The linked page above gives some interesting analysis by Latin American scholar Greg Grandin on the perverse new projects being proffered there (namely creating corporate owned and operated “Charter Cities” in Honduras - sorta like we did in the early days of capitalism, before the British monarchy was forced to take over the East India Trading company because of the social unrest it needed to put down in order to implement its disastrous theories of economic organization.) Grandin puts these projects in the context of their libertarian supporters and the observations Corey Robin has been making about the way these folks feel about labor. It is good to have people like Corey and Greg keeping an eye on this.
It is worth pointing out often that Peter Thiel, one of the sweethearts of the tech-driven counter-reformation of higher ed makes statements like these: “Most importantly, I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.” (It is somewhat ironic that he made this statement in a “reaction essay”). Freedom for Thiel is ultimately interested in supporting those who he thinks have the superior intellect (“The higher one’s IQ, the more pessimistic one became about free-market politics — capitalism simply is not that popular with the crowd”) to be for a completely a-moral capitalism like that avocated by Hayek - where the market is itself the only moral system through which we arrange society, leaving behind atavistic notions of community or social solidarity and focusing on what Rand called the “virtue of selfishness.”
It is strange, in this context, to see Theil’s fellowship (where he pays students from prestigious universities $100k to drop out of school and become entrepreneurs) as a model of our higher education future (or at least as an interesting reaction to the “higher education bubble”). And here I am thankful for people like Audrey Watters who was watching this conversation over the last year, including visiting with some of Theil’s startups - and watching them fail.
I suspect we’ll be watching even more of the “charter cities” crash upon the same rocks - if, that is, Theil and company can rig the Honduran democratic system to allow them to exist (or, as Grandin suggests, kill off any existing opponents.) It’s convenient to have these two trends tied up in the neat little bow of a Facebook and PayPal financier.