The World Needs More Canada

Exceeding all expectations, Paul Romer convinced the Honduran government to authorize a charter city. Now Romer is encouraging Canada to export its institutions. Here is Romer and Octavio Sanchez, chief of staff to the President of Honduras, writing in Canada’s most important newspaper, The Globe and Mail:

Crossed-Flag-Pins Honduras Canada
http://www.crossed-flag-pins.com

With the near unanimous support of its Congress, Honduras recently defined a new legal entity: la Región Especial de Desarrollo. A RED is an independent reform zone intended to offer jobs and safety to families who lack a good alternative; officials in the RED will be able to partner with foreign governments in critical areas such as policing, jurisprudence and transparency. By participating, Canada can lead an innovative approach to development assistance, an approach that tackles the primary roadblock to prosperity in the developing world: weak governance.

…According to Gallup, the number of adults worldwide who would move permanently to Canada if given the chance is about 45 million. Although Canada can’t accommodate everyone who’d like to move here, it can help to bring stronger governance to many new places that could accept millions of new residents. The RED in Honduras is the place to start.

…By participating in RED governance, Canada can make the new city a more attractive place for would-be residents and investors.

…The courts in the RED will be independent from those in the rest of Honduras. The Mauritian Supreme Court [!, AT]  has agreed in principle to serve as a court of final appeal for the RED, but Canada can play a strong complementary role. Because the RED can appoint judges from foreign jurisdictions, Canadian justices could hear RED cases from Canada and help train local jurists.

Oversight, policing and jurisprudence are just a few of the ways in which Canada can help.

…The world does not need more aid. As the Gallup numbers show, it needs more Canada – more of the norms and know-how that lead to the rule of law, true inclusion and real opportunity for all.

Paul Romer is on an incredible run.

Comments

The British and French Empires tried this once before, too.

"…The world does not need more aid. As the Gallup numbers show, it needs more Canada – more of the norms and know-how that lead to the rule of law, true inclusion and real opportunity for all."

This is the author's polite way of saying the world needs more white people.

New colonization plan: invade all countries of the world, but only take a small percentage of the land. Allow local citizens to move there and live under Anglo-Saxon law.

Exactly

I don't buy the inherent superiority of Anglo Saxon law. Germany or Switzerland seem to do very well without it. Institutions matter more.

Eh. They're basically Angles, right?

But they don't have Anglo-Saxon legal systems (they use civil law inspired by Rome not common law inspired by the Germanic tribes).

Ironic that the more germanic nations of Germany & Switzerland don't use germanic-derived law.

I.e. we need more white people?

"This is the author’s polite way of saying the world needs more white people."

This is the commenter's not so polite way of saying, white people = bad.

Canada isn't white. We're a multicultural nation of immigrants.

The economic strenght of Canada lies in our cities like Torontoo, and just over half of all Torontonians are first generation immigrants like me. Slicing slightly differently, half of Toronto is non-white, whether first generation or multi-generration Canadian.

Canada was built by white people, then they invited you in. Whether you can keep Canada Canada, we shall see.

Paul Romer is white enough.

By definition, Canada will be what Canadians - all of them - make it. The institutions will grow and change to meet the wants and needs of the citizens of today, not of 100 years ago, and it will still be Canada.

As far as "exporting" institutions - there's a world of difference between offering (and letting the hosts decide which institutions to accept and how they must be transformed for the recipient society and culture) and imposing change. Many societies (Canada especially) have benefited by taking institutions that they were familiar with and modifying them to fit their own needs. What is being discussed is simply increasing the pool of institutions from which newly developing societies may model their own upon.

And lastly, on a Libertarian leaning blog site, if you want to be taken seriously, or at least not dismissed as a outright crank, the last thing you want to be doing is claiming that we should be judging people by their racial (or any other) group. Libertarianism, for all its faults, is about judging individuals by what they, as individuals, achieve.

Why is that the last thing he wants to be doing? Dude's a plain old racist.

