Technology and Sovereign Individuals

Technology and Sovereign Individuals

What are sovereign individuals? We know what sovereignty means for states, but what about individuals? For states it means that a state itself can decide and preside over its land, its laws and how it exercises powers within its borders–that is a very simplified definition I would give. The question is, how does this translate to individuals? As citizens we are all in a certain jurisdiction and we have to follow the local laws. However, if you broaden your horizon you notice that in our modern, globalised world you have the power to choose where you want to live. Of course, countries show varying degrees of openness for immigrants but as long as you are either creative or competent (especially in high-demand trades) you will be able to relocate to virtually any jurisdiction of your choosing. James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg elaborate on this transition in more detail in their book "The Sovereign Individual".

Undergirding the emergence of sovereign individuals is globalisation facilitated through advancements in technology. In 2021, about 30 years after the internet became a commodity, we still have not really grasped the potential of the technology. However, most developments seem to point to a more decentralised future where technologically literate people are afforded more and more choice. Where you want to live, how you make money, when you work, these are all things that are increasingly flexible. The Covid19 pandemic accelerated this transition most visibly in the work place and education. School and universities have become mostly remote, the same holds true for many companies with empty offices where employees work from home. While at first, mostly people with "internet jobs" were able to work conveniently from home (or any other place), now most people, where it is possible can or are forced to work from home.

Currently, a limiting factor for sovereign individuals is the cost of moving from one jurisdiction to another. Some jurisdictions might be incompatible with the work someone is doing, or transferring capital might be costly. However, blockchain technologies encompass anything from digital currencies to global, self-sovereign credentials that would minimise these issues. Facilitated through the internet, blockchain technologies have the potential to transform the world we live in even more, and ultimately this technology will empower the people who are capable to sail with the winds of (digital) change. 30 years after households adopted the internet we are still grappling with its meaning for our lives. Blockchain technology is now 12 years old and despite the current speculative hype, I believe we still have not the faintest idea of the magnitude of change it will bring in the future.

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