Frequently Asked Questions

What is Nova?

Nova is a project to found a new pro-liberty country from first principles.

What is Nova's plan to become a real country?

Our plan has three phases. In the first phase, we're focusing on the people, by growing a community of pioneers. Phase two will involve initial discussion with countries to see which are potentially interested. Phase three will involve actually negotiating with countries to buy sovereign land, as well as banks to finance the project. Once we have a place to move and the financing, then we'll actually have a new, sovereign country - and more work will begin to grow the country itself!

Countries will be interested in selling sovereign land to Nova for two reasons. First, there'll be a payment, financed by GDP-linked bonds. These bonds will be valuable because the population of Nova will be expected to have strong future growth. Second, Nova will be a valuable trading partner and investment zone, which will benefit the original country through cross-border trade and work.

How fast can a new country actually grow?

The limits to growth depend on supply of housing, electricity, water, jobs, etc. as well as a population of immigrants to the country. We believe that with liberal, pro-growth governance, the nation can grow extremely rapidly.

There's no fundamental reason that infrastructure and population cannot grow rapidly. For example, Shenzhen was a small town of 30,000 people in 1980, but less than 30 years later in 2008, it had grown to over 12 million residents.

Similarly, with liberal, pro-growth laws surrounding immigration to the country, there will be plenty of net migration to the country. Human capital is a vastly underappreciated resource in the world, and developed nations accept very low numbers of immigrants relative to worldwide demand. This applies not only to low-skilled immigrants, but also high-skilled immigration as well.

Nova will prioritize high-skilled immigration as a means of rapid growth while also accepting lesser skilled immigrants as well. Thanks to the recent increase in work-from-home policies, we expect many immigrants will be able to bring their jobs with them.

How would the financing work?

The financial plan is to purchase sovereign land with a payout going to the host country and its citizens. This financing will come from selling GDP-linked bonds. If the country grows quickly, which we intend for it to do, then these bonds will be very valuable, due to both the rapidly growing population and the economic growth engine of an economically free country.

Where will Nova be located?

It is not yet determined, and will depend on an existing sovereign country voluntarily selling a small part of its territory to us. While not all countries will be willing to do so, we expect that some countries will be open to the idea, recognizing it will be a net positive for their country.

Would a country actually sell sovereign land to a group of foreigners?

We believe so. There are plenty of good reasons to do so, beyond the immediate payment. The developing population and infrastructure will bring an increase in trade and jobs for their country. There have been many historical examples of special economic zones (SEZs) having positive influence on their neighbors, and Nova's effect on nearby countries will be similar.

What does "consent of the governed" mean and how does it apply to Nova?

Consent of the governed means that the political authority of the government flows from the voluntary agreement of its citizens to the social contract. No country today explicitly asks citizens to agree to the social contract. Further, the citizens of existing countries have very different fundamental values for what their country's social contract should be, leading to vociferous debate at best and civil unrest at worst.

In Nova, all citizens, immigrants and natural born, will consent to its pro-liberty social contract. Those born in Nova will be asked to consent upon reaching adulthood. Young adults who, at age 18, do not consent to the laws of Nova will have a transition period as alien residents, while being given time to emigrate.

What does "liberty" mean?

Liberty refers to endorsing civil liberties and a market economy. Civil liberties are things like the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly, and even activities restricted in many democracies today, like the freedom to gamble or use cryptography. Endorsing a market economy means supporting capitalism, with exceptions for market failures and externalities (like pollution). This also means preventing the government from running businesses that are better left to the private sector. There will be no government-run post offices or lotteries in Nova; entrepreneurs are free to start their own businesses in those areas.

Is Nova going to be a state of anarchy?

No. Nova will not be anarchic, since it will have a government, laws, and low taxes. When it comes to freedom, Nova will be the most classically liberal and libertarian-friendly country in existence. There are many shades of libertarian other than anarchy, and we're welcome to most, including civil libertarians, fiscal libertarians, fiscally conservative socially liberal libertarians, bleeding heart libertarians, minarchist libertarians, objectivist libertarians, and geolibertarians.

What's the difference between liberal and related terms, like libertarian, or the American Democratic Party?

Liberalism values liberty, freedom, equality of opportunity, and other ideals. This does not mean we are support either the American Democratic Party or the American Libertarian Party. While many countries today claim to be liberal in principle, most still have victimless crimes, religiously-motivated prohibitions, and restrictive NIMBYist land laws that are very anti-liberal in practice. We agree with Judith Shklar, who said liberalism's definition is that "every adult should be able to make as many effective decisions without fear or favor about as many aspects of his or her life as is compatible with the like freedom of every adult".

What historical precedents are there for founding a new country like this?

While the founding of Nova would be historically quite significant and revolutionary, there are actually a number of historical precedents for collective action used to found new societies.

In antiquity, groups of people would often found new cities in brand new places. For example, the Greeks founded Alexandria, Marseille, and Syracuse, and the Romans founded London, Frankfurt, and many others. The original American colonies were founded by religious pilgrims seeking to escape oppression and promote their way of life.

In more modern times, Liberia and Israel are examples of countries founded by ideologically motivated groups, the American Colonization Society and Zionist Organization respectively.

Historically, colonization is rightly condemned for its concomitant ills like oppression, disease, and theft of property. By contrast, Nova will protect liberty, by seeking a mutually beneficial, legal founding of a new country through sovereign land acquisition.

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