Vortex Openworld : freezones, freeports, free cities
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navigation, contact, access: click ►▼, link & ••• — November 1, 2018
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how to contact us
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Leif Smith
303-778-0880
Explorers Foundation, Inc.
PO Box 9100
Denver, CO 80209
USA
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leifsmith@gmail.comImportant: If we are not already in email communication, please put “*****” at the beginning of the Subject: line of your email. This will assure that we don’t miss the first email you send to us.
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Explorers Foundation ••• home page
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efBegin ••• top level for all outlines
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Vortices ••• - a list, with explanations
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freeorder ••• the concept & vision
 
explorersfoundation.org/openworld.html — a vortex is a region of Explorers Foundation research and investment — new or changed 🔹
 
Vortex Openworld is devoted to the creation and flourishing of zones and cities offering freedom, i.e. good systems of governance under which producers are protected from predators, including the providers of the governance system itself.
 
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Water, added to dry land, allows crops to grow. Freedom, added to land, allows everything to grow.
 
• The income derivable from the productivity enabled by freedom drives free zone creation.
• The philosophical and aesthetic good enabled by freedom inspires investors to contibute capital.
• Freezones, freecities, become sources of goods and an example for surrounding not yet free areas.
• Freezones provide relief and opportunity to experiment for governments in difficulty.
 
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Proposal for Tokens issued on Blockchain to allow investment in special zones
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Working on a suggestion to create an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) on Blockchain. Tokens would represent a share in a portfolio of investments in special zones as described in the work of MacCallum, Frazier, Haywood, Bell, Bennett, Strong (pioneers of special zones, mentioned in no particular order).
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Original draft — a 21Jan18 email to Roger Ver
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Roger Ver, in 2017, proposed buying sovereignty to create a new nation based on freedom. Roger responded to the proposal that follows, saying that he had decided to focus all his energies on Bitcoin Cash, his startup devoted to preserving the original vision of bitcoin as presented by Satoshi.
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Hi Roger,
A Special Zones Token, call it ZCoin, would combine Venture Philosophy with Venture Capital.
A ZCoin represents an ownership share in a portfolio of investments in real estate, infrastructure, and governance software, supporting selected special zones, each worthy of a Statue of Liberty at its portal.
The portfolio grows in value as the productive forces of zone residents and partners are liberated.
An Advisory Committee is responsible for considering applications for investment and recommending placement of funds.
It would be chosen from participants in a Special Zones Investment Network, among whom would be:
Tom Bell
James C. Bennett
Alejandro Chafuen
Mark Frazier
Bob Haywood
Charles Koch
Spencer MacCallum
Alan Macfarlane
Jim McNelly
Irshad Manji
Dambisa Moyo
Tom Palmer
George Pearson
Gayle Pergamit
Hernando de Soto
Michael Strong
David Theroux
Jeffrey Tucker
Ricardo Valenzuela
Roger Ver
Magatte Wade
(others - the gathering of this committee would be a productive venture all by itself)
In addition to the Principal Committee (dare I say “Central” :-) it might be productive to allow for collaborative/competitive investment committees, each with a variations of emphasis and each managing a special sub-token, every one of them based on deep comprehension of liberty.
Start with a single token. As the idea succeeds let variations emerge as productive differences of emphasis are found.
Close collaboration with the many participants in Atlas Network would help spread the idea rapidly through the world.
The zones token venture combines philosophical, communications, and financial leverage.
The main token sums the results of all portfolios. Investors could distribute their funds among specific portfolios chosen by each sub-committee.
This fund, and every subsidiary emergent fund, will integrate the compassionate idealism of socialists with sound economics and governance.
I’ll be happy to send something on each of the proposed advisory network members. I expect you know most of them.
Conversations like this would spread throughout the world:
"Do you own ZCoins?”
“What’s a ZCoin?”
“A ZCoin represents investment in people and freedom.”
“How so?”
Every possible answer to this question advances the understanding of freedom.
ZCoin lets ideas of freedom ride a wave now racing through the world.
What do you think?
Toward freeorder,
Leif 🐬
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New proposal — draft to becme an EF Glyph ••• (a list of all glyphs)
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Title: Blockchain Tokens to Free the World - the monetization of freeorder
Add water to dry land and plants grow; add freedom in a world of kleptocratic crony capitalist/socialist governments and people grow.
