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July 23, 2016

Podcast: The Day Oliver Porter Created a Privately Run City


Got a pad of paper? We need a government for our town. Quick! We’re Sandy Springs, we just gained independence, and we don’t have much time. A hundred thousand citizens are waiting. Go in your basement and write out a charter. We need traffic management, trash pick up, a 911 dispatcher, ambulance services, a jail, new parks and management, and we’re going to need a heck of a lot a roads.

Suppose we handed you a fresh jurisdiction and made this demand. Suppose you had no experience. Do you say yes?

Oliver Porter was a retired corporate executive, painter, and author. He said yes.

Okay, here’s the thing though. We can’t pay you. You’ll have to volunteer. Also, just as an aside, you have no authority. No funds either. And no staff.  You don’t even get a City Hall building. Can you do it?

What are the chances you would write up a charter that would execute all city services at half-price your first year? Could you do it with zero debt, no long-term liabilities, and widespread citizen acclaim? Would four other cities in your region ask you for help recreating your model?

Oliver Porter really accomplished all this. He did it by privatizing virtually all government services except police and schools. Oliver reached out to the Seasteading Institute to tell us how it’s done.

What Oliver Porter had to say was so surprising, our volunteer podcast technician Alexander Kosma (after nearly choking on his beverage) joined the discussion and asked pointed questions.

Yes, average people really can do governance better. Oliver Porter wants to show us how.