Ethical Code: The Exit
How has the world
improved so radically, yet appears stagnant? Governance has not kept
pace with radical progress in our standards of living. The disparity
between governance and technology has left us unsatisfied. We know a better
world is possible, but are unable to achieve it with conventional politics.
Improvement is created
by choice and experimentation. It has lifted billions out of absolute poverty
and increased the days in our lives. But modern government does not lend to
that same choice and experimentation.
The problem is simple:
It’s hard to leave your government. It’s easy to buy a different brand of
bread. If enough people stop buying that brand, it must change or cease to
exist. That is not true with modern states. By default, you are stuck with one
brand of government so geographically large that it would be incredibly costly
to leave it. Consequently, governments feel no need to compete or change. Even
in democratic countries, the masses compete for the same widespread monopoly,
not for multiple options. The winner takes all. As a result, innovation,
quality governance, and justice decline.
increase experimentation and choice by lowering the cost of exiting a government.
While there is still a monopoly of government, startup societies are so small
that the cost of exit is drastically reduced. One can simply vote with their
feet. With more options, citizens can sample many governments ranging from
communitarian to individualistic, from traditional to unorthodox, or from
industrial to rural, etc.
Like most startups,
most startup societies will fail. But that is a feature, not a bug. Their
failures are localized and serve as lessons for better governance. In contrast,
when failures occur in traditional, large states, problems are often
However, as startup
societies grow, the importance of legitimate conduct grows with it. Since
startup societies derive their legitimacy from bettering citizens’ lives, it
becomes paramount to develop rules to dissociate from malevolent, destructive
The point of the
following criteria is not to support or disavow any ideology. Experimentation
is the force behind startup societies, so no positive obligation will be made.
This is only a list of malevolent actions that will preclude it from
association with the Startup Societies Foundation and its network. It not a
political philosophy that determines just forms of governance. It is merely
bare bones rules from which other philosophies may be attempted. There may be
startup societies that avoid all the below criteria, but are still unjust or
If startup societies
allow ease of exit and competition, a bad political philosophy/practice can be
easily overcome. Citizens can simply leave. This either puts competitive
pressure on the startup society to improve, or end it all together. However, if
exit is not reasonably possible, bad startup societies can tyrannize and
impoverish its citizens. Our basic principle behind our criteria is:
"Startup societies must not unduly increase the cost of
exit and prevent experimentation and improvement."
From this principle,
we derive a criterion for dissociation.
In the last century,
Besides obviously making exiting impossible for its victims, democide is the
most evil acts perpetrated in history. No practitioners are legitimate. The
international community will justly condemn startup societies and prevent their
existence. Due to international pressure, the supply of startup societies will
decrease and increase the cost of exit.
2. NO ARBITRARY LAW
Startup societies must
have consistent laws that must are publically known. A citizen should know the
laws practiced in the startup society and not have them arbitrarily changed. Of
course there must be methods to change laws, but they must have a consistent and
known process. If laws constantly change and are unknown to the public, it
raises the cost exit because citizens cannot be sure if a startup society will
simply change governance when they arrive.
NO IMPOSSIBLE COST TO EXIT
Exiting allows startup
societies to self regulate and punish bad actors. Raising the cost of exit
prevents such regulation and must be avoided. As a result, startup societies
cannot burden citizens with impossible costs to exiting, such as forfeiting
their wealth, liberty, or lives.
NO SURVEILLANCE FOR BLACKMAIL
Surveillance may or
may not be necessary to governing. Regardless, surveillance to blackmail
and prevent citizens from leaving is contrary to the Principle of Exit. If
surveillance is exists, it should used for monitoring potentially bad actors,
not for keeping citizens trapped.
NO PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTROL WITHOUT FREEDOM OF SPEECH
is constantly used in governance and culture. It is even benignly used by
behavioral economists to reduce energy consumption via psychological “nudges”.
However, if citizens are not simultaneously given freedom of speech,
psychological manipulation can enslave its people. For instance,
Jonestown used the both psychological manipulation and suppression of free
speech to convince citizens that leaving would result in bodily, financial, and
even spiritual destruction.
Torture is patently
immoral. It also roundly dismissed by the international community. If any
startup societies practice it, they will justly condemn startup societies and
prevent their creation.
NO IGNORING AUTONOMY
If a startup society
follows this criterion, and wish to join the Startup Societies Foundation
network, they must acknowledge the sovereignty of others. Acknowledging a
startup society’s sovereignty does not mean support for their ideology of
governance, but it is mere recognition of their legal status in the
international community. In order for startup societies to flourish, they must
be respected by international law to be given a semblance of autonomy. Refusing
to recognize other startup societies hampers the sovereignty of all, reducing
the supply of startup societies and increasing the cost of exit.
8. NO FRAUD
societies investors is unacceptable and delegitimizes the whole movement.
Investors will become fearful of investing and the supply of startup
societies will be reduced.
NO RED MARKET ECONOMY
A red market economy
is an economic system based on piracy, assassinations, sex trafficking, and
involuntary organ harvesting. Such an economy certainly increases cost of exit
for victims. Moreover, such activities are widely discredited by the international
community. A startup society that permits such activities delegitimizes startup
societies and could cause an international backlash.
NO AGGRESSIVE MILITARY ACTION
Of course startup
societies, like any sovereign entity, have the right to self defense. However,
aggressive, unprovoked military action, especially for the purpose of gaining
new territory, is intolerable. Such expansion and bellicosity increase the cost
of exit for citizens of the victim state and cause a backlash from the
Ethics are notoriously
difficult, but one can create a framework to practice new political
philosophies. The Principle of Exit is and its criteria are not moral systems
or even a complete set of rules. It is a proposed guideline the Startup
Societies Foundation finds necessary to create new systems. We hope the
Principle of Exit can serve as a canvas from which startup societies may paint
a bright and just future.