We’re just back from a quick trip to Hong Kong for a wedding. Hong Kong is an impressive city in many ways. Here you have this most unmerciful capitalistic society of all with lots of public green and excellent public transport. The world freest economy ruled by the communists in Beijing. Most of all I think Hong Kong shows the wonderful results of mixing two cultures, in this case British and Chinese. Not withstanding all the cruelty and unfairness of British rule, it shows that colonialism can have it good effects too, I think.
I think we should bring it back. Not the canon boat type of the nineteenth century, more something akin to the Greek colonies. A bunch of people go somewhere else, build a city in a country with a different culture and the exchange of ideas and customs makes everybody richer. Maybe a better way of describing this would be country franchises. The Netherlands would for example build a city in the United States, but as part of the Netherlands, just like an embassy.
Dutch companies or persons that want to operate close to the US, but not under US law for whatever reason, could settle there. If there is enough demand for something like that, then a Dutch colony in the US would clearly enrich the US. If not, well, then there is nothing special on offer.
Saudi Arabia could build a city in the Netherlands with Sharia law. If it turned out that that would really work much better it might inspire people in the Netherlands to do the same. People in the Netherlands that believe it works much better could try to move there. If it turns out that it doesn’t work so well, then that would be clearly visible too.
Something like that would make the exchange of ideas between countries much easier and allow citizens to vote with their feet without changing continents.