Reporting from Prague, Czech Republic…
“It’s not Liberland itself that’s important,” libertarian President Vit Jedlička stressed over lunch yesterday, “it’s really about exporting the idea of Liberland to the rest of the world.”
Liberland, as mentioned in yesterday’s episode, is the world’s newest country. And Jedlička, its founding father, is, naturally, the first president of the Free Republic of Liberland.
I met up with Vit yesterday at Liberland’s representative office in Prague, cosily nestled in one of many classy coworking spaces in the city.
Prague’s Liberland office, though, I discovered, is just one of many. In all, Jedlička told me, there are about 60 functional representative offices seeking to get recognition of Liberland in their own countries. And the list is constantly expanding.
Left to right: President Vit Jedlicka, Head of Presidential Affairs Petra Jirglova, and Minister of Finance Jan Purkrabek
Upon arrival, I climbed out of my Uber and messaged Vit that I had arrived. He promptly met me outside, shook my hand, and asked, “Are you hungry?”
“Sure,” I replied.
“OK. Follow me.”
We walked inside and were instantly handed plates of food from the kitchen. We took our seats in the back courtyard and started to chat.
“So…,” I said to the president as I self-consciously lifted my fork, unsure of where to begin, “Liberland…”
First thing you should realize is, Liberland, just like the country you’re sitting in right now, is completely made up.
According to international law, any terra nullius (literally meaning “nobody’s land”) on the planet, is up for grabs. This is how, Jedlička reminded me, all countries are formed. Liberland is no exception in this regard.
All Vit did was seize the opportunity to plant his own flag in a little sliver of unclaimed territory. This time, the unclaimed territory was perched right off the Danube River, between Croatia and Siberia.
Liberland, I learned, was officially founded on April 13, 2015, which, by no coincidence, is Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. A man who, according to Jedlička, is a model Liberlandian. The founding principles of Liberland, after all, he says, are “absolutely devoted to individual freedom.”
Liberland, as a country, though, as you can see above, is a minnow amongst whales. Yet, despite its size constraints, and, not to mention, the absolute explosion of applications for citizenship (including, but definitely not limited to, the 20,000 Syrians who applied), Liberland’s most important goal is to, as Vit mentioned in between bites of what I believe was pork (I didn’t ask), export freedom all across the world.
The question, of course, then, is how does one pint-sized plot of land consign freedom to the rest of the globe? Especially during a time when governments seem to be clamping down on individual freedoms far more than they are loosening the straps.
Well, it’s actually pretty simple (although, of course, not always easy). The obvious way for the smallest country in the world to disrupt the (New?) World Order is to allow its foundation to rest upon the bleeding edge of borderless, decentralized technology.
Think about it…
Liberland isn’t just the world’s first libertarian state. It’s also, keep in mind, the world’s first virtual state. Members can already trade freely using Liberland’s national currency, a cryptocurrency modeled after Bitcoin called Merit (LLM), anywhere on the globe.
“And,” said Jedlička, “right now we are beta testing a new Liberland app for e-residency. This will allow residents to trade freely with one another. And it can also act like an Uber and Airbnb anywhere in the world, too.”
The idea is simple, yet elegant. And, if expanded, has enormous implications for the global economic structure.
Imagine, for a moment, a universal, anonymous, and decentralized sharing-economy platform which allows anyone in the world to buy and sell goods and services outside of the confines of government regulation or taxation.
According to the furrowed brow of Statist logic, this idea of a ‘mainstream Black Market’ is oxymoronic. To us, though, the so-called ‘Black Market,’ so long as it is voluntary for all who participate, is simply the way the economy should operate.
“Economic prosperity,” says Jan Purkrabek, Liberland’s Minister of Finance, who has seen the public sector’s mass-malfeasance firsthand, “comes as a by-effect of freedom.”
Along these lines, Liberland already operates through a voluntary taxation program, which is to show that coercion is not necessary for a state to function. Rather than being forced into paying taxes via the threat of violence, Liberlandian taxpayers are incentivized to contribute to the country’s betterment by way of receiving Merits in exchange, which can then be exchanged for shares of the community.
Liberland’s long-term development strategy is, it seems, to become another Monaco, Hong Kong or Liechtenstein, but with a twist. Instead of simply becoming yet another tax haven, Liberland will be a place where individuals can (whether physically or virtually) escape the clutches of overbearing tax policies. Making it, instead, in Jedlička’s words, “a tax heaven.”
To reach this coveted state of tax nirvana, Liberland plans to leverage not just its technology, but also its second best asset… its location: “Bordered by Croatia and Serbia and surrounded by 14 countries in a close circle of 350 km (about 200 miles),” advisor to the president, Thierry Andre Laurent-Pettet, notes, “Liberland is positioned as a privileged economic epicenter in the Balkans and Europe: moreover it lies directly on the Danube river, the most important axis of movement in Europe (2860 km), symmetrically linked with most regional capitals: Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Belgrade and Bucharest. Liberland can access a market of 185 million people and become the new Dubai of Eastern Europe.”
“Liberland,” Laurent-Pettet goes on, “should become a free trade zone in the center of Europe that would draw from the Central and Eastern Europe Market, become a role model of economic sustainability and a business hub to facilitate the professional activities of global decision makers.”
Liberland, in short, is a game-changer. And, my guess is, it’s only the beginning in terms of alternative, voluntary systems of governance.
As Titus Gebel of Free Private Cities Ltd. puts it, “People will not forever agree to be looted, bullied, and patronized by the political class, without ever having a meaningful choice.”
The future is voluntary. And, Gebel says, governments will adapt or die.
More on that, though, in tomorrow’s episode.
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today
The post Meeting With the President: Exporting Freedom With Vit Jedlička appeared first on Laissez Faire.