Posted by on November 14, 2019 9:29 am
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Categories: Weekly Update



After all, we’ve been doing it for thousands of years


It would be hard to list all the advantages that cities afford us, but the short version goes like this: urban centers concentrate labor, talent, wealth and innovation in a matrix that allows all of them to multiply and advance. Since ancient times, the orderly (or mostly orderly) gathering of people in permanent residence has benefited not only them, but much larger populations of hinterlands who rely on the city’s markets and governance for their own livelihoods. 


These dynamics are unlikely to change, even in an era of distributed production, just-in-time fabrication and next-day delivery: the logic of logistics alone means that humanity will still require transportation hubs and central repositories of expertise of various types, not to mention places to meet other people and [expurgated] far into the future.  What may change, however, is the actual geographic locales where all this happens.


That’s right, there may soon be some new cities on the block — at least if certain visionaries have their way. If founding a new city from scratch sounds ambitious, there are plenty of contenders, including the Free Private Cities initiative, showcased at the International Austrian Conference in Vienna on November 13. FPC founder Dr. Titus Gebel notes that new cities can also provide a powerful spur to economic development and innovation, by serving as special economic zones for host countries. Read all about it here.



Featured Opinions


GeoPolicy Editor Dan McGroarty: Thirty Years After the Fall
Late on a Thursday evening in Berlin, the cement and concertina-wire symbol of the Cold War was breached, inadvertently opened by a botched answer of a flustered East German Communist Party apparatchik. Announcing a loosening in border-crossing policy, he was peppered with questions on when the change would take effect. “Immediately,” he said, shuffling his notes. “Without delay.” “Also in Berlin?” presses a reporter. “Yes, yes,” comes the response. More


Editor-in-Chief Erik Sass: Will Blockchain Undermine Central Bank Control – Or Amplify It?
Since the launch of Bitcoin in 2009 cryptocurrencies have proliferated, powered by blockchain technology using distributed computing platforms. Many have grown with the belief that they will remain free from the control of central banks and treasuries, thus providing an alternative to fiat currencies, whose value may change at the whim of governments. While perhaps hard to imagine for the current generation, this state of affairs could quickly become the new normal. More


Sergio Beraldo: Organized crime is Europe-wide (and no, it’s not just from you know where)
Many people share the opinion that Mafia is a typical Italian phenomenon, something about which only Italians should worry. This opinion is wrong. Data recently released by Europol show that thousands of criminal organizations active in Europe can be labelled as of mafia-type, with about 70% of them operating in more than one country. More


HSH Prince Michael von Liechtenstein: Without reform the EU will self-destruct
Once, the “European idea” helped unite a war-weary continent. Now, overbearing central authorities, suffocating bureaucracies and reams of red tape are limiting the freedom that idea once promised. Europeans are losing trust in their institutions, and worry for their own security. At the heart of the problem is weak leadership. More


Volvo: Reduce emissions from urban cargo by coordinating shared transport
Urban logistics contributes to challenges in the form of traffic congestion and poor inner-city environment, but is also a prerequisite for an attractive city. Volvo Group is therefore starting an exciting project in which industry, academia and society will jointly develop and test a system-of-systems in Gothenburg to reduce the number of goods transports to the inner-city area by 40 per cent. More


Veronique de Rugy: New Protectionism: Still Protectionism and Bad Economics
For several years now, news headlines have reflected anxieties about the effects of globalization and freeing trade: Will jobs evaporate? Does China have an “unfair” advantage? Is the middle class disappearing? These fears need to be addressed, because they have resulted in the implementation of misguided policy prescriptions. All too often, these policies have hurt the very Americans they were supposed to help. More



Policy At Work…



By Andy Blom, TES Correspondent


Impeachment! Congress has found yet another excuse for not actually doing any work (although they still collect their salaries). But have hope — organizations and individuals blessed with commonsense are still working hard on issues and ideas everyday. Read on for this week’s news…


This One’s Important — International Trade Barrier Index 2019
Covering 94% of the world GDP and 83% of the world population, the International Trade Barrier Index 2019 looks at trade barriers by income and regional groups, trade barriers and people, correlations with freedom and commerce and includes case studies and abstracts. It’s a wealth of important information from the Property Rights Alliance here.


