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An online virtual-nation.
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(+2, -5)
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Here's an idea... http://www.webrepublic.com
Basically, an online nation with its own leaders, currency, culture, states, provinces, cities etc.
This should appeal to you role playing game people... For $100 U.S., people can become citizens of the Webrepublic. You will be awarded 1,000 credits for use as official currency and will be provided with say, 25 MB of space to create your homestead/business/whatever.
I, as Supreme Chancelor For Life, will pick a president, vice-president, secretary of state, senate, other government officials, etc. to carry out the creation of laws, rules, policy, etc. to govern webrepublic.
The government will be of their choosing...democratic, true communism, socialist, dictatorship, whatever. I simply am the one who retains control of the server (i.e I am their god).
Each day, webrepublic members can establish residence in a state and city, establish a true online business or service and accept credits for their services. In turn, these credits are good elsewhere in the republic. At any time, users may purchase more credits from me (god) at .10 cents each.
Credits are good in any Webrepublic business, casino, service, etc.
Because business is conducted in non-U.S. or any other national currency, I think it would circumnavigate any local laws on gambling, trade in illegal goods and services, etc.
People violating established laws of webrepublic are accountable only to webrepublic governors and authorities. If you cyber-steal someone's credits, you aren't stealing any national currency, so you are subject only to retribution within webrepublic.
The goal is to create a self-sufficient community that can provide its own food, goods, services, etc., eventually with no help from the outside world.
The postal service would be a good way to move goods to begin with, but as Webrepublic expands, it could build its own transportation system for shipping goods.
Everything that can be done online will be.
I, as the god, will control all U.S. currency, but will use it to help the "state", i.e. webrepublic.com to purchase necessary equipment, goods, etc.
We'd be fully independent financially from the topsy-turvey world markets, but would still be integrated within our home nations.
Obviously, it would require a leap of faith by many of our members. It's not easy to start turning over money for what seems like nothing, but it could work. Kind of developing a nation within a nation.
As the population grows, we will begin to include more and more things in the webrepublic sphere of financial influence. Grocery stores, gas stations, our own postal system, movie theatres, airline tickets, etc. will all be available if you have credits to spend.
I, as the god and chancelor, will stay out of day to day life but will use the U.S. dollars to pay outside workers to perform these services.
Eventually, government services like postage could be available free of charge to citizens. Government web casinos and businesses could keep the credit coffers full, allowing them to purchase what is needed for operations (i.e. trucks, computers, buildings in major cities, etc.)
The government's financial holdings and perhaps a gold-standard could be backing for currency.
P.S. Because webrepublic credits are not currency of any nation, all transactions could be conducted tax-free. Buy ^100 credits of groceries, ^10 credits for delivery, no tax. ^200 credits for a couple of CD's...no sales tax.
^20,000 credits for a weekend in the Bahamas, hotel room, food, transportation...no tax, because no money was spent.
rcornell, Mar 06 2001

Oceania: the Atlantis Project http://www.oceania.org
Effort to create a country, shares much of the same technolibertarian foofaraw. [Uncle Nutsy, Mar 06 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Sealand http://www.sealandgov.com/
As near as you're going to get to your own country. [hippo, Mar 06 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Constructive Politics in MMOGs http://www.gamasutr...00309/mihaly_01.htm
This might have some relevence to a web republic. [Aristotle, Mar 06 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

International Journal for Community Currency Research http://www.geog.le.ac.uk/ijccr/
Fairly close to hippo's build on my comments. [Aristotle, Mar 06 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       I move that all citizens' names be preceded by www. Thus, www.bobsmith.com. Long live the Web Republic. Oh say can you see, by the screen saver's light ... the land of the PC, and the home of the saved as.
bigdaddyfatfat, Mar 06 2001

       So far, hackers haven't destroyed ebay.com or paypal.com or many other websites.
A fully monitored, fire-walled and secure systems could be created to deter hacking.
The Central Banc De WebRepublique would be held on a series of serversand back-ups, each secure.
Finances would be safer than any online U.S. bank or bill paying service.
rcornell, Mar 06 2001

       This would basically be a barter system, using credits. Barter is definitely taxable.
PotatoStew, Mar 06 2001

       Oh where, oh where, should the Halfbakery’s only economic analyst (as far as he knows) begin in this target-rich environment? How about with this:   

       “We'd be fully independent financially from the topsy-turvey world markets, but would still be integrated within our home nations.”   

       Like heck.   

       First off, your currency (the WebCredit, or WC) is one-way pegged to the U.S. dollar, at US$ 1 = WC 10. Pegged currencies sink or swim with the currency to which they are pegged, so any world market event affecting the dollar (which is “all of them”) would affect the WC.   

       Then, consider the one-way pegging. The dollar is fully convertible to the WC at a 1:10 rate, but the opposite is not true, unless you get the U.S. government to sign off on a fixed exchange rate regime with WebRepublic. This does happen once in a while; some South American countries do this. To do so, these countries must agree to essentially surrender control of their monetary policies to the Federal Reserve. As you and not Alan Greenspan is the WebRepublic God, I’m guessing you wouldn’t let that happen even if the U.S. lost its collective marbles and made the offer. So the peg is one-way.   

