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Panarchism is a political philosophy emphasizing each individual's right to freely join and leave the jurisdiction of any governments they choose, without being forced to move from their current locale. The word "panarchy" was invented and the concept proposed by a Belgian political economist, Paul Émile de Puydt in an article called "Panarchy" published in 1860.[1] The word "panarchy" has since taken on additional, separate meanings, with the word "panarchism" referring to the original definition by de Puydt.[1]

De Puydt, a proponent of laissez-faire economics[1], wrote that "governmental competition" would allow "as many regularly competing governments as have ever been conceived and will ever be invented" to exist simultaneously and detailed how such a system would be implemented. As David M. Hart writes: "Governments would become political churches, only having jurisdiction over their congregations who had elected to become members."[2]

Panarchism has been embraced by some socialist, anarchist and libertarian-leaning individuals, including some of those promoting secession from existing states and those advocating creation of new micronations. Max Nettlau in the early 1900s and John Zube in the latter part of the century wrote extensively on the concept in articles found on Panarchy.Org.

Two similar ideas are "Functional Overlapping Competing Jurisdictions" (FOCJ) advocated by Swiss economists Bruno Frey and Reiner Eichenberger and “multigovernment” advocated by Le Grand E. Day and others.[3]

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