The missing political philosophy of microstates: longevity, between survival and luxury; conclusion and action

In the first part of our study we have summarised and introduced our ‘thesis’ and provided context for the study in terms of literature and the reasons for the lack of satisfactory research in political science and philosophy in terms of microstates.

In the second installment we’ve detailed the components of the longevitarian political philosophy of microstates.

Today we re-phrase and enrich those features in the conclusion and mention some flash points for action.

First please read the Summary.

Summary

Microstates are political sovereignties whose minimal spatiality allows them to focus on extended temporality. On one hand, the history of microstates prominently features survival events and dependence on the outer world. On the other hand, the current permissive international system grants unprecedented freedom for microstates to pick-and-choose strategies to prosper and sell sovereign pregoragitves to find their own unique niche. The richness of alternative routes that can be taken, the worlds of possibilities, nurtures luxury in many microstates. Abundance makes microstates overrepresented amongst states as top performers for health care and life expectancy. Health and longevity as top priority political goals faces huge obstacles in bigger, lead political actor states, (under)performing on centre stage. Some microstates have a timely (historical?) chance to take a lead in implementing the most advanced health politics and aim for a niche to participate, organise, conduct, provide infrastructure for projects to develop the biomedical tools needed for ongoing progress in healthy longevity. The first, decisive round of these developments can take place in the shortest amount of time, but only for microstates in a demonstrative way starting small scale to elicit large scale changes. Microstate citizenship schemes can enable participation for the world-wide longevity community. This is normative, active political philosophy here walking on two legs to reach actuality.

Conclusion

Features making microstates desirable potential vehicles for normative Open Lifespan Philosophy.

I think by now you might get where I’m going with all this. Maybe some re-phrasing at the end of some relevant features to get some points across in case missed so far.

Top performers in health care and life expectancy

We’ve seen the quick stats in Are Social-Liberal-Democracies exclusively suited to improve health and longevity of their citizens? The Jonathan Floyd series, part 5.: microstates might account for roughly half of the top health care and life expectancy performers in the world, already. Health care depends a lot on top-down solutions, while life expectancy also has a serious individual component, people taking care of themselves the best they can. 

Small is a great vantage point of history

With their marginality, neutrality and all-around Live and let live approach microstates might have one of the best vantage points of history: they do not bear the weight of world-political decisions all the time, they might serve as examples for other states without serving as the default model to follow. Time to time they can leave big history and world politics behind to experiment and return later, it’s like if you have a seat in the back closer to the exit and there’s a fire on the main stage, you can live the premises the fastest and can come back with help the earliest, yet still stay safe.

Temporality – History – Trajectory – Longevity: Beating the odds all the time

A speck of a land makes one temporally more creative and focus on survival. A counterfactual, what-if history of microstates would quickly face shortcuts in the form possible state extinction events due to balancing at the edges and against the odds.

Without advancing here a serious microcosm – macrocosm theory, let’s just offer a limited political-biological analogy with a controlled scope. If states and citizens can converge on some features, longevity and creativity in survival backing it are prime, non-problematic candidates. When the vantage point of Small is added to this, in the context of microstates, the parallel between individual citizen and host country is getting more expressive and easier to justify. It’s easier for a healthy microstate to represent its individual citizens and it’s quite fitting for individual citizens with ever increasing healthy life expectancy to represent a healthy, balanced and long-lived microstate.[1]

Open Experimentation in economy and in politics

Small also means fast. Microsates were historically forced to be in a position to experiment with their economies. This force gave rise to abundance and luxury as well by microstates finding their economic service niches be it finance or different kinds of high end tourism. In the late 20th century, the ever more permissive international system amplified this experimentation and nurtured a pick-and-choose approach politically as well, commercialising sovereign prerogatives to the outside world. On the inside this went parallel with experiments in direct democracy. Putting the 2 together means open experimentation with national identity.

Establishing that micro-states have a historically unprecedented degree of freedom of action begs the question of what they do with this latitude. As such, the third step is to briefly review the strategies adopted by micro-states, given the context of the contemporary international system. These four countries [2] have deployed varying strategies of hierarchy à la carte and commercialised aspects of their sovereignty, from citizenship to banking and company registries and to diplomatic recognition. These tiny cases indicate that the international system allows states a world of possibilities: to have armies or allies, or not, and to retain, delegate or profit from a wide range of sovereign prerogatives. 

J.C. Sharman: Sovereignty at the Extremes: Micro-States in World Politics, Political Studies, 2016, p561.

Being open and flexible and even indefinitely so as a political unit makes the case for Open Lifespan and the plurality it yields. Please see Open Life’s temporal value-pluralism enables neutrality towards different concepts of good life.

Microstates will share results of successful longevity politics with others

This point should serve as a theoretical guarantee for an egalitarian solution to world healthy longevity. Marginality, neutrality and all-around Live and let live approach gives microstates not just a great vantage point of history but also gives reasons for all the other countries to be content with the freedom of microstates. This content comes from the historical and self-defining military weakness of microstates. Small is great and it’s great that small is small. What do I mean here? There’s no way microstates can monopolise what they learned in terms of longevity, they simply don’t possess enough political power to close the door and shut out everybody openly learning from what they have achieved. But a superpower might try to do just that and middle powers can attempt to team up as well. This is one reason to start implement longevity politics by and in microstates who will share what they have achieved, one way or another. Imagine a superpower being able to pull all the necessary strings together in terms of Open Healthspan Technologies. They might find a way to monopolise what they have, might find the means to keep it outside the legal system. The small ones, well they just have to share their example. If it works. As I said, this is a theoretical guarantee that makes microstates as desirable pioneers towards the long way to true longevity. The project of developing Open Healthspan Technologies will be an effort demanding all creativity of a global humanity. Even a big gorilla superpower alone won’t be sufficient for development. But it can be sufficient to buy up the necessary components, say. As opposed to this a microstate can implement the next step needed without monopolising it.

