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Ep. 73 Titus Gebel Discusses His Legal Proposals for Free Private Cities

Titus Gebel has a PhD in international law, and has written a book, “Free Private Cities: Making Governments Compete For You.” Bob discusses Titus’ proposal and how it differs from other types of abstract libertarian theorizing.
Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest:

The audio production for this episode was provided by Podsworth Media.

About the author, Robert

Christian and economist, Chief Economist at infineo, and Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute.


  1. John Cobin on 11/04/2019 at 8:49 PM

    I think Baptist John Bunyan’s allegorical account in _Pilgrim’s Progress_ of the confrontation with Satan who was embodied as the state is quite telling. I expect that modern states would say the same thing, no?

    “So he went on, and Apollyon met him. Now the monster was hideous to behold: he was clothed with scales like a fish, and they are his pride; he had wings like a dragon, and feet like a bear, and out of his belly came fire and smoke; and his mouth was as the mouth of a lion. When he was come up to Christian, he beheld him with a disdainful countenance, and thus began to question him.

    APOL. Whence came you, and whither are you bound?

    CHR. I am come from the city of Destruction, which is the place of all evil, and I am going to the city of Zion.

    **APOL. By this I perceive thou art one of my subjects; for all that country is mine, and I am the prince and god of it. How is it, then, that thou hast run away from thy king? Were it not that I hope thou mayest do me more service, I would strike thee now at one blow to the ground.**

    CHR. I was, indeed, born in your dominions, but your service was hard, and your wages such as a man could not live on; for the wages of sin is death, Rom. 6:23; therefore, when I was come to years, I did, as other considerate persons do, look out if perhaps I might mend myself.

    **APOL. There is no prince that will thus lightly lose his subjects, neither will I as yet lose thee; but since thou complainest of thy service and wages, be content to go back, and what our country will afford I do here promise to give thee.**

    CHR. But I have let myself to another, even to the King of princes; and how can I with fairness go back with thee?

    APOL. Thou hast done in this according to the proverb, “changed a bad for a worse;” but it is ordinary for those that have professed themselves his servants, after a while to give him the slip, and return again to me. Do thou so to, and all shall be well.

    CHR. I have given him my faith, and sworn my allegiance to him; how then can I go back from this, and not be hanged as a traitor.

    APOL. Thou didst the same by me, and yet I am willing to pass by all, if now thou wilt yet turn again and go back.

    CHR. What I promised thee was in my non-age: and besides, I count that the Prince, under whose banner I now stand, is able to absolve me, yea, and to pardon also what I did as to my compliance with thee. And besides, O thou destroying Apollyon, to speak truth, I like his service, his wages, his servants, his government, his company, and country, better than thine; therefore leave off to persuade me farther: I am his servant, and I will follow him.

    **APOL. Consider again, when thou art in cool blood, what thou art like to meet with in the way that thou goest.** Thou knowest that for the most part his servants come to an ill end, because they are transgressors against me and my ways. How many of them have been put to shameful deaths! And besides, thou countest his service better than mine; whereas he never yet came from the place where he is, to deliver any that served him out of their enemies’ hands: but as for me, how many times, as all the world very well knows, have I delivered, either by power or fraud, those that have faithfully served me, from him and his, though taken by them! And so will I deliver thee.

    CHR. His forbearing at present to deliver them, is on purpose to try their love, whether they will cleave to him to the end: and as for the ill end thou sayest they come to, that is most glorious in their account. For, for present deliverance, they do not much expect it; for they stay for their glory; and then they shall have it, when their Prince comes in his and the glory of the angels.

    APOL. Thou hast already been unfaithful in thy service to him; and how dost thou think to receive wages of him?

  2. Donxon on 11/05/2019 at 8:28 AM

    Burning Man.

  3. Potpourri on 11/06/2019 at 12:02 AM

    […] My interview with Titus Gebel on his proposal for free private […]

  4. Libertopolis – Naptown Think on 11/07/2019 at 2:32 AM

    […] opposite names would be hard to come by, but like-minded these guys are. Bob and Titus recently discussed private cities on Bob’s podcast. What exactly is a private city? Is it more like sea-steading or “Economic […]

  5. Tel on 11/10/2019 at 2:37 AM

    Some of the discussion would make more sense if you outlined the background … in as much as there’s a well known situation called the “Hold Up Problem” and inevitably some capital (not everything) will be large, long lived and difficult to move around. The attempted solution for this problem saying, “Oh we will simply move away and go someplace else” might work to some extent, if people can take their capital with them. It works for tech companies, and any business oriented around intellectual capital. However, that still leaves other types of capital. If the capital is too large and hard to move, or if there’s ways the local government can simply use force to acquire property then moving away doesn’t help.

    If you run out of ideas for future episodes, then a discussion of the “Hold Up Problem” might be worth considering. It really goes back as old as humanity … consider Edward I of England (“Longshanks”) getting into debt borrowing money to finance his wars and then expelling Jews from England as a way to dodge some of his debts. There are many other historic examples … Philip IV of France got into debt and not only expelled Jews but also arrested and tortured most members of the Knights Templar … outlawing the entire order. This is not a unique problem for a Democracy, but it’s been a long and difficult question how to bring government under the rule of law and honour agreements. Perhaps with a Democracy the problem is worse, but that’s arguable.

    This becomes a huge blocker for investment: if government will snatch capital then better to never build the capital at all. It’s also known as “sovereign risk”, and that name comes from the Feudal period when the sovereign was personally a source of risk. An economic coverage of the history of sovereign risk, what it does, why it causes problems might be very interesting.

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