The Center for Innovative Governance Research is a 501 c3, nonprofit public policy research organization, a think tank, dedicated to improving governance worldwide. Our thesis is that technological innovation and shifting cultural norms are creating the opportunity for new forms of governance which can create the conditions for human flourishing. Our goal is to conduct research and outreach which can be used to better understand these changes and create the intellectual, moral, and policy framework to ensure that the new forms of governance advance human flourishing to the greatest extent possible.
Governance is the most important determinant of human flourishing. Good governance leads to economic success, while poor governance leads to poverty and stagnation. Unfortunately, changing governance is difficult. As Gordon Brown famously quipped, “in establishing rule of law, the first five centuries are the hardest”.
The Center for Innovative Governance Research believes that rapid changes in governance are possible, and in fact inevitable. These changes will largely be the result of new, semi-autonomous jurisdictions which can be used to rapidly improve governance in poorly governed areas, and to experiment and innovate governance improvements in well governed areas. Examples include refugee cities, charter cities, special economic zones, and technology zones.
Refugee cities: Most refugees do not have the legal right to work or own property. Those living in camps are dependent on aid. An innovative governance zone in a refugee camp could create a legal environment to encourage employment, commerce, and investment, transforming the camp into a place of opportunity.
Charter cities: The UN estimates there will be an additional 2.5 billion urban residents by 2050. Most of the urbanization is occurring in low income countries with poor governance. New cities need to be built, and creating independent governance frameworks in the cities can help ensure the new urban residents are not consigned to move to slums.
Special Economic Zones: Special economic zones are the bread and butter of zone based reforms. China demonstrated how, properly deployed, special economic zones could be part of a broad strategy of governance reform, sparking the greatest humanitarian revolution of the post-war era by lifting 800 million people out of poverty.
Technology zones: Technological innovation has slowed, in part because of a regulatory system that was designed for the 20th century and is having trouble adapting to the 21st. An innovative governance zone with a regulatory framework designed for permissionless innovation could help spark the fourth industrial revolution.
We believe that research into these changes in governance can help ensure the transition to new forms of governance is smooth, and can lead to a better world for all people.