Thinks he's being brave and strong too, being so direct about it. Cutting through our p.c. pieties and all. A sad, angry, fearful man.

And lastly, on a Libertarian leaning blog site, if you want to be taken seriously, or at least not dismissed as a outright crank, the last thing you want to be doing is claiming that we should be judging people by their racial (or any other) group.

Libertarianism is an Anglo-Saxon and, to a far lesser extent, Continental movement.

Judge groups as groups, people as people.

And lastly, on a Libertarian leaning blog site, if you want to be taken seriously, or at least not dismissed as a outright crank, the last thing you want to be doing is claiming that we should be judging people by their racial (or any other) group.

What are you kidding me? Have you even READ this blog before? You do realize that a sizable number of posters here have basically founded their entire world view on racist ideology don't you? I mean they really only embrace libertarian economics because they think it might hurt black people. It's a means to an end not a serious belief system.

"Have you even READ this blog before? You do realize that a sizable number of posters here have basically founded their entire world view on racist ideology don’t you?"

CBBB, you have absorbed nothing. You didn't even pause to reflect on Cliff's candidate for comment of the decade, nor do I suspect you will reflect long on why I am nominating it.

Toronto's really a testament to the Canadian way. How a city with people from all over the world, so many different cultures and backgrounds...could be such an utterly dull and bland place.

+1

Toronto is not dull.

Atlanta is dull. Los Angeles is surprisingly dull. San Diego is dull. St. Louis is dull.

Toronto is not dull. It has a thriving cultural life, good neighbourhoods, good bars, lots to do. It's not New York nor London, but it is not dull.

And it lacks some of the 'excitement' of say, Baltimore ;-).

Keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better. Canada is owned and operated by white people, with increasing Asian participation, true. But if you look at the political, cultural, business and even athletic elites of Canada it is still white, white, white. (Unless you don't consider Quebecois or Jews white, which is a typical Ontario Anglophone prejudice.). Honestly I think Germany is a more multicultural society than Canada. The US definitely is. But keep patting yourself on the back for your famous Canadian "tolerance" while UCC grads continue to run everything.

What? Canada is the most race diverse country in the world, white is a minority there. You are the racist trying to blame whites for don't know what

Canada is something like 15% non-white. Its almost as white as Utah.

But people from Vancouver and Toronto have convinced themselves that all of Canada is like their cities, when of course it is not at all.

How do you explain the relative success of Barbados?

Are you a deliberate race troll, or are you so little educated in geography and history?

Albanians, Moldovans and Belarussians are white too, yet no one is going to claim that the world needs more Albania, Moldova and Belarus.

Somehow, each time that I meet a race-drunken American blabbering about white privilege, they are never aware (or ignore them outright) about countries which are white and yet seriously poor + with bad governance. Compared to an average Balkan peasant, American ghetto Blacks live in luxury.

It's nice when non specialists discover economic history.

The 50 year debate is why the second most 'white' country in Latin America, Argentina, is so scr---d up.

And why Canada, New Zealand and Australia did well.

In the USA, the South had a completely different history and social structure than the rest of the country. Effectively an oligarchy. If the South had won the Civil War, that part of the USA would have looked a lot more like Mexico or Brasil in its history.

So in the USA, it's the triumph of the Yankee faction, call them pragmatic Puritans, that kept the US on the straight and narrow.

So the 'X' factor is British institutions dating from the late 18th or into the 19th century. The South of the USA was really built on an earlier model, that of late 17th/ early 18th century England, and the First Empire, of slaves and sugar and tobacco, that resulted.

And it's not as simple as that, either, because of course lots of Africa did not benefit from that (whether India did or not involves a lot of counterfactuals).

Canada is not so much 'North America run by the Swiss' as 'North America as set out by 19th century Scottish presbyterians'. The towns look very much like towns established in the Highlands after Culloden (1745): same military urban plan.

And in fact, Toronto (and Melbourne) were famously lawless until in the mid 19th century puritannical administrations took over: the former Methodist, the latter Presbyterian. That great reforming Christian revival of 1830s Britain, which swept out into the white colonial Empire.

