We are talking about forming new societies. I mean, it’s a big topic, but I think the main things have been covered now. I think I can say that because it took me 30 years to get the knowledge to write the book and I have discussed this topic intensely with all kinds of people all over the world. I can say that we’ve probably got everything covered.”

Titus Gebel 6 scaled

Today we have Titus Gebel back on the podcast and this time we’re talking about the update he has just published to his classic book Free Private Cities: Making Governments Compete for You

What’s new in 2023?  What has been deleted from previous manuscripts? And what lessons have we learned since the last edition was published just over five years ago?

Of particular interest to me were questions that I had about the preferred architecture and design of Free Private Cities along with Free Cities culture, ethics, and a rundown of the main innovations that have emerged since the last book was released.

We end the show by discussing the COVID pandemic and how Titus predicts that a Free Private City operator would respond to something similar were it to occur in the future.

If you’re interested in the other two podcasts I’ve recorded with Titus, try episode 036 for a deep dive into medieval city-states and episode 034 for a broader discussion about the movement in general.

Enjoy the conversation.

Automatically Generated Summary

Section Overview: This section introduces the podcast and celebrates its 50th episode. The host reflects on the growth of the free cities movement and reveals an update to the book “Free Private Cities.”

Update to “Free Private Cities” Book

  • 01:35 Titus Gebel is back on the show to discuss the update to his book “Free Private Cities.”
  • The new edition includes six completely new chapters and updates based on developments in the last five years.
  • Topics covered in the update include preferred architecture and design, free cities culture, ethics, and innovations since the last edition.
  • The discussion also touches on how a free private city operator would respond to a pandemic like COVID-19.

Other Podcast Episodes with Titus Gebel

  • 02:55 Episode 36 dives into medieval city-states.
  • 02:55 Episode 34 discusses the broader free cities movement.

Getting the Updated Book

  • 02:55 The updated book can be obtained from the Free Cities website along with other related books.


Section Overview: In this section, Titus Gebel discusses architecture, culture, and how free private cities would have dealt with a pandemic like COVID-19.

Major Differences in the Updated Edition

  • 04:17 The updated edition includes six completely new chapters and some abridged chapters.
  • Architecture became an important topic after discussions with supporters, shareholders, and architects.

Dealing with COVID in Free Private Cities

  • 05:31 People often ask how free private cities would have handled a situation like COVID-19.
  • The updated edition addresses this topic and fills gaps in the previous edition.

Other Topics Covered in the Update

  • 05:54 The book covers new experiences in Honduras and special economic zone projects.
  • Special administrative regions and ethics are also discussed in the update.


Section Overview: In this section, Titus Gebel concludes the discussion about the update to “Free Private Cities” and mentions a chapter that was removed from the original edition.

Chapter Removal

  • 07:03 A chapter was removed from the original edition as it was deemed less important than initially thought.

Note: This summary provides an overview of the main topics discussed in the transcript. For a more detailed understanding, please refer to the full transcript.


Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses the completeness of the book and its relevance for those interested in the sector. They also mention the potential role of artificial intelligence in the future.

Completeness of the Book

  • The book is now considered relatively complete and covers the main ideas behind getting involved in the sector or starting one’s own project.
  • It took 30 years for the speaker to acquire the knowledge necessary to write this book.
  • The speaker has extensively discussed these ideas with people from all over the world.
  • While there may be unknown factors related to artificial intelligence in the future, starting now provides a comprehensive understanding.


Free Private City Model vs. Other Community Aspects

  • The free private city model is still considered to be the best option due to its contractual framework and superior incentive structure.
  • However, other models can incorporate many ideas and chapters from this book.
  • Cultural and architectural aspects are not unique to free private cities and can be adopted by other models as well.


Importance of Architecture

  • The speaker emphasizes that architecture plays a crucial role in creating livable spaces.
  • They express a preference for traditional architecture over modernist styles, which they find unattractive and even anti-human.
  • People tend to gravitate towards old towns with aesthetically pleasing architecture rather than modernist designs.
  • Beauty should be considered when designing free private cities to ensure they are appealing and enduring.


Historical Perspective on Architecture

  • The speaker initially had a vague feeling that modernist architecture was ugly compared to older architectural styles.
  • They were recommended books on architecture, which further solidified their view on beauty being an essential aspect of design.
  • The modernist movement disregarded beauty in favor of functionality, leading to unappealing structures.
  • The speaker believes that true art and architecture should stand the test of time and be visually pleasing.


Considerations for Free Private City Models

  • The speaker suggests taking into account the preference for traditional architecture when designing free private cities.
  • Modernist architecture is often disliked by people, as evidenced by the popularity of old towns compared to modern developments.
  • The modernist movement in architecture emerged as a response to the aftermath of war but may have neglected aesthetic appeal.


Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses the negative impact of the modernist movement on architecture and urban planning. They argue that modernism went against human nature and limited people’s freedom to choose their preferred architectural styles.

The Negative Impact of Modernism

  • 14:32 The modernist movement has destroyed many things in architecture and urban planning.
  • 14:53 Modernism went against human nature and was not relevant.
  • 15:16 Modernism contradicted the idea that people should be free to choose what they prefer in a city.
  • 15:36 Modernistic buildings were often disliked by the general public, despite being praised by a small group of elites.
  • 15:57 Mayors and local politicians often supported modernistic architecture without considering public opinion.
  • 16:43 The problem lies in a small group of people shaping cities today, rather than involving contributions from all citizens.


Section Overview: In this section, the speaker highlights examples of unplanned development in Brazil as an alternative to modernistic architecture. They argue that natural development, where individuals build their own houses next to each other over time, can result in beautiful cities with high density.

