Exit Foundations

Having lost count of the number of times the demand for exit guarantees has come up as an objection to the Patchworked-Neocameral model, it seems worthwhile to reproduce Moldbug’s most directly on-point, pre-emptive response to the question. The question being: What is to stop a regime, once it is entirely unshackled from all domestic political constraint (i.e. Neocameralized), from extinguishing the exit options of its residents?

As a prefatory note: Like the Misesian praxeology from which it is cladistically descended, the Moldbuggian System is a transcendental political philosophy, which is to say that it deals with ultimate or unsurpassable conditions. You have reached the transcendental when there is no higher tribunal, or court of appeal. This is the socio-cosmic buffers. If you don’t like what you’re seeing here, there’s still no point looking anywhere else, because this is all you’re going to get:

To live on a Patchwork patch, you have to sign a bilateral contract with the realm. You promise to be a good boy and behave yourself. The realm promises to treat you fairly. There is an inherent asymmetry in this agreement, because you have no enforcement mechanism against the realm (just as you have no enforcement mechanism against the United States). However, a realm’s compliance with its customer-service agreements is sure to be a matter of rather intense attention among residents and prospective residents. And thus among shareholders as well.

For example, I suspect that every customer-service agreement will include the right to remove oneself and one’s assets from the realm, at any time, no questions asked, to any other realm that will accept the emigrant. Possibly with an exception for those involved in the criminal-justice process – but this may not even be needed. Who wants a criminal? Not another realm, surely.

Suppose a realm unilaterally abrogates this right of emigration? It has just converted its residents into what are, in a sense, slaves. It is no longer Disneyland. It is a plantation. If it’s any good with cinderblocks, barbed-wire and minefields, there is no escape. What do you say if you’re stuck on this farm? You say: “yes, Massa.” A slave you are and a slave you will be forever.

This is terrible, of course. But again, the mechanism we rely on to prevent it is no implausible deus ex machina, no Indian rope-trick from the age of Voltaire, but the sound engineering principle of the profit motive. A realm that pulls this kind of crap cannot be trusted by anyone ever again. It is not even safe to visit. Tourism disappears. The potential real-estate bid from immigrants disappears. And, while your residents are indeed stuck, they are also remarkably sullen and display no great interest in slaving for you. Which is a more valuable patch of real estate, today: South Korea, or North Korea? Yet before the war, the North was more industrialized and the South was more rural. Such are the profits of converting an entire country into a giant Gulag.

Is that all? Yes — that’s all. Beyond the rational economic incentives of the Sovereign Corporation, controlled within a Patchwork-environment (of competition for human resources), there is nothing to which an appeal can be made. The end.

June 11, 2015admin 33 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction


33 Responses to this entry

  • Exit Foundations | Neoreactive Says:

    […] By admin […]

    Posted on June 11th, 2015 at 9:10 am Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:

    Humanity is slowly reaching the stage of realization that no “system” can prevent bad governance; only having the best people with the best intent (“noble”) can do so, and even then, there are no guarantees. Systems promise a guarantee, but at the price of slow decline and collapse.


    Marxist toady Reply:

    Unfortunately, this sort of moralizing is useless where true, and silly where false. “Slowly reaching”? — more like, bad normativity (that has, actually, been dominant in political philosophy since Aristotle) to be slowly and rigorously excised; as by, e.g., Scottish Enlightenment thinkers. And, frankly, it has nothing to do with the constructive political system engineered by MM.


    Ted Swanson Reply:

    No system will make up for poor leadership. The best chef in the world can’t dress up a spoiled cut of meat. Burroughs said something a long the lines of “you can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.”


    Skilluminati Reply:

    That seems like a profound regression.

    Relying on the “good intentions” of other human beings is even stupider — by parsecs — than relying upon ideological systems to provide good outcomes.

    Cannot help but note that most liberals I know firmly believe their good intentions are all they need to secure good outcomes.


    Ted Swanson Reply:

    good intentions is not the same as the best people with the best intent. good intentions are a rationalization. liberals also constantly defer to the system of voting and have no personal conviction of their own.