Relief from Trump’s Chinese Tariffs — x 30,000!
On September 30th the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) closed the public docket to request an exclusion from the third round of tariffs on imports from China. Over 30,000 interested parties or trade associations filed for relief, believing they will be negatively impacted by the proposed tariffs. How will this affect your company, organization or pocketbook? Learn more at here and here.


Pay Your Property Tax. ALL Your Property Tax. Or Else!
This is scary. An 83-year-old retired engineer in Michigan underpaid his property tax by $8.41. That’s right $8.41. So the county seized his property, auctioned it off and kept the profits…after paying itself the $8.41, of course. It can’t happen to you? Actually, it can, and does, happen more than you would think. If you even need another reason not to trust the government, read the whole story here.


Labor Working for You
The Department of Labor, that is. Last year the DOL met two of President Trump’s objectives — cutting job killing regulations and promising lower costs and more choices in healthcare. The Department of Labor formulated a new Rule on association health plans, giving small businesses more freedom to band together to buy health coverage for their employees. In March a Federal judge invalidated the rule. This week the DOL is back in court, asking an appeals court to overturn the decision. What’s at stake? Association Health Plans (AHP) delivered savings up to 44% — a big deal for employers and employees. Get the full story here.


Warren’s Medicare for All is a Costly Paper Pyramid Scheme
Beneath all the soothing rhetoric and noble protestation, it appears that Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for All will prove costly for all…and she is attempting the cover that with a blizzard of paper. Charles Biahous of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University takes a hard, clear-eyed look at Warren’s plan, its costs and her assumptions…and it’s not a pretty picture. In short, flawed assumptions, unavailable financing sources, major new taxes, and reduced provider payments present a future mess. Get the full report here.


The Global Competition for Skilled Workers…is the U.S. Losing Ground?
For some time the United States could be secure in being the default destination for high skilled temporary migrants. But now other nations are stepping up and the U.S. is falling behind. Daniel Griswold and Jack Salmon take an extensive look at the causes, competitors and possible solutions in a thoughtful Policy Brief for the Mercatus Center here.


It’s a Good Gig…Except for the Taxes. Whew!
Of course we haven’t transitioned to a Gig Economy, but it is a new and very real factor in America…and the Federal tax system hasn’t caught up. How to fit the freedom, technology and independence of the gig economy into an outdated tax system in a way that is fair to all concerned? Garrett Watson, Special Projects Manager at the Tax Foundation takes a look at the complexities, challenges and options for reform here.



Upcoming Events


It’s cold! Go inside and warm up with Exciting Educational Opportunities, Informative Discussion and Just Plain Fun. Join in… and don’t forget to RSVP!


THE WAR ON HISTORY. The Conspiracy to Rewrite America’s Past. Featuring author Jarrett Stepman. Tuesday, November 19, 12 PM – 1 PM. The Heritage Foundation’s Lehrman Auditorium., 214 Massachusetts Ave., NE. RSVP:


SURPRISE MEDICAL BILLING. Panel Discussion Lunch. Organized by the Institute for Liberty. Wednesday, November 20, Noon. 6th Floor Conference Room, Americans for Tax Reform, 722 12th St. NW. RSVP to Jerry Rogers.


NO SAFE SPACES, You Have the Right to Remain Silent. Movie sponsored by Capital Research Center. Wednesday, November 20, 7 PM. AMC Uptown 1Movie theater, 3426 Connecticut Ave. NW. FREE – RSVP by Monday, November 18 at NOSAFESPACES.SPLASHTHAT.COM.


Andy Blom is a veteran political and public policy pro with decades of experience in Washington, D.C. circles.