The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Paul Romer is the incoming Chief Economist at the World Bank. Romer’s comments on the new position here. Romer is the leading advocate for Charter Cities, making this great news for those who believe in free cities. Of course, it remains to be seen to what extent his new role will allow him to advocate for Charter Cities.
There are several ways to view the impact of this announcement on Charter Cities. First, the status of the primary advocate, and therefor the idea, is raised. This raises the probability of success for Charter Cities. Second, the time of the primary advocate is more limited, lowering the probability for success.
It is unlikely the World Bank will directly advocate for Charter Cities, but on the margin they will be more amenable to the idea. A Charter City for refugees could be politically palatable enough to justify public support from the World Bank. Being built on a Greek or Italian island, it would lower refugee flows to Europe, alleviating some of the political crisis, as well as benefiting the refugees. I humbly recommend to Romer that he pursue such an avenue.
More generally, Romer’s appointment is very positive for free cities. The primary barrier to free cities is political and Romer being appointed will lower political barriers, even if he does not directly advocate for Charter Cities.