“Startup Cities,” Honduras, and Experiments in Freedom Reply

“I often hear friends of liberty, classical liberals, libertarians say bad things about democracy, and I understand why,” says Tom W. Bell. “It’s not very good at building programs. But it is good at getting rid of things. In a ‘corrective democracy,’ people only vote against particular laws.” Bell, a law professor at Chapman University and a legal consultant to the Honduran “startup city” project, spoke at Reason’s Los Angeles headquarters about why libertarians should be interested in the potential for new forms of governance within the proposed “zones of economic development” (ZEDEs) being pushed in Honduras. He addressed various legal challenges and setbacks that prior efforts faced, such as Paul Romer’s failed RED zones. While remaining cautiously optimistic about the future of Honduran ZEDEs, Bell also discussed other experiments in municipal governance, such as Co-op City in the Bronx and Sandy Springs, GA. He concluded the talk with some theoretical discussion of what a libertarian “startup city” might look like. Approximately 29 minutes. Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Camera by Alex Manning, Sharif Matar, and Tracy Oppenheimer.

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