We can inspire competition among ventures seeking to monetize freedom by employing financial leverage resulting from purchase of low-value land, adding liberty (quest supportive governance services), water, soil, pedagogy, ecological services, and new materials and methods to lower costs of manufacturing and computation.
Special (or Free) Zones Tokens, call them SZTokens, will combine venture philosophy and venture capital.
An SZToken will represent an ownership share in a portfolio of investments in real estate, infrastructure, education, governance, ecological skills, and software, all supporting special zones deemed worthy of Statues of Liberty at their portals.
Multiple competitive and collaborative portfolios will grow in value as the productive forces of zone residents and partners are liberated.
Advisory committees, governing boards, and management will consider applications for investment and recommend actions and placement of funds.
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Proposed Advisors (not part of the glyph to be created)
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Tom W. Bell
James C. Bennett
Alejandro Chafuen
K. Eric Drexler
Mark Frazier
Bob Haywood
Charles Koch
Spencer H. MacCallum
Alan Macfarlane
Jim McNelly
Irshad Manji
Dambisa Moyo
Tom Palmer
George Pearson
Gayle Pergamit
Hernando de Soto
Michael Strong
David Theroux
Jeffrey Tucker
Ricardo Valenzuela
Roger Ver
Magatte Wade
Ed Warner
(others? — the gathering of the advisors would be a productive venture all by itself)
Readers of this proposal may find it worthwhile to make their own lists of advisors. I’d be interested in seeing those. -ls
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As projects succeed variations will emerge; productive differences of emphasis will be found.
Close collaboration with participants in freeorder generators such as Atlas Network, Foundation for Economic Education, Institute for Humane Studies, Cato, Independent Institute, Ludwig von Mises Institute, will help spread the idea throughout the world.
SZToken ventures will integrate the compassionate idealism of socialists and libertarians with sound economics, pedagogy, ecology, and governance.
Conversations like this will be heard everywhere:
"Do you own SZTokens?”
“What’s an SZToken?”
“An SZToken represents investment in people and their freedom.”
“How so?”
Every possible answer to this question will advance the understanding of freedom.
SZTokens, on blockchain, will let ideas of freedom ride a wave now racing through the world.
References (gathering only a few fundamental sources):
Your Next Government? From Nation States to Stateless Nations, Tom W. Bell, Cambridge University Press, 2017
The Art of Community, by Spencer H. MacCallum, 1970
“Freedom's Ugly Duckling: A Fresh Take on Private Property in Land,” Spencer H. MacCallum, 2016
“Leading with a Gift: moving from multicultural conflict to a transcultural world,” Mark Frazier
Be the Solution: , Michael Strong
The Anglosphere Challenge, by James C. Bennett, 2004; and America 3.0, 2013 (with Michael J. Lotus)
Engines of Creation, K. Eric Drexler, 1987
Foundational papers on Blockchain, Bitcoin, at Satoshi Nakamoto Institute ••• — including The Denationalization of Money: The Argument Refined, F. A. Hayek
freeorder — a vision and concept with possible integrative and inspirational utility
James C. Bennett, author of The Anglosphere Challenge, has commented: “This is a very interesting proposal. If executed well to avoid some of Bitcoin's problems, it would be a superior form of cybercurrency while at the same time permitting the monetization of the potential of free zones. Basically, you are backing the currency with the difference between the value of human enterprise and creativity in a well-executed free zone and the same amount of enterprise and creativity in a less free system. The currency can grow as the value created by the zones grows, avoiding both the deflation traps of commodity backing and the inflation traps of arbitrary or no backing at all."
 
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Explorers Foundation’s investments in Openworld related ventures.
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Investments related to this vortex: Openworld Institute (Mark Frazier); James C. Bennett; Michael Strong; Spencer MacCallum; The Independent Institute; Robert Haywood; Windward Foundation; Flagstaff Institute.
Other sources of understanding: CATO Institute; Alvin Rabushka, Hoover Institution; Paul Romer, Patri Friedman, Seasteading Institute; Ricardo Valenzuela; Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Manuel Ayau, Tom Bell.
