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Tom W. Bell

Tom W. Bell
Tom W. Bell

Professor Tom W. Bell earned his J.D. from the University of Chicago School of Law in 1993, where he served on the Law Review. He practiced law first at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the largest law firm in Silicon Valley, and then at the Washington, DC office of Harkins Cunningham LLP, where he had the distinct pleasure of helping to shut down the Interstate Commerce Commission. In 1998, following a stint as Director of Telecommunications and Technology Studies at the Cato Institute, Bell joined the faculty of Chapman University School of Law.

 

Bell coined the term “polycentric law” and has cultivated the field both as an academic and as a consultant to companies building legal systems for new cities. Though best known in academia for his work on high-tech and intellectual property law—winter 2014 will see publication of his book, Intellectual Privilege: Copyright, Common Law, and the Common Good—Bell has taught a wide range of classes, including Contracts, Property, Torts, Corporations, Business Associations, and Law and Economics. He frequently writes for The Freeman on issues related to startup cities.

Tom W. Bell's Articles and Posts

What Is Polycentric Law? The Freeman
What Is Polycentric Law?

Polycentric law offers a pragmatic approach to advancing individual freedom and social harmony.

Want to Own a City? The Freeman
Want to Own a City?
Cities fail because governments take residents for granted and residents stop caring. An ownership model—based on co-ops or employee-owned firms—could fix that. 
Startup City Redux The Freeman
Startup City Redux
Despite the Honduran Supreme Court's rejection of RED startup cities, the reformers are back. Honduras may have just created the world's freest municipalities.
Can We Correct Democracy? The Freeman
Can We Correct Democracy?
A democracy focused on the rejection of unpopular laws would allow for a broader electorate and a more immediate expression of voters' wills. It would also limit the worst excesses of the State.
For Safer Streets, Use Fairer Courts The Freeman
For Safer Streets, Use Fairer Courts
Having government courts try government agents such as cops is a lot less fair than allowing independent arbitration. As a result, everyone is less safe.
Fordlandia: Henry Ford's Amazon Dystopia The Freeman
Fordlandia: Henry Ford's Amazon Dystopia

By trying to design a government and industry from the top down, Henry Ford failed. His Brazilian disaster illustrates the perils of trying to duplicate something that normally happens organically.

No Exