Quote note (#275)
From James C. Bennett’s indispensable book The Anglosphere Challenge: Why the English-Speaking Nations Will Lead the Way in the Twenty-First Century (2004), on the genealogy of the Neocameral State (though he doesn’t call it that):
The lowering of transaction costs for international financial activities in the 1960s started to allow major corporations and banks to take advantage of the lower tax and regulatory burdens of tax havens such as the Netherlands Antilles. Corporations became sophisticated consumers of “sovereign services,” in this case, venue of incorporation. In doing so, they built on a trend started by 1920s shipowners, who had increasingly sought Panamanian and Liberian registry for their ships.
Over the past three decades, these trends have accelerated enormously as the breakup of the old European empires began the process of multiplication of sovereign entities. The emergence of larger numbers of sovereign entities has created a more competitive market for sovereignty services, most particularly for incorporation but also ship registration, passport, residence permits, and other desirable items that any sovereign state has to sell. The increase in the number of providers, combined with the falling cost of accessing the providers, has made sovereignty services a highly competitive market area. As devolution produces yet more sovereign states and the Internet reduces the cost of accessing the services to rock bottom, this market can be expected to flourish. The market for sovereignty services has shown great oprice elasticity: the users of offshore accounts, shell corporations, and trust services proliferate as the cost of setting up such services fall.
Consider the ability to sell products and services on the Internet, and the decline of the corporation-employment model (seen in the practices of downsizing and delayering). Private Internet currencies based on strong encryption (cybermoney) may soon provide payment mechanisms that are not recorded in central clearinghouses and are thus beyond subpoena power. We can see that much of the actual economic activity of the coming era will pass into the transnational realm.
There, it will beyond the full control of any particular state.