I appreciate you following up on the question of Charter cities; they've been in my mind since the guest post: https://www.elysian.press/p/wakanda-as-african-utopia, but I hadn't done any more research on them.

I think the question that's immediately raised by the idea of Franchise cities is what is essential to make a model of governance work and what is incidental (and what do you do if it fails). For a franchise business we have a basic sense that the same business model can work in a different city run by a different person, and there's a clear process for how to close it up if it doesn't work.

For a franchise city, what do you need to replicate? Does it matter if the location is different? (Singapore obviously benefits from it's location, but I don't know whether that's true of the Nordic countries); How is the government connected to the cultural identity and practices of the people? Does the franchise inherit the original countries participation in international treaties and organizations? Does the franchise create a replica of the public bureaucracy and judicial system of the original?

And, what happens to the people living in the franchise city if it fails (and who decides if it's failed)?

But it is an interesting question to ask whether the franchise model can work. It makes me think of this quote from Snow Crash: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/513383-the-franchise-and-the-virus-work-on-the-same-principle

“The franchise and the virus work on the same principle: what thrives in one place will thrive in another. You just have to find a sufficiently virulent business plan, condense it into a three-ring binder ― its DNA ― xerox it, and embed it in the fertile lining of a well-traveled highway, preferably one with a lef- turn lane. Then the growth will expand until it runs up against its property lines.

In olden times, you’d wander down to Mom’s Café for a bite to eat and a cup of joe, and you would feel right at home. It worked just fine if you never left your hometown. But if you went to the next town over, everyone would look up and stare at you when you came in the door, and the Blue Plate Special would be something you didn’t recognize. If you did enough traveling, you’d never feel at home anywhere.

But when a businessman from New Jersey goes to Dubuque, he knows he can walk into a McDonald’s and no one will stare at him. He can order without having to look at the menu, and the food will always taste the same. McDonald’s is Home, condensed into a three-ringed binder and xeroxed. “No surprises” is the motto of the franchise ghetto, its Good Housekeeping seal, subliminally blazoned on every sign and logo that make up the curves and grids of light that outline the Basin.

The people of America, who live in the world’s most surprising and terrible country, take comfort in that motto.”

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The interesting thing is that so many countries have done it so many ways. Some countries have a lot of natural resources (like the Nordic countries) and have created a good plan for that, others have no natural resources whatsoever but created a good plan for that (like Singapore/Hong Kong). Countries could certainly take their pick of governance models that have similar settings but used them successfully. And there is plenty of room for flavor! I know that McDonalds quote is satirical but you can get a croissant and a macaroon at McDonalds in France, but not in the U.S.!

There also are some overarching ideas that can help everyone, and the World Bank has done an incredible job at synthesizing that information for everyone. I found this report really helpful at identifying opportunities for countries worldwide: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/server/api/core/bitstreams/7fe97e0a-52c5-4655-9207-c176eb9fb66a/content

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