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A way of forming an objectivist country

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Juxtys
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I recently had an idea how to found an objectivist settlement easily:

We just need to reclaim the ghost towns. Some of them have a decent, though abandoned, infrastructure, are easy to buy out while have some goals to mask the invasion of them with, like attempting their redevelopment to bring life to abandoned towns or limit the damage to nature since reusing the same infrastructure would be more resource-efficient than building everything anew.

A project like that might even get some government funding or we might even try to get a tax-exempt status for a decade or two. Since support of this project might help gain some politicians popularity while not many would think it'll work, it looks like an easy solution of a place to live in.

I'd like some of your thoughts on this idea.

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Do you mean ghost towns in the U.S.? What would be the objective: is it to take full control of city-level government? In other words, what could one achieve in a ghost-town that one could not achieve in (say) a 200-acre tract within an existing town?

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I think for example here in New Hampshire we have very small towns that have virtually no property taxes (or much less anyway), and no zoning laws. To a fairly large extent the tax burden is determined by local governments, although I think part of it is state level and you couldn't avoid that. But it would give you a fairly good place to live, especially if it's still within 30 minutes or something of a decent size town where you can buy a lot of things.

However, you still need a ton of resources for this. If you want to start businesses and everything in the area; that costs a lot of money, and you would only be able to sell to the other people in the town at first. At least until it becomes well-known enough that outside people start coming there to buy, too.

Edited by Maarten
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http://www.chartercities.org/

similar idea, but for different intentions it appears.

I only think starting anew would work. It's how you attract newcomers. It may cost more, but that's the purpose of the charter city. A charter city though, as described in the link, is basically a multi-government charter. To me this is the only way taxation could be completely avoided and also be legally sanctioned. At least if the right arguments are made about your proposed city.

Edited by Eiuol
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The only advantage to this is that it would avoid any city taxes and city regulations (e.g. zoning, house-color laws, anti-pet laws). That is a real advantage, so it's worth considering. But there is usually a reason for a town becoming a ghost town -- it's 100 miles from everywhere and the silver mine doesn't produce anymore, or it's under 20 feet of water every couple of years. The chances are high that individual Objectivists would have to abandon many of their long-term goals in life in order to move to this place, and what would be the advantage? Well, you might save yourself a few hundred dollars in city taxes and gain the right to freely pain your house any color you want. That could easily be a significant loss in value.

OTOH living in a town populated by mostly Objectivists might be a sufficient reason in its own right -- kind of like living in Texas, I would imagine. But then, maybe one should just move to Texas.

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http://www.chartercities.org/

similar idea, but for different intentions it appears.

I only think starting anew would work. It's how you attract newcomers. It may cost more, but that's the purpose of the charter city. A charter city though, as described in the link, is basically a multi-government charter. To me this is the only way taxation could be completely avoided and also be legally sanctioned. At least if the right arguments are made about your proposed city.

If you are going to go that route why not negotiate a 100 or 200 year lease with a poor country like the UK did with Hong Kong? A larger piece of land means more opportunity for growth and possibly diversified industry.

Take central Africa (please <rimshot>) it is rich in mineral wealth but remains a cesspool of violence, addiction, disease, tribalism... The list goes on and on. (To quote an intelligence analyst friend of mine "Africa is and will remain a shit-hole in the short and long term")

So why not approach Chad or CAR or DR Congo with a deal. Say they lease 100 sq miles for 100 years in return for a 5% cut of Net National Income or something like that...

In return we get complete sovereignty over the area for 100 years. Their return wouldn't be that great right off the start but as this micro-nation grew their profit would too.

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The only advantage to this is that it would avoid any city taxes and city regulations (e.g. zoning, house-color laws, anti-pet laws). That is a real advantage, so it's worth considering. But there is usually a reason for a town becoming a ghost town -- it's 100 miles from everywhere and the silver mine doesn't produce anymore, or it's under 20 feet of water every couple of years. The chances are high that individual Objectivists would have to abandon many of their long-term goals in life in order to move to this place, and what would be the advantage? Well, you might save yourself a few hundred dollars in city taxes and gain the right to freely pain your house any color you want. That could easily be a significant loss in value.

OTOH living in a town populated by mostly Objectivists might be a sufficient reason in its own right -- kind of like living in Texas, I would imagine. But then, maybe one should just move to Texas.