 
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🔹 “The Hanseatic League and the Concept of Functional Overlapping Competing Jurisdictions” ••• by Alexander Fink, Institut für Wirtschaftspolitik, University of Leipzig, March 2012
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Abstract: I explore the medieval phenomenon of the Hanseatic League. I use the concept of functional overlapping competing jurisdictions (FOCJ) discussed by Frey and Eichenberger (1996, 1999, 2000) as framework for my analysis of the medieval association of northern European traders and cities. I show that the Hanseatic League came close to representing an example of a FOCJ. But I find that in contrast to the FOCJ outlined by Frey and Eichenberger the polycentric Hanseatic League as an inter-regional structure lacked the characteristic of a jurisdiction. It was not a political authority with the power to tax and regulate its members. The arrangements between the members of the Hanseatic League therefore had to be self-enforcing. Building on my investigation of the Hanseatic League, I further provide a general discussion of the costs and benefits of a central political authority in a system of functional overlapping competing units.
Keywords: FOCJ, Hanseatic League, Middle Ages, self-enforcing institutions, polycentric federal structures
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A history of the development of special zones: “Zone: The Spatial Softwares of Extrastatecraft” ••• Keller Esterling, professor of architecture, Yale University - cited in Mark Frazier’s paper on a new Hanseatic League, now Glyph 592
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“Though its roots are ancient, dating back to the free ports of classical antiquity, only in recent decades has the zone emerged as a powerful global form, evolving rapidly from an out-of-way district for warehousing custom-free goods to a postwar strategy for jump-starting the economies of developing countries to a paradigm for glittering world cities like Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai.”
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Your Next Government? From the Nation State to Stateless Nations — a discussion ••• (video) with Tom W. Bell, author of a recent book by that title ••• (Amazon) ••• (Cambridge University Press)
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A Live Free Thoughts Podcast Recording. Featuring the author Tom W. Bell, Professor, Fowler School of Law, Chapman University; interviewed by Aaron Powell, Director and Editor, Libertarianism.org; and Trevor Burrus, Research Fellow, Cato Institute.
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“Emergence of a New Hanseatic League: How Special Economic Zones Will Reshape Global Governance” ••• by Mark Frazier, Openworld, 2018, Chapman Law Review ••• (first publication) and reproduced here with permission from the author.
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Saudi Arabia and Egypt are investing $10 Billion into a new special zone between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, near Elat, Israel, on the Gulf of Aqaba •••
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Alan Macfarlane’s China lectures, The Invention of the Modern World (Wang Gouwei Lectures, 2011) ••• (Fortnightly Review) vAnglosphere
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Text (Fortnightly Review; Video (University of Cambridge)
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“THE WANG GOUWEI Lectures delivered at Tsinghua University in March and April 2011 form the basis for Prof. Alan Macfarlane’s The Invention of the Modern World, a previously unpublished manuscript which is the Spring-Summer 2012 serial offering of The Fortnightly Review [•••].”
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An excellent window into the emerging world of special zones is a private Facebook group, “A New Hanseatic League,” founded and curated by Mark Frazier. For access, please contact Leif Smith or Mark Frazier. 4/30/17 (click on the disclosure arrow for a description of the group)
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This group aims to map ways for a New Hanseatic League to emerge.
15894466_10103403410759351_6663731653516689392_nMark Frazier updated the description - September 5, 2016
Hanseatic League 1.0 (1180 - 1670)
The original Hanse (Hanseatic League) linked hundreds of free cities and free zones across Northern Europe during the middle ages, becoming an economic powerhouse and fending off challengers without establishing a central political authority. Its policy of excluding non-German merchants led to its demise. http://www.europeandme.eu/13brain/672-hanseatic-league
Hanseatic League 2.0 (1980 - present)
Known as ”City League The Hanse", representatives of historic Hanseatic communities gather each year to deepen tourism, business, and cultural exchanges. The assembly makes decisions on which of member sites will host the “Hanseatic Days of Modern Times” annual international festival. Headquartered in Lubeck, Germany, its member cities range from Novgorod in Russia to Hull in England. http://www.hanse.org/en
Hanseatic League 3.0 (start date TBD)
Authors such as Parag Khanna, James C. Bennett, Benjamin Barber and Richard Florida have noted new potentials for autonomous cities around the world to federate, as overstretched nation states and multilateral organizations falter. Poul Anderson, Neal Stephenson, and other science fiction writers have also speculated on the rise of free zone city-states and virtual "phyles" to outcompete more bureaucratic entities.
