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By Yuri de Gaia
Posted March 25, 2020
An overview of how a citadel would act in case of a global emergency, like a pandemic.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a global financial collapse, it is interesting and, often, frightening to watch how various governments react to the event. As covered in Perspective Matters, the spread of the virus is used by opportunistic elites to grab more power. This is not unexpected. At the end of the day, just like the purpose of the police is not to “serve and protect” but rather enforce the law, the purpose of the government is not to provide social services, but to exert control over the population. Any crisis is an opportunity to do so. A question arises, then: How would a citadel deal with such a situation? My thoughts are below.
First and foremost, you must remember that Asteria, our model citadel, is a private for-profit entity that has contractual obligations before its citizenry (as opposed to an invisible social contract in nation-states). Therefore, any abnormal measures must be covered in the Force Majeure Clause of the service agreement. This means that, upon signing up, a prospective citizen gives his consent to such measures voluntarily.
Being a sovereign entity or, at the very least, a special administrative zone, Asteria has strong borders. In our case, it is an island, so Nature herself provides the necessary separation from the outside world. As walls are not needed, watchtowers and border control posts are enough to secure the city from intruders. As seen from the examples of Singapore and Hong Kong, city-states, being smaller and more centralized, have the advantage of fast decision making and execution of new directives. In case of a real pandemic, Asteria will have no trouble locking down its borders at a moment’s notice. Nobody goes in, nobody goes out.
While quarantine is, arguably, not the best solution for flu-like pandemics, resulting in far more damage to the lives of people than the actual disease might claim, it may be necessary in plague-esque scenarios. Again, the city’s small size and efficient governing body is able to make swift changes to day-to-day lives. They do not have to be as harsh as those in Singapore, but you must understand that, when fear is instilled in people’s minds, their rational faculties are no longer operational.
Except for the core services of the citadel, as defined in the contract, the majority of the activities in Asteria are market-based. Free enterprise is what propels the city to new heights at an accelerating pace. This concerns medical facilities and scientific labs. In a genuine laissez-faire manner, there is no need to wait for a government edict to start working on possible solutions to the pandemic. In light of self-interest and that of the citadel, which is a cherished home, multiple teams will start working on test kits and possible cures as soon as they hear the news.
“Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore all developed their own tests for Covid-19 as soon as the genetic sequences for the virus were published, and ramped up production of the materials necessary for those tests. (That’s a sharp contrast with the US, which still doesn’t have enough tests for nationwide use, and may actually be running out of the materials necessary to make them.)”—Wired
As Asteria is a financial success today and cares a lot about the future, it takes care to stockpile at least 3 years’ worth of provisions in disaster storage facilities. If the city has to be isolated for prolonged periods, the citizens will have enough food and water to survive. Being an island nation helps procure fresh seafood, of course, but prudent minds do not rely on Just-in-Time logistics.
Besides food and water, Asteria’s management company is smart enough to have put aside an emergency bitcoin fund. This money allows the city to purchase any goods or services that it may lack during the pandemic. If a test kit or a cure is developed elsewhere, Asteria can use the funds to bid a high enough price to be one of the first in line to receive the product, as is her responsibility before the citizenry. It is not a secret that money talks even when the world is in dire straits.
In the unlikely situation where the only way to survive is to leave the infected behind, as devastating as it may be, the citadel may enact its emergency evacuation plan. In Asteria’s case, the plan involves a fully equipped and stocked-up ark, that can sail the open sea for a few months and even submerge for extended periods.
The longest submerged and unsupported patrol made public is 111 days (57,085 km 30,804 nautical miles) by HM Submarine Warspite (Cdr J. G. F. Cooke RN) in the South Atlantic from 25 November 1982 to 15 March 1983.—Guinness World Records
Inland citadels may devise other ways of escape, such as by road, tunnels or aircraft.
If neither staying in the city or escaping is possible, a bunker space may be the most appropriate option for self-isolation. It may be located underground or built as an artificial structure adjacent to the island.
Nature Does Not Wait
I have written all of this to show that a citadel, being an alternative way of structuring the way we live together, may be a lot more efficient when it comes to scenarios in which fast decision-making is of extreme importance. Just like slow, overly bureaucratic national companies of today have no chance competing with private-enterprise alternatives, nation-states will be at a disadvantage compared to citadels when it comes to acts of God. Nature does not wait for committees with their rubber stamps. When things get serious rapidly, decision-making and action must be swift. An efficiently managed citadel, therefore, would be a better place to be in considering the alternatives.