Nanostate Energy Secretariat (NES)

Draft Working Paper

This presentation addresses issues concerning modes of energy transfer available to a Real Political Entity (RPE) of hybrid Nanostate (N) type. It proceeds from a broad brush overview of the geopolitical framework within which mainstream energy production/distribution takes place, outlines salient features of their functional relationship, and concludes with some considerations pertinent to a theoretically informed Nanostate energy practice ( N-ergetics). The discussion is prefaced in recalling some features of the Nanostate (for these generally see the Nanostate Protocol Volume 1, hereafter NPv1) relevant to energy flows, and then moves to considerations of a systemic order regarding:


1. the (RPE - N) system qua system;

2. circumscription by the interlocking RPE jurisdictional circumference or epidermis of the metabolic processes of the energetic body;

3. the energy system as a globality of inputs and outputs, with stress on a categorial distinction between free energy and technologically exploitable, or bound energy sources.

Selected reading



The Nanostate has been fully extant as an RPE since its institution in 1999, as stated in its constituting instrument, the Nanostate Protocol, the point of departure and initial affirmation of its ontological status and the transactional or willed mode of its being. The historical dialectic within which the inception of N is inscribed, the mode of insertion within global RPE systemics, and the laws of its trajectory as these bear on the immanent processes of energy transfer inhering within the N chronotope are commented below in sections 2 and 3.

In anticipation of that discussion, some fundamental statement was felt called for and needed by the Secretariat regarding the logico-philosophical and ontological status (real stuff) of the Nanostate, albeit summarily and metaphorically. Although fully an RPE, existing in relation to the RPE system, it does so paradoxically: N is typologically hybrid and an embodiment of Russell's paradox, an RPE which does not belong to the class of which it is a member. This paradox fundamentally arises from its explicit conceptualization and lived affirmation of the implicitly disavowed temporal realities (duration, velocity) of the prototypical RPE in its current mainstream manifestation (a member of the international community).

In particular, this bears on the structure of the space(s) of the N interior, given the special reading of the notion of interiority constructed by N (relationships between its interior points are defined in terms of associativities, solidarities and neighbourhoods rather than an abstractly defined distance function or "metric; see NPv1, Art.8). Given the realities of the present historico-political conjuncture, this space exists as the interpenetration or simultaneous coexistence of two heterologous spaces, in anticipation, one energetic and situated, the other Euclidean, abstractly replicable. N-space preserves and simultaneously annuls the metaphorically underwritten quasi-Euclidean notion of the container and contained, or object and void peculiar to current RPEs' self-understanding of their territories and frontiers.

Two images are helpful and relevant, having energetic frames of reference; the first, offered by Henri Lefebvre, is of a house, whose "critical analysis would destroy its appearance of solidarity...strip it of its concrete slabs and thin non-load-bearing walls" allowing it to "emerge as permeated from every direction by streams of energy which run in and out of it by every imaginable route: water, gas, electricity, telephone lines, radio and television signals...its image of immobility replaced by one of a complex of mobilities, a nexus of in and out conduits" (recalling other images of annulment - the microbic penetration of epidermises, discursive Foucauldian incursions within the illusorily construed fissible self etc). the second, in fact a literal description of reality, owed to 20th century geobiochemist V I Vernadsky, originator of the concept of the Noosphere, has the texture of a cosmic vision, and bears directly on the Nanostate's non-accumulative "capacitance" as a nexus of energy transfer: "not only the biosphere but the whole of accessible or conceivable space is penetrated by irradiations of the energetic environment...around and through us, always and everywhere, constantly altering, overlapping and colliding, pass waves of radiant energy, whose wavelengths range from 10 millionths of a millimetre to those of the order of kilometres". Vernadsky's view that "the constant replenishment and suffusion of space by this irradiation crucially distinguishes the real, non-material cosmic environment from the ideal, abstract space of geometry" is relevant to the development of a space-time energetics proper to the interior of the Nanostate (further to this see below, section 3).


