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June 14, 2013


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This actually does sound like a Chinese imperial something.

I know you (probably correctly) think I use a too-broad definition of "imperialism," so I'm gratified that this arrangement seems a little bit over-the-top to you as well.

It's really the combination of the income tax exemption, 100-year term, and renunciation of sovereign immunity what stands out. The FTZ's are neither here nor there, depending on clauses that we have not yet seen.

As for the FTZ's, I'm not sure that the People's Republic of China was one of the countries that Paul Romer had in mind when he thought up the idea of a guarantor nation for a charter city ...


do you have any idea about the extent to which this is actually a serious proposal? So far all the legalities seem serious, but the proposal from a business perspective is so crazy that I have difficulty believing that it's not some strange political side show. Admittedly I don't know why Ortega would need a side show right now, so even if it is just a side show it would still be quite strange.

I don't know. There's something sketchy about the Chinese side, lending credence to the idea that there is not a lot of there here.

On the Nicaraguan side, I suspect the motivation is at least partially megalomania. The planners have already rejected the most ecologically-damaging route, so there isn't too much downside. (Other than the precedent set by that concession --- wow.) If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen; if it does happen, not only will Danny Ortega's name live on into the 22nd century, but he will have quite literally reshaped his nation.

I can see why the chance at that sort of legacy might be attractive. I'd want it, were I president of a small poor Central American nation.

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