Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Real-Life Galt’s Gulch...In Honduras?

A Real-Life Galt’s Gulch...In Honduras?This story is a few months old, but it's new to me and warrants sharing. Peter Thiel's plan for an offshore libertarian colony may or may not come to fruition, but the Honduran government is actually pressing ahead with a plan to develop two libertarian microstates. From The Economist:
Now, for the first time, libertarians have a real chance to implement their ideas. In addition to a big special development region, the Honduran government intends to approve two smaller zones. And two libertarian-leaning start-ups have already signed a preliminary memorandum of understanding with the Honduran government to develop them.

One firm goes by the name of Future Cities Development Corporation. It was co-founded by Patri Friedman, a grandson of Milton Friedman, a Nobel laureate in economics, and until recently executive director of the Seasteading Institute, a group producing research on how to build ocean-based communes [with Peter Thiel -Seth]. The other is called Grupo Ciudades Libres (Free Cities Group) and is the brainchild of Michael Strong and Kevin Lyons, two entrepreneurs and libertarian activists.

Both share a purpose: to build “free cities”. Last April all three spoke at a conference organised by Universidad Francisco Marroquín, a libertarian outfit in Guatemala. In September they and Giancarlo Ibárgüen, the university’s president, launched the Free Cities Institute, a think-tank, to foster the cause.
This is terrific news, but The Economist didn't mention the best part: The Future Cities plan is to develop free trade ports on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, connecting them with high-speed rail. In other words, the libertarian city-states would potentially replace Panama as the logistics connection between the Atlantic and the Pacific!

16 comments:

  1. the problem is security. would the honduran govt provide it? that could be problematic. coups are commonplace in latin am. the honduran govt might be friendly now, but they might not be friendly 10 years from now. remember godfather ii?

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  2. If the honduran govt provided the security, they would not be purely libertarian societies.

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  3. I've said it before: libertarianism is NOT synonymous with anarchy. It is absolutely necessary to have a government of some type to 1) protect the individual right to life, liberty, and property, and 2) enforce contracts. In terms of sovereignty, it's my understanding that the microstates would have an arrangement with the Honduran government similar to the arrangement Hong Kong had with the U.K. But consider this: the people behind this plan are multi-billionaire entrepreneurs. Private security will clearly be a large part of this plan.

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  4. Hm... Most contracts nowadays are essentially the result of rampant financialization (e.g. securities, derivatives, equity). Financialization is essentially the use of derivatives and securitized debt as surplus capital sponges to soak up investment capital for which no outlet existed in productive industry. As Joshua Holland noted, in most recessions the financial sector contracted along with the rest of the economy; but after the 2000 tech bust it just kept growing, ballooning up to ten percent of the economy. We're seeing now how that worked out.

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    1. DC,

      If there were a completely laissez-faire economy somewhere in the world, *someone* would have to enforce contracts between private sector entities. (A "contract" could be as small as a customer/vendor relationship at the grocery store.) So the question is: Who enforces them? In the case of this Honduran initiative, the independent libertarian microstate would have quasi-autonomy, but the Honduran government would ultimately have the power of the gun. I don't see how the plan could work out any other way, outside of Honduras conceding total autonomy. But that's not going to happen.

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  5. A high speed rail is going to replace the Panama Canal? Good idea as long as others have stated the Hondorus government stays in place.

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    1. We can only hope the current Honduran government will remain.

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    2. I'm sure the Honduran government will have agreements with the micro-states that will benefit the country of Honduras as a whole (if the micro-states prove profitable), much like China allows Hong Kong to exist as it's own micro-state, which benefits China. If this idea does benefit Honduras, then they will be sure to provide security or any other support needed to maximize profit to the country, regardless of whichever government is in power.

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  6. The Honduras government proved it's stability recently by ferociously defending it's constitution from a Chavas wannabe.

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  7. I want this. I want this so bad. I hope it's done while Americans are still allowed to leave the country -.-

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  8. This was shut down by the Honduran supreme court.

    http://www.futurecitiesdev.com/about-us/

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    1. That's too bad. Liberty will have to find a new home. I suggest building upon the opportunity that the Romney loss has created in the GOP. http://www.ecominoes.com/2012/11/gop-time-to-embrace-libertarianism.html

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  9. What about some form of this in a post-USA-collapse American Redoubt? Remote places in Idaho, Montana or Wyoming that have natural resources, farmable land and lots of wide open space could be idea. They would be far enough away from whatever reach remains of the "Old Republic" that small arms could probably keep it free. Of course, without access to the ocean, trade is impossible. A border with Canada or access to the Ocean would be required.

    The heat in Honduras is a real deterrent for some of us, as is the fact that it is in Honduras.

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    1. I sincerely hope that the Galt's Gulch concept remains a lifestyle choice among freedom-minded individuals and never becomes a refuge from hard tyranny or economic collapse.

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  10. "Liberty?"

    Here's my favorite definition of Liberty, by Abraham Lincoln:

    The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name—liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names—liberty and tyranny.

    The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty; and precisely the same difference prevails to-day among us human creatures, even in the North, and all professing to love liberty. Hence we behold the processes by which thousands are daily passing from under the yoke of bondage, hailed by some as the advance of liberty, and bewailed by others as the destruction of all liberty. Recently, as it seems, the people of Maryland have been doing something to define liberty; and thanks to them that, in what they have done, the wolf’s dictionary, has been repudiated.

    http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/address-at-a-sanitary-fair/

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