1. The RPE- N system qua system.

1.1 In the present context, which may be seen as a declaration of first principles and drafting of procedural guidelines by the NES, it will clearly be useful to indicate the systemic aspects of the Nanostate's situatedness within the RPE system, since the RPE system is functionally related as origin and destination of the portion of energy flux occupied by the production and consumption of technologically utilizable energy. The modalities of the mapping of each into its other are complex. Salient points will be commented in section 2. Meanwhile in anticipation, the heterotopic non-linearity of the relationship between an elusive, polymorphic entity such as energy, and the archaic Euclidean lattices of national jurisdictions are well envisioned in the Blakean Marriage of Heaven and Hell, in whose union "Energy is the only life, and is from the Body; and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy"

1.2 A way of expressing N's relationship to the global RPE system is methodological, namely, to note that procedurally and fundamentally, N is essentially constituted as a systemic concept: while itself fully an RPE, in respect of the ensemble of RPEs it is semiotically a "secondary modelling system", somewhat as works of art in given media (poems, performances, paintings) are secondary modelling systems of the larger signifying ensembles to which they belong (natural language, social behaviour, pictorial (iconic) representation). N is in fact a political work of art (artwork as RPE)

1.3 Prompted by the way in which RPEs are being deconstructed and functionally redefined by the present global conjuncture (GC), N was led to constitute itself as an asymptotic extrapolation or re-modelling of key parameters currently defining RPEs, especially, boundary, spatiality and the status of material objects appertaining to them, particularly with a view to problematizing claims to ontological status made on behalf of "interior/exterior", "boundary" etc, postulates highly relevant to energy extraction. N has in fact been impelled to assay greater rigour and consistency in its (ongoing) act of self-constitution than has been possible in the case of the ensemble of RPEs making up the international community, which through the unfolding of an historical dialectic exist as an ensemble of geopolitical and juridical palimpsests, whose "final" superscription inscribes the legend of their own consolidated permanence, occluding the fact of their real malleability and motility.

1.4 Looking ahead to section 3 of this presentation, concerned with the interface between "free" and "bound" energy, the example of the poem as a "secondary modelling system" in relation to the matrix of natural language in which it is embedded offers a preliminary, graphic image of the release of energy that this generative articulation promotes. The poem's organization of phonetic proximity ("paronymic attraction") through alliteration, puns etc., short-circuits the semantic vastnesses separating accoustically related words not normally sensed as affine, lessens discursive entropy, illumines the pits and chasms of the smooth surfaces of everyday language, discharges its latent energy, productively reveals its chaotic potential. The insertion/overlay of N-space with the administratively uniform inert space (jurisdictionally) belonging to an RPE substantively adds nothing (in the sense of zero as a necessary absence) to it - the cyclically reiterated event reaffirming the union of the Nanostate's macro-geography (it is everywhere) with its micro-temporality (it is there for a transcendently brief instant), "merely" dis-covers what was there from the beginning but has become atrophied - it invents nothing. This process, pregnant with intent as regards Nanostate energetics, is exactly analogous to the rethinking (conceptual recycling) of objects explicated in NPv1, Arts 11, 12. (In parenthesis, it should be said that that N-space is non-unique, just as a poem does not form a one-to-one correspondence with the ensemble denoted by the category of poetry. N "inhabits a set of points in a the fairly sparsely occupied set of real time points". An analogy is provided by the emergence of urban communes in the 11th century within the then geopolitical universe of the feudal system.)

1.5 The Secretariat is always cognisant of the limits of the possible in exploring a practical and theoretical energetics consistent with the geopolitical situatedness of the necessarily hybrid type of RPE represented by N. It proceeds cautiously, checking its steps. The immediately preceding statements are far more important methodologically than substantively. Patient pursuance of homology, extrapolation, mapped configuration, attention to singularity will instruct in identifying the vectors of a Nanostate energetic discourse. Just as procedurally the political lineaments of N were drawn through identifying systemic (geopolitical) features of the (evolving) extant RPE system, so the enunciative stances regarding energy flow, transfer etc proper to a Nanostate energetics will emerge through consideration of the articulated lattices of the RPE system as receptacle and jurisdictional container of energy flow, and the exploitation activities of its producing agencies. Attention is particularly focused on the paradoxical elements of this system, as regards especially boundaries, the metricization of energy, and disjunctures in the functional transforms mapping political and energetic domains into/onto each other.

