When companies becomes countries

(Matias Volco) #1


When Companies Become Countries

Posted April 9, 2012 in: #General Nonsense

I wonder when the first multinational company will form its own country to avoid wars, government red tape, and corporate taxes. It feels inevitable. I assume it will involve seasteading.

The current notion of seasteading involves floating cities that are outside the control of existing nations. That concept has its appeal, especially as a way to test new forms of government. But existing corporations already have their own form of government called management, and despite its warts, it generally works.

Imagine, for example, that one of the world’s beloved companies such as Apple or Facebook someday decides to start its own country on the sea. The company’s existing management structure would need to add several functions, such as education, healthcare, and police. The corporate government would look a lot like the Chinese government. In other words, it would be efficient in terms of profit, while giving up freedoms that employees are already accustomed to giving up. For example, company employees don’t have freedom of speech when it comes to criticizing management. Somehow we live with that restriction and it doesn’t seem too onerous.

There would be no taxes for permanent residents of the company country. Public services would be funded from corporate profits. Every paid service in the country, from banking, to insurance, to groceries, would be company-run. The accounting would be transparent and the profits would flow to public services.

The big worry with this model is the “company store” abuse that was common during the early days of the United States. In some cases, an employer would take advantage of its monopoly on goods and services to gouge its employees, turning them into virtual slaves. But I think that risk can be addressed by accounting transparency, and by capping the compensation of top management to a multiple of the average employee pay. It also helps if employees can choose to leave whenever they want. That keeps management in line.

Wages in the company country would be low while still attracting top talent, so long as the cost of living islow, taxes are non-existent, and the lifestyle is awesome. Employees could earn less while saving far more, especially if they own equity in the company.

This prediction assumes that traditional governments continue to bankrupt themselves and strangle their own industries with red tape. That feels like a safe bet. But the main reason a company might want to form its own country is to attract the best minds, and the lowest cost of labor, from all over the world without any immigration issues.

Do company countries seem inevitable or unlikely to you?

Scott Adams via Dilbert Blog

Could a Seastead be the first country to implement a Universal Basic Income?
(noboxes) #2

That was

Can you ask him how he feels now in 2018, and if he would still file this in “General Nonsense”?

(Matias Volco) #3

his predictions are long term that’s how you know some of them become a reality. But of course the opposite may be true and predicting it may realize it. Probably an interplay of the two like surfing an incoming wave.

The Best Lifestyle Might be the Cheapest Too

Posted February 17, 2015 in: #greenenergy, #income inequality, #uber, #urbanplanning

If you were to build a city from scratch, using current technology, what would it cost to live there? I think it would be nearly free if you did it right.

Is building land on water nearly free if done right?



Why is this in the future tense? There are already multinational corporations with platforms and ships with people living on them with essentially no sovereign oversight.

(Craig G. Lewis) #5

What about a Company or Nation Buying another Nation or Island?

Take Newfoundland 520,000 population.

Has Trillions in Resources, yet Gov has it with $20Billion debt.

Norway has $1Trillion in National Bank.

Buy NL for $500 Billion. Give $1 Million each to the 520,000 citizens and pay of the debt, and ALL Live in Peace with a very wealthy future. :slight_smile:

(noboxes) #6

Some day, a Chinese company will do that to an African country, just watch. I have suggested Somalia as a cheap way to accomplish this. They may do it to the usa, just to control their losses.

(Alex Smith) #7

well just go to find thouse pacific island countries which has very small population, and make it modified the law to open to all the world by donations like 1billions to marshall(the country) or those sinking island or even nauru.

i need to notice the author that its just hundred of years from the history of those European companies control coutries. is East India company sounds familliar to you? or how about The Hudson’s Bay Company?

(bill mapezzi) #8

Here is how to aquire a “state” on the cheap. The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands has only 17-19,000 voters max. They are part of the United States, almost exactly the same as Puerto Rico. Although they lost their independent Immigration control (2009) to the feds they still have independent labor laws. A large shipload of mainland “refugees” could be bought for, I don’t know, maybe 4 bottles of mexican tequilla? As governor with a majority senate, one could direct quite a lot funds to the construction of seasteads for homeless Americans. As they might be more interested in inebriating themselves than detailing out the business operation of the seasteads a “company” could just swoop in and have subsidy for all its projects. A one time takeover for about 1/2 million dollars. I’m serious for every 1 American your company employs you are currently allowed 5 oversea workers at market rate. “Native control” over this racket is largely guaranteed by the governor and his family. 20,000 new voters establish residence for 30 days…done deal new company is the governor. An EEZ zone about the size of California- 10 million acres for 1/2 million or so if organized takeover is quick and efficient. - maybe more than that…20,000 people need ID’s and booze, maybe every 12 or so can share a scooter.

(Larry G) #9

Land ownership, inheritance, citizen status etc. are all complex topics in the Polynesian/Micronesian Pacific. In most cases, local laws prevent the “exploitation” of native people by outsiders purchasing land, etc. outside of Hawai’i which is actually a US State, not just a territory, Islanders get US National Status, with a fast track to citizenship if they apply, while US Citizens and foreigners are about on the same par with little local rights to own property or participate in political/governance activities.