This group will explore scenarios for actualizing the Hanseatic 3.0 vision of a thriving global, and ultimately interplanetary, network of free communities.
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Can Special Economic Zones contribute to the elimination of world poverty? This long and interesting comment from Michael Strong (on FaceBook) was posted in October 2017.
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Michael Strong, on Effective Altruism (EA) and special economic zones, October 2017 (edited for readability, with additional links — Leif Smith, October 28, 2017)
https://www.effectivealtruism.org : “Effective altruism is about answering one simple question: how can we use our resources to help others the most? Rather than just doing what feels right, we use evidence and careful analysis to find the very best causes to work on.”
Michael Strong’s post on Effective Altruism, directs attention to the impact of special economic zones.
... because of scale of the potential impact, and because you list among your favorite Econtalk episodes Alex Tabarrok on private cities, Romer on charter cities, and Patri Friedman on The Seasteading Institute, all of which address one common underlying movement ...
I'd love to know why the Effective Altruism (EA) community is not more deeply interested in exploring LEAP Zones, Startup Societies, charter cities, special economic zones, Refugee Cities, etc. as a path to eliminating global poverty (and reducing the probability of violent conflict, reducing the refugee crisis, and many other benefits).
There is a growing community of intellectuals and practitioners working towards these solutions, certainly hundreds of us and possibly thousands.
Although these solutions go under diverse names and branding, all are looking to the creation of new jurisdictions with significantly greater autonomy and improved local governance as a solution to otherwise intractable problems of governance.
Moreover, there is a coherent narrative explaining why this movement is a solution to Doug North's "natural state" problem due to Bob Haywood, former ED of the World Economic Processing Zones Association and probably the most experienced zone expert in the world, who may be responsible directly or indirectly for bringing more human beings out of poverty than any other living human being. [Haywood is "fully engaged in Timor-Leste/Indonesia border zone development, and Vietnam/China border zone developments" -personal communication from Haywood, October 2017 -leif]
Among the dozens of zone success stories Haywood helped with are the Chinese SEZs, and that is but one, albeit big, example.
This direction is not at all speculative - there are thousands of special economics zones and, although many are failures, the impact of the successful ones are immense. For instance, Chinese SEZs are largely responsible for not merely bringing China out of poverty, but increasing average urban wages 6x over the last few decades for some 700 million urban Chinese. The End of Cheap Chinese Labor
Although it looks somewhat different on the surface, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has shown that by implementing British common law within a 110 acre zone it is possible to install a different legal system effectively within a zone and thereby create a world class financial center from nothing in 20 years - Abu Dhabi has therefore copied the model explicitly.
Honduran Zones for Economic Development and Employment (ZEDEs), which in an earlier (RED) designation was inaccurately identified in the mainstream media as a Romer Charter City model, has in part in its most recent manifestation been influenced been by Dubai, to the extent of considering importing the Dubai version of British Common Law (the Honduran ZEDE project is still very much active, despite mainstream media accounts).
Other than Romer, most of the players in this global movement have been relatively low profile. Refugee Cities and Seasteading have also gotten media attention but the media almost never (never?) understands these as part of a common global movement dedicated towards the elimination of global poverty. But my sense is that there really ought to be an active discussion of this set of solutions within the EA community - if there is please direct me towards it. I know of dozens of projects around the world that are moving in this direction. They need as much talent and support as possible to become a reality.
Both Mark Lutter and Lotta Moberg have written recent dissertations on these zone strategies in recent years pioneering the scholarly analysis of these issues.
Tom W. Bell 's recent book on legal systems for this approach is a founding public document of the movement for the world of legal scholarship. https://www.amazon.com/Your-Next-Government-Stateless-Nations/dp/1316613925, Cambridge University Press, October 12, 2017.
Almost a decade ago William Easterly admitted in a small conference I organized that mainstream development economists had simply neglected zones as a development strategy, in part because they tend to be focused on nation-state data sets for their empirical analyses. That is very slowly changing, but the pace is glacial.
