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Honduran model cities: Nuts or not?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

WHAT With apparent commitment from a Canadian investment group, President Porfirio Lobo is planning to introduce a radical concept: the creation of model cities, built and run by private investors, as a way of stimulating investment and job-creation in one of Latin America's poorest countries,

Lobo's approval ratings have slumped badly, partly because Honduras last year became the world's homicide capital, and also because the return from the United States of nearly 100,000 Hondurans has in turn worsened the local job picture.

WHAT'S NEXT The model city concept, developed by Paul Romer, an economics professor at New York University, says that lifting the dead weight of corruption and red tape will let communities become productive. With little to lose, Honduras has passed laws, which would let investors proceed with the concept. At the same time, no one in Honduras (or anywhere else, for that matter) has any experience with the vast number of legal, financial and human issues involved in making Romer's theory work.

For more information, please contact Esteban Alvarez at [email protected]