Action

Actions that might be taken if serious about Longevity Politics

What we have here hopefully by now is an answer to the question: in the actual world today, concerning the actual political processes, what is a good enough initial starting position to implement true Longevity Politics capable of breaking the maximum lifespan barrier amongst others? The answer is: some microstates.

Technically speaking the philosophy, the theoretical part of our study is over. This last section leaves the territory of Open Lifespan and belongs to Longevity Politics. I mean literally, I have just launched recently a new publication called Health and Longevity Politics Global, dedicated to a more practical approach. I will discuss details there. So the following points are more like quick outlines of a blueprint [3].

There are 2 options in terms of who can engage into action right now. The people belonging already to the Longevity World Community and the political leaders of microstates. I have suggestions for both.

I. What Longevity World Community Activists can do bottom up

This community already includes citizens from microstates but the assumption here is that most active people are citizens of bigger countries.

1. Pick a microstate or two to find citizens to commit to longevity politics

Based on my current knowledge and impressions, these European microstates fit now the bill the best to start experimenting with longevity politics, list not ordered: Malta, San Marino, Monaco, Andorra and Liechtenstein. 

As I said earlier, my current insights only covers European microstates but am all ears in terms of suggestions and reasons concerning good longevity starter microstates all around the worlds, suitable for the goal. On the other hand, this is the only point here referring only to European microstates, the other points are generally framed. But in this point am getting reasonably local, and so should you.

This point then is a point about to go out there and study current microstates, their economies, their politics, their culture.

2. Start organising longevity events in those microstates to make waves

This is what it is, if you care about this cause and are convinced by the reasons and arguments offered in this study, then go on, make use of your resources and organise a longevity workshop, a conference, a meeting, a something in one of those microstates. This is going to be even easier if you are a citizen of a microstate already, I assume. Or a longevity luminary. Or an entrepreneur wanting to make a difference.

3. Apply for dual citizenship in the microstate of your own choosing

If you are even more committed and resourceful, go on and check dual citizenship schemes in the microstate (or 2) of your own choosing. I am certainly not going to hold you back. 🙂

II. What Microstate Governments can do to advance Health and Longevity Politics from the top down

Good job already! By default, keep everything that you have reached so far in terms of health care and life expectancy. Don’t screw up. Even if you don’t know it, you are already doing it. But here’s some more that can be done. I intentionally hold myself back here with details. That’s not the topic here and that’s not my job, really.

1. Start the most advanced Public Healthy Longevity Programmes on the planet reaching out to almost all citizens

2. Participate, organise, conduct, provide infrastructure for international projects to develop the biomedical tools needed for ongoing progress in healthy longevity. 

3. Dual citizenship schemes to advance Longevity World Community

Outro

Let me repeat Sharman here:

‘Establishing that micro-states have a historically unprecedented degree of freedom of action begs the question of what they do with this latitude’

J.C. Sharman: Sovereignty at the Extremes: Micro-States in World Politics, Political Studies, 2016, p561.

Maybe this degree of freedom can jump one dimension up, or another order of magnitude in the future?

Real-life, new precedents are always unprecedented. Microstates have an ‘unprecedented degree of freedom’ and science and technology has just recently provided for humanity (and others too) an unprecedented chance to increase healthy longevity. The question is what people will do with this latitude. The particular question am asking today is what microstates and their citizens will do with this latitude? 

Let me finish with a quote from Neil Duxbury’s book: The Nature and Authority of Precedent quoting from The Meaning of a Precedent by Barbara Baum Levenbook: 

‘Precedents are inherently public, Levenbook argues, because they are exemplary. ‘Rather than think of precedent as laying down a rule, it is more helpful to think of it as setting an example’

Neil Duxbury: The Nature and Authority of Precedent CUP, 2008, page 7.

The rules of how to reach healthy longevity and Open Lifespan within the actual world are not set yet. But an example can and should be set here and now. Microstates might have just the best chance to set this example amongst sovereign states, still the dominant political units determining our world, if my initial analysis is correct. Let live and let live longer.

Notes

[1] I’m going to dedicate a separate discussion post to this analogy later, cause it is philosophy indeed. Not essential for the argument am making concerning longevity politics and microstates but comforting and fun.

[2] [Liechtenstein, Nauru , Seychelles, St Kitts and Nevis.

[3] Melissa Lane notices in her Constraint, Freedom, and Exemplar: History and Theory without Teleology essay:

Political manifestos are, in parliamentary democracies, precisely blueprints. A blueprint, is, after all, a practical instrument: it’s not the architect’s dream-vision, one which might have been sketched without any regard for practicalities, but rather precisely the tool which translates a vision into constructive engineering specification, so that people can assess the value and feasibility of their various proposals as a practical and interrelated whole.

Constraint, Freedom, and Exemplar: History and Theory without Teleology’, in Political Philosophy versus History?  Contextualism and Real Politics in Contemporary Political Thought, eds. J. Floyd and M. Stears, Cambridge, 2011, 128-150.