Promatia, Seasteading and Thinking Outside the Box of Governance
The world is changing. The traditional nation-state model that we, our parents, our grandparents and even our great grandparents were used to, is staring into the abyss. For decades now, the people of these governments, have been growing ever more disenchanted with the system (increasing unemployment, inflation, inequality, war, corruption, gridlock, regulations... I could go on but you get the picture), yet they feel hopeless, as there are no alternatives immediately available. I can't call the South African government and cancel my contract with them - it is basically a monopoly.
Why are there no alternatives to our current government?
It's complicated, but here is an immensely simplified explanation of why. Firstly, where would someone wanting to set up an alternative government start. All land is claimed. Secondly, how would you find the money. New governments are a niche industry. Finally, how would you protect yourself. Existing providers don't like competition.
These are just some of the reasons why people are not innovating in government - the cost to entry is just too damn high!
So I guess we just have to recognise that we are stuck as a society, doomed to face a future of economic stagnation, lack of innovation and decline ...
We can think outside the box of governance.
Firstly, why does a government need recognised territory on land? After all, if it is too expensive to build yourself a home in San Francisco, you look elsewhere, to a city that is cheaper. That's what existing governance entrepreneurs should do as well - instead of trying to recreate the same model of government on land (which has a high cost to entry), they should look at places like the sea, cyberspace, Antarctica or space. Now, Antarctica might be a bit cold for some people and space societies might still be 50 years or so down the line (don't rule them out though), but the sea and cyberspace are perfect canvases for governance experimentations.
So let's talk about the sea. Seasteading (the use of floating platforms on the oceans to build autonomous forms of governments) is something we will see happening very soon. Seasteads are one of the easiest ways to establish a sovereign country - you just put together a couple dozen platforms, proclaim your independence and then send your letter to the UN and wait for a reply (although I warn you, it may take a while). Since the open oceans are terra nullius, your independence could not be disputed with anyone legally. NOTE: some countries don't follow international law too well, so don't establish yourself close to a hostile nation like Thailand or North Korea).
Another way one could think outside the box of governance, is to deconstruct what government does (healthcare, security, passports etc.) and allow for a free market in providers. At first glance, this would seem like an anarcho-capitalist utopia, however that would not necessarily be the case on further inspection. Different high-performing governments (like Estonia) could export their governance services worldwide. For example, I could get security from a private company in South Africa, my health insurance in France and my virtual citizenship from Estonia.
The rise of virtual/crypto currencies, also means it is much more difficult to tax citizens and this is one way we could undermine current governments, in order to gain more choice in life. It takes the power of creating and taking money away from governments and I am of the opinion, that future scholars will look at the separation of money and state in the same way we view the separation of church and state.
And that brings us to Promatia, the modern solution to governance. Promatia is quite unique, as it does not exactly look at completely abolishing the nation state, but reforming it in a way that is still a viable organism in the 21st century. Experimenting in new ways to engage itself with citizens, being economically competive and allowing for innovation to flourish, is something that most of the world's governments are struggling to achieve, yet Promatia… Well, Promatia might not achieve that either, yet if it is able to test new ideas (in a way that does not negatively impact those who are not part of the project), then we all stand to benefit, as other countries will replicate Promatia's success stories and avoid the disasters.
In closing, I believe we will see a world in 50-100 years time, that consists of everything from "from nation states to stateless nations" (to quote the legal professor Tom W. Bell) and this will allow for a tsunami of ideas and experiments - a Second Renaissance, perhaps - that will create the legal foundations that could underpin our societies for thousands of years. So please, join me, Promatia and everyone else in this movement, so that we can open up the laboratory of governance experimentation to the world. We have the power.