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 offer an alternative to Panama Canal, potentially reducing the cost of the logistics connection between the Atlantic and the Pacific.