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Andrew Henderson wrote the #1 best-selling book that redefines life as a diversified,
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Global Citizen • Most Popular

What To Learn From DeSantis Vs. Disney

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It looks like the DeSantis Vs. Disney saga might well be finally drawing to a close.

Disney has taken Ron DeSantis to court. The Florida governor and presidential hopeful can now look forward to fighting a two-front battle against Mickey Mouse and Donald Trump. So if nothing else, he’ll be remembered for that historical first.

Now this isn’t an editorial about whether or not DeSantis was right or wrong because we have no horse in that race. We no longer feel the effects of US politics directly, only through the frustrations of our clients.

But as nomad capitalists – running a firm for entrepreneurs and investors, by entrepreneurs and investors – the Disney V DeSantis battle is indicative of an alarming trend that’s threatening the very fabric of free market capitalism.

How Florida Became Anti-Business

Trouble In The Magic Kingdom

Many decades ago, when Florida was still a swamp, Disney made a real estate deal with the state for land.

But Ron DeSantis wanted to cancel that deal, not for practical reasons, but to score political points.

Now here at Nomad Capitalist, we’re not concerned with the culture wars. Instead, we believe in true free-market conservatism. So anyone who threatens that, particularly politicians, is of major concern to us.

One of the complaints we hear, whether it’s from small business owners or CEOs and even some prominent politicians, is that true free market capitalism is under threat. And not just from the left but also from so-called “crony capitalism.”

This is the kind of system where Jeff Bezos can lobby to have sales tax imposed on e-commerce orders. That doesn’t hurt him because he already has warehouses everywhere.

But if you have an ecommerce business with only one warehouse, that could hurt you severely.

Is that free market capitalism? Is that an example of a flourishing, competitive market where Jeff Bezos gets to lobby politicians to squash his competitors? Is it good for consumers? No, because it’s anti-competitive. And it’s sleazy.

Unfortunately, we’ve also reached a point where everything in the United States has become politicized, and economics and business suffer.

You have conservatives who say they’re against crony capitalism, but only when it suits them; otherwise, they’re quite happy to use the same strongarm tactics to gain political brownie points.

And if political ideology can take precedence over one of America’s most successful corporations, that should set off alarm bells.

This is what happened in Florida. And if Florida continues to act in this fashion, sure it will still continue to be a red state, just the completely wrong shade of red.

Be The Man, Not The Mouse

Whatever DeSantis’ political ideologies are, we believe a man should honor his word.

Your word is your bond.

Those are sacred principles. It’s how we run our business.

It’s how everyone should run their business.

Politicians, increasingly, are scurrying around trying to find votes like rats in a maze chasing bits of cheese. And they’re skirting the rules-based system we live in to achieve this, which is what worries us.

Disney made a deal with the state of Florida – and a deal is a deal.

Because if you made a deal with our company, and 60 years later, someone else owns our company, it wouldn’t matter. That deal still stands. It’s one of the assets and liabilities that would come with the company. So, the new CEO would still have to honor that deal.

That’s how it works.

Same story with Disney. Florida signed a deal that’s valid in perpetuity. So the deal stands regardless of whether the incumbent governor likes them or not.

Ron DeSantis doesn’t like Disney and sought to punish them for ideological reasons.

He took away their city charter in a poorly conceived move that technically left Orange and Osceola counties with something like a billion dollars in bills.

“Oh, we’re gonna fix that,” says the politician. Right. Because you can always trust the politician to honor his word, right?

But really, this isn’t about politics; it’s not about conservative or liberal, or one party versus the other; it’s about protecting the rules-based society we live in, which allows us to enjoy free trade and enterprise based on binding contracts and accepted codes of conduct.

A deal is a deal.

In fact, it’s worth repeating for the trolls who think we’ve gone soft, “oh Nomad Capitalist have started attacking DeSantis so they’ve obviously gone all lefty…”

No we haven’t, the clue is in the name, we’re capitalists. People believe in doing business the right way, so let’s say it one more time.

