Competitive Governance

Competitive Governance, also called regulatory competition or policy competition, is a phenomenon in law, economics and politics concerning the desire of lawmakers to compete with one another in order to attract businesses or other actors to operate in their jurisdiction.

What if governments would compete for you the same way businesses do? Competing governments would have to make their products and services faster, cheaper, better, and more effective, or their customer-citizens would pick another government doing a better job. What if a governance model could be a product on its own? What if we could have autonomous cities, each having a different governance model, including different laws and taxes? You could shop for a city that suits you best, the same way you pick a restaurant for dinner by walking through a food court or a busy street. Well, it is possible in our time.

It is an amazing reality that is available to us today in the countries with Special Economic Zones (SEZs). In 2020, there are about 4,300 SEZs operating in 75% of countries worldwide. According to the Journal of Special Jurisdictions (Call for papers from 2020-06-10) "In recent years, more Zones have focused on institutional, legal, and regulatory reforms. Today, the most bold version is the Honduran Zone for Employment and Economic Development (ZEDEs). The ZEDEs allow private companies to create SEZs with their own administrative, legal, regulatory, and taxation systems."

Special jurisdictions like ZEDEs offer a tool by which countries can test new laws, implement international best practices, and ensure competitiveness for the 21st century. Competition between special jurisdictions embodies the best aspects of market competition, ensuring that successful practices are rapidly adopted.

So, lets explore how government could be seen as a product where citizens pay for services, or how government could be seen as technology with rules or instructions for its citizens. You will learn about all of it and also about how much the system of rules we live under matter for long-term economic growth from the video below.

We can also say that it is much easier to hold the government accountable in a city that is owned by a private company. In a private city, the rights and obligations between each resident and "the operator" providing governmental services are sealed in a written agreement. This contract becomes an incentive for-profit private city to treat its customers right because any resident may sue its government operator if the contract is violated. Let's listen to a German entrepreneur with a PhD in international law, Dr. Titus Gebel, who talks about this and other opportunities the private city concept opens up to an average citizen in the next video.
Free Private Cities with Dr. Titus Gebel:

If you are a keen reader and want to learn more, check our book list below.

Books about Competitive Governance:

Free Private Cities: Making Governments Competing for You by Titus Gebel
If you prefer to listen to this book, instead of reading, you can find it in this youtube playlist.
Here is the first chapter:
Your Next Government? From the Nation State to Stateless Nations by Tom W. Bell.
Governments across the globe have begun evolving from lumbering bureaucracies into smaller, more agile special jurisdictions - common-interest developments, special economic zones, and proprietary cites. Private providers increasingly deliver services that political authorities formerly monopolized, inspiring greater competition and efficiency, to the satisfaction of citizens-qua-consumers. These trends suggest that new networks of special jurisdictions will soon surpass nation states in the same way that networked computers replaced mainframes. In this groundbreaking work, Tom W. Bell describes the quiet revolution transforming governments from the bottom up, inside-out, worldwide, and how it will fulfill its potential to bring more freedom, peace, and prosperity to people everywhere.
Founding Startup Societies: A Step by Step Guide by Mark Frazier & Joseph McKinney
This Guidebook provides comprehensive how-to information to build Startup Societies. These are small areas that innovate in governance, such as Shenzhen, Dubai, and Singapore.
The Authors wrote this Guidebook to radically lower barriers for launching Startup Society ventures. This Guidebook covers twenty steps to create a Startup Society from ideation to running a full-scale city. It also introduces unique best practices for making Startup Societies: creating consortiums, launching competitions, sharing upsides with local communities, leading with a gift, and scaling from small locations to larger ones.
The Guidebook backs up its guidelines with fifty years of research and field work in over fifty countries. It is a great starting point for entrepreneurs who want to use policies to rejuvenate rural and urban neighborhoods around the world, or to create new ones. It is for everyone with a game-changing Startup Society idea and the drive to achieve it, in their local communities or elsewhere.

Articles about Competitive Governance:

Most up-to-date information on this subject maybe found online

What We can Learn from Liechtenstein by Titus Gebel, 2019
If one mentions in a discussion that Liechtenstein's political system could possibly serve as a model for Germany, one usually reaps scorn and ridicule. If you dig a little deeper to find out what they know about Liechtenstein, the result is usually: little to none.
Startup Societies Foundation
While every society in history began as a startup, there are plenty of modern examples. Cities such as Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Singapore have lifted millions of people out of poverty and have the same economic output as many nation states. Currently, there are more than 5400 startup societies across the globe.
Journal of Special Jurisdictions
Founded by the Institute for Competitive Governance in 2019, the Journal of Special Jurisdictions is an international peer-reviewed journal founded to advance knowledge of Special Economic Zones and other special jurisdictions. The Journal of Special Jurisdictions is the only active academic journal focused on Special Economic Zones and other special jurisdictions. It publishes original papers on the theory, history, regulations and development of special jurisdictions. Submissions can be conceptual, qualitative, case studies, quantitative or exploratory.
Worldwide, there are about 4,000 Zones spanning 130 countries. This number continues to grow. SEZs are one of the most consistently used tools for economic development and have become a mainstay for national policy. Special jurisdictions are not limited to SEZs. These include Charter Cities, indigenous tribes, and private communities. Additionally, they include non-territorial systems, such as alternative dispute resolution systems and online or Distributed Ledger Platforms.
The Journal of Special Jurisdictions furthers this area of governmental innovation by generating scholarly work to inform policymakers about special jurisdictions. The Journal maintains a non-partisanship approach to its topic, however, seeking only the universally acceptable goal of improving human communities.