Is a charter city coming to Honduras?

by on February 3, 2011 at 9:39 am in Current Affairs, Economics, Law, Political Science | Permalink

David Wessel reports:

Honduras is interested. Two weeks ago, with only one "no," its Congress voted to amend the constitution to allow for a ciudad modelo.

(No filibuster there!)  And:

In early January, Mr. [Paul] Romer went to the capital, Tegucigalpa, to meet privately with various groups, then make his case at a public gathering. "You can't change the rules in the middle of the game," he said, flashing a photo of a soccer game on a screen. "Create a new playing field and see if anyone wants to play." Think big, he pleaded. Build an airport big enough to be a hemispheric hub, he said, turning to his father Roy, former governor of Colorado, to tell the story of how Denver got its big airport.

Ranil Dissanayake February 3, 2011 at 5:46 am

Lots of questions as to whether this really is a Charter City:
http://aidthoughts.org/?p=1991

Borealis February 3, 2011 at 6:52 am

The Denver airport is nothing to brag about.

john haskell February 3, 2011 at 7:38 am

Steve Sailer ROCKING IT

steve February 3, 2011 at 8:07 am

This sounds awesome. I checked out the website and I'm drinking the cool aid. I like the idea of providing laws by a foreign government via a contract with the domestic government. It takes government in the direction of being a for profit provider and maintainer of laws as opposed to a geographically defined sovereign. More evidence for the Straussian interpretation of Tyler Cowen's philosophy :) Seriously, though, I'm no anarchist but it doesn't take a genius to see that our governments have grown moribund and alternative arrangements are worth a look.

Jeff Schnitzer February 3, 2011 at 10:45 am

I spent a fair bit of time in Honduras on a 2008 motorcycle trip through the region. I even had the misfortune of dealing with the customs process when I had to fly in a part. "Worst country in Central America."

While many Hondurans are individually very nice, I found pretty much everyone with an "official capacity" (from border agents to parking lot attendants) to be bureaucratic, officious, and petty. While most of Latin America has customs laws that would drive you insane, Honduras is one of the worst – multiple fees, multiple signatures, all of which must be paid/collected in different parts of town (I'm not talking walking distanes). Collecting a package is a full day operation.

Just try to run a business like this – need a new cash register? Good freaking luck.

If Honduras can create an economic environment free from their moribund culture of officiousness, it will instantly attract every entrepreneurial soul on the country – at least, any that are still left.

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