Micronations are self-proclaimed autonomous states that lack general international recognition. It has been an obscure phenomenon based on political disenchantment and eccentric individuals wanting to be king of at least something. Now, the idea is seen as having the potential of becoming havens of growth and innovation.
Providing autonomy to small entities has often resulted in prosperity as can be seen for instance in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Thus, regular states are more and more considering to set up micronation-like entities through Paul Romer´s concept of Charter Cities. Charter Cities are independent are as based on liberal immigration and economic policies, letting people come and build the city they want. They share similarities with Special Economic Zones, that have some degree of autonomy and market-friendly laws.
Setting up micronations is also gaining traction via which is the building of cities in international water that have their own laws. With last year’s advancements in PV-cells and connectivity, it now seems possible to build entire floating self-sustaining cities. Sea steading has gained relevance through support by liberal Silicon Valley investors. Peter Thiel (a major supporter) in 2009 described it as a possibility to “escape from politics in all its forms”.
In China, the introduction of Special Economic Zones typically has led to an increase of GDP of 6% to 10% locally.