My understanding is that a few years ago tried to engage the EA community on this issue without much success. I'll be in the SF Bay area regularly in the upcoming year and would love to discuss this issue. As someone who has spent my life maximizing impact very much along the EA lines long before they were movements, I've spent much of my time in the past decade developing and promoting this movement because of the potential scale of impact. There is no greater movement with possible upside scale.
Finally, I also want to link to Michael Castle Miller's Refugee Cities as yet another manifestation of the same movement with obvious importance. Also tagging Michael Wiebe who is thoughtfully active in the EA community from an economically informed perspective.
Below is the Refugee Cities link for a concrete manifestation; I'm happy to discuss the underlying commonality among all of these initiatives if it is not obvious.
We need to create a sustained, informed, sophisticated public discussion on this this strategy and the EA community is an ideal place in which to extend the conversation beyond its existing specialist boundaries. There are many complex issues to be addressed and it is too important to be allowed to get bogged down in stupid and uninformed ideological stereotypes as almost always happens in media accounts.
The EA community may be uniquely capable of understanding the institutional substrate (New Institutional Economics) that result in this being a necessary direction for addressing otherwise intractable governance issues.
Market Urbanism, as a separate but related cousin, should also be a deep part of the EA conversation if it is not already.
Tagging Joe Quirk, Joe McKinney, Anna Murphy, Leif Smith, James C. Bennett, Mark Klugmann, Carlos Alejandro Pineda Pinel, Carlos Chingui Mendez, Helmuth Chavez, John Chisholm, Anthony Ling, and Mark Frazier as well.
Michael Strong: Creating a World in which All of Humanity Flourishes
Co-Founder and CEO, KhabeleStrong Incubator
Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer, The FLOW Project, now Radical Social Entrepreneurs
Co-Founder and CEO, StartupLearning.Me
TEDx GrandRapids, "Innovate:  Experience"
A few links to people I know personally, mentioned by Michael, with my apology to those I have yet to meet:
James C. Bennett
Mark Frazier, Openworld, Inc.
This post was originally by Michael Strong, now edited and amended by Leif Smith.
Explorers Foundation, Inc., October 28, 2017
 
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Free Zones, Free Cities, Gifts on a Beach (inspired by the ancient Phoenicians) - Mark Frazier
LeadWithaGiftMultipliers-Overview-011817
This graphic is available as a pdf •••
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Gifts on a Beach ••• —an article by Mark Frazier about how the Phoenicians seeded the Mediterranean with a trading culture, and how we can do something similar today through digital media everywhere.
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Interest and investment in this area is growing rapidly, building on decades of success. A summary is offered by Mark Frazier in a talk ••• to a meeting of the Startup Societies Foundation •••
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Mark Frazier’s work: Openworld.com
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The 2016 Voice & Exit event in Austin, Texas, devoted a day to the idea of free zones and cities — the program for the day ••• (Future Cities Forum)
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A New Hanseatic League — this private Facebook group has been created by Mark Frazier.
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FLOW: liberating the entrepreneurial spirit for good — a page of links to the work of Michael Strong, Robert Haywood, Mark Frazier, and others •••
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Samples of the content of the above referenced page:
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A summary of the free zone idea:
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“It is well established that economic freedom leads to peace and prosperity.  It is less widely recognized that secure property rights and rule of law are a crucial pre-requisite to economic freedom, and that it is often very difficult to improve property rights and rule of law in much of the developing world.  There have been cases in which zones have allowed nations to introduce liberal economic policies within a specified geographical region, including improved property rights and rule of law, which have then resulted in nation-wide reforms later.
“Robert Haywood, Executive Director of the World Economic Processing Zones Association (WEPZA), has pointed out that Special Economic Zones have historically been a pre-cursor to broader economic liberalization, and prosperity, in Taiwan, South Korea, Mexico, Mauritius, UAE, Ireland, and China.  India is now deploying zones in an attempt to accelerate their rate of economic development.  Dubai is using their extraordinary free zone expertise to replicate their success around the world.
