Free Private Cities: Making Governments Compete For You

Narrated by: Scott R. Pollak
Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
Categories: Business, Management
4.5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Imagine a system in which a private company offers you protection of life, liberty, and property as a "government service provider". This service includes internal and external security, a legal and regulatory framework, and independent dispute resolution. You pay a contractually fixed fee for these services per year. The government service provider, as the operator of the community, cannot unilaterally change this "citizens' contract" with you later on.

As a "contract citizen", you have a legal claim to compliance and a claim for damages in the event the provider does not perform. You take care of everything else by yourself, but you can also do whatever you want, limited only by the rights of others and some limited rules of living together. And you only take part if and as long as the offer appeals to you.

Disputes between you and the government service provider are heard in independent arbitration courts, as is customary in international commercial law. If the operator ignores the arbitral awards or abuses his power in another way, his customers leave, and he goes bankrupt. He therefore has an economic risk and therefore an incentive to treat his customers well and in accordance with the contract. This concept is called a Free Private City.

The first part of this book deals with fundamental questions that every social order has to face. The concept of Free Private Cities described in the second part is derived from this; historical and current models are examined. The third part deals with concrete questions of implementation of Free Private Cities. Finally, the fourth part provides an outlook on future developments.

©2018 Ludwig von Mises Institute (P)2019 Ludwig von Mises Institute

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    1 out of 5 stars

Wasted opportunity.

I'm a big fan of the private city movement, and so expected to like this book. I particularly hoped to find out something new or interesting, or hear nuanced arguments on their governance. Unfortunately, the book was short on argument... and long on both Islamophobia and strawmen. There's no way the author can pass an ideological Turing test for virtually any of the things he railed against.

As such, I'm confused about what the target audience was. It didn't go deep enough into the political philosophy or practical aspects of private cities to convince anyone who wasn't already there, and it didn't even attempt to make arguments for most of its pronouncements, so it's not intended for anyone outside the author's bubble either.

So I'm puzzled -- did he write a whole book just for the half-dozen people who both agree with him and share his fear of a world Caliphate? I wish I hadn't spent money on this. I hope no one reads this and thinks it represents libertarianism.

2 people found this helpful