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Private Cities

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In today’s New York Times, my GMU Econ and Mercatus Center colleague Alex Tabarrok, along with SUNY-Purchase economist (and GMU Econ alum) Shruti Rajagopalan, explain the virtues of private cities [2].

This essay is great!

The idea of private cities – cities planned, created, and operated not by government but, instead, by private entrepreneurs – will strike many people as impossible.  Yet the reason for this impression of impossibility is some combination of status-quo bias and unfamiliarity with history.  Skepticism of the practicality of voluntary, private cities reflects also a failure to notice everyday reality – for what is, for example, a hotel but a small voluntary city?  It’s got living space, public transportation (vertical, if not horizontal), law enforcement, and common areas.  (See the important and brilliant 1970 book by Spencer Heath MacCallum, The Art of Community [3].  And for further background and more detail, see the book that Alex co-edited in 2002, The Voluntary City [4].)

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