Imagine your expertise is technology, your political philosophy is libertarian, and you care about helping poverty in Central America. Finding a suitable place to live could be rather tough…until now.
Where are we going? To the three questions that every economic system has to answer.
But first, we need to look at the world’s newest city.
An Economic Zone Called Próspera
The set up
One man is starting a city on a tropical island off the Honduran coast. Supported by investors, he is creating more of a platform than a place. Called Próspera, people will live there. But also, you can be a remote citizen.
The city now occupies 58 acres between a golf course and a fishing village:
People who want to become “residents” have to sign a social contract. Then, they will be governed by a nine member council with five elected officials and four who are appointed by the founding company, HPI. In addition, they hope to buy more land to accommodate a population of 10,000 by 2025.
The community can be an economic development zone in a country with 70 percent poverty. It hopes to provide an honest functional government in a region where corruption is the norm. It can provide jobs that pay less than in a developed nation but are fair for the locals. Either physically or from a distance, any corporation can locate there.
Doing business will be much easier in Próspera:
The people who move there will need Honduran citizenship. After signing a social contract, native Hondurans will owe a membership fee of $260/year while for foreigners, the amount is $1300. Taxes will never exceed a 10 percent rate and the city’s debt will also be capped. In addition, Honduras has said that residents will have to observe its anti-abortion, anti euthanasia, and gun control laws. So far 1,000 Hondurans have applied.
Plans for medical care, education, other services all relate to where the virtual citizens and residential population live. Some will be members of local systems while others will receive services from the Honduran community. This is one of the three buildings they have completed:
It’s all supposed to be “win, win, win.” Honduras hosts an economic development zone that will boost its economy. The citizens benefit from more safety, good governance, and higher incomes. And the donors enjoy a successful venture that reflects their values and goals.
Our Bottom Line: The Three Economic Questions
Other planned cities have been successful. Examples include Shenzhen and Dubai:
Similarly, Próspera’s design will have to deal with the three basic economic questions. They will have to answer what, how, and to whom:
- What goods and services will they produce?
- How will their goods and services be produced?
- Who will receive the income?
Their answers relate to the technology that can facilitate a remote connection and minimal government that encourages development. With some constraints from Honduras, and the values of its investors, Próspera will mostly depend on the market.
My sources and more: Thanks to Marginal Revolution for alerting me to the literature on Próspera. From there, the articles multiplied. They included Bloomberg and the Próspera website. But the best was from Astral Codex Ten (a new resource for me). You also might want to look at econlife’s description of a new libertarian country and this update. Our featured image shows Próspera’s housing plan.