1.6 In the interests of completeness, the Secretariat bears in mind that a third "lattice", consisting of supra-RPE agencies such as the IMF, World Bank, the WTO, the OECD etc, and supporting regulatory and juridical agencies such as the International Court of Justice, the International Maritime Organization etc, is becoming an increasingly pertinent factor in global energy regulation. (it is worth noting that the smooth intermeshing of the two planes of governance and control is secured by place switching by key personnel - the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer is being mooted as future Director of the World Bank, the present director of the IMF is the former Italian Foreign Minister, the steady switching of positions by individuals between key posts in US Federal government, the boards of US-based transnationals and the (usually Washington or NY-based) international financial and economic agencies mentioned above - additonally the military establishment witness Colin Powell's relocation.) It remains the case however that the primary entities disposing of, producing or regulating energy flow are RPEs and the extractive and production agencies, particularly TNCs.


2. Circumscription by the interlocking RPE jurisdictional circumference or epidermis of the metabolic processes of the energetic body

2.1 Section 2 outlines ways of thinking the systemic structuring of processes of energy flow and channelling, their articulation within the bipolar RPE/Energy Production Agency (EPA) system. It focuses particularly on the geometricization or "metricization" of this process as its most discursively concise index, attending particularly to three of its more salient aspects: extractive (surveying, mining, drilling etc - exploratory drilling can now be undertaken at angles greater than 70° from the vertical ), distributive (grids, refining zones, railway and pipeline corridors, the security zoning of crude oil refineries and tanker terminals etc) and jurisdictional (geophysical determination of boundaries, mapping, as well as its striking logico-geometrical intermeshing with the juridical statements of international customary law, treaties, conventions etc; an example is the "Memorandum of Understanding" reached in 1991 between 6 Western countries including the US, Germany and UK, and China, registering the latter as a pioneer investor within an intricately polygonal area of the South China Sea; the document devotes four pages to the specification of paired latitude and longitude coordinates; it includes a quid pro quo in the shape of other polygons assigned individually to the first group; see maps attached for illustration. )

2.2 What interests the NES is that the process seems for ever tinged with shades of an administrative pathos. The desired goal of a final crystalline, compactly latticed solution is perpetually and immanently rendered inachievable by the dynamic plasticity defined by the skewed incommensurable axes of spherical geometry and a polymorphic energy flow (as well as the large, slower shifts of hydrological sedimentation/ erosion and geological tectonics). Brief consideration of the last brings to light real and apparent paradoxes of its processes, often with paranoid-schizoid tendencies. While the general consensus is that national jurisdictional boundaries are becoming more permeable and/or unstable through the human agency of economic penetration and eroded sovereignty, ever greater amounts of intellectual and juridical resource, channelled through the ICJ, the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the IMO, Treaty secretariats etc, are being devoted on an quasi-industrial scale to determining them with precision, interestingly coupled with a metricized notion of equitableness (see maps).

2.3 Two aspects of the process are particularly important to stress: 1) it is driven by energy concerns; 2) it institutionalises a disjuncture between national jurisdiction and the energy source located within the jurisdictional territory. The first is neatly illustrated by paragraph 48 of the 1969 ICJ Judgement in the North Sea Continental shelf cases regarding arbitration of boundaries between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Kingdoms of Denmark and the Netherlands: "As regards boundaries the main issue was not that of boundaries between states but of the seaward limit of the area in respect of which the coastal state could claim exclusive rights of exploitation. As was pointed out in the course of the written proceedings, states in most cases had not found it necessary to conclude treaties or legislate about their lateral sea boundaries with adjacent states before the question of exploiting the natural resources of the seabed and subsoil arose; practice was therefore sparse." (The Judgement is also interesting as illustrating that an area or space may be simultaneously within a jurisdiction and not; paragraph 58 states: "There is also a direct correlation between the notion of closest proximity to the coast and the sovereign jurisdiction which the coastal state is entitled to exercise and must exercise not only over the seabed underneath the territorial waters but over the waters themselves, which does not exist in respect of continental shelf areas where there is no jurisdiction over the superjacent waters, and over the seabed only for purposes of exploration and exploitation (emphases added). The second, the historically long-term, technology-driven uncoupling of the geographical coincidence of wealth (national patrimony) and territorial sovereignty, and its replacement by a radical spatial disjuncture between the location of primary resources (wealth) and the sites of its accumulations appears clearly in the case illustrated in the following subsection (2.4)

