Google CEO Larry Page Supports "Free Cities" Model


Google CEO Larry Page last week publicly stated his belief in the basics of the libertarianoid "free cities" model--the idea that we should create zones on Earth for experimenting with social and political systems free of current government restrictions.

As reported in the Verge:

"There are many exciting things you could do that are illegal or not allowed by regulation," Page said. "And that's good, we don't want to change the world. But maybe we can set aside a part of the world." He likened this potential free-experimentation zone to Burning Man and said that we need "some safe places where we can try things and not have to deploy to the entire world."

I wrote Reason features about free city models in Honduras, Seasteading (the same basic free cities idea actuated through building new cities in the open ocean), and a book about Burning Man.

Larry, you know my number. (I mean, I assume you must. You run Google, don't you know everything?)

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  1. Free cities would never work, because there's always a sinister group of people who do nothing but go around and invade these types of places just to prove that anarchism can't ever work.

    1. Not so much invade as immigrate. Any kind of truly free city would become a boomtown, and people would flow into it. But many of them wouldn't see the connection between the runaway prosperity and the absence of the State.

      1. Sort of like the Yankees moving South to escape their stupid politicians, then working to elect politicians that propose the same stupid policies that drove them from the North?

        1. Californians, not Yankees.

          1. Yeah, I don't see many people leave this area to escape the politics. It seems to be usually to escape the weather.

          2. I don't know, Brett. I'll concede Yankees are more a mixed bag but the self-awareness is sometimes missing.

            1. For sure wareagle. But most Yankees in in the South didn't escape New Jersey or New York or Michigan because the gummint was eating their seed corn with their levies, unlike Californians.

          3. I lived in Florida for a few years, and about half the people I knew were from NYC.

          4. No, the Yanks are working hard to ruin NC.

  2. The real reason Free Cities can never work is because a certain liberal mindset views the impulse to remove oneself to such a zone as "social desertion".

    The liberal utopia cannot be achieved until no one is free to escape it.

    It's right there embedded inextricably in Rawlsianism. It's not as if it takes a ton of insight to see it.

    1. The real reason Free Cities can never work

      I blame Valyria implementing dragon registration over them.

  3. It's funny; I was just thinking about the concept of a "marketplace of ideas" a little while ago. In our late, lamented experiment, competing state models of American society are being trampled into the dirt.

    That marketplace is being strangled and regulated out of existence by people like the Constitutional-Scholar-in-Chief who fetishize central authority. States are being actively nudged herded into conformity with the universal template.

    Assimilation is inevitable. Resistance is futile.

    1. The default state of humanity has always been slavery of some sort.

      Think of this as hitting the "reset" button after a brief experiment in liberty.

      1. Nasty, brutish and short - just the way "we" like it!

  4. Will any of these cities have alt-text?

  5. Free Detroit!

  6. It's a nice idea and I'd love to see it done, but the fundamental problem is right there in the phrase "we should create zones [...]"

    You know how you create a zone outside the influence of existing governments? With massive force sufficient that those governments can neither invade your zone nor intimidate it from without. So the first thing you need in order to create a free city is a nuclear bomb. After which much of the free city's politics will revolve around who has the key to the bomb. There's a reason governments become obsessed with violence.

    I know that's depressing, but there it is.

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