The best sentence I read today

Mark [Lutter] has a PhD in Economics from George Mason, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he’s conventional.

Here is the full bit:

Mark Lutter (29) and Tamara Winter (23), United States
Mark and Tamara are building charter cities — a concept where cities are governed by their own charter rather than general law. Imagine a world with dozens of new cities, each with their own distinct style, governance and populace. Mark and Tamara are working to make that vibrant future a reality.

Noteworthy: Mark has a PhD in Economics from George Mason, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he’s conventional. He’s a disagreeable, life-long adventurer. He decided to do his own thing after questioning the profit share in his previous company. He moved to Honduras while it was the murder capital of the world. Now he’s stumbling through Africa looking for city settlers.

They are part of the third cohort of Pioneer winners, congrats to Justin Zheng too and all the others, read through the list for some fascinating ideas and projects to come.  Tamara is a Mercatus alum, follow her here on Twitter, here is Mark.  Here is their institutional website.  Here is various information about Pioneer — apply!

Comments

Hi,

Our website is below. To clarify, we're building the ecosystem for charter cities. We bring together new city developers, entrepreneurs, investors, policy experts, and governance to develop a shared understanding of charter cities. Specifically, we work with new city developers and host countries to develop legal frameworks to improve the business environment
https://innovativegovernance.org/

Ship of fools. You will attract every Third World schemer this side of Jim Rogers motorcycle tour around the world. Living in the Philippines as an American in the 1% I can attest to that. But, if you keep a low profile you might last longer, just don't let on your have money. Good luck, hope I don't read about you in the newspapers in a bad way...

+1

Kind of like an HOA for cites but without any of the benefits of an HOA.

Actually, kind of like the Amish or Hasidim.

No, that's not a valid comparison. Both of those have their religious beliefs to encourage compliance even if it's personally expensive. Whereas a charter city is only attracting people who have an economic benefit for being there. The populace won't stand for prolonged hardships.

There is nothing about this model that prevents either more traditionalist or more libertine city-states from forming. Subscribers would have their choice of regimes, which is the point of the exercise.

so is that "the T. Ribeiro" towards the bottom of the page?

Are you affiliated with or knowledgeable about the Honduran ZEDEs? What is their status? Are they stillborn? They are a personal great white hope.

I think the Hondurans are balking at having a great white sundown town on their primo Caribbean coast.

I may be a skeptic, but I suspect "charter city" is a euphemism for the company town that once controlled the lives of its citizens. Why is Cowen drawn to governance that defies our own founders' concept of liberty?

On the lines hung fabrics and textiles drying, some dyed with berries, others tied together with wire. It was a beehive. His mother put the golden trowel in a basket of water cans, shears, iron bars and towels, picked up a bucket and walked into the jute, the barberry, the spindle, hand over shawl, folds of the garments rising and falling. She looked resolute in only assurance, assured by the medley of raking, sifting, the mud born from skin, the smell of dry dirt—so if a smile never appeared, he’d be all right. And when a smile did cross, as though she counted the infinite, Sam nostrils travelled in demeanor until the reward for his outlandish patience exacted.

“The film explores the difficulties of reconciling the conflict between individual freedom and social order. Alex exercises his freedom to be a vicious thug until the State turns him into a harmless zombie no longer able to choose between good and evil. One of the conclusions of the film is, of course, that there are limits to which society should go in maintaining law and order. Society should not do the wrong thing for the right reason, even though it frequently does the right thing for the wrong reason.”

I'm getting a follow me into the orchard vibe and charm that snake. Of course berries are undervalued; "the blob of the thicker shade." I consider swirls that descend and bend slightly beyond "liberty." Ersatz torch prevailing.

Yes, "What is the good in the high wages when food is so high that there is profit none save the profiteers." Faulkner (the Wasteland)

Mark and Tamara are building charter cities — a concept where cities are governed by their own charter rather than general law. Imagine a world with dozens of new cities, each with their own distinct style, governance and populace. Mark and Tamara are working to make that vibrant future a reality.

Why not modify 'general law' and allow extant cities to govern themselves without officious swine in the federal judiciary, federal agencies, and state agencies sticking their hand into everything?

Because that's impossible. It only has a real chance if you start from the ground up.

Because that's impossible.