Even in the State of Hawai’i, there are tribal areas where outsiders are not allowed, and at least one entire island pretty much forbidden to non-natives.

They are very aware of how easily they could be diluted like a drop of ink in a bucket of milk. You can’t just move there, register to vote, and take it away from them.

(bill mapezzi) #10

CNMI is not a “territory” like Guam, Samoa or Virgin Islands. They are the same as Puerto Rico. They are U.S citizens. If any U.S citizen moves there the automatically become residents of CNMI whether you like it or not. Just like if you move from Florida to Texas…Flipping Jerry Brown’s niece was the attorney general in CNMI. Their whole nepotitic government can disappear in the blink of an eye, just as California was taken over by environazis, if they are outvoted.Yeah they got some deviations about who can hold titles to land still(current gov’t trying to repeal that - so they can make new resorts and golf courses), buts its just legislature. One might even get 1/3 of a 1/2 of the natives to vote for you - betel nut goes a long way. I know when I got hired in CNMI I counted as a “local” so the company I worked for hired five more Filipinos and Chinese…I’m sure could have voted if I stayed there and got a drivers license or something.

here it is - 4months “residency” to vote-July 11, 2016 is the last day to establish the 120-day residency requirements in order to vote in the Nov. 9, 2016, general elections, according to Commonwealth Election Commission acting executive director Julita Villagomez.

Villagomez said for example U.S. citizens living in Guam can register as voters in the CNMI if they move here before July 11.
so 20,000 x 120 x 1.50 of vodka - $3.6 million steal CHEAP for a ticket to write your own EEZ regulations.

(bill mapezzi) #11

well, one more “stickler” you have to find some “candidates”. governor - 10 years residency, senator and representatives only 5 years minimum residency.

(Larry G) #12

“Article 12 of the CNMI’s constitution requires that land in CNMI can only be owned by a person of at least 25% CNMI descent. This legislation was, at the time of writing, in a state of flux with proposals to reduce the criterion to allow any US citizen with any degree of CNMI or Carolinian descent to own land and also to allow landowners to opt out of the restriction in respect of land sales at some time in the future. The result of the Article 12 restriction has been that most property in CNMI is sold on the basis of a long lease – typically 50 years or more – which can usually be extended if required.”


“Section 1: Alienation of Land. The acquisition of permanent and long-term interests in real property within the Commonwealth shall be restricted to persons of Northern Marianas descent.”


“A senator shall be qualified to vote in the Commonwealth, at least twenty-five years of age, and a resident and domiciliary of the Commonwealth for at least five years immediately preceding the date on which the senator takes office. A longer residency and domicile requirement may be provided by law.”


“© Under the authority of Article VII, Section 1 of the Commonwealth Constitution, no person shall be eligible to vote who has not resided in the Commonwealth at least 120 days prior to the Election Day.”

So 120 days residency to vote, 5 years residency to hold office. Can’t own real property unless you’re native to a significant degree of blood descent.

Not quite theFree State Project. (which still hasn’t even come close to succeeding.)

(Torrey Jones) #13

Ok, Let’s play that game out a little bit.

Actually, not so much. Most major corporations already have provisions for education, either through internal trainers, or through partnering with external educators. Sure, the number of subjects that they educate would have to diversify, but they still have education as a department of HR. Healthcare is also a function of HR. Lots of major corporations, like Google, Facebook, etc., also have, or so I have been told, internal clinics. Not much of a stretch to expand those clinics to cover more and more medical services, including emergency medicine. Finally, almost every major corporation I’ve ever worked for has had security on hand, several companies already using off-duty police as that security. Again, not much of a stretch to expand that to fully authorized police and military personnel.

I have worked for several large corporations, AT&T, MCI, Iqor, and of course several smaller ones as well, I have never had a problem with criticizing management, even in a right to work state where you can be fired for any reason, even no reason at all. Just because you work for a large corporation does not mean that you give up your rights. Maybe you could explain what you mean here a little better?

Part of the reason “we live with those restrictions and it doesn’t seem too onerous” is because the restrictions that you speak of largely do not exist. Allow me to provide an example, Say you work for Apple, and you don’t like the fact that they use largely unskilled labor in Asia to produce their phones, and you speak out about that. There are acceptable ways of doing that, and there are non-acceptable ways of doing that. You can use your own personal private email from home to post messages to public message boards and criticize Apple Managements decisions all you want, and Apple can’t do anything about it. If however, you use your Apple Corporate Identity to post to public facing Apple Community boards, well, you’re speaking on behalf of Apple, and Apple isn’t going to like that, and rightly so. It’s not that you’re speaking out against Apple, it’s how and where you’re doing it.

Possible, but highly unlikely. Monopolies do not last long, and the tighter your squeeze to maintain that monopoly, the quicker it crumbles. While the corporate income is predominantly provided for by existing sales, I can’t really see a corporation turned nation refraining from taxing it’s residents as much as they can realistically get away with, the stock owners would demand no less in the pursuit of greater profit margins.