“The broader free zone movement has a controversial history due in some cases to mistakes, in some cases to prejudice, and in some cases to corruption and other factors.  We would never claim that all free zones have been always good.  Not all zones have been well-designed, and few zones have truly provided open-ended opportunities for anyone seeking to create an enterprise.
“That said, zone solutions have the potential to create more prosperity for more people more quickly than any other approach to global poverty alleviation.  We therefore support an ongoing research program to identify best practices in free zone design in order to optimize global poverty alleviation, including success-sharing zones in which the massive wealth created by zones is shared widely in the communities in which zones are located.”
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Creating Institutional Software that Works in Iraq: Peace through Secure Land Title •••
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Articles on land and proprietary community by Spencer MacCallum, author of The Art of Community
 
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“Freedom’s Ugly Duckling: A Fresh Take on Private Property in Land” ••• (2016 paper)
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“The Enterprise of Community” ••• (2007)
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“A Short Perspective on Land and Social Evolution” ••• (2007)
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392 Somalia - Clan Owned Freeports as Multi-Tenant Income Properties
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History of World Export Processing Zones (WEPZA) — Robert Haywood was key to this for a long time.
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Establishing Free Private Cities: http://freeprivatecities.com
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A site created by Titus Gebel and Frank Karsten - bios •••
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Establishing Free Private Cities in the 21st Century ••• (Titus Gebel & Frank Karsten)
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Michael Strong, on free cities, startup cities: search on “free cities ‘Michael Strong’”
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Michael Strong's article in November 2011 Freedom's Phoenix, "Creating Libertopia" •••
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“Why Nigeria’s plans for a dream Eldorado city are not radical enough” •••, Gbenga Oduntan, 22 July 2015
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Esther Dyson: competition among cities: “Competition Can Make Cities Better” ••• — “cities are increasingly behaving like companies, becoming intimately involved in their citizens’ quality of life, and, in an increasingly mobile world, competing for ‘customers.’”
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Paul Romer, on poverty, and free cities as a way out •••— an article in Prospect Magazine.
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Alvin Rabushka: “A Free-Market Constitution for Hong Kong: A Blueprint for China,” ••• CATO, 1989 — part of the intellectual history that led to the free cities movement.
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Openworld Institute: innovations for a free, resilient, and generous world ••• — Mark Frazier
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“Awakening assets for good, innovations for a free, resilient, and generous world”
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My introduction to the concept of a free zone was through an accidental meeting (in the 1980s) with Mark Frazier, founder of Openworld Institute. I’ve watched that idea grow from a small seed, and through the work of Mark Frazier, Jim Bennett, Alvin Rabushka, Spencer MacCallum, Robert Haywood, Paul Romer, and Michael Strong, grow into something that can profoundly change the world to make it more fit for explorers. It is a concept that can hold as much idealism and practical entrepreneurship as we can bring to it. -ls
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Startup Cities Institute ••• — a project of Universidad Francisco Marroquin (UFM)
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NYU Urbanization Project: Charter Cities ••• — Paul Romer
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Seasteading Institute ••• — Patri Friedman
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Let A Thousand Nations Bloom ••• — Patri Friedman
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Explorers Foundation glyphs relevant to free zones and cities:
 
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565 Leading with a Gift - Moving from Multicultural Conflict to a Transcultural World
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561 Economics as a Source of Hope - as seen by Ludwig von Mises
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520 Creating Libertopia — Michael Strong
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392 Somalia - Clan Owned Freeports as Multi-Tenant Income Properties
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280 The Enterprise of Community — Spencer MacCallum
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295 The Champion of Hong Kong's Freedom — Christian Wignall
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112 Openworld Institute — Mark Frazier
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409 Award for Creativity to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico — World Export Processing Zones Assocation
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391 Women's Empowerment Free Zones — Michael Strong, Mark Frazier
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433 Puerto de Anza — Ricardo Valenzuela
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424 Worldwide Network of Free Zones, Free Cities — Mark Frazier
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410 Island of Delos, 166 B.C., an early free zone — Robert C. Haywood
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186 Hanseatic League, complex order from flexible agreements — James C. Bennett
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384 Lion Rock Institute, Hong Kong
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282 Hong Kong, Freedom's Beachhead in China — Lion Rock Institute
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025 Classical Liberalism in Mexico — Ricardo Valenzuela
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Entrepreneurial Cities
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The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society ••• - published by The Independent •••
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Edited by David T. Beito, Peter Gordon, Alexander Tabarrok
Published by The Independent Institute
Foreword by Paul Johnson
Historically, the city was considered a center of commerce, knowledge and culture, a haven for safety and a place of opportunity. Today, however, cities are widely viewed as centers for crime, homelessness, poverty, unemployment, traffic, pollution, and other social ills. In many cities, government increasingly dominates life, consuming vast resources to cater to special interest groups. Decision-making has become intensely politicized, bureaucratic, and largely unaccountable to the populace.
