STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
How to Get Saudi Women Rights, and Make Your Neighbor Paint his House
By Joe Jarvis - August 15, 2017

If you get government wrong, you get everything wrong.

New York City has a lot of wealth. There is infrastructure, skyscrapers, smart people, transportation, and so on.

But what would happen if North Korea took over the city tomorrow? Would all that wealth simply remain in place? Would everyone just go on with their lives?

Of course not. People would flee in droves, the city would crumble.

Tom Bell says that 44% of the wealth in the world is the rule of law. Clearly, there are plenty of gripes to be had with the governments of New York City, New York State, and the United States. But even governments which mix statutory and common law can provide a decent arena where businesses and individuals can flourish.

Of course, we should always want to improve our circumstances. Since 44% of the wealth of the world comes down to how good the government is, this is the most important area to improve.

We could continue voting, volunteering on political campaigns, and calling our representatives. But speaking from personal experience, this doesn’t seem to make much difference.

But we have another choice right under our noses. It is already in practice in homeowners associations. Some people choose to voluntarily submit to a neighborhood wide private governing structure.

Maybe you can’t bear the thought of living next to a neighbor with chipping paint on his house. You, therefore, agree that you will keep your home’s paint fresh, knowing that your neighbor signed the same agreement. The consequences for failing to hold up your side of the bargain are clearly stated in the contract you sign.

This same privatized rule of law is expanding beyond neighborhoods.

Improving Terrible Governments

Tom Bell is a law professor who spoke at the Startup Societies and D10e conference this past weekend in San Francisco.

Tom has a book coming out called Your Next Government? From the Nation State to Stateless NationsHere’s what he has said in the past about what your next government might look like:

Your next government might thus resemble a city-sized corporation, with you and other residents buying shares, electing the board of directors, and so forth. Think of it as residential co-op, upgraded for the big leagues…

In double democracy, owners manage the community on a one share/vote basis while residents enjoy the power to veto select laws or officers on a one person/vote basis. Owners construct; residents correct. Double democracy provides a structural safeguard against offensive governments without opening the door to mob rule. Both shareholders’ property rights and residents’ individual rights get represented in double democracy.

By privatizing the rule of law, you can get a much better product. Remember that the rule of law accounts for 44% of the wealth of the world, according to Bell.

Even places as repressive as Saudi Arabia, therefore, have some incentive to let go, in order to create more wealth in their jurisdictions. The country set up a special economic zone called KAEC City (King Abdullah Economic City). The city is administered by a publicly traded private company called Emaar Economic City.

And if you are a woman in Saudi Arabia, this is where you want to be. The oppressive police forces of the Saudi government are not present.

The city was designed with tourists and young Saudi’s in mind. The majority of the hundreds of thousands of Saudi’s studying abroad are women. Neither they nor tourists have an appetite for the oppressive laws against women which stain the rest of the country.

So there is a continuum here on what can be accomplished by neighborhood associations and private cities. Some people want to make sure their neighbor cuts his grass, and some people want to not be whipped for driving cars and showing their face.

When governing is done by consent, this is all possible, and everything in between.

Why Would Governments Allow it?

You would think governments would feel vulnerable at the thought of private governing structures competing with their power. And surely many do. But there are also incentives to letting go of control.

Cash strapped governments are happy to let private companies pay for the infrastructure which would otherwise have to come out of the public coffer. So a government can preside over a beautiful new city or neighborhood, reap the economic benefits, and not have to pay a dime.

And then there is the proper strategy for anyone attempting to start a special economic zone or private city. To get a law passed–or repealed–across an entire country, you need to appeal to countless politicians, bureaucrats, and special interest groups.

It sounds less scary to politicians and voters when you can say, “Look, we don’t want to change things everywhere. We just want this one little piece of land to have different rules.”

From my perspective, this is the camel’s nose under the tent strategy. Before governments know what hit them, the whole world will be privatized. People will see the success of private governance, special economic zones, and government by consent. Then they will clamor to create their own mini society, or move to their favorite one.

That 44% of the Earth’s wealth, the rule of law, cannot be stolen. But it can be created. And under those conditions, a new world is forming.

