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66. Because an NYU Professor Tried to Start a Colony in Honduras.

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Paul Romer had a grand plan to solve the intractable problem of stagnant growth in the impoverished and corruption-ridden corners of the world: put himself in charge. With a project the NYU economics professor called charter cities, he’d build new communities in desperate places; outsource governance to efficient states, like those Scandinavian ones; and let the developing world climb out of poverty through neocolonialism. It was the kind of idea that can make the academy look almost like a Willy Wonka playhouse, and, amazingly, Honduras took him up on the offer, granting Romer a plot on which to build a proposed city of millions. In the summer, he backed out, citing the reluctance of Honduran officials to grant him the authority he felt he needed to revive their economy.


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