    Posted on June 11th, 2015 at 9:12 am Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    What’s to stop a democracy, once it’s become entirely independent of its mother-monarchy, from extinguishing the vote and becoming a dictatorship? What’s to stop, say, Iraq from installing a new Saddam as soon as America looks the other way?

    Logical isomorphs. They’re important.


    Frog Do Reply:

    If there is a symmetry here, then why does the ratchet only move Left?


    Posted on June 11th, 2015 at 11:59 am Reply | Quote
  • Exit Foundations | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on June 11th, 2015 at 12:46 pm Reply | Quote
  • A Man of Wealth and Taste Says:

    The problem is that mergers between patchwork states would create a monopoly. Suppose the patchwork states of Florin and Guilder are competing for customer-residents, but they realize that they could demand higher prices through merging, thereby allowing their residents fewer options. And then Florin-Guilder merges with a third country, then a fourth, etc., giving itself less and less incentive to provide decent customer service every time. Eventually it acquires a world monopoly on governance, and enslaves everyone who isn’t a major shareholder, because why the hell not?


    Kgaard Reply:

    I think that’s mostly a first-world risk. It takes a large coterie of high-IQ, low-time-preference Bilderberg types to enforce a good monopoly. How many of them live in Bolivia? Zero? There are probably 100 Bolivias in the world (i.e. Nicaragua, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Peru, Cambodia). These places generally have far more lax policing at ground level as well as broadly diverse fiscal and monetary policies. I mean … MAYBE they will all merge into one New World Order … but if that started to happen the temptation for a few countries to break ranks would be fantastic. Tourists and investment would flood in.


    Different T Reply:

    What is the fundamental difference between “patchwork” and the anarcho-capitalist vision of “dispute resolution organizations?” Is it the geographic boundaries, or something else?


    These places generally have far more lax policing at ground level as well as broadly diverse fiscal and monetary policies. I mean … MAYBE they will all merge into one New World Order … but if that started to happen the temptation for a few countries to break ranks would be fantastic. Tourists and investment would flood in.

    Why doesn’t the analogy of the United States governmental power becoming more centralized at the federal level hold?


    Kgaard Reply:

    When the colonies became the UNITED states they had strong external pressures on them, plus a sense of shared destiny. Turchin is good on this: The American identity was forged via 300 years of fighting Indians. If you showed up in America and were white, you were “one of us” in the never-ending battle against “them.”

    In the international system today, that conglomeration of factors doesn’t exist at all. There may be some pluses from international trade agreements, but nobody really wants to cede local-level administrative power to authorities further and further removed anymore. Certainly nobody at the grass roots level wants to create any new multinational states. The EU has been a real object lesson in the undesirability of ever-more-centralized authority.

    Also there are legitimate disagreements on optimal tax rates and the optimal legality of things like drugs, abortion, gay marriage, divorce, zoning, food laws etc etc etc.

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    “best intent” for certain definitions of ‘best’. (clearly, not the progressive definition)


    yes, manifest destiny (even before conceptualized as such) seems to have been a huge driver in America, and probably is a huge element in its religion. It can be seen in both left and right, albeit with slightly different means and slightly different understandings of what the final product looks like in terms of people waving little american flags, shooting guns, sticking penises in butts, being loved or feared, etc.

    When I first read the materials for Shadowrun, I was incomprehensibly shocked and appalled by its future prediction about the USA – for it had the USA broken up into multiple countries! It was UNTHINKABLE! It wasn’t just unthinkable, it was the same sentiment I get when a gnostic ‘asks’ if ‘maybe’ Jesus marred Mary Magdalene. In short, it was blasphemous.

    I got over it, but I remember the shock.

    Erebus Reply:

    The basic, underlying problem is that it’s impossible for a sovereign corporation to have a meaningful corporate charter. Well… perhaps not impossible, but very difficult.

    If we’re going to have the deus ex machina of crytographically-locked weapons solve one set of problems, we may propose ever further-flung technology to solve another problem: It may be possible for a simple (far from superintelligent) AI, granted final control over the cryptographically-locked borders and military tech, to enforce a charter. Strictly.

    Barring that, a small group of Praetorians — with non-lockable weapons & a constant presence at shareholder meetings — may be able to ensure that a corporate charter is adhered to.

