The entrepreneurial network state.
Mariana Mazzucato has a book The Entrepreneurial State where she tries to bust the myth that innovations come from the private sector. She recently focuses on moonshots and mission-driven projects in the public sector and fights against private consultants.
Balaji Srinivasan very much disagrees with her book – because it describes a very unusual period of the 20th century that was highly centralized with peak centralization around 1950. But the history is running in reverse but with opposite outcomes. and Balaji gives dozen examples – like the US frontier closing in 1890 but the internet frontier reopening in 1991.
If you look at the cover of Mazzucato’s book, you can imagine a state being a dominant lion and the private sector just a small cat. This is how people of the Gov see the world. They have replaced the God-shaped hole in their hearts with the all-mighty Gov. But the Gov is dead, long live the Network. To paraphrase the God-State-Network mental model of Balaji.
Contra Mazzucato – today we are entering again the era dominated by the robber barons of our time – the tech founders. Elon is sending 80% of worlds payload to orbit. 10x the amount of China which is number two player and sends to orbit as much as the rest of the world combined. To summarize it is 80/10/10 – Elon/China/rest of the world.
This leads us to what I call lunarpunk moonshots – special innovation zones, parallel societies, parallel services and ground-breaking products that are built in a decentralized and permissionless fashion.
Reform is hard. It cost Elon over 40 billion dollars and tons of energy and constant fights to reform twitter. Marc Andreesen asks why there aren’t more Elon Musks?
With e/acc meme gaining some traction and the tech tribe gaining self-awareness, we might get more mini-Musks that are engaging in pragmatic antagonism with the Blue America and are sufficiently decentralized – they are building mini-monarchies within their startups but are covering enough branches of the tech tree and have a global stack of tech-friendly jurisdictions.
And these mini-Musks might cooperate and compete to create the holy grail – a sufficiently decentralized version of Twitter or WeChat. Twitter wants to become WeChat. But imagine a decentralized We(b3)Chat. This is an example of a lunarpunk moonshot. It’s really hard but necessary.
The conservative Red tribe is all about hero worship, says Balaji. But we cannot rely on one hero like Elon – because the Blue America is doing everything it can to destroy him. We need hundreds of sufficiently decentralized and global members of the grey tribe – the mini Musks and Palmer Luckeys of the world.