Mark Lutter on Proprietary Cities

The George Mason University economics department is known for developing new ideas into influential ideas. The Virginia-based bastion of free market thought has been producing groundbreaking scholarly work for decades, and shows no signs of slowing down. Last month, GMU PhD Candidate Mark Lutter defended his thesis, “Three Essays on Proprietary Cities.” His committee included Donald Boudreaux, Tyler Cowen, and Richard Wagner. Lutter’s academic interest in proprietary, or free cities is part of a trend among scholars and thought leaders studying the incentives that drive government decision-makers. If politicians respond to rewards and punishments just like you and I do, shouldn’t we consider giving them a larger stake in the profits and losses of the underlying jurisdiction? A proprietary city, Lutter argues, could achieve this, with tremendous benefits for both the developing and the developed world. He makes a convincing case on his blog,, and joins Bob to defend the idea that the time for free cities has come. 

*The Sharing Economy* with Arun Sundararajan

“[T]he future has arrived, well in advance of the policies needed to support it,” says Arun Sundararajan, Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences at New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business. Nowhere can this phenomenon be seen more clearly than in the rapidly-expanding "sharing economy," made up of digital platforms like Uber and AirBnB, which must battle with regulators in some locales to keep their innovative services running. Sundararajan's new book, The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism (MIT Press)contains everything you need to know – both cause and effect – about the radical disruption that is underway. An academic by trade, Sundararajan blends sociology, economics, technology and political science with a keen intuition to highlight the many tensions of the sharing economy, or as he calls it, "crowd-based capitalism." The sharing economy, he notes, is both capitalist and socialist, market-based and gift-based, and largely unregulated yet governed by complex rules and norms. Arun joins Bob to help listeners think about their place in the emerging landscape. Will we manage to harness these changes to become an "empowered entrepreneurs," or is technology turning us into "disenfranchised drones"?

John Chisholm's Advice for Unleashing Your Inner Company

John Chisholm has 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur, CEO & investor. The founder of two successful internet companies, CustomerSat & Decisive Technology, John has some surprisingly simple yet powerful pieces of advice for the aspiring entrepreneur. His new book, Unleash Your Inner Company: Use Passion & Perseverance to Build Your Ideal Business, instructs would-be entrepreneurs to live below their means, favor people over possessions, and find positive feedback loops by affirming their teammates' best qualities. But John's book is more than just an entrepreneurship how-to book – it's a thorough roadmap to the new economy, where nearly everyone will have to be an entrepreneur of one kind or another. Lastly, Unleash Your Inner Company is a manifesto for the independent thinker who wants to create positive-sum value.

Don Boudreaux on Entrepreneurship, Economic Freedom & Prosperity

Most people tune out when academics speak in terms of regression analysis and “agent-based modeling.” Nonetheless, we want to understand the long-term economic trends that these methods seek to illuminate in order to plan for the future. Don Boudreaux is a master of making complex economic ideas comprehensible to the layperson. He provides this service free of charge every day for the thousands of visitors to his blog, Cafe Hayek (currently down due to a malicious hacking attack). Boudreaux’s short but powerful letters to the editor are the stuff of any libertarian’s dreams – the equivalent of a Total Knock Out in boxing. The larger battle for economic freedom is not fought solely in public discussion forums like the WSJ editorial page – it’s being waged in academic journals and in the academic marketplace of ideas. Boudreaux recently edited the Fraser Institute’s *What America’s Decline in Economic Freedom Means for Entrepreneurship and Prosperity,* a volume of five essays, each thick with research that Don discusses with Bob and his audience. Find out whether it’s too late for America to change course.