Thursday, May 19
The current issue of MIT Technology Review is focused on so-called cybercurrencies and contains a jaw-dropper of its own: Crypto millionaires have plans to build their own private cities in Central America.
In an article entitled “Cities Built by Crypto,” tech writer Laurie Clarke describes how, in a plan endorsed by El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, that country is selling $1 billion worth of debt in U.S. dollars to fund the construction of Bitcoin City and Bitcoin mining operations.
The Salvadorean project is not alone: Other crypto investors are leaning on governments from Puerto Rico to Honduras to create semi-autonomous enterprise zones that, they say, will stimulate growth and enrich the locals.
Sounds like more enterprise-zone flapdoodle, you say?
Yes, it seems the Ayn Rand-devotee crowd intends to keep plugging its dubious no-downside, rugged-individualist social vision until there’s a real meltdown.
There’s more to the Salvadorean plan: Bitcoin City’s economy will run on that cybercurrency, be powered by geothermal energy from Conchagua Volcano, and be largely free of taxes…if things go according to the plan.
There’s even a non-profit foundation dedicated to the proliferation of such crypto-cities around the planet, the Free Private Cities Foundation. In such places, as envisioned by foundation President Titus Gebel and former World Bank economist Paul Romer, residents pay an annual fee for such services as policing—and if the services aren’t provided, these “contract citizens” can take the supposed provider before an independent arbitration tribunal.
To me, the author of a book about company towns, it all sounds a bit like a company town…as envisaged by a lawyer. But there’s a lot yet to be disclosed: Would the managing enterprise own all institutions—from the hospital to the newspaper to housing and the company store—as in such company towns as Kannapolis, N.C. or the original Lowell, Mass.? I mean, there’s already company “scrip,” a.k.a. Bitcoin…so why not?
And what happens when the next pandemic hits? I mean, if such towns’ citizens are all just independent free actors, just what entity will tell them there should be curfews or a lockdown? Who would tell people they must wear masks or get vaccinations?
Oh, I see—forget about public health. In this life, you’re on your own.
Dinner: spaghetti bolognese and a green salad.
Entertainment: Another episode of season three of Scandi thriller The Bridge.