From nomadic community to dynamic nation, hurting the state

What is the most effective way to hurt the state? Various people have various answers to this question, it can be direct action, politics, grey market economy, education, lobbying etc. In my opinion, one of the most effective way to hurst the state is to use competition, to migrate from one place to the other. Not only can you enjoy more freedom this way, you are also pulling out your skills, your capital, your tax money out of the system you wish to attack. It is very effective. I live by my standards and emigrated from France to the US. Ok, New-York city can be as socialist as France is, but I still get better wages and enjoy comparatively more freedom. In the recent years, France has known an exodus similar to the losses of World War I. Highly skilled people (who enjoyed free education) are leaving, wealthy people are leaving... they export masters and phds and import welfare receivers...  when you export assets and import liabilities, bankcrupcy is near. OK, I made my point, moving is beneficial for you and hurts the State. Well it's not necesseraly beneficial for you, otherwise everybody would move... so what's keeping people from moving? There are many reasons, work permit is one: it can be very hard to obtain permission to work and live in a foreign country... few things can be done about that. There is also family and friends. People spend time during their lives to build networks of friendship, and they are not ready to live that behind so easily. Social recognition is also valuable and can be lost when emigrating. Last but not least, it can be hard to leave your job.

I think there is a way to attenuate this difficulties and make moving less painful, less costly. The key idea is to create a mobile community. A community of people enter into a covenant to agree to move from one place to another when decided through a standard procedure (say voting for example). They befriend each other, create ventures together, even families. The fewer the people, the more difficult it is to have an autonomous community (in term of social links), the more the people, the more difficult it is to enter into a covenant and make everyone move. I believe however that mobile communities of a few thousand people are possible. They can even incorporate which makes it easier to work in foreign countries. Since they are incorporated, wages inside the community can be paid indirectly with dividends which might be a way around income tax in many countries. There is also a possibility of influencing local politics. Think of it as a kind as a movable "free-state-project"...  Of course, the purpose is not to move 10 times a year, and since politics can be slow, it may not even be necessary to move within a 20 years or so, but creating a strong community sense may enable the community to move costlessly over the generations to te freest places available. As the community evolves it can grow bigger and stronger (imagine a million people) it then becomes more and more influent : it could negociate taxes directly with governments before settling somewhere, it could even overpower a small state and decide to ignore it.

Share this

The weakness of this plan is

The weakness of this plan is that it depends on a fairly high level of voluntary cooperation from states. I don't see how you can continue to depend on this cooperation when you're openly trying to hurt some of these states. At best, you're depending on Pax Americana to protect your ability to hurt France, etc., which may be good enough to achieve some interesting things, but leaves the question of how you can hurt the US.


The only way you are "hurting" the state is by leaving it along with your capital... most states still allow that, fortunately. I don't see where state cooperation is needed here ?

Missing the point?

The whole point of state coterminous with a nation is that it allows your social and economic network to be as open-ended as possible. If we replace the state with closed communities, we're just bargaining away the whole point.

The question of any anti-state community has to be how to exit the state without cutting all ties to the less-dynamic community surrounding it. Otherwise you're just playing the cult game. Can we relocate a passel of true believers to Guyana? Sure. Proof by example and all that. But I don't think you'll convince many folks that it's an advantage.


Good direction

Grant's comments are hard to get around, but I do like the direction of thought in the entry. Some of the main ways of improving government or at least reducing its role in your life are:

  1. Voting the bastards out. (doesn't work very well for reasons such as those outlined in Bryan Caplan's The Myth of the Rational Voter)
  2. Revolution. (bloody and risky)
  3. Leaving the country. (e.g. brain drain)
  4. Going underground. (e.g. crypt-anarchy)


Comment dit on?

What would you call this community? Perhaps you could call it a state, a state that controls where its citizens live.

Notice that I used the word

Notice that I used the word "nation" to characterize such a large community. Nation hasn't historically always been tied with the state. Some state controlled various nations, some nations were controlled by various states. A state is an entity that lives by reselling to a population the rights it confiscates from them. I don't see how the nomadic nation I described qualifies as a "state", it's a set of individual sharing some goals and a certain culture who voluntarily bind to some flexible agreement in order to promote these goals for themselves. Think of it as a form of cartelization.


I think it will be difficult to do, but the idea has some merit. The Free State Project is, of course, a bunch of people who made a contingent agreement to move somewhere. Many signed up even before a state was chosen. What you are suggesting sounds much like a "Voter's union".

In a democracy, concentrated interests beat dispersed ones b/c of lower organizational costs, and your approach seems like it would have quite high organizational costs. The wider the interests you are trying to advance, the harder it will be to accomplish them.

Anyway, there are several strategies for seasteading which fall into this general category. For example, I have suggested that people get together in a coastal city, and slowly over the course of years build a seastead and move onto it, building community and becoming economically independent as a continuous process that may take a decade. There is one community, called Windward, which has been doing this for decades - developing technology for being self-sufficient on the ocean while living together in an intentional community in Oregon.

The Roms actually do

The Roms actually do something similar. They're generally not perceived as a model of honesty since they have little respect for property rights, but they do manage to be pretty independent from the state. For example, they don't let the police interfere in their internal affairs, they certainly do not pay taxes (but their economic activity is quite limited, they're generally poor), often cross borders, rarely hold papers, etc.

I think one of the reason they manage to obtain that independence because they're mobile. It's hard to crack down on a moving target. However they do not strike deals with the government as I suggested a more economically powerful nomadic nation could do.

It is kind of a voter union, but it's more than that.