glyph 424: free zones, free cities, economic zones ... openworld, Mark Frazier . Hanseatic League ... Taiwan, Dubai, Arab Emirates, India's Tata, Uruguay's ZonAmerica, Hong Kong, Singapore ... Ken Hagerty ..... worldwide network of freezones


Worldwide Network of Free Zones, Free Cities

soft power rivalries to create new Hong Kong- and Singapore- class free zones

I think the world will be better if current and emerging great powers engage in soft power rivalries to create new Hong Kong- and Singapore- class free zones in economically troubled areas around the world. (This kind of competition also would leave room for smaller players such as Taiwan and Singapore, without hard power agendas, to prosper by partnering in free zone projects.)

Ken Hagerty's recent thinking on free zones (, I believe, has been moving in this direction as well. Rather than see a US-backed Free Cities Initiative as the only game in town, he noted some months ago that he would welcome other countries competing with the US encourage the spread of free economic zone areas.

This trend seems to be already under way. Taiwan — Asia's pioneer in export processing zones -- has encouraged joint ventures for free zones with allied countries in Latin America. Uruguay's private ZonAmerica is also expanding into new countries with support from India's Tata Systems. Last summer's FLOW/Openworld meetings at the World Bank also touched on Dubai's new real estate j.v. in India, Singapore's" little Singapores activity, and China's zone initiatives in Africa). Bill Miller, the recently retired president of SRI, predicted around ten years ago that the 21st Century would see the likely re-emergence of a Hanseatic League-like network of free zones and cities.

I hope he's right. It would be great to see new grassroots initiatives (sparked by offers of microscholarships for communities that introduce free market reforms, as described at ( seed the emergence of a new generation of success-sharing free economic zone areas.

—Mark Frazier, Openworld, March 2008

Ken Hagerty's article:
Entrepreneurial Schools:
Vortex Openworld:
April 13, 2008; edited/updated November 19, 2016

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