(Stillness in the Storm Editor) We’ve been conditioned via institutionalized education and propaganda media to think that there’s no choice but to conform to the status quo within our respective national regions.
Enculturation is a process of making an individual or smaller group like their parent culture, usually by quashing free thought and critical thinking. But we have always had the power to create new social agreements and related institutions that are more in harmony with the ideals of a truly free society.
The solution to despotic societies that force individuals to earn a living by suppressing their unique creative nature is Agorism. Here is an appropriate definition supplied by Wikipedia.
Agorism is a libertarian social philosophy that advocates creating a society in which all relations between people are voluntary exchanges by means of counter-economics, thus engaging in a manner with aspects of peaceful revolution. It was first proposed by libertarian philosopher Samuel Edward Konkin III in 1975, with contributions partly by J. Neil Schulman.
Simply put, we have two fundamental choices in life: to contribute to social systems that promote freedom, personal responsibility, and empowerment, or contribute to social systems that limit these things.
The vast majority of societies on Earth today are the latter variety, wherein we have been forced to oppress ourselves and our fellows in a kind of misery-loves-company way of life. People tend to badger, berate, and downplay any activity that doesn’t fall in line with the status quo, especially in regard to making money or education.
For example, going to college is required in order to gain social prestige so as to participate in civilized life. From an early age we’re told that receiving a college education is one of the only ways to be successful in society, that it’s needed to make our childhood dreams come true. And maybe at one point that was a valid perspective, but reality today dictates otherwise.
The average college graduate did not find a job in the field they went to school for, according to a study conducted by the New York Federal Reserve in 2013.
Only 27.3% of alumni found work related to their training. This is important to consider because it helps us realize the ineffectiveness of the status quo and how desperately we need to change it. One of the ways to do this is to step out of the current system and into a new one that is more aligned with the truth. Within the educational example, providing students with information about what jobs are actually needed in society, is better then letting them accumulate thousands of dollars of student debt.
Incorporation has become a dirty word within most freedom movements. Every nation on Earth has been corporatized, leading many to assume its evil. But a corporation is only a fictional thing created by living men and women. By their consent and action, they breathe life into a corporate body, which is a tool for organizing society and social enterprises. Like all tools, they can be used wisely or unwisely.
Considering that most people have no idea how their government actually works and how they participate in it via their actions and choices, it’s no wonder why almost every nation on Earth is corrupt and ineffectual.
Agorism is a solution to this problem because it is founded on personal responsibility and willing participation. By voluntarily participating in decentralized systems, we rediscover how to live life in harmony with our fellows and nature at large—an ideal most can agree with. Private cities, freedom cells and free communities aren’t really new ideas; they just haven’t been implemented on a broad scale.
Imagine if you could grow your own food, live in a house that made its own electricity in an abundant way, and exchanged goods and services with others in your community without having to pay tribute to some parent government that did nothing but make your life harder. It’s a vision a lot of people are starting to explore, one that can be created fairly quickly so long as group participation is nurtured.
Human beings are social creatures, forced to cooperate due to the circumstances of life. We inhabit one interconnected planet that is the source of all our earthly needs. As such, learning to work together efficiently and abundantly is a worthwhile pursuit. As adults, we just have to let go of the indoctrination that has held us back and start pouring energy into these honorable systems of governance.
The people are the real source of civic power on Earth, not the government. When enough of us rediscover this fact, we will have the chance to transform this world into the paradise it has always had the potential of being.
by Regan Keely, August 17th 2016
We live in a world where an increasing number of people are beginning to tire of being robbed, bullied, and patronized by the political class. Time and time again, we watch our government (and governments around the world) act in ways that do not benefit the people, but violate them.
Governments and their counterparts are systems that are not only savagely destructive and corrupt in nature, but also very inefficient and wasteful. It has become transparent that government has prevented human freedom at nearly every facet of life, leading to the annihilation of many civil liberties. As time goes on, it seems these inexpediences will not improve, but only get more destructive and inefficient.
Yet, there are many good people willing to organize and work hard towards their freedom, and the freedom of others. With the creative intelligence and innovation of humans, there ARE solutions. One of the most feasible solutions, something that is happening right now, is the creation of private cities, startup societies, special economic zones (SEZs), micro-nations, etc. Let us examine why I believe these startup societies to be the future for evolved economic and political systems based completely on voluntaryist principles.
Why can’t government systems be optimized?
There are many potential reasons for why the U.S. government is a faulty system, but three of the broadest reasons governments historically fail is:
1. There is no feedback system. The state is a monopoly on force, meaning it uses force and violence to achieve everything that it does. Because of this, it can perform as poorly and expensively as it wants, and it will never face any consequence.
2. The politicians who make the decisions about our lives are often the most removed from the very things they are making decisions about.
3. Political power tends to corrupt, or at the very least, create significant moral hazards for any who wield it. The moral lines tend to get blurred for anyone in that position, since there is little consequence to individuals who make choices to profit themselves at the expense of others.
