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Honduras Supreme Court Outlaws Progress, Strikes Down “Model City” Law

October 18, 2012

The BBC has one account:

The Honduran Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional a project to build privately-run cities, with their own police and tax system.

The “model cities” project was backed by President Porfirio Lobo, who said it would attract foreign investment and create jobs

By 13 votes to one, Supreme Court judges decided that the proposal violated the principle of sovereignty.

Demonstrators celebrated the decision outside the court in Tegucigalpa.

“This is great news for the Honduran people. This decision has prevented the country going back into a feudal system that was in place 1,000 years ago,” said lawyer Fredin Funez.

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  5. Adrian permalink
    October 23, 2012 5:32 pm

    My understanding is that the Constitutional Court found the constitutional amendment unconstitutional because the constitution doesn’t allow sovereignty to be ceded. It seems to me than that the only thing that needs to be done is to also amend the constitution so it does allow for sovereignty to be ceded. Since the parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of the constitutional amendment it shouldn’t be difficult to muster the votes necessary to approve this amendment too. It is really is nothing more than oversight that this was not addressed at the first vote. Presumably the Constitutional Court is not above the constitution itself.

    • Marcus permalink
      November 5, 2012 7:05 pm

      Adrian, the Honduran Constitution has several “un-amendable” articles. Presumably, the supreme court ruled on the article that establishes the borders of the country, which is one of those un-amendable articles. From the text of the legislation that allowed the REDs, though, it appears that ultimate control of the land remained with Honduras. Though the REDs had their own jurisdiction as far as laws go, I think the supreme court could have easily found that that did not constitute “ceding sovereignty” or changing the borders of the country. But, I haven’t been able to find the actual text of the supreme court decision to see if that was indeed the article on which the court based the decision. If anyone happens to have access to that, I’d love to get a copy.

  6. cbsure permalink
    October 21, 2012 1:07 am

    Considering the votes to amend their constitution to allow charter cities were practically unanimous, & following the comments @ Romer’s Charter City blog where supposedly a real Honduran who is actively expressing his discontent for such a project on behalf of more than just himself, I’m lead to believe that the Supreme Court actually ruled in favor of the citizens’ attitude & not by some authoritarian pressure. Regardless of whether the irony is true that Charter City was popular among Honduran politicians & not by their own citizens still highlights one of Patri’s arguments for seasteading: people (whether politicians or citizens) generally don’t look highly on being experimented with by foreigners, even for ‘uninhabitated’ areas. Romer’s team of people emphasizing rules over the will of the people are also disconcerting. I would also not be surprised if corrupt politicians found a way to use Charter City to advance their political power, but admittedly that is only my conjecture based on rumors about the corruption that currently plagues Honduras. I’m left to believe any domestic changes to achieve a better nation (purposely leaving this standard ambiguous) perhaps it is morally best to leave people to their own devices regardless of the scale of time necessary to achieve lofty goals &, moreover, regardless of the beneficial results projected by one’s unilateral theory.

    • cbsure permalink
      November 27, 2012 2:27 am

      Just finished watching TED by Ernesto Sirolli which is similar but better conclusion than my own. Should learn to serve local entrepreneurial spirits instead of implanting paternal solutions. That is, help them with the knowledge or the resources but not the ideas. The ideas must be purely their own or else failure is imminent. This doesn’t really apply to seasteading other than being the competition to look out for when searching for a market of seasteaders. Ernesto’s advice of “shut-up & listen” applies more to Romer-esque solutions insisting on being the idea-man in someone else’s backyard. More noteworthy is Ernesto’s insistence that no human is capable of performing all 3-points of successful entrepreneurship: fantastic product, fantastic marketing, & tremendous financial management. To me this means: preceding the principles of freedom are the principles of entrepreneurship (aka teamwork).

  7. peter permalink
    October 19, 2012 1:02 pm

    He says feudal like it was a bad thing.

    • October 27, 2012 10:12 pm

      It was a bad thing; in this context refers to what security in feudal times meant: you had it only if you lived inside the walled community as the landlord’s serf.

  8. Stuki permalink
    October 19, 2012 2:34 am

    Wonder if, in addition to domestic grandes, the justices were also receiving pressure from abroad.

    Like communism and any other repressive social model, progressivism, and with it the high status enjoyed by it’s self appointed grandes, can only survive as long as no real alternative is allowed to exist.

    Even someone as remote and destitute as Afghani/Pakistani tribesmen must be suppressed, with drone bombing raids targeting children if need be, to prevent the common herd from seeing the Elephant in the room: that progressivism in it’s entirety, and all those institutions that uphold it, are at best completely useless. For anything beyond target practice, at least.


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