Unplanned Development in Brazil

  • 17:07 Unplanned development in Brazil, such as favelas, shows higher density and buildings built together.
  • 17:28 With better materials, these unplanned developments could be quite beautiful, similar to dense cities like those found in Greece or medieval European cities.


Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses their model for creating free private cities based on a hypothetical free market development over several hundred years. They argue that these cities would resemble Renaissance or antique cities rather than modern cities, as they would be shaped by individual preferences and natural development.

Model for Free Private Cities

  • 18:10 The speaker’s model for free private cities is based on a hypothetical free market development over several hundred years.
  • 18:28 These cities would resemble Renaissance or antique cities rather than modern ones.
  • 18:51 When people have the freedom to shape their own city, they are unlikely to create large-scale modernistic developments.
  • 19:13 The majority of people prefer beautiful buildings and a more natural layout for the city.
  • 19:33 The main axis of the city would be a straight road leading from a port or marina to the main plaza, with other roads branching off from there.
  • 20:00 Existing paths and planning would be incorporated into the city design, similar to historical developments.


Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses the layout of free private cities and emphasizes that roads should not always be straight. They explain that starting from scratch allows for 100% voluntary consent in creating these cities.

Layout of Free Private Cities

  • 20:21 Roads in free private cities should not always be straight but can have some curves to make them more interesting.
  • 20:00 Starting from scratch allows for 100% voluntary consent in creating these cities.
  • 20:21 Planning includes main roads, airports, ports, and keeping access points open.

Note: This summary is based on selected parts of the transcript and may not fully represent the entire video.


Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses the idea of mixing commercial and living spaces in a town, as well as the cost implications of building different styles of buildings.

Mixing Commercial and Living Spaces

  • The speaker believes that it is not a problem to mix commercial and living spaces in a town, with the exception of heavy industries that produce noise and emissions.
  • Limited zoning can be implemented to separate heavy industries from the rest of the town to mitigate noise and emissions.

Cost of Building Styles

  • The speaker acknowledges that building a beautiful looking building can be more expensive than constructing a simple box-like structure with windows.
  • Skyscrapers are generally more expensive due to factors such as stability requirements.
  • The cost of construction depends on regional materials availability and specific design choices.
  • The speaker mentions that their concept involves polycentric growth, similar to what has been implemented in Munich, where smaller city quarters are developed instead of relying solely on skyscrapers.


Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses the idea of building upwards and the benefits of polycentric growth in cities.

Building Upwards

  • The speaker mentions that while there may be some taller buildings, they are influenced by Munich’s approach which limits buildings to five or six stories.
  • They believe that duplicating structures within a square kilometer area with 20,000 to 30,000 people is preferable over constructing skyscrapers and having people commute from sleeping towns.

Polycentric Growth

  • The speaker suggests adopting a polycentric growth model where multiple small city quarters exist within a larger area.
  • Each city quarter can have its own central focus points, such as museums or restaurants.
  • This approach promotes meeting with fellow residents and engaging in activities rather than creating monotonous sleeping towns.


Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses the drawbacks of the current commuting system and the impact of remote work on commuting habits.

Drawbacks of Commuting

  • The speaker criticizes the current system where people commute to downtown areas for work and then return to their sleeping towns at night.
  • This leads to empty downtown areas at night and monotonous, boring sleeping towns.
  • Commuting wastes time, energy, and money while decreasing overall quality of life.

Remote Work Trend

  • The speaker acknowledges that remote work has become a trend, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Many office workers now have the flexibility to work from home for a few days a week.
  • While some functions still require in-person interaction, such as certain management roles or factory work, many desk-based jobs can be done remotely.


Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses how remote work can benefit new city development by reducing the need for traditional anchor tenants.

Impact on New City Development

  • The speaker suggests that remote work can be advantageous when creating a new city because it reduces reliance on finding an anchor tenant or production factory.
  • With remote work becoming more prevalent, there is less pressure to secure a critical mass of jobs in one location.
  • This allows for more flexibility in planning and developing new cities.

28:00(t=1680s) The Future of Remote Work

Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses the potential impact of remote work on society and culture.

The Relationship Between Remote Work and Culture

  • There is a connection between remote work and culture.
  • The speaker believes that there is a developing “free cities culture” associated with remote work.
  • Creating a cultural offer in free private cities is important to attract residents and foster a sense of community.
  • Holiday resorts often lack cultural offerings, so it’s necessary to actively promote cultural activities in free private cities.
  • Inviting artists, professors, and other individuals who have been canceled or marginalized by mainstream society can enrich the cultural scene of free private cities.

Creating Diverse and Independent Communities

  • Free private cities aim to create diverse communities where like-minded people can come together under the protection of the city operator.
  • Zoning and master planning are minimized to allow residents to pursue their own interests and form unique neighborhoods within the city.
  • The speaker shares an example of how a group from the alternative yoga scene approached them to create their own village within a free private city project in West Africa.

Evolutionary Cycle of Cities

  • The evolution of many cities follows a cycle where affordable areas attract artists, leading to gentrification over time.
  • Artists have a knack for making places cool, which increases demand and drives up prices.

30:58(t=1858s) Imagining Life in Free Private Cities

Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses how people envision life in free private cities through creative storytelling.

Story Contest: Road to Liberty

  • A book contest was held inviting people from around the world to submit short stories imagining life in free private cities.
  • Over 100 submissions were received, with 20 selected for publication in “Road to Liberty” by the Free Cities Foundation.
  • The winning story, written by Sebastian G, describes a city divided into quarters based on different interests and lifestyles.
  • Each quarter has its own architecture, culture, and ideas, allowing residents to live according to their preferences.