So, how can we learn from the flaws of government and apply different concepts in an alternative system to improve our situation? What productive means can we use to achieve a better system than the current?
Many believe the free market offers, not a utopian solution, but a much more efficient and free alternative. Ideas such as Agorism have become an effective way for individuals to take back power in their own hands and compete with the State. Their aim is to make the State irrelevant, and prove that voluntary exchanges among individuals is a superior method of operation than seizing control through force. Unlike our current government, the free market has a built-in feedback system. An individual has incentive to perform well and expediently in order to stay in business. The free market allows you to make your own decisions about your life, so long as you are not harming another individual or their property. Furthermore, all authority not willingly and fully agreed to after disclosure of all terms and conditions is deemed illegitimate in a free market system.
Yet, the government does provide services for the demand of genuine human needs. Things like fire departments, police departments, education, etc. So much so that most people are willing to accept the extreme limitations on their liberties in order to have these protections from a state.
However, what if you could provide these same services to people, only without the disadvantages of the State? You would be creating a better product. Imagine your respective rights and duties are laid down in a written agreement between you and the service provider. For everything else, you are free to do what you want. Hence, you are a contracting party on equal footing with a secured legal position, rather than being an object of the government or majority’s will.
So is it possible for a private company to offer all of the necessary services that government normally monopolizes? Titus Gebel, a German entrepreneur with a PhD in law, has started such a company:Free Private Cities Ltd. After 30 years of political activity, he came to the conclusion that achieving freedom through the democratic process is impossible. Subsequently, he created an entirely new product that could work as a role model in the case of success.
The creation of startup societies allows us to test new and radical ideas. The policies of tomorrow can be tested in the startup societies of today, creating a model that the world can follow if successful.
Titus Gebel calls this opening market for cities the…
“market of living together: voluntary exchange (including the right to reject any offer), competition between products, and the resulting diversity of the product range. A ‘state service provider’ or ‘government service provider’ could offer a specific model of living together within a defined territory and only the ones who like the offer settle there. Such offers have to be attractive — otherwise there will be no customers.”
Gebel isn’t the only one to test the waters of creating startup societies. There are currently about 5,000 worldwide. Some great examples are Hong Kong, Singapore, Fort Galt in Chile, and Liberland. Another great example of a startup society is the Seasteading Institute.
China’s Example With Special Economic Zones
Here is a brief, yet solid example of the potential of startup societies. Of all places, China implemented one of the first special economic zones in 1980 and serves as a very successful model for the creation of SEZs.
The creation of the zones was implemented by Deng Xiaoping, desperate to bring China out of its terrible poverty from the Mao dynasty. Unlike Mao, Xiaoping was more open to try new things in attempts to bring wealth into his country. For the first time, in these zones, people were able to work and trade in an area without the Communist regulations that plague the rest of China.
When these Special Economic Zones were implemented, the prosperity they brought in such a short time was phenomenal. Only 4 years later, 14 more SEZs were created. This graph from the World Bank illustrates the GDP growth since the first creation of SEZs in 1980, referring to China’s economic growth in the past 30 years as “an unprecedented development ‘miracle’ in human history”.
The Time is Now
People are striving to change the systems they live in around the world. The last few years have seen an unprecedented rise of new political movements, radical ideas, and innovative technologies.
The creation of startup societies proposes a whole new way for humans to test and evolve our current systems. The creation of private cities offers a whole spectrum of potential ideas. The main idea is that the system of government is 100% voluntary and mutually agreed upon. Furthermore, if more private cities were to appear, a natural competition would occur, possibly subjecting existing states to, as Titus Gebel puts it, “creative destruction”.
“If Free Private Cities are developed across the world, they will put states under considerable pressure to change their systems towards more freedom, or else they may lose subjects and revenue. And this is precisely the positive effect of competition that has been lacking in the state market to date. Not all Free Private Cities need conform to my own ideal rules. Specialized cities offering social security or catering to specific religious, ethnical or ideological concerns are conceivable. Within this framework, even socialists would be free to try to prove that their system done properly really does work. But this time one thing is different: others do not have to suffer from this (or any other) social experiment. The superstructure of voluntary association allows many different systems to flourish. Given voluntary participation, everything is possible.”
Startup societies are the means to compete with existing states for better systems. They create a practical alternative strategy to change society than by electoral politics.
They also provide a path to the decentralization of power, promoting free markets, civil liberties, and human rights. Most importantly, this is not a future dream. This is something happening NOW. There are entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, policy makers, etc. taking interest in these ideas. There are people currently discussing the economics, infrastructure, politics, foreign policy, and technology for these cities.
This article is only a brief description of the ways the creation of startup societies could change the world as we know it, without the need for violence or revolution. This is why I believe these startup societies to be the future for evolved economic and political systems based completely on voluntaryist principles.
Stillness in the Storm Editor’s note: Did you find a spelling error or grammar mistake? Do you think this article needs a correction or update? Or do you just have some feedback? Send us an email at [email protected]. Thank you for reading.
August 31st, 2016: Minor correction to introductory portion of this text.