Panarchy and Entrepreneurial Cities

By Pedro Dias

Startup Societies Foundation

In 1860, the Belgian economist and botanist Paul Emile de Puydt published the essay Panarchy, originally in French¹, in the periodical Revue Trimestrielle, in which he outlined a political system in which everyone would have the right to choose under which form of government they wanted to live. In other words, Puydt applied the concept of freedom of choice, laissez-faire, laissez-passer, to the system of government (or non-government).

“My panacea, if you will allow this term, is simply free competition in the business of government. Everyone has the right to look after his own welfare as he sees it and to obtain security under his own conditions. On the other hand, this means progress through contest between governments forced to compete for followers. True worldwide liberty is that which is not forced upon anyone, being to each just what he wants of it; it neither suppresses nor deceives, and is always subject to a right of appeal. […] In a nutshell: Freedom of choice, competition. “Laissez faire, laissez passer!” This marvellous motto, inscribed on the banner of economic science, will one day be the principle of the political world too. The expression “political economy” gives some foretaste of it and, interestingly, some people have already tried to change this name, for instance, into “social economy”. The intuitive good sense of the people has disallowed this concession. The science of economics is and always will be the political science par excellence. Was it not the former which created the modern principle of non-intervention and its slogan “laissez faire, laissez passer”?”

Michael S. Rozeff, in the article Why I Am a Panarchist², expresses in other words the concept of Puydt:

“I personally do not want to live under such a power and such impositions, which is why I am anarchist. But I also recognize that others of you might wish to do so, which is one reason why I am panarchist. I do not want to abolish your government that you may want for yourselves, but I want to have my own means of governance for myself. This too is why I am panarchist”.


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