The Voluntary City assembles a rich history and analysis of private, locally based provision of social services, urban infrastructure, and community governance. Such systems have offered superior education, transportation, housing, crime control, recreation, health care, and employment by being more effective, innovative, and responsive than those provided through special interest politics and bureaucracy.
The Voluntary City reveals how the process of providing local public goods through the dynamism of freely competitive, market-based entrepreneurship is unmatched in renewing communities and strengthening the bonds of civil society. A refreshing challenge to the orthodoxy that government alone can improve community life, The Voluntary City will be an essential reference for anyone interested in the future of cities, including scholars and students, policy-makers, civic and business leaders, and urban citizens.
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Hanseatic League — Free Cities vs. Free Nations
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The day will come when the wealth of the world is concentrated in an informal league of free cities, linked around the world and near space. The citizens of the league may from time to time come to the aid of deserving citizens of troubled nation states. —leif
The Hanseatic League: glyph 186
31May08: James C. Bennett, author of the above glyph on the Hanseatic League, comments: Free cities (independent trading cities) are interesting historically. They are almost the only places prior to the industrial revolution that we would recognize as free societies, even partially so. They would flourish for a while. Usually their wealth would attract predators, external or internal, and they would bcome just another unfree place. When they are protected by geography (island or semi-islands) they can use their wealth to buy naval power and retain their indpendence longer. Examples are Venice, Byzantium after it lost its hinterland, many Hanseatic cities, Tyre. Amsterdam was the first such city to develop a sizeable hinterland; they were able range wider and last longer because they could. They even developed land power -- no accident that Maurice of Nassau, who invented the manual of arms that transformed land warfare for 300 years, was a Dutch prince. Wealth and ingenuity beat numbers, for a while. But it wasn't until England came along that a great trading city managed to introduce its capitalist software into the surrounding countryside and make a whole nation free-trading and wealthy that the cycle of wealth-creation and subsequent predation was short-circuited. (This is Gellner's "exit" from the cycle of predation.) The great Asian free-trading cities of the 19th and 20th centuries (Bombay, Calcutta, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai) developed not as independent cities but as protectorates of this free-trading nation.
Free trading cities are an interesting episode in history, but it's not clear that one can be a Venice or a Hanseatic city today, or that the compromises they made then to remain independent would be possible or attractive today.
It's better, on the whole, to be a free nation.
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"Free Cities: How about global welfare reform?" by Ken Hagerty, 04/08/2008 •••
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Puerta de Anza — A Door to Prosperity ••• - A letter from Ricardo Valenzuela, June 2008
 
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History of this Vortex
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What is a "vortex"? An Explorers Foundation vortex is an area of research, study, discussion, learning, investment, and the kind of fellowship that arises from collaboration on an important problem/opportunity.
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25 July 09: Vortex Lion Rock recreated for a closer focus on China. Vortex Openworld remains more general.
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28 July 07: This votex was earlier named Lion Rock, after the geographical feature distinguishing Hong Kong. Mark Frazier offered to participate in this vortex, and at his suggestion we renamed it Vortex Openworld. Our respect and affection for Lion Rock remains unchanged.
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Participants
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Mark Frazier, Michael Strong, Leif Smith, Jim Bennett, Ricardo Valenzuela, Robert C. Haywood, Shannon Ewing, Spencer MacCallum, Brian Bramell, Lara Himber, Robert Himber, Ed Warner, Soleman Idd, Peter McLaughlin
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To be invited: Bill Casey, Max Borders, Gary Hoover, Virginia Postrel, Karol Boudreaux, Leon Louw
.oOo.