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Charter Cities: Way of the Future?

In the middle ages, towns living under the yoke of feudal nobles would sometimes petition the King for a charter, becoming a commercially independent district that paid only taxes to the king for his defense, rather than burdensome feudal dues.

Kings liked their side of the bargain as well and often enough sided with the free townspeople over the predatory, extractive nobility. The granting of such charters was a profitable economic trade for both sides.

Perhaps the wise approach for the hopeful minarchist would be to petition the military superpower states of the future for charter cities, with a direct flat tax paid by the city in gold or some other tangible value, in exchange solely for military protection, with the proviso that the internal law of the city be ordered by the independent judiciary and agreed upon rules.*

A further stipulation might be a short list of bare-minimum inalienable rights that the particular charter-granting state defines as conditions for its contract; no slavery, for example, or other abominations. If a charter city permitted abominable conditions to develop through contractual obligations, the charter would be revoked, with the loss of military defense.

Aside from those rights, the charter-granting state would not intervene at all, other than to collect the single flat tax -- not from individuals but from the city -- at the agreed upon rate, and would provide the single service of military defense. The overarching clauses against major abuses like slavery would presumably need be invoked only very rarely.

Would it be possible to find a price that the state of the future would find appealing to grant such charters? Are any people pursuing this kind of model, or is there just no demand or no price point of agreement?

Minarchists and anarchists alike could use this model as the best means of securing military defense and legal autonomy for themselves.

Since we are in fact creating a kind of feudal aristocracy in the modern West, between the banks and government, it should not be too far fetched that there be a price point where a more light weight state (analogous from the King of feudal times) can come in and provide the necessary military defense at a cheaper price and oust the growing layer of useless feudal bureaucrats, who aren't exactly militarily fierce and provide no service.

The American unipower is ideologically committed, but also decrepit and self destructive. One day it will be eclipsed by newly multipolar world stage.On that day, cities can perhaps find better deals elsewhere, and maybe even a true King?

Yes, yes?

*Perhaps the charter-granting state could also provide a stable currency system, on a gold basis or otherwise, with a fixed, small rate of seignioriage in place of the flat tax, as a modern combination of two indispensable large scale services.

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Yes. We agree on this.

I do think Charter Cities or City-States are the way the of the future. As huge governments die out, smaller, local, more accountable "governments" or co-ops will replace them. Though I'm not sure the States will survive either. The people are too diverse, and we would be better off, in my opinion, with a smaller, more local government. This is coming from a voluntary idealist. I prefer to head in the direction of complete voluntaryism hoping to get as close to it as possible. That doesn't mean it will ever be achieved, but we should strive for it, and dissolving the Union into smaller city-states or charter-cities seems like a pragmatic, realistic, and inevitable approach.

I'm a serial entrepreneur and liberty activist from Texas!


RobHino is a perfect example of what we bring.

Drop him on an island with internet and he just starts being productive. Generating business and industry, bringing in money, offering productive employment. It's in his bones.

Be brave, be brave, the Myan pilot needs no aeroplane.

It's been and is being attempted now.

Guatemala, Costa Rica and now Panama. I think I heard Honduras discussed at one point. There are probably others but as you can guess, Central and South America represent this kind of opportunity to USA patriots, check my sig.

Costa Rica is kind of the stand-out because regionally and economically they are doing not too bad at all plus they are a peaceful and gentle society. In other words, they don't really have that much indudement to try a charter city.

Guatemala and Honduras on the other hand are NIGHTMARE CESSPOOLS OF VIOLENCE AND DEPRAVITY. So is Nicaragua for that matter. To these nations, ANY ALTERNATIVE from the gangs and paramilitiaries that rule the place is worth consideration. What's left of civilian government generally embraces anything that brings in money that's not the result of drugs, guns and murder for hire. The problems with (I was going to say execution but in context let's use another term) follow-through is that there's many competing interests in and out of government and they compete with machetes. The ideas haven't secured consensus, particularly with the gangs and cartels who are just as pleased as punch with the status-quo.

Panama on the other hand...does have a traidtion for experimentalism, of tolerance for new ideas, a culturally embedded notion that free trade is good and more than a notion that they should be truly sovereign. At least until recently they were one of the few nations with no "federal reserve bank" or any equivalent. Thumbs-up, right?

Well Panama also knows it's OWNED PROPERTY OF THE USA. Many of you in the DP are too young to remember that the last time we really didn't like one of their leaders (Manuel Noriega), WE FIREBOMBED ABOUT 18 DENSELY POPULATED URBAN BLOCKS FULL OF INNOCENT PEOPLE JUST TO GET TO HIM. And get to him we did. He ended up incinerated along with about 10,000 of his countrymen. So for this to happen not only do we need consensus and political patronage in Panama but we need some reassurance that the USA won't simply come and tiptoe through our tulips. With a scythe.

The idea remains that if they just give us a place to be and leave us alone, we will do what we do: generate business, trade and industry to benefit ourselves and the host nation. Therefore we keep seeking nations so economically benighted they have nothing to lose.

Knowing what we know about the future of the global economy, we shall have no shortage of economically benighted nations. They haven't killed the idea yet.

Be brave, be brave, the Myan pilot needs no aeroplane.