    If this charter is non-expansionist and enshrines freedom of movement and association, so much the better for the subjects of the sovereign corporation… and for the value of the land they dwell in.


    Posted on June 11th, 2015 at 2:49 pm Reply | Quote
  • Michael Says:

    No ones going to ever allow this patchwork idea, voluntarily returning to serfdom is crazy. moldbugs wrong that communism is as american as apple pie, its more like americans [ and yeah i dont mean non white “americans “] americans just didnt see another solution to the imbalances that occur in complicated systems. if these imbalances could be dampened reasonably well americans would be ok with some pretty reactionary policies policies that are actually historically american anyway.
    sorry this sort of D and D nonsense just irritates me.
    its not that democracy doesn’t suck and capitalism isn’t great, but this just will never happen so its a waste to talk about.

    however whats intriguing about it is worth talking about.
    A corporation is, or at least was, a patch. and most importantly one i could readily leave as a consumer or employee with destroying my life. people are attached to voice because exits impractical.

    whats needed is not a patchwork a la moldbug,but a way to get corporations back to the gilded age without the problems that stated to arise then leading to the two Roosevelts meddling.
    The other problem is keeping the balancing mechanism itsel [govt] in check. I think we are close to the technological point where 99% of government services can be outsourced to capitalists. I think the average American white would trade a vote for a political party for an app where he can exit his school , trash collector,etc with a swipe of his finger. mechanisms could be found enforce order say you pay taxes anyway but are then credited back vouchers only redeemable for various services but you pick which company.
    This leaves the other side of the govt problem, how to regulate capitalism without crony capitalism or socialism getting a foothold. perhaps tech again could solve this by now. say non elected, short term, anonymous boards, with open source debate and the death penalty for corruption might settle matters of imbalance in a society. I think DENRX would be much more useful getting these two practical problems solved then jacking off over fantasies of living in a medieval role playing game.


    Posted on June 11th, 2015 at 4:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    And yet North Korea still exists.


    Michael Reply:

    yeah and hows that king of the patch in uganda haiti north korea etc doing it seems whatever thug running it today usually finds the rewards of a well run patch too bothersome so simply sells his gold diamonds oil for pennies on the billion and counts himself clever. and where do his royal subjects exit to?


    Dan Reply:

    “And yet North Korea still exists.”

    Because Koreans are among the most hard core people that God made.

    If you have some missionary openly prosletizing and totally expectedly getting killed in a Muslim country, they are probably Korean. If someone is standing alone on a shop rooftop holding off a huge riot with an AR in Watts, they are probably Korean. If someone receives a revelation that they are the messiah and proceeds normally from there doing by gaining a considerable following and starting organizations and actually sticking to it like a manic episode that lasts for their whole life, they are Korean.


    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    Had a friend in college who was Chinese but always pretended to be Korean. Maybe there was something to it


    Posted on June 11th, 2015 at 5:00 pm Reply | Quote
  • Michael Says:

