On the wooded hill above the Stan Terg lead and zinc mine in Kosovo, there is an old concrete diving platform looming over what was once an open-air swimming pool. Before the break-up of Yugoslavia, people who worked at the mine would bring their families here to swim, sunbathe on the wide terrace with its view across the valley, and picnic among the trees. Now the pool is slowly disappearing into the forest, the view obscured by birch saplings.
A ‘network state’ is ideologically aligned but geographically decentralised. The people are spread around the world in clusters of varying size, but their hearts are in one place.
In June 2022 Balaji Srinivasan, former chief technology officer of the Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange, published an ebook entitled The Network State: How To Start a New Country. It is the latest in a flurry of utopian visions by self-styled digital visionaries, crypto believers and web 3.0 evangelists who are lining up to declare the death of the traditional concept of countries and nationhood.
People around the world are facing increasing pressures on their day-to-day lives. Food, energy bills and living costs are rocketing as inflation reaches record levels due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and rising global instability.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation has spoken to people living in 18 countries around the world in an attempt to gauge the human impact of the crisis.
Andrew Firmin is editor-in-chief at CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance, and one of the lead authors of the 2022 State of Civil Society Report.
For the past couple of weeks, mass protests have brought the South American nation of Ecuador to a standstill.