My guest today is Mark Lutter. Mark is the founder of the Charter Cities Institute, which is building the ecosystem for charter cities. He is also the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer for the Victoria Harbour Group, a firm building a new city for the people of Hong Kong. Before this, he worked as Lead Economist for a fund investing in early-stage charter cities. He has a Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University.
The whole work of Mark evolves around Charter Cities, which are cities where the governing system is defined by the city's own charter document rather than by general law.
Mark thinks charter cities are underrated. because they:
- Spread good institutions which cause economic growth to help alleviate global poverty
- Provide a regulatory sandbox for technological innovation
- Demonstrate the power of cosmopolitan liberalism.
We start the conversation with the state of charter cities and what Mark is trying to achieve with the Charter Cities Institute; we talk about why creating an ecosystem of charter cities is essential. Then, we discuss why Silicon Valley and the tech world should start to think more about politics and institutions. We also explore all how charter cities would lead to more innovation. We finish the conversation talking about serendipity on Twitter.
Please, enjoy my conversation with Mark Lutter!
Find Mark online:
💬 Topics we discuss
- What are charter cities
- What is the 'Why Now?' of charter cities
- Why it's important to build better institutions
- Creating an ecosystem of charter cities
- Why today is an inflection point in history for charter cities
- Why Silicon Valley should start to think about politics
- How do we get people like Mark Andreessen to be part of the rebuilding of our institutions?
- Will charter cities help spark more innovation?
- How better institutions impact economic growth
- YC for institutions
- Twitter as a Vienese café
"Ultimately decline is a choice. We as a people decide whether we want to accept decline, whether we want to live off existing rents, cannibalizing future generations, or whether we want to build. Overcoming decline cannot be done alone, it requires coordination. We must regain our understanding that we can come together and solve problems. We must build and celebrate those building."
— Mark Lutter
📚 Book recommended by Mark
Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities (The MIT Press)
Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities (The MIT Press) [Bertaud, Alain] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities (The MIT Press)
📖 Some of the Resources we Mention in the Conversation
This is a talk I gave at the Center for Innovative Governance Research's SF event. During the event, I frequently went off script, but I thought it worthwhile to share my written remarks as well. Introduction Thank you all for coming today.
Here is the text of a short talk I gave for the our technology zones event focusing on innovation. As charter cities have taken off, we've put our domestic program on indefinite hiatus, but we're glad other folks are interested in revitalizing American innovation. Hello, thank you for coming.
Scott Alexander has a great article on arguing, a bit tongue in cheek, that the Manhattan Project can be viewed as Hungarian high school science fair project. "The joke was that this explained why the Manhattan Project was led by a group of Hungarian supergeniuses, all born in Budapest between 1890 and 1920.
In 1962, John F. Kennedy gave his famous speech 'choosing to go to the moon'. In 1969, seven years later, America landed the first manned craft on the moon. Getting to the moon was a monumental feat. It required developing dozens of new technologies and coordinating hundreds of thousands of people.
Marc Andreessen published a call to action, It's Time to Build. He starts by pointing out our institutional failures. He then proceeds to the broader challenges, lack of innovation. Fixing this sclerosis requires a cultural shift, the instillation of the belief that building is a core tenant of our humanity.
On Cultures That Build
nding his decade of silence, the voice of Marc Andreessen rises from the dust, trumpeting forth a rousing Andreessen's essay has got a lot of play in certain circles, and it generated many responses.
COVID radicalized me. I have long thought that American institutions were in various states of decline and needed to be revitalized. I was wrong. American institutions are rotten to their core. Tens of thousands of people will die, if we are lucky. A functioning government could have prevented the crisis, as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan have demonstrated.
Communitarians lament the decline of community. No one is a part of bowling leagues any more, much less rotary clubs, fraternities, or lodges. The fraying of the social fabric has led to the increase in opioid use, out of wedlock births, rising death rates, and a host of other negative social indicators.
Geoeconomics of Egypt's new capital
For over a thousand years, Cairo has served as the heart of Egypt. Yet, some 40 kilometres to the east, the government is constructing a new capital. Support...
More than half of the world's population now live in urban areas - increasingly in highly-dense cities. However, urban settings are a relatively new phenomenon in human history. This transition has transformed the way we live, work, travel and build networks.
Turn Detroit into Drone Valley
Marc Andreessen is co-founder of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. The popular recipe for creating the "next" Silicon Valley goes something like this: Build a big, beautiful, fully equipped technology park; Mix in R&D labs and university centers; Provide incentives to attract scientists, firms and users; Interconnect the industry through consortia and specialized suppliers; Protect intellectual property and tech transfer; and, Establish a favorable business environment and regulations.
A beginner's guide to building new cities
Urbanization is among the most pressing challenges the world faces today. The UN estimates that each year cities across the world will gain more than 72 million new residents. The new urban residents are concentrated in emerging markets where governments can struggle to provide the essential public services and basic infrastructure necessary for rapidly urbanizing populations.
Building a Charter Cities Movement - Dr. Mark Lutter
In 1962 Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, birthing the modern environmental movement. Within ten years the Environmental Protection Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act were all signed into law. The environmental movement was fantastically successful at achieving its goals.
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