Embracing Individuality and Freedom

  • Free private cities aim to provide a framework that protects life, liberty, and property while allowing individuals to pursue their own paths.
  • The absence of strict zoning and master planning encourages like-minded people to come together and create unique communities within the city.

33:42(t=2022s) The Evolution of Neighborhoods

Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses the evolutionary cycle of neighborhoods in cities.

Regenerative Neighborhoods

  • The speaker had a conversation with representatives from “Regen Tribe,” who focus on creating regenerative neighborhoods.
  • They highlight the evolutionary cycle of neighborhoods where affordable areas attract artists and gradually become more expensive over time.
  • Artists have a significant impact on making places cool and desirable.

Note: This summary provides an overview of the main points discussed in each section. For a more detailed understanding, please refer to the corresponding timestamps in the transcript.


Section Overview: This section discusses the development of private cities and the unplanned nature of their growth. It also explores the possibility of repurposing old factory buildings and the role of city planning in shaping urban areas.

Private Cities and Unplanned Growth

  • Private cities can develop organically without intentional planning.
  • The growth of successful cities often leads to disputes with factory areas, prompting factories to sell their land and relocate.
  • The future development of private cities is uncertain, as it depends on various factors such as market demand and individual choices.


Section Overview: This section highlights the example of Gibraltar becoming a hub for online gaming and gambling due to favorable regulations. It emphasizes that city planning should not be driven by one person’s ideas but rather allow people to decide for themselves.

Unforeseen Developments in City Planning

  • Gibraltar became a center for online gaming and gambling due to favorable regulations, which was not planned initially.
  • City planning should not be dictated by one person’s vision but should allow individuals to make their own choices.
  • Master planning can lead to a totalitarian order, whereas limited planning allows for individual decision-making.


Section Overview: This section discusses noise issues in private cities and the need for zoning regulations. It also addresses personal preferences regarding neighbors’ activities and the importance of maintaining tranquility within one’s property.

Noise Issues and Zoning Regulations

  • Noise issues, such as a heavy metal band practicing nearby, can be addressed through zoning regulations.
  • Individuals have the right to tranquility within their property, which may require restrictions on certain activities.
  • Zoning is necessary in today’s world and would also apply in free private cities.


Section Overview: This section explores the role of ethics in private cities and the need for moral or ethical foundations to sustain a society over time. It emphasizes that as long as cooperation is voluntary, there should be no external condemnation.

Ethics in Private Cities

  • Some argue that classical liberalism or libertarianism needs additional moral or ethical foundations to sustain a society.
  • However, the decision to prioritize wealth and freedom over other values is subjective and voluntary.
  • As long as cooperation is voluntary, there should be no external condemnation of a society’s chosen ethics.


Section Overview: This section discusses the importance of reproductive choices in private cities and the potential consequences of certain decisions. It suggests incorporating ethical guidelines into education while respecting individual freedom.

Reproductive Choices and Ethical Guidelines

  • In free private cities, people may choose not to have children due to their wealth or personal preferences.
  • If one group decides not to reproduce while another group prioritizes reproduction, societal dynamics will naturally unfold.
  • Ethical guidelines can be recommended but not forced in free private cities, similar to how good clothing influences others’ choices.

Note: The transcript provided does not cover all aspects of the video.


Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses the importance of rules for a stable society and the need to transfer them to future generations.

Rules for a Stable Society

  • The speaker emphasizes that rules are necessary for a society to be stable over a long period of time.
  • While rules may not be needed for short-term stability, they are crucial for long-term stability.
  • These rules must be transferred and transported to the next generation.
  • The speaker mentions Venice as an example of a society that existed independently for 1100 years, highlighting that freedom of contract alone is not enough for such longevity.
  • Baking ethics into contracts is essential, with the Golden Rule being a fundamental principle in contracts.
  • Reciprocity and equal rights are also important aspects incorporated into contracts.
  • The speaker proposes 15 rules as part of creating new societies on a contractual basis.


Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses incorporating ethics into free private cities and attracting individuals who value freedom and non-aggression.

Ethics in Free Private Cities

  • The speaker believes that simply creating new societies based on contracts is not enough because certain behaviors cannot be explicitly included in contracts, such as starting families or getting married.
  • The free part of free private cities should incorporate principles like non-aggression and the Golden Rule.
  • Freedom means individuals are not forced to do things they don’t want to do and cannot force others to do so either.
  • Violating these principles would break the contract and result in expulsion from the city.
  • Free private cities naturally attract individuals who value freedom rather than relying on state intervention or redistribution of wealth.


Section Overview: In this section, the speaker emphasizes the importance of teaching ethical principles in free private cities and the potential consequences of neglecting them.

Teaching Ethical Principles

  • The speaker highlights the importance of teaching ethical principles in free private cities, such as the Golden Rule and equal rights.
  • It is important to inform people why free private cities exist and the reasons behind limiting city operators to protecting life, liberty, and property.
  • Societies have failed in the past when a certain group of people assumed power and imposed their ideas on how the world should work.
  • Progressive education has been destructive to civilization within a short period of time.
  • It is crucial to transport knowledge about free private cities’ principles to prevent history from repeating itself.


Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses his involvement with ZEDEs (Zones for Economic Development and Employment) projects and their implementation of private governance.

ZEDE Projects

  • The speaker was approached during the writing of his book by a group interested in implementing his ideas on private governance into ZEDE projects.
  • The top-down approach of traditional city laws lacked participation and private governance.
  • The speaker supported the project and became involved as Chief Legal Officer to make it happen.


Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses the unique hybrid nature of a city council that combines elements of a charter city and a free private city. The historical reasons behind this hybrid model are explained, along with the guarantee of legal stability provided by a contract.

