To Shine is not Enough to be a Good Idea

The term "charter cities" by economist Paul Romer is in principle very attractive, but besides the obvious implementation difficulties, it smells like new colonialism.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Aditya Chakrabortty, in his article in The Guardian, dissects economist Paul Romer and his idea of introducing in poor countries, cities with special laws and regulations which would allow meteoric economic development.

The terrible difficulties experienced by governments – even the well intentioned- in implementing effective development plans in order to take their citizens away from the poverty in which they live, can lead them to pay attention to people like Paul Romer, whose voice is strengthened by academic prestige.

According to Chakrabortty, Romer has the support of the great academy club. He is one of those lounge economist, the intellectual type which you stumble on an airplane or in a seminar room. Always mentioned as a future candidate for the Nobel Prize, Paul Romer is supposedly a world expert on how and why economies grow. But one result of the great economic crisis is that academic professionals finally had to recognize that economic policy is not just a series of equations applied to the real world, but problems which ultimately will have only a political response. Nevertheless, the old pseudo-scientific white board still survives, as Paul Romer's latest project proves it.

More on this topic

Honduras Discusses Statute to Regulate 'Charter Cities'

July 2011

A constitutional statue law on the Special Development Regions (RED’s by Spanish initials) has been approved in the first debate in Congress.

The new law defines RED’s as autonomous cities, which will be led by an "executive governor", a "policy board" and a "constitutional council".

Koreans to Conduct Feasibility Studies for Charter City

May 2011

The Government of Honduras signed an agreement with the Korean company Posco, to carry out feasibility studies for the construction of the first "charter city".

The agreement states that the Korean company will perform the necessary analysis to determine whether it is possible to build the charter cities in selected regions.

Seoul to Assist Honduras on "Charter Cities"

February 2011

The countries agreed to cooperate in the development of special management areas in Honduras.

"Charter Cities" are development-oriented, and the objective pursued by President Porfirio Lobo is to encourage domestic and foreign investment.

"During their meeting, Wolf and Lee agreed to cooperate in the development of such plans for special areas in Honduras and seek ways to collaborate in trade, investment, education, health and infrastructure development in the Central American country," informs.

Honduran Government Promotes 'Charter Cities'

January 2011

In an area of 33 square km, the government promotes a project to build a 'Charter Cities' or 'Model City'.

Despite the criticism of the project, President Porfirio Lobo Sosa asked Congress for approval.

La Tribuna reported statements from the President "... a clear example of success is what happened in Hong Kong, China, they have progressed and we have them here selling ...

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