Politics

"Let a Thousand Nations Bloom"

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If you dig thinking about the possibilities for increased liberty through experiments in government, you might want to check out the new idea blog "Let a Thousand Nations Bloom" in which the possibilities are debated, featuring, among other thinkers, Patri Friedman, who pushes artificial floating nations under the rubric "Seasteading."

Here's how the blog defines its purpose: "Like any technology, democracy was once a radical innovation, thought unlikely to work.  Now, it is the industry standard.  Our aim is to find, analyze, and debate the innovations in governance today that may become the standards of tomorrow, especially those that utilize the best technology for social organization ever developed–the market."

For a sample of what you'll find there, see FLOW chief Michael Strong on a "Cambrian explosion in government":

The point is not so much whether or not libertarians should give up entirely on electoral politics, or whether or not a "libertarian" state will remain "libertarian," both of which have been debated here. The real point is more along the lines of "What kinds of legal system innovation will we see once we have a Cambrian explosion in government?" And based on the analogy with the IT industry given above, my bet is the over time, if we truly had a "Cambrian explosion," we would see truly extraordinary innovations in legal system creation that would result in something analogous to Moore's law in human happiness and well-being. Moreover, I predict that we will be as poor at predicting these outcomes as an intelligent observer in 1900 could have predicted the technological achievements of the 20th century. Once entrepreneurial forces are released, we will see improvements in legal system innovation that compare in significance to improvements in technological innovation.

Strong realizes that such innovations in governing styles won't necessarily lead to more libertarian outcomes, though.

See Friedman, me, Peter Thiel, and others hashing over seasteading at Cato Unbound last month. And look for a feature story by me on seasteading in a soon-to-come issue of Reason magazine.

NEXT: Obama and the Alternative Energy Fiasco

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  1. Wasn’t this “Seasteading” tried before? And didn’t a gunboat from some small time king’s navy and take it over? And wasn’t there looting and buried treasure with a curse on it? Or did I just make that last part up?

  2. Naga—Please await my forthcoming Reason feature for the answers to all of your questions.

  3. To have this happen we would essentially have to have a de-monopolization of government.

    (yeah right)

    As much as I would like to see that happen, it won’t. The existing governments are vested interests that will want to shut down any viable competition. The US, for instance, would just send the Navy after seasteaders that were tax havens/drug legalized/etc. And who would stop them?

  4. I will, m’lord. Will there be wenches and plunder?

  5. I claim the entire North Atlantic ocean floor as my personal domain. Moreso, the surface above shall be considered the equivilant of airspace and under similar jurisdiction.

    The borders of my claim shall be established by charting the flow of my urine evey time I peed in the water at Hampton Beach…

  6. That was cool. Now let me fix my tags…

  7. ROFL!!!!!!!

  8. I have traveled widely in Concord.

  9. ROFL!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. –>Aaargh!!!

  11. What the hell is going on in here?

  12. What kind of legal system creation? Let’s put this theory into action.

    Is there a lawyer out there that will take my case pro bono and argue it all the way to the Supreme Court (and win) that the the majority of laws written by Congress are unconstitutional? I think the Constitution is on my side, but it is interpreted by agenda driven justices. So if someone wants to take my case in Nick vs USA, let me know.

  13. Stupid tags…

  14. Ohh, Branybuck just fucked up the website. Or whoever closed that comment tag did.

  15. What the hell are you people doing to the website?

  16. Wasn’t me.

  17. You do realize, Brandybuck, that you just showed that entire swaths of the posts in a thread can be swallowed by the appropriate posting of comment tags.

    Reason web admin(s), you might want to get right on filtering comment tags out of postings.

  18. I have traveled widely in Concord.

  19. Yeah! Get off my kool aid, brandybuck! That’s not my email address!

  20. Yeah, just like we’ll have a “Cambrian explosion” of sex. I think people will keep fucking one another pretty much the way they always have.

  21. Epi, this site wouldn’t have the same feel if we couldn’t put raw HTML in our posts anymore. I just wish the blink tag worked.

  22. I just wish the blink tag worked.

    Or the marquee tag.

  23. I’m not saying remove all HTML tags, Warty, you huge douche. Just block comment tags or anyone, at will, can make sections of the thread disappear.

  24. anyone, at will, can make sections of the thread disappear.

    Surely no one we know would be capable of such a dick move. Surely.

  25. If the feds or state government wanted to raise big bucks, they’d start selling unimproved land with an anarcho-capitalist deed: The government in question would provide no services whatsoever for anyone residing or working on that land, and would not charge any taxes or fees, ever. It would be up to the owners and residents to provide for courts, police, fire, roads, etc. It would essentially be a quasi-sovereign nation.

