September 2, 2009: US economist Paul Romer has suggested a radical plan to transform poor nations into prosperous ones: Such nations would give control of one of its cities to a rich nation, which would agree to develop it. Once that city becomes prosperous and a local engine for growth, the rest of the poor nation can use it as an example to transform the rest of their nation, similar to how China used Hong Kong as a model to transform Shenzhen and beyond.
This plan is controversial as it could be seen as 21st century colonialism, even though no coercion is involved. However, Romer claims that he is already in negotiations with potential host countries.
Game and Story Use
- Such charter cities are a great way to give a part of a nation a more interesting flavor - such a city will be where international trade, politics, and intrigue meet, and they will become a local melting pot of cultures and ideas by design.
- In a Cyberpunk setting, megacorps could play the role of the rich nation running the charter city. They could do this in exchange for paying off some of the debt of that nation or otherwise promising to develop it.
- This is essentially what the Incorporates of the Blue Planet did.