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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Real life Galt Gulch on Belle Island?

The Libertarians had an idea to "save" Detroit. They wanted to turn Belle Island into a modern "Galt's Gulch". The New York Times reported [http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/08/opinion/detroit-sinks-with-belle-isle.html?_r=0]:

Belle Isle was recently at the center of a different moneymaking scheme. A group of wealthy libertarians suggested that private investors buy the island from the city for the nice, round, Dr. Evil-ish sum of $1 billion and transform it into an independent, self-governing territory. With the price for citizenship set at $300,000, the Commonwealth of Belle Isle would exist as a sort of free-market paradise; within 30 years, the group’s Web site predicted, the island would be known as the “ ‘Midwest Tiger,’ rivaling Singapore as an economic miracle.” One can order from that Web site a novella about this future Belle Isle, which describes the commonwealth’s low taxes, minimal government, even its own currency (called — seriously — “the Rand”). [A]

And of course it would be a tax-haven for millionaires and billionaires who could run their empires in the USA from it, while looting the whole country and blaming Government. A real life Galt's Gulch! Subsidized by the taxpayers as a even a billion dollars is nothing for a team of billionaires seeking to avoid taxes. And this is no joke, the New York Times article continues:

The book — a preview of its opening chapter has the hero landing on the rooftop helipad of the commonwealth’s 57-story Four Seasons hotel — makes the entire scheme very easy to mock as Objectivist fan fiction. But it’s not entirely a joke: private foundations and deep-pocketed members of the local business elite exercise an outsize influence in a city as broke as Detroit, providing financing for everything from a much-needed light-rail line to the ambitious Detroit Future City plan, which would entirely remap the city.[B]

That objectivists are self-mocking never occurs to objectivists. They are too busy being selfish to pay attention to the self-parody and ruinous behavior.

People like Dan Gilbert, the owner of Quicken Loans and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Mike Ilitch, a founder of Little Caesars pizza, have been snatching up shuttered skyscrapers and prewar office buildings — since December Mr. Gilbert has bought at least five buildings and, reputedly, an entire downtown city block — as if they’re Monopoly properties.[C]

So we see how "Atlas Shruggged" really plays out. I always thought it incredible that someone could run a railroad and run it into the ground, and blame government. But all that is really happening is that the owners of a business are transferring once productive money to new vistas -- like Galt's Gulch Belle Island -- so that they can keep it all. Objectivism is about incredible reckless selfishness, and whether the avatar is the founder of Little Ceasars, or the junkyard capitalist who wrecked KMart, put it in and out of bankruptcy, bought Sears and other companies; and then wrecked the whole shebang -- the outcome is the same.

Further reading:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/08/opinion/detroit-sinks-with-belle-isle.html?_r=0"
Lou D’Ambrosio's "Sinking Ship": http://www.forbes.com/sites/lauraheller/2012/02/29/analyst-on-sears-like-a-sinking-ship/"
How Objectivism killed Sears: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3046444/posts?page=84
Papantonio: Detroit -- The New Billionaire Utopia http://ow.ly/ni4It

1 comment:

  1. In case no one believes me, Mike Papantonio riffed on the same topic with Ed Shultz today:
    Papantonio: Detroit -- The New Billionaire Utopia http://ow.ly/ni4It

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