Let’s not talk politics. As a matter of fact, let’s transcend politics.
While the left and right argue relentlessly over the predicaments in the US government, behind the scenes there are average citizens solving complex problems. There are people realizing we don’t need to brood over the current political systems we have anymore, we need to transcend them. While we can politicize everything to argue, threaten, grieve, ban, tax, etc… triggering emotional responses from both the left and right, we can use innovative intelligence to solve problems without the need for the constant conflict of our political differences.
What a foreign concept: how can we work together without the political systems we have grown up with, that we are so familiar with? The Republican-Democrat paradigm of the US is heritage; it is a tradition branded into our very Being. Yet, we are beginning to see the precarious effects of such a limited system, and perhaps it is the time to look for better alternatives that are presenting themselves in various ingenious forms.
The objective of communicating this concept is not to tear the current system down. While I could write a quality encyclopedia of my opinion on the treachery of this system of government, I would rather do something more pragmatic. I want to build a better system. I want to spread awareness of non-political strategies that help people cooperate and live peacefully together. I want to tell you about the creative ingenuity that operates behind the scenes that is not political, yet manages to create effective alternatives to evolve our current systems of living together. I want to share my vision of the valid potential of improving systems of governance, the strategies that exist, the benefits it could bring, the ways it operates now, and how everyone can participate (regardless of your personal positions on politics/morality).
A broad definition for any action that builds resolution and creates better options for people without the use/help of government authority is called Agorism. This comes in many different flavors and scopes, but in this article I want to mainly focus on a large-scale appliance of Agorism that is the threshold for human communion in the future: startup societies. Let us explore this idea that allows us to coexist peacefully despite our potential differences in morality/politics.
Startup societies, private cities, special economic zones, micro-nations, seasteads: all of these are words that may not sound very exciting, but they get me buzzing like a bee. I feel perhaps as exhilarated as the people who first used the internet felt: seeing such innovative technology that the world has yet to awaken to the massive changes it will bring in decades to come, shifting mankind into a whole new paradigm of living together. And that is precisely what these things are creating: a new market of living together. The effects that will come through this technology propose an unparalleled advance in freedom, peace, and the efficient use of resources.
Imagine living in a defined territory where the government services you value are provided for you (i.e. the protection of your life, liberty, property) with no political conflict about the government. In this territory, you are not a subject to the government or the majority’s will. When you (voluntarily) chose to live in this society, you and the service provider signed an agreement validating the duties and rights between you and the service provider. You are not property of a government; there is no need for politics. Rather, you are a contracting party and are on equal footing with a secured legal position with your service provider. You are free to leave at any time, should you decide you no longer resonate with the system of governance you are living in.
A startup society is exactly what it sounds like: an independent society that operates voluntarily between the citizens and the creators of the society. It is a platform that allows for more individuals to apply and test their political/economic models on individuals who consent to participate in their idea. It is also a platform that allows for people with different ideas to exist peacefully together. Furthermore, it is a medium where new governance systems can be developed based around the satisfaction of the customer and driven by competition.
The true glory here is not just creating experimental communities to evolve governance systems, but the natural drive of competition that it creates. As more startup societies are created (whether in the form of private cities, special economic zones, seasteads, etc.), not only are we able to create models for new ideas, but we create a competition between startup societies and existing nation-states alike. The creators of these societies (as any other entrepreneurs) have a lot of incentive to provide the best services to their citizens/customers, as their ‘business’ (their nation and their revenue) depend FULLY on the satisfaction of the people living there. How radically different of a system is this, as compared to existing government systems that rely solely on force and violence to achieve their goals? Existing States have no incentive to operate optimally for the people, as they receive their funding and power from the threatening of violence; they have no consequences for executing bad or destructive policies.
Here we see the fundamental difference between these two systems: a voluntary entrepreneurship that depends on the satisfaction of its customers (on equal footing with said entrepreneurs) to operate, giving it much incentive to provide good services to its citizens (without politics, no less) VS a government system which thrives using a monopoly on force, divides its citizens with political agendas, and has no incentive to improve (regardless of who is in office) because no matter how bad or violent its policies are, the subjects are forced to pay and support it
In the next few decades, we are bound to see this market of ‘living together’ expand in many different directions. It will soon give existing nation-states a run for their money, for they will begin to lose subjects and revenue to the countries that are providing better, cheaper, and more peaceful services. They will be forced to reform bad policies, or lose money and support as people recognize there is no longer a need for government to act as a parasite on the individual for it’s optimal function.
Another benefit of the opening of this market is the ability to try different ideas. While the concept of a market for living together seems to be quite decentralized and Libertarian in nature, the framework of a startup society allows for any type of policy to be tested, even Socialist ones. The power of voluntary participation opens up a new realm of possibilities for various options of governance to coexist peacefully, without people having to suffer in systems that don’t tolerate their ideas.
In the words of Socrates, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”. It is time to stop brooding over an outdated system that wreaks violence and division, and build something better. There are alternatives all around us, and the key is to create better systems so that the old ones become obsolete, and inevitably collapse in on themselves. Humans must move forward with intelligence, creativity, and compassion. Just like the remarkable people of the past, we must think outside of the box for solutions to our current problems. Our current systems of governance are the greatest barriers to human evolution and peace. We must not let this paradigm of politics absorb all of our energy anymore. We can use this energy to construct something better for ourselves and future generations. Do not be discouraged by the fruitless drudgery of politics. Let us transcend politics and current political systems through the creative innovation of human intelligence.
One day there will arise an experimental community that works much more efficiently than the society we are living in. A viable alternative will then be before us.”
Carl Sagan (1934 – 1996), American scientist
For more information on startup societies:
Startup Societies Foundation
Free Private Cities
The Seasteading Institute
Free Cities Podcast