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Charter Cities Podcast Profile

Charter Cities Podcast

English, Sciences, 1 season, 72 episodes, 3 days, 12 minutes
The Charter Cities Podcast explores how charter cities can help solve some of the largest challenges of the 21st century, from urbanization to global poverty to migration. Each episode Mark Lutter interviews experts in international development, new cities, finance, entrepreneurship, and governance, to develop a better understanding of the various aspects of charter cities If you want to learn more visit the Charter Cities Institute at
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Ian Goldin on the History and Future of Cities

Imagine a world where cities are not just places to live, but dynamic hubs of innovation, specialization, and cooperation. What if the cities of today are shaping the political and economic landscapes of tomorrow in ways we are only beginning to understand? In this episode, we dive deep into the heart of urban development with Ian Goldin, a leading expert on global development and urbanization. Ian is a renowned Professor of Globalisation and Development at the University of Oxford, where he directs the Oxford Martin School and the Oxford Martin Programme on Technological and Economic Change. In our conversation, we discuss the historical evolution of cities, the ways cities drive innovation, and the transition from manufacturing-based economies to knowledge-based economies. Explore the continued rise of major cities, the challenges they will face, the impact of remote work on urban clustering and economic geography, and how cities shape the politics of a country. Discover strategies for creating more accessible and equitable cities, why transport, education, and housing are vital, how urban policies need to change, mitigating climate change impacts through successful urbanization, and more! Tune in to uncover the hidden mechanisms behind urban success and the future of our rapidly urbanizing world with Ian Goldin!Key Points From This Episode:Discover how cooperation, specialization, and innovation drive the evolution of cities.Unpack the role of diversity and connectivity in driving urban innovation.Learn about the key historical milestones in urban development.Impact of the Industrial Revolution on urban growth and specialization.Insights into the political implications of urban concentration.How cities can successfully transition from a manufacturing-based economy.Unpack the unique challenges faced by cities in developing countries.The future of industrialization and urbanization in a rapidly changing world.Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Ian GoldinIan Goldin on XOxford University Age of the CityThe Death of DistanceCharter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on FacebookCharter Cities Institute on X
7/18/202426 minutes, 49 seconds
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Evan Osborne on Economic Liberalism in Modern China

Liberalism in China has taken many twists and turns. And in today’s episode, we explore its fascinating history, from its early pre-Western roots, all the way to its current incarnation within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and beyond. Joining us to unpack this fascinating topic is Evan Osborne, Professor of Economics at Wright State University, and author of the highly informative new book Markets with Chinese Characteristics: Economic Liberalism in Modern China. We talk with Evan about Chinese economic thought, the country’s economic history, and the role that the West has played in China’s liberalism. Evan shares his insights on how Western economic liberalism was first introduced to China in the mid-nineteenth century, before expanding on subsequent waves of expansion and repression over the next century. We then discuss the rebirth of economic liberalism in China over the past five decades, what the future of economic and political liberalism might look like in China, and the potential long-term implications of this. To learn more about economic liberalism in modern China, and the complex history that has led to this point, be sure to tune in to this fascinating conversation!Key Points From This Episode:Introducing our guest, Evan Osborne, and his book, Markets with Chinese Characteristics.Unpacking the concept of economic liberalism.An overview of pre-Western, semi-liberal traditions in China.How China responded to Western ideas like those in The Wealth of Nations.The Chinese economy’s state of development with the arrival of Western powers.Freedoms that allowed Britain and other European countries to develop in key areas.The history of treaty ports and The Opium Wars.What subsequent political and economic transformations in China looked like.How these transformations spread into the interior of the country.Economic liberalization and how it helped facilitate a departure from imperial traditions.Unpacking the sharp turn against economic liberalism in China in the 20th century.How communist and Chinese theorists interpreted Adam Smith and other economic thinkers.What made the period of reform and openness in China possible after 1978.Why economic liberalization ended up being more successful in China than the Soviet Union.The Hokou (Household Registration) system in China; how relaxing it contributed to China’s rapid economic success.A closer look at the emergence of the entrepreneurial class and the business elite in China.The problem of corruption: how the Chinese government holds onto wealth and power.How Xi Jinping’s government has influenced liberalism in China.Evan’s predictions for the future of China’s politics and its economy.Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Evan OsborneEvan Osborne on LinkedInMarkets with Chinese Characteristics: Economic Liberalism in Modern ChinaAdam SmithThe Wealth of Nations<a...
5/15/202447 minutes, 38 seconds
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Leander Moons on Mass Timber Construction in Africa

Imagine Africa built their infrastructure using the same systems as the Western World. Embracing sustainability is a critical element of building a greener future for Africa and the world. Leander Moons is the Founding Owner of Studio OMT Architects, a mass timber architecture and urban design firm working in Africa and Europe. During this episode, he joins us to chat about building in Africa in collaboration with local communities. We discuss the rising industry of mass timber and its potential impact on the future of construction. We explore the opportunities and sustainability considerations for scaling timber construction in Africa, and the various projects in development by Leander's firm in Fumba Town Zanzibar; including Africa's tallest timber tower. Join us for an insightful conversation filled with hope for the impact of green choices in Africa on the world beyond its borders. Thank you for listening.Key Points From This Episode:Background on Leander Moons, Founding Owner of Studio OMT Architects.What mass timber is and where it is predominantly used.&nbsp;Considerations for combining modern materials with traditional methods.Barriers to developing a more robust local timber production industry.Sustainable practices in Tanzania and capitalizing on the lifecycle of a tree.Restoring forest life in the plantations and forests that have been lost due to monoculture.Research into the new products of engineered and mass timber.Tree engineering, breeding, and designing and associated challenges.&nbsp;How Leander came to work in this industry in Africa.Promoting sustainability and local investment through landmark projects.The cost curve of timber as a raw material.A projected timeline of adoption for timber on a larger scale.How financing creates a blockage.Projects in planning including the CheiChei housing project.The importance of building sustainably in Africa and interacting meaningfully with the local communities.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Leander Moons on LinkedInStudio OMT ArchitectsCharter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on FacebookCharter Cities Institute on X
4/24/202427 minutes, 55 seconds
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Building a Charter City Ecosystem with Mark Lutter

How do you take the positive aspects of Silicon Valley, and apply it to a radically different context like developing charter cities? Today, Jeffrey Mason, Head of Research at the Charter Cities Institute (CCI), is joined by Mark Lutter, Founder and Executive Director of CCI, and CEO of Braavos Cities, to discuss how the charter cities ecosystem has evolved over the past few years and what he’s learned about building successful coalitions. Mark tells us about the circumstances that motivated him to found CCI, and what it’s been like combining key features of Silicon Valley, (like entrepreneurial spirit, disruption, and innovation) with the challenging work of creating a coalition of different stakeholders — some of whom are likely to be relatively conservative. We discuss the broader ecosystem that CCI has been building, and how it can act as a force multiplier for other cities, before learning more about CCI’s most recent projects, including their endeavors in Zanzibar and how they are contributing to development there. Mark also expands on his new company, Braavos Cities, their long-term goals, and the work that they are doing in the Caribbean. We wrap up our conversation with an overview of exciting developments to pay attention to in the charter cities space, from Zanzibar to California, and how to gain momentum in politically challenging environments. Be sure to tune in for a deep dive into the evolution of charter cities and their broader ecosystem!Key Points From This Episode:Welcoming back Mark Lutter, executive chairman of the Charter Cities Institute (CCI).An overview of the factors and events that motivated Mark to found CCI.How CCI has adapted the positive aspects of Silicon Valley to the context of charter cities.Lessons from working with multiple stakeholders, including policymakers.Generating buy-in at the elite level of policymakers and other powerful constituencies.CCI’s goal to build a broader ecosystem that can act as a force multiplier for multiple cities.Key successes CCI has experienced over the past two years.Takeaways from their conference in Kigali during November 2023.Mark’s thoughts on recent news concerning celebrities and charter cities.An overview of the development project in Zanzibar and how CCI is contributing to it.What CCI is doing to increase the funnel of talent to Zanzibar.An outline of what they hope to achieve in Zanzibar over the next 25 years.Unpacking viable economic opportunities in Zanzibar and how they can diversify.Mark’s new company, Braavos Cities, and the work that they are doing in the Caribbean.How they get projects across the finish line in politically challenging environments.Advice on engaging with politicians, heads of government, and investors.Key insights on Braavos Cities, their goals, and what they are currently working on.What developments you should be paying attention to in the charter cities space.Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Mark LutterMark Lutter Charter Cities InstituteMark Lutter on XMark Lutter on MediumBraavos CitiesJeffrey Mason on LinkedIn<a href=""...
4/10/202451 minutes, 52 seconds
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Building Vibrant Communities with Brooke Bowman and Mark Lutter

Can a city hold the key to unlocking economic prosperity on a grand scale? In this episode, we sit down with Brooke Bowman and Mark Lutter to discuss charter cities and their role in addressing economic development challenges. Mark is a visionary thinker invested in progress, governance, social dynamics, and the concept of new cities. He is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Charter Cities Institute and CEO of Braavos Cities, a pioneering charter city development company. Brooke is the founder of Vibecamp, a community that aims to foster connections and personal growth. Join us as we delve into the intricacies of community-building, economic development, and cultural influence. We unpack the concept of charter cities as a way to address economic development challenges and the importance of facilitating genuine connections with people through city developments and fostering community and co-living without excessive overhead. Tuning in, you’ll discover the value of creating spaces where like-minded individuals can gather and interact and how the intersection of co-creation and play drives culture and innovation. To learn how to unlock the potential of charter cities and create vibrant, sustainable communities with a focus on culture, innovation, and positive societal impact, don’t miss this conversation!Key Points From This Episode:Introducing Mark, his background, and his interest in charter cities.The concept of Charter Cities and how they can alleviate poverty.Mark and Brooke’s experience of a pop-up community experiment called Zuzalu.How community gatherings help drive innovation in a society.Explore creating a sustainable community with a vibrant culture.The Neighborhood project and how it helping to build communities.What role the internet plays in facilitating the formation of real-life communities.Details about the governance structure of the Próspera development.Incorporating families and children into Vibecamp communities.Insights into how long communities will take to grow to scale.Why mimicking successful models from history is essential.The important sense of community and shared values that festivals provide.Why there is a need for economic development alongside community building.An overview of the legal mechanisms to ensure long-term success.Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Brooke BowmanBrooke Bowman on XMark LutterMark Lutter on XBraavos CitiesVibecampThe Network State ConferenceJason BennThe NeighborhoodCabin CityCharter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on FacebookCharter Cities Institute on...
3/27/202446 minutes, 3 seconds
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Luqman Edu on Itana, Nigeria's First Digital Free Zone

What would it take to create the ideal jurisdiction for global tech companies to be able to grow and scale in Africa? Joining us today to unpack this question is Luqman Edu, co-founder and CEO of Itana, Nigeria’s first Digital Free Zone. Through their partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria, Itana is creating an opportunity for global businesses to operate and provide services remotely, without being physically present in Nigeria. We use today’s conversation to delve into the ins and outs of building a Digital Free Zone, Itana’s ambition to become the Delaware of Africa, how this will help companies connect with untapped African talent, and what it will take to realize these goals. We discuss the key challenges startups and companies typically face when trying to do business in Nigeria or Africa, how Itana is solving these problems, the unique benefits they are offering to the first 100 companies to partner with them, and much more. You won’t want to miss out on this thought-provoking conversation with Luqmna Edu on Itana, the innovative work that they’re doing, and why success for Itana means success for Africa!Key Points From This Episode:Introducing today’s guest, Luqman Edu.An overview of Itana, Nigeria’s first Digital Free Zone.Common challenges for companies doing business in Africa.Details on traditional Free Zones in Nigeria.Policy and legal measures for making Itana an authentic Digital Free Zone.A rundown of the incentives for working in Itana.The requirements for being able to operate in Itana.Itana’s physical campus and their goals for it.Insight into Itana’s progress thus far and the companies operating within Itana.How Itana is helping companies access Nigerian talent.Other Digital Free Zones across the world and how they have influenced Itana.Reflections on the future of Free Zones in Africa more generally.How Luqman’s experience in the public and private sector has shaped his choices for Itana.What they are doing to ensure Itana’s sustainability.The increasingly important role of tech in the Nigerian economy.How Itana wants to facilitate the success of tech companies across the continent.The Itana 100: who they are and how you can join!Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Luqman Edu on LinkedInItanaItana 100Charter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on FacebookCharter Cities Institute on X
2/28/202431 minutes, 9 seconds
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Kartik Akileswaran and Jonathan Mazumdar on Growth Teams and Structural Transformation

Many countries need radical structural transformation, specifically in more developing nations, and Growth Teams and made it part of their mission to empower developing countries to create jobs and grow their economies. Today, we are in conversation with the cofounders of Growth Teams, Kartik Akileswaran and Jonathan Mazumdar. The pair are here to discuss how their business is playing its part in creating economic stability in countries around the world. Our conversation begins with a breakdown of Growth Teams, how the company works, and why Kartik and Jonathan chose to build it. After taking a look at our guests’ professional backgrounds, we dive into the definition of structural transformation, assess its importance, discover why it’s so difficult to facilitate and brainstorm ways for governments to stand true to their promises of transformation. We also learn how Growth Teams gets involved in government outreaches, how it’s doing things differently to achieve better results, the countries it is working with, and everything the business has planned moving forward.&nbsp;&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:What Growth Teams is all about and how Kartik and Jonathan came to found itKartik and Jonathan's professional backgroundsThe importance of structural growth and economic developmentWhy the aforementioned issues are neglected by governments and policymakersDefining structural transformationThe factors that make structural transformation difficult to facilitateOur guests’ advice for how governments can uphold their transformation reformsHow labor mobility fits inWhy government outreach programs have low skills retention, and how Growth Teams is fixing thisA look at Growth Team's involvement in government outreaches and how it evolves during the processThe countries that Growth Teams is working with and the company's plans for the futureLinks Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Kartik Akileswaran on LinkedInJonathan Mazumdar on LinkedIn&nbsp;Growth Teams‘Governance and Development'The perspective of growth-enhancing governance’‘Which World Bank Reports Are Widely Read?’Pockets of EffectivenessCharter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on FacebookCharter Cities Institute on Xl
2/14/202445 minutes, 27 seconds
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Jon Vandenheuvel on Small Farm Cities

Affordable housing and economic development challenges in Africa are multifaceted and interconnected, but what is the solution? In today’s conversation, we sit down with Jon Vandenheuvel, the founder of Small Farm Cities Africa and senior advisor for the Charter Cities Institute. Small Farm Cities integrates horticulture, aquaculture, infrastructure, and residential housing for ownership and wealth creation throughout Africa. Jon is a visionary leader in agribusiness, municipal infrastructure development, and applied technology systems. His impactful work spans multiple African nations, where he has spearheaded infrastructure, agribusiness, and e-commerce initiatives to help foster economic growth. In our conversation, we unpack his hyper-affordable agribusiness concept, the importance of systems solutions to systems problems like poverty, and how Jon came to be building new cities in Africa. Discover his definition of affordable housing, what is stunting the development of African countries, and why formal ownership of housing and land is so crucial for Africa. We delve into why building and storing wealth is a core value of Small Farm Cities, how the company plans to scale, leveraging the industrial sector for development, realizing Africa's economic potential, and much more! Jon also shares details about the success of their pilot project in Malawi and how the concept is resulting in larger projects he is currently working on. To find out how Jon is driving housing accessibility and development in Africa, tune in now!Key Points From This Episode:The definition of a small farm city and details about the first community he built.Affordable formal ownership of housing and why it is significant for African countries.Providing an affordable housing baseline while incorporating building options.Learn about the company’s approach to housing modularity and scaling.&nbsp;Jon shares his approach to sourcing and developing talent for Small Farm Cities.&nbsp;Scaling the company’s method and how it is entering the light industrial sector.&nbsp;Unlocking Africa’s industrial potential to build communities and cities.&nbsp;Malawi’s Special Economic Zone Law and why it is a win for the country.Valuable lessons and takeaways from their project in Ghana.&nbsp;Transitioning refugee cities into investable and productive cities.&nbsp;His professional background and career journey to Small Farm Cities.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Jon Vandenheuvel on LinkedInSmall Farm CitiesAfrica Risk DashboardLeif Van Grinsven on LinkedInStarlinkRio TintoThe Mystery of CapitalNational Planning CommissionThomas Munthali on LinkedInMIT School of Architecture and Urban...
1/16/202449 minutes, 26 seconds
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Tom Lavers on Ethiopia's Developmental State

Ethiopia's Developmental State model has garnered attention for its ambitious goals and efforts to transform the economy, but has it been successful? Joining us today is Tom Lavers, Senior lecturer in Politics and Development at The University of Manchester, to help navigate this complex topic. Tom is a dedicated researcher whose passion lies in exploring the intricate interplay between social and political dynamics amid structural shifts. His research is characterized by a nuanced investigation into the changing socio-political landscapes and the evolving relationships between states and societies. In our conversation, we delve into Ethiopia's political coalition shifts and explore the government's achievements and setbacks in fostering development. We discuss Ethiopia’s complex historical roots, how statehood has significantly shaped Ethiopia's development trajectory, the distributive crisis in Ethiopia, and the factors contributing to Ethiopia's current challenges. Gain valuable insights into the country’s industrial landscape, developmental strategies, geographical equity hurdles, urbanization shifts, and much more. Tune in for a comprehensive exploration of Ethiopia's developmental journey with expert Tom Lavers!&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:The definition of a developmental state and typical examples.Learn what a distributive crisis is and how it applies to Ethiopia.An overview of the successes and failures of Ethiopia’s government.Top-down versus bottom-up factors contributing to Ethiopia’s crisis.How centuries of statehood shaped Ethiopia’s developmental drive.Explore the evolution of Ethiopia’s land and agricultural sector.Ethiopia's equity and ethnically inclusive developmental strategies.Valuable insights into Ethiopia’s industrial landscape.Urbanization, industrialization, and the complex interplay with politics.Emerging trends and dynamics of urbanization in Ethiopia.Tom shares details about his next upcoming project.Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Tom Lavers on LinkedInThe University of ManchesterThe Global Development Institute (GDI)&nbsp;Ethiopia's Developmental State: Political Order and Distributive CrisisSeeing like a State&nbsp;The NYU Marron InstituteCharter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on FacebookCharter Cities Institute on X
1/3/202443 minutes, 10 seconds
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Lant Pritchett on Economic Growth, Charter Cities, and State Capability

In today's episode of Charter Cities, we're honored to welcome Lant Pritchett, a distinguished economist and a thought leader in development economics. Our deep-dive conversation will focus on the critical topic of growth diagnostics, exploring the complex challenges policymakers face in developing nations. Lant will illuminate the importance of identifying impactful actions for growth, emphasizing the need for rigorous debate and evidence-based decision-making. We'll also scrutinize the limitations of traditional development metrics like the "dollar a day" measure and consider alternative, more effective approaches. We'll also investigate innovative solutions like charter cities as a mechanism for fostering sustainable growth by addressing institutional challenges.Key Points From This Episode:Why overemphasis on low-bar goals lead to ineffective randomized control trials in developmentHow bright minds in development economics are missing the markPolicymakers in developing countries lack effective prioritization, not ideas, for fostering economic growthTony Blair's approach focuses on achievable priorities but could benefit from rigorous initial diagnostics for high-impact actionsDeveloping countries grow fast but collapse easily due to fragile "deals-based" governance, unlike OECD's robust rule-based systemsPrioritizing the prevention of growth decelerations; reforms can help but need better diagnosticsShifting focus from economic growth blamed on the end of the Cold War and structural adjustment failuresWeighing charter cities: positives include a focus on urbanization and productivity; challenges involve credibility and feasibility of implementing changeEmphasizing the need for experimentation and policy diversityHow migration from low to high TFP countries can yield 40x greater income gains than anti-poverty programsLabor mobility increasingly viable due to demographic shifts and political changeUrbanization requires new approaches to ensure inclusive, opportunity-driven growth in citiesLinks Mentioned in Today’s Episode:RISEHarvard Kennedy SchoolCharter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on FacebookCharter Cities Institute on Twitter
10/25/20231 hour, 21 minutes, 37 seconds
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Heba Elhanafy and Matthew McCartney on Africa's Bad Urban Laws

On today's Charter Cities episode, host Jeffrey Mason is joined by colleagues Heba Elhanafy and Matthew McCartney to unpack the New Africa's Bad Urban Laws project. This initiative dissects laws in African cities hindering growth and community well-being. Additionally, Jeffrey reminds listeners of the upcoming Africa's New City Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. The team dives deep, discussing the reasons for and effects of detrimental urban laws, using instances like Zambia's land ownership as an example. Tune in for an insightful discussion on urban policies in Africa.Key Points From This Episode:How urban laws negatively affect African urban environments across fiscal, administrative, and spatial planningThe project exposes bad urban laws and questions their persistent existence in African citiesBad urban laws persist due to misunderstandings, political interests, and distributional benefitsHow Zambia's outdated land ownership laws, rooted in colonial times, benefit a few and hinder economic developmentEgypt's attempt to modernize land laws led to unique urban challenges affecting millionsUrban physician reforms laws with expertise; urban politician navigates political realities for urban changesInteractive map showcases bad urban laws, allows user contributions for more awarenessCCI's research aims for awareness through interactive maps and practical urban reformLinks Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Africas New Cities SummitCharter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on FacebookCharter Cities Institute on Twitter
10/18/202325 minutes, 38 seconds
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International Hubs and the Future of Living with Vitalik Buterin