    humans have come to the conclusion that the natural asymmetrical distribution of physical and intellectual capabilities in conjunction with the vagaries of chance conspire inevitably to subjugate the majority of men to intolerable circumstances. recognizing that as a whole even a fraction of a whole they are vastly more physically and intellectually powerful than alone they collude to secure for themselves better and better terms,various systems evolved, the inefficiencies and injustices of these attempts led to limited democracy until recently the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness applied to all white free men of property over 21.and to their wards as they thought wise.these being the only real players in the power structure this worked well as long as they stuck together inevitably some decided to exploit the micro power of women children slaves etc this should surprise no one power is tempting it should be assumed there will be no fair play.advancements have made players to some degree of these previously powerless humans.we find ourselves back at a technological version of the jungle all against all only more players. The answer still seems to be a powerful arbitrator the question still seems to be how to avoid corruption and inefficiency, how to avoid any one player or group of players being shortchanged.
    its not simply a matter of enforcing property rights some factions and individuals being human hold other rights more dearly than property. these other values are hard to quantify in trade offs. never the less even pure capitalists value these qualities in fact require them to operate.perfect agreement will never be possible and permanent agreement will not either.fortunately most humans will settle for reasonable if not perfect terms on a contingency basis.our fairness and guilt/shame traits are balanced with our self interest traits.all that is required is a system thats self adjusting and un game able. the evolutionary and its correlate economic market systems seem promising. however like all complicated systems they tend to eventual violent swings, dampening mechanisms have thus far been sub optimal reintroducing corruption and inefficiency. Its obvious the even the players to begin with less frequent and violent the oscillations will be, while not solving the black swan risk if not for two difficulties this ought to be introduced first is how to get the salad un made a collapse might solve this problem organically the other is how to keep this from turning into an intellectual arms race. again we are back at the less quantifiable values. i would suggest that >145s can more exist or survive in isolation than capitalists can without the societies that contain them. at least for now. As for the remaining butterfly effect technology big data AI B2B P2P may make the possible grounds for struggle negligible. The largest obstacle may be exiting the old system, humans tend to stay put.slowly weaning away large systems into the smaller options allowed by tech may make this painless.particularly if elites understood the need. but what if there’s no collapse to re balance the demographics then this sort of decentralized government is unlikely to evolve. demographics is destiny


    Posted on June 11th, 2015 at 5:55 pm Reply | Quote
  • E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Says:

    @Michael – centralization is generally a process of smoothing off discontinuities between parts so as the allow them to be centrally controlled. This is in effect suppressing a certain degree of volatility which always comes back to the bite the system, and depending on the degree of suppression, this may become an event Talib called a ‘Black Swan’.

    Chaos theory states that a system, when it reaches a certain level of disequilibirum, enters a point called a bifurcation. For simple systems, and looking at them from the outside, one may be able to predict the nature of the bifurcation, which implies knowing which direction the chaotic system will go, converting the excess energy into a new, spontaneous order. Scapegoating is an example of controlled chaos magick, where a system becomes chaotic enough, instead of allowing bifurcation (collapse/revolution) a scapegoat is chosen (rarely the real culprit, if possible) to take a fall to save the system.

    The ability to understand this process id deceptive, because it makes us believe we can predict a black swan, whereas Talib is saying that if you could predict it, it would not be a black swan. The justification for this is as follows:

    1. Normal volatility within a system at any given state contains a certain amount of true unpredictability. Taken in small doses, like drinks of water, it is manageable.
    2. Centralization requires the smoothing off of and standardizing of things, since central powers are weaker to disruptions from within. This is like what happens when you scale any structure without scaling its infrastructure (trying building the brooklyn bridge out of toothpicks.) Centralized powers (especially empires, it seems) are already patchwork-like, though the command structure requires them to smooth off volatility such as internal warfare between states. (Our own War Between The States is an example of an extraordinary measure to Remove Volatility.)
    3. According to the theory, some of this unpredictability that is removed by removing volatility does not go away, but is pushed off elsewhere, and in particular, becomes hidden rather than visible. Talib has numerous examples of this happening. There are certain ways one can centralize without getting this effect (a Patchwork as a ‘central conception’ without a real center other than a common agreement of sorts would be one such example.)
    4. Now that this unpredictability is hidden, it also has the tendency to coagulate, a process that makes sense if you think about conflict. Conflicts that are not resolved tend to cluster, while small skirmishes can set off a feud that builds into a war (the Pacifist’s worry) the opposite is also the case: Forcing the parties not to fight but to cooperate buries conflicts which at some point due to political maneuvering and the basic process of Schelling points gather together and explode.
    5. The consequence of this is that any significantly centralized system, esp. one with wide reaching powers (every power it wields requires smoothing internally) is doomed to experience an unpredictable and probably catastrophic black swan. It can. not. be. predicted. It can only be resisted by allowing a level of volatility. Some centralization schemes cannot brook the sufficient level of volatility and thus are time bombs.
    6. Our present system will get a black swan that will destroy it. This is not to say that the people won’t try to reconstitute it again because it is all they know. The problem isn’t that the system isn’t going to die. It will. The problem is the potential scope of ruin from this.
    7. Accelerating the process can cause the bubble to pop faster and do less damage. There’s no guarantee of course, due to chaos and all, how effective it will be.

