Wednesday 1 June 2011

What is nationcrafting?

nationcrafting: looking at the nation as a designed product

What does nationcrafting - crafting a nation - mean?

It means taking the political out of politics and looking at government as a designed product instead: something which can be designed, created, modified, re-modified, discontinued, re-launched with new features, etc.

Some products come with a panoply of different features, others will focus on just one, but aim to be the best in category. Some products are very empowering and customisable, but complicated to use, others just do everything in the background and are extremely user-friendly and pleasant to interact with.

In the product design sector, this constant re-thinking and improvement on the design of a product is done in response not just to user feedback but, just as importantly, in response to competition from other brands with new, improved, or just different offerings.

The same holds true for nationcrafting: the nation's design responds to user feedback as much as it responds to other brands - i.e. other nations - on what is, effectively, a "market of nation providers".

I use the word "product" in a very broad sense of the word, not just what comes under the usual category of "product design" in design school. So, we're not just comparing government to cars, cellphones, hats and soft drinks, but also to price comparison websites, rent-a-car services, phone service providers, online music stores, etc.

I also use the word "nation" rather than, say, "state", because the state and the institutions we associate with it are just one of the ways one could go about providing the services people expect from a nation provider. The point is not to look within the framework of what already exists - the state - but about identifying better alternatives to the way things have been done until now i.e. alternatives to the very idea of state itself.


  1. Hello,

    Are you the same person who wrote this article on Bitcoin?

    Bitcoin: a designer's point of view

  2. Hi Rombi,

    Yes, I am. What did you think of the article?



  3. I thought it was interesting, the whole "designer looking at economic subjects from a design point of view" thing is pretty original.

    Makes sense, though, since economics is about designing a system of human interaction. Or, at least, the praxeology part of it is.

    Why didn't you include that article on this blog? If it's about designing money, where are you going to put it if not on a blog about nation design?

  4. Hi Rombi,

    You're absolutely right, and I will definitely write about the design of money as a product / service a great deal on this blog.

    I didn't include the Bitcoin article because I wanted to start this blog with some foundations, some kind of founding principles, and ask some questions we'll aim to resolve as we learn new things along the way, rather than just dive straight in at the deep end and alienate people who've never considered these points.

    Every journey starts with a first step...

    PS: very happy you mentioned praxeology. I take it you've read Human Action by Mises?