Rule of law broke down. People deserted their secure-and-paid-a-pittance jobs; other people pillaged and vandalized post offices, ripping telephones from the walls and taking everything that could be taken. There was a legitimate government, and it was negotiating with IMF ghouls; but it focused on high level reform based on optimizing static allocation, rather than keeping the lights on.
I travelled it on an old motorcycle, in 1996. The only way to make sure the bike would still be there in the mornings was to pay some local person to sleep next to it. In theory there was a revolution going on, but you would never see police. All young people wanted to leave.
And this was on my doorstep, mind you: I grew up in Italy, so I took a ferry from Ancona to Durres, and there I was. I remember being inspired by the German Vereinigung: Italy could have stepped in and made Albania an autonomous region, not even a particularly big one (Italy has 20 regions). It would have been expensive, but doable, and well worth it. We could have given everyone a European passport and at least basic infrastructure in a couple of years, and kickstarted a cycle of growth for both countries.
The way I have approached this econ problem is this. People dream up some kind of society, with a culture, an ideology. Then, I sit down and wonder: how would its economy work? Suppose it’s very egalitarian. How would one build institutions that would make egalitarianism a (mid- to long-run) equilibrium? So that’s a kind of Nash equilibrium notion, something that is at least in part self-enforcing. The next step is to go subgame-perfect, and try to imagine an economic history that led to that outcome from baseline Witness (late stage capitalism, with a government strong enough to set Project Viking in motion).
Avantgrid is a kind of eco-Switzerland: strong local government, island geography, focus on the environment. I do not need to remind you, Philip, or @Nightface, that Kim Stanley Robinson is endlessly banging on about the Swiss in the Mars Trilogy – @hugi, who dreamed up Avantgrid, is in good company. What would its economy look like?
(Maybe we should move this discussion into a different thread, eh )
Easy: we agree on a date and time, and I set up a Zoom meeting using the Edgeryders account. I propose Tuesday 16th March. European time is great, and there are definitely people living on it. However, two of the most interesting conversationalist and contributors to Witness, @yudhanjaya and @petussing, are in Sri Lanka and Texas respectively. If they express interest, we could try and find a time that accommodates them (given, of course, your own schedule).