Been giving a lot of thought to this point from balajis in a recent AMA he hosted with Dan Romero
Having run businesses in Australia, the UK and the Philippines and having experienced the impacts of their varying governments on running these businesses, i can say now with the benefit of hindsight, that it made more of a difference than I initially anticipated it would.
Things i took for granted in Australia were made far more difficult by their absence in the Philippines, and the UK had some elements where things were better than Australia and others by contrast that were worse.
And a lot of these were simple, small things that I assumed wouldn’t make much impact, but had far reaching consequences.
With this experience it is easy to see how places such as Singapore & Dubai have become such rapid success stories, and how Argentina & Venezuela have experienced the exact opposite. What is also noticeable in these examples is how things are speeding up. Singapore had a much slower ascent than Dubai and likewise Argentina had a much slower descent than Venezuela.
In deciding where to start a Network State i’ve been grappling with what makes a better place to start, because i can see pros and cons to both.
This brings us to the main question: Where is the ideal place to start?
Australia (high income country)
- Is a high income country with a solid base to start from. It’s a place where wealthy global citizens would be happy to move to and live
- It is politically stable, so you are unlikely to get rugged by the government in a coup or by any other means
- Australia also has an abundance of (relatively) cheap uninhabited land that would make an ideal place for such an experiment (here is a single plot of land for sale 2,906,483 ha, roughly the size of Belgium)
- Starting from a higher base means gains are not as impactful relative to existing levels of prosperity
- Has a lower level of inefficient and encumbering laws that if repealed would accelerate progress, giving less options to create change, being already quite business friendly
- Australia is also legislated largely at the federal level, so even if you had the ability to make changes at the local level they would only be minimal, you would need to have political control at the federal level to implement many of the things you want to achieve (would be fine for a vegan only network state, but not so much if you wanted to create a network state based on iterating and testing optimal tax policies)
- To combat this you could quickly ascend the political hierarchy in gaining traction with your local government, splitting this area off as a new provincial state and then either seceeding to become your own nation state, or muster sufficient political will to have the federal government bestow upon you a special economic zone status where you have your own autonomy over certain federal laws. Which may be easier said than done given how Taiwan is currently being treated by China and how the USA federal government is currently treating that state of Texas
Philippines (low/middle income country)
- Starting from a lower base, gains made are more consequential. This helps build a flywheel of success and growth of your network state
- It has a far greater number of inefficient and encumbering laws that if repealed would accelerate progress, giving more options to create meaningful change
- Due to being quite unfriendly to business, a change in policy to being pro-business would be significant and you might generate significant internal migration
- The Philippines is made up of literally thousands of islands, so it would be quite achievable to control say a single very small island to prove this concept before expanding to other islands
- It is still a low/middle income country and does not have many of the amenities that many wealthy global citizens would be accustomed to and desire in order to move there
- The Philippines is heavily populated so finding large enough plots of uninhabited land would be a challenge, although the land would be very inexpensive
- The government is not as politically stable as Australia and might also be more hostile to a project such as this, which could complicate the execution once you start to make it a reality in a physical sense
Although both have their pros and cons i would likely do either. I'll continue to put out my thoughts on what i would like to see and my vision for what a network state iterating on its way to finding the optimal taxation structure would look like, if this gains more traction with Aussies i'd go there, and if it turns out the or Filipinos are more keen on it id go there instead.