Britian has tried this before... in Hong Kong. I'd say the experiment was pretty successful.

I predict the same ending: Honduran socialists take it back.

And Singapore?

Singapore is independent, Britain had a treaty to run Hong Kong. The charter city sounds more like a Hong Kong scenario, or even more like a Shenzhen-type scenario where the government can shut down the experiment whenever it feels like it.

Good thing what you predict has very little correlation with what will happen.

I have been following Romer's work on special cities. It seems phenomenal what they want to do in Honduras. I really hope it works.

There are a lot of lefties in Canada, and in some degree they have helped subvert the Navy, so the GOP will probably resist more Canada here.

Yep, he Navy is full of morons who were easily fooled by those clever leftists. Guess you better go and set the Admirals right - only YOU can Save the Navy.

I am anxiously waiting for our country to create better economic zones within THESE borders, where I might go and find a way to live decently again. Lots of other 'poor in spirit' people are, as well. Here's wishing the best for Paul Romer and his work, and I regularly keep up with his efforts.

Apparently he hasn't met our new government, who looks to failed American models (especially wrt "security") more so than sensible ones and hardly appears to care about the kinds of democratic institutions that we could supposedly export. I think Romer is right, but I doubt we will do half of what we could to inform and accompany other countries during the process of their democratic development.

"...the kinds of democratic institutions that we could supposedly export."

You have far more in common with George W. Bush than you realize.

I thought I was communicating that I realized it :)

"it needs more Canada – more of the norms and know-how that lead to the rule of law, true inclusion and real opportunity for all."

Canada is just like the USA, except without free speech.

Exactly. Call me when Honduras is willing to import the 1st and 2nd Amendments.

This doesn't negate the entire experiment. I'm really interested to see how this goes. Heck, maybe I'll move there and give it a spin myself.

FWIW, gun ownership is common in Canada, at about 22% of households. Moreover, it feels much more common in middle-class circles than it does in the US. There's less stigma. My understanding is that America has something like 45% of households owning a gun, but frankly, I find that number hard to believe having spent significant time in both countries.

Meant to be in reply to TomHynes.

Rule of law?
When we learn daily the details on how the last election was rigged?
On the day Harper used the Budget Bill to modifiy about a hundred non-financial laws without refering them to Parliament study?
Canada is no longer a democracy. it is an authoritarian corrupt petro-state.
Needing more Canada now is like needing more Vladimir Putin's Russia.

I'm interested in hearing more about the possibility of Harper's corruption, especially electoral corruption.

Could you point me to your best sources? Thanks in advance.

local election spending irregularities (confirmed by Elections Canada), strange calls sending people to the wrong polling stations ... there's worse in other places, but it's not generally well received by Canadians.

Canada, the softer, gentler, globo-cop?

Just 3-4 days ago I wrote that Romer's TED presentation on this idea is one of reasons why I stopped going there (to TED web site).
This approach just allows undemocratic regimes to survive longer and allows domestic elites to extract even more rent without improving freedoms and human rights. Only a Canadian or EU citizen could come up with such sick idea.
Seasteading is a much nicer and honest idea.

What confuses me is the details. What exactly is Canada supposed to do? How does a nation export "institutions"?

Also, what's the incentive for Canada in all this?

Shhh

Also, what’s the incentive for Canada in all this?

Never underestimate Canada's burning desire to feel important and respected on the world stage.

Well, I guess they already have a significant aid-budget so maybe this is just a better way to allocate? Assuming it works.

It's would be much better than food aid over the long run, assuming it works.

Well like I said, in terms of Canada running things it really matters how many natural resources Honduras has.

They don't need Canada.

Spontaneous order, voluntary contracts among free citizens will rule the day.

Where have we heard that one.

Well, yes, repealing most laws including trade barriers and economic regulations would be a good alternative.

Cliff,

They have no laws, so they don't need to repeal any.

