Categorized | News, Opinion


This article from the Wall Street Journal online is revealing:

Estonia is the 132nd-smallest country in the world by land mass, yet it produces more start-ups per head of population than any other country in Europe. It has a population the size of Copenhagen but has one of the world’s most advanced e-governments.

Again, it looks like President Ilves is on the cutting edge of this tech revolution:

The leadership has been clear and consistent. President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the country’s fourth president in modern times, wouldn’t be offended to be described as a geek. On the desk in his personal office is a 27-inch iMac; he owns a MacBook Air and an iPad2 as well. He used to program in assembler.

Mr. Ilves recently got into a very public spat with the economist Paul Krugman. It says something about his embracing of technology that the head of state chose Twitter as his battlefield. How many other world leaders write their own tweets?

Estonia has a flat income tax, with few if any exceptions:

The country is lauded for its flat tax, which helped build support for e-government, said Mr. Ilves. “If you combine a flat tax with a computerized system you end up with a system that is easy to computerize because it is flat, and because it is flat and computerized then people can—and indeed do—do their taxes really quickly.”


While many have praised Estonia’s flat tax, at a recent start-up conference in the capital’s technical university complaints were raised over the lack of arrangements for stock options, a favored tool for attracting talent. Was there any chance that this most favored of sectors would get special dispensation?

Not a chance, said Mr. Ilves. “No exceptions to anything. It is the exceptions that end up killing you,” he said.

Once again, it seems that Estonian economic policies attract business to the small nation with allegedly terrible weather.

When a Greek leaves a sunny country filled with olive trees, magnificent beaches and warm sea foam, when he leaves a place where summer lasts for seven months and moves to a country where he is held captive by a seemingly endless winter, it’s bound to raise a few questions.  ***  And there is one question that affects both countries: Why is the one society driving people away, while the other draws them in?


He eventually gave up hope and fled to Estonia, taking a series of detours to get there. His customers still owe him €45,000, which he owes his bank, which probably owes other banks.


As he [restauranteur Loukas Nakosmatis] tells his story, Nakosmatis is sitting outside under a blue evening sky, with Elias, Kostas and Krikor, fellow Greek expatriates, in front of the “Artemis,” a small street restaurant he has opened in the pedestrian zone of the Estonian capital Tallinn. The business is going well, and Nakosmatis has begun to pay off his debts. A waiter is serving the guests at the next table: souvlaki, a mixed grill platter, Ouzo and Greek salad.

Nakosmatis started his business in 15 minutes!  The government offices are all within a few blocks of one another.  In fact, der Spiegel reported that Skype is an Estonian company (now owned by Microsoft).  It might be good for Virginia to find a way to do business with Estonia – we are the most business-friendly state and the most business-friendly European nation ought to work together.  Maybe a Virginia law firm needs to set up an office in Tallinn.  Bound to be an ambitious associate willing to brave the weather (especially for this scenery) to get ahead!

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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