These non-sovereign territories are the havens of the super-rich

Most of us admire the most powerful countries around the world and how they were able to maintain their status as top sovereign nations in terms of their economic prowess, diplomatic relations, and strong political influence. However, while having a competitive economy and friendly ties among other countries can contribute to both wealth and power for any sovereign nation, there are other regions that greatly thrive in autonomy. These non-sovereign territories or dependencies don’t fall behind especially when it comes to wealth and robust economy.

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The Basque Country for instance, is one of Spain’s autonomous regions and it ranks first in terms of per capita income. Although self-governing, this non-sovereign territory is one of the first Spanish industrialized region, thanks to the abundance of iron ore and a highly-skilled workforce. What makes it different and extremely wealthy compared to other territories like Catalonia for example is how it was able to maintain its industrial economy’s diversity, focusing more on the long-term economic boost and investing greatly on human capital.

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Bermuda, a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean, derives its wealth from being a world-class and tax-neutral offshore financial center. In 2014, it was reported that a total of $31 billion was held by over a hundred ultra-high-net-worth individuals living in the territory, most of which entrust their wealth to some of the island’s top financial managers, such as LOM Financial. In the same year, it was included in the “A List Islands” for the super-rich because of its attractively “rare and exclusive” nature over its mainland counterpart. Bermuda is also a favorite playground among yachting enthusiasts. In fact, it just recently hosted the 35th staging of the America’s Cup.

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Another non-sovereign territory that’s topping the list of the wealthiest autonomous regions in the world is Macau, also known as the “Las Vegas of Asia.” From this nickname alone, you’ll get the idea why tourism flourished in this leisure and gambling capital. The impressive fact is, it’s making more cash from its casinos than its American counterpart. In fact, the gambling industry in Macau is seven times bigger than that of Las Vegas.  Furthermore, Macau is a haven for luxurious hotels, casinos, and studios.

The top countries in innovation economics

In the past, a country’s economic growth was defined by two key indicators: first, how the market responds to price signals depending on the supply and demand curves; second, how the government effectively allocates its resources. However, everything changed when technology came into the picture and eventually gave birth to what we now know as innovation economics—dramatically shifting the focus of societies around the world.

 

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Innovation is a key driver of economic growth and some countries are leading the list of the world’s most innovative economies. This year, the 2017 Bloomberg Innovation Index just named the dominating nations in the annual battle of ideas.

 

South Korea maintained its number one spot in the international chart, dominating the ranks in Research and Development Intensity, patent activity, and value-added manufacturing. The country was also included in the top 5 ranking in higher education and research concentration, and high-tech density.

 

Sweden’s success to secure No. 2 can be credited to its improvement on the manufacturing value added metric. It’s Nordic cousin, Finland, did an impressive advance when it cracked into the top 5, thanks to the rise of high-technology firms in the country. Israel, meanwhile, made it to the top ten—a one rank progress from its No. 11 spot in 2016.

 

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Although the technology giant Japan lost its No. 4 spot to Switzerland and moved down to the seventh rank, the 2017 index shows that it still remains one of the top five countries for productivity and tertiary efficiency. Germany, Switzerland, and Singapore took the third, fourth and sixth spot, respectively,

 

To see the full ranking list, click here.

The world in peril: More cities succumbing to climate change

One of the main drivers of climate change is human activity. Industrial plants, car fumes, and all sorts of wastes just keep on accumulating at an alarming rate. It is no surprise that for the past couple of years, climate change has accelerated. More and more instances of extreme weather are being observed in many settlements, including capital cities and major metropolitan areas. That’s why some governments are actively putting in the work to increase their resilience. These regions include Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary. However, some cities aren’t so lucky.

 

One of the most vulnerable cities to environmental inconsistencies is Jakarta, Indonesia. Urbanization and land utilization are already almost maxed out, which translates into an distressing increase in carbon dioxide emissions and deforestation. Furthermore, its geographical proximity to the ocean makes it highly susceptible to the rising sea levels. Floods are already a recurrent problem. Incurred losses could easily reach beyond $500,000, affecting both farming and fishing livelihoods.

 

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Another area which is prone to Mother Nature’s wrath is Dhaka, Bangladesh. Since it is one of the biggest deltaic regions in the world, the rising sea level and increased rainfall will make it highly vulnerable to flooding. As a matter of fact, as much as 80 percent of the area could be submerged in water.

 

Back in 2010, Mumbai, India, experienced its highest rainfall density in a span of 24 hours. More than 700 lives perished in the flood that submerged the busy city. Property damage was estimated to be at $68 million. With incidences like these occurring more often, a lifestyle check is in order.

