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Would You Pay $300,000 to Become a Citizen of This Proposed Free-Market Utopia… in Detroit?

This futuristic rendering of Belle Isle is one where it is a commonwealth separate from the U.S. with a unique governing tax system. (Artist’s rendering)
This futuristic rendering of Belle Isle is one where it is a commonwealth separate from the U.S. with a unique governing tax system. (Artist’s rendering)

If you had the opportunity to live in a free-market utopia — complete with its own currency and government — would you do it?

Well, you just may get your chance.

While the city of Detroit continues to teeter on the brink of bankruptcy, one developer is proposing a radical and revolutionary idea to rekindle the American spirit and bring Detroit back into prosperity.

The driving force behind the plan, developer Rodney Lockwood, wants Detroit to sell the city’s Belle Isle Park for $1 billion to private investors who will then transform it into a utopia free of big government and ideally full of job creation and innovation. Belle Isle is an uninhabited 928-acre island in the Detroit River, between the U.S. and Canada.

Under the plan, the island would be developed into a U.S. commonwealth or city-state with around 35,000 people. Citizenship for the “remarkable new nation” would cost $300,000 in most cases. The community would also have its own laws, transportation, customs and currency.

The Detroit News has more details on what the Commonwealth of Belle Isle would really look like:

Here’s the scenario for the Commonwealth of Belle Isle that Lockwood and others want to see: Private investors buy the island from a near-bankrupt Detroit for $1 billion. It then would secede from Michigan to become a semi-independent commonwealth like Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Under the plan, it would become an economic and social laboratory where government is limited in scope and taxation is far different than the current U.S. system. There is no personal or corporate income tax. Much of the tax base would be provided by a different property tax — one based on the value of the land and not the value of the property.

It would take $300,000 to become a “Belle Islander,” though 20 percent of citizenships would be open for striving immigrants, starving artists and up-and-coming entrepreneurs who don’t meet the financial requirement.

Among the citizenship requirements are a command of the English language, a good credit rating and no criminal record. Mogk adds that such a scenario would make the island “a drain of talent and resources” at the expense of Detroit. Read more via The Blaze...

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