Olivier Janssens and Roger Ver, believed to hold or held at some point more than 200,000 bitcoins, have announced plans to form an actual country based on the principle of non-aggression. Janssens says:
“We have backing of over 100 million USD in private capital and are committed to the mission of realizing the world’s first Free Society.”
They plan to buy land from a sovereign government in US, Europe or Asia, but do not reveal any further information, stating “for confidentiality reasons we are unable to disclose any names at this point.”
Apparently some governments are interested, with Janssens stating “when we started contacting governments, interest was much higher than initially anticipated,” but any government would have to be very forward looking.
That’s because the country would operate on a fully voluntary basis. That means “enforcement will happen through private arbitration, competing court systems and private law enforcement,” the project says.
The idea is that rather than paying a centralized government in taxes to provide the services it does, you pay private companies, thus distributing power.
The complexities are considerable, especially where law is concerned. In this utopian land, individuals can choose how criminals are punished. With the main options being prison, a payment of money, or a combination.
Many crimes would not be crimes at all, such as drug use or prostitution. There would be no such thing as copyright theft or patents. There would be no local council you can go to if you are made homeless and there would be no actual government at all. Which means passports and identity would be managed by private agencies.
They hope a primary belief that man is inherently good would prevail to bond all citizens, keeping them within conscientious actions, so knowing that cooperation is best.
The children of the country would also probably be likewise educated. They would also probably be taught they are superior than the rest. That while others require force to be governed, they govern their own self within self evident, objective, universal principles.
They would be encouraged to aim for themselves, work for themselves, provide for themselves and think for themselves. Although there may be charity and presumably a burning man shrine, they are in general masters of their own selves.
In theory. In practice, this has never been tried. Not least because the entire somewhat intellectual underpinnings are very new, barely 50 years old.
Even in theory, there are mountains of problems. Roads, for example, are natural monopolies because space is limited. Likewise hospitals and schools. You simply can’t have two or three side by side because there would not be enough teachers or doctors for that level of service.
Choosing the law you abide by may be fine and well, but some things are universal, the right to life being one. Someone, therefore, will have to go through these core laws and they will have to be enshrined into a constitution of sorts. Likewise, their punishment should be uniform to ensure deterrence.
As far as non-core laws then choice may be fine, but that reflects a system we already have with civil law where punishment is usually monetary.
The final criticism is property rights. Unless the inhabitants of this country do not like art and would prefer to live in a very dull world, they need to ensure artists are paid. Patronage is one way, but then the artist is hardly free.
As far as teenagers, who need yet not ear a living, may disagree with property rights for intellectual or artistic works, there are very good reasons why the vast majority of society has decided they should be protected.
The primary reason being that such works take as much, if not more, time and effort than the production of a Lamborghini, and they are just as scarce because they take time, effort and skill.
That all said, as something like this has never been tried, it is our view it should be tried. Initially it would all probably be unrefined, but with experience the inhabitants will learn and so tweak matters as they like.
The thought therefore is intriguing, but whether it would work no one can say, because that ruler of all things, reality, has not passed judgment.