Yeah, I think in many cases you would need a lot of patience before it started paying off. For most types of businesses, for example, you couldn't really make a living just selling to 20 or 100 people, total. And it'd take a while before enough outsiders know about the town and how there are really awesome X there that are better or cheaper or whatever than elsewhere, for them to come there. All that probably makes for a fairly significant initial investment. I guess it'd depend on how bad the current place you're living is, to see if it's worth it.

For example, close to where I live right now there's a small village that doesn't have zoning or really any kind of regulations. There's a bunch of libertarians living there right now, and I think they're pretty close to having a majority in the town meetings and stuff. But then again, in a lot of those places the current inhabitants are pretty skeptical about outsiders moving in and planning to change things drastically. Usually that doesn't go over very well, and especially in smaller towns that can really hurt you.

I think if you did it more as a development thing that might go over better, but you're still subject to county regulations and taxes and you wouldn't have the population to really make a difference there in terms of votes. Over here the small towns get totally outvoted on anything because of the larger college towns that are much more liberal. So in these areas on the county level it doesn't make much of a difference.

Now perhaps in some western states there are counties that are virtually empty; but then you have the issue of living in the middle of nowhere, which doesn't exactly help a good life.

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The only advantage to this is that it would avoid any city taxes and city regulations (e.g. zoning, house-color laws, anti-pet laws). That is a real advantage, so it's worth considering. But there is usually a reason for a town becoming a ghost town -- it's 100 miles from everywhere and the silver mine doesn't produce anymore, or it's under 20 feet of water every couple of years.

I agree. I've run across many "ghost" towns here in Colorado during my hiking adventures over the years. The remaining structures aren't usable, nor the building foundations if they even have any. And they are usually at high elevations far from existing utilities. There's no problem, IMO, with living at a high elevation or a remote location, a la Galt's Gulch, but I don't think there would be any advantage to buying a ghost town.

Bob

Edited by softwareNerd
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I agree. I've run across many "ghost" towns here in Colorado during my hiking adventures over the years. The remaining structures aren't usable, nor the building foundations if they even have any. And they are usually at high elevations far from existing utilities. There's no problem, IMO, with living at a high elevation or a remote location, a la Galt's Gulch, but I don't think there would be any advantage to buying a ghost town.

Bob

What about the roads in them? I'd think they'd be pretty much usable still. And the structures, though not very "comfortable" might still provide a cheap source for building materials of new buildings while the former utilities might generate the first revenues for scrap metal deals. All what might be quite expensive and difficult is fresh water and electricity supply. I think we could simply get anything else we might need. Buying a ghost town is better than an empty land since it retains some infrastructure. Besides, internet business could be conducted even from there after we establish our internet connection.

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The structures generally are made of wood that is very, very old and weathered... probably not much use to anyone.

I know some counties in Kansas and Nebraska are nearly ghost towns today, and they are actually giving away land to people who will come and live there. This could theoretically be a better option--the infrastructure hasn't decayed in these places like it has in ghost towns like Patriot described. But... the reason these towns are depopulating is there is *no value* there for most people. Kids are growing up and moving to the city.

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What about the roads in them? I'd think they'd be pretty much usable still. And the structures, though not very "comfortable" might still provide a cheap source for building materials of new buildings while the former utilities might generate the first revenues for scrap metal deals. All what might be quite expensive and difficult is fresh water and electricity supply. I think we could simply get anything else we might need. Buying a ghost town is better than an empty land since it retains some infrastructure. Besides, internet business could be conducted even from there after we establish our internet connection.

What roads?

I'm not sure what romantic notion of "ghost town" you might be thinking of. I just did a google image search for "ghost town". The first page of images alone is quite representative of what I've experienced, at least here in Colorado. There may be an exception somewhere. But there is no infrastructure to retain. Many are nothing more than a couple buildings about to be swallowed up by nature.

I am an architect. IMO, the cost to deconstruct and mill weathered old buildings would be quite inefficient compared to just buying new materials. (Deconstruct, ship to lumber mill, ship back to building site) Today, quality buildings constructed with old growth are recycled in this fashion and it's not cheap.

Finding a site with access to utilities and roads would be much more important that finding one with a few old crap buildings in the middle of nowhere.

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