Patri Friedman on Return of City States, Rene Girard, and Economic Freedom Zones

David Gornoski sits down with economist and venture capitalist Patri Friedman, founder of Pronomos and the Seasteading Institute, for an exploration of liberty and the future of governance in our time.

Will we see a return to local city-states and private enterprise zones around the world? Patri says that the Seasteading project, which is very challenging engineering-wise, is one enterprise among many that are designed to work around large-scale governments. Patri also argues that small countries Lichtenstein, Taiwan, Singapore, and Estonia are much better for businesses as compared to countries with big governments.

The discussion then moves to the topic of liberty and virtue.

In many libertarian circles, the conversation about liberty far too often ends when the necessity for virtue is brought up. David poses this question to which Patri replies: “Freedom is a container in which you build a good life, and the bigger the container the less constrained you are, the better a life you can build if you set yourself to it. If you just want the container and within the container you are wild or you don’t help other people and you don’t seek virtue then that’s just a failure.”

How does Rene Girard’s lessons about internal mediators vs external mediators guide our discernment in founding a culture based on self-giving love rather than forced submission? “The fascinating thing about our Gospel-haunted culture,” David remarks, “is that whenever you exclude something it gains power.” This, David points out, leads to a victimhood culture. “It’s like instead of emulating the many virtues of Jesus,” says Friedman, “you just gotta get crucified!”

Watch the full interview for an exciting conversation on building a better future by looking to the past and more.

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