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"What are the biggest public choice problems that these experimental communities will have to confront? What other institutional design problems would you anticipate if any?"

Important questions such as these motivated my founding the Free Nation Foundation, in 1993. During the following seven years we held 14 Forums and published a few hundred articles in Formulations. Most of these articles are available on the FNF website.

I don't think secession type movements can sustain on ideology alone. So I'll ignore it momentarily.

My first impression is that Tiebout competition would drive "good" results. Regardless of whether the heads of such movements, "get the rules right," increasing the supply of governance should drive down price. Leaders would want a greater tax base through economic prosperity. Rational expectations plus economic freedom index shazaam! global prosperity.

That's probably a best case scenario. More likely:

Whether the growth / transition periods of these islands was fast or slow would determine their sustainability. It might help to think of young states, post war contexts, post soviet contexts, post natural disaster contexts... geez! wonder why this sparked your interest Pete?

My guess is these experiments would be stuck in a sort of horse race between being captured by existing interests on the one hand and failing to develop on the other. Much like the market place, certain policy baskets can systematically crowd out particular sectors - inexpensive private schools, small scale charity, why not sizes and or types of governments? Maybe existing states are benefiting from economies of scale so these newbies wont be able to provide competitive public goods packages?

My guess is that the market is dynamic in service offerings enough and debilitating in taxation and regulation enough currently that some industry more probably some slough of industries would find some significant gains from moving to a stateless society. Server hosting has been one to date, so were many financial serves essentially - Cayman islands bank accounts and the like.

If small scale experiments had long periods of developing then mechanisms to increase the scale and quicken the pace of development could be ensured through constitutional foresight. But in such a case owners of current capital would have to share the role as Kirznerian entrepreneurs. One could only expect innovation in government when the owners of existing dominant capital stocks also discovered the opportunities for improvement. But only in so far as those benefits of innovation outpace their current benefits gained through the status quo.

Since larger scale sea-steads or sea steads that could develop more quickly would presumably have a better chance of survival than perhaps large scale corporations would fund such projects, such a dominant vested interest in the original stages would likely try to insulate its corporate interests. If firm zero that was attracted to seasteadia was Microsoft and they fronted a bunch of money to build infrastructure etc. I doubt they would be honky dorey if Apple was the next invite.

In this sense the world the world would look a lot like it does now, but hopefully wealthier.

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