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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

“There are some things that money can’t buy.” Is citizenship among them? This chapter explores this question by highlighting the core legal and ethical puzzles associated with the surge in cash-for-passport programs. The spread of these new programs is one of the most significant developments in citizenship practice in the past few decades. It tests our deepest intuitions about the meaning and attributes of the relationship between the individual and the political community to which she belongs. This chapter identifies the main strategies employed by a growing number of states putting their visas and passports “for sale,” selectively opening their otherwise bolted gates of admission to the high-net-worth individuals of the world. Moving from the positive to the normative, the discussion then elaborates the main arguments in favor of, as well as against, citizenship-for-sale. The discussion draws attention to the distributive and political implications of these developments, both locally and globally, and identifies the deeper forces at work that contribute to the perpetual testing, blurring, and erosion of the state-market boundary regulating access to membership.

Keywords: citizenship, states, markets, passports, commodification, selective migration, unequal access to membership

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