Coming up on today's episode of Charter Cities, we have a very special guest joining host Mark Lutter: Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum. In this episode, we delve into the fascinating world of community building and the importance of creating meaningful connections within cities and online communities. We explore the challenges and successes of building communities in different contexts, from crypto communities to health tribes. With insights from Vitalik's own experiences and observations, we discuss the value of diversity, the impact of infrastructure on small towns, and the need for community filters. Stay tuned for an enriching conversation on the power of communities in shaping our lives and the future of cities.Key Points From This Episode:Factors driving relocation due to cost of livingEmotional disconnect from home countriesGlobal impact of the crypto industryNavigating immigration complexitiesGrowing trend of purposeful location choices for hubsZuzalu community's remarkable success storySignificance of local insights in community buildingDiverse dynamics within health-focused communitiesCautions against hasty expansion and misuse of Zozalu's nameStructured growth imperative as project scalesRegional influencers and quest for secure refugesUrban and rural benefits of clusteringInfrastructure's role in enhancing small town appealSpecial network effects in close-knit communitiesDigital communities united by shared valuesSovereignty quest challenges and complexitiesCommunity's pivotal role in city developmentNavigating delegation challenges and preventing tyrannyLinks Mentioned in Today’s Episode:ZuzaluVitalik on TwitterVitalik on MediumCharter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on FacebookCharter Cities Institute on Twitter
10/4/202352 minutes, 34 seconds
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Private Cities: A New Frontier in Urban Development and Governance with Martin Rama and Yue Li

Host Jeffrey Mason welcomes esteemed guests Martin Rama and Yue Li to another enthralling episode of Charter Cities. Together, they embark on a deep exploration of the intriguing world of private cities, delving into their impact on urban agglomerations and the delicate interplay with local governments. Tune in today to hear their insights on the successes and challenges that private cities face, as well as the potentials that lie ahead. Through engaging discussions and vivid examples, our hosts and guests will illustrate the multifaceted landscape of private urban development. Martin and Yue share their perspectives on how private actors are reshaping urban environments and the intricate dynamics that govern these relationships. As our episode unfolds, the conversation navigates the complexities of urban development, revealing the key facts and insights surrounding this captivating subject. Thanks for listening!Key Points From This Episode:The significance of private cities as major urban agglomerations with political constituenciesThe push for a voice and a shift towards traditional cities as the population growsResistance against converting successful private cities into traditional onesStrategic underinvestment by private actors in services, relying on government provisionEvolution of institutions between private actors and local governmentsDesigning private cities to offer improved services and environmentsWillingness of residents and firms to pay a premium for landBenefits for developers or companies through increased land valueExploration of different private city models and demographic focusesA historical look at private cities and their reemergence in modern timesExamples of private cities in both advanced and developing countriesAn overview of private cities and their types in various countriesFocus on initial research in South Asia, including India and PakistanIndonesia's status as the country with the highest number of private citiesCategorization into company towns, strategic cities, and mixed citiesPrevalence of strategic cities in Indonesia, with some in IndiaAn analysis of economic activities and government support in private citiesVarious economic activities spearheaded by the private sectorEfforts to seek favorable treatment from the governmentThe role of special economic zones and infrastructure supportStrategies to attract specific industries and investorsThe urgent need for empirical research on economic dynamics and inequalityTentative conclusions and a call for further researchDefinitions and challenges associated with private citiesContradictions with typical city governance run by local governmentThe leading role played by private actors in planning, financing, and service operationChallenging but not new conventional notions of city governancePublic-private partnerships (PPPs) in private city governanceTopological studies, inventories, and governance evolution within private citiesVariations in roles and functions between the private sector and local governmentLand value capture and equity issues in private city developmentThe viability and underinvestment associated with value capture limitationsCreative equity solutions, such as preserving original residents or project sharesExploration of alternative value recovery and fairness mechanismsThe challenges faced by local governments in designing effective value capture strategiesLinks Mentioned in Today’s Episode:The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank<a...
9/27/202339 minutes, 5 seconds
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Private Cities: A New Frontier in Urban Development and Governance with Martin Rama and Yue Li

Host Jeffrey Mason welcomes esteemed guests Martin Rama and Yue Li to another enthralling episode of Charter Cities. Together, they embark on a deep exploration of the intriguing world of private cities, delving into their impact on urban agglomerations and the delicate interplay with local governments. Tune in today to hear their insights on the successes and challenges that private cities face, as well as the potentials that lie ahead. Through engaging discussions and vivid examples, our hosts and guests will illustrate the multifaceted landscape of private urban development. Martin and Yue share their perspectives on how private actors are reshaping urban environments and the intricate dynamics that govern these relationships. As our episode unfolds, the conversation navigates the complexities of urban development, revealing the key facts and insights surrounding this captivating subject. Thanks for listening!Key Points From This Episode:The significance of private cities as major urban agglomerations with political constituenciesThe push for a voice and a shift towards traditional cities as the population growsResistance against converting successful private cities into traditional onesStrategic underinvestment by private actors in services, relying on government provisionEvolution of institutions between private actors and local governmentsDesigning private cities to offer improved services and environmentsWillingness of residents and firms to pay a premium for landBenefits for developers or companies through increased land valueExploration of different private city models and demographic focusesA historical look at private cities and their reemergence in modern timesExamples of private cities in both advanced and developing countriesAn overview of private cities and their types in various countriesFocus on initial research in South Asia, including India and PakistanIndonesia's status as the country with the highest number of private citiesCategorization into company towns, strategic cities, and mixed citiesPrevalence of strategic cities in Indonesia, with some in IndiaAn analysis of economic activities and government support in private citiesVarious economic activities spearheaded by the private sectorEfforts to seek favorable treatment from the governmentThe role of special economic zones and infrastructure supportStrategies to attract specific industries and investorsThe urgent need for empirical research on economic dynamics and inequalityTentative conclusions and a call for further researchDefinitions and challenges associated with private citiesContradictions with typical city governance run by local governmentThe leading role played by private actors in planning, financing, and service operationChallenging but not new conventional notions of city governancePublic-private partnerships (PPPs) in private city governanceTopological studies, inventories, and governance evolution within private citiesVariations in roles and functions between the private sector and local governmentLand value capture and equity issues in private city developmentThe viability and underinvestment associated with value capture limitationsCreative equity solutions, such as preserving original residents or project sharesExploration of alternative value recovery and fairness mechanismsThe challenges faced by local governments in designing effective value capture strategiesLinks Mentioned in Today’s Episode:The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank<a...
8/14/202339 minutes, 5 seconds
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Relationship Building, Network Cities, and Leveraging Competitive Advantage with Mark Lutter

Charter Cities Institute Founder and Chairman Mark Lutter returns to the podcast to share his perspective on network states, charter city trends, and more. Mark is also the CEO of Braavos Cities, a charter city development company partnering with local landowners and a leading organizer of Zuzalu, a new pop-up city in Montenegro. Tune in today to hear Mark’s insights on existing network states and why they have either succeeded or failed. You’ll also learn about some of the challenges associated with attracting appropriate talent to cities in order to facilitate growth. Mark shares his experience at Zuzalu and describes the flat hierarchical structure that was made possible there. Using the metaphor of gardening instead of carpentry, Mark illustrates his unique approach to building network cities. Hear how Mark differs from others in the charter city space on the matter of location and his analysis of the global response to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. As our episode draws to a close, Mark reveals his thoughts on restarting struggling economies, finding buy-in from local government, and more. Thanks for listening!Key Points From This Episode:An introduction to today’s episode with CCI Founder and Chairman Mark Lutter.&nbsp;What Zuzali is and how it came together with reference to Vitalik Buterin and Balaji Srinivasan.Defining the terms ‘pop up city’, ‘pop up village’, and ‘network state’.&nbsp;How the historical failures of network-type states influence Mark’s feelings.Examining the examples of Israel, Utah, Salt Lake City, and Jonestown.Considering why San Francisco is especially susceptible to cults.Why Mark returned from Montenegro and Zuzalu with optimism for network states.How the internet can behave as a giant sorting mechanism.His predictions for how sorting mechanisms will change in the future.The problem of attracting appropriate talent to cities.&nbsp;Why Montenegro was the chosen location for Zuzalu.&nbsp;Building Zuzalu whilst building local relationships.The role of the host government in the success of Zuzalu.&nbsp;Where the name Zuzalu came from.Flat status hierarchies in network cities and other agglomerates.How they managed to sustain a flat hierarchy at Zuzalu.&nbsp;What it means to think like a gardener and not a carpenter.What Braavos Cities is and what it aims to do.Where Mark differs from other folks in the charter city space on the matter of location.Two migration patterns to tap into.&nbsp;The greatest successes of the COVID-19 pandemic and what could have been adopted instead.Distinguishing between Charter Cities Institute and Braavos Cities.Restarting an economy through leveraging comparative advantage.Getting buy-in from local government.Job creation and investment.&nbsp;The Zanzibar project that Mark is excited about at the moment.Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Mark LutterMark Lutter on TwitterMark Lutter on MediumMark Lutter EmailBraavos CitiesZuzalu<a href="" rel="noopener...
6/26/202354 minutes, 4 seconds
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Industrialization and Assimilation with Dr. Elliott Green

Industrialization has a myriad of consequences that have been studied and speculated upon from the very start. In this episode, Dr. Elliott Green joins us to discuss the impact of industrialization on ethnic identity and diversity. Dr. Green is a political scientist, Africanist, and associate professor in the Department of International Development at The London School of Economics. He is also the author of the book Industrialization and Assimilation and today, we learn about his research and insights on the topic. We delve into the Marx-Geller take on industrialization and find out how Dr. Green conceptualizes it and why he promotes pro-industrialization. We discuss the implications of urbanization without industrialization in Africa and how people use their rural identities as insurance against de-urbanization before investigating the cause of “under-urbanization” in countries like Kenya and Uganda. From the measures of industrialization and its relationship to economic growth and identity formation to the effect of decentralization on assimilation, Dr. Green tackles it all! Tune in for this insightful conversation on all things industrialization and identity.Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Introducing political scientist and Africanist, Dr. Elliott Green•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The topic investigated in his book Industrialization and Assimilation: the consequence of Industrialization in terms of ethnic diversity.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Dr. Green’s take on industrialization differs from that of Marx and Geller.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why we have differing levels of ethnic diversity across the world.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The implications of urbanization without industrialization in Africa.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Cases of de-urbanization in Africa and how people use their rural identities as insurance against it.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Which African regions have the highest and lowest levels of urbanization.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What can be attributed to the “under-urbanization” of countries like Kenya and Uganda.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Dr. Green promotes pro-industrialization and how he conceptualizes industrialization.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The relationship between economic growth and industrialization.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Other measures of industrialization.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How industrialization generates broader processes of identity formation, irrespective of politics and religion.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The overlap of religious and ethnic identities in 20th century Turkey.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Instances where industrialization and nation-building do and don’t go hand in hand.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Government attempts to create ethnically neutral cities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why trust is essential for development.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Dr. Green’s take on the “markets make us moral” hypothesis.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;To what extent decentralization can affect assimilation or ethnic change.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the “completion” of industrialization will (or won’t) impact identity.&nbsp;&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Dr. Elliott GreenIndustrialization and AssimilationHa-Joon ChangMagnetic Mountain: Stalinism...
6/12/202355 minutes, 21 seconds
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Emergent Tokyo with Joe McReynolds

We are joined on the show today by Joe McReynolds, co-author of&nbsp;Emergent Tokyo: Designing the Spontaneous City,&nbsp;and we have an extensive conversation about the characteristics of Tokyo urbanism, the role of policy in the city, lessons that may be applied to charter cities, and also some of Joe's thoughts on China's current military capabilities. Joe makes a strong argument for avoiding culturally essentialist understandings of Tokyo, and also plots how the history of Tokyo eschews western understandings of urban planning strategies. We touch on the nature of Tokyo neighborhoods, rental and ownership, greenery and beautification, and much more. To finish off this fascinating chat, we turn to Joe's interest and involvement in Chinese affairs and reflect on the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on China's ambitions. So to catch all this and more in this lively and eye-opening chat with Joe, press play!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A look at Joe's two areas of expertise; urbanism in Tokyo and Chinese National security.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Joe unpacks the different forms of relevant urbanism.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The complexity of Tokyo's urbanism and how it stretches typical western paradigms.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The influence of policy and design on Tokyo and its neighborhoods.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Norms around housing, upkeep, and building standards in Tokyo.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Ownership and renting; Joe talks about the importance of landlords in Tokyo.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Shinto practices and the traditions that subtly bind neighborhood communities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Tokyo residents' attitudes towards the external impacts on individual lifestyles.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Joe's thoughts on greenery in Tokyo.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Lessons from Tokyo for charter cities and Joe's passion for these projects.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The impact of international restrictions on semiconductor exports to China.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Exploring the example that Russia's war with Ukraine is setting for China.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Joe talks a little bit about Ephemerisle and its representation of competitive governance.&nbsp;&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Joe McReynoldsJoe McReynolds on TwitterEmergent Tokyo: Designing the Spontaneous CityChina's Evolving Military StrategyKeio UniversityThe Jamestown FoundationEphemerisleJeffrey MasonKurtis LockhartCharter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on Facebook<a href=""...
2/13/20231 hour, 7 minutes, 5 seconds
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Education, Electricity, Fertility, and Economic Growth with Charlie Robertson

What do high education and low fertility rates have in common? According to today’s guest, Charlie Robertson, they are both positively correlated with economic growth. In today’s episode, Charlie shares the reasons why he believes that countries that don’t get their fertility rates down to below 3 children per woman and those that don’t have adult literacy rates above 70% are doomed to remain trapped in poverty. Join us for a round-the-world trip where Charlie delves into the history of South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the West, and offers his explanation for why some countries have flourished while others have floundered. Charlie is the Global Chief Economist at Renaissance Capital and the author of The Fastest Billion and The Time-Travelling Economist.&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Understanding economic trends in Africa over the past few years.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Factors that lead to the creation of urban slums.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Charlie’s hypothesis on the link between fertility and economic growth.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What Charlie sees as the optimal fertility rate.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Basic adult literacy rates in Sub-Saharan African countries when they were decolonized.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A statistic that highlights the progress that has been made on the education front globally.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why education is imperative for growth.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The correlation between education and fertility.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The importance of correctly sequencing educational priorities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;An explanation of the economic success being experienced in the Philippines.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Comparing the rate of economic growth in India and China.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Reasons why Pakistan hasn’t kept up with India’s levels of economic growth.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Explaining Sri Lanka’s downfall.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Charlie’s thoughts on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The energy financing issues facing African countries.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Challenges of using green energy as a baseload power source.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Charlie believes governments should be focusing on providing electricity to factories rather than homes.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Benefits of decentralized energy systems.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The potential of municipal-level financing approaches.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:&nbsp;Charlie Robertson on LinkedInRenaissance CapitalThe Fastest BillionThe Time-Travelling EconomistCharter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on FacebookCharter Cities Institute on Twitter
10/3/202251 minutes, 33 seconds
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Doing Business in Africa with Deanne de Vries

The West’s misconceptions about Africa are vast, particularly when it comes to the realm of business. Today we are joined by Dr. Deanne de Vries, who has worked across the continent in various capacities for over 30 years. She is currently an advisor for firms looking to enter the African market and is the author of Africa: Open for Business. In this episode, Deanne fills us in on the challenges and the exciting opportunities for doing business in Africa, sharing insights into the evolving tech and startup scenes. We discuss Africa's agricultural and manufacturing sectors, and Deanne breaks down what governments need to do to boost these industries. To hear about the community-centric focus of African business and to find out why on-the-ground integrated local presence is far more valuable than any data, tune in!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The history of Deanne de Vries’ work in Africa.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The ABC of learning to do business in unfamiliar territory: Appetite, Bandwidth, and Capital.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The evolution of the African tech scene.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The focus of Africa’s startup scene.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The potential for French-speaking West Africa to rise in the tech sector.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What governments can do to boost agricultural productivity in Africa.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The importance of access to the market, in terms of agriculture.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The challenges faced by Africa’s manufacturing industry.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why African business can’t be judged by statistics alone.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The number one key to success for doing business in Africa.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Deanne shares a case study to illustrate the importance of being on the ground.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area to promote business in Africa.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The greatest Western misunderstandings about doing business in Africa.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The challenge of data accuracy across Africa.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What trumps data when it comes to doing business.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The number one way to de-risk any deal in Africa.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Deanne shares her chocolate chip cookie story.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The impact of China's increasing presence across the continent.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The influence of Turkey, Russia, and the UAE on Africa.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How best to think about market entry in Africa.&nbsp;&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Dr. Deanne de VriesDr. Deanne de Vries on LinkedInDr. Deanne de Vries on InstagramAfrica: Open for BusinessCharter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on FacebookCharter Cities Institute on Twitter
9/19/202241 minutes, 48 seconds
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Catawba Digital Economic Zone with Joseph McKinney

If you’re a regular listener of this podcast you may be familiar with the term Special Economic Zone (SEZ). In short, SEZ refers to an area where business and trade laws are different from the rest of the country. Typically, these zones will have laws or legal codes and regulations that make it attractive for businesses to relocate there. Today on the show you’ll learn all about these zones and more as we sit down with Joseph McKinney, CEO of the Catawba Digital Economic Zone (DEZ), a new SEZ established by the Catawba nation based in the Carolinas. In our conversation, we break down the economic and philosophical objectives of the Catawba DEZ and its unique legal and regulatory frameworks as well as how this zone is integrated into tribal governance. We also discuss the Catawba DEZ’s special focus on FinTech, digital assets, advancing the digital economy, and why this gives them a competitive edge. Learn about the work they’re doing to explore physical infrastructure for data centers, supercomputers, and crypto mining, and why Joseph believes this has the most promising revenue-generating potential. Today’s episode takes a deep dive into SEZs and DEZs and breaks down how they can benefit indigenous people when implemented correctly, as well as what it takes to institute good governance. To learn more, make sure you tune in for key insights on this expansive and important topic!&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Get to know today’s guest, Joseph McKinney, his background, and how he became CEO at Catawba Digital Economic Zone (DEZ).●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;An overview of the Startup Societies Network and how it was founded.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A breakdown of DEZs and how they work.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The regulatory advantages of DEZs.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The authority that Native Americans have within their states and how that applies to regulatory governance.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How DEZs are creating a middle ground for tribal governance and regulation.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the Catawba tribe benefits from the DEZ in the Carolinas.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Some of the physical infrastructure that they’re expecting to create, including data centers and supercomputers.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;An overview of how the Catawba Digital Economic Zone is creating regulatory certainty for Web3, crypto, blockchain, and fintech companies.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How digital economic zones are expected to fit into existing trends within the tech industry.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The most important value proposition made by the Catawba DEZ.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why this type of SEZ needs a combination of startup culture mobility, along with a secure foundation of good governance.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How special economic zones are helping the United States improve its business environment.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the Catawba DEZ in the Carolinas, hopes to compete with Delaware.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:&nbsp;Joseph McKinney on LinkedInStartup Societies NetworkCatawba Digital Economic ZoneForbes: This Indian Nation Is Setting Up A Special Economic Zone For Crypto,...
8/1/202234 minutes, 16 seconds
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A Framework for the Elite's Role in Development with Stefan Dercon

Stefan Dercon is the author of Gambling on Development, in which he details his theory of the elite bargain framework for development in low-income countries. Stefan is a Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford, and also serves as the Director of the Center for the Study of African Economies. Prior to his current academic posts, he has extensive experience in the world of policy, as the Chief Economist at the Department for International Development and as an advisor to the UK’s Foreign Secretary. In our conversation with Stefan in today's show, we get to delve deep into his elite bargain idea, the impact of effective altruism, the need for self-awareness within governments, and how far lessons from certain examples can be applied to other states. We also get to talk about political settlements and how his framework fits into the context of current popular theories and explanations for economic growth. So to catch all this and a whole lot more, be sure to listen in to this great chat with Stefan Dercon!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Stefan's perspective on the different skills needed for policy implementation and idea generation.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The challenges of communicating the need for policy experimentation to politicians.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Some key ingredients to effective government meetings and common mistakes that Stefan has seen.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Examples from Stefan of the kind of practical implementations he has seen used well in governance.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Stefan shares some examples that underline his book's main thesis about successful development.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;An approach to determining a country's emerging development bargain.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Our guest unpacks the three conditions for development bargains noted in his book.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why a certain model for development cannot be expected to have the same success in a different context.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The impact that studying Asia later in his career has had on Stefan's frameworks and philosophy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Stefan talks about his findings on possible lessons from urbanization in China.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Issues that Stefan has with the idea and terminology of political settlements.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Contrasting Stefan's argument with the thesis of Why Nations Fail.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Suggestions on how to motivate elites to engage and gamble on development.&nbsp;&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Stefan's personal perspective on economic growth and its role in poverty alleviation.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why meaningful progress is dependent on a certain amount of risk.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Stefan would suggest spending money on growth interventions and lessons from Africa in the 1990s.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What the situation in Sri Lanka right now teaches us about investment in people.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The danger of consolidating authoritarianism in countries such as China and Rwanda.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the mobility of a burgeoning middle class can impact the development of a state.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Stefan weighs in on the potential scalability problem in a technocracy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Some of Stefan's reflections on his time at DFID and its challenges.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Looking to the horizon with Stefan and his forthcoming projects.&nbsp;&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Stefan DerconGambling on Development<a href=""...
7/18/20221 hour, 51 minutes, 27 seconds
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Exploring Solutions to the Development Problem with Efosa Ojomo

