Panarchy: The State 2.0

The dominant “Westphalian” model of the state, based on sovereignty over territory with borders and monopoly of violence over the people who happen to live in the territory, is obsolete. It fits seventeenth-century technology and pre-global societies when geographical distances could not be traversed easily and information took months to travel the globe. Instead, states may be founded on social contracts rather than sovereignty, service to citizens instead of monopoly over the use of violence in a territory. Panarchy, a political theory of non-territorial states founded on social contracts, introduced in 1860 by Belgian botanist and economist Paul Émile de Puydt, offers an alternative. It proposes that citizens may literally sign a social contract, a constitution, with a state, and may change their states without moving, just as customers can change their insurance policies. Explicit and voluntary social contracts have several advantages over standard social contract theories: They are neither mythical nor hypothetical, but explicit and actual, voluntary and reversible.

The Westphalian State epitomized in the famous book cover of Thomas Hobbes‘ “Leviathan”

Panarchy allows political agents to make reversible political mistakes and then exit and join another state. In Panarchy, the incentive for political innovation and improvement comes from competition between states over citizens-customers. Politics would then develop its own version of creative destruction, when failed states disappear and are replaced by better managed ones, generating a general progressive trend. „Panarchy: The State 2.0“ weiterlesen

Of Humans, Aliens, and Passports: Recognition as a Refugee for Reasons of Citizenship

Good Passports and Bad Passports

Imagine the aliens have landed. They have parked their spacecraft, or beamed down, and now here they are. And contrary to all the apprehensions the people of Earth have – thanks to every alien movie ever made – they are here to make friends, exchange ideas, maybe help us end poverty, war and disaster… But NOT SO FAST! Can we see your passports first? Don’t have passports, do you? And no visas either, then? Well, terribly sorry, this way please for immigration detention. And deportation as soon as we’ve built a rocket that can get you back to where you came from at the speed of light. Ta-tah!

„Of Humans, Aliens, and Passports: Recognition as a Refugee for Reasons of Citizenship“ weiterlesen

Beyond the Birthright Lottery

The Case for Open Borders and Inclusive Citizenship

How did you get your citizenship? Let me guess. You were born with the one you have now. There is a good chance my guess is right. Citizenship is, first and foremost, a matter of birth.

However, birth can be framed in different ways. A German may say that she is German because she was born to German parents. And an American may say that he is American because he was born on American soil.

One immediately notices the difference. Becoming German is mainly a matter of ancestry. Hence the name jus sanguinis for birthright citizenship qua blood. Becoming American is mainly a matter of territory. Hence the name jus soli for birthright citizenship qua birth on the territory. „Beyond the Birthright Lottery“ weiterlesen

“The best passports in the world” – The structural violence of EU visa policies

Just as none of us is beyond geography, none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography. That struggle is complex and interesting because it is not only about soldiers and cannons but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings.
— Edward W. Said: Culture and Imperialism, 1993

Media outlets around the world have time and again enlightened their readers and viewers about “the best passports in the world“ in the past several years, among them CNN, The Financial Times, Business Insider, and The Telegraph. In April 2016, Arton Capital’s Passport Index has launched an interactive colour-coded map aiming to collect and rank passports according to criteria such as power and ‘hospitality’, each leading to remarkably different results. „“The best passports in the world” – The structural violence of EU visa policies“ weiterlesen

Das Ende des Sterbens denkbar machen

Im Kampf um eine menschliche Flüchtlingspolitik haben die Rechten gewonnen. Was haben wir falsch gemacht?

Merkel, Merkel, Merkel. Wo man hinsieht, hinhört, hinliest, überall trifft man auf Angela Merkel. Für die einen ist sie die Hassfigur schlechthin, das Symbol für den Ausverkauf, die Abschaffung, gar die „Umvolkung“ Deutschlands. Für die anderen ist sie „Mutti“, die Barmherzige, die mit offenen Armen die Bedürftigen empfängt. Ein Symbol der Menschlichkeit, der Wärme, der „Willkommenskultur“.

Beide Bilder sind Unsinn. Angela Merkel ist weder eine antideutsche Linksradikale noch eine linksliberale Mutter Theresa. Tatsache ist, dass sie in der Nacht vom 4. auf den 5. September 2015, also vor fast genau einem Jahr, gemeinsam mit dem österreichischen Bundeskanzler die Entscheidung traf, einige Tausend Menschen, die auf ihrer Flucht in Ungarn gestrandet waren, einreisen zu lassen. Tatsache ist auch, dass sie einen Deal mit der Türkei ausgehandelt hat, der für Millionen von Flüchtlingen das Ende aller Hoffnungen und für Tausende Internierung, für viel zu viele den Tod bedeutet. Zur Zeit arbeitet sie gemeinsam mit der Europäischen Kommission und anderen europäischen Regierungen daran, ähnliche Abkommen mit nordafrikanischen Regierungen auszuhandeln, offenbar auch mit den mörderischen Diktatoren von Eritrea und Sudan.

„Das Ende des Sterbens denkbar machen“ weiterlesen