50 Inventions


Passport_002The passport is included in the 50 inventions that shaped the modern economy. The modern passport is a relatively recent invention. For most of history, travel documents consisted of a letter of protection, rather than a formal booklet. Governments used these documents to prevent skilled workers from leaving, as well as to control the movement of people from town to town.

It looked like passports were going to disappear in the early 20th century, since free movement of labor ensures that resources will be used most productively. Instead, World War 1 and the resulting concern for security motivated governments to implement additional restrictions on the movement of people. The restrictions evolved into modern passports and border controls, along with the restrictions on where we can work, live, and travel that we live with today.


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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