While true, it wasn’t just the US where such took place. I know that such also took place in the UK, and such continues to occur in African mines today.

Accounting Transparency isn’t something that would happen, not when there are “Trade Secrets” to protect. You think today’s governments are bad with keeping secrets from their people, they really haven’t got anything on businesses trying to protect every tiny advantage they have over their competition. Finally, if the company is the government, how are you going to cap upper management’s salary? A nation can do that when it is a separate entity from the company, but not when they are the same. The only thing that would really keep the government in line is having a mass exodus of employees/residents from the corporate nation. Well, that and global boycotts due to treating their workers poorly.

(Matias Volco) #14

that sounds like a strong incentive for multinational companies to remove their HQ from any one specific nation. As you point out they already have almost all the remaining infrastructure in place.

notice that in the past few years, at least in the USA, some things like red tape and self-strangulation, have appeared to revert, but markedly at the perceived expense of immigration issues. I think these changes have made the article even more foreboding!

This article by Scott Adams an earlier Seasteading contributor and public personality, foresaw Seasteading in one of many ways: as corporate-cities.
I would have used Singapore instead of China as a management example. Dubai or Nakheel also come to mind. Is it a private city? A private country?does it matter?

I remember a movie back in the 90s about a ship belonging to the “second company to ever become an independent country after Dinsey”. It was “obvious” that such an arrangement was taking place in a kind of flloating island.

Do I think companies can become countries? I believe companies are about to enter the game of real estate in the same disruptive way they have entered other domains.

(bill mapezzi) #15

Yes. True exactly as I posted (excluding the wiki descriptions which is doubtful to me whether any CNMI residents helped write- they were always proud to stress to me that of all the dispositions sought by ex pacific trust territories they chose “commonwealth status”, distinguished from a “lowly territory” such as Guam or independent “poor(no food stamps lol)” countries like FSM or Marshall Islands). However 120 days is no big deal, neither is the choice of candidates. There was a well publicized case of some child molester still being discussed when I was in CNMI(2003). I’m not making this up-but his names was like Larry something… If I had to pick to save my life it was Larry something C. This was a big wig developer who was found to be a polygamist and they trumped up some charges on him and “ran him out”. Find his first kids or “ex-wives” and you got your candidates…

“I wonder when the first multinational company will form its own country to avoid wars, government red tape, and corporate taxes. It feels inevitable. I assume it will involve seasteading.” – whoever posted this is what I was responding to…

I disagree that it will be Apple or Facebook. They have too much to lose politically amongst their customers. Just because I outlined an easy coarse to follow if some other small multinational company or “seasteading” group doesn’t mean that I am for this, just that aware of how easy it could be. I may decide to attempt this at a later date myself but not in a positive way. More like REVENGE.

I had personal conversations with the Director of Immigration, the Chief of the Customs Bureau (now defunct), Asst attorney general, and Head Investigator for Attorney General, and the Council General of Philippines to CNMI. I guess the Assist attorney general prosecuting may case wasn’t a crook but the whole lot of the rest of them were including the flipping reporters. I basically took advantage of their laws as they stood in 2002 (up till 2008) when President Bush shoved the department of Homeland Security on them, because of the totally outrageous shenanigans the Chinese were pulling. I caved on legal issues and pled down from 120 years of human smuggling sentences to 2 days time served and a misdemeanor “piloting an airplane” without a license. The 70 foot BOAT I came in on didn’t require a license, the Customs Bureau stole our passports, the Head attorney general Investigator entrapped me, while he monitored a Grand Jury on the radio (I gave the kcufer my name which technically all he was missing since he wasn’t allowed to use my passport) all the while the Director of Immigration continued to deny his signature on my crews “tourist visa” application “It must have been my cousin’s signature who fills in for me at the office”(AS ME with my official STAMP/telephone# and business card), so that was the best charge that they could fit together for me to sign - “piloting an airplane without a license”. I had to plea, they had my son in child protection, since his mom was in immigration detention and threatened to delay a final ruling for 6 months. my family and crew were “excluded”. The Council General of the Philippines, a lawyer by profession, seriously could have stopped the whole nonsense at any time with his own simple investigation had he not enjoyed the limelight (and free lap dances) of authoring the human smuggling narrative for the news rags. I later jacked up the boat on a reef. “no harm no foul” was how the locals saw it, they offered me an audience with the governor to seek permits to try the whole thing over again- with his approval and commission I suppose.

If I ever get a chance I just might send 20,000 homeless from New York or Chicago over there on a ship to collect food stamps, drink untaxed vodka and chew betel nut like the rest of them. Drop off 55,000 pvc chinese22mm zipguns as well. There is at least 20,000 Chinese and Filipinos there also, can’t leave them undefended.

From what I’ve seen, a land invasion from mainland China is the only real deterrent to an organization (company) writing their own laws in the wild WILD west. Peace out, business planning and organization are above my pay grade.