Farhad Manjoo has written a piece headlined "What Eduardo Saverin owes America. (Hint: Nearly everything.)" It's about how the young Facebook entrepreneur immigrated to the United States from Brazil in order to avoid kidnapping and extortion from thugs.
The Saverins did well and he ended up at Harvard. Manjoo argues that he owes his success to the U.S. government. The background to this story is that the U.S. government has taken on the extortion and thuggery role, by trying to take hundreds of millions of dollars Saverin earned, and so the Singapore-based Saverin decided to renounce his U.S. citizenship.
Would Eduardo Saverin have been successful anywhere else? Maybe, but not as quickly, and not as spectacularly. It was only thanks to America—thanks to the American government’s direct and indirect investments in science and technology; thanks to the U.S. justice system; the relatively safe and fair investment climate made possible by that justice system; the education system that educated all of Facebook’s workers, and on and on—it was only thanks to all of this that you know anything at all about Eduardo Saverin today.
Manjoo says that this isn't fair. Worse, it's "ungrateful and it's indecent." So Manjoo comes up with a list of all the ways that the U.S. government is responsible for his entrepreneurial success and deserves to take a cut of hundreds of millions of dollars for it.
First and most obviously, he lived a life of relative safety in Miami, something that wasn’t guaranteed for him in Brazil. Second, also obvious: If Saverin hadn’t come to America, he wouldn’t have met Mark Zuckerberg, and—not to put too fine a point on it—if Saverin hadn’t met Zuckerberg, Saverin wouldn’t be Saverin.
Third: Harvard. Zuckerberg and his cofounders met in the dorms, and while Harvard is a nominally private institution, it enjoys significant funding and protections from the government. In 2011, Harvard received $686 million, about 18 percent of its operating revenue, from federal grants; that’s almost as much as it received from student tuition.
Fourth is the government's role in creating the Internet, Fifth is the judicial system.
Gee, it's almost like Saverin had nothing whatsoever to do with his own success.
This serfdom model is so deeply unattractive, isn't it? So un-American. Besides, now that other countries can compete more easily for talent and capital, it's a waste of time. Why waste time whining when you could work to create a more competitive or fair taxation policy?