Did you read the post...they want to import Canadian GOVMNT and LAWS.

Did you just say that Honduras has no law?
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Doc, you must not be familiar with this project or you wouldn't be laughing.

The RED is subject to Honduran law as a backstop. Importing a pre-baked set of institutions and operational norms in a timely manner is advantageous. The outside risks to the RED's existence if there is the appearance of an extended political vacuum bear keeping in mind.

Instead of exporting good institutions (whether they be from Canada or else where), why not import people to places where the institutions are already good (like Canada).

I hope Paul's experiment works, but contingency is going to play a HUGE role. It always does. Just having the right framework isn't sufficient.

It seems like he could benefit more people at a lower cost by putting his efforts toward improving immigration laws in places where contingency already played out well and then setting up organizations to help people emigrate successfully to those countries.

Instead of exporting good institutions (whether they be from Canada or else where), why not import people to places where the institutions are already good (like Canada).

Because people generate institutions. Change the people, change the institutions. Apparently even Canadians are beginning to realize this, so now they're demanding their own colonies.

What do you think would happen if you took the population of Calgary and the population of Mogadishu and swapped them out?

Sure, taken to the extreme, the institutions would change dramatically. But I think the institutions and norms that I care about the most (rule of law, property rights, pluralism) are quite robust to increased immigration. The U.S. did survive the 19th and early 20th century did it not, even though immigration was quite high? Does Canada no longer have functioning courts?

Does Canada no longer have functioning courts?

As was pointed out, they still have, ahem, low time-preference, non-tribalist people running things.

Rule of law isn't robust to increased immigration - at least not in the immigrant communities.

The fact is that immigrant-to-immigrant crime is extremely hard to solve for native police force. First, it does not have to be detected at all, second, there aren't enough skilled interpreters and translators at police disposal, third, many of the communities keep sort-of omerta against the foreign (for them) authorities.

This is common complaint of police forces all around the world. In many places, immigrant ghettos are de facto left for themselves to govern, as the police does not have resources to enforce laws there.

"Apparently even Canadians are beginning to realize this, so now they’re demanding their own colonies."

Actually, no. This is the first I've heard anything about this in the Canadian press.

Export your best talent to rich countries? Kinda negates the whole reason for a nation state, doesn't it?

Which nation do you target here?

The exporter. Nations are (at least nominally) organized around some notion of the common good. It seems to me a policy of exporting your best talent permanently (not just for advanced education followed by repatriation) is very much against the common good.

Yes, but who do you mean is doing that in this example? Canada? Honduras?

"Although Canada can’t accommodate everyone who’d like to move here, it can help to bring stronger governance to many new places that could accept millions of new residents. "

If costs of "bringing governance" = costs of "accommodating everyone", then the problem remains.

"The RED offers a new way to think about development assistance, one that, like trade, relies on mutually beneficial exchange rather than charity."

How is the (presumed costless) exporting of rules beneficial to Canada?

And there are other worries: http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/01/16/honduran-charter-cities-trample-on-democracy/

For all its' flaws, there is some wisdom in these ideas.

The notorious difficulty in isolating the key components of national success in political and, to a lesser extent, economic spheres lends itself to this sort of broad-based institutional seeding. Send a fair number of Canadians with their institutions and run the trial.

Does Honduras have massive amounts of untapped natural resources?
I got news for you Canada's success is largely founded on stuff that happens to be under the ground and some big trees. If you took that stuff away the country would be in pretty sad shape. The British provided the institutions so why not go get them to handle it?

This is exactly why Africa is teeming with wealthy nations where all Europeans are clamoring to immigrate.

The institutions are important but those are of British invention so go get the Brits to do this job. Canadians only know how to build an economy based on natural resource extraction.

The statements in the above comments that libertarianism is something created by and for "Anglo-Saxon" people are some of the most offensive, inaccurate, and thought-free comments I've ever seen below any blog---a strong statement. MR comments are usually miles above such sewage. Too bad.