Development is one of the major challenges of our time. Unfortunately, it’s often approached in a way that does more harm than good. Efosa Ojomo has a better solution, and he’s here today to share it. Efosa is the leader of the Global Prosperity Research Group at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, the co-author of The Prosperity Paradox, and the author of the upcoming book, The Prosperity Process. In this episode, Efosa explains how his first foray in the development space (building wells in Nigeria) catalyzed a journey of discovery which led him to realize that, in order to truly change the world, we need to implement pull strategies instead of push strategies and focus on market creating innovations. He shares some examples of what these innovations look like and we discuss what it takes to be a market creating innovator, how regulation impacts innovation, a new way to think about corruption, and more! Make sure to tune in today.&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;The lesson Efosa learned through his first foray in the development world.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Definitions of the three types of innovation that Efosa and his co-authors explain in depth in their book, The Prosperity Paradox.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Efosa shares the story of Mo Ibrhaim to highlight the power of market creating innovations.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Push versus pull development strategies and the problem with the former.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The story of Indomie Noodles as an example of the huge amount of change that can be made through the implementation of a pull strategy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;How a proliferation of government agencies negatively impacts a country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The type of person who is best suited to be a leader in the market creating innovation space.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Aid for developing countries: how the approach needs to change.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Efosa explains why good laws are not enough to create thriving communities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Key factors that resulted in the rise and fall of Venice.•&nbsp;&nbsp;How Efosa believes we should be tackling the issue of corruption.•&nbsp;&nbsp;A tribute to Clayton Christenson.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The Prosperity Process; Efosa’s future book.&nbsp;&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:&nbsp;Efosa OjomoEfosa Ojomo on TwitterGlobal Prosperity Research Group at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive InnovationThe Prosperity ParadoxMo IbrahimGambling on DevelopmentYuen Yuen AngWhy Nations FailThe Innovator's Dilemma<a href=""...
6/27/202259 minutes, 12 seconds
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Lessons on Economic Growth for the Future with Dr. Jared Rubin

Dr. Jared Rubin is the co-author of&nbsp;How the World Became Rich: The Historical Origins of Economic Growth,&nbsp;which he wrote with Mark Koyama, a previous guest on the podcast. We are so happy to welcome Jared to the show today to discuss the thesis of his book, and what he and Mark aimed to add to the literature on the subject of economic growth in the contemporary context. This is a fascinating and thoughtful conversation, packed with insight and nuance on important arguments of the past, what is needed to broaden and enhance our understanding of economic growth, and how far these projects might go towards enabling us to see a better future. Dr. Rubin answers some questions about geographic, legal, and technological explanations for growth, and stresses the importance of synergy and interplay between these theories for a more illuminating picture. So to hear all this and a whole lot more, including many reasons to pick up his latest book, tune in today!&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Introducing the role of culture in economic growth, and tracing the roots of this inquiry.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Positioning How the World Became Rich in the lineage of literature on the subject of growth.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Looking at England and the emergence of modern growth; arguments over the most important factors.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Dr. Rubin tried to bring different theories into conversation through writing this book.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Unpacking the argument for the role of liberal speech norms in the history of development, proposed by McCloskey.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Technological progress and geographic endowments; why this relationship is worth exploration.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Dr. Rubin's perspective on the role of law and legal systems in the growth trajectory of a country.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Discussing the relative slowing of growth in the Western world and what this may mean.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Dr. Rubin briefly comments on an argument for total factor productivity growth being linear.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Thoughts on big picture topics through a micro lens.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The lessons we can take from history for the most impactful policies for growth in the future.&nbsp;&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:&nbsp;Dr. Jared RubinChapman UniversityHow the World Became Rich: The Historical Origins of Economic GrowthDr. Jared Rubin on TwitterMark KoyamaCharter Cities Podcast Episode 16 with Mark KoyamaRobert LucasJoel MokyrCulture of GrowthJoe...
6/13/20221 hour, 3 minutes, 8 seconds
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The Real Story of China in Africa with Deborah Brautigam

China’s presence in Africa is widely speculated upon (and wildly misunderstood). Joining us today to speak to the truth of the matter is Sinologist-Africanist Professor of International Development at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Deborah Brautigam. Deborah is also the Director of the China Africa Research Initiative (CARI) and author of Will Africa Feed China? and, more famously, The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa. In this episode, she shares her nuanced perspective on the Chinese development model and aid program in Africa and how the rise of NGOs has shifted the nature of aid, in general. We discuss the role of aid as a geopolitical instrument and the differences in the ways China and the West approach the funding of infrastructure in Africa. We learn about Chinese loans versus commoditized loans, the lessons China has learned through its various endeavors, and the lessons Deborah suspects it is yet to learn. Tune in to hear more about the balance of ensuring sustainability and respecting sovereignty, what’s causing the decline in Chinese infrastructure lending, and where China’s focus has turned since the pandemic.Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Deborah Brautigam’s interest in the Chinese development model and aid program in Africa.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The argument of her first book, Will Africa Feed China?•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The problems Western aid projects have faced.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the rise of NGOs has shifted the nature of aid.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The accountability structure of China in Africa.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Aid as a geopolitical instrument.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The two primary sources of finance for infrastructure in Africa: China and the bond markets.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The Japanese Goa formula and its impact on Chinese aid practices today.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Chinese commodity-backed aid differs from that of Western entities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Zambia’s privatization of their copper mines.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why commoditized loans have a bad reputation.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The advantage Chinese loans have over commoditized loans.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Competitive bidding and external supervision of Chinese infrastructure in Angola.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;China’s reasons for supporting the developing world in the 60s and 70s: to support socialism and wrest diplomatic recognition away from Taipei and towards Beijing.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The lessons China took from undertaking the Tanzam railway project in the 70s.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Tazara Syndrome: the pride of funding projects nobody else wants to fund.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The art of project appraisal and how to minimize risk in demand projections.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The balance between ensuring the sustainability of aid projects and respecting sovereignty.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How political interests undermine the ability of state-owned enterprises to be sustainable.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The specialization and division of labor between China and the West.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The Western profit model of new urban agglomerations.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The misguided New Yorker report on debt-trap diplomacy in Sri Lanka.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Reasons for the recent decline in Chinese infrastructure spending.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;China’s plans to focus on local infrastructure.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Various views on China's motives amongst policymakers.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Deborah’s book recommendations pertaining to Chinese issues.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Deborah...
5/23/20221 hour, 13 minutes, 58 seconds
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Linda Colley on War and Constitutions

Dr. Linda Colley is a leading expert on British imperial and global history, among other topics in British history. Dr. Colley is the M.C. Davis 1958 Professor of History at Princeton University, here today to discuss her newly published book, The Gun, The Ship, and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions and the Making of the Modern World, which explores the complex interrelationship between the rise of modern warfare and the rise of modern constitutionalism worldwide. After introducing Dr. Colley, and discussing the themes of her book, we launch into a conversation about what drove her to research and write about the topic of constitutions across the globe. Hear about the brief period during 1653 when Britain had its own constitution, before Dr. Colley unpacks the role of printing press technology and the spread of literacy, and explains why building the French navy helped the American revolutionaries, but not the French monarchy. We address Toussaint’s two purposes for the constitutions, which unfolds into a discussion about the extent to which constitutions are not just a domestic tool, but serve an international purpose, with Tunisia as one of our examples. Hear how Japan’s constitution has worked to concede certain rights for its people, learn about James Beale’s vision for governance and modernization, and much more. Tune in for an in-depth discussion on the ever-evolving role of this fascinating type of document today.&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Today’s guest, Dr. Linda Colley, expert on British imperial and global history.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Themes explored in her newly published book, The Gun, The Ship, and the Pen.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The brief period during 1653 when Britain had its own constitution.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What moved her to write about global constitutions and their interpretations.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The constitution drafted in Philadelphia in 1787’s role in influencing the rest of the globe.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mechanics of the relationship between war, revolution, and the emergence of constitutions.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the spread of literacy and printing presses facilitated codified constitutions.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why building the French navy helped the American revolutionaries, but not the French monarchy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Toussaint’s two purposes for the constitutions: to eradicate slavery in Haiti, and make it known to France that this is the case.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The extent to which constitutions are not just a domestic tool, but a play for international legitimacy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Tunisia’s different approach to constitution making.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Japan’s constitution has worked to concede certain rights for its people.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;James Beale’s vision for governance and modernization.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The evolution and plateau of the role and rights of women in society.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Observing the link to the pressures of war within global constitutions.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Thomas Paine’s military service impacted his views, and how actual military service influences constitution makers in general.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Catherine the Great in Russia and Bolivar in South America, and their constitutional influence.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Tacit borrowings from the British model, and ultra-plagiarism in Norway.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The best practices approach that can be pulled from all of these methods.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How constant borrowing results in a final text that is distinct for each...
5/9/202249 minutes
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Charter Cities Atlas: Venice with Thibault Serlet and Corey Tazzara

Today’s episode is a bonus episode, where we take a deep dive into the Italian Renaissance (with a focus on Venice) with world-renowned expert, Professor Corey Tazzara. From the fall of the Roman Empire to the formation of independent city-states, to the financial and political ramifications of the crusades, to the rise and fall of Venice as an economic powerhouse, this conversation has it all! We start at the beginning, with a comment on the role of the Middle Ages in the formation of society as it is today, and how the literature of the times contributed to the maintenance of the Roman Empire as a power. Despite this, there was decentralization across Europe in the 800s, and independent city-states arose. Rome regained its power from tourism and through regaining the seat of the papacy, while Florence formed the birthplace of the Renaissance through its art, culture, and adoption of investment banking. Milan became an authoritarian state, and we hear how the condottieri contributed to this. Unexpectedly, Genoa gained wealth in the loss of the War of Chioggia, while Venice was created from the marshes by refugees. The focus of the conversation shifts to the role of Venice in the Renaissance, and how it influenced society as we see it today. We learn how venture capital was created to profit from the Crusades, and how links to other cultures and societies benefitted the trade between Venice and the rest of Europe and the Middle East. Tune in to find out how the Venice of today differs from the Renaissance era Venice, and so much more, in this incredible discussion!&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Welcome to Corey Tazzara, professor of history at Scripps College and the world’s leading expert on medieval and early modern freeports.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Background into the decentralization of the Roman Empire, and why we owe today’s society to the Middle Ages.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the literature of the Middle ages maintains the Roman Empire’s power.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The formation of independent city-states across Europe, and how they worked.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The role of the papacy in reviving Roman law.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What the 12th Century Renaissance is, and how it impacted the European economy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the crusades altered the trade done at the port city-states: sea vs land travel.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why the Fourth Crusade was the first example of venture capital.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The radical democracies that started in the Byzantine era across Italy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A quick tour of the major houses at play across the city-states in the 1300s.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The revival of Rome: from the center of an empire to a tourism hotspot.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Florence became a republic, and why Corey feels it is the birthplace of the Renaissance.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why the adoption of investment banking fueled Florence’s prosperity and the rise of the Medici family.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Turning to Genoa: how the loss of the War of Chioggia lead to the gain of Western wealth in the centuries to come.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The role of the condottieri in Milan’s authoritarian government and war-based economy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Who Francesco Sforza was, and how he served as an example of the dangers of the condottieri to political powers.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A few honorable mentions of other city-states that had tumultuous histories throughout the Renaissance.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The formation of Venice: how it was formed, and why its history is so different from other city-states.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The story of St. Mark’s remains, why Mussolini hated the church of San Marco, and what these anecdotes say about Venice.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Venice is the birthplace of investment banking and its role in the Fourth...
5/2/20222 hours, 21 minutes, 33 seconds
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Tackling Poverty and Preventing War with Chris Blattman

The Ukraine-Russia conflict has dominated headlines over the past few months, with countless theories and hypotheses being touted to explain Russia’s aggression. Join us as we talk to one of the world’s leading experts on violence and politics, Professor Chris Blattman. We start the episode with an explanation of why Chris chose to write his latest book Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace, and how he can apply the logic within to explain Putin's motivations and behavior. We learn why peace is a better driver for innovation and competition than war, and what Chris feels about the controversial observations made by John Mearsheimer about the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Tune in to learn what the George Washington example is, and the role of the COVID-19 pandemic in the rising levels of violence within the USA. We next move on to the role of CBT in reducing violence across the globe, with some insightful examples of Mr. Rogers-like personas across Africa who Chris has worked with. This episode is jam-packed with tons of fascinating insights into current affairs, how to best tackle poverty, theoretical debate and so much more. Join us today as we talk to a true role model and thought leader on another episode of the Charter Cities podcast.&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;An introduction to Chris Blattman, author, economist, political scientist, expert on violence, and seasoned peacebuilder.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The inspiration behind why Chris wrote Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Chris’s response to John Mearsheimer’s observations on the Ukraine-Russia conflict.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Chris is content that his book was published before Russia invaded Ukraine.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The five logics of war applied to the Ukraine-Russia conflict: unchecked interests, intangible incentives, uncertainty, commitment problems, and misperceptions.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Chris feels that peace drives competition and innovation better than war.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The George Washington example: what it means and how it can be applied to other situations.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Chris is interested in applying Machiavellian logic to his research and blogging.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted levels of violence within the USA, and why.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why the Mr. Rogers principle is so effective, and examples Chris has come across in other countries.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;CBT and how it can be applied to reduce poverty.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The monetary values associated with CBT across different cultures.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why oversimplifying complex problems is bad for the solution, and why including locals in the solution is key to success.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;An example of one of Chris’ RCTs that failed!•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Chris feels that he might have had a larger impact on society if he had moved into consulting in Africa.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The factors that helped to make the Harris School the success it is today.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Chris thinks giving cash is more effective at reducing poverty than other interventions.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How decentralizing power will be the ultimate solution to poverty.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Chris’s thoughts on the Charter Cities Institute and goals.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Where Chris is now, and the issues he will be researching in the next five years. &nbsp;&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:&nbsp;Chris Blattman on LinkedInChris Blattman<a...
4/19/20221 hour, 15 minutes, 32 seconds
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Seeding the Future 02: A Fundamental Cultural Shift with Sid Sijbrandij

In order to build the cities of the future, there is a need for synergy between a number of elements and institutions and, as philanthropy evolves with the times, an active approach to impacting the necessary changes means an understanding of these sometimes disparate forces. Joining us on the show today to discuss his philanthropic philosophy and plans is the Founder of GitLab, Sid Sijbrandij. Sid is also a supporter of the Charter Cities Institute while occupying an active role in the nutrition, software, crypto, and non-profits spaces. Today, he generously shares his thoughts on what is needed right now in order to push things forward for the next generation of cities. We discuss GitLab’s approach to helping Ukraine and their contingent of employees who live in the country and we touch on what needs attention in the longer term, especially with regards to bridging gaps between separate industries or institutions for shared benefit before Sid shares his thoughts on how AI will influence philanthropy in the coming years and what he hopes to see in the cities of the future. To hear all this and much more from a very special guest, join us on Seeding the Future!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;GitLab's current focus on helping Ukraine and its employees stationed there.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The role of new technology in providing aid for Ukraine.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Motivations for Sid's philanthropy and how he frames his efforts.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Creative opportunities presented by remote work and new cities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Considering the different avenues through which Sid explores impacting positive change.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Sid's thoughts on where new wealth might go and how innovation can lead to impact.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Areas that could be improved upon; bringing together wisdom from different spaces.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The things that Sid looks for when assessing a new team or organization to work with.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;AI and philanthropy in the 21st century; Sid weighs in on where we are headed.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What happens when money transfers between generations and how it impacts philanthropy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Sid's predictions about the geography of wealth and giving.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Transparency and opinions in a big company; why Sid stands by this model.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Amenities that Sid values in the charter cities of the future.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Factors that would have a positive influence on philanthropic involvement in charter cities.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The excitement that Sid holds for longer-term projects.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Important questions in the discussion on the future of philanthropy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Balancing the roles of the state and philanthropic institutions for public goods.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Sid Sijbrandij on TwitterGitLabGiveWellJohn ArnoldLionsRotaryBanksyCaroline Whistler<a href=""...
4/11/202230 minutes, 28 seconds
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Seeding the Future 01: Philanthropy for Policy Change with John D. Arnold

Welcome to Seeding the Future, a podcast from the Charter Cities Institute, where we explore how giving and philanthropy are changing as wealth is created in new industries, at younger ages, and by more diverse demographics. In this inaugural epode, we hear from John Arnold, American philanthropist, former Enron executive, and Founder of&nbsp;Arnold&nbsp;Ventures, about philanthropy for policy change. John hit it big trading natural gas in the 1990s and 2000s, going on to found one of the most successful energy trading hedge funds, Centaurus Energy, after leaving Enron. He now ranks as one of the world's richest people, with a net worth well over a billion dollars, and runs Arnold Ventures (formerly the Laura and John Arnold Foundation) with his wife, an organization doing groundbreaking work in criminal justice reform. Today, John shares how education reform, system design, and public policy inform his giving and some of the challenges he has encountered in advocating for policy. We discuss political polarization, crypto wealth, and their impact on philanthropy and John shares his interesting perspective on nonprofits as third parties that can solve problems in areas that governments and the private sector can’t, plus so much more! Make sure not to miss this conversation with the billionaire philanthropist taking on criminal justice reform, John Arnold.Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How education reform, system design, and public policy have informed John’s philanthropy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What his strategy for impact entails when it comes to advocating for policy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Major changes John has witnessed in philanthropy, including a shift to ‘giving while living’.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Bridging the gap between founders and the nonprofit world with patience and commitment.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why John believes nonprofits need to be more direct with donors.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Challenges that come with advocating for policy, particularly in the criminal justice space.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Political polarization and philanthropy; what role nonprofits can play in voting reform.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How decentralized crypto wealth will impact the philanthropy of the future.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Global conflict resolution efforts and why organizations have lost momentum in this area.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Finding problems that philanthropy can solve by looking in areas that are too politically or financially risky for the government or the private sector.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;John’s thoughts on the disconnect between philanthropic intent and philanthropic action.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The inherent flaws of donor-advised funds that the ACE Act seeks to solve.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why John is impressed by philanthropic efforts in the climate change space.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why he encourages founders, philanthropists, and nonprofits not to wait until tomorrow.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How to address the issue of connecting nonprofits with donors and vice versa.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:John D. Arnold on TwitterArnold Ventures‘Against Big Bets’Charter Cities InstituteSkye Lawrence on LinkedIn
4/11/202249 minutes, 44 seconds
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Building Up and Not Out with Heba Elhanafy

Across the global south, cities are growing outwards instead of upwards. Talking to us today about why this is a bad thing for commuters, is urban planning researcher Heba Elhanafy. We dive into the episode with an overview of what the newly released planning guidelines cover, and how new city making has evolved. We hear about the three topics the planning guidelines tackle (how the global south builds, what works, and what doesn't work), and why a single developer working on a city is less effective than multiple developers and shareholders. Heba breaks down the benefits of building bottom-up, instead of top-down, and describes what developers can expect to learn from the planning guidelines. We also hear about two examples of urban planning done right: the Manhattan example, and the much smaller scale Ethiopian Urban Expansion initiative. Tune in to learn how communities help the expansion and growth of a development, and how planning a city can help lift people out of poverty. We wrap up the episode with some of Heba's personal experiences of traffic living in cities across the global south, and why she believes a new model needs to be implemented. So, for all this and so much more, press “Play” now!&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Welcome to today’s guest, urban researcher Heba Elhanafy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What the newly released planning guidelines cover.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How new city-making has changed over time.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The three topics the planning guide looks at: how the global south builds, what works, and what doesn’t work.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why one developer building a city is a bad idea.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The benefits of building bottom-up, instead of top-down.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How planning can assist chartering cities that lift people out of poverty.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why the planning guidelines will help developers.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;An example of the Ethiopian Urban Expansion Initiative.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Understanding that communities will help with the expansion and growth of a development.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The Manhattan example, as a large-scale example.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Enhancing mobility within a city, and the benefits to workers.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why building up is better than building out.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:&nbsp;Heba Elhanafy on LinkedInCharter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on FacebookCharter Cities Institute on Twitter
4/4/202234 minutes, 6 seconds
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The New Urban Aesthetic with Dr. Samuel Hughes

