May 24 • 1M

Utonga is 2.5 times richer than Tonga

Trading sun and sand for snow and skiing makes Tongans over 13 times richer.

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How human beings create value for one another
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Tonga consists of some 170 islands totally 251 square miles with a population of around 100,000. James Cook visited Tonga between 1773 and 1777 and called them the Friendly Islands, because the native inhabitants provided him with necessary supplies and gave him a warm welcome.

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Of the 67,221 Tongans living in the U.S, 18,330 call Utah home. So why do Tongans leave their sunny island for the snows of Salt Lake? In a word: opportunity. GDP per capita in Utah is over 13 times higher than Tonga. This means that the Tongan economy in Utah is over $1.1 billion. If Utonga was a country, its GDP would be 2.5 times larger than Tonga.

Allowing people to immigrate and emigrate enriches all of us. It also puts pressures on governments to treat their citizens with dignity and respect. Voting with your feet is as old as history. Looks like Tonga’s greatest export is Tongans.

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You can learn more about these economic facts and ideas in our forthcoming book, Superabundance, available for pre-order at Amazon. George Gilder calls it a “supremely contrarian book” which overturns “the tables in the temple of conventional thinking” by deploying “rigorous and original data and analysis to proclaim a gospel of abundance. Economics—and ultimately, politics—will be enduringly transformed.”

Gale Pooley is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute and a board member at Human Progress.