City Council Structure

  • The city council is a mixture between a charter city and a free private city with a contract. (t=2893s)
  • Historical reasons have led to this hybrid model. (t=2893s)
  • There is a guarantee of legal stability through the contract. (t=2893s)


Section Overview: This section focuses on the administration and governance of the city council. It highlights how most aspects are privatized except for police enforcement and tax collection, which are handled by government officials.

Administration and Governance

  • A private company handles most administrative tasks in the city council. (t=2913s)
  • Police enforcement and tax collection remain under government control. (t=2913s)


Section Overview: Here, the speaker explains that while writing his book, he observed various developments related to free private cities around the world. He mentions that some ideas from his book were adopted by certain cities or projects, leading to interesting models resembling free private cities.

Development of Free Private Cities

  • Various developments related to free private cities were unfolding while writing the book. (t=2938s)
  • Some ideas from the book were taken over by existing projects or new initiatives. (t=2938s)
  • Examples include Dubbo International Financial Center and second-day autonomy in West Africa. (t=2938s)


Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses the potential future of free private cities. He believes that the concept is unstoppable and foresees a trend towards private companies governing special zones on behalf of host nations, providing contracts to residents.

Future of Free Private Cities

  • The speaker believes that free private cities are unstoppable and will continue to develop. (t=2960s)
  • Private companies governing special zones on behalf of host nations with contractual agreements are likely to emerge. (t=2960s)
  • Examples include Dubbo International Financial Center and discussions between various governments and companies. (t=2960s)


Section Overview: This section explores the evolution of economic zones into places where people can live. The speaker highlights how economic zones have progressed from free trade ports to encompassing various industries and services, ultimately leading to the development of cities within these zones.

Evolution of Economic Zones

  • Economic zones have evolved from free trade ports to encompassing various industries and services. (t=2999s)
  • The latest development includes International Financial Centers that have expanded into full-fledged cities with restaurants, art galleries, etc. (t=2999s)
  • People’s desire for certain rules and expectations drives the transformation of economic zones into livable spaces. (t=2999s)


Section Overview: Here, the speaker agrees with the idea that economic zones becoming places where people can live is a natural evolutionary step in their development. He emphasizes that it makes sense for individuals to reside in thriving economic zones with their own set of rules.

Natural Evolution: Economic Zones as Livable Spaces

  • The transition from economic zones to livable spaces is a logical progression in their development. (t=3067s)
  • Individuals prefer living in successful economic zones with specific rules and expectations. (t=3067s)
  • The host nations are open to accommodating the needs of expats and high-potential individuals in these zones. (t=3067s)


Section Overview: This section discusses the expansion of International Financial Centers and their transformation into cities with diverse services and amenities. The speaker highlights how this development aligns with the natural progression of economic zones.

Expansion of International Financial Centers

  • International Financial Centers, starting with Dubai, have expanded to other locations like Abu Dhabi and Kazan. (t=3129s)
  • These centers have evolved into cities with a wide range of services, including restaurants and art galleries. (t=3129s)
  • The development mirrors the natural progression observed in economic zones becoming livable spaces. (t=3129s)


Section Overview: In this section, the speaker emphasizes that the idea of a private governance system based on contracts is relatively new but aligns with the natural evolution of societal systems. He believes that even without his involvement, such a system would eventually emerge.

Private Governance System

  • The concept of a private governance system based on contracts is relatively new but not extravagant. (t=3187s)
  • It aligns with the natural progression observed in societal systems worldwide. (t=3187s)
  • The speaker believes that even without his involvement, this idea would eventually come to fruition. (t=3187s)

54:39 Update on SE Steading and Incidents in Thailand

Section Overview: This section discusses the incident in Thailand related to seasteading, which is an attempt to gain freedom from nation states. It highlights the challenges faced when trying to establish independence and the importance of making agreements with host nations.

Seasteading Incident in Thailand

  • An incident occurred in Thailand involving a seasteading project by Ocean Builders.
  • The project was anchored outside of Thailand’s 12-mile zone but received food supplies from the mainland.
  • The Thai Navy claimed that the project violated sovereignty and considered it treasonous.
  • Despite Ocean Builders publishing the location, which proved it was outside Thai territorial borders, the Thai Navy destroyed the project.
  • This incident demonstrates similarities to past attempts at establishing independent territories, such as the Mina project off Australia’s coast.

55:26 Challenges Faced by Seasteading Projects

Section Overview: This section explores other historical cases where attempts to establish independent territories faced opposition from neighboring states. It emphasizes the importance of legal standing and agreements with host nations for successful projects.

Historical Cases of Opposition

  • The case of Rose Island in the Adriatic Sea and a similar underwater structure off Australia’s coast highlight instances where neighboring states claimed ownership over attempted independent territories.
  • These cases demonstrate that having legal rights on one’s side does not guarantee success if neighboring states do not support or recognize them.
  • The example of Prospera showcases how having watertight legal arguments and agreements with governments can provide protection against government interference.

57:27 Legal Position of Liberland and Prospera

Section Overview: This section discusses Liberland’s legal position and highlights Prospera as an example of a project with strong legal protections. It emphasizes the importance of legal frameworks and agreements in ensuring the stability and longevity of seasteading projects.

Legal Position of Liberland

  • Liberland’s legal position is consistent, with neither Serbia nor Croatia claiming ownership over the land.
  • While Croatia does not make a strong argument against Liberland, they do not actively support it either.
  • Similar to other cases, such as Rose Island and Mina project, legal standing alone may not be sufficient to protect a project from government interference.

Prospera’s Legal Protection

  • Prospera has faced challenges with the government despite having an agreement in place.
  • However, Prospera benefits from having a strong legal argument and protection through international or national arbitration courts.
  • The existence of legal protections deters governments from using force to remove projects like Prospera.