In January 2020, the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission published ‘Living with beauty’, a report that has led to a new national design guide and model design code with changes to the national policy. The policy changes replaced the word ‘good design’ with ‘beauty’, but is there more to beauty than just appearance? Joining us to discuss the beautification of urban spaces today is Dr. Samuel Hughes, a Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange, a Research Fellow in Philosophy, Theology, and Religion at Oxford University, and a frequent commentator on issues ranging from architecture and urbanism to aesthetics. He was also Sir Roger Scruton's researcher on the Building Beautiful Commission. His focus at Policy Exchange is on understanding why the quantity and quality of new homes and neighborhoods is so inadequate in the UK and developing policy instruments to improve them. In this episode, we discuss the consideration of aesthetics in the urban planning process, the concept of beauty as a benchmark that all new developments should meet, and how empowering residents to design their own streets can help solve the housing crisis that the UK is currently facing. We also touch on survivorship bias; data, technology, and aesthetics; and the cost of suburbia, as well as the positive and negative aspects of path dependency, and more! Make sure to join us today for a fascination conversation about the ‘new’ urban aesthetic with Dr. Samuel Hughes.Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Samuel’s philosophy studies have influenced his views on urbanism and architecture.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;His reflections on the role that aesthetics or ‘beauty’ plays in UK urban planning debates.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the win-win model for ‘street votes’ impacts the future of UK cities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Samuel describes what he calls a bobtailed version of street votes in Houston, Texas.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why he believes we find older buildings more attractive than contemporary architecture.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Survivorship bias versus loss of skills necessary to replicate ‘more beautiful’ architecture.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The appetite that fueled the dramatic shift in architectural style post WWI, and gave birth to Brutalism, for example.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Samuel shares why he believes that architects tend to make bad urban planners.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How modern simulation and design technology have changed the built environment.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The role empirical data plays in influencing the aesthetics of the built environment.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;While he doesn’t share the contempt for suburbia that many of his peers have, Samuel acknowledges that it imposes enormous costs.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What the west can learn about architecture and urban form from places like Japan.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;German architecture as an example of path dependency as a positive and negative force.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Samuel’s advice for building a new city: design institutional structures in cities that will allow those cities to evolve over time.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Learn more about Samuel’s book on philosophical approaches to artistic modernism.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Dr. Samuel HughesDr. Samuel Hughes on LinkedInDr. Samuel Hughes on TwitterPolicy Exchange<a...
2/7/202242 minutes, 10 seconds
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Market Urbanism with Scott Beyer

Joining us in conversation today is Scott Beyer, the Founder and CEO of the Market Urbanism Report, a media company dedicated to advancing the free market’s classically liberal approach to urban issues. Tune in to hear Scott’s definition of market urbanism and how it relates to the traditional free market. He describes how his audience varies drastically from a partisan and ideological perspective and tells us why this happens, before highlighting cities across the world that embody aspects of his vision for market urbanism and talking about how private cities around the world implement liberalization. We touch on how market urbanism’s approach to zoning differs from the Euclidean model, speak about MTRs, and delve into the history of transportation with a focus on the railway. Scott points us toward an article he penned with the hypothesis that introducing open access competition can serve to benefit inner city rail, before getting into other areas of infrastructure and why smaller governments often get it right. You’ll also hear about construction, quasi-public housing, and Scott’s predictions for how crypto will impact how cities are run. Join us to hear all this and more today!Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;An introduction to today’s guest, Scott Beyer.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What market urbanism is and what the Market Urbanism Report involves.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The relationship between the market urbanist and the traditional free market communities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Scott’s audience varies drastically from a partisan and ideological perspective.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why this happens: people who like the urbanism aspect tend to be on the left, and then the people who like the market aspect tend to be on the right.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;His opinion that no city in the US perfectly embodies market urbanism.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Free market oriented transit in Mexico City: Peseros or Jitneys.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The incentive that the Singaporean government has put in place to build housing.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How private cities around the world implement liberalization, for example, Gurgaon, India.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How market urbanism zoning differs from the kind of zoning we have now.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The differentiation that the Euclidean model necessitates in comparison to the market urbanism model.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Shoup-piling and how Scott would go about this as someone who writes for the public.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;MTRs relationship with zoning regulations.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The history of transportation and how the railway began to really struggle.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;“Open Access” Competition Can Improve Intercity Rail, the article he recently co-authored.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;His views on what is possible in terms of creating open access competition for intercity rail.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the private sector creates a barrier to entry in terms of infrastructure.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why the smaller government spend on infrastructure is usually wiser than the federal government.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What cross laminated timber is and how it is useful for the future of construction.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why he isn’t completely opposed to the idea of public or quasi-public housing.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;His predictions for the impact of cryptocurrency on how cities are operated in the future.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What Municipal Utility Districts are and how they impact housing and urban development.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Scott weighs in on what needs to be in place within a state for market urbanism to take off.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The world tour he is doing for research...
11/29/202151 minutes, 1 second
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Urbanization and Urban Governance with Ed Glaeser

Today’s guest is Ed Glaeser, a Professor of Economics at Harvard University, and he joins us to talk about urbanization and urban planning. Ed has written, or co-authored several books, including&nbsp;The Triumph of The City, and more recently,&nbsp;Survival of the City: Living and Thriving in an Age of Isolation, published this year with David Cutler. Our conversation begins on the subject of the rapid urbanization of parts of the developing world such as India and Sub-Saharan Africa. We explore what lessons can be learned in this regard from the urbanization of Latin America in the 1960s. Our exchange moves to touch on ways of urbanizing without industrialization or via services rather than manufacturing. Shifting onto the topic of urban governance, we hear Ed’s thoughts on the 15-minute city concept, how to overcome political constraints to construction such as vetocracy, and how to push back against cars when they stand as status symbols to the newly rich. We also get into why the schools in big US cities are failing and how to deal with the rising carbon emissions that come as developing countries urbanize. We then talk about COVID-related challenges to productivity and the supply chain, before wrapping up on the subject of whether charter cities are a way of experimenting with pro-entrepreneurship institutions.Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The lessons to be learned from Latin America’s urbanization regarding transport and more.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Countries that have become urbanized without being industrialized.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The connection between urbanization and moving out of poverty.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Perspectives on manufacturing versus service-led paths toward transformation.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Whether there is a distinction between urban migrants who arrive due to ‘pull’ versus ‘push’ factors.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Ed’s thoughts on whether secondary cities can be as productive as primary ones.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The contrast between entrepreneurship and poor living conditions in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Under which conditions private provision (PPP) works best and worst.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What we can learn from large urban infrastructure projects built in the 1970s.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Whether there are examples of cities that are good at combatting vetocracy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The leaders behind cities that have experienced massive urbanization.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Ed thinks the 15-minute city is a dead-end concept but agrees with some aspects of it.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How to push back against environmentally damaging status symbols for the newly rich as a planner.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The factors that contribute to suburbanization and whether China is headed that way.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How to deal with the rising carbon emissions that come as developing countries urbanize.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why large cities in the US are failing on the schooling front and Ed’s thoughts on a solution.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Ed’s thoughts on a land-grant university model in developing countries.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How to grapple with current COVID-related supply chain challenges.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Productivity after social distancing in light of the connection between density and productivity.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why London and New York are still the only truly global cities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Whether charter cities are a way of experimenting with pro-entrepreneurship institutions.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Ed GlaeserNational Bureau of Economic...
11/8/202154 minutes, 35 seconds
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Building Strong Towns with Charles “Chuck” Marohn

“The North American development pattern, the way we build our cities, creates a lot of liabilities and not enough wealth, financially, to actually take care of those liabilities.” These are the words of today’s guest Charles “Chuck” Marohn. Chuck is the founder and president of Strong Towns, as well as a professional engineer and land use planner with decades of experience. He is also the author of Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity and Confessions of a Recovering Engineer. In this episode, Chuck sheds light on how the way in which we build our cities has drastically changed since before the Great Depression and how the current North American development pattern creates towns and cities that lack the wealth to be able to maintain their critical infrastructure and take care of their own futures. Tuning in you’ll hear how the problems of Ferguson, Missouri can be attributed to this pattern, how northeastern cities compare with southwestern cities based on their development since World War II, and why Chuck has more hope for the future of Detroit than the future of Phoenix. For an eye-opening conversation on how we need to adapt in order to build strong towns, tune in today!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Charles “Chuck” Marohn explains how Strong Towns is both an organization and a movement.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the North American development pattern creates towns and cities that are unable to take care of their own futures.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Chuck believes that the way cities grow today has a Ponzi scheme-like aspect to it.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Thoughts on what percentage of the liabilities are covered by Wall Street capital versus state and federal.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How northeastern cities compare with southwestern cities based on their development since World War II.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Ferguson, Missouri as an example of a once affluent area that has aged and is experiencing this distress.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the way in which we build our cities has drastically changed since the pre-Great Depression.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Chuck is excited about the neighborhoods in Detroit where they are reusing old buildings instead of tearing them down.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The concept of the Paris 15-minute city and what Chuck likes about it.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Thoughts on other countries that have copied the North American development pattern.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A comparison between the development styles of cities in the Netherlands versus those of Belgium and why the cities in the Netherlands are doing better.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What we can learn from Amsterdam transitioning from a car-centric environment to a pedestrian and bicycle-centric environment.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What we should expect southwestern American cities like Phoenix to look like in 30 years.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What Chuck would do if building a new town or a new city from scratch.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The lesson we can learn from the shift from the 20th century to the 21st century.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Thoughts on Manhattan’s framework for development.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The concept of a “good party” and why the ratio of private to public investment is more important than the density ratio.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Chuck’s thoughts on the YIMBY movement.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Insight into what became of civil engineering.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Thoughts on why the local Government has become so ineffective and so overburdened.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What it means to build a Strong Towns movement and what we can expect from it over the next 5 to 10 years.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer"...
10/25/202153 minutes, 1 second
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Mass Migration with Parag Khanna

Because of the pervasive media coverage of Trumpism, Brexit, and the like, it is easy to assume that the dominant sentiment around the world is that mass migration is a new and terrifying phenomenon that could upend the world as we know it. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth, and we’ve brought Parag Khanna, founder of FutureMap, to explain why. Not only has most of the world remained pragmatic about the topic, but mass migration has been occurring for decades, and although there are some exceptions, in the majority of cases, societies have absorbed the newcomers and the newcomers have assimilated remarkably well. Parag is an Asian-American who has also lived in Europe, and his personal perspective combined with the in-depth research that he has conducted around migration, sustainability, community, governance, citizenship and more, reveals a lot about what drives us to do the things we do, and offers a glimpse of what our future could look like.&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Parag shares his thoughts on why the US should (hypothetically) buy Greenland.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The premise of Parag’s new book, Move.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Two megatrends that are currently shaping the world.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Four potential futures that Parag thinks we are heading for.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Immigration policies in the UK, US, and Canada, and what these indicate about the future.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Changes in migration dynamics since Parag’s school days, and what is driving those changes.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The sentiment amongst European politicians about migrants that Parag has picked up through his research.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How societies have historically dealt with mass migration.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;High volumes of migration that take place in East and South-East Asia.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Value that lies in having civilizational confidence.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Parag explains how Germany is breaking open the definition of what German-ness is.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A brief analysis of the migration situation in the UAE.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Primary factors which motivate the migration of Western expats.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The nuanced nature of citizenship.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Sustainability, mobility, and connectivity from the perspective of the youth of today, and Parag’s opinion on where these ideas emerged from.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How definitions of community have changed, and how they are changing now.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The important role that cities are going to play in coming migrations.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Parag explains what the mobile real estate phenomenon is, and what is driving it.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Parag does not think de-urbanization is a major trend, although it is being talked about as if it is.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Plans that Parag has for the future.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:&nbsp;Parag KhannaFuture MapCharter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on FacebookCharter Cities Institute on Twitter
10/11/202146 minutes, 9 seconds
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e-Residency in Estonia with Lauri Haav

At the beginning of 2021 Lauri Haav altered his career path from the world of tech startups to the realm of government. This might sound like an incongruous move, but the Estonian government is more advanced than most countries in terms of its level of digitization and its embracing of technology, and Lauri is currently running a program which is the first of its kind. Almost 7 years ago Estonia launched their e-Residency program; this means that almost anyone, almost anywhere in the world, can become an e-resident of Estonia. Currently, if e-residents were a city, they would be the third biggest city in Estonia! If you’re wondering why obtaining an Estonian e-ID card is an appealing option, you’ll get all the answers in today’s episode. We also discuss the various reasons why the Estonian government is so ahead of the curve in terms of digitization, how they have assisted their population in making the transition to digital platforms as seamless as possible, challenges that they have experienced, and what they hope to achieve in the coming years.&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Estonia’s advanced level of digitization, and what their e-Residency program is.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Lauri shares what his professional background in the tech space consisted of.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Similarities and differences between working in technology companies and working for government organizations.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Factors that resulted in the Estonian government’s early embrace of the internet.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Estonia’s approach to electronic ID cards differs to most other European countries.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Lauri explains the mechanics of an E-ID card.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Estimated percentages of the Estonian population who make use of Estonia’s various E-platforms.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Ways that Estonia ensures their e-Platforms are secure and their approach to privacy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the Estonian government attracts talent to its technology department.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Some examples which highlight the constraints of some traditional procurement processes.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The value of working in different types of organizations.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Challenges that come with the growth of an organization or department.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;An e-Government program that was drastically accelerated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Two main reasons that people will sign up for the Estonian e-Residency program.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The percentage of new businesses in Estonia over the past 3 years that are owned by e-Residents.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the government is going to determine whether or not the e-Residency program is beneficial to Estonia.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Technology that underpins key public infrastructure in Estonia.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Countries which are following in Estonia’s footsteps, and how Lauri feels about this.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Lauri shares his opinion on the work being done by Propsera.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How being an EU member affects Estonia’s e-Residency program.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:&nbsp;Lauri Haav on LinkedInCharter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on FacebookCharter Cities Institute on Twitter
9/27/202150 minutes, 31 seconds
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The Royal Society of the Arts with Anton Howes

For the past 270 years, The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has been the U. K's national improvement agency. If this sounds difficult to wrap your head around, it's because it is hard to pin down exactly what a national improvement agency does. Today's guest, Anton Howes, is a historian of innovation, and his first book is Arts and Minds: How the Royal Society of Arts Changed a Nation, where he unpacks this organizations. In today's episode, Anton offers insights into the RSA and how it has evolved over time. At different moments in history, it has played significant roles in influencing the social landscape. We hear about where the organization finds itself today and where some of the opportunities lie moving into the future. As a historical hub for innovation and invention, the RSA drew some formidable forces into its ranks. Our conversation also touches on the social status of inventors and how this can change, what we know about the nature of inventions, and whether you have to be an expert to be an inventor. Tune in to hear it all!&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce is.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Understanding a national improvement agency and the role it plays.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Hear about what the draw of joining the RSA was.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Precursors to the RSA and some of the problems with these organizations.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Some of the changes the RSA undergoes in the 19th century.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the Great Exhibition of 1851 changed the landscape.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the 1800 utilitarian movement in the UK was similar to the progressive movement in the late 19th Century in the U.S.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The influence that the utilitarian idea had on examinations and the long-lasting impact.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The RSA’s work in conservationism and what the springboard for this was.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Prince Phillip’s interest in conservation and how he influenced the RSA.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What the RSA does today and what the future has in store for the organization.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Opportunities Anton believes are being missed with the current structure of the RSA.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Anton would structure the new world fair and the sectors he would include.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The importance of being able to showcase competing interests in public.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Suggestions for how we can raise the social status of inventors.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;We should encourage innovation across all sectors of society.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What Anton would do if he had 100 million dollars to change the status of the sciences.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Which inventions were invented after their time and the consequence of this.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What separates inventors from everyone else in society.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How to build a culture of innovation and invention in a city or country.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The reason that Anton left conventional academia.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Unpacking the link between expertise and invention.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:&nbsp;Anton HowesArts and Minds: How the Royal Society of Arts Changed a NationThe RSASilent...
9/13/20211 hour, 18 minutes, 3 seconds
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The Impact of Technology and Remote Access on Cities and Suburbs with Dror Poleg

Today’s guest is Dror Poleg, an economic historian who explores how physical and digital systems affect human behavior, well-being, and dignity. Dror joins us on the show to talk about how technology is undermining the basic foundations of real estate’s value and how this is scrambling a lot of what we know about buildings as well as cities. Dror’s thesis is that because of the way technology has enabled remote work and access, people no longer make their choices about where to live for reasons of work and access. Therefore, if you want to attract people to a building, city, or neighborhood, it's less about the location or the physical characteristics of your asset and more about how are you meeting the lifestyle needs of that specific group of people that you're targeting. Dror sketches out different ways in which we could see cities and suburbs changing due to the emergence of residential and office brands that cater to multitudes of customers with specific and idiosyncratic needs. Dror also speaks to how entrepreneurs could take advantage of these changes, how the structure of corporations might change, and how remote work will impact things like innovation and productivity. Tune in today.&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Dror’s thesis that technology is undermining the basic foundations of real estate’s value.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How technology has influenced the reasons behind people’s choices of where to live.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;New factors that are driving value in real estate and shifting it toward being a consumer good.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How these new forces driving peoples’ decisions about where to live are influencing human settlement patterns or the structure of cities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The widening gap between creative high earners and service workers.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How superstar and second-tier cities will change as a result of these new patterns.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What suburbs around cities will have to do to remain attractive and accommodate new residents.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Whether it will be possible to make an economic case for urbanization in suburbs to suit the lifestyle needs of new residents.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Which historical analogies are most applicable to the current changes in real estate.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How entrepreneurs can take advantage of these up-and-coming trends.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Ways in which remote work will change the importance of time zones.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How WeWork exemplifies capitalizing on these shifting consumer needs for all its faults.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Different ways that cloud kitchens are changing the urban landscape.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How these changes will impact productivity over the next 20 years and the tensions it will create.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The evolution of corporations and how remote work will affect firm formation.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How remote work will impact innovation and productivity.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Whether Dror agrees that everybody will be Western-educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic in the next two decades.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Whether the changes Dror predicts will happen in low-income countries as well.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Mayor Saurez has apprehended these movements and could change Miami.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What the tech diaspora would need to do to keep the places they move to attractive.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mark’s thoughts on what remote work will mean for the future of charter cities.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Dror PolegDror Poleg on Twitter<a...
8/23/20211 hour, 5 minutes, 35 seconds
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Shaping a Preferable Economic Future with Eli Dourado

As we step into a new decade, it’s a good time to reflect on our expectations for the next 10 years. There are a wide variety of possible futures, some of them more plausible than others, but how do we shape a preferable future? Today’s guest believes that technological advancements could result in what he calls the ‘Roaring 20s’, with a productivity and economic boom that extends well beyond the expected post-pandemic rebound. Eli Dourado is an economist and regulatory hacker living in Washington, DC, and a senior research fellow at the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University. His research is focused on dramatically increasing the pace of innovation and economic growth, especially in hard tech and aerospace, and in today’s episode, he outlines what total factor productivity (TFP) is and why it matters, how technology could lead to the end of what he calls the Great Stagnation, and how charter cities fit into the concept of neomedievalism. We also discuss the interplay between political change, technology, and geography, and how meaningful policy change can result from the deployment of new technologies, as well as how NEPA prevents the government from accelerating growth and why we should bring back wooly mammoths. Tune in for a fascinating conversation about shaping a preferable future with Eli Dourado!&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Eli starts by explaining what total factor productivity (TFP) is and why it matters.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why he is focused on TFP as a means for future economic growth.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Five inventions that led to past TFP growth, from the internal combustion engine to electricity.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Learn about the Great Stagnation and why Eli is concerned about TFP growth since 2005.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How reliable total factor productivity statistics are and how they are calculated.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why there appears to be a disparity between dissemination of products and the rate at which innovation is impacting TFP growth.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What neomedievalism is and how charter cities and online communities fit into this concept.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How technology drives political change and the interplay between technology and geography.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Eli shares his predictions for a technology like crypto currency in the next 10 years.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Discover the technological developments Eli is most excited for, from biotech to supersonics.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How we should think about leveraging policy reforms to impact the development and deployment of new technologies.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What percentage of TFP decline can be attributed to regulation versus other cultural factors.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How a higher percentage of linoleic acid in our diets is literally making American softer.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Find out what NEPA is and how it prevents the government from making swift decisions.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Eli reflects on the social change necessary to embrace necessary new infrastructure.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How environmental organizations use NEPA to prevent beneficial projects from going forward.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The growing eco modernist movement advocating for growth and environmental protection.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Eli shares his idea for a remotely piloted airship that could move more cargo, more quickly.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What Eli believes we can expect the impact of AI to be over the next decade.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Learn why it would be a positive step to climate change to bring back wooly mammoths.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What key industries Eli would target in a charter city to allow for greater technological innovation than the US; housing,•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The potential benefits of medical tourism for charter cities to recruit...
8/9/202152 minutes, 40 seconds
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The Decline and Rise of Democracy with David Stasavage

