Proprietary Communities

REASON Profile: Spencer MacCallum


One of the newest concepts in libertarian thought, and one that threatens to make much of the debate between governmentalists and anarchists beside the point, is that of the proprietary community in which the owner/landlord provides for his voluntarily affiliated tenants many or all of the services traditionally provided by government. Building on the ideas his grandfather, Spencer Heath, advanced in CITADEL, MARKET, AND ALTAR and those of Ebenezer Howard, garden cities originator (see REASON's cities issue, April 1972) Spencer Heath MacCallum has devoted much of his professional career as an anthropologist to research and promotion of theoretical and applied aspects of proprietary community development.

Born in 1931, Mr. MacCallum developed an interest in anthropology early—at age 12, while living with his parents in Mexico, he regularly assisted archeologists in their work and was responsible for discovering a valuable fresco at Teotihuacan. Back in the States he attended Phillips Academy and Princeton University, receiving his B.A. in 1955. He took his M.A. from the University of Washington in 1961 with a thesis on the proprietary community and completed the residence and course requirements for a Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Chicago.

He has consulted professionally for such entities as the William Volker Fund (on the possibility of private urban renewal), UCLA Department of Economics, and the Real Estate Research Corporation. His major professional affiliation for several years has been with Alvin Lowi, Jr. in Terraqua, Ltd., a libertarian venture specializing in water treatment technology and energy management oriented towards community utility systems. In addition, Mr. MacCallum administers the Heather Foundation, consisting of the intellectual estates of Spencer Heath and E.C. Riegel (devoted mainly to the proprietary community concept), and is also director of The Registry of Ethnologic Art (Box 48, San Pedro, CA 90733) which provides valuable services to scholars and collectors. Mr. MacCallum is the author of THE ART OF COMMUNITY and has published articles in various professional journals.

His other interests include collecting Northwest Coast Indian art, travel, jogging, health foods, and etymological research. He's fond of animals, and his constant companion (and virtual trademark) is Girl, a semi-Great Dane he rescued from a freeway several years ago.