2.4 A report concerning projected energy exploitation in the north Caspian Sea and the siting there of the Sunkar oil rig in the Kashagan oil field in the territorial waters of Kazakhstan, a coastal state of the Caspian, offers an instance of the ongoing redefinition of territorial functionality in relation to primary sources. The wells of the field are being drilled by a consortium of major oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Shell, TotalFinaElf, and Agip, who have pooled the concessions (exploitation rights) granted to them individually by the Kazakhstan RPE. Furthermore, the Caspian has no cleansing, scouring tides and no depth to disperse spills which would threaten (the north Caspian average depth is 3.3 metres) the habitat of the unique Caspian seal and (in the Volga delta) the main breeding grounds of the sturgeon. The rapid fluctuations in depth caused by high winds from the Kazakh steppe is regarded as a problem or "curse", rather than an energy resource by the consortium, concerned with oil extraction. The moderate Kazakh official Daukeyev, governor of the jurisdiction covering the Kashagan field will pursue claims against the consortium for ecological damage. The harder Galina Chernova, director of a Kazakh NGO, the Centre for Ecological Legal Initiatives is trying to stop the Kashagan, which is also seeking to build artificial rock islands in the Caspian to reduce operating risks in drilling. Here Kazakh institutions function to exercise an ecological, "global" trusteeship, while the consortium ("Okioc") maintains a sharply-focused non-systemic approach to energy production.

2.5 The case of the north Caspian prompts an observation of quite general systemic validity regarding the bipolar energetic/jurisdictional system: the radically different alignments and functioning modes of extractive agencies on one hand and regulatory agencies on the other form a skewed systemic unity, in which the focus of the former is inherently partial, and "tunnelled" towards a single resource, whereas the gaze of the latter, for historical, ideological and other reasons, more diffusely embraces the totality of energy resources (forests, fish, biomass, fossil fuels, human etc) "held in trust" for the nation, even while criss-crossed by the extractive geometrical traces of direct foreign investment etc.

2.6 (ongoing) Work relating to this section will continue to build a corpus of case studies to flesh out the implications for Nanostate interventions within the field of fractured relationships existing between RPE jurisdictions and agencies with technological access to utilizable energy sources. It will become clear that the RPE system in its jurisdictional aspects is not monolithic but fissured with conflicting interests. The system constitutes an osmotic bipolarity (see 1.6 above). Thus the deep seabed is the site of currently the most intense and advanced focus regarding jurisdictional limits, and is of particular interest to the Nanostate since N makes no jurisdictional distinction between land and sea. The interests of technologically advanced extraction agencies (mainly oil multinationals) and the (usually First World) RPEs serving as their financial base and site of accumulation of repatriated wealth (after royalties etc have been paid to host nations) is precisely in extending operations oceanwards for obvious political and security reasons. The view of developing nations on the ongoing arguments within international jurisprudence regarding oceanwards jurisdiction and the status of seabed wealth (not only oil and gas, but, for example, the industrial minerals essential to energy production contained in seabed manganese nodules etc), as opposed to industrialized countries' technologically informed advocacy of unregulated exploitation, hinges on competing legal nominations of seabed resources as res nullius, res communis or CHM, the Common Heritage of Mankind (mooted in a speech made in 1967 to the UN General Assembly by Malta's UN Ambassador Parvo), and will in general with probability be that held and projected by the Nanostate within the field of bound energy, as would Parvo's view opposing militarization of the seabed.

2.7 A related problem within this category also requiring a declared Nanostate position/alignment, concerns the issue of technology transfer, the appropriational basis on which vital energy technology (not only mainstream, but increasingly solar photo-voltaic systems, biogas digesters, fluidized bed conductors etc) is made available to poor ("developing") RPEs. An indicative dimension of this problem is discerned in noting that private sector energy investors have a decisive preference for vertical technology transfer, ie transfer of production stages vertically related to a given single industrial process (refining added to drilling in the case of oil extraction for example), obviating the need to share technology with potential competitors, over horizontal transfer, entailing an integrated but technologically diversified system, seen as costly and risky to intellectual property.


3. N-ergetics. The energy system as a globality of inputs and outputs, with stress on a categorial distinction between free energy and technologically exploitable, or bound energy sources.