       So, should a WebRepublican attempt to purchase a good denominated in U.S. currency (like, oh, U.S. postage), they’re required to accept whatever exchange rate the seller offers. Such an exchange rate has an upper limit of US$ 1 = WC 10, since beyond that point anyone who wanted WCs would have already bought them. However, since US$ 1 = WC 10 while WC 10 <= US$ 1, the dollar is always at least as good as the WC, if not better, a rational economic actor would always hold dollars in preference to WCs. Even at WC 10 = US$ 1, the WC can always fall, even if you have several hundred tons of gold ready to guarantee the WC already in place.   

       Since WCs are less desirable than dollars, the WC would fall against the dollar. If the WC is worth less than the peg value, why buy WCs? The WC fizzles as people dump it; as more people get out of WCs the value of holding WCs drops (because there are fewer things you can buy with them), creating a vicious cycle, until the WC is worth US$ 0 plus or minus epsilon.   

       And, God, I could go on and on and on! I started writing this off-line, and within 15 minutes turned out 3 pages of single-spaced 12 point text on free-rider problems and physical resource perturbations, without even hitting on practical problems of vigilante-justice-based societies, the chance (“zero”) that the government would let you get away with this sort of tax dodge, and the like.   

       This might work for a anarchosyndicalist collective or as a Ponzi scheme to dupe naïve technolibertarians, but that’s it.
Uncle Nutsy, Mar 07 2001

       Nutsy- Fair criticism...haven't listened to that lecture since Econ 103.
Nontheless, your only error is in assuming WC's are comparable to the dollar. They are not. Credits would be issued when you join the republic and can be purchased, but there is no exchange rate for WC's to dollars.
You are right, in the beginning, the WC's value is totally subject to the market for the dollar. But once the WC is backed by a gold standard, there shouldn't be that issue.
There would be no fiscal policy beyond, you can buy credits for .10 each. No need for a FED as such. Webrepublicans can base their interest rates, etc. on demand.
My question is, how could the U.S. tax any webcredit purchases or transactions beyond state sales tax on the initial purchase? Web credits inherintly have no value, as they cannot be exchanged for currency. And taxing a barter system would prove next to impossible. How much do you tax a person who spends ^55 credits to have his package delivered by a private currior who accepts web credits? How much do you tax a guy when he uses ^110 web credits to buy a case of beer at a corner store that uses them?
And if www.webrepublic.com was based perhaps on some offshore island, not in U.S. jurrisdiction, how do you regulate their actions?
I wrote of an economy that develops over a period of time. Initially, it would be a paypal.com sort of method for paying for small goods transactions. Eventually, as member confidence builds and more credits are added to the economy, credits woiuld be acceptable for larger purchases, such as automobiles...other than the fees to transfer the title and get it licensed, you can't charge a tax on a small "gift" like a car.
And like I said, all U.S. currency used to buy credits would be used to purchase gold to back the credits and the necessary hardware to develop the nation's infrastructure.
rcornell, Mar 07 2001

       You can't have a one-way exchange rate. You say that "Credits would be issued when you join the republic and can be purchased, but there is no exchange rate for WC's to dollars." If this is the case, then no one will join. If I give you $20 and get WC200 and use this to buy beer, then the beer vendor will want to change these back into dollars, or if he uses the WCs to get his car serviced, then the garage will want to convert them back into dollars. Somewhere, someone will want to convert freely from WCs to dollars.
And then, as Nutsy points out, where's the basis for the currency - initially it will be backed by all the dollars which people have paid, but when these have been spent on upgrading your servers, what's preventing a run on the WC?
hippo, Mar 07 2001

       What would be more interesting would be to have a web credit currency that does not use cash. You could use to to reward people's time like those community currency scheme were you earn currency by cutting hair, walking dogs, baby-sitting or helping someone get their computer stable again. This would supposedly help web republic citizens cooperate fairly and spread out any online efforts between people.
Aristotle, Mar 08 2001

       [Aristotle] - nice idea and, I think, would work as a cooperative (rather than a 'country' with a 'God'...), and would probably work best if membership was limited to a tightly defined area, like a street. If you wanted to set up one of these in your own street, then go to Aristotle Inc.'s website and set one up, put flyers through all you neighbours' doors explaining where to find the site. Everyone who then registers at the site pays a one-off $5 membership and can then use all the skills/barter offers posted by other site members.
I can't believe this isn't already baked.
hippo, Mar 08 2001

       hippo: it is... there are already bartering co-ops where you pay a membership fee and then can barter goods and services for credits with other members. These usually have a wider scope than a single street though, and you still have to pay taxes on the value of the goods and services you are bartering.
PotatoStew, Mar 08 2001

       there are a number of massively multiplayer online games in development and already out that have a fully imersive virtual world. star wars galaxies is one. in the future these regard these as virtual nations, neigh virtual universes... i'm sure.
venomx, Feb 02 2003

       Dude, people need a life. If someone wants to live on the internet then that is just insane! So when you fill out a form you'll put down for country "Webrepulic.com" lol this is funny. As well what happends when the power goes out? And if the site gets hacked are you going to have a draft of a hacker army to defend it?
JoeLounsbury, Feb 12 2004

       For all of you naysayers, I posted this idea six years ago. For all the flak I took, it clearly was a plausible idea and has been accomplished: http://secondlife.com/
rcornell, Jun 18 2007


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