Warning: Startup Societies are Disrupting Government
By Joe Jarvis - June 01, 2017

Startup societies are disrupting the industry called government. New methods of governance are being experimented with that promise to make the old dinosaurs of social control go extinct.

When new governments are formed, people can vote with their feet for the best style of governance.

If people want to join a commune, they can go right ahead, but they won’t be able to force others into the mix with them.

That means the people who want to innovate, start a business, create wealth, and try new methods of running society will have that opportunity. They have the chance to show the world a better way, or simply fail and only hurt themselves.

It is not so much a particular type of society we need to try (though I have plenty of opinions on that); what we need is to simply be able to start trying.

Let governments be a service offered to customers. Let people choose what kinds of laws and regulations they want to live under. Allow experimental government, and we will quickly see the benefits and detriments of various philosophies and systems.

That is the goal of the Startup Societies Foundation: allow different types of social systems to be explored.

Many of these experiments fail before they can really be tried. This first hurdle is the biggest one. We need to find a way to set up these micro-governments in order to be the Petri dishes of future society.

That is why the Startup Societies Foundation does research on past and current city states, micro-nations, and special economic zones. They find out what worked, and what caused failures.

At this early stage in the organization’s history, the biggest benefit they give is connecting people at summits to share knowledge, ideas, expertise, and technologies that will make this dream a reality.

…politics has not kept pace with this exponential growth. Elections around the world have been polarizing and unconstructive. Poverty, inequality, injustice, tyranny, unaccountability, ecological disaster and transparency seem to be rampant.

It is time to use entrepreneurship to create better governance. By creating a “startup society”, (an experimental government in a small geographic area) governance has the ability to experiment when traditional government cannot…

Like a startup, a startup society begins small and scales when it produces a better service through technology.  65% of the earth’s population will live in cities by 2040. This presents an unprecedented opportunity for entrepreneurs. They can become innovators of the greatest wealth creation tool: cities.

The next conference will be in San Francisco on August 11 and 12th. If you are in the area or want to travel, you can get tickets to attend the event through the IndiGoGo campaign. But even if you cannot attend the summit, consider donating to support this organization which is making strides towards a better society.

(By the way, this is the same organization which used Bitcoin to crowdfund a Venezuelan man’s escape from the crumbling socialist dictatorship.)


But don’t just take my word for the necessity of competition among governments to improve society. Let’s take a look at some historical examples.

Roger Williams: Providence Plantation

In the 1600’s people starting coming to America from England to form permanent settlements. Various plantations were chartered by private companies and individuals. Roger Williams was kicked out of the Massachusetts colony for promoting religious tolerance and went on to form his own colony in what is now Rhode Island.

The Native Americans liked him because he traded with them, and learned their language. He was truly interested in what they had to offer and criticized other westerners who thought of them as savages. After all, Williams argued, the people of Britain were not so different 1000 years before.

Officials from Boston, Plymouth, and Salem fought to stop Williams from staking out his own government philosophy for the colony he started, but he fought back and persevered to keep his vision of a free society intact.

If he did not have the ability to form his own colony, then he couldn’t have offered people unprecedented religious freedom. Because of the ability to form an experimental government, people moving to America had more choice, and more say in their government.

The colony itself has obviously been absorbed by larger governments, but the foundation of freedom left its mark on the developing nation. Roger Williams created something new, gave people a choice, and helped grow America into an economic powerhouse. His example is one to study and emulate.

Balkanization of Europe

European countries, kingdoms, and principalities were forced to compete with each other due to the nature of the land mass. Because of the many geographic barriers and separations, statelets were kept relatively unique and small, which led to competition.

If one state adopted a promising technology, say the printing press, other countries would have to adopt it and therefore advance, or risk being outcompeted economically or militarily by their neighbors. Europeans quickly adopted the printed press, leading to a period of rapid enlightenment in which access to information allowed huge advancements in technology and the standard of living.