59:18 Importance of Agreements with Host Nations

Section Overview: This section emphasizes the significance of making agreements with host nations for seasteading projects. It highlights how agreements provide legal standing and protection against government interference.

Agreements as Protection

  • Making agreements with host nations is crucial for seasteading projects to ensure their stability and protection.
  • Projects like Prospera have been able to assert their rights through international or national arbitration courts due to their agreements.
  • Without agreements, governments may resort to forceful measures to remove projects that claim independence outside territorial waters.

01:00:01 Legal Frameworks and Protections for Seasteading Projects

Section Overview: This section discusses the importance of establishing robust legal frameworks and protections for projects. It highlights how proper legal groundwork can safeguard projects against potential changes in government policies.

Establishing Legal Frameworks

  • The Honduran founders of cities like Prospera ensured strong legal protections by including provisions even if laws were withdrawn.
  • Agreements provided extended periods of legal protection.
  • These legal frameworks and protections are essential to safeguard projects against potential changes in government policies.

Protection Against Government Interference

  • Projects like Prospera can resist government interference because they have a legal position supported by their constitution, laws, and guarantees.
  • The existence of legal protections makes it challenging for governments to dismantle established zones or territories.

These notes provide an overview of the discussed topics related to seasteading projects and incidents in Thailand. They highlight the challenges faced by such projects and emphasize the importance of agreements with host nations for stability and protection.

01:01:20 The Free Cities Movement and Learning from Experience

Section Overview: The speaker discusses the value of the Free Cities movement and how it provides valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t work in creating new cities. They emphasize the importance of learning from past experiences to build a thesis on how these projects can be successful.

The Importance of Learning from Experience

  • The Free Cities movement allows for continuous learning as each passing year provides more information on what works and what doesn’t work in creating new cities.
  • Including past experiences, such as those from Honduras, SEZs, Liberland, and NEOM (a state-driven project in Saudi Arabia), in the book helps to build a comprehensive understanding of different approaches.
  • NEOM is an interesting project that aims to create a part of Saudi Arabia with more liberal rules to compete with Dubai. However, there is still uncertainty about its specific rules due to internal struggles between conservatives and more open-minded individuals.

01:02:41 Competition Between Governments and the Future of Free Cities

Section Overview: The speaker explores the concept of governments competing for citizens through the establishment of free cities. They discuss how this competition can lead to better outcomes for individuals and highlight the need for clear rules in new city projects.

Governments Competing for Citizens

  • It is beneficial when governments compete for citizens as it leads to better outcomes for individuals.
  • The speaker mentions that this idea aligns with the subtitle of their book.
  • Clear rules are essential in new city projects like NEOM, where internal struggles between conservative and modern factions impact decision-making.

01:04:05 Trying Out New Ideas and Learning from Them

Section Overview: The speaker emphasizes that trying out new ideas is crucial for progress. They discuss how experimentation will lead to a steep learning curve and how future generations will consider concepts like Bitcoin and free cities as normal.

Trying Out New Ideas

  • Experimentation is necessary to progress, and trying out new ideas in creating cities is no exception.
  • The learning curve will be steep, but it will provide valuable insights for future generations.
  • Concepts like Bitcoin and free cities may become the norm for individuals born today or in the near future.

01:04:48 Challenges of Establishing Free Cities in Saudi Arabia

Section Overview: The speaker discusses the challenges of establishing free cities in Saudi Arabia due to its strict culture and authoritarian regime. They also mention the potential trade-offs between living under an authoritarian regime with certain benefits versus living in a more liberal place without those benefits.

Challenges in Saudi Arabia

  • Establishing free cities in Saudi Arabia faces challenges due to its strict culture and authoritarian regime.
  • The potential trade-off between living under an authoritarian regime with certain benefits (e.g., free healthcare, pension) versus living in a more liberal place without those benefits is discussed.

01:05:51 The Flaws of the Line Concept and Market Dynamics

Section Overview: The speaker critiques the concept of “the line” (referring to NEOM long linear development plan) and highlights the flaws of this approach. They emphasize that humans are part of nature and should not be separated from it. Additionally, they suggest letting market dynamics determine the success or failure of such projects.

Critique of “The Line” Concept

  • “The Line,” which involves a long linear development plan, is criticized for being antihuman and destroying nature.
  • Humans are part of nature, so separating them from it goes against how our world works.
  • Market dynamics should determine whether projects like “The Line” succeed or fail.

Note: The transcript provided does not contain any further timestamps or significant sections.

01:07:29 Dubai’s Extravagance and Ski Resort Plans

Section Overview: The discussion revolves around the extravagant nature of Dubai and its plans to create a ski resort. The conversation also touches upon the presence of mountains in Saudi Arabia and their potential for skiing.

Dubai’s Extravagance and Ski Resort Plans

  • Dubai is known for its extravagant lifestyle, especially favored by people from Saudi Arabia.
  • There are mountains in Saudi Arabia where it snows occasionally, making it possible for skiing.
  • The idea of creating a ski resort in Saudi Arabia has been proposed.
  • It is mentioned that Dubai already has a ski resort.

01:08:11 Legal System and Relocating Headquarters

Section Overview: The focus shifts to the legal system in relation to relocating headquarters. Questions arise about the legal framework and building without clarity on regulations.

Legal System and Relocating Headquarters

  • The legal system is considered an interesting aspect, particularly when considering relocation of headquarters.
  • There is uncertainty regarding the legal framework in place for such endeavors.
  • Building projects have started without clear knowledge of regulations, which poses a problem.

01:08:31 Funding and Motivation behind Projects

Section Overview: This section delves into discussions about funding sources, repayment methods, and motivations behind large-scale projects. It mentions that several billions have been allocated by the state of Saudi Arabia for these ventures.