3.1 Impressive statistics on the growth of world primary energy consumption, for example the increase from some 5 billion tonnes of oil equivalent in 1971 to 8.3 billion tonnes in 1996, constitute a subtly powerful persuasion to accept as self-evident a large-scale theoretical misperception of the world as an energetic vacuum through which an energic plenitude is quantified, assigned various metrics and conduited (corresponding to the sociologically-framed distinction between "inclusion" and "exclusion").

3.2 The intensified field and laboratory-based research presently being undertaken globally in various ways is consciously or subliminally modifying this quasi-Euclidean internalized image of the energetic domain. This image is abstractly conceived in the case of high technology systems, which nonetheless at least rhetorically adhere to the conceptual gestalt of the energetic continuum - the conversion of oceanic thermal energy for example, or the deployment of malleable photo-voltaic arrays or blankets of cells efficiently exploiting solar energy, as Marcus Aurelius would have wished: "The sun appears to be poured down, and in all directions indeed it is diffused yet it is not effused. For this effusion is extension" (Meditations). Closer to the lived threshold, in a sense domestically are cases of conceptually sophisticated investigations into minimalist technology in a globally networked spontaneously self-generating project reaching from Madrid, Thessaloniki, Antalya, Hong Kong, Novosibirsk, Amman...being carried out into biospherical domains of energetically replete geospace - solar drying of sultana grapes, relative fluidization of biomass/sand mixtures, studies of solar radiation efficacy for all sky types etc, all conceptually informed by a sense that "Energy itself is not the problem, but rather appears as an instrument for social purpose, misunderstood and misused" (David J Rose).

3.3 The Nanostate has ambitions aligned with these as regards the conceptual potential they have for recasting the notion of stasis, nullity, "the nothing that is" as the prime operator in a non-trivial solution to the problem of energy distribution, concept as power. "We just don't know, of the thousands of signals each hour that go hurrying past our mind's window, of the thousand signs we scan and skim and ignore, which ones may be compact of the enormous power to unravel..." as Robert Kaplan notes.

3.4 The map of energy transfer requires a key indicating shadings and graduations appropriate to various species of energy continua - osmosis, perfusions of all kinds - as well as the coordinate grids and contours of quantity of its sinews, each invisible to the other, the latter the writing of the former's visage. Gigantic resources of energy are released when dew forms, for example on lakes, when cold substrata remove heat rapidly from a water surface, a process common in spring when cold lake water underlies streams of air cold and humidified by adjacent land surfaces, which at that season are likely to be bare, wet and steaming; or else by raindrop impact, two thirds of which impact as its crater and moves soil particles, the remaining third generating spray, the average kinetic energy produced by mean annual precipitation on land amounting to 20 Joules/square metre/mm depth, in planetary total 2 billion billion Joules (GigaJoules).

3.5 The Nanostate is ineluctably, ontologically and in a promissory spirit materially of this world, or immaterially only in the sense of the immateriality of Vernadsy's concept of irradiant energy. The problems attendant for example on inherently transnational mainstream energy transactions receive a unificatory impetus within the frame of reference intrinsic to the Nanostate chronotope. Thus problems of equity (economically and environmentally equitable distribution) in relation to hydro-energetic resources of the Mekong River basin (it waters 5 nations), the southwards diversion of the north-flowing waters of the great Siberian rivers (Ob, Yenisei ), and the water exportations from Canadian rivers and the Great Lakes system to the USA inherently represent various aspects of a single energy distribution problem pertaining to a single chronotopical location of the Nanostate (+07, -05).

3.6 The Nanostate's demons however are as lively (and as democratic) as those of the theorist of thermodynamic energy, James Clark Maxwell, publicly naming them to the Royal Society of Edinburgh as intelligent beings "endowed with free will and fine enough tactile and perceptive organization to give them the faculty of observing and influencing individual molecules of matter", and in their regard constructing a celebrated catechism: "1. Who gave them this name? Thomson. 2. What are they by nature? Very small BUT very lively beings incapable of doing work but able to open and shut valves which move without friction and inertia." The non-inertial instantaneity of the Nanostate's mode of being equalizes passages of energetic quanta, whether impacted raindrop energy or the multiform erosive, chemical and other energies of great rivers etc, and since the Nanostate is discursively the stuff of political conceptualization, the quanta of re-cognition - recognition of what is, without filter, the zero-dimensional moment of constructive passivity, when thought shifts.

