In 1998, Tuvalu managed to license its .tv domain rights to a Hollywood company for triple its yearly GDP, which finally allowed them to get electricity everywhere and pay the $100,000 entry fee to join the United Nations. (That might seem like a lot of money, but it includes membership to their gym.) And thanks to the current obsession with online video content, Tuvalu's .tv stock is soaring higher and higher, with the 11,000-strong nation raking in about $2 million each year.
However, recently, companies are starting to get worried about the longevity of a .tv domain. Not because Tuvalu is considering pulling their license, but because the islands are slowly but surely sinking into the ocean, thanks to climate change. And when Tuvalu disappears under the waves, so will .tv -- at least until some entrepreneur establishes their own microstate and calls it Televisionstan.
Nauru Will Recognize Your Rogue State For Cash
When Nauru's bird s**t economy took a nosedive, it was desperate for cash, even the dirty kind. First it tried becoming a tax haven. When that failed, it tried its hand at becoming a national safety school, being paid by Australia to take in some of the refugees they didn't want. But then the itty-bitty island nation got a jolt of inspiration and started supplementing its income with some light international bribery. Nauru now specializes in striking Instagram-style diplomatic sponsorship deals. It will lend legitimacy to generally unrecognized states by acknowledging their sovereignty -- for the right price.
Or not. In July 2002, the island received $130 million from China to de-recognize Taiwan as an independent country ... only to re-recognize it in 2005 after Taiwan gave them a better offer. In 2008, despite having zero diplomatic ties in the region, Nauru backed faraway Eastern European Kosovo as an independent state, against Russia's wishes.
But corrupt game recognize game, so instead of seeking to punish Nauru, Russia saved some allowance. In 2009, Nauru recognized the sovereignty of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two rogue Georgian provinces, for the bargain price of $50 million in Russian "humanitarian aid." Thrown in with their sponsorship package: Nauruan officials will even come over as "international observers" any time new "countries" like Abkhazia hold elections. We can only assume that Nauru will continue hustling its way out of starvation, at least until it too is swallowed up by the ocean in a few decades.
E. Reid Ross has a couple books, Nature Is The Worst: 500 Reasons You'll Never Want To Go Outside Again and Canadabis: The Canadian Weed Reader, both available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Jordan Breeding also writes for a whole mess of other people, the twitter, and a weird amount of gas station bathrooms.