Theodoros Rakopoulos
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On the global economy of selling citizenship
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This chapter takes us beyond Cyprus to examine the global market for passports, providing a critical review of all the existing (in 2022) programmes of citizenship by investment in the world. Discussing the details and providing a short history for each, its attention spans cases from the Caribbean to the Middle East and the Pacific. This way, it acts as a critical presentation of the current state of play in the CBI/golden passport industry globally, and in that sense it works both independently from the book and as a standalone key contribution to the sociological debate about the commodification of citizenship. Indeed, it provides a most comprehensive and concise overview of the industry, and is backed by a strong argument to make sense of it, as existing descriptions refrain from critical commentary. Instead, the piece argues that the fact that some countries offer citizenship is the outcome of the relativity of citizenship, and postulates that it is social inequality in both local and global terms that allows for the global golden passport industry to thrive. National and “global” citizenship correlate with global inequality in that they are intricately and dialectically linked. Global inequality on a political level feeds into the formation and development of “global citizenship” and economic citizenship. The economic stratification that exists both within the societies where the applicants come from and across the global scale, trumps citizenship inequality, and establishes citizenship – rather than a marker in the global index of passports – as a tool for the rich.

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Passport island

The market for EU citizenship in Cyprus


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