Thanks for the ex cathedra pronouncement. It's been an education.

Well he didn't provide a rationale but none the less he has a point. What are the odds the judiciary wouldn't stomp on a charter city that decided to ignore all Federal laws and rulings? Pretty much zero.

"Why is Cowen drawn to governance that defies our own founders' concept of liberty?"

Look around you.

Looking around, I see suburban tract development which could have benefited from better quality urban planning, as well as a bus service with schedules one can hardly make sense of. Therefur?

Therefur our citizen stock and sheer scale no longer allows the luxury of the Founder's vision of ordered liberty, but requires a more authoritarian model.

It is what it is.

Yes, the libertarian-authoritarian axis.

No it doesn't. There is no evidence of that.

On these very pages, libertarian economist Alex Tabarrok argues we need more policing.

Policing of what?

The leasing of people too violent or impulsive for self-rule

*policing

Mark and Tamara are building charter cities — a concept where cities are governed by their own charter rather than general law. Imagine a world with dozens of new cities, each with their own distinct style, governance and populace. Mark and Tamara are working to make that vibrant future a reality.

x

Why not modify general law so that cities can govern themselves without officious swine in the federal judiciary, federal agencies, and state agencies sticking their hand into everything?

... what the heck is "General Law" ??

what the heck does "cities are governed by their own charter" mean ??

Who makes and enforces the "rules" (Charter?) ? How ?

Are there courts & jails ... and rough men with badges, clubs, guns & shackles to explain the 'Charter' to any reluctant residents ?

"Imagine a world with dozens of new cities, each with their own distinct style, governance and populace."

I can imagine homeowner's associations.

A greater nightmare than a world run by B-B, except that so many Americans seem to feel that HOAs are the only thing keeping them safe from the menacing world of alternate painting schemes and porches.

If charter cities ever happen, it won't be from the grandiose schemes of penurious dreamers. More likely it'll be something that Belt and Road morphs into.

L] "The Center for Innovative Governance Research is a 501 c3 public policy research organization dedicated to advancing human flourishing by improving governance worldwide.
Governance is the most important determinant of human flourishing."

.

Wow -- the libertarians will just love that premise (not)

Good ones will, anarcho-Rothbard trash will not. Governance and government are vital and it is institutions-NOT CULTURE-that determine the fate of a nation.

No, institutions are downstream of culture.

No they are not. Dubai adopted common law in the DIFC without any change in culture. HK too. You have it the wrong way around.

That's good news. It means we can just write down the plans for institutions and send them to places like Ukraine and Haiti. Let a thousand Harvards bloom!

Ummm....what on earth makes the author think that a PhD from Mason makes you conventional? Is libertarian free market economics suddenly the mainstream? That would be an interesting country to live in, but this country is a rat's nest of Galbraithians and Keyensians.

The GMU econ dept exists in a quantum state, depending on the observer. In one state, it is completely mainstream, representing a normal, consensus perspective. In the other state, it represents a tireless struggle against the normal, consensus perspective.

This web site provides a demonstration in a microcosm of that fluctuation in action.

This is not the most terrible post, by a long shot. Gotta +1 it.

"a concept where cities are governed by their own charter rather than general law. Imagine a world with dozens of new cities, each with their own distinct style, governance and populace."

I'm not sure that I understand the difference between "general law" and a city's charter as law. My best guess is that the idea is that like-minded people can get together and form from ground up a new city rather than reforming existing ones. (Sort of like the People's Temple Agricultural Project, better known as Jonestown)?

The idea that each will have its own unique populace also seems kind of counter to the usual libertarian stance of open borders. One of the (many) rather naive aspects of this adventure is that if someone actually creates a city that is "successful" it won't be ruined by tourism and immigration. That's pretty much what happens to all nice places, eventually.

The libertarian stance on immigration has always been schizophrenic. If nobody owns the borders then they are a tragedy of the commons. If somebody or somebodies own the border, then the category of immigrant disappears. There are only owners tenants and trespassers. The only coherent libertarian ethic of borders is that people should only have exit rights. There is no negative right to travel. All movement off your property requires your neighbor's permission.

@darkbloom:

world history has seen many thousands of these independent city-states -- they all get conquered/absorbed by bigger statist entities.

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