    Note that systems that grow in conflict due to low level conflicts (such as a feud like the Hatfields and McCoys) are fragile and need to die quickly and peacefully like a broken business.


    Michael Reply:

    while i admit idly was playing fast and loose with lorenz and talib maths i dont think we disagree on the situation on the ground.i too find moldbug intriguing i just dont find his version of patch plausible while i do think going back to earlier corporate patches not only plausible but possibly now technologically manageable. moldbug approaches the power problem and decides absolute power is the solution while it might work i doubt it, im thinking technology allows virtual patches which eliminate the objection to surrendering voice for exit on a macro scale.this increase in the power to exit will lessen the objection to sovereignty at the micro scale, i dont give a shit what googles censorship pricing and hiring policies are as long as i can exit.The same thing goes for the curriculum at some school, since the government is now tiny and bitcoin is now the the currency i really dont care about politics i care about how i order my own life.black swans will still happen but they will be contained better because the system is decentralized and dynamic if google is caught in a credit default swap collapse i can quickly exit. with a less powerful government humans natural hierarchic affinity will manifest.perhaps where i am least clear myself and so least understood is the mechanism i think will still be needed at times to balance, while most contractual things have easy private solutions things like the great depression might still happen and need some sort of reset, it might indeed be decided doing nothing is best or it might be decided glass segal would help i think while gnon will be the final judge better judgements can be made if we can all but eliminate hidden agendas and this i think may soon be technologically possible sure absolute physical power is still the final arbiter and guarantor of national sovereignty i just dont thing we need a leviathan to do everything yeah maybe what im saying is the original constitution might be technically possible to enforce now


    Posted on June 11th, 2015 at 6:28 pm Reply | Quote
  • Little Hans Says:

    The economic priorities of a Sov Corp that goes Gulag aren’t to maximise general economic prosperity, they’re to secure the positions and prosperity of those at the top. That’s still a rational choice – you can see it in almost every existent bureaucracy where the daily protocol is: task 1, maintain my standing; task 2, complete all other functions. And the higher up the pyramid you go, the more time spent on task 1.

    So North Korea’s system is supremely preferable for the guy at the top, and then a little less so for the guys underneath, and less for the guys underneath them etc. That means that the test for a state’s tendency to maximise general versus elite economic prosperity would be how many people had a stake in the Sov Corp and how much you’d dilute the benefits of dictatorship; and then you’re back to a slippery slope of having to extend the franchise to the point where the general economic interest wins out and you’re back to democracy.

    Anyway, I’m still curious about entry rather than exit. Say everywhere allows exit and the Gulag state is at most, rare – as the world is. How do you run a patchwork without formalised rules of entry? Because if entry is eye-wateringly expensive and bitterly regulated, exit isn’t that useful anymore.


    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    Price of entry is just that – the value of entry. If you’re in a crappy place, maybe look for offers being made by decent places to people with decent skills, say, like professionals or technicians, and use that to lower the cost of entry.

    Exit without auto-entry of course implies a world where borders are not flush. Until we get out of the habit of fictionalizing our maps – pretending every inch of the globe belongs to someone or other – it will be hard to conceptualize this.


    ||||| Reply:

    @Little Hans

    Curvature and Temperature in Complex networks – pretty much a formalization of that second paragraph.

    As for more than that:

    Complex Networks as Nash Equilibria of Navigation Games


    Posted on June 11th, 2015 at 6:37 pm Reply | Quote
  • vimothy Says:

    “But again, the mechanism we rely on to prevent it is… the sound engineering principle of the profit motive.”

    If we lived in a world where the profit motive was sufficient, there wouldn’t be a North and a South Korea.


    Lesser Bull Reply:



    Posted on June 11th, 2015 at 10:15 pm Reply | Quote
  • ||||| Says:

    I prefer:

    “Is that all? Yes — that’s all. Beyond the entropic mandates of Causality, obeyed within a [logical dialect]/[geometry of interactions] (of coordination for ___ resources), there is nothing to which an appeal can be made. The end.”


