- File Size: 3841 KB
- Print Length: 76 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: February 23, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00IM5EM7W
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,465 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Polystate: A Thought Experiment in Distributed Government Kindle Edition
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I find the book full of good ideas and arguments, but very sketchy (the author admits that several times himself). One thing that I think is actually missing however, is a discussion of how you actually set up the polystate, enforce it rules and possibly change them (which may not be necessary if they are very basic, such as in his "WS-1" polystate, but still - rarely anything lasts forever in reality).
If you find Polystate ideas interesting you might enjoy a book called "Machinery of freedom" (in particular part III of it) by David D. Friedman (D. is rather important, there are many David Friedmans around). It is available here on Amazon and also legally downloadable for free from his website (easy to google) in a digital version. The system imagined by Friedman, (who is a physicist turned economist), is very similar to that of Weinersmith's - sans the polystate framework - although his word for an "anthrostate" is a "protective agency". He also goes to much more detail in describing how and why laws could be created and maintained and how rules between different agencies/anthrostates could be set up and enforced. While Friedman is of a libertarian persuasion, he does not argue with moral philosophy (as a lot of other libertarians do) but with utilitarian and economic arguments (as does Weinersmith) and in his system a communitarian or any other exotic agency/anthrostate could work as well as long as there are people willing enough to live under such rule - again, much like in a Weinersmith's polystate. He also discusses the issue of defense in more detail than Weinersmith - particularly against foreing nations who do not live in such a system - which indeed might be one of the most challenging issues of these kinds of societies (while wars within that system itself are probably less likely). One can find solutions to some problems raised by Weinersmith and also some additional possible problems (and mostly solutions) that Weinersmith does not mention.
If this were my first confrontation with similar ideas I would probably give it five stars. Since I've read the Machinery first, there was nothing new for me here, but I think it is still a very good book and if you have never thought about a system Zach is imagining, add a star to my rating.
Also, there is an initiative called the Seasteading Institute whose goal is to allow for experimentation with different forms of government by making it possible for people to colonize seas and setting up rules for themselves without the necessity of persuading everyone else in the country. Plus, as the floating cities are designed to be modular, the costs of moving from set of laws (even if assuming the city is not polylegal but has a single law system) to another are lower since you can move with your house (based on the current design proposals also necessarily with a couple of neighbouring houses, because too small platforms are unstable on sea, but still better than nothing). So again, if you like the ideas in Polystate, you might like the Seasteading institute as well. It might be good to note that while some people are fast to label that as a "libertarian scam to create tax havens", there is nothing inherently "libertarian" about the institute and some of the floating cities could run on a communitarian basis or something perhaps even more exotic as well. The idea is to allow for experimentation and observe what works best...which could then perhaps be applied on land as well.
The writing in the book is accessible, clear, and simple to grasp. Despite the complexity of the concepts, he does a great job of painting intelligent examples of how these concepts might work, or in some cases not work, with human nature as we know it.
I cannot recommend this book enough. It's encouraging to know that others are out there developing and thinking along these lines. Incredibly disruptive technological changes are happening faster than ever to every facet of life and humans would do well to start pondering what comes next for government.
I would highly recommend reading this with a group, as the exploratory nature of the book invites discussion.
Not for readers uncomfortable with Jargon. There's a lot of it but don't let that stop you.