Charter Cities: Way of the Future?Submitted by Molusk on Thu, 05/01/2014 - 23:20
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?
*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.