glyph 392: anthropology, economics, law ... traditional polycentric clan law, common law, tribal law ... freezones, freeports, commerce ... integration of modern commercial world with the customary law of clans and tribes ... adaptation of the old to the new ... "a package of social software that could generate a freeport-clan." MacCallum
Spencer MacCallum's The Art of Community examined hotels and shopping malls as instances of propietary community implemented as large multi-tenant income properties (MTIPs). As editor of Michael Van Notten's The Law of the Somalis, and after discussion with Van Notten, MacCallum saw that his work on community could be applied to large freeports, or freezones, owned by a Somali clan and consituted in such a way, under customary Somali law, so as to be fully compliant with the needs of modern commerce.
The adaptation of customary clan law to the needs of the modern entrepreneurial world is a remarkable confluence of two seemingly incompatible streams of human creativity. For that reason alone it is worth contemplation.
The following will be more readily understood after reading glyph 139 on Van Notten's book, The Law of the Somalis, and the documents made available at:
The fundamental concepts of the freeport are presented here (Ch. 15):
An example leasehold agreement, binding all parties to the freeport (App. C):
Spencer MacCallum's description, on Amazon.com, of Van Notten's The Law of the Somalis:
This book details many striking features of Somali customary law. It is compensatory, for example, rather than punitive. Instead of being imprisoned or otherwise punished, law breakers are required to compensate their victims. A victim seldom fails to receive compensation, moreover, because every Somali is insured by near kin against his or her liabilities under the law. Being based on custom, Somali law has no need of legislation or legislators, hence is happily free of political influences. Even so, the author points out areas in the law that are in need of change. These do not require legislation, however; many desirable changes, such as ending restrictions on the sale of land and enhancing the status of women, are implicit in economic development. As for the Somali political system, not only is there no need to set up a democracy, the author clearly shows why any attempt to do so must inevitably produce chaos. This book by a trained and sympathetic observer shows how, viewed in global perspective, Somali law stands with the Latin and Medieval laws and the English common law against the statutory law that originated in continental Europe with the modern nation state. It explains many seeming anomalies about present-day Somalia and describes its prospects as well as the dangers facing it. Born in Zeist, the Netherlands, in 1933, Michael van Notten graduated from Leiden University in Law and was admitted into practice in Rotterdam. He later served with a New York law firm and directed the Institution Europaeum, a Belgium-based policy research organization. In the early 1990s, he became interested in the prospect of Somalia developing in the modern world of a stateless society, and for the next twelve years, he studied Somali customary law. A keen analyst of the intricacies of clan politics, he traveled fearlessly in war-torn Somalia. He died in Nimes, France, on June 5th, 2002
About the Editor of The Law of the Somalis
Spencer Heath MacCallum is a social anthropologist living in Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico, where he played a central role in the economic development of the village of Mata Ortiz, now known internationally for its fine-art pottery. He has long studied the feasibility of social organization without taxation. He is the author of The Art of Community and numerous journal articles.
July 5, 2007; edited/updated November 26, 2015