Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Seasteading Institute and The Israel Test

I often hear people ask where are the libertarian countries that exist today in 2009? The answer is simple, there are none that have all the components of a libertarian society, but there are many countries that operate to a limited degree under some libertarian principles. The most immediate hope for a completely libertarian society is TSI, The Seasteading Institute. Under the direction of Patri Friedman the grandson of Dr. Milton Friedman (see YouTube interview below), TSI seeks to establish autonomous ocean communities to improve the human condition by enabling innovation with new political and social systems - hopefully libertarian systems. The young Friedman gives up on attempts to change our societies from within, instead he thinks we should start from scratch - at sea. I certainly understand the frustration from which an idea like that can originate so I will watch TSI with interest and anticipation. In the mean time I will continue to pound the table for change here, on dry land, within easy driving distance to just about everything.

In a recent column, Neil Reynolds wrote about a book The Israel Test, which discusses Israel's extraordinary free market achievement and posits that "Israel has become one of the most important economies in the world and is second only to the United States in its pioneering of technologies that improve human life." The book also discusses achievements of Jews (a minority group if ever there was one) in general and of Israel in particular. Israel was established in a hostile environment just 60 odd years ago and has evolved from a pseudo-socialist democracy to a country that has "sloughed off its manacles of confiscatory taxes, oppressive regulations, government ownership and socialist nostalgia." Here is an experiment like the one TSI aspires to, that shows even a small measure of liberty has impressive results. The results are more impressive given the achievements of those nations, mostly dictatorships and religious autocracies surrounding Israel by comparison. Imagine what a large measure of liberty would nurture - in any nation.

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