A deal is a deal is a deal is a deal.

Mickey Mouse Culture Wars

So now the Magic Kingdom is taking DeSantis to court as the rest of the world looks on in amusement.

Is that really all we have to look forward to? Goofy politics and endless Mickey Mouse culture wars? Seriously, are you as tired of this as we are?

Disney is 100% wrong about one thing though; it’s not a small world, after all.

It’s actually quite a large world full of possibilities for those who are wise enough to know when it’s time to call it quits and go where they’re treated best.

That means being in a position where politicians can’t strongarm your company.

Because, at the end of the day, ideologies don’t matter; you can’t truly trust any politician not to flip their position from one moment to the next, so better to keep your business and your investments out of harm’s way.

The government can make whatever laws they want. That’s why they’re the government. They just invented the law. Does that make it right? Well, again, not if you’re a true free-market capitalist.

DeSantis put ideology over free market capitalism, turning his back on the very principles that conservatives claim to espouse.

But here’s the thing. We don’t care if Ron DeSantis wins or loses; it doesn’t matter to us. We don’t live in Florida. We don’t live in the United States. It makes no difference to us other than we call things the way we see them.

That’s the privilege of escaping one country where you have to think in terms of party politics; we just think in terms of right and wrong.

We could get to this point only by escaping the United States and this idea that everything has to be political. Because business shouldn’t be political, business should just be business.

How To Escape The Mouse Trap

DeSantis got into this mess by letting himself get bogged down in the culture wars.

This is what politicians do; they look for ways to appeal to voters first, then worry about the consequences later.

In DeSantis’ case, he established himself as an “anti-woke” figure, which certainly helped get his name out there. And no doubt he will double down on this approach as he goes up against Trump to win the GOP nomination.

Now we don’t necessarily have a problem with being “anti-woke” – many of our clients came to us concerned about the change in American values in general and freedom of speech in particular, and we hear them.

On the other hand, we know a lot of people who are worried about a conservative supreme court taking their freedoms away, and we listen to them too.

Our job is to listen to our clients, understand their needs, draw on our extensive knowledge and expertise in countries all over the world, and help them go where they’re treated best.

Though increasingly, we have a third demographic; traditional conservatives who are sick and tired of push-button social topics stealing focus from important issues like the massive debt ceiling and America’s waning power and economic competitiveness.

They’re worried that these issues won’t ever get the attention they deserve while other nations flourish, and they watch them from afar.

Ultimately, our solution for all three groups is exactly the same…

Go Where You’re Treated Best

If you’re pinning your hopes and your happiness on the results of an election, you’ve already lost.

You need to adopt a winner’s mindset and take control of your destiny, not let the fickle herd decide the fate of you, your family, and your business.

Or you can hope for the best, your candidate wins and you get 48 months before the pendulum swings back and you realize you’ve lost out on tons of opportunities.

Now you can’t get that European golden visa, too late, all gone. You can’t get that cheap second passport because it’s since doubled in value, so instead of having a new citizenship all you’ve actually done is vote for four more years of the IRS.

So don’t wait any longer. If you feel like you don’t belong and you’re constantly at odds with those around you who don’t share the same views, move and go somewhere that shares your views.

Maybe you have concerns about the safety and security of your family, maybe you’re worried about what they’re teaching your kids in school, whatever it may be, going someplace where people feel the same could be the best decision you ever made.

Similarly, suppose you’re a traditional conservative with an entrepreneurial mindset, someone who believes in honoring your word, living within your means, not racking up lots of debt, and having hand-ups, not hand-outs. In that case, you need to ask yourself a tough question. Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself – what am I still doing in America?

Especially when there are so many exciting new frontier markets out there, countries with a true can-do spirit, where the people act smart, work hard, and elect governments that celebrate high achievers rather than penalizing them with high taxes.

Your time is far too precious to be wasted on Mickey Mouse politics – it’s time to man up and create your own Action Plan.


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