    The government in question could probably sell otherwise worthless desert lots for tens of millions of dollars an acre if they did this, especially if it was the feds making this offer.

  26. Surely no one we know would be capable of such a dick move. Surely.

    Uhhhhhh. So uhmmmmm. How, I mean, what comment tag would set the page to FULL RETARD? Just asking.

  27. I’ll renew my subscription to Reason (which has lapsed for no particular, well, reason, so put down your drinks) if they’ll give me the blink tag for Hit & Run comments. Not for the rest of you–just for me, natch.

  28. Pro Lib: I’ll fight you for it.

  29. prolefeed, your idea makes a lot of good sense, which is why it will never, ever happen.

  30. Xeones,

    Please. No offense, but you don’t know the power of the blink tag.

  31. prolefeed, without the ability to fight off the next administration when they decided to annex your land back (For The Children), your quasi-secessionary deed wouldn’t be worth squat.

    Once you smuggle some nukes into prole nation, you should be good to go. Or stay, I guess.

  32. Ahoy, there, mateys, I be Mad Max of the Seven Seas, the duly-elected President of the Jolly Roger Republic, a seaborne nation.

    I travel the seven seas engaging in voluntary exchange. For instance, I exchange gunfire with other ships. Sometimes the cargo on these ships ends up in my hold, but there’s nobody can say I didn’t obtain it voluntarily. Those who witnessed the transactions are telling no tales, if ye know what I mean.

    Arrr.

  33. Mad Max is a resident of Somalia?

  34. About this seasteading discussion: Why do I have to leave my home to secede? Heck, I’m going to do it right now. I hereby declare the Tampa Bay Area to have seceded from the United States! It will now be known as Mojitobia.

  35. Pro Lib,

    Don’t be surprised when my minions arrive to destroy your little kingdom and capture you for a ritualistic strangling in my capital during my triumph. Just saying.

  36. the best technology for social organization ever developed-the market.

    And with technologies come schematics. The simplest bartering system has rules governing every aspect of it. Yet as trade and markets have become more complex–to the extent that clever people invented ludicrously arcane financial instruments that make wealth generation a matter not of hard work or skill but of access and moral flexibility–voices only grew louder for less regulation.

  37. Naga,

    Minions or traitors? Better hope they don’t like rum, tequila, or balloon-smugglers.

  38. My minions will be driven by loot. Not loyalty. That and the fact that I’ll probably have to make an example of quite a few of their buddies first. The dread Lord Protector demands nothing less than total obidience!

  39. Yet as trade and markets have become more complex–to the extent that clever people invented ludicrously arcane financial instruments that make wealth generation a matter not of hard work or skill but of access and moral flexibility–voices only grew louder for less regulation.

    Good thing politics is full of hard-working folk with inflexible morals and no special access or anything, so we can all be ruled and regulated by people who are better than us. It’d be a damn shame if we lived in a country where just ANYONE could get ahead by working hard.

  40. Naga, what is “obidience?”

  41. Obid is a combination of the Roman name, Ovid, and the Latin word, ibid. It means “look at my gonads.”

  42. That’s a trick, Pro Lib. Naga doesn’t have gonads.

  43. Not visible, anyway.

  44. 1) Bioshock is a video game, not a blueprint for the future

    2) Objectivists were the bad guys in it

  45. featuring, among other thinkers, Patri Friedman, who pushes artificial floating nations under the rubric “Seasteading.”

    Hey! I went to school with that guy! Apparently we emerged with differing sets of damage.

  46. I’m uncomfortable with all this hubbub about my gonads.

  47. *turns red with embarrassment*

    obidience

    I uh. It’s something SugarFree . . . ummmmm . . . its. . . . . Damn you and your Law, joe! Damn it straight to hell!

  48. Bioshock is a video game, not a blueprint for the future

    Next you’ll be telling us there’s no such place as Liberty City.

  49. I’m still playing Fallout 3. This time, as a bad dude. I’ve enslaved several people already. Is it a template for the future?

  50. You do realize, Brandybuck, that you just showed that entire swaths of the posts in a thread can be swallowed by the appropriate posting of comment tags.

    Heh! That was pretty cool. Wonder what other cool things you can do with tags. Close divisions? Start spans? If someone figures out how to embed pics, we’re doomed!

  51. Oh no! Please don’t let these valuable comment threads be destroyed! Whatever will we do without the handful of regulars masturbating to the sweetness of their own self-importance and irrelevant, unintelligent bullshit?

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