Chaostan is the geopolitical theory by economist Richard J. Maybury which postulates that a large portion of the world is "the land of Chaos." This land is made up of regions and countries with a long history of political & economic instability, little personal or economic freedom, and no experience with common (natural) law. These areas are often tribal, with people more loyal to ancient ethnic lines and religious sects than to their modern nation-states.
Chaostan consists of about 91 nations, including most of the nations of the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Maps and a full list of the nations considered by Maybury to make up Chaostan can be found on the Chaostan website.
Chaostan covers about one-third of the world’s land surface. It contains a disproportionate amount of the world’s natural resources, including at least 80% of the world’s oil supply and 50 % of the world’s coal supplies. It also has huge amounts of natural gas, gold, silver, platinum, copper, tin, iron, zinc, timber and grain. These are the basic raw materials upon which industrialized civilization rests, giving Chaostan an inordinate amount of influence over Western economies.
It would be thought that a part of the world with such abundance of natural resources would be very wealthy. This is not the case. Although the ruling classes in these regions often have immense wealth, the common folks tend to be among the poorest in the world. In part, this is due to a lack of education, but mostly it has to do with the lack of concepts such as economic liberty and personal property rights.
In contrast to Chaostan, Maybury lists what he considers the “Lands of Liberty.” These are nations where a tradition of liberty has been established – the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, the UK, Ireland and most of Western Europe. In these areas, economic liberty and personal property rights are well-established & the citizens are more loyal to their nation-states than to tribal, ethnic or religious groups. Peace and prosperity (at least domestically), rather than chaos, are the hallmarks of these countries.
Some areas, such as Central & South America and much of southern Africa, exist somewhere between Chaostan and the Lands of Liberty. Only time will tell what direction these regions take.
What Can We Learn From the Chaostan Model? A Roadmap to Peace
I think we can learn a lot from the Chaostan model. The following is a partial list of my takeaways:
1- The war, violence and poverty in Chaostan is mostly due to the lack of personal & economic liberty, including the lack of private property rights, as well as tribal & sectarian divisions. These issues cannot be fixed by military intervention. "Nation building" cannot work in Chaostan, at least not as something imposed on it by the West.
2- The way to create long-term stability and peace to Chaostan is for Chaostan to develop strong concepts of personal & economic liberty, including strong concepts of private property rights and religious freedom. Only then will tribal and sectarian divisions be overcome, as the people of Chaostan begin to put their personal self-interest for peace and stability above old influences.
3- Freedom and values cannot be imposed militarily. Instead, needed concepts (personal & economic liberty, private property rights, religious freedom, etc.) must arise naturally from within Chaostan. This process is best encouraged through an exchange of ideas through trade, tourism, education, and other forms of cultural interaction.
4- There is a vast difference between the worldviews & value systems of the Lands of Liberty and Chaostan that often make it difficult fot the two civilizations to understand and interact with each other. Likewise, the disparity of wealth between the Lands of Liberty and Chaostan cause a certain amount of misunderstanding and mistrust between the two. The people of Chaostan often have negative feelings towards the West, including jealousy and anger. The people of the Lands of Liberty often look down on those of Chaostan as being backwards and even dangerous.
5- It is a mistake for the West to act like or pretend that these differences don't exist, or worse, that the two civilizations are morally equal. They are not. Western civilization, though not perfect, is demonstrably the superior civilization. The domestic peace and economic success of the West, along with its far superior record regarding basic human rights, relative to the lack of these in Chaostan is proof of the better system.
6- The West needs to encourage, not force, Chaostan to slowly adopt the better aspects of the Western tradition (again, through trade, tourism, education, and other forms of cultural interaction). At the same time, the West has the right and duty to protect itself from real threats posed by Chaostan. This includes insisting that immigrants, as well as students and temporary workers, from Choastan adapt to the Western system while in the West. This means zero-tolerance for Sharia law and other forms of religious and cultural "accommodation" that are contrary to the Western system.
7- There is common ground on which to build. The industrialised nations of the West need access to the immense natural
resources of Chaostan. Chaostan needs customers for those resources. Chaostan also needs access to Western technology and education. Trade is the way for the West to exert a positive influence on Chaostan.
The West does have the superior civilization, but does not of the right to impose its system on Chaostan through force. However, it does have the right and duty to exert peaceful influence on Chaostan to encourage the concepts of personal and economic liberty to grow naturally within Chaostan.
One Last Lesson
Chaostan, with its war, violence and poverty, stands as a warning to the Lands of Liberty should we ever reject the concepts of personal and economic liberty. Chaostan is our future should we continue down the path of collectivism, rejecting free markets and private property rights in favor of socialism, and rejecting personal and religious freedom in favor of imposing political correctness.
*****I want to give Richard J. Maybury full credit for his concept of Chaostan. The first part of this article is my summary of Mr. Maybury's geopolitical theory, as best as I understand it. For more details, visit his website. The second part of the article is what I learn when I apply the Chaostan model to current events.
Mr. Maybury is also the author of a great set of educational books on economics, law, history, and personal finance called the "Uncle Eric Books." I strongly recommend these easy-to-read highly informative books. Here are two of my favorites:
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? A Fast, Clear, and Fun Explanation of the Economics You Need For Success in Your Career, Business, and Investments
Whatever Happened to Justice? Explains what's gone wrong with America's legal system and economy and how to fix it.