Funding and Motivation behind Projects

  • Several billions have been allocated by the state of Saudi Arabia for funding these projects.
  • The new leader’s motivation seems to be driven by wanting to make changes on a smaller scale rather than attempting to change the entire country at once.
  • Creating a smaller city or area with different rules allows for easier implementation of desired developments.

01:09:37 Ability to Execute Large-Scale Projects

Section Overview: The conversation highlights the ability of countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar to execute large-scale projects efficiently. It mentions an example of laying kilometers of cable in a short period of time.

Ability to Execute Large-Scale Projects

  • Countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar have a can-do attitude when it comes to executing large-scale projects.
  • An example is given where three kilometers of cable were laid quickly in Qatar for a filming project, showcasing their efficiency.
  • The presence of significant financial resources contributes to their ability to undertake such projects.

01:10:35 Free Cities and Global Interest

Section Overview: This section discusses the concept of free cities and how they attract global interest. It also mentions the existence of special economic zones in the United Arab Emirates.

Free Cities and Global Interest

  • The idea of free cities attracts attention globally, with people curious about how they operate.
  • The emergence of free private cities may lead to increased interest from private companies.
  • Special economic zones already exist in the United Arab Emirates, making competition for these areas more prevalent.

01:12:15 Reforming Governance Models

Section Overview: This section explores whether countries like Saudi Arabia are seeking ways to reform their governance models or simply aiming to attract business.

Reforming Governance Models

  • It is speculated that countries like Saudi Arabia may be considering reforms through alternative means, such as creating special zones.
  • Governments are open to trying out new ideas within these zones, which could potentially be adopted on a larger scale if successful.
  • The possibility exists for governments to adopt successful concepts from free private cities into their own governance models.

01:13:05 Collaboration and Innovation

Section Overview: The discussion focuses on collaboration between free private cities and governments, as well as the potential for innovation to be shared.

Collaboration and Innovation

  • Collaboration between free private cities and governments is encouraged, with the aim of sharing successful ideas.
  • Governments have the opportunity to adopt innovative concepts from free private cities without any cost.
  • The pragmatic and opportunistic approach of free private cities allows for flexibility in choosing locations.

Note: Timestamps are approximate and may vary slightly.

01:13:53 The Challenges of Reform in Saudi Society

Section Overview: The speaker discusses the challenges of implementing reforms in Saudi society and acknowledges that change cannot happen overnight due to deeply ingrained systems. However, they view certain steps as a move towards reform.

Implementing Change Gradually

  • Reforms in Saudi society cannot be implemented overnight due to the deeply ingrained systems.
  • Even if someone high up in Saudi society is a reformist, they understand the limitations and challenges of bringing about immediate change.
  • However, certain steps can be seen as progress towards reform.

01:14:11 Influence of Study Abroad on Middle Eastern Countries

Section Overview: The speaker highlights the influence of individuals studying abroad on driving significant changes in Middle Eastern countries over the past 50 years. They mention how exposure to new ideas can lead to positive transformations.

Impact of Studying Abroad

  • Many Middle Eastern countries have undergone drastic changes over the past 50 years.
  • These changes were often initiated by individuals from influential families who studied abroad and returned with new ideas.
  • Exposure to different perspectives and experiences can inspire positive transformations.

01:14:33 Advantage of Monarchies for Long-Term Projects

Section Overview: Monarchies, such as those found in many Middle Eastern countries, have an advantage when it comes to implementing long-term projects. Unlike democracies with fixed election cycles, monarchies can focus on longer-term goals without time constraints.

Advantage of Monarchies

  • Monarchies have a long-term horizon and stability compared to democracies with fixed election cycles.
  • This allows them to undertake longer-term projects without being bound by short-term political considerations.
  • The absence of imminent elections provides an opportunity for planning and executing reforms effectively.

01:14:56 Dealing with Pandemics in a Free Private City

Section Overview: The speaker discusses the challenges of dealing with pandemics and how a free private city would handle such situations. They emphasize the importance of contractual agreements and balancing measures to protect life, liberty, and property.

Handling Pandemics in a Free Private City

  • The approach to handling pandemics in a free private city would involve contractual agreements between citizens and the city operator.
  • If there is a threat or danger from external factors, special measures can be implemented based on contractual obligations.
  • The decision-making process would consider the principles of risk assessment, effectiveness of measures, and proportionality of actions.
  • Balancing individual rights and public health concerns would be crucial in making decisions related to lockdowns, mask mandates, and other protective measures.

01:15:20 Incorporating Pandemic Measures into Contracts

Section Overview: The speaker suggests that incorporating pandemic-related measures into contracts could become common practice after experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. This would provide clarity on expectations during similar situations in the future.

Contractual Incorporation of Pandemic Measures

  • In a free private city, it is possible to include clauses related to pandemics in contracts.
  • After experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic, it may become common practice to incorporate provisions for handling similar situations in future contracts.
  • This ensures that expectations regarding protective measures are clearly defined for both citizens and the city operator.

01:16:12 Proportional Response to Pandemic Threats

Section Overview: The speaker explains that a proportional response is essential when dealing with pandemic threats. They discuss risk assessment, effectiveness of measures, and balancing potential harm against benefits.

Proportional Response Principles

  • A proportional response involves assessing risks associated with a pandemic threat.
  • The effectiveness of measures implemented to mitigate the threat is evaluated.
  • Balancing potential harm against benefits is crucial in determining the proportionality of actions taken.
  • These principles are commonly used in legal frameworks when it comes to the exercise of state power.

01:17:31 Contractual Relationship and Pandemic Disagreements

Section Overview: The speaker discusses how disagreements regarding pandemic response would be resolved within a contractual relationship between citizens and the city operator. They highlight a scenario where two neighbors have differing opinions on lockdowns.