The complex history of democracy and its global origins isn’t taught in school. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to self-educate. On today’s episode, we speak with David Stasavage, a Professor of Political Science and Dean of Social Sciences at the University of New York. He allows us to dip into his incredible wealth of knowledge around the history of this form of governance, as well as giving us his insights and predictions for its future. You’ll hear about the role of technology and geography in the emergence (or non-emergence) of democracy across the globe. We talk about the factors that influence the strength of a city’s fiscal position and David suggests an extreme solution to restoring that power: to disallow the issuing of debt. Next, we talk about the growth rates of autonomous cities, how location and craft guild contribute to growth, and David tells us why the effectiveness of political inclusion rests on how a society is organized. We dive into Olson’s theory of the stationary versus roving bandit, and discuss exit options through the lens of Carneiro’s Circumspection Theory. David weighs in on Herbst’s view that redrawing borders can reduce conflict, and gives us his prediction for how democracy will fare with populism and technocracy in mind. We touch on theories by Henry Pierrine and David recommends Wim Blockman’s research as a rich resource on cities and representation. Tune in for a thorough look into the history of democracy with the future in mind!&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The topic of David’s recently published book, The Decline and Rise of Democracy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The global origins of democracy which contradict the idea of it starting in Athens.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How technology and geography play into the emergence of democracy (or not).•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why cities and smaller states could accrue long-term debt as early as the 13th century.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the strength of the central political unit dictates the strength of a city’s fiscal position.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;An extreme solution to restoring a city’s fiscal strength: disallow the issuing of debt.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;We discuss the reversal of faster growth rates in autonomous cities after 100 years.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How location and craft guild influenced the growth of cities throughout history.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why the effect of political inclusion depends upon how society itself is organized.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;We discuss Olson’s stationary versus roving bandit theory.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Exit options through the lens of Robert Carneiro’s Circumscription Theory.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;David weighs in on Herbst’s view that redrawing borders can reduce conflict.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why, if you have collective governance first, the possibility for bureaucracy is greater.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Local elections as a way for autocratic rulers to gather information.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How David foresees political institutions navigating outdated laws and godlike technology.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The role of connection and disconnection to the state in decentralization, and local control.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;David’s prediction on how democracy will fare with populism and technocracy in mind.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why it might be true that government officials can’t achieve anything alone.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;We discuss the theory outlined in Henry Pierrine’s Early Democracies in the Low Countries.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Wim Blockman’s research as a powerful resource on cities and representation.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;David’s book in gestation about the future of democracy.&nbsp;&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:<a href=""...
7/26/202146 minutes, 9 seconds
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Understanding the Hidden Forces that Shape Society with Samo Burja

There has never been an immortal society. No matter how technologically advanced our own society is, it is unlikely to be an exception. In order to achieve a positive future that defies these odds, it is critical that we understand the hidden forces that shape society. To help us do that is today’s guest, Samo Burja, a sociologist and the Founder of Bismarck Analysis, a consulting firm that investigates the political and institutional landscape of society. Samo is a&nbsp;Research Fellow&nbsp;at the&nbsp;Long Now Foundation,&nbsp;where he studies how institutions can endure for centuries and millennia, and a&nbsp;Senior Research Fellow in Political Science&nbsp;at the&nbsp;Foresight Institute,&nbsp;where he advises how institutions can shape the future of technology. He&nbsp;is also a writer and a sought-after speaker&nbsp;on history, institutions, and strategy, with a focus on exceptional leaders that create new social and political forms. He has systematized this approach as the Great Founder Theory, which he shares with us today.Listening in, you’ll find out why Samo believes that a small number of functional institutions founded by exceptional individuals form the core of society, what an archeological site in Turkey tells us about the history of complex human social behavior, and what his predictions are for the evolution of the American state and its institutions. Learn what role software engineers play in accelerating cultural and perhaps even political change, what the chances are of the entire world becoming ‘weird’, and the effects that mass supersonic travel will have on cities, plus a whole lot more! Tune in today!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Samo describes his Great Founder Theory and how it is distinct from “great man history.”•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;He weighs in on the natural endowments or geographical determinism arguments.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How incremental cultural developments and traditions fit into Great Founder Theory.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Great Founder Theory differs from theories like Marxism.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Hear why Samo believes that social and material technology build on one another.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Some of the most underrated great founders in history; Confucius and King Ptolemy of Egypt.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What characteristics the great founder of a city needs, including dogged determination.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The importance of having an awareness of different cultures and how they co-exist.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What Gobekli Tepe tells us about the correlation between agriculture and early civilization.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Learn how Gobekli Tepe changes our view on the history of complex human societies.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Samo believes we will continue to find sites that force us to revise our preconceptions.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The reason for the inward-looking nature of many professions in the Western world.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How this myopia became particularly apparent in the public health sector during COVID.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How bureaucracies could benefit from working with talented and widely followed bloggers.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Samo shares his predictions for the evolution of the American state and its institutions; how decayed institutions are a barrier to technology.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Some of the reasons Samo has to be cautiously optimistic about the future of the US.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The cultural innovation that follows forging a new middle-class, as Samo is seeing happening with software engineers in Silicon Valley.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The bravery required to accelerate this change and engage political processes.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Samo’s response to the entire world becoming ‘weird’ (Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic) in two...
7/12/20211 hour, 17 minutes, 13 seconds
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The Making of Nigeria with Feyi Fawehinmi

Today’s guest is Feyi Fawehinmi, author of&nbsp;Formation: The Making of Nigeria from Jihad to Amalgamation. Feyi joins us on the show to talk about the period of history in Nigeria that his book covers and we kick things of hearing our guest talk about his reasons for writing the book. After the Civil War in Nigeria, there was a cultural prohibition on developing a sense of history because of the risk of upsetting an unstable political equilibrium. This combined with a very demographically young country means that many people, therefore, don't know the history of the formation of their state. After providing the context behind the book, Feyi dives into the events it covers, beginning in 1804 with a Jihad led by the Fulani in the northwest part of today's Nigeria which led to the Sokoto caliphate. Feyi takes us through the effects of this Jihad, the role of the ending of the transatlantic slave trade, and the events that led up to European colonization. He gets into the tactics the British used to take over and rule Nigeria and then brings us right up to the present moment in Nigeria. After weighing in on some of the current tensions around migration and oil, Feyi gives us his perspectives on whether we can still expect Nigeria to be a state in 30 years. Wrapping up on a more positive note, we speak about Nigeria’s status as a tech hub and hear Feyi’s views on why this might be.Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;A biased telling of history in Nigeria after the civil war and how Feyi’s book corrects this.•&nbsp;The situation in Nigeria where Feyi’s book starts from; the waging of a state-building jihad in 1804.•&nbsp;Local slavery practices in Nigeria during the caliphate versus how Europeans treated slaves.•&nbsp;The role of the ending of the transatlantic slave trade in events in Nigeria.•&nbsp;Tsetse flies making animal husbandry difficult and the main role of slaves in Nigeria for transportation.•&nbsp;How missionary educated slaves returned to Nigeria and became a new elite.•&nbsp;The bargain struck by the new elite to stop violent neighboring tribes which led to colonization.•&nbsp;Events that led to the formation of the Hausa-Fulani and Feyi’s definition of ethnic groups.•&nbsp;The diverse amount of languages and ethnic groups in Nigeria and the movements that led to this.•&nbsp;The power play between Europeans in Nigeria and what led to them heading inland.•&nbsp;The role of the maxim gun and the Berlin conference in the spread of colonialism in Nigeria.•&nbsp;Joseph Chamberlain’s approach and how the Europeans developed and governed Nigeria.•&nbsp;Why Britain ended up deciding to amalgamate North and South Nigeria.•&nbsp;The difference between French and British colonialism and the after-effects on former colonies.•&nbsp;The current situation in Nigeria; weaponization of civil war and discrimination against Igbo people.•&nbsp;Climate change causing Fulani migrations to feed cattle and the tensions this is causing.•&nbsp;Feyi’s perspectives on whether Nigeria will still be a state in 30 years.•&nbsp;Thoughts from Feyi on why Nigeria is such a tech hub.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Feyi Fawehinmi on TwitterFormation: The Making of Nigeria from Jihad to Amalgamation
6/28/20211 hour, 15 minutes, 58 seconds
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How Displaced People Can Build Economies with Alexander Betts

Refugees bring skills, talents, and aspirations and can be a benefit rather than a burden to receiving societies. Realizing this potential relies on moving beyond a purely humanitarian focus to fully include refugees in host-country economies, build economic opportunities in refugee-hosting regions, and navigate the ambiguous politics of refugee protection. In today’s episode of the Charter Cities Podcast, Kurtis Lockhart speaks with Alexander Betts, a Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs at the University of Oxford, about refugee economics and the role that the private sector, technology, and innovation have to play in the global refugee crisis. Alex currently leads the Refugee Economies program at Oxford, where his research focuses on the political economy of refugee assistance with a focus on African countries. His book, Refuge, co-written with economist Paul Collier, was named one of the best books of the year by the Economist in 2017, and he has written several other books on migration and refugee issues, most recently The Wealth of Refugees, which came out earlier this year. Alex is uniquely qualified to share his insights into the Jordan Compact, as he does in this episode, and he reflects on how displaced people can build economies, the value of providing refugees with basic socio-economic rights and entitlements, and what constitutes meaningful, dignified work for refugee communities. To learn more, make sure to tune in today!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;An introduction to Alexander Betts and his passion for running and debating.•&nbsp;What Alex learned about UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) while working there and how it has informed his work.•&nbsp;How his time in Silicon Valley influenced his thinking and led to Refugee Economics.•&nbsp;Learn about the Jordan Compact and the opportunities it creates for Syrian refugees.•&nbsp;The value of giving refugees basic socio-economic rights and entitlements.•&nbsp;Replicating this special economic zone strategy for refugees in a context-specific manner.•&nbsp;The main impacts of the Jordan Compact, its political successes and economic weaknesses.•&nbsp;Why one of the main challenges has been the gender dimensions of the Compact.•&nbsp;The critiques of the Compact that Alex takes most seriously, including what constitutes meaningful, dignified work for refugees.•&nbsp;Why Alex believes a history of refugee self-reliance has been forgotten.•&nbsp;Hear more about Alex’s research in Africa and the ethical scope for randomized control trials.•&nbsp;The challenge of doing harm to vulnerable populations through random experimentation.•&nbsp;How Alex explored a natural experiment model in Kenya’s Kalobeyei and Kakuma camps.•&nbsp;Why the disconnect between the success of refugee self-reliance and economic inclusion and the lack of adoption more broadly.•&nbsp;Comparing refugees’ economic lives in rural versus urban areas; the pros and cons of each.•&nbsp;What interaction or contact does for social cohesion between host communities and refugees.•&nbsp;How the costliness and fragmentation of African cities can lead to the exclusion of refugees.•&nbsp;The role of cash transfers from organizations in urban assistance models for refugees.•&nbsp;The key support, training, and access to opportunity that refugee-led organizations provide.•&nbsp;Alex reflects on how to get big bureaucracy like UNHCR to embrace change and be more proactive rather than reactive.•&nbsp;Combining status quo options to the benefit of refugees, host communities, and countries.•&nbsp;Hear what Alex is working on now and the inherent value of participatory research methods.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:<a...
6/14/20211 hour, 16 minutes, 14 seconds
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Sustainable Development Zones and a Better Life for Migrants with Joachim Rücker

Our guest today is Joachim Rücker, who currently serves as a key partner in the Sustainable Development Zone Alliance. Preceded by a varied and fascinating career, Joachim served as a special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Kosovo for the duration of its transition to independence and was responsible for its economic reconstruction. He was also the Mayor of a German Industrial City, called Sindelfingen for almost ten years, and has been stationed abroad on numerous occasions with the German Foreign Service in various countries, particularly in Africa. Joachim describes how it all came together in 2017 and 2018 when their company decided to pursue making a positive global impact in migration, humanitarian, and development policies. In our conversation, we discuss Joachim’s work with the Sustainable Development Zone Alliance and how they are utilizing Sustainable Development Zones (SDZs) and Brownfield sites to improve the lives of migrants and increase the transitions from the informal sector to the formal sector. Joachim outlines three key points when considering their new paradigm around integration in cities and the importance of offering integration options for migrants. Find out why it’s important to have an administrative framework in SDZs that exists as a separate entity to the central government, and Joachim explains the importance of collaborating with the local government and grassroots organizations, citing a successful example in Libya when working with local government, even though the central government was fragile and heavily compromised. Finally, we talk about Joachim’s time in Kosovo and how he sees SDZs playing out in the next 20 years. All this and much more. We hope you’ll join us!&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Meet today’s guest, Joachim Rücker.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;An outline of SDZs and how they resemble charter cities.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the Sustainable Development Zones Alliance is working to support cities during a huge increase in urbanization.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The challenges of moving people out of the informal sector.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why SDZs are helpful tools in moving people out of the informal sector.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Their use of elements from special administrative and legal frameworks to solve problems.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Three key points when considering Joachim’s new paradigm around integration in cities.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Firstly, hear about the importance of avoiding the ‘objects of care’ trap.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Secondly, Joachim shares why it’s so important for migrants to have a connection with urban developments.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Lastly, he highlights the necessity of a special legal framework outside of the original city.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why migrants are unlikely to return to places where they were violently oppressed.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The importance of offering local integration options.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How SDZs determine which sectors of the population to focus on.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How to go about determining the administration for a particular SDZ.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The governance authority that SDZs need to be successful.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What SDZs might look like in 20 years and how they could resemble other decentralized innovations.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Being in contact with both local government and grassroots movements and organizations when setting up an SDZ.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Working with local leaders when the central government is fragile, as it is in Libya.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why SDZs require donors and investors
5/24/202141 minutes, 44 seconds
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Cost Differences in Railway Infrastructure Projects Globally with Alon Levy

Our guest today is Alon Levy, a fellow with the NYU Marron Institute. Their research focuses on public transportation and how to apply best practices from cities around the world. Our conversation is about the influence of politics and culture on the cost of building rail-based infrastructure projects across the globe and Alon sketches out many different scenarios, highlighting examples of good or bad construction. Poor building practices often mean cost overrun and surplus extraction and Alon attributes them to cultural elitism, isomorphic mimicry, the ‘design-build plague’, and the hollowing out of the public sector, depending on what country he is speaking about. In the case of the US, part of the reason for the bloated cost premium is a refusal to accept and adopt better building practices from outside its borders and the continued use of outdated models. For some lower-income countries discussed, we see a tendency to adopt practices used by countries perceived to be superior, even though their practices are inherently bad or might not be relevant in a new context. Our conversation also covers recommendations for how a lower-income country like Lagos might approach subway building and the best examples they should follow. For a conversation packed with examples of how political conditions, cultural tendencies, and legal practices influence railway infrastructure building in different countries and the effects this has on cost, be sure to tune in today.&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;How Alon got interested in infrastructure while riding NYC trains.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Definitions of different rail-based transport types to be found in cities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Cost differences of constructing different rail-based transport across the globe.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Cultural elitism and why there is a cost premium on American rapid transit.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The high cost of rail transport construction in countries whose planning logistics happen in English and are inherited from America.•&nbsp;&nbsp;A deterioration in building practices leading to higher construction costs in America.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The spread of a design-build plague in America and from America outward.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The role of perceived externality and NIMBYism in producing cost overrun and surplus extraction.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Hollowing out of the public sector and the overabundance of informal pressures in the private sector.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The issue of environmental protection laws being enforced by lawsuits rather than internal bureaucracy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The evolution of high-cost building techniques in New York.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Perspectives on effective bureaucracy and the politics of railway building practices in Italy, France, Germany, and Spain.•&nbsp;&nbsp;How the cost of mega infrastructure projects will evolve considering China and America’s influences.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The role of isomorphic mimicry and cultural abnegation in inheriting poor building practices.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Different cultural practices around how close to the city to put that stop’s station.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Why optimizing for security instead of transportation effectiveness is paranoid.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Problems with Biden’s infrastructure plan including the budget for State of Good Repair.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The hallucination that the Anglosphere is the best; American tendencies to point out imagined problems in other cultures as an argument against adopting cheaper methods.•&nbsp;&nbsp;How Lagos or low-income countries should approach building a subway.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Perspectives on the internet and outside voices influencing on-the-ground challenges.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Charter Cities...
5/10/20211 hour, 2 minutes, 25 seconds
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Bureaucratic Pockets of Effectiveness in Ghana with Erin McDonnell

Today’s guest is Erin McDonnell, Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame. She joins us on the show to discuss her recent book&nbsp;Patchwork Leviathan, which looks at the emergence of bureaucratic pockets of effectiveness, or high performing groups, within otherwise weak state administrations with a particular focus on Ghana. We unpack Erin’s findings on the causes of these bureaucratic pockets of effectiveness, hearing Erin firstly sketch out what she calls the dual habitus brain. In the pockets of effectiveness Erin studied, she found that many of the participants shared an educational profile which they melded with their knowledge of local conditions. We consider other possible causes of pockets of effectiveness such as team dynamics, the ability to use discretion, systems for reward and the acceptance of failure, and human motives that are difficult to measure formally. We also consider some of the characteristics that keep these pockets of effectiveness robust, a particularly unexpected one being the characteristic of built-in redundancy. Other themes discussed are whether the recent discovery of oil poses a threat to Ghanaian pockets of effectiveness, Erin’s personal approach to effective bureaucratic management, and a whole lot more. So for an episode packed with personal anecdotes and local case studies from Ghana and beyond tune in today!&nbsp;&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;How bureaucracies are made up of human beings, not just rules.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Erin’s experiences of Ghanaian culture; food, people, and her fieldwork.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Perspectives on the idea that there is a lot of variation within states.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Erin’s research began with identifying high-performing groups of the state.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The common educational profile of people in Ghanaian pockets of effectiveness.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Better transnational institutional transfer after melding foreign practices in a local context.•&nbsp;&nbsp;How the idea of the ‘founding team’ factors into pockets of effectiveness.•&nbsp;&nbsp;What principal agent theory gets wrong when studying bureaucracies.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Perspectives on agency autonomy and how it plays into cultivating pockets of effectiveness.•&nbsp;&nbsp;How the charter city can become its own pocket of effectiveness.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Examples of how discretion is a motivating force for people who are pro-socially minded.•&nbsp;&nbsp;How systems of reward and acceptance of failure can drive motivation.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Perspectives on the role of clustering and agglomeration in shaping new culture in cities and pockets of effectiveness.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The role of redundancy in keeping pockets of effectiveness more stable.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Whether the recent discovery of oil in Ghana poses a threat to pockets of effectiveness.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The role of informal characteristics in accomplishing tasks in organizations and how these are measured.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Contrasts and connections between ‘positive deviance’, ‘problem-driven iterative adaptation’, and pockets of effectiveness theories.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Erin is skeptical about the idea of changing civil service codes in Ghana.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Erin’s personal approach to effective bureaucratic management.&nbsp;&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Charter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on FacebookCharter Cities Institute on Twitter<a...
5/3/20211 hour, 21 minutes, 18 seconds
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The Political Economy of Immigration and Institutions with Alex Nowrasteh

A largely unexplored counterargument to immigration liberalization is that immigrants who come from countries with worse institutions will make the institutions in their destination country worse. In&nbsp;Wretched Refuse? The Political Economy of Immigration and Institutions,&nbsp;Alex Nowrasteh and Benjamin Powell respond to this argument and today we have Alex on the show to elaborate on their findings. Our conversation begins with a discussion on the foundational piece by Michael Clemens, ‘Trillion-Dollar Bills on the Sidewalk’. This paper finds that the marginal immigrant to the United States from a developing country can expect a fourfold increase in their wages, and the result of a global, free migration policy would be to increase global GDP by about 50% to 150%. Alex then unpacks why immigrating would be the most efficient option for improving an immigrant’s life. He responds to the arguments that immigrants should improve their home countries rather than immigrate and that the home countries of immigrants will worsen thanks to ‘brain drain’. Later in our conversation, Alex addresses the deep roots theory which proposes that the ancestry metrics of societies influence their GDP per capita. He then weighs in on whether culture impacts economic production. We hear about the central finding of&nbsp;Wretched Refuse, which is that immigrants don't worsen economic institutions in places where they go and in some cases improve them. Wrapping up, Alex shares his perspectives on changing immigration visa laws in the US and what the next ten years might hold in that respect. Tune in today!&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;The argument that immigration does not destroy the institutions responsible for prosperity in the modern world to be found in Alex’s book.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Why immigrants from Yemen will 16X their salary after moving to the US.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Alex’s response to the ‘Why don’t immigrants fix their home country rather?’ argument.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The question of brain drain when immigrants leave their home countries and why matters are more complex than this.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Why the overall economic gains immigrants offer to the US outweigh the threat they pose to some salaries.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Alex is a skeptic when it comes to the deep roots argument for prosperity.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Perspectives on the many reasons for why economic status of a country can change.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The impacts of culture and trust on economic growth and whether immigrants erode this.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Examples of mass immigrations to countries with poor institutions that experienced massive economic reforms in a liberalizing direction as a result.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Alex’s thoughts on shifting H1B visa allocation from a lottery to a wage-based system.•&nbsp;&nbsp;How the heartland visa system might encourage higher rates of legal immigration.•&nbsp;&nbsp;What Alex thinks will happen around immigration liberalization in the next 10 years.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Charter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on FacebookCharter Cities Institute on TwitterCharter Cities Institute on LinkedInJeffrey...
4/12/202155 minutes, 34 seconds
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China’s Development Evolution with Yuen Yuen Ang

