever empathy they may once have had. They also worry about strong government—one that could use its powers to adjust the balance, take some of their wealth, and invest it for the common good. The top 1 percent may complain about the kind of government we have in America, but in truth they like it just fine: too gridlocked to re-distribute, too divided to do anything but lower taxes".
Under economic citizenship the wealthy will continue to receive preferential treatment from government policies, because they are able to contribute more to the economy. These problems are not foreign to other states; in fact as the Occupy Movements spread, inequalities are being brought to light in developed countries around the globe.
Citizenship by Investment
The second notion of economic citizenship is related to the national policies of states in which one has the ability to gain citizenship through capital investment. The level in which one can become a citizen varies by state and is at the discretion of governments. The majority of states with such policies are small nations such as Antigua and Barbuda, Montenegro, Dominica, and St. Kitts & Nevis, however other countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, Bulgaria and the UK offer options for investors to become residents and eventually citizens. Such programs are otherwise known as Immigrant Investor Programs.
When taking up citizenship in another country, one very important issue that needs to be considered is Dual Citizenship laws and regulations. In certain countries, becoming a citizen of another country results into automatically losing the original citizenship.
- Overview of Economic Citizenship Programs in Countries
- St.Kitts & Nevis Economic Citizenship
- Austria Economic Citizenship
- Cyprus Economic Citizenship
- Economic Citizenship in Bulgaria.
- Antigua Economic Citizenship
- Naturalization vs Citizenship by Investment
- "Citizenship (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 13 Oct. 2006. Web. 23 Nov. 2011.
- Ong, Aihwa. Flexibile Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality. Durham: Duke University Press, 1999. 217. Print.
- Marshall, T.H. "Citizenship and Social Class." The Citizenship Debates: a Reader. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1998. 93-111. Print.
- Kessler-Harris, Alice. “In Pursuit of Economic Citizenship,” Social Politics, vol. 10, no. 2 (summer 2003): 157-175.
- Rogers, Simon. "Occupy Protestors Say It Is 99% v 1%. Are They Right? | News | Guardian.co.uk." Latest News, Sport and Comment from the Guardian | The Guardian. 16 Nov. 2011. Web. 23 Nov. 2011.
- Stiglitz, Joseph E. "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% | Society." Vanity Fair. May 2010. Web. 23 Nov. 2011.
- Henley & Partners. "Citizenship by Investment." Henley Global. Web. 23 Nov. 2011.
- Immigrant Investor Programs Comparison Matrix Arton Capital. "Immigrant Investor Programs compared side by side" Arton Capital. Web. 23 Oct. 2011.
- Dual Citizenship: Quick look on which countries allow/prohibit dual nationalities.