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  • georgesilver

    I get the distinct feeling the DB is trying to indoctrinate or brainwash us into believing there is some possibility of finding Shangri-la if only we all start taking Prozac or be forcefully vaccinated into being calm malleable sheep. Some people will even do it voluntarily like Joe Jarvis.
    I fully endorse this idea as long as I can be one of the controllers who can take advantage of this system without having to actually get my hands dirty. We could give ourselves a name. Something snappy like…. hmmmm. I know …the Elite.

    • What articles are you reading/ commenting on? Certainly not the ones we are posting. Your comments have nothing to with the subject matter. It seems you have invented a fictional Joe Jarvis straw-man in your head.

  • georgesilver

    Sorry Joe but when you scratch the surface of any upright, cooperative loveable human being you will find an individual who’s real motives are self-interest. Everyone loves the idea of cooperation as long as they are not the ultimate losers. You will argue that everyone can be winners. Life is not like that. Humans always want to be at least equal or better than their neighbours. That’s why in the animal world humans are the top dogs.

  • Fred

    Sort of like the “Seven Hills of Rome” or the original “Thirteen Colonies” where you could vote with your feet if you didn’t like how you were treated in one location. If I am not mistaken, both of those arrangements worked very well.

  • Fred

    The socialist definition of self-interest: Regard for one’s own interest or advantage, especially with disregard for others.

    Libertarian definition of self-interest: Get rich by giving customers what they want. (https://mises.org/blog/jeff-bezos-got-rich-giving-his-customers-what-they-want)

  • Helix6

    So, if I read this article correctly, the author is suggesting that only rich people should make laws. The common people are relegated to saying either yes or no.

    • Well, that would be better than the current situation where only the rich make the laws, and the poor don’t even get to say yes or no.

  • georgesilver

    I now have to admit these places do exist. They are called “Gated Communities” or “Gated Retirement Communities”. If you’ve got plenty of money you can live with like minded people. Live with rules like keeping your house painted. You can even have armed guards to keep out the riff-raff. Paradise on Earth… only the wealthy need apply.

  • autonomous

    Just find a group of people you agree with about everything? Haven’t found one yet. Among any two people, tastes will change over time. Ask any married couple if either one has the same interests on their thirtieth anniversary they have the same toleration for their spouse they had when they were first married. If a community of two can’t continue in agreement, how can one expect a group of thirty? Sixty, one hundred. At the root, the incrustation of expectations (rules, laws) become irritants eventually. Paint your house soon becomes paint your house this color. Mow your lawn becomes trim the borders of your lawn 2 1/2″ wide by 3″ deep, in straight lines, keep your grass cut to no higher than 3 1/2″ and no lower than 2 3/4″, use only Zoysia tenuifolia seed, any non-conformance will result in eviction.

    In the human race, tolerance has as expiration date (related with the second law of thermodynamics.).

    • Which is why secession is viable down to the individual if they cannot find any group they want to be apart of. Certainly you won’t agree with everyone in some group on everything… but it is the choice to voluntarily put up with some of that in order to get any other benefits you see in the group.

  • flipdoubt

    This article was crap. This article assumes privatization ever works or is fair.
    The Government and rule of law are one and the same.
    Privatization of government is ridiculous. Government gets its authority from who?
    You can do everything you said right now under the present system.
    You fail to realize I live next door and own my house and I do not have to join your group and I like peeling paint and cars in my yard. Why would I sign up for more rules?
    I would never live in a neighborhood with an association.
    Point being we already have everything you seem to be clamoring for.
    Drive to a state that is hungry and purchase a large tract of land and set up your utopia. Let me know how it works out?

    • Fred

      “Government gets its authority from who?”
      I don’t know. Do You? From the point of a gun?

      I realize he is talking about “government” on a smaller scale, but the principles are the same. Except neighborhoods are voluntary associations.

      Which is more robust and stable, one centralized government with total, absolute control over everything and everybody or, as originally set up, these independent and sovereign States. Personally, I like the idea of diversification precisely because it allows people to differ without having to resort to civil war.

      “The Government and rule of law are one and the same.”
      But is “rule of law” the same for everyone? Isn’t the government quite arbitrary with its application of “rule of law”. Like “some animals are more equal than others.?”

  • gomurr

    Many HOAs have become pretty powerful and authoritarian. The are part of UN Agenda 21 working at a local level. I would never live in one. I have a POA where I live, but it only clears the roads, etc. Other than a few reasonable restrictions, it doesn’t tell people what they can plant, the color they can paint their house, or that they can’t fly a flag. If that should change, I’m out of here.

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