Advanced Topics in Liberty

City-States as Alternatives to Nation-States

Conference for Students & Recent Graduates - March 14-16, 2014

Discussion Leader: Georg Vanberg

Session I - Discussion: The Birth of the City-State.

Parker, Geoffrey. Sovereign City: The City–State through History. London: Reaktion Books, 2004. Chapter 1, “Nation, Empire and City: A Geopolitical Typology of States” (pages 7–16), Chapter 2, “The Birth of the City–State” (pages 17–27), and Chapter 3, “The Ancient Greek Polis” (pages 28–46), and notes (pages 233–234).

Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy in America (English Edition), Volume 1. Edited by Eduardo Nolla. Translated by James T. Schleifer. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 2012. Selections from Volume I, Part I, Chapter 5, “Necessity of Studying What Happens in the Individual States before Speaking about the Government of the Union” (pages 98–135).

Session II - Discussion: The Hanseatic League.

Spruyt, Hendrik. The Sovereign State and Its Competitors. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994. Chapter 6, “The Fragmentation of the German Empire and the Rise of the Hanseatic League” (pages 109–129) and notes (pages 234–242).

Fink, Alexander. “The Hanseatic League and the Concept of Functional Overlapping Competing Jurisdictions.” Kyklos 65, No. 2 (May 2012): 194–217.

Session III - Discussion: The Development of the Italian City-States.

Spruyt, Hendrik. The Sovereign State and Its Competitors. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994. Chapter 7, “The Development of the Italian City–States” (pages 130–150) and notes (pages 242–249).

Greif, Avner. Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy: Lessons from Medieval Trade. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Selections from Chapter 8, “Building a State: Genoa’s Rise and Fall” (pages 217–255).

Session IV - Discussion: Why did the Sovereign State Prevail?

Spruyt, Hendrik. The Sovereign State and Its Competitors. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994. Chapter 8, “The Victory of the Sovereign State” (pages 153–180) and notes (pages 249–261).

Session V - Discussion: Charter Cities, Free Cities, and Seasteading.

Khanna, Parag. “Beyond City Limits.” Foreign Policy (Sept/Oct 2010): 120–123 and 126–128.

Romer, Paul. “Technologies, Rules and Progress: The Case for Charter Cities.” Banco de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, October 2009.

Strong, Michael and Robert Himber. “The Legal Autonomy of the Dubai International Financial Centre: A Scalable Strategy for Global Free–Market Reforms.” Economic Affairs 29, No. 2 (June 2009): 36–41.

Friedman, Patri and Brad Taylor. “Seasteading: Competitive Governments on the Ocean.” Kyklos 65, No. 2 (May 2012): 218-235.

Session VI - Discussion: The Future of Cities.

Glaeser, Edward. Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier. New York: The Penguin Press, 2011. Chapter 9, “How Do Cities Succeed?” (pages 223–246).

Parker, Geoffrey. Sovereign City: The City–State through History. London: Reaktion Books, 2004. Chapter 14, “The Globalization of the City–State” (pages 213–224), “Epilogue: The Ideal and the Reality” (pages 225–231), and notes (page 239).