China’s rapid rise may seem unprecedented, but its journey is oddly familiar. The question is, where have we seen this type of development before, and what does the future have in store? Joining us today to answer this is Yuen Yuen Ang, Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan. Her research lies at the intersection of governance, bureaucracy, business and innovation and she explores which institutions best enable adaptation. A major focal point of Yuen Yuen’s research is China’s rise since 1978. We open our conversation with Yuen Yuen by asking her about how her cultural nomadism has put her in a good position to understand China’s impressive 43-year development. After hearing how her experiences in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United States have helped her gain a useful perspective on her studies, we dive into the concept of complex development and talk about why its needs are greater than ever. Following this, we talk to Yuen Yuen about her two books, namely China’s Gilded Age and How China Escaped the Poverty Trap. To help listeners understand China’s meteoric rise in development, Yuen Yuen compares the state to Mcdonald’s and the concept of franchising. She touches on their powerful nature of being centralized, yet having versatility through local variation. China’s “franchised” development is also linked to the way they have used corruption to bolster their development. That isn’t to say that corruption is good though, as Yuen Yuen rather points out how corruption changes in tandem with development. To hear more on China’s current state, their trajectory, and much much more, join us in this deeply insightful and thought-provoking episode.&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Introducing today’s guest, Yuen Yuen Ang.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How cultural nomadism has helped Yuen Yuen’s approach to development processes.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Yuen Yuen talks about Singapore’s most underrated development factors.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Hear about Yuen Yuen’s background working in complexity studies.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The best book that helped Yuen Yuen get to grips with complexity studies.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Yuen Yuen tells us about her book, How China Escaped the Poverty Trap.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;We boil down development into its most fundamental forms, as written about in How China Escaped the Poverty Trap.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why a lot of people in international development are uncomfortable with Yuen Yuen’s book.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Comparing Chinese bureaucracy to Mcdonald’s.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The role of SEZs in China.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;We talk to Yuen Yuen about her most recent book, China’s Gilded Age.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Exploring the nature of corruption in capitalism and how it morphs over time.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How China’s corruption has evolved as the country has developed.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Yuen Yuen contrasts her two books.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Hear about China’s grand crackdown on corruption.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The drawbacks and doubts that come from China’s efforts to reduce corruption.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Yuen Yuen talks about her published articles on the Belt and Road Initiative.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Hear about the beehive campaign.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;We answer: Will China become a technological leader of the future?●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Stay tuned to hear details on Yuen Yuen’s upcoming book.&nbsp;&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:<a href=""...
3/29/202159 minutes, 28 seconds
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The Economics of Climate Change with Matthew E. Khan

Much talk around climate change focuses on mitigation, with far less attention paid to adaptation strategies. Matthew E. Khan, an Economics Professor at Johns Hopkins and Director of the 21st Centuries Cities Initiative, is a climate change adaptation optimist. His research focuses on urban and environmental economics. At the start of the year, he released two books, Unlocking The Potential of Post-Industrial Cities and Adapting to Climate Change. In this episode, Kurtis Lockhart sits down with Matthew to unpack some of the key themes in his books, along with other insights around urban governance and policies. We begin by hearing about the lack of imagination synonymous with climate change adaptation strategies and why policies that focus solely on carbon footprint emissions are misplaced. The mechanisms for each approach are essentially the same, but the buy-in and application are different. Matthew makes the case for adaptation, and we also get into the long-term thinking that this strategy requires. There are economic levers that can be used to deal with climate change which have a longer timeline. However, they are under-utilized, resulting in little to no sustained change. Matthew also talks about the value of competition and how it can make cities more efficient. Our wide-reaching conversation also touches on the place-based policies, the use of big data and how it can be leveraged to help people make decisions about where to live, why the poor have to be prioritized when it comes to climate change policies, and the importance of experimentation before policies are enacted. This was an insightful discussion, that touched on a range of timely topics, which continue to become more urgent as time goes on. Be sure to tune in to hear more!&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;Matthew’s insights into what happened with the Texas freeze.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The role that private actors have to play in dealing with climate change-related problems.•&nbsp;&nbsp;How Matthew and Bill Gates’ book differ and what Matthew would say to Bill if he was given a chance to engage with him.•&nbsp;&nbsp;There is a lot of optimism about carbon footprint reduction, but pessimism about adaptation.•&nbsp;&nbsp;How quality of life in a city attracts top talents and large companies.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Why short-sightedness about an issue like climate change is an urban economics issue.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Why issuing majors parcels of land during their tenure will inspire long-term thinking.•&nbsp;&nbsp;How the lack of competition between cities in the U.S. contributes to inefficiencies.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The importance of competition in creating more liveable cities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;What Matthew’s work in China revealed about state-owned entities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Why placed-based policies work well in China but not in the U.S.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The benefits of creating hubs around universities and the place-based policies that can follow.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The poor face the greatest challenges in cities in terms of access, and resilience to climate change.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The tension that comes with moving poorer people to so-called ‘good neighborhoods’ despite empirical evidence that shows better outcomes.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Use of economic incentives during refugee crises.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Benefits of using charter cities as ways to deal with climate change refugees.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The biggest challenges that come with rezoning land in cities; the coordination failure.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Matthew’s take on The Wire and the good and bad it did for the reputation of Baltimore.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Adapting to climate change will not be a problem for the wealthy; the poor will suffer.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Will the value of land in favelas in Brazil increase as sea levels rise?•&nbsp;&nbsp;What excites Matthew most...
3/15/20211 hour, 10 minutes, 14 seconds
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Africa, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow with Judd Devermont

Today we sit with Judd Devermont, Director of the Africa Program at CSIS, to find out Africa’s current global position. In our conversation, Judd reveals the continent’s shortcomings and touches on foreign policy and local democracy before pulling the curtain back on the many things that Africa can be hopeful for. The show opens with Judd telling us what inspired him to become an expert in his field. We find out about his mission to provide a fairer perspective of the continent that is oftentimes missing by Washington and American media. Judd goes on to tell listeners about the many misconceptions of Africa, and shares some of the top African news stories that have not been reported by western media; namely flourishing democracy and peaceful transitions of power in many of its nations. As the US makes its own transition of power, Judd gives his predictions for African policy under the Biden administration. We then dig into some of Africa’s bigger contemporary struggles like urbanization, revenue mobilization and the need to create better social contracts, and why COVID-19 has been a catalyst for action for many African countries. In the latter half of the show, Judd explores topics like knowledge creation and the difficulties that returning African expats face. We then take a look at how global powers have been involved with the continent, as Judd comments on the Trump administration and China’s heavy involvement. To conclude the show, Judd talks about why Africa has coped well amid the COVID-19 pandemic, oddly thanks due to its disconnected nature. Be sure to tune in today!&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Introducing today’s guest, Judd Devermont.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Judd tells us how he got him interested in Africa and what he does as CSIS.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Hear about some of the biggest misconceptions of Africa.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Some of the top African news stories that have not been reported.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Evidence that democracy is flourishing in many parts of Africa.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Judd’s predictions for African foreign policy under the Biden administration.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Urbanization trends currently seen in Africa.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why domestic revenue mobilization is a sticky issue in African countries.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How COVID-19 has been a wake-up call for health policy in some African states.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Judd touches on trickle-down knowledge and returning African expats.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;We hear Judd’s opinion on Trump’s African foreign policy.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Judd touches on the Trump Administration recognizing Western Sahara’s political status.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the world is becoming more transactional and multipolar.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Judd takes a look at China’s involvement in Africa.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Africa can ramp up its industrialization.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Africa has been affected by COVID-19.Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:&nbsp;Judd Devermont on LinkedInJudd Devermont on TwitterCSISBarack ObamaPresident...
3/1/202150 minutes, 55 seconds
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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger with Matthew Yglesias

Vox co-founder, policy writer, and celebrated journalist Matthew Yglesias knows what would actually make America great: more people. Today we speak with Matthew to discuss this idea as captured in his book One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger. After introducing him, we dive straight into the topic and ask Matthew to unpack how population growth will benefit the US. He then shares how his book appeals to both sides of the political spectrum, despite the backlash that his ideas have received. We compare historical US immigration with the current economic climate before looking into why immigration doesn’t necessarily lead to infrastructural challenges, as is often argued. While reflecting on how policy choices impact public projects, we touch on the COVID vaccine rollout and explore issues within America’s political culture. Later, we hear Matthew’s take on whether an ascendant China will forge a stronger America, the positive effects of inclusive American nationalism, and how giving people access to opportunity fosters innovations. Near the end of the episode, we chat about how policy affects birth rates, how zoning reforms might inspire stronger agglomeration, and why Matthew left Vox. Matthew presents a clear vision for how we can increase national prosperity. Tune to hear more of his insights.&nbsp;&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Introducing today’s guest, Vox co-founder and journalist Matthew Yglesias.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Exploring the premise of Matthew’s book, One Billion Americans.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The benefits of immigration and how it has led to American greatness.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Matthew received more support from conservative readers than he had anticipated.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Comparing early US immigration with the current economic climate.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The challenge of building new infrastructure and the case against immigration.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How policy choices impact the effectiveness of large public projects.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The dangers of caring more about your political side than solving problems.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Examining how different nations have responded to COVID.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;From seeing China as a threat to being more proud of the US, Matthew shares factors that could lead to a stronger America.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why access to opportunity leads to innovation and growth.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Ways that policy can increase national birth rates.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the conversation around birth rates has become controversial.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Zoning laws and the impact they have on agglomeration.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Hear why Matthew now publishes on Substack and not Vox.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why don't we get a billion Americans by creating charter cities.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Matthew Yglesias on LinkedInMatthew Yglesias on TwitterOne Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger on AmazonSlow BoringKurtis LockhartCharter Cities Institute<a href="" rel="noopener...
2/15/20211 hour, 7 minutes, 27 seconds
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Founding a Pan-African University with Leonard Wantchekon

From fleeing Benin for his pro-democracy activism to becoming a renowned Princeton professor and founding one of Africa’s most prestigious universities, Leonard Wantchekon’s life is as impressive as his economic and political research. Today we speak with Leonard and explore his story, academic work, and how he founded the African School of Economics (ASE). After sharing details about his early life in Benin, including how he escaped his unjust imprisonment, Leonard discusses how his personal life has informed his research. We then dive into his research into clientelism and voting behavior, slavery’s prevailing influence on Benin culture, and how environmental factors can drive achievement within a community of learners. A key theme in this episode, we then ask Leonard about how he founded ASE. His answers highlight practical steps that he took along with the challenges that he overcame. Later, we talk about why he uses ASE’s reputation as the benchmark for its success, his aim to link the disparate African academic community, and his plans to create a curriculum that he can export to other universities. Near the end of our conversation, we touch on Leonard’s other influences and passions. Tune in for insights on what it takes to build a top university and to hear Leonard’s incredible story.&nbsp;Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Introducing today’s guest, economics and politics professor Leonard Wantchekon.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Leonard shares his story from growing up in Benin to becoming a Princeton professor.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Hear about what motivated Leonard to become so politically active.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Exploring what Benin was like under the dictatorship of Mathieu Kérékou.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Lenin escaped from prison and ultimately from Benin.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Leonard turned his back on socialist-leaning ideologies.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Leonard’s personal life has shaped his research.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Leonard’s research into clientelism and voting behavior in Benin.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How aspiration can help people overcome their circumstances.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The importance of social environments in driving aspiration.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Leonard founded the prestigious African School of Economics in Benin.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Exploring what’s needed to found a leading university.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Leonard uses academic reputation as the benchmark for his institution’s success.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Hear about the Pan-African Research Council and how Leonard sees the future of his institute.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Where on the economics spectrum Leonard’s research lies.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the Nobel prize-winning economist Arthur Lewis inspires Leonard.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Leonard shares details about his support of African history.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Leonard WantchekonLeonard Wantchekon on TwitterKurtis LockhartCharter Cities InstituteCharter Cities Institute on FacebookCharter Cities Institute on TwitterThe African School of...
2/1/20211 hour, 20 minutes, 39 seconds
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Development, Jim Wolfensohn, and The World Bank with Sebastian Mallaby

Today we sit with Sebastian Mallaby, a successful author and esteemed Senior Fellow for International Economics at the Council of Foreign Relations. He has also been a contributing columnist for The Washington Post and previously served on the editorial board. To open the show, we put Sebastian’s career into a nutshell before asking him to expand on his background. He tells us about some of his earliest memories as a young roving correspondent in Africa, cutting his teeth in journalism for The Economist. We go on to talk to Sebastian about the World Bank and discover facts about its inception and the evolution of its role since 1944. He discusses some of the World Bank’s constraints before turning his attention to former president of the World Bank, Jim Wolfensohn. Listeners will learn about the life and times of Jim as a human being and as a global leader. Dissecting Jim’s achievements, Sebastian analyses Jim’s structural adjustment programs and comments on the American-Australian’s charisma and knack for communication. In the latter half of the show, we talk about the benefits of the Ease of Doing Business Index and find out Sebastian’s stance on the matter. We continue our conversation and hear from Sebastian on how the world has changed since he published his book in 2004, as he contrasts between the classical left-vs.-right and modern populist-vs.-technocratic divisions. To find out more from Sebastian, his thoughts on Jim Wolfensohn, and the position of the World Bank, be sure to join us today.Key Points From This Episode:●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Introducing today’s guest, Sebastian Mallaby.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;We take a look at some of Sebastian’s career highlights before we begin.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Sebastian reminisces when he covered Nelson Mandela’s 1990 release for The Economist.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Hear about the motives behind establishing the World Bank’s.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Sebastian elaborates on the constraints of the World Bank.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Hear about Jim Wolfensohn’s private and public life.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Sebastian’s answers to: Is the World Bank due for a shakeup?●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Hear Sebastian’s thoughts on the Ease of Doing Business Index and its efficacy.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;We cover the changes since Sebastian published his book in 2004.●&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Sebastian’s opinion on Charter Cities, and whether or not it has changed.Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Sebastian Mallaby on TwitterSebastian Mallaby on LinkedInJim WolfensohnThe World BankCarnegie HallAsian Infrastructure Investment BankIMFRobert McNamaraRobert ZoellickPaul Romer<a...
1/11/202140 minutes, 39 seconds
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Creating Global Financial Centers with Mark Beer

Creating and enforcing a watertight contract between two global parties is a challenging task. For starters, the world is rapidly evolving, and as a result, many contracts are in dispute. Though not unheard of, contract disputes are becoming commonplace and there is an increasing need to evolve systems. Today we talk with Mark Beer, a world-renowned buyer and once Chief Executive of the Dubai International Financial Centre’s Dispute Resolution Authority. We open the episode by taking a peek at the process behind setting up and running the Dubai International Financial Center. Mark tells us about customer segments, their habitual trust, and how to create trust in new systems. We then turn our eyes toward the future and dissect what a de-globalized world looks like. Mark touches on democracies, autocracies, and the rise in nationalism, as well as how new systems can and have been built without civil resistance. Stay tuned and you will hear Mark’s thoughts on the Belt and Road development project and the changing scope of global commerce systems. In the latter half of the episode, Mark describes oracles, their uses, and why digitization is a major catalyst for change. After hearing about AI-based judgment, we talk to Mark about the transsystemic system and dive into its characteristics before finding out how new, neutral financial systems are created. Toward the end of the show, we take a deeper look at these systems and uncover their favorable and less favorable characteristics. Be sure to tune in with us today!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Introducing today’s guest, Mark Beer.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mark tells us about the process behind setting up and running the Dubai International Financial Center.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The secret behind designing new systems that people will trust.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why reforming a judiciary can take up to 14 years.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the Belt and Road development project is altering the global scope of commerce.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mark’s predictions for Belt and Road moving toward a smart contract landscape.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The need to build a court based on blockchain.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why people are using oracles to help solve disputes.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Smart contracts cover many question marks before the fact.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Digitization as a way forward for many countries.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How AI-based judges are starting to make better decisions than human judges.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Hear why common law disputes take so much longer than civil law disputes.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The transsystemic legal system has been pioneered in Canada.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mark tells us about the new financial center in Kazakhstan.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How neutral financial systems are created.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why enforcement is at the heart of financial centers.Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Mark BeerMark Beer on LinkedInMark Beer on TwitterDIFC/DRAJebel Ali Free ZoneEmirates AirlinesADGMAbu Dhabi Judicial Department<a...
12/14/202045 minutes, 21 seconds
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Ancient Cities with Greg Woolf

Cities may have seemed more fragile during the global COVID-19 lockdowns but, as Greg Woolf’s impressive studies of early urbanism show, cities have been re-invented many times. In today’s episode, listeners hear from Greg, who is an historian and archaeologist, specializing in the late Iron Age and the Roman Empire. Greg is currently the Director of the Institute of Classical Studies and a Professor of Classics at the University of London. His research concerns the history and archaeology of the ancient world at a very large scale, and he has published on literacy, on cultural change in the provinces, on identities in the ancient world, and also on libraries and knowledge cultures. He is currently researching urban resilience, mobility, and migration in the ancient world, and his latest book, The Life and Death of Ancient Cities, was published in 2020. In this episode, Greg talks about the ancient city of Göbekli Tepe and how it has influenced the way we think about city creation. He explains the common traditions that create a city, how those essential precursors have influenced human behavior, and how language and resources have travelled across the globe since ancient times. Greg also covers the collapse of the Bronze Age, the following urbanization in the Mediterranean, and some key factors that influenced the locations of ancient cities, and he ponders on the comparative advantage that Rome had over its neighbors. Finally, Greg shares his opinions on governance and the role it plays in the evolution of cities, and he offers some core lessons from what led to a successful versus an unsuccessful ancient city. Tune in today!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Greg shares the premise of his latest book and explains why it’s no accident we live in cities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Greg chose to study classical history – a fascination with the ancient world and an interest in digging came together.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The ancient city, Göbekli Tepe, and how it influences the way we think about city creation.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;There are two traditions to a city – agricultural intensification and collective activity.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The essential precursor for urbanism is agriculture – Greg explains how it impacts behavior.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Greg believes we’re getting better at discovering and understanding new sites.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;As archeological technology evolves, Greg thinks there are indefinite discoveries to be made.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Thinking about the Bronze Age in a broader context, how language and resources spread.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The collapse of the Bronze Age – how long it took, and why Greg suspects it happened.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The Bronze Age collapsing versus the collapse of the Roman Empire, for example.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Preserving literacy and Roman tax systems while the churches went on undisturbed.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What happens with urbanization in the Mediterranean following the Bronze Age collapse.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Greg says key factors for the locations of ancient cities were connect-ability and fertility.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What comparative advantage did cities that asserted themselves have over their neighbors? Greg says it could be luck, location, or strategy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the governance of ancient Mediterranean cities played or didn’t play into their evolution.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Greg asserts why he believes that governance makes no difference to the rise and fall of individual cities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What was different about Rome that led it to the Mediterranean empire, like its geopolitics.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;It’s tempting to look back at history like a straight line, but it’s a curve with many possibilities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Core lessons from what led to a successful versus an unsuccessful ancient...
11/30/20201 hour, 2 minutes, 46 seconds
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Historical Events and Economic Development with Dr. Nathan Nunn

There is a growing body of empirical evidence that points toward the important, long-term effects that historic events can have on economic development, and today’s guest, Dr. Nathan Nunn, is major player in this area of research. Dr. Nunn is a Professor of Economics at Harvard University, and his research ranges across development economics, political economy, economic history, and other areas, especially focusing on the long-term impact of historical processes on economic development today, often mediated through factors like culture, social structures, norms, and institutions. In this episode, Dr. Nunn shares his views on Canada’s response to COVID, his critique of foreign aid tied to the strategic interests of the donor country, and shares the case for unconditional cash transfers or universal basic income instead of foreign aid. He explains the link between food aid and civil conflict, the benefits of industrial policy, and his thoughts on a devolution of authority, as well as urbanization in Africa, the correlation between the slave trade and mistrust in Africa, and the effect of corruption on culture. Dr. Nunn also takes a deep-dive into group level selection and competition, the long-term impacts of mining versus plantation farming in Africa, and why he believes that it’s impossible to understand development without history, and he also includes some suggested reading for grad students outside of economics. Tune in today to find out more!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The current projects Dr. Nunn is working on, specifically a review called History as Evolution.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Dr. Nunn believes Canada’s response to COVID has been better than that of the US.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Dr. Nunn’s critique of foreign aid when it’s tied to the strategic interests of the donor country.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The case for unconditional cash transfers or universal basic income – low overheads, simplicity, it allows people the most choice.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Some issues and concerns when aid or food aid is tied to politics, like increased civil conflict.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Thoughts on industrial policy and its benefits, such as alleviating the poverty trap.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Dr. Nunn shares his take on the benefits of the devolution of authority to a local or city level.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;When smaller units have autonomy, through trial and error, it results in positive externalities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Dr. Nunn comments on ruggedness and rapid urbanization versus economic rationale in Africa in response to the slave trade.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Africa isn’t seeing the same improvements that accompany urbanization elsewhere.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Dr. Nunn describes the paper he coauthored with Leonard Wantchekon on the correlation between the slave trade and mistrust in Africa.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How correlations between trust and urbanization or education have not been proven.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Dr. Nunn’s predictions for trust levels in the US, based on contact hypothesis and immigration.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How cultural norms are shaped in individuals from countries with higher or lower corruption.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Dr. Nunn talks about some of his colleagues, like Leonard Wantchekon and Melissa Dell.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The long-term impacts of mining versus plantation farming in Africa.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Dr. Nunn strongly believes that it’s impossible to understand development without history.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Anthropologists or sociologists that have informed Dr. Nunn’s work or been impactful and how.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Dr. Nunn explains how learning about anthropology and evolutionary anthropology benefitted his research in development economics.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Some valuable lessons that Dr. Nunn learned from the late, great institutional...
11/16/202055 minutes, 52 seconds
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State Capacity, Religious Toleration, and Political Competition with Mark Koyama

