Southampton University Libertarian Society


Nationbuilding for Fun and Profit Pt 2 by sconzey
August 28, 2009, 3:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Part 2: A Government

Intuitively this step should be difficult: what is the best form of government? Socialist or Lassiez-faire? Autocratic or Democratic? Despotic or liberal? The answer: It doesn’t matter.

Your job as the landowner of this new country is not to find the perfect government, but to provide a framework within which other people can worry about the perfect government. You provide those services of government that are straightforward and profitable, and let other people worry about the rest.

Fundementally you own a large plot of land unencumbered by legal or political claims. Lease or sell it as you will, but understand that if the land is sold, the “sovereignty” — any right you may hold over that land — is sold with it. (The exception is so called “binding covenants” which are essentially riders in a sales contract which stipulate what the purchaser may and may not do with the land.)

At the bare minimum, you need to provide the following services in a profitable fashion to ensure the smooth running of your country:

1. Police/Army

These are arguably two ends of the same continum, both organisations are tasked with the protection of private property rights and the enforcement of contract law. Instead of being paid for through “tax”, the service is operated at as a subscription with various price options based on the value and size of the estate being protected. Discounts could be given to those willing to volunteer some of their time as reservists or volunteer policemen.

2. Arbitration

The arbitration company rules on contracts, and a simple legal foundation consisting of contract law, protection of private property, maybe copyright and externality-related things like unjust enrichment. This is paid for by taking a cut of any cash payout, or charging a flat-rate fee system — complex financial fraud cases cost more to arbitrate than simple thefts.

3. Infrastructure

A lot of companies already do this but you’d have to kick-start it. Local roads are tied to the houses they connect. A leaseholder on a residential property pays part of his rent towards upkeep of the road outside his house, and in the area, and the right for the use thereof. Major roads and railways can be operated on a toll-based system. You may choose to place restrictions on the usage of your roads — requiring users to pass a driving test, or not exceed certain speeds. Alternatively you may just require users to possess 3rd party insurance, and support the insurance companies in restricting the activities of their subscribers based on their policies — subscribers having an Advanced Driving certification and agree not to exceed 70mph would have cheaper premiums.

As an aside, the work of Mencius Moldbug must be remarked upon. Mr Moldbug has given much thought to the optimal form of contractual governance and has come up with “Patchwork Realms” which are sovereign Joint Stock Corporations. These realms as Mr Moldbug envisages them are maybe unpleasantly nosy — keeping tabs on the activities of their residents to such an extent that many would consider it an inexcusable intrusion, yet they do not become authoritarian because the residents may leave at any time, and authoritarianism is unprofitable.

So your new country has some territory, an efficient infrastructure network paid for non-coercively, your private property is protected and your contracts enforced, disputes are arbitrated, and the whole shebang is safe from outside agression by a well-funded (but private) mercenary force.

Now, what to do with the people already living there? How do you get more of them? How do you get their money? What do you do with it? In the next article, we’ll find out.

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