Studies in Emergent Order is pleased to publish “My ‘Country’ Lies over the Ocean: Seasteading and Polycentric Law” by Allen Mendenhall and “Technology and the Architecture of Emergent Order” by Scott A. Beaulier, Daniel J. Smith, and Daniel Sutter.
Allen Mendenhall’s paper considers the implications of the Seasteading Institute upon notions of law and sovereignty and argues that seasteading could make possible the implementation or ordering of polycentric legal systems while providing evidence for the viability of private-property anarchism or anarchocapitalism, at least in their nascent forms. This essay follows in the wake of Edward P. Stringham’s edition Anarchy and the Law and treats seasteading and polycentric law as concrete realities that lend credence to certain anarchist theories. Polycentric law in particular allows for institutional diversity that enables a multiplicity of rules to coexist and even compete in the open market as well as the marketplace of ideas.
Beaulier, Smith, and Sutter’s article examines how the physical environment influences the interactions which occur in voluntary interactions among individuals. While the interactions may be voluntary, the confines of a built environment – physical systems and infrastructure – shape the resulting emergent order. The existing infrastructure is the product of previous actions and not a choice variable for today’s actors. Within this setting they examine the development (or lack thereof) of technologies capable of radically reshaping the infrastructure. They find individuals and organizations holding advantageous positions within the current infrastructure will have an incentive and often the political and economic resources to preserve the existing architecture. They examine several case studies of technologies with transformative potential and detail the degree to which they reshaped existing orders.
Allen Mendenhall is a practicing attorney and has taught at Auburn University and Faulkner University Jones School of Law. Scott A. Beaulier, Daniel J. Smith, and Daniel Sutter are faculty at the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University.
Studies in Emergent Order (SIEO) is an open-access journal dedicated to fostering research, discussion and publication concerning the roles played by and implications of emergent order phenomena, particularly in society but not excluding other areas.