ACFS congratulates Martin Foo – finalist for the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award

Monash Business School’s Australian Centre for Financial Studies would like to congratulate Research Officer Martin Foo for being chosen as a finalist for the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award.

Known as ‘the world’s most prestigious essay competition’, the Wings of Excellence Award is open to post-graduate students worldwide.

Addressing this year’s theme – disruption – Mr Foo’s essay proposed a mechanism for modern governments to create “start-up nations”: small, autonomous regions that could function as testbeds for political experimentation.

The essay abstract is provided below:

Martin Foo (AU)
Monash University

Start-up nations – Disrupting modern governance

Trust in the institutions of government and faith in democracy are on the decline. At the same time, society has become more risk-averse, with innovation suppressed by the accumulation of obsolete regulations and the influence of vested interests.
What if it were possible to readily form entirely new quasi-states, and thereby to experiment with different models of governance? I propose a mechanism for modern governments to create “start-up nations”: small, autonomous regions that would function as testbeds for political experimentation. Different start-up nations could trial different combinations of laws, rights, and liberties. Lessons learned from existing dependent territories – including the Cook Islands, Hong Kong, and Puerto Rico – provide useful insight into how such a start-up nation might acquire legal status. Because they would not be constrained by the inertia and aversion to risk that have beset today’s democratic states, start-up nations would be sanctuaries for innovators and could be the disruption that blossoms into a thousand other disruptions.