Paul Romer Français : Paul Romer Deutsch: Paul Romer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In a recent post "The Digital Age is Not a Solution" I argued that perhaps we need to redefine the role of federal government to meet the challenges from increasing population density. An alternative to that approach which I thought about but did not include in the post was to re-establish city-states.
An additional three billion people will move into cities in the next forty years and the percent of urban population will be well in excess of 50%. This trend will bring population density to unheard levels, which should force humans to re-organize in a significant way, such as changing the current form of federal governments.
It should also be noted that the number of large cities, over 30 million population, will increase dramatically and these cities will be larger than many countries. These cities will have significant economic interests to protect, which may not be consistent with the objectives of their countries. Therefore, we could see the emergence once again of city-states.
This might appear to be a perfectly crazy idea, except for economist Paul Romer's idea. Romer has proposed the idea of charter cities, "economic zones founded on the land of poor countries but governed with the legal and political system of, often, rich ones". Romer proposed the idea as a means to create economic growth in poor countries. These charter cities would not be subject to the existing cultural, social and political constraints of many poor countries by establishing independent cities governed by more advanced legal and economic systems. Sounds like city-states to me.
More on Romer's idea of charter cities here.