The Ottoman Empire, however, banned the printing press, keeping them in stagnation, and under the old power structure which maintained control but strangled prosperity, education, and advancement.

Europe’s decentralization fueled the growth of industry by allowing inventions and innovations to travel easily from statelet to statelet, but not be so easily wiped out by decree of one ruler.

If a ruler was against a promising advance in society, you needed only travel a hundred miles and settle in a place where the government was more conducive to freedom, technology, or whatever it was you were looking for.

China, on the other hand, shows what happened under a singular united power. First, the area was quite advanced, especially the naval fleet which traveled all the way to Europe with advanced ships a thousand years before Columbus sailed. They were lucky to have people in power who promoted innovation.

But that changed with the flip of a coin when a rival faction took power. They dismantled the Navy, and outlawed shipping, in order to crush their rival faction. This set China back immensely. Unlike Europe, you couldn’t simply move 100 miles and be free to resume shipbuilding. The giant landmass of China was united under very few rulers, and what they said was the law.

So it is not impossible for a large centralized government to allow civilization to advance, but it is a coin toss. Many competing states in a relatively small area, however, require rulers to be open to new ideas, or else lose their power to rival states.

The “market” for where people want to live and work dictated to the European rulers what they had to do in order to make their countries attractive and prosperous.

The Modern City States and Micro-Nations

Because of these historical examples, it should be no wonder that some of the most innovative and technologically advanced countries are very small.

Dubai is embracing technology, erecting magnificent buildings, and will soon be transporting people around in drone taxis.

Singapore is one of the most business and investment friendly places on Earth, which means more innovation and experimentation.

Liechtenstein is leading the way in small rich countries with a decentralized government, and the ability of each town to secede.

But the problem is that it is hard to form a small society that is not already carved out of the larger land masses governments control. Places like Catalonia are trying, but the states they are trying to secede from are obviously not too keen on the idea. Spain is fighting hard to keep Catalonia in its grasp, all while trying to bring an unwilling Gibraltar back into the fold.

Cities are becoming more popular but their governance is inherently different in needs than suburbs and the countryside. An ordinance about noise, or owning chickens makes sense in a city, less sense in a suburb, and no sense at all in the countryside.

Yet look at New York City, which basically dictates what type of government the entire state of New York will have. Why should the government of farm country in upstate New York be subject to the same government as one of the largest most populated and diverse cities on Earth?

It shouldn’t. They have nothing in common, and the only reason these vastly different peoples are grouped together is by arbitrarily drawn borders from politicians and governments wishing to assert their control.

There is really only one group of people who have any reason to be against startup societies: the people who currently hold power. Allowing people to go their separate ways is a major threat to the powers that have held control over humans in the same way for thousands of years.

They are terrified that someone is going to create a better system that actually solves the problems government has been pretending to solve, but really only exacerbating.

The Startup Societies Foundation is poised to help upset the industry in biggest need of serious change: government.


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  • Rosicrucian32

    I think California would be a great experiment to slow the roll of others wanting to branch off. They promise everything, and have the most people contributing nothing, and have the same asking for what they were promised. Failure is not an option……it is a guarantee.

    • Sure that is a productive example as well, to show the downward spiral of socialist policies. The more secession the better, and then we can isolate what works and what doesn’t.

  • Alan777

    Countries which need this approach the most are under dictatorship control of one form or another, so these startups are just a fantasy for them. In the USA it’s also a tall order to get by the federal, state, and even local government control.

  • Don Duncan

    Three libertarians (I was one) had the idea of buying land in the smallest county, pop. 60 or so, Loving, TX. We wanted to establish a free-trade zone with the smallest govt. possible, just enough to ward off statists. The local sheriff stopped us with abuse of power tricks (disappearing deed sent to him for recording). I figured out later why. He was protecting a $2 million + yearly royalty from oil.
    Would we have been stopped by govt. anyway? Probably. Sooner or later govt. will see the threat of competition and use deadly force to preserve the worldwide paradigm of institutionalized violence, in the name of the common good.

