9 February 2014

Article: Tyler Coburn, "Charter Citizen"


A new edition of e-flux, hot off the digital presses, hits us with some juicy morsels this month, including this text by Tyler Coburn, "Charter Citizen". Coburn tests the temperature of a recently ended radical libertarian venture - the establishment of autonomous cities within host country Honduras' borders - in order to reconceive capitalism anew.

"Charter Cities", Coburn explains, build off economist Paul Romer's theory that sets of carefully considered rules encourages economic growth, investment and innovation; and that introducing such "good rules" into a zone with weaker ones would encourage further economic and financial advancement within the host state, in investment, labour force and civil and political structures. But Coburn notes that the dominant and fundamental mode of political engagement at the grassroots level becomes movement - voluntary migration (both in and out) becomes political, democracy conditional and citizenship privatised; at an international level it becomes dependent on tenuously balanced comity and contract.
"Whether floating in international waters or sprouting on foreign territory, these proposed cities are the proving grounds for the technolibertarians’ foray into governance. In fact, they already demonstrate a concrete link between technology and geopolitics: venture capitalist Peter Thiel donated the same amount of startup funds to [charter city venture] the Seasteading Institute as to Facebook."
Also in this month's edition of e-flux online, available to non-subscribers, is a recent instalment by Reza Negarestani, whose work "Differential Cruelty" we spotlighted on BiM. Find these articles on the e-flux journal online.

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