Sunday, August 17, 2014

Microstate Design Group

Nearly half of the nations with the top twenty standards of living, according to the CIA Fact Book, are microstates.  Generally, a microstate has an area of less than 5,000 square miles and a population of under 1,000,000 and is generally either partially or completely autonomous from a sponsor state.  The classic example is Liechtenstein which is a sovereign nation but sponsored by Switzerland (the official currency is the Swiss Franc.)  It has the highest standard of living in the world.

All microstates of significance, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Jersey, Isle of Man, Bermuda, Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, appear to have collegial relationships with their sponsor nation and the community of nations, in general.  So, for the most part, microstates do not appear to be something that should be feared.  In fact, I am about to argue that the larger nations should all develop processes that allow disaffected groups to create microstates.  By doing so, the large nations will be legitimzing their claim to sovereignty and also will likely lower the cultural friction within their population.

The process should include the following:
  • The microstate will buy land that it will occupy from current owners.
  • It will compensate any current residents who do not want to be part of the new microstate.
  • The microstate and the sponsor state will negotiate an arrangement by which the sponsor state will provide certain services to the microstate at a negotiated price and will retain certain rights of sovereignty while relinquishing others.  
  • The microstate will likley need to enter into an ongoing payment to compensate the sponsor state for its loss of sovereignty and taxing authority.
  • A series of treaties will be executed, such as visa requirements, trade status, etc.
This process will lead to an orderly and more collegial establishment of the microstate.  It will generally assure the community of nations that the creation of microstates will not lead to the proliferation of rogue states.  

Most Political Philosophers today rely upon some form of Social Contract as justification for the right of nation states to hold authority over its citizens.  However, a contract is coercive if their are no practical alternatives.  By declaring no right to secession, today's nation states are on weak philosophical ground.  By having a practical mechanism for microstate alternatives, nation states, for as long as they are the dominant form of government, will stand on stronger philosophical ground.

The Internet is creating cultural fragmentation and polarization that makes the democratic processes more contentious, often leading to 'gridlock' and, in extreme cases to terrotist acts and/or insurrections.  This is being caused by a relatively small percent of the population with very strong ideological positions that are fundamentally irreconcilable with the mainstream population of the nation state.  Even a small number, say 5% of the population, establishing microstates can reduce political and cultural polarization sufficiently to return a degree of equanimity to the political process. 

As the Information Age civilization emerges, with its Cultures of Affluence, the first principle of political philosophy will become, 'No person should be required to live under a body of laws, programs and policies that he or she considers to be fundamentally unjust.' Few people will assert the opposite, that people should be forced to live under a body of laws, programs and policies that they consider fundamentally unjust.  However, few people can imagine how the problem can practically be solved.  Now we see a way.

To date, microstates have been comprised of ethnic minorities within the sponsor states.  However, as new microstates form, they will be comprised of international populations with shared cultural, social, political and economic values.  The first of these are the planned Libertarian city-states in Honduras.  This will often create a practical benefit to sponsored microstates.  These microstates will be comprised of an International population who have achieved, 'live anywhere' Information Age incomes.  They will become a very lucrative, new trading partner.

New technologies in desalination and alternative energies, such as OTEC and EGS, are making coastal, arid land that historically has been uninhabitable or sparsely populated very attractive for microstates.  Public water use in the U.S. is between 200 and 250 cubic meters per year per capita.  Desalination costs about $0.30 per cubic meter more than groundwater or about $60 to $75 per year per capita.  For an Information Age community, that averages 600,000 USD per year household income that is not significant.

This suggests that Australia, Mexico, Chile, South Africa, Namibia, Saudi Arabia, et alia, are all very attractive locations for microstates.  Again, the new microstates are likely to be comprised of populations that have values very different from the prevailing values of Liberal Democracies.  These will include, but not be limited to Marxists, Libertarians, Gaians, Polyamorists, Polymathicans, Pagans, Eugenicists, Transhumanists, Zeitgeist, etc.

We are entering a period when a profound transformation from an Industrial Age civilization to an Information Age civilization will take place.  Microstates can be crucibles for social, political, economic and cultural experimentation.  They can try new combinations that would be too radical and risky a departure from current institutions.  However, they can be tested safely on smaller scales.

This is an exciting opportunity for thoughtful and intellectually disciplined people to engage in a mutual exploration of the possibilities of mirostates.  For those who wish to participate, we have created a closed Facebook group.  If you are interested in participating, please message me in Facebook or e-mail me at

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