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MinM

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Member since: Mon Oct 8, 2007, 10:23 AM
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Honduras: Under New Management

@SanhoTree · Under New Management. Honduras to experiment w/private cities. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/09/01/under_new_management_amapala_honduras_charter_cities … Cuz sovereignty is for those who can afford it.

In 2009, far from Honduras, respected economist Paul Romer, then of Stanford University, appeared at a TED conference in the United Kingdom to unveil a big idea. Against the backdrop of a satellite image of the Korean Peninsula at night, Romer compared the North's blackness with the South, which glowed with electricity and economic activity. Causing the stark contrast, Romer argued, were the Hermit Kingdom's bad or impractical regulations. Similar problems existed throughout the developing world. Romer's plan? Sign over a large tract of "uninhabited" land in a struggling country to a developed guarantor nation, which would create and oversee an investment zone free from the host country's fickle politics and troublesome rules. Enter the charter city.

Romer's idea captured headlines in the Atlantic and the New York Times. Many international development advocates criticized it for its blatantly neocolonialist features, but it found supporters too. Proponents invariably pointed to Hong Kong, China's "special administrative region" that operates under different rules than the mainland, as a shining example of the results that autonomy can yield. And charter cities almost got off the ground in Madagascar, where Romer found a receptive partner in President Marc Ravalomanana. Malagasy charter cities went down the drain, however, when Ravalomanana was forced to resign, partly because of fierce opposition to his willingness to hand over land to foreigners. (He had negotiated a plan to lease more than 1.2 million hectares to South Korea's Daewoo, to grow corn and palm-oil exports.)

Around the same time, in Honduras, President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a coup and replaced by the more conservative Porfirio Lobo Sosa. The new president faced a dire national situation: 60 percent of Honduras's citizens lived in poverty, its murder rate was climbing (from 50 homicides per 100,000 people in 2007, to 70.7 in 2009), and immigration to the United States was rising so fast that a domestic manufacturing association launched a campaign beseeching workers, "Stay With Us." While looking for ways to kick-start investment in the country, a Lobo aide named Octavio Sánchez discovered Romer's TED talk. It echoed similar ideas being proposed by Mark Klugmann, an American political consultant and former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan who had worked on Lobo's campaign. Romer and Sánchez set up a meeting and began working on a plan to build charter cities in Honduras. "My sense was that it was worth putting some of my time and effort into doing something that might help," says Romer, now a professor at New York University's Stern School of Business.

In early 2011, the Honduran National Congress passed a constitutional amendment allowing for special development regions (REDs), which were like charter cities but without Romer's guarantor nation. They would have investors and be overseen by a government-appointed Transparency Commission -- Romer says he was to be a part of it -- which would select a Honduran governor for each RED. The regions would set their own regulations and jurisdictions; only when it had been determined that they had developed the necessary institutions and populations to hold their own elections would regions transition to democratic control...

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/09/01/under_new_management_amapala_honduras_charter_cities

http://www.rigorousintuition.ca/board2/viewtopic.php?p=516068#p516068

http://www.rigorousintuition.ca/board2/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=35438
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