Modern economics is infinitely bizarre. We all know it. I'm not here to prove it; I'm just here to provide one more example of it — and the example is as follows. You're an educated, middle-class professional: you've lived in a developed country your whole life; and now you've moved to a developing country. Your work is 99% carried out online, and your clients live all over the world. So you move to this less-affluent country, and you continue to work for your customers in the First World. Suddenly, your home is a dirt-cheap developing nation, and your income is in the way of formidable developed-nation currency.
I've just finished a six-month backpacking tour of South America, and one of my backpacking friends down there is doing just this. He's a web designer (similar to my own profession, that of web developer): essentially the ideal profession for working from anywhere in the world, and for having clients anywhere else in the world. He's just starting to settle down in Buenos Aires, Argentina: a place with a near-Western quality of infrastructure; but a country where the cost of living and the local currency value is significantly lower than that of Western nations. He's the perfect demonstration of this new global employment phenomenon in action. All he needs is a beefy laptop, and a reasonably phat Internet connection. Once he has that, he's set up to live where he will, and to have clients seek him out wherever he may be.
The result of this setup? Well, I'm no economist — so correct me if I'm wrong — but it would seem that the result must invariably be a paradise existence, where you can live like a king and still spend next to nothing!
To tell the truth, I'm really surprised that I haven't heard much about this idea in the media thus far. It seems perfectly logical to me, considering the increasingly globalised and online nature of life and work. If anyone has seen any articles or blog posts elsewhere that discuss this idea, feel free to point them out to me in the comments. I also can't really think of any caveats to this setup. As long as the nature of your work fits the bill, there should be nothing stopping you from "doing the paradise thing", right? As far as I know, it should be fine from a legal standpoint, for most cases. And assuming that your education, your experience, and your contacts are from the Western world, they should be happy to give you a Western standard of pay — it should make no difference to them where you're physically based. Maybe I'm wrong: maybe if too many people did this, such workers would simply end up getting exploited, the same as locals in developing countries get exploited by big Western companies.
But assuming that I'm not wrong, and that my idea can and does work in practice — could this be the next big thing in employment, that we should expect to see happening over the next few years? And if so, what are the implications for those of us that do work online, and that are candidates for this kind of life?