Today’s guest is Mark Koyama, Economic Historian at George Mason University. Mark recently co-authored Persecution &amp; Toleration: The Long Road to Religious Freedom with Noel Johnson, and in this episode, we talk to Mark about some of its big themes – state capacity, religious toleration, and political competition. We begin by hearing Mark’s ideas about a key argument in his book, the connection between religious freedom and the development of liberal societies. From there, we unpack the meaning of the idea of state capacity which springboards a discussion on the relationship between strong states and the treatment of religious minorities. To flesh out some of the nuances of this idea, our discussion hones in on the treatment of Jews during the Black Death during the Holy Roman Empire. On the topic of state-building, we look at some examples of small city-states versus medium states in Europe, hearing Mark’s ideas on why the latter had more lasting power. We also speak about the role of weaponry in state-building. Our conversation moves to focus on the idea of shocks to a local labor pool and how these forces affect wages and markets in different ways. Following this, Mark talks about the persecution of Christian ‘heretics’ during the Reformation and the role of the printing press as well as the Ottoman Empire. We speak about the influence of the ideas of Locke and Spinoza on religious toleration and then move on to critically examine the ‘everything exists is efficient’ argument as it pertains to state-building. Wrapping up, we talk to Mark about how deep roots literature accounts for state-building in Europe, the role of counterfactual thinking in economic history, and the role of data and analytic narratives in understanding history. We round off the episode with an exchange about how an understanding of economic history will make Libertarian arguments against the state less convincing. Tune in today!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mark’s new book looking at how we get modern, liberal societies through the lens of religious freedom.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Other indicators or drivers for Liberalism and why Mark sees religious freedom as a major one.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Examples of so-called liberal states suppressing religion.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Liberal states defined as states which place value in having religious freedom.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mark’s definition of state capacity, another major theme in his book.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Tracing the evolution of state capacity as a phenomenon and a term.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The relationship between strong states and the treatment of religious minorities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Jewish tolerance and pogroms during the Black Death in the Holy Roman Empire.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The role of the size of political units on the development of state capacity in Europe.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How (the cost of) weaponry influences state-building and state capacity.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How different types of labor shock affect wages and markets.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why some Christian sects were persecuted around the time of the Reformation and the printing press.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Whether the political decentralization of the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Turks are related to the Reformation.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The ‘deep roots’ argument and how it fits in with the development of modern Europe.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mark’s book section dealing with the ideas of Locke and Spinoza concerning religious toleration.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why the argument that ‘everything which exists is efficient’ is not helpful for understanding state policies.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How counterfactuals can be applied to history and which approaches are useful.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The role of data and analytic narratives in understanding history.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The...
11/2/202058 minutes, 37 seconds
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A City in the Cloud with Balaji Srinivasan

Digital technology has evolved to the point that by hitting keys and tapping mice buttons, you can literally build a city in the cloud. This viral idea was started by angel investor Balaji Srinivasan, who believes in creating cities with crowd-funded territories and governed by smart contracts. In our conversation with Balaji, we touch on many intricate topics that link to two concepts — using tech to design ideal cities and how innovation is driven by exit strategies. Early in the episode, we dive into the future of America, and the rest of the world, as we explore the country’s politics, geography, military, and intellectual power. After discussing why it’s so difficult to get anything done in the US, Balaji talks about why people might soon begin emigrating from America. From cryptocurrency to Indians recognizing the success of Indian immigrants, Balaji shares his insights on how exits and alternative strategies can be the leading force behind change. Following this, we begin unpacking the ideas behind Balaji’s cloud city, the reasons that cities have historically been founded, and the many benefits of designing a city according to your group identity. Reflecting Balaji’s ‘digital first’ mindset, we chat about how innovations in the physical world can be driven through digital simulation before discussing why risk-aversion is the enemy of progress. An episode filled with carefully considered arguments and counter-arguments, tune in to hear more about Balaji Srinivasan’s incredible vision of the future.Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Hear why podcast host Mark sees a brighter future for the US than anywhere else.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How robotics will have a greater impact on national outcomes than demographics.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mark and Balaji debate the question— “Is this the Chinese decade or the Chinese century?”•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Arguments for why US power might be vastly overestimated.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the internet is being segmented by different nation’s regulations.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why America can be considered an empire in decline.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Comparing India in the 80s with present-day America.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The benefits of seeing people of your heritage be successful within other models and areas.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How creating successful alternative models can lead to reform.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Balaji explains why there might be a mass exodus of people leaving America.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Exploring the types of people who will emigrate from America.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Using current technology to build a city in the cloud.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How a ‘digital first’ approach can bring down costs when building a city.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The three reasons why cities are often founded.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Benefits to physically grouping yourself in a city with other like-minded people.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Aligning groups of people and the challenge that comes from having huge online communities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How people prioritize their many identity expressions to determine what’s intrinsic to who they are.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Pushing innovation in the physical world through digital simulation.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why risk or degrees of “Anarchy” will always come before innovation.Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Mark LutterCharter Cities Institute on TwitterCharter Cities Institute on Facebook<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer"...
10/19/20201 hour, 11 minutes
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Reigniting Progress By Studying It with Jason Crawford

What is progress, has it slowed down, and what can we do about it? Joining us today to talk about the emerging field of progress studies and how it might help us dig into questions like these, is Jason Crawford, author of the blog, Roots Of Progress. Jason opens by providing us with a definition of progress and why the active study of it might help us rekindle it in our world. We talk about how progress has increasingly dwindled next. In the late 19th and early 20th century, four major progress revolutions were occurring in fields of chemical engineering, oil, electricity, and germ theory, and today we only have one, tech. In thinking about why this has occurred, we examine the stagnation hypothesis which argues that as a culture we have come to prize innovation less, we have chosen the low-hanging fruit of previous innovations to explore rather than find new ones, and regulations have grown to the extent that breakthroughs have been throttled. Jason gives his thoughts on these arguments, and also adds a fourth reason which centers around a change in funding structures for innovation. The next part of our conversation is about how we might bring back a culture of inventiveness, past examples of cities that were hubs of invention, and what the ingredients for great innovation are. Along with this, Jason shares his thoughts on what the next big movement could be before we wrap up with a discussion on the risks inherent in progress and what an effective movement for social change might look like.Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Introducing Jason and the definition of progress, as well as the new field of progress studies.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Examples of progress that occurred without progress studies – why do we need this field?•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Arguments for and against the ‘stagnation hypothesis’ as a theory of slowed progress.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Four revolutions in the late1800s to early 1900s comparable to our tech revolution: chemical engineering, oil, electricity, and germ theory.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The stagnation hypothesis reframed as a consideration of what happened to the four revolutions.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Critically unpacking the ‘culture’, ‘low-hanging fruit’, and ‘regulation’ arguments for slowing progress.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Another reason why progress might have petered out that centers around funding structures.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The heyday of corporate research versus today’s progress model: Universities and ‘tech transfer’.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The difficulty of implementing high-level ideas that are possible and the role this might play.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Separating science from the corporate world and the need to merge both for more progress.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How we could bring back more of a culture of breakthroughs; new career paths and looking to the late 19th century.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Examples of do-it-yourself invention culture from today: prosthetics, automatic pancreases.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why some cities are hubs of invention and what the ingredients for this creativity are.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Jason’s thoughts about why the next major revolution might be in biotech.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Online chat spaces that allow for serendipity; inventiveness might no longer be geographically bound.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Balancing the existential risk aspect of world-ending technology with the idea of progress.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Technologies producing unforeseen dangers and how we are handling risk assessment.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How social movements can collapse and whether an effective model for social change exists.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Moving past arguments about regulation to an attitude of ‘what can actually be done.’Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:<a...
10/5/20201 hour, 1 minute, 49 seconds
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An Overview of Charter Cities and The CCI with Founder Mark Lutter.

The Charter Cities Institute has seen rapid growth in recent months, having gone from three employees in February to ten as of this week, so we decided to do something a little different on today’s show. Kurtis Lockhart, Head of Research at the CCI sits down with Founder, Mark Lutter, to provide a high-level overview of the concept of charter cities, why their time has come, how the CCI fits into it all, and what the future holds. The first part of the conversation is all about charter cities, how they differ from conventional ones and special economic zones, and why they are becoming more important. From there, we move onto the history of charter cities, getting into some major recent advocates of the movement and a few examples of successful semi-autonomous cities from the post-war era and what we can learn from them. We turn our attention to some of the common criticisms of charter cities next, considering the political threat they could end up posing, how they propose to be different from the countries they exist in, and how to get people to start moving into them once development commences. Following this, we explore the implementation aspect of charter cities, discussing how the CCI is approaching six things that should be considered before building one: Governance, policies, urban planning, site selection, selecting an anchor tenant, and minimizing the risk of expropriation. The last part of our conversation is all about the CCI as an organization – Mark’s research that led to its founding, the challenges and successes it has seen, and the vision it has for the future. Be sure to catch this episode for an in-depth look at the potential charter cities and the CCI have to change the world for the better.Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A high-level definition of charter cities and why they are important.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How charter cities differ from conventional cities and special economic zones.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Four aspects of charter cities that enable them to spur long-term economic development.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the CCI’s version of charter cities would be governed and set up through public/private partnerships.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why governments would invite developers to build and collaborate on charter cities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The amount of master plan cities being built globally and range of their value propositions.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The advantages of a charter city over a master-planned one and a regular one.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Ideal environments to build charter cities in; openness, rapid urbanization, and more.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why now is a time where charter cities seem more valuable than ever.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Reinvigorating liberalism and the cosmopolitanism of trade cities using charter cities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How charter cities fit into the effective altruist framework of tractability, neglectedness, and scalability.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Conceptions of scalability and the work being done to enable charter cities to scale.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A history of charter cities and how the CCI is building on Paul Romer and Patri Friedman’s work.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Early examples of cities built using a degree of planning and their modern influence.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Problems with unplanned and planned cities and the ‘slow feedback loop’ of cities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Lessons to be learned from successful, semi-autonomous cities in the post-war era.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Common criticisms of charter cities and how they are based on misunderstandings.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How to get people to move to a charter city; reasons why people start and move to cities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why governments might expropriate their charter cities; the political threat they could pose.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Issues around building charter cities in upper or...
9/21/20202 hours, 40 minutes, 2 seconds
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Erick Brimen on Próspera and The Birth of the First Charter City in Honduras

Today we welcome Erick Brimen, the CEO of Próspera, which is arguably the world's first charter city, off the coast of Honduras on an island called Roatán. Erick is on the podcast to unpack the exciting news about Próspera, the philosophy behind its founding, and the vision for its short-term and long-term future. Our conversation covers a lot of in-depth detail on Próspera, with Erick explaining approaches to governance, reform, cultural integration, common law and so much more! Erick gives us a great introduction to the first of several planned locations for the Próspera project, also unpacking what this expansion could possibly look like in decades to come. We get in the choice of Roatán and the specific opportunities offered by the island, with Erick situating his reasoning within his broader interest in charter cities and economic expansion. Erick also talks about his work before Próspera and the lessons he brought forward from time in the asset management space and working with the government of Arizona. The conversation also covers putting together the right team of people, balancing skills, and preparing for an unknowable set of hurdles. From there, we turn to the legal side of starting a city, and Erick gives an insightful look into the various frameworks that have been put in place for management and legislation. The last part of our chat today is spent thinking about the residential experience of Próspera and the infrastructure, planning, and architecture of the city, with Erick capping off our discussion looking forward to 2050 and where Próspera might be. For all this and a whole lot more, be sure to listen in with us today!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The philosophy behind the charter city of Próspera and the model they have adopted.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Bringing together a built environment and working with government towards the goal of prosperity.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The selection of Roatán as Próspera's first location and what set it apart from similar islands.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The importance of governance reforms and buy-in; creating security on many levels.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How context influences daily decisions and the impact of Honduran history on a new city.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The task of starting from scratch with a city; prioritization of funding, governance, and more.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Reasons that Roatán stood out from other Honduran locations; beauty, safety, and stability.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The Hong Kong to Shenzhen example and the inspiration that Próspera is taking from this model.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Erick's personal interest in charter cities and the mission of reducing wealth disparity.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The influence of Erick's work experience in asset management, Arizona governance, and beyond.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Building a strong and balanced team, with the right skillsets for unforeseeable challenges.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Erick's connection to the image of water; resilience, flexibility, and continued progress.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Legal considerations for Próspera and the creation of the Roatán Common Law Code.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Putting together a functioning legal system and using different pieces of law.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Unpacking the Próspera Arbitration Center and contrasts with typical arbitration services.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The role of the Próspera Council and service providers in decision-making.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Understanding the Agreement of Co-existence and what this contract stipulates for residents.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The process of registering a business in Próspera and the efficiency they are aiming for.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Local buy-in and integrating the different sectors with new infrastructure.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Practical and lifestyle-facing decisions for Próspera; architecture and...
9/7/20201 hour, 37 minutes, 11 seconds
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We Need to Work at Making Democracy Work with Professor Nic Cheeseman

Tocqueville said, “We need to work at making democracy work.” That is the springboard from which this episode begins. Kurtis Lockhart fills in for Mark Lutter as today’s host, and our guest is Professor Nic Cheeseman. Nic is a political scientist at the University of Birmingham, and was formerly the head of the African Studies Center at Oxford University. His research focuses on a range of topics, from democracy and elections, to development and institutional change, all of which we will discuss in this episode. Nic is the author or editor of ten books on African Politics, including Democracy in Africa: Successes, Failures, and the Struggle for Political Reform and How to Rig an Election. Nic shares with us some of the projects he is working on, and we discuss anti-corruption messaging, foreign aid, China in Africa, and redrawing African countries’ borders, as well as invisible election rigging, “sweet spot” strategies, and counterfeit democrats. Tune in today!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Nic shares the projects that he is working on, including one on elections and COVID.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Anti-corruption messaging, corruption fatigue, and the need to change incentive structures.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The value of redesigning messages rather than reinforcing the scale of the problem.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Nic’s concerns about the Department for International Development being merged into the foreign office body.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The only thing Nic thinks will counter the significance of China in Africa is bigger investment.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Nic’s thoughts on foreign aid serving geopolitical concerns or power competitions.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What Nic thinks the international development community should prioritize – do less, better.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Tocqueville’s writings on democracy have helped shape some of Nic’s thinking.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Nic believes that Jeffrey Herbst’s suggestion to redraw borders in Africa is unfeasible.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What Nic is interested in about cities, and his views on urbanization, and urban or rural bias.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What has made Lagos such a successful city and how other African cities can follow suit.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why invisible election rigging is one of the biggest challenges to contemporary democracy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Sweet spot strategies include gerrymandering, the exclusion of a rival candidate, and so-called subtle violence or intimidation.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Nic is worried that other governments will learn subtle intimidation and use it to win elections.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Going from high-level thinking about institutions to actual on-the-ground implementation when one constantly has to worry about “counterfeits.”•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Democracy in Africa’s collaboration with The Continent, a free newspaper in partnership with The Mail &amp; Guardian, South Africa.Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Prof. Nic Cheeseman on TwitterProf. Nic Cheeseman on LinkedInProf. Nic CheesemanDemocracy in Africa on TwitterDemocracy in AfricaDemocracy in Africa<a...
8/24/20201 hour, 13 minutes, 14 seconds
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The Political Economy of Special Economic Zones with Lotta Moberg

Charter cities can be thought of as the next generation of special economic zones. Today’s guest is Lotta Moberg, a macroeconomic analyst at the&nbsp;Dynamic Allocations Strategies&nbsp;team at&nbsp;William Blair&nbsp;in Chicago.&nbsp;Lotta&nbsp;is considered somewhat of an expert on special economic zones, given that her dissertation explored the entrepreneurial state and the government as an entrepreneurial and commercial actor, as well as special economic zones. This is also the topic of her&nbsp;book, The Political Economy of Special Economic Zones. In this episode, we discuss everything there is to know about special economic zones, including knowledge and incentive problems, economic activity versus political need, concentrating resources versus implementing them in the economy as a whole, and private versus government initiatives. Lotta shares some of the key determinants for successful special economic zones, the importance of regulatory reform, and why China has been so successful in implementing them, as in the case of Shenzhen. We also go into the differences between charter cities and special economic zones and how the two can complement each other. Tune in today to find out more!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Lotta got into the special economic zone space through development economics.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Thinking about market development, and what drew Lotta to special economic zones.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Lotta explains the knowledge problem and how it relates to appropriate resource allocation.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How resources are potentially allocated in a market economy versus a socialist economy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The incentive problem as it relates to specific zones and what incentivizes those in charge of those zones to spend unnecessarily on them.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Generating economic activity versus benefiting political need, which can harm the economy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Measuring whether a special economic zone is successful or unsuccessful is difficult.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Concentrating resources to attract foreign investors versus implementing them in the economy as a whole and allowing investors to pick their location.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Agglomeration through private initiatives versus government initiatives with specific benefits.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Special economic zone or charter city level reform versus a national level reform.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Key determinants for successful special economic zones, including regulatory reforms.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The difference between charter cities and special economic zones is governance.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Lotta believes that China’s special economic zones, like Shenzhen, were so successful.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why it’s difficult to replicate a special economic zone like Shenzhen elsewhere in the world.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Looking at a charter city like a conglomerate and approaching the knowledge and incentive problem in the case of a charter city.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How the charter city space has evolved and how to spread the message more effectively.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How charter cities and special economic zones can complement one another.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Lotta MobergLotta Moberg on TwitterLotta Moberg on LinkedInThe Political Economy of Special Economic Zones
8/10/202058 minutes, 43 seconds
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Creating Livable, Sustainable Cities with Yomi Ademola

Africa is the fastest urbanizing region on the planet. The continent’s rapid population and economic growth demand large-scale solutions. As Africa’s new private city builder – backed by American, Norwegian, British and New Zealand investors – Rendeavour builds cities in the growth path of some of Sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest growing regions. Today’s guest is Yomi Ademola, the country head for Nigeria for Rendeavor, which is the largest urban real estate development company in Africa. In this episode, we discuss what it means to create livable, sustainable cities, the process of building them, and how they fit into the broader regional development of their locations. Yomi also shares with us what the impact of COVID has been on his business, the importance of blending local capacity with international expertise, as well as how to balance the need for order with the organic emergence of a city in its own right. For more on building the livable, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing cities of the future, tune in today!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Yomi introduces himself and gives a bit of background to founding Rendeavour.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What Rendeavour is, what it means to build cities, and where their current developments are.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The process of building a city, from site selection and feasibility to livability and sustainability.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;There is such a demand for new, clean, aesthetically pleasing cities in Africa given the rapid rate of urbanization and the resulting congestion.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How these cities fit into the broader regional development of their locations.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Other city projects that Yomi draws inspiration from and how PPPs like his can be catalysts for rapid economic development.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How COVID has affected what’s happening on the ground and the demand for Yomi’s services.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Raising capital and withstanding downturns depends on financial capacity of shareholders.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The importance of blending local capacity with international expertise, for successful projects.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Getting a critical mass of movers to jumpstart activity in these areas: Commerce is what capitalizes growth.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Balancing the need for order and the organic emergence of a city in terms of urban planning.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Yomi’s currency risk mitigation strategies for working in countries without stable currencies.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What autonomy Yomi’s company has over governance, and how it benefits the new city.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How government regimes differ and what the varying effects on market demand have been.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What it means to create a city culture and steps Yomi has taken to develop it.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Yomi Ademola on LinkedInRendeavourAlaro CityRenaissance CapitalTatu CityRoma ParkKiswishiCityscape PlanningSkidmore, Owings &amp; Merrill
7/27/20201 hour, 1 minute, 6 seconds
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Building a New Hong Kong with Ivan Ko

