Historically, whenever a nation or empire is in its death throes, there’s still a great deal of prosperity and good living to be had. For the moment, life remains good. But as a dramatic decline approaches, governments begin to remove the rights of the individual.
First, capital controls are implemented, limiting the ability to expatriate wealth. (This is already well under way in most First World countries.)
Then, migration controls are implemented, making it difficult or impossible to physically exit the troubled country. This is typically done by refusing new passports and renewals, and confiscating existing passports due to “inappropriate” or “non-allowable” travel plans. (This has begun, but is not fully implemented.)
Of course, once an exit is refused, the writing is clearly on the wall, and the point at which conditions become intolerable has arrived. But it’s now too late to effect an exit.
And again, this is nothing new. For millennia, governments in decline have attempted to trap their more productive citizens (and their wealth) within the country’s borders.
Create an exit plan before it’s necessary to implement it. Get all your ducks in a row. Then, if an event arrives suddenly on your doorstep that confirms that it’s time to make a move, it can be done quickly. (Those who hesitate may be trapped.)
The greater the level of freedom a people possess, the less they can be drained by their government.
Conversely, the more power a government can attain over a people, the more they can squeeze… and get away with it.
But as a nation approaches a systemic collapse, the sheep must be kept from straying to other pastures and, for millennia, governments have created pens to contain them.