Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a City?

By Olúfémi O. Táíwò The Nation

Elite economists have been promoting a model of governance resembling nothing so much as a game of Monopoly.

If you’re in the market for a banana republic, have I got a deal for you. Head on down to the digital offices of Petri Friedman’s Pronomos Capital, a band of plucky upstarts using the “lessons of Silicon Valley” to provide an investment vehicle “where the city is the product.”

If you’re just joining us, this is the third entry in the series “How Much Could a Banana Republic Cost,” where we use the titular question to help pinpoint who and what the ruling class is made of. The first post set up our candidates: Big Guns (armies, militias, and mafias), Big Graphs (technocrats and knowledge companies), and Big Green (investors, corporations, or individual plutocrats). The second gave us a first-pass answer to the series’ guiding question, based on the actual history of the concept: A banana republic would cost a sizable $202,014,343.21 in 2021 dollars.


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