3.7 Nanostate energetics is meanwhile ongoing - "tell me if ever anything was finished", queries Leonardo da Vinci. N has great sympathy with Lao Zi, reflecting that "So advantage is had/From whatever is there;/ But usefulness arises/From whatever is not." The NES, if not Lao Zi, will need to remind itself however that within the fields of scientific exploration of alternative energetics and corporate-led macroeconomic modelling of energic process, usefulness generally fails to be theorized and gets substituted by an illicit other, then taken as a natural given, the manufactured simulacrum of a term applied to the satisfaction of needs arising originally as naturally as Lucretius' agriculture: Through many lustres of the sun rolling through the sky they passed their lives after the wide wandering fashion of wild beasts. No sturdy guider of the curved plough was there, none knew how to work the fields with iron."(De Rerum Naturae). A globally adequate N energetics will need to materially situate the manufacture of usefulness' circuited twin (relayed by cables, satellites, print technologies etc) especially since very large amounts of industrially channelled energy go into the production of its concept and the transfer of desire and energies associated with it. "The act of production is therefore in all its moments also an act of consumption...while consumption is also immediately production. Consumption ideally posits the object of production as an internal image, while production gives consumption its specificity." In considering the modalities of energy transfer, the NES will constantly keep in view the question: for what?


Selected reading.

sea-bed energy and minerals. the legal regime, v1, e d brown, 1992.
nafta and the energy charter treaty, m omalu, 1999.
international boundary cases, the continental shelf, v1, 1992
boundaries and energy, problems and prospects, 1998.
transfer of technology for deep sea-bed mining, yuwen li, 1994
general energetics. energy in the biosphere and civilization, v smil, 1991
the mekong river and the struggle for indochina, nguyen thi dien 1999
the science of energy, c smith, 1998
dynamic energy budgets in biological systems, kuijman, 1993
the middle east oil and the great powers, b shwadran, 1956
the political economy of human rights v1,2, n chomsky 1979
grundrisse, k marx, 1973
nauchniaia mysl' kak planetnoe iavlenie, v i vernadskii, 1994
zhivoe veshchestvo i biosfera, v i vernadskii, 1994
energy on the earth's surface, miller, 1982
water on the earth's surface, miller 1977
philosophie du droit international, a lejbowicz, 1999
energy. quarterly periodical, issues 2000-2001



Bits and bobs.

The peculiarities of the geopolitical circumstances (the Global Conjuncture, GC) always/already attendant on the moment of its inception have required N to constitute itself more rigorously and consistently as an RPE than other members of the international community of existing RPEs (for the most part nation states). These inevitably for historical reasons retain inconsistences and lack of clarity, especially regarding determinations of territory and boundaries, as well as uncertainties regarding degrees of jurisdictional autonomy (this having an important bearing on access to utilizable energy resources). RPEs in the main also require an effectively functioning, ideologically skewed discourse as a minimum guarantee of their own political stability (pseudo-invariability in forms of governance, primacy of the electoral mechanism, the always sought-for expansionary settlement of boundary disputes etc).

The political process underlying the development of mainstream states (MRPEs) and technological intensification of utilizable energy production (UEP), mainly fossil fuel extraction, have a historically mutually reinforcing interdependent relationship. The spatial geometry of both the interior domain and boundary limits of MRPEs finds a direct correspondence with the technology-based geometry of UEP. Moreover this correspondence extends beyond the three-dimensional spaces of classical Euclidean geometry into all domains in which a distance or "metric" can be defined having properties of identity, symmetry and triangular inequality - price (if the cost of a is less than that of b, then the cost of b is greater than that of a etc), productivity, energy equivalents, WTO tariffs etc.

This long-wave metricization of both political and energetic space, in which the latter introjectively maps into the former through an (ongoing) dialectic of historical development raises provocative and potentially highly productive problems vis à vis modes of redistribution/transfer of energy by N as a revolutionary insertion within MRPE geopolitical space.

(witnessed on one hand by pipeline siting, exploratory drilling angles, by activities of boundary arbitration ...)