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The Political Economy of Non-Territorial Exit


Trent J. MacDonald

Territorial political organisation forms the backbone of western liberal democracies. However, political economists are increasingly aware of how this form of government neglects the preferences of citizens, resulting in dramatic conflicts. The Political Economy of Non-Territorial Exit explores the theoretical possibility of ‘unbundling’ government functions and decentralising territorial governance.
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Chapter 2: History of an idea

Trent J. MacDonald


The non-territorial governance concept resembles closely the political philosophy of panarchism—a specific form of governance (i.e. ‘-archy’) that encompasses all others (i.e. ‘pan-’). The central idea is that individuals should have maximum freedom to join and leave the jurisdiction of any government they choose, without having to change their current location. The classical foundations of panarchism were laid more than a century and a half ago, but underwent a long dormant period until something of a contemporary revival of panarchist political theory and philosophy in the late twentieth century and today (Tucker & de Bellis 2015): Panarchy (pan-archy: many chiefs; multi-government) is a system of competing, co-existing governments which conduct their operations within the same geographical territories without making any claims to those territories, and whose only powers derive from the consent of those they govern, i.e., those who voluntarily agree to submit to a particular government. These voluntary governments are constituted and operate on the basis of contractual personal law rather than the coercive territorial law of the Nation-State. (Taylor 1989)

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