Build Your Own Utopia

Over the past century, there have been a number of attempts by libertarians to create their own nation. The most famous was the Republic of Minerva, when the real estate millionare Michael Oliver turned a reef into an artifical island and attempted to create a nation with no taxation or subsidies. It was scuttled by the nation of Tonga, which didn’t take well to this new nation forming so close to them.

More recently, Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal and major backer for Ron Paul, has helped to fund the Seasteading Institute. The Institute wants to create floating cities in international waters which Thiel hopes will provide an escape from politics and political meddling in the economy.

To these so-called micronations, we can add one more, although it has yet to be named. Michael Strong, CEO of a company called the MKG Group, plans to build a number of semi-independent cities within Honduras. The idea is that the cities will have no taxes on income or capital gains, although there will be property tax for the Honduran government.

FoxNews is focused on the libertarian aspects, quoting Strong as he gushes about the coming of the free market,

“Once we provide a sound legal system within which to do business, the whole job creation machine – the miracle of capitalism – will get going,” […] “Our goal is to be the most economically free entity on Earth,”

In contrast, The Independent is focused on what this brings to Honduras, a poor contry with perhaps the world’s worst murder rate. While Strong is promising to bring jobs and stability to the area, some people are worried that this is a return to the era of “banana republics,” when American companies dominated the government,

…. Honduras which, along with neighbouring Guatemala, was dominated by the Standard Fruit Company and United Fruit Company for much of the 20th Century. The two corporate rivals built much of Honduras’ modest infrastructure, including railways to transport banana harvests to Caribbean ports. Yet they have been lambasted for interfering in national politics – including pushing the Eisenhower administration to orchestrate the infamous 1954 coup against Guatemala’s social democratic government, which led to decades of brutal civil war.

Strong is actually a board member at the Seasteading Institute, but this plan seems much more modest than their floating city model. This isn’t Rapture or Galt’s Gulch. Still, the basic idea of creating a free-market haven without government interference is the same. We’ll just have to see if he can get it to work.

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