As the political landscape in Hong Kong shifts, many residents are looking to migrate to Western countries. This creates immigration problems, especially as some Hong Kongers won’t meet the investment requirements needed to move to cities with established Hong Kong expat communities. Today’s guest, Ivan Ko, is the founder and CEO of Victoria Harbour Group, an organization with the bold idea to create international charter cities in Western countries for Hong Kong immigrants to move into. Our conversation begins as Ivan explains the benefit his proposed charter cities will have for their host countries. Built in areas with low local populations to minimize disruption, each city will aim to fit an economic niche. We discuss why this might be an attractive proposition considering the economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ivan discusses the challenges of building charter cities and reveals that, despite immigration being a hot-button political issue, the perception of Hong Kong residents as industrious and highly educated has added political support to the idea of migration. We speak about how the people of Hong Kong have a unique identity that allows them to easily assimilate into Western systems. After sharing the inspiration for his idea, Ivan draws historical comparisons between the Puritans arriving in America on the Mayflower and how many Hong Kongers will migrate to pursue democracy and freedom. Throughout the discussion, Ivan highlights how his charter cities will benefit locals. At the end of the episode, Ivan shares his thoughts on what makes a livable city, Victoria Harbour Group’s role in developing charter cities, and how their model is influenced by Silicon Valley. Reflecting Hong Kong’s meteoric rise, Ivan wants each charter city to be a ‘miracle city.’ Listen to this episode to learn what that might look like.Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Ivan’s mission — to build a city for Hong Kong migrants in a democratic country.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why so many Hong Kong residents want to migrate to other countries.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Ivan explains the economic benefit that this new city will have for its host country.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The benefits of migrating to Ivan’s city as opposed to cities with existing expat communities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Ivan has an urgent timeline to complete the first international charter city.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What we can expect regarding the scale of each international charter city.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The critical factors involved in choosing a site to build each city.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Hong Kong’s ‘brand name’ has been crucial in generating political support.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How an international charter city might be a solution to mass migration.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The dangers of over-planning a city and how this can affect a city’s livability.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Detailing the sectors in which Hong Kong migrants can help local economies.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Hong Kong migrants might specifically benefit the U.S. economy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Hong Kong values lead to an easy assimilation into Western systems.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Learn why Ivan thinks that this is the best time to start creating charter cities in the West.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Ivan shares his experiences and what led to the idea of having a Hong Kong charter city.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How Ivan responds to scepticism and naysayers who don’t believe in his project.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Ivan discusses the challenges facing the establishment of charter cities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How crucial Ivan’s high-caliber, talented staff are going to actualize his plan.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Ivan’s model; a hybrid between a tech startup, and a city development business•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why developing charter cities should not affect Hong Kong or...
7/13/20201 hour, 15 minutes, 2 seconds
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Funding a Charter City: A Venture Capital Perspective with Patri Friedman

Venture capital and charter cities are an unlikely pairing, but it’s one that presents interesting possibilities. Today's guest, Patri Friedman, is the founder of Pronomos Capital, the Seasteading Institute, and a veteran in the charter city and competitive governance space. We kick off the show by learning more about Pronomos Capital, and why Patri decided to start a venture fund dedicated to charter cities. With his Silicon Valley experience, Patri brings a unique approach to charter city thinking. From there, we discuss some of the factors that have led to the charter city movement gaining traction, including shifts in government and investor mindsets. After this, we dive into the Seasteading Institute and what spurred Patri to establish the organization. We then delve into founding a charter city. While there are capital constraints, Patri believes that the shortage of capable founders is one of the biggest obstacles in the space. Founders need to have a unique skill set, where they are visionaries along with some on-the-ground, embedded local knowledge. Next, we look at how charter cities overlap with and diverge from Western governance models and how they can apply lessons as best practice. We round the show off by discussing some of the opportunities that COVID-19 has created in the charter cities space, what’s in store for charter cities in the next five years, and what Patri’s most excited about. Be sure to tune in today!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;Learn about Pronomos Capital, the first venture fund dedicated to charter cities and its motivation.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Patri believes that the legal system of a charter city is similar to low marginal tech.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The shortcomings of viewing governance as a product rather than a service.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Patri believes the charter city movement has gained the traction it has recently.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Changes Patri has seen in the charter cities VC space over the past two and a half years.•&nbsp;&nbsp;How the shifts in thinking about charter cities have happened for investors and countries.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Seasteading’s founding story, some of Patri’s influences, and the institute’s mission.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Why good founders — and not capital — is the major binding constraint Patri sees.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Some of the characteristics needed for a great charter city founder.•&nbsp;&nbsp;What charter city would-be founders can take from successful startup founders.•&nbsp;&nbsp;The importance of a roadmap and more educational materials in the charter city space.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Insights into the potential industrial organization of charter cities and influencing factors.•&nbsp;&nbsp;How Pronomos approaches early-stage valuation for charter city companies.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Learn more about floating cities and why they need high economies of scale to work.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Charter cities versus western governance: Where it overlaps and where it diverges.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Patri’s take on overcoming the first-mover challenge.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Thinking about charter cities in high-income countries and some obstacles that come with it.•&nbsp;&nbsp;How COVID-19 will shape emerging markets in the short and long-term.•&nbsp;&nbsp;What’s on the horizon in the charter cities space in the next five years.•&nbsp;&nbsp;Find out some of the projects that Patri is most excited about.&nbsp;Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Patri Friedman on TwitterPronomos CapitalThe Seasteading Institute<a...
6/29/20201 hour, 6 minutes, 38 seconds
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The Determinant Power of Geography and the Coming Disorder with Peter Zeihan

Joining us on the show today is geopolitical strategist, speaker and author, Peter Zeihan! Our conversation spans a wide range of connected topics, centering on the immediate future facing the United States and the global economy, with particular attention given to the question of China. Peter holds a somewhat less common position on China's supposed power, arguing that the country is a paper tiger, waiting to ignite. He does a clear job of explaining this perspective and how so many casual theorists seem to have got it completely wrong. Drawing the argument back to the US, Peter then explains the stability, even in today's chaos, that the country has and by extending his scope to Europe and the Middle East, he shows the huge part that geography plays in the unfolding of political and economic power struggles. We discuss the examples of France and Germany, as well as outlying African countries and Peter underlines the central part that geography and access play in all of their destinies. Bringing the conversation firmly into the present, we then consider the role of technology and particularly the latest tech innovations in possibly disrupting the established order that Peter is describing. According to our guest, even AI and the rest of the digital revolution is not yet enough to overhaul the legacy of the industrial revolution and it will still take many further developments for this to occur. We get into the question of the global economy and the trajectories of the world's strongest currencies; again Peter demonstrates why America's positioning will allow it to be non-reliant on others, a definite strength moving into an uncertain age. For a fascinating chat, and a brilliantly articulated argument you may have not encountered before, join us on Charter Cities today!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The coming global disorder and the focus of Peter's latest book Disunited Nations.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Considering different theories of the current global economy and trade.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Ideas of China's growing economic and militant power and the holes that exist in these theories.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;China's political immaturity and fallibility and what a spectacular fall might look like.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The part that geography plays in the unfolding events in China and the rest of the world.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Europe's outlook; geography and the areas that have historically lent themselves to control.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The role of technology in disrupting the deterministic power of geography in European development.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;American geography and the coincidental advantage that it offers the country.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The power of shale gas and how this can affect the US' need for involvement in foreign energy markets.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A future where the US disengages from relationships with the rest of the world.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The links between culture and geography and how this influences technological adoption.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Technology and geography and what this combination means in a modern, AI context.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The limits of the digital revolution in heralding a new age.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The interesting example of India; population, poverty, positioning, and continuity.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Looking at the Saudi Arabian economy and their dysfunctional education and military systems.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The broader Middle Eastern dynamic and looming conflicts.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Expectations for Africa and the lasting effects of coronavirus on immigration.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The two paths for Africa's continued industrialization and how they diverge.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Currency flows, the ultimate power of the dollar, and the trajectory of other historically strong...
6/15/20201 hour, 18 minutes, 48 seconds
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Aiding Emerging Markets and Serving People with Grace with Iyinoluwa Aboyeji

The Nigerian economy is complex and multilayered, with many opportunities and hurdles for its people. Joining us on the show today to discuss the economic landscape of Nigeria, the charter city project of Talent City in Calabar, and what it really means to provide opportunities to the Nigerian people, is entrepreneur Iyinoluwa Aboyeji! We have a fascinating discussion around the ways the Nigerian market operates and the types of entrepreneurship and business-mindedness that are found in the country. Iyinoluwa sheds light on what he calls survivalist entrepreneurialism and explains a few different perspectives on Nigerian aspiration inside and outside of the country. One of the most notable points that our guest makes is the stark difference between the American concept of monopolies and Nigerian 'competition trees'. From there, our conversation turns to Iyinoluwa's own professional experiences and work at Andela and Flutterwave. We also get into his education and faith before looking at the political picture in Nigeria and what this means for young business owners. We discuss the Chinese presence in Africa, feelings about this, and of course the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The last part of our conversation is spent unpacking Iyinoluwa's work on the Talent City Project and his hopes for this new charter city! Intended as a specialized tech hub away from over-crowded Lagos, Iyinoluwa hopes to attract young talent to the new space soon, with remote work being a big draw for the model. For this great chat with Iyinoluwa, be sure to join us on the Charter Cities Podcast, today!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The entrepreneurial spirit in Nigeria; the influence of the emerging market and a large population.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Competition trees and the spread of resources and opportunity in Nigerian business.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Nigerian-American professional trajectories and entrepreneurial side-hustles.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Iyinoluwa's experience founding Andela and the initial idea behind the company.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Cultural education and soft-skills at Andela and how they used improv for these purposes.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Iyinoluwa's thoughts on finding and hiring talent and his work at Flutterwave.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Pitching Nigerian companies in the US and the right way to communicate this.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The growth of Nigerian and African companies that can extend into the US and European markets.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The influence that Iyinoluwa's faith has played in his entrepreneurial pursuits.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Iyinoluwa's entrepreneurial advice around providing dependability in the face of failing political systems•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Ethnic divisions in Nigeria and how this plays into power structures in the country.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Age demographics in Nigeria and the aspirations and realizations of the current youth.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The Chinese influence in Nigeria and the perception of this among locals.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The pandemic in Nigeria and considering the effects of COVID-19 in emerging markets.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Lasting implications on dropping oil prices for African economies.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Considering different models for charter cities in Nigeria and how they would operate.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Government and leadership in Lagos; managing the challenges of infrastructure and congestion.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Iyinoluwa's role in the development of Yaba in Lagos and the lesson he carries forward.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The vision for the design of Talent City; a charter city for harnessing tech talent.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Initial pushes for new residents and the intended strategy for filling Talent City.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The remote work model and thinking about the impact of the current health...
6/1/20201 hour, 8 minutes, 33 seconds
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Mwiya Musokotwane on Nkwashi and The Future of an Intercontinental Africa

Nkwashi is a private charter city that is currently being built in Zambia to house around 100,000 residents on completion. Our guest on the show today is Mwiya Musokotwane, the co-founder and CEO of Thebe Investment Management, a Zambian private investment firm that is the developer of Nkwashi. He is here to talk about this project and the challenges and aspirations involved specifically, as well as those more broadly positioned in an African context. We look at questions of what it means to create a private city, getting an economy started and the key factors that need to be addressed for Africa's economic future. Mwiya gives us some insight into the timeline of building Nkwashi and why building a charter city takes longer in developing economies. We discuss financing and the ways that the project has been laid out to pay for itself over the next ten or so years. The conversation also covers skills development, talent attraction and culture building and we look at how cities and companies both do this as well as the clear differences. Mwiya makes a strong argument for the role of institutions and networks in establishing the overarching culture of a city, something that he has very certain aspirations about for Nkwashi. The conversation also covers the focus on technology as Nkwashi's main industry and attraction, and we unpack the mercantile model that is planned. Listeners can look forward to hearing about a future city, some great perspectives on African economies and the challenges that face a project of this size. Mwiya also explains what he admires about Singapore and the lessons he has learned from their example, so tune in to hear all this and more!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;An introduction to Nkwashi, a private city and satellite to Lusaka.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The basics and timeline of building a satellite city in Africa.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The housing and service deficit in Zambia and how Nkwashi offsets this.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Financing a costly venture of this type; commercial sales and payment plans for units.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mwiya’s background in research and economics and how these skills inform his current work.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A preferable model for talent attraction and development: training from a junior level. &nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The construction of Nkwashi and the division of labor between internal and external sources.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Comparing the development of a culture within a team and a city.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The values that Mwiya wants to promote in Nkwashi, dynamism, openness and more!•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The central role of institutions and networks in growing a city's culture.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Reasons to focus on technology as the anchoring tenet in Nkwashi; wage arbitrage and the global economy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Benefits of mercantilism and placing Nkwashi within the context of the larger Zambian economy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Interfacing with the Zambian government; what Nkwashi's relationship will look like.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Augustus would build a good charter city!•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The evolution of Mwiya's philosophy towards city development and urban planning.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mwiya's appreciation for Singapore and the points that impress him most.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The constraints of capital and talent access in Zambia and Africa.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Challenges specific to Africa and the dangers of special economic zones.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A critique of Silicon Valley's city-building project; positives and negatives.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The projected growth of urban populations in Africa and the potential impacts of this.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mwiya's thoughts on getting African countries to a state of 7% GDP growth.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Chinese involvement in Africa and...
5/18/202049 minutes, 57 seconds
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Alain Bertaud on Cities: The Products of Spontaneous Order

For today’s episode, we discuss urban planning with Alain Bertaud, senior research scholar at NYU’s Marron Institute and the author of&nbsp;Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities.&nbsp;Our conversation covers many subtopics under the central theme of the processes that allow cities to come into being and be maintained. Cities – healthy ones at least – are in essence the products of spontaneity, compositions of ever-changing movements dictated by the connections between the people who live in them, and we consider how planning can accommodate this reality. One of Alain’s central hypotheses is that labor markets are the foundation of cities and the idea that good transport and service-based approaches to planning will produce healthier labor markets. This idea penetrates much of the conversation with Alain today and we hear his thoughts on topics like which cities had labor markets and which didn’t, why some cities die and others keep surviving, why some shape history and others don’t, the best ancient cities, and how one might approach the construction of a master-planned city. We consider two models that mayors could follow, that of the janitor and that of the CEO, with one focusing on service and the other, a grand vision. We consider which of these two models best serve cities concerning their fundamentally spontaneous nature. Alain also weighs in on the idea of negative property rights, Haussmannian and Schumpeterian approaches to planning, and the future of transportation in relation to a city’s ability to develop organically. We wrap our conversation up with a focus on charter cities, looking at how to fill up a space that is not a destination in and of itself yet. Catch our conversation today for wide-ranging and incisive observations on the nature of cities with our wonderful guest.Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A definition of labor markets as places of freedom to select your job or employee.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The idea that labor markets are the foundation of cities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Examples of cities not based on labor markets where workers had no choice regarding work.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A planning error: placing housing next to jobs, thus threatening the labor market.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;US and Chinese cluster cities/fragmented labor markets; integrating them using transport.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The limits of the bus/drive/subway system to cope with urban sprawl.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Getting past oversimplified understandings of cities having one industry like tech or finance.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A conception of a mayor’s job as being to enable rather than direct a city’s labor market.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How land use is not recycled in non-labor market cities in China and the Soviet Union.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;New transport models like Uber and Hyperloop, which have the power to change future cities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Whether coronavirus’ high toll on dense places will stop them from existing in the future.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A consumer’s right to make tradeoffs between commute time and floor space area.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The best ancient cities and Alain’s belief that different cities are preferable to different people.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Important contributions Haussmann made to Paris’ navigability, notwithstanding his motives.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Freedom, exchange, commerce, and why some cities produce a higher cultural output.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;An argument for having large municipalities for coordinating efforts more effectively.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Paralysis caused by a dilution of property rights and elevation of negative property rights.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Pros and cons of China’s good technicians operating within a command economy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why informal economies exist and how some have been absorbed by formal...
5/4/20201 hour, 18 minutes, 3 seconds
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Gyude Moore on the Infrastructural Spine of the Economy

For our first full episode of the Charter Cities Podcast, Mark is joined by Gyude Moore to discuss his experiences in and the history of Liberia, and what this story can teach us about charter cities in Africa and emerging markets. Gyude takes a brief look at the defining moments in Liberian history for this discussion, mentioning the population that arrived from America in the 1800s and the civil war he was born into at the end of the 20th century. We hear more from his personal story of moving to the US for college and then returning to a governmental position thanks to the Scott Family Fellows program and how this turned into a role as the Minister of Public Works. Gyude comments on the characteristics of the Liberian government at this time and the systems and attitudes that halted progress and reduced funds. From there, we move into Gyude's main passion and argument, that paved roads make up the backbone of any economy, a technology that has become completely commonplace in most of the Western world and the dearth of which results in much of Africa's economic stagnation. Gyude makes the connection between the US' reliance on the road network for so much of their strong economy and then compares this with Africa's road infrastructure, concluding that Africa can never progress without better, paved access between cities and hubs. The later part of our conversation moves into a discussion on Chinese involvement in Africa, the Belt and Roads Initiative and how Charter Cities might aid the propulsion of African economies in a way that other means might not. Gyude is a passionate and experienced planning mind, with lots to share from his native Liberia and beyond, so tune in to get it all!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The influence of the end of the American slave trade on Liberian history and culture.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Gyude's early years, growing up during the Liberian civil war.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Comparing the encroaching civil war in Liberia to the current spread of the coronavirus.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The influx of people into Monrovia at that time and the strain it placed on infrastructure.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Gyude's move to the US for college and landing in Baltimore to an unexpected reception.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Heading home to Liberia and the program that recruited Gyude to work with the state.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The period in which Gyude took up a position as Minister of Public Works.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Entrepreneurial spirit in government; aspirational work in the public sector in Liberia.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Gyude's experiences of corruption in Liberia's emerging market.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Cultural and mindset shifts for better long term benefits and installing systems in chaos.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The technology of paved roads and what it enables a government and population to achieve.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Gyude's idea for the incentivized development of cheaper materials for paved roads.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Enforcing accountability for government projects, initiatives and funds.&nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Gyude's critique of the Belt and Road Initiative and estimates of necessary funds.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Assessing the involvement of China in Africa and the debt that is already present.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The importance of planned cities in the lives of citizens and economic growth.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Looking to the example of Asia and what Africa can and cannot learn from their model.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The core of what appeals to Gyude about charter cities and how they can help.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Risks that accompany the charter city model and the power of the host country.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Skill sharing for the benefit of a local population; the rise in Africans hired by China.Links Mentioned in Today’s...
4/20/20201 hour, 13 minutes, 15 seconds
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Mark Lutter on the importance of charter cities

We are so happy to welcome you to the Charter Cities Podcast, where we highlight the different facets of building a charter city. Through this platform, we hope that listeners will not only gain a deep understanding of charter cities from urban planning to politics and finance but also the necessary steps that it takes to build them. In this episode, we do things a bit differently, with Mark Lutter, founder of Charter Cities Institute, and host of the podcast getting put in the hot seat. His CCI colleague, Tamara Winter, interviews him on a range of topics, both directly and not so directly, related to charter cities. We learn more about the mission of CCI and why Mark believes that charter cities are a good model for economic development. While Paul Romer, famed economist, unsuccessfully tried to get charter cities off the ground, Mark explains why he believes CCI’s approach will ultimately be more successful. Mark also sheds light on how charter cities are complementary to but different from economic zones. While these delineated areas are often politically motivated, the vision behind the charter city is much broader than that. CCI hopes to contribute to aspects such as site selection, urban planning, and governance, and in doing so, take a holistic approach to building a new city. Mark also discusses what it takes to build governance capacity, some of the charter city constraints, and how partnerships helped him launch CCI. We learn more about Mark as well, from some of his favorite books, the African cuisine that’s made the biggest impression on him, and how he has carried the lessons from his federal bureaucratic parents with him. We couldn’t have hoped for a better first episode, and we hope you join us for the journey to come. Tune in today!Key Points From This Episode:•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The two ways that CCI’s attempt at creating charter cities is different from Paul Romer’s.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Mark is skeptical about using services as a means of building charter cities.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Find out how charter cities are similar to and different from special economic zones.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How regulatory arbitrage can produce favorable outcomes and what CCI is doing about it.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Charter cities need good urban planning and infrastructure in conjunction with good governance.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Two of Mark’s favorite books that he’s read related to places he has been.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How growing up with parents who worked in federal bureaucracy has shaped Mark.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What industrial policy is and what charter cities should be cognizant of when pursuing it.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why, despite admiring China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Mark is cautious about it.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;An overview of Honduras' charter legislation and what went wrong in execution.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Find out what it would take to build a government from scratch and successful examples.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Which historical leaders would have been good charter city founders?•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Learn more about the constraints that charter cities face and how they’re likely to change.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why Mark would opt to build charter cities in Canada rather than the US.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mark's motivation for founding CCI and his proudest CCI achievements thus far.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Find out about the two key partnerships that helped Mark launch CCI.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Why the state shouldn’t be trusted with industrial policy.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What Silicon Valley is not understanding about politics and how they can change it.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mark’s favorite non-charter city books and what we can learn from historical eras.•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;An overview of the Hanseatic League and how it can be used as a governance model...
3/25/202057 minutes, 32 seconds