 

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Climate change can have massive impacts on various sectors, eventually leading to economic collapse and human peril. It can drive various health problems (including malaria, diarrhea, and leptospirosis outbreaks), displacement due to floods and sea-level rise, large-scale property damage, biodiversity loss, widespread famine, and even dents on stock markets. The total costs of all these impacts have been found to be enormous, costing the world more than $1.2 trillion a year and wiping 1.6 percent annually from global GDP. This is one of the reasons many companies and governments have been very active in promoting green technologies and in promoting environmentally friendly industrial and household activities to lessen, slow down, or even completely eradicate the potential hazards climate change can bring.

A unique Caribbean experience: Laidback and unspoiled Vieques

One of the most popular holiday destinations for spring breakers and families alike are the Caribbean Islands. It consists of an archipelago in the Caribbean Sea, a large arm of the Atlantic Ocean. Because of their natural beauty, year after year hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to these islands. The clear blue waters, white sandy beaches, and warm tropical climate make them a year-round summer destination. However, there are some vacation-goers who may shy away from the Caribbean because of the large crowds. Luckily, there is an island in the Caribbean which is just perfect for their preferences.

 

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The Vieques is a 21-mile long and 4-mile wide island.  In terms of land area, it is very identical to the nearby (and more popular) Saint Martin.  The main difference lies in the number of tourists. Annually, 70,000 people visit Vieques, while its neighboring island would easily number in the millions. For the former, the numbers can only mean two things: unspoilt beaches and a lot of elbow room. Plus, it’s one of the very few islands in the world to have a bioluminescent bay, a beach that glows neon blue every night.

 

Granted, Vieques is not one of the most known or most luxurious islands in the Caribbean, but it can give tourists a different kind of experience that can’t be found anywhere else. They have an ocean so blue and so clear that you can see right to the bottom. It’s also perfect for sailing on one’s very own boat, drinking out in the open sea while grilling a sumptuous steak. Since there aren’t a lot of people on the beach, visitors will be able to feel like they have their very own private Caribbean beach.

 

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The likes of Bermuda, Dominica, and the British Virgin Islands are also stunning places to visit, with relatively fewer visitors compared to the likes of Cuba and Dominican Republic but with equally gorgeous natural scenery to boast of. In addition, these are islands with thriving financial industries, which means that they have well-developed infrastructure and First World-level public services.

Tiny but mighty: The world’s richest small countries

The likes of the United States, Canada, and Australia are huge countries with substantial natural resources, making it relatively ‘easy’ for them to amass enormous fortune (along with many other factors, of course). However, large area does not always equate to great wealth on a per-person basis. In an eclectic world of big economic events and heavy emphasis on globalization, wealthy small jurisdictions have seemed like an anomaly. They have very little resources and a limited manpower, and yet they are home to a significant number of millionaires and billionaires. Below are some of the planet’s tiniest countries that defied so many odds and eventually succeeded in the end:

 

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Monaco

Strategically located between France and Italy in their Riviera regions, Monaco is home to a Grand Prix and the Super Yacht Show as well as one of the world’s biggest gambling scenes. It is a popular holiday destination for the rich and famous that even if it is only about half the size of the Central Park in New York City, it boasts of an average income per person of more than $180,000.

 

The Bahamas

With an economy primarily driven by luxury tourism and offshore banking, The Bahamas is among the richest countries in the Caribbean. It has a population of just above a third of a million, but is frequented by millions of tourists each year to stay in its world-class luxury hotels and resorts. Majority of these visitors arrive via cruise ships.

 

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Bermuda

Although technically not a country (it is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom), Bermuda is a highly impressive administrative unit. This small Atlantic island has a population of just around 65,000, but has one of the highest income per capita in the world according to the World Bank. It has a thriving tourism sector and is considered a major offshore financial center, being home to some of the world’s largest offshore financial services companies. Many international companies headquartered in this island benefit from its zero corporate income tax.

 

Singapore

One of the world’s greatest success stories, Singapore—which covers an area of only 720 square kilometers (some of it are reclaimed)—currently enjoys a status of being a global financial hub. With a stable politics, business-friendly environment, a booming tourism sector, excellent infrastructure, strategic location, and a highly educated cosmopolitan population, this South-East Asian powerhouse is a force to be reckoned with.

 

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Andorra

Nestled in the Pyrenees mountain range between France and Spain, Andorra is home to around 270 hotels and 400 restaurants. Those are pretty impressive numbers considering that this tiny landlocked nation only has around 85,000 residents.  With more than 10 million visitors arriving each year (easily dwarfing the local population), Andorra unsurprisingly enjoys massive tourism revenues.

 

These small countries are a living testament that wealth is not always about having the best resources or the largest labor pool. Becoming rich sometimes boils down to proper strategies, hard work, smart decisions, extensive research, and learning from the mistakes of others.