Monday, February 4, 2013

Galt's Gulch Chile, Randian Utopia?

I've called charter cities "the ultimate gated community," and it turns out that characterization wroks well as a marketing strategy designed to appeal to Randians with visions of state-free utopias dancing in their heads:
With the oppression of the over regulated, over taxed, war riddled and welfare riddled society consuming the world, Ayn Rand's famous protagonist character, John Galt, came to conclude that he would not use his talents to support such a society any longer...driving him to create a community where scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs and many others would come together to escape from the confines of their daily lives to not only be free...but to thrive.  
In today's world, it is becoming more and more difficult to find true freedom from very much the same oppressive forces Ayn Rand wrote of...which drove John Galt and others to a place where they found their freedom, success and peace of mind. 
But you can find yourself in just such a utopia for a modest investment:
Residential lots at Galt's Gulch Chile will be offered at much more affordable price points than one would expect for a community of this caliber. In the initial phase of the project, which is over 4,200 acres, lot sizes will range from 1.25 acres up to over 10 acres, within the separate neighborhoods of the master planned community, which is projected to have well over 1,000 lots on over 10,000 acres at build out. 
I have no idea what price point to expect from a community of that caliber.  Doesn't it depend on the height of the retaining wall built to keep the bands of roaming marauders out of my libertarian paradise?

Pictured: libertarian paradise
See that? No walls.  Also: no pesky roads, schools, hospitals, police stations, firehouses, courts, legislative bodies, telecommunications equipment, etc. But wait, here's another image:

These walls appear inadequate to protect paradise.
Galt's Gulch does have a facebook page...good thing facebook is still "free"!  But ...what is this?
The lots, roads, lakes and community amenities of Galt's Gulch Chile are currently being laid out by the architecture and engineering team. The on-site sales office is being retrofitted with solar panels and upgraded a bit inside and out, with a proposed opening sometime in March. Our Santiago office should be open sometime in the next two weeks as well. We look forward to getting in contact with everyone and meeting you down in Chile!
and, from their website:
Galt's Gulch Chile is slated to have all of the world-class amenities ...including a championship-caliber golf course, community clubhouses, tennis facilities, spa and fitness centers, hiking trails, horse facilities and trails, vineyards, underground storage facilities, downtown main street shopping, farmer's market, 24-hour guard-gated security and many others.  
Since there will be no imposing of onerous regulations or taxes here in Galt's Gulch, these items will obviously have to be priced into those "much more affordable price points than one would expect for a community of this caliber." But at least you won't have to use your talents to support a society. Your benevolent dictator GALT'S GULCH TRUSTEE LIMITED in Menlo Park, CA will contract you right out of all that messiness. Right? ....or, perhaps not.

Will this be like Independence, USA, "an entire city, developed around patterns?"


Actually, it does sound a little alike:

Galt's Gulch Chile is being designed to be a fully self-sustaining community, affording those who live there an abundant and unending supply of fresh drinking water from the natural springs located throughout the mountains and valleys of the community, clean and renewable energy from hydroelectric and solar power generation, organic fish from the scenic manmade lakes...and a plethora of organic fruits, vegetables and nuts, born from the fertile soil and the ideal year round climate of the region. 

Well then! Oh, how I yearn to sign up for more information on Galt's Gulch, if only it wouldn't mean being inundated with advertising from some trustee company in California trying to prey on my basic mistrust of government.




4 comments:

  1. You should read and learn more about the story of the Reedy Creek Improvement District of Florida aka Walt Disney World.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reedy_Creek_Improvement_District

    On March 11, 1966, these landowners, all fully owned subsidiaries of what is now The Walt Disney Company, petitioned the Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial Circuit, which served Orange County, Florida, for the creation of the Reedy Creek Drainage District under Chapter 298 of the Florida Statutes. After a period during which some minor landowners within the boundaries opted out, the Drainage District was incorporated on May 13, 1966, as a public corporation. Among the powers of a Drainage District were the power to condemn and acquire property outside its boundaries "for the public use". It used this power at least once to obtain land for Canal C-1 (Bonnet Creek) through land that is now being developed as the Bonnet Creek Resort, a non-Disney resort.

    However, Walt Disney knew that his plans for the land would be easier to carry out with more independence. Among his ideas for his Florida project was his proposed EPCOT, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, which was to be a futuristic planned city (and which was also known as Progress City). He envisioned a real working city with both commercial and residential areas, but one that also continued to showcase and test new ideas and concepts for urban living.

    Therefore, the Disney Company petitioned the Florida State Legislature for the creation of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which would have almost total autonomy within its borders. The planned EPCOT city was also emphasized in this lobbying effort. Chapter 67-764[1] of the Laws of Florida was eventually signed into law by Governor Claude R. Kirk, Jr. on May 12, 1967, creating the District. On the same day, Governor Kirk also signed the incorporation acts for two cities inside the District: Bay Lake (Chapter 67-1104) and Reedy Creek (Chapter 67-1965). (The City of Reedy Creek was renamed to the City of Lake Buena Vista around 1970.)



    The Improvement District has far-reaching powers. Through the District, Disney could construct almost anything within its borders, including a nuclear power plant (which it never built, opting instead for a more traditional plant that supplements power from outside of the District). The District, as with any municipal corporation, can issue tax-free bonds for internal improvements. This became a point of contention when a 1985 law limited the amount of tax-free bonds in Florida. The eligible bonds were chosen randomly, causing the District to beat out Orange County, which had planned to build low-income housing, in 1989.

    In addition to the power of eminent domain outside the District, the one other power that the District was given (that it would not have had if it were simply the two cities) was an exemption to state zoning and land use laws. When the state later established the Development of Regional Impact study process, Disney, through the District, was able to avoid the paperwork and streamline the process to build theme parks and other attractions. On the other hand, county taxes, including property and sales taxes, still apply within the District.

    After Walt Disney died in 1966 before his vision was realized, the Disney Company board decided that it did not want to be in the business of running a city, and eventually abandoned many of his ideas for Progress City. The planned residential areas were thus never built, causing some to cry foul. Most notably, Richard Foglesong argues in his book, Married to the Mouse: Walt Disney World and Orlando, that Disney has abused its powers by remaining in complete control of the District.

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  2. Wow! i've never seen that. It turns out it's really hard to get to, much less stay in, the state of nature (Hobbes-wise): people just keep accidentally creating society, law, and costs that have to be distributed. Hobbes and others thought you had to be immoral to want to get or remain in the state of nature. Probably true. But I think you just have to be disillusioned by the parade of horribles that is day-to-day governance of big, rich, complicated societies where we forget all the time how much protecting personal freedom actually costs, how much it costs to have law that works even reasonably well, and we get hammered constantly by corruption, overreaching, and pettiness on the part of our elected officials. It's a conundrum.

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  3. There are areas of Chile where one can live a life in relative freedom, but they are located considerably north or south of the Galt's Gulch development. These communities don't advertise, they don't proselytize, they just are. Right minded folks find them through their own efforts and due diligence.

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  4. Interesting. But are these really government-free randian utopias? Or are they simply gated communities regulated by private enterprise, such that tribute is paid to a differently constituted (but no less costly) governing body? I envision greater freedom for myself under a government which is elected by me, subject to my review, and accountable to me for its decisions.

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