Five Flag Theory

Bobby hadn’t enjoyed his first session of Speed Networking at the New Ideas Show. The lawyer had been a parasite, wanting to target victims of large-scale disasters. The term “climate sucker” sprung to mind. Bobby wondered if he had invented it.

The next person to sit opposite him for a two minute session – a minute each to introduce themselves and their ideas – seemed a curious fellow. He was a middle aged man in bright yellow blazer, blue trousers and green hat, with a black and red flower in his buttonhole. The bell rang as soon as he sat down, and they began conversing. “Can you guess my profession?” said the man. “Go on! I bet you can’t!”

“Are you a professional clown?” said Bobby.

“Professional clown! Ha! Ha! Many people say that. Actually I’m the opposite – most unprofessional! Ha! Ha! And most sober. I’m an accountant.”

He performed some hat tricks, rapidly swapping his green hat for a bronze hat, then silver hat, then golden hat, before returning the green hat. “I’m trying to attract new clients. Do you find me amusing?”

Before Bobby could answer, he produced five flags and waved them around his head. “I wish to create a more colourful image for my profession. We get unfair press. It can be stifling for one’s creativity!”

“But you need to have a reason for what you’re doing,” said Bobby. “If there isn’t a purpose behind your display, people won’t take you seriously.”

The accountant was taken aback by this. He stopped waving the flags.

“Sir, I was only jesting when I stated I was unprofessional.  I am highly proficient and most professional. My flower, for example, symbolizes the state of your bank account: in the black or in the red. My hats show the stages of an ideal investment career: from being a green investor, to earning bronze, silver, and ultimately golden returns.”

Bobby wasn’t convinced. “Then what’s with the flags? They are just distracting people.”

“Five flag theory is a valuable tax strategy. For an individual to retain sovereignty over his affairs, he should have his citizenship, residence, business, assets, and playground all in different countries, with appropriate structural advantages. I am promoting the concept of world citizenry, rather than narrow affiliations to the present paradigm of nation-states.

“When you create an us, you also create a them. I am for global equality in all matters – especially financial ones. Anyway, can’t a man have some fun at work?”

The accountant seemed like a nice fellow. Bobby had upset him and he was keen to make amends. He restarted the conversation and asked, “And where have you planted your five flags?”

He said, “Here in Lucerne of course. Five different countries? No thanks! The truth be told, I am a rather conventional fellow.”


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