The notion that Romer is an imperialist of some kind displays breath-stopping paternalism. Yes, Hondurans decided to make this happen. Yes, Hondurans can make their own decisions about what's good for them. Colonization involved armies and navies forcibly conquering Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Colonization had nothing to do with self-determination of colonized people. Honduras' decision to change its constitution to make REDs possible is an expression of self-determination. It matters little what the "Anglo-Saxon" commenters here, with their God-given superiority, think of it.

MR comments are usually miles above such sewage. Too bad.

Like I said above - have you actually READ the comments. Race baiting commentary is like a dime a dozen here. Wait until Steve Sailer swoops in.

I take no position on whether Anglo-Saxons, Ashkenazim, libertarians, etc., are superior, inferior or whatever. Everybody has their preferences--including you. But there are historical/cultural/biological reasons that libertarian meet-ups are whiter than Augusta National, and every bit as male.

"Honduras’ decision to change its constitution to make REDs possible is an expression of self-determination."

Keep telling yourself that Mr. Migration. What's being expressed is Honduran realization that they have limited capacity for self-governance. I expect you will see the same sort of thing in Africa, as entire regions start ceding territorial administration to Han Chinese in exchange for minerals and labor.

There's nothing new under the sun. Your think tank is doing this 'kinder, gentler' imperialism too, except instead of sallying forth to conquer the wogs, you just want them shipped over and put to work on the tax farm here.

CBBB,

You guys jumped the shark a long time ago. I don't even care about being called a racist anymore. In fact, if your group wasn't accusing me of being racist I'd use that as an indicator I was doing it wrong.

I just don't care about race. I rarely give it a moment's thought.

Now, things like one side getting EVERYTHING about the Trayvon Martin shooting wrong, I think about that kind of thing a lot.

Actually I'm not accusing YOU of racism. I'm accusing the people (and there are many) who come on here and explicitly argue that the relative differences in wealth between ethic or racial groups is due to the inherently low IQs of certain groups. Not everyone who posts here is like that but there are a number of them.

The hypothesis that relative differences in wealth between ethic or racial groups is due to relative differences in mean IQ between groups is, at the least, supportable by data: countries with Canadians running the show do better than countries with Hondurans running the show. So much so, in fact, that far more Hondurans would like to go to Canada than the converse, unless the Hondurans let the Canadians run things.

Screaming "Racism!" just underscores the empty, talismanic character of the word, like a Christian fundamentalist quoting Genesis 1:1.

This is meaningless though because you could pick all kinds of historical periods, look at different sets of countries and draw the same conclusions about various racial groups. 150 years ago you could easily have included Asians in the bunch of underperforming societies, maybe even Germans and Scandinavians too.
Whatever arguments or data you want to trot out, these same arguments have been rehashed for years.

Wasn't it about 150 years ago the Britain took control of Hong Kong?

What's your point exactly? The British certainly didn't think highly of the Chinese.

"This is meaningless though because you could pick all kinds of historical periods, look at different sets of countries and draw the same conclusions about various racial groups."

Yes, I suppose you could look at Europeans circa 3,000 B.C. and Haitians circa 2012 A.D. and conclude there are no relative mean differences between the two groups.

No there's differences in history and institutions. However this is often brushed aside in these arguments and there is an overwhelming fixation on trying to argue that there are inherent and irreversible differences in the race. Haiti was a country born out of a slave revolt that, not only was run by people who had spent their lives living in slavery and destitution but upon independence was immediately faced with a block of powerful nations who were hostile to the idea of Haitian prosperity and success. This sort of inauspicious start begins a chain reaction of historical events and decisions that leads to Haiti being extremely poor today.
I don't tend to see these nuanced arguments coming from you or Steve Sailer and your fellow travelers I just hear the blunt rallying cry of "LOW IQ LOW IQ!".

So how is it that you're so sure there aren't there inherent and irreversible differences between the races? I suppose you'll be shocked this summer when someone of West African ancestry wins the Olympic 100M sprint - what a strange coincidence that Africans keep winning this race! What are the odds, eh?