Resolving Pandemic Disagreements

  • In a free private city, disagreements regarding pandemic response can be resolved through contractual agreements.
  • If two neighbors hold opposing views on lockdowns, they can sue the city operator based on their contracts.
  • The decision-making process would involve balancing different perspectives and presenting evidence to support specific measures.
  • This approach ensures that decisions are carefully considered and balanced, unlike blanket policies implemented by governments without individual contractual relationships.

01:19:46 Evaluating Lockdowns and Mandates in Hindsight

Section Overview: The speaker reflects on how a free private city might have handled lockdowns, mask mandates, and job restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. They emphasize the importance of considering effectiveness, usefulness, and proportionality in decision-making.

Evaluating Pandemic Measures

  • In hindsight, a free private city may not have implemented strict lockdowns or mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Decisions would be based on evaluating the effectiveness and usefulness of such measures.
  • Balancing potential damage caused by measures against their benefits is crucial for making informed decisions.
  • It is acknowledged that hindsight makes it easier to evaluate past decisions, but future viruses may require similar considerations.

Note: Due to time constraints, further details about specific measures and their outcomes are not provided in the transcript.

01:20:56 The Impact of Lockdowns and Balancing Freedom

Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses the consequences of lifting lockdown measures too early and the importance of balancing freedom with public health concerns.

The Consequences of Early Lockdown Relief

  • Lifting lockdowns prematurely can lead to increased deaths and frustration among people.
  • In free private cities, where individuals have the right to sue for damages, there is a greater accountability for ensuring public safety.
  • The decision to lift or maintain lockdown measures should consider both the potential damage caused by the virus and the usefulness of restrictions.

Lack of Balancing Act during COVID-19

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a lack of proper balancing between assessing the damage caused by the virus and evaluating the effectiveness of restrictions.
  • Initially, it was claimed that millions would die if strict measures were not implemented. However, when it became evident that such dire predictions did not materialize, adjustments should have been made accordingly.

Advantages of Free Private Cities

  • Free private cities offer a unique advantage in terms of balancing freedom and public health concerns.
  • These cities are built on principles that prioritize individual freedom as an underlying principle.
  • Unlike in some Western states where freedom seems to be diminishing, free private cities uphold this principle.

01:21:36 Individual Responsibility and Legal Framework

Section Overview: This section explores the idea of individual responsibility during a pandemic and how legal frameworks can play a role in protecting personal freedoms.

Individual Responsibility vs. State Mandates

  • It is argued that individuals should take responsibility for their own well-being during a pandemic.
  • For example, if someone is afraid of contracting a virus, they can choose to stay indoors rather than imposing restrictions on others.

Freedom Implications

  • Some may argue that restrictions on movement infringe upon personal freedom.
  • However, in a pandemic, the right to walk freely may be limited to protect public health.
  • The choice to go out and potentially contract the virus should be an individual’s own decision.

Legal Framework and Personal Freedom

  • The legal system can play a role in ensuring that decisions are made in everyone’s best interest during a pandemic.
  • Rather than arbitrary state mandates, legal frameworks can provide a more balanced approach by considering individual rights and responsibilities.

01:22:44 Assessing Risk and Freedom of Movement

Section Overview: This section delves into the assessment of risk during a pandemic and how it relates to freedom of movement.

Assessing Risk

  • In assessing risk during a pandemic, factors such as the severity of the disease and its transmission rate need to be considered.
  • Extreme situations where there is high mortality and rapid spread may justify restrictions on freedom of movement.

Individual Choice and Consequences

  • Individuals have the freedom to choose whether or not they want to take risks associated with going out during a pandemic.
  • If someone decides to go out and potentially contract COVID-19, they accept the consequences that come with it.

Misconceptions about Vaccination

  • There were misconceptions that being vaccinated would prevent individuals from infecting others, which was not entirely true.
  • In extreme cases where a disease is highly contagious and deadly, restricting movement may be justified for public safety.

01:24:09 Market Behavior as Indicator of Danger

Section Overview: This section explores market behavior as an indicator of perceived danger during a pandemic.

Market Behavior Reflects Perceived Danger

  • Market behavior can provide insights into people’s perception of danger during a pandemic.
  • If there was real danger, people would pay significant amounts for vaccinations rather than fake vaccination passports.

Lack of Market Demand for Vaccinations

  • The fact that people were willing to pay for fake vaccination passports rather than actual vaccinations suggests that the perceived danger was not as high as initially claimed.
  • If a pandemic posed a significant threat, people would prioritize getting vaccinated over obtaining fraudulent documentation.

01:26:21 Lessons Learned and Future Pandemics

Section Overview: This section discusses the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and potential considerations for future pandemics.

Lessons from COVID-19

  • It is important to reflect on how the severity of a pandemic is communicated to the public.
  • If future pandemics arise, it would be ironic if people downplayed the risks based on their experience with COVID-19.

Severity and Spread of a Pandemic

  • A highly deadly pandemic may not spread as rapidly due to quick mortality rates, making it difficult to recognize its true nature.
  • Diseases that have longer incubation periods and slower progression pose greater dangers.

Note: The transcript provided does not contain enough information to create additional sections.

01:27:22 The Impact of Pandemic Policies on Travel Expeditions

Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses their experience with organizing travel expeditions during the pandemic and the policies they implemented.

Pandemic Policy for Expeditions

  • The speaker’s expedition to Mongolia was planned when travel restrictions were lifted.
  • They implemented a policy that considered COVID-19 as not deadly, especially for fit and healthy individuals.
  • However, they decided to test participants who showed symptoms, such as a sniffly nose.
  • One person in the group was against getting COVID-19 and their concerns influenced the decision-making process.