  • Dimitri Ledkovsky

    The State of Israel could once have been categorized as a start up society. Look at it now!!! And its founders coming out of their ghettos and shtetls had a wealth of organizational experience behind them. The crux of the start up society outcome seems (as always) around who leads, who will succumb to the leadership and what will be the boundaries.

    • Absolutely startup societies are by no means guaranteed to develop good government, it merely presents the opportunity.

  • Gurgaon, India encompasses 730 square km, large enough to hold seven Disney Worlds — or … seven privatized cities competing for residents.

    What happens when a city is managed almost completely by private corporations? Visit Gurgaon, India, a boomtown of millions without a citywide [GOVERNMENT] system for water, electricity or even public sewers.

    The city of Gurgaon, roughly a half-hour’s drive south of New Delhi, has survived without a functioning municipal government for roughly four decades. If the city of 2 million residents needs to pave a road, or hire police, firefighters or garbage collectors, a patchwork of private companies makes it happen. Or … not.

    Link to article:
    tinyurl (dot) com/Privatized-City
    Additional bonus: English spoken here!

    • Interesting example, what to do when the government pretends to take care of things but doesn’t

  • autonomous

    A free market of governments sounds good on its face. It does not, however, provide an escape from government. I don’t want a better form of government; I want no government. Changing geography is not the answer; changing attitude is. A Stoic attitude is the only answer. To strive to change the inevitable changes nothing but one’s happiness. Wherever we reside, we are within the reach of the tyrrant. Only the heart is beyond his reach.

    • We agree, and in such case you are furthering the cause of advancing the concept that everyone is sovereign. Thank you.

  • timothy price

    The electronic communications now opening information to everyone, plus the ease of sharing ideas among everyone, presents a model similar to the transformation of a collective into an organism. If we could get a nerve feedback system that allows the nervous system to inflict pain if there are abuses to the body politic, then we would be a great shape. Today, centralized government feels no pain, no matter how damaging to the people it is. Imaging going about your life if you could never feel pain? You would probably not live a very healthy nor productive life.. and a short one at that.

  • Samarami

    “…Let governments be a service offered to customers.
    Let people choose what kinds of laws and regulations they want to live under.
    Allow experimental government,
    and we will quickly see the benefits and detriments
    of various philosophies and systems…”
    I’ll herewith take issue and urge you to examine use of the following concepts:
    “Let”, “Let”, and “Allow”.
    I am a sovereign state. I became sovereign some ten or perhaps fifteen years ago. The older I get the more difficult it is to accurately report back as to how long a thing has been.
    But I came to understand at the time that nobody was going to LET me be “…a governmental service offered to customers”. It was important for me to grasp the concept that if it’s going to be, it will be up to me (…NOT thee — but PERHAPS thee also if you’re so inclined to become sovereign).
    I want you to like me. Therefore, I will learn to like you; and I will not be coercive or aggressive toward you or yours. That attitude creates my sovereignty — albeit I’m aware that dangerously armed gendarmes in costumes could at any moment break down my door and shoot my dog and wife and kids and charge me with some Trumped up (pun intended) violation of a white man’s “law”.
    So, while you’re trying to chide me that I’m not free, please understand that I may not be completely free until you and several billion like you decide to declare your sovereignty and be free yourself. And to not “support” those who might at any moment charge into my home. The only reason they’re able to continue aggressing upon “citizens” is due to “voluntary compliance” of the hoi polloi.
    But I’ll be sovereign. And it’s my sovereignty — and mine alone — that will make me free. Nobody’s going to “let” me be free, or “allow” me to join “…a free society…”.
    I truly hope you will choose sovereignty — and freedom. Sam

    • Great point, it really is something that you have to take, and not be allowed to do.

