The Corporate Law Group

Experiments in Government

experiments-in-governmentAvast Ye Matey! In October Iceland gave 14.48% of its votes and 10 parliament seats to the libertarian leaning Pirate Party. Polls had predicted they might do much better than that. Before you roll the eyes and tell us about Gary Johnson’s 3% let me explain. Innovation requires us to test stuff. Edison didn’t find the perfect light bulb filament on the first try. ‘One size fits all,’ stifles innovation. Everyone in the same pool means that we can’t test other pools. What happened to, ‘fail quickly’? With innovation free to try stuff we can have ‘mustards’ rather than ‘mustard’.

Globally the Pirates are said to be for civil rights, direct democracy and participation in government, transparency, reform of intellectual property laws, free sharing of knowledge, information privacy, freedom of information, anti-corruption, and Internet neutrality. The first Pirate Party was in Sweden. The US got one in 2006. In Iceland the Pirates have spoken of granting Edward Snowden Icelandic citizenship.

We love innovation, and there is no reason why governments can’t innovate; despite the fact that they almost never do. We’re in favor of trying stuff. That’s the only way you find the paths that are better than the one you are on.

The Pirates got Iceland’s blasphemy laws ousted just over a year ago and started gaining in popularity. Iceland’s PM started feeling the heat due to the Panama Papers scandal and, of course, the three largest banks had all defaulted when Lehman Brothers went under. An election was called. Why not try the Pirates?

What will Iceland get? Who knows. Iceland is tiny. There are less than 250,000 registered voters. But good for them for trying stuff. If they find a better path we just hope we will hear about it, and that the pols here will be open to trying the things that work.