Influence of Minority Opinion

  • Despite most participants being unconcerned about COVID-19, the person who was neurotic about it dictated decisions for the whole group.
  • This situation is common in many countries where a minority opinion can have a significant impact on policy decisions.
  • Politicians often face pressure to show activity and protect citizens, even if it may not be necessary.

Pressure on Politicians

  • Politicians are under pressure to take action due to public perception and fear of being blamed for any negative consequences.
  • This pressure is reinforced by other countries implementing similar policies.
  • A handful of countries, like Sweden, have taken a different approach which allows for comparison of data.

Contracts as Decision-Making Tools

  • Having contracts in place can help operators make decisions based on agreed-upon terms rather than succumbing to political pressure or minority opinions.
  • Contracts provide an objective framework that limits human influence in decision-making processes.

01:30:08 Using Contracts to Navigate Political Pressure

Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses how contracts can help navigate political pressure and ensure consistent decision-making.

Utilizing Contracts for Decision-Making

  • Contracts provide operators with a basis to make decisions aligned with the terms agreed upon by all parties involved.
  • Operators can refer to contracts when faced with political pressure, stating that they are unable to deviate from the agreed-upon terms.

Removing Human Element in Decision-Making

  • Contracts help remove the human element from decision-making processes after a decision has been made.
  • Political pressure can be mitigated by referring to contractual obligations and limitations.

Historical Examples of Contractual Systems

  • In the past, contractual systems were not as prevalent due to different power structures and limited global connectivity.
  • However, there have been instances where contractual systems existed, such as with official pirates mandated by crowns or wagon trails in the Wild West.

01:32:12 The Evolution of Contractual Systems

Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses how contractual systems have evolved over time and their potential application in various contexts.

Increasing Participation in Decision-Making

  • Over time, more people have gained a say in decision-making processes through evolving power structures.
  • This has led to an increase in contractual systems being implemented in various areas.

Examples of Contractual Systems

  • Official pirates were mandated by crowns and operated on a contractual basis, following specific rules and obligations.
  • Wagon trails in the Wild West also had contractual systems that defined rights, duties, and circumstances for leaving the group.


Contracts can serve as valuable tools for decision-making, especially when navigating political pressure. By establishing clear terms and obligations, operators can make consistent decisions based on agreements rather than succumbing to external influences. Historical examples demonstrate how contractual systems have been utilized in different contexts throughout history.

01:33:45 The Impact of Digitization on Contracts

Section Overview: In this section, the speaker discusses how digitization is streamlining contracts and the challenges associated with transitioning from a world where rulers dictated terms to a service provider model.

Digitizing Contracts

  • Digitization has been around for a while and is streamlining contract processes.
  • Over time, digitization will further streamline contracts, making them more efficient.

Transitioning from Rulers to Service Providers

  • Historically, rulers have dictated terms in various aspects of life.
  • The only innovation we have made is replacing rulers with elected rulers.
  • The idea of service providers instead of rulers is new and challenging for our thinking.

Comparison to Car Dealership

  • When buying a car, it would be absurd for the dealer to dictate all aspects such as model, color, motor, interior, and price.
  • However, when it comes to services provided by the state and taxes paid, people accept that everything is decided by the state including the price they must pay.

Proposal for a New Model

  • The speaker proposes a model where individuals have more control over their interactions with service providers.
  • This model challenges the traditional notion of powerful rulers or governments making decisions on behalf of individuals.

01:34:36 Recognizing Alternative Models of Governance

Section Overview: In this section, the speaker explains why alternative models of governance have not been recognized before due to ingrained beliefs about needing powerful rulers. They also discuss the increasing authoritarianism in Western democracies.

Unthinkable Alternative Models

  • The concept of service providers instead of rulers in governance is unthinkable because we are accustomed to having powerful rulers make decisions for us.
  • People are used to not being able to decide for themselves when it comes to living together in society.

Triggering Change

  • The increasing authoritarianism in Western democracies has created pressure and pain, leading to a need for change.
  • While authoritarians have existed for thousands of years, the level of control and restrictions have become stricter in recent times.

Narrow Corridor of Allowed Opinion

  • The range of acceptable opinions has become narrower compared to 20 or 30 years ago.
  • People can face consequences such as having their bank accounts canceled for speaking out against the government.

01:36:26 Importance of Learning from Failures and Successes

Section Overview: In this section, the speaker emphasizes the advantages of our connected world in learning quickly from failures and successes. They also express excitement about upcoming projects and conferences.

Advantages of Our Times

  • In today’s interconnected world, we can learn quickly from both failures and successes.
  • This allows us to bring people together and explore new models of governance.

Excitement for Projects and Conferences

  • The speaker is excited about the increasing number of projects and working examples that demonstrate alternative models of governance.
  • They mention specific projects like the New Free State Project in New Hampshire and the LI project in Norway that they are curious about.

01:38:01 Personal Journey Towards Understanding Governance

Section Overview: In this section, the speaker reflects on their personal journey towards understanding the importance of governance models. They express curiosity turned into genuine interest in working towards creating better societies.

Curiosity Turned into Genuine Interest

  • Initially curious about free cities, the speaker now fully understands how important it is to work out how we move forward with governance.
  • They are invested in understanding not only success but also failures to create better societies.

Thanks to Speaker’s Influence

  • The speaker expresses surprise at themselves for becoming so intrigued by governance models.
  • They credit the influence of the person they are speaking with for deepening their understanding and commitment to the cause.

Looking Forward

  • The speaker looks forward to future conversations and hopes that each time they speak, there will be even more projects to discuss.
  • They express gratitude for the opportunity to have these conversations and learn from others.