    Posted on June 11th, 2015 at 10:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • Michael Says:

    im not worried about escape how on earth is anyone going to keep their borders secure its not a wall that would keep subjects? in, its the hassle of moving. sure maybe i can take my bitcoin and run but some of us have more than a digital life. but ive already talked about that flaw, so how about border security any system capable of that in a patchwork would make life intolerable and thats just physical borders theres also digital biological and a host of other possible areas worth transgressing to cheaters.
    it may sound simple on paper but the reality would be a much more complicated system in practice and antithetical to human nature which uh i thought was our whole point.ever notice theres a point ar which humans stop chalking up initial conditions as shit happens and drag out the guillotine to see if shit cant be stopped. well id guess about the time you start doling out the patches and telling people theyre serfs [oh they will figure it out even if you dont tell them] is about the time that will happen.


    Posted on June 11th, 2015 at 11:13 pm Reply | Quote
  • jpt4 Says:

    Finality too readily connotes stasis; stagnation follows both physically and metaphorically in turn. Thus, I submit this brief contention with “The End”:

    The great logistical reformation of the world’s modern militaries began with Napolean’s subdivision of the Armee en masse into separate, self-contained corps. After centuries of kabinettskriege, the pool of manpower available to the post-Revolution dictator demanded new abstractions to conserve his co-ordinating power, and so the corps he delegated to his Marshals, along with the resources to be organically self-sustaining at home, while training, on the march, and in the field. As the combat power once reserved for larger formations became concentrated by technological force multipliers, such coherent independence was pushed down the stack, as evidenced by Guderian’s armored divisions at one extreme, and the increasing use of special operations teams at the other. This trend has only accelerated post-World War II, with the United States currently standardized (after being disabused from their flirtation with corp-centricity in the 1950’s by the Germans and Israelis) on the Brigade Combat Team, no longer composed of regiments (except as administrative or traditional inertia demands) but rather directly from battalions.

    Unlike the armies of Europe pre-mass-nationalization, the BCT is surgical yet scalable, modular not monolithic. In theory, a single battalion with attached artillery and air cavalry alone possesses sufficient firepower to preserve the sovereignty of a population many times its personnel, demonstrating that a given level of security does not require a high proportion of soldiers to civilians (inversely, the civilian population effectively shielded by a battalion is relatively large). However, this model does not obtain in fact because the cost of condensing a division into a brigade or less is reflected in a low tooth:tail ratio. Aggregating its entire industrial, economic, political, and cultural catchment zone, one finds that the populace a battalion could defend would be hard-pressed to support any other group endeavor, if the inefficiencies of scale didn’t drown them outright.

    This ratio of ratios, soldier:civilian vs. frontage:supply lines, bounds the federation possible in a Patchwork; enclaves could quite reasonably be smaller than nation-states now, closer to the optimum return on investment of the sol:civ/front:sup curves, but not infinitely polycentric. Correspondingly, the bound is also a driver, and those too small will tend to merge (voluntarily or not) until they reach the threshold of viable military sustainability. Change the attraction point, therefore, and change the cardinality of the set of all rulers. Acceding the Platonically transcendental nature of the asymptotic behavior of a Neocameralist system, there remain levers to pull, and centers of mass to shift, while whomever actually governs pragmatically approximates that ideal.

    To synthesize a policy recommendation, one ought to support research towards the realization of “monadic sovereignty”, so that regardless of the scale of one’s contractual overlord, there might exist viable alternatives at a finer degree of granularity, until the ultimate sea of autarkic axiocrats is achieved.


    Posted on June 13th, 2015 at 12:00 am Reply | Quote
  • This Week in Reaction (2015/06/14) | The Reactivity Place Says:

    […] Land puts Moldbug to work at laying the notion of exit guarantees six feet (1.83m) under. He and his commentariat pay respects to the great Godfrey Elfwick in […]

    Posted on June 15th, 2015 at 9:38 pm Reply | Quote
  • A STEEL-cameralist Manifesto Part 1: Caesar Himself. – IMPERIAL ENERGY Says:

    […] with Royalism or dictatorship (two different things, though at times similar) is the lack of an Exit for a ruler or leader. Since government is a mafia, looking at the Mafia is quite […]

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