Peter C. Earle now has a fun, insightful, short book on the quirky, serendipitous, inspiring history of a briefly semi-stateless place: Moresnet.
Moresnet was, as Earle explains, “an unintended consequence of the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) [c]reated as a triangle of neutral territory between Prussia and the Netherlands by the Congress of Vienna.”
In essence, neither nation controlled the place, and the people were largely left to their own devices. As a result, Earle says,
Moresnet encapsulates the archetype of market anarchy. Hidden in its history we find privately produced, commodity-backed money; competing avenues for the administration of justice; negligible — and, it seems, entirely avoidable — taxes and fees; few, if any, regulations; a defense force without a standing military; open borders (however unintentionally); and an irrepressibly entrepreneurial spirit.
This is a very neat short history of a very neat place. The book is, of course, produced by Invisible Order, and it is available on Amazon.com for just $2.99. Go buy yours now.