What does Paul Romer think of Dubai?
As you’d expect from the name, a charter city is a city governed by a charter. Sounds simple, but it’s a surprisingly powerful way to let people choose to move someplace that is well governed.So what does he think of Dubai? Chris Blattman paraphrases Romer's view:
Imagine that the United States and Cuba agree to disengage by closing the military base [Guantanamo Bay] and transferring local administrative control to Canada. Canada works with Cuba to draft a charter for this special zone and promises to enforce its terms. Under this charter, a new city blossoms. It does for Cuba what Hong Kong, administered by the British, did for China; it connects Cuba to the global economy. To help the city flourish, the Canadians encourage immigration.
...unlike Dubai (which proves a city can be built anywhere) we’ll let the workers bring their families, have equal rights, and stay.That's not to say Dubai is bad, it is just that it doesn't fit the model Romer has in mind. All workers come to Dubai because it offers them better opportunities than they can find at home. And I have to say, that for many of these workers the better opportunities exist because governance in Dubai is superior to governance in their home country. If better governance doesn't come to your country, go where this is better governance. Even it is temporary and you don't have equal rights.
Labels: charter cities