Seriously, low IQ can't help, can it?

That said, obviously it is only one factor and there is little point in bringing it up most of the time (other than to encourage steps to raise average IQ like deworming) except that so many people go so far out of their way to avoid it, thereby frequently creating very weird narratives.

The main differences between Europeans circa 3000 BCE and Haitians now is that Haitians are a largely literate population with a life expectancy exceeding the world average who live in a technologically and economically much more developed environment than Europeans did. Because, you know, four thousand years.

CBBB, your nuanced arguments are pretty much of the sort "Haiti's problems are someone else's fault!" and they seem to stem from overwhelming fixation to lay blame for everything on evil whitey.

If you really study history, you will find that a lot of modern nations started their development in conditions as bad as Haiti, or, in some aspects, worse. Just recently, both Poland and Germany lost significant percentage of working-age population to war & mass murder, and their cities were reduced to rubble. If these nations were listening to you, they would probably never get better.

All the Balkan nations had to wrestle their independence from immensely cruel Ottoman empire.

The Baltic states were subject to outright ethnic cleansing by Stalin. Up to 25 per cent population was dragged into Siberian gulags, can you even imagine that? Yet even after 70 years of Soviet rule they seem to fare much better than the colonizer - Russia - itself.

Finland was basically someone's else colony for most of its existence.

South Korea in 1950 was an extremely poor country, with living standards under Ghana, and living under military dictatorship.

Singapore started its independence as a very poor country, bordered by hostile Malaysia.

Is this fundamentally an experiment to see how important Canadians are to make something Canadian?

It would do that too, anecdotally.

I'm I the only one that find it somewhat depressing that a country that is still using checks are hailed as a model to spread?

Maybe this is less France and more New Caledonia, but here, checks rule. Cash is a pain in the ass to get: The local bank branch will happily take your money, give you your new checkbook, or accept some form, but they've got absolutely no mechanism to actually give you cash. I've got a fancy smart-card for accessing the ATM, but it's frequently out of money and/or receipt paper (which amounts to the same thing). Local merchants post signs disclaiming their ability to take bank cards. Those that do have a steep minimum purchase of $20 or $25. On the other hand, nobody has a problem with checks. I can write a check for a single baguette and no-one bats an eye.

Don't get me wrong: I long for the days when I can return to the land where I can buy a Snickers for less than 2 USD with my debit card any time day or night. However, I think a lot of people take for granted the
infrastructure that is required to make that happen and how difficult it is to get that infrastructure into some place where there's not pervasive 3G coverage, FttP, and 20 megabit DSL.

Wasn't this more or less tried by an American in the 1850s named William Walker, and didn't Walker's spectacular but short career end in front of a Honduran firing squad?

Are the Canadians going to conquer Honduras?

Adopt current 'western' institutions if you want to fade away to oblivion.

Adopt western institutions from about 150 years ago if you want to rise to prosperity.

The only reason Canada seems to be doing a little better is the huge resource wealth and land relative to population (notice Australia is fine too). btw, I'm Canadian and I would enthusiastically import those 45 million people to choke the welfare state to death.

I would enthusiastically import those 45 million people to choke the welfare state to death.

How would that happen? I presume these people would pay taxes.

"According to Gallup, the number of adults worldwide who would move permanently to Canada if given the chance is about 45 million. Although Canada can’t accommodate everyone who’d like to move here, it can help to bring stronger governance to many new places that could accept millions of new residents. The RED in Honduras is the place to start."

I've been hearing so many people from different third world countries who have been moving to Canada. Seeking for a better life. Is Canada the new "American Dream"? I hope their accomodating stance would do well for them.

"writing in Canada’s most important newspaper, The Globe and Mail:". Now that's funny!

In case nobody has posted this yet:
http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.de/2009/08/from-cromer-to-romer-and-back-again.html

Essential reading, as always.

I hope that it works but it seems like so much can go wrong.

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