    • Praetor

      Abstain from Beans, Sam. I found it fascinating people are in the streets, bunching each other over what form of government they want to rule over them. Utterly ridicules but fascinating.!!!

  • Doc

    Why study the history of territorial states and governments while ignoring the aterritorial history of governments and societies throughout human history? Is it due to ignorance or is there a hidden agenda, secretely promoting the same model we are are struggling with?

    Laws have for most of humab history followed the person or group if people, not a territory. The territorial governance is an anomaly in human history an only a very late imposition.

  • Aristaeus

    To find a better form of government the question “What is the proper role of government?” needs to be answered. Governance refers to standards which are static to govern transactions and interactions. Consistency, honesty and non-aggression are keys to good governance.

    What is the proper role of government?

  • Misterkel

    Nice article – I agree with most of the ideas, except this one – “It is time to use entrepreneurship to create better governance.” Sure – why not try entrepreneurship, but limiting it to that is only another form of restriction. Look at some small scale experiments in shared resources (oh, the horror of socialism! it’s always evil, every time. Really?) Size and variety is the issue – author makes a great point about that.

  • jacob

    I attended “Integrity Day” in New York, Buckminster Fuller’s last conference before he died. He said there that even a perfectly designed government will fail when those holding its reins lack sufficient integrity, suggesting that theoretical constructs aren’t worth much. It’s all in the doing.

    Words are easy. Actions are hard. If I’m not 100% respectful of the person and property of others, how can I expect others to respect mine? I heard a child rearing expert advise parents that they will know they’re doing something wrong if their children are afraid of them. Children should learn early that their bodies and property are sovereign. Likewise others’ bodies and property.

    Our rulers keep us confused and afraid for their benefit, not ours. They violate our bodies and property as a matter of course. If we are sovereign over our bodies and property, then we either surrender or defend. Surrender is no work and no risk. Defense starts with taking a stand, teaching, and joining others with similar stands. Slavery ended this way. It was an idea whose time had come. We are now evolving towards a new paradigm of self governance. It can be glorious, but it won’t be easy..

  • Orthodeb

    Unfortunately, the Startup Societies Foundation is pro-central bank, which I discovered when attempting to collaborate with them, so that was an immediate red flag in my opinion. If we are moving towards sovereignty then the first order of business is to get out from under the thimb of central banks. We have such a solution which could not only be used in any small society starting out, but it would also make such a society relevant to the world since it is a global gold monetary system which functions outside of both banks and governments. It was created specifically for such innovation. Learning what I’ve learned about the difference between sovereign common law or the God given “law of the land” and what most people are governed under which is maritime admiralty law, I think that most people would agree that the only governance really needed is when one in some way causes irreparable harm to another, not potential harm, but real harm such as assault, fraud, or thievery of money or property. When humans are not being deprived of their God given rights and freedom by governments controlled by central banks and corporations, then they would not likely need laws because they would treat others as they want to be treated and would be more than likely to help one another as a community. It is greed used to incite fear which is used to trick us into exploitative contracts in which we give up our freedom and rights by agreeing to be governed by man made statutes.

    • Pedro

      “Unfortunately, the Startup Societies Foundation is pro-central bank” Please, i would like to know more about this. Where i can find?

      • Orthodeb

        The info about the Startup Societies being pro-central bank was not listed anywhere. “We are pro-central bank” were the exact words from Thibault Serlet, the representative of the “Startup Societies Foundation” when I contacted him about the opportunity to use free licensing with the company we are affiliated with as a means for wealth building for both the foundation and any startup societies needing a stable monetary system. Any organization, charity, or business can set up this licensing which can be used for promotions of the cause and as a means to build wealth: https://youtu.be/Jh4PMtlA2XE.

        Any individual, organization, or business can register as an affiliate for a free gold savings account to use this wealth building system and join our worldwide movement.

        Just register by providing some basic information from this referral link: http://www.karatbars.com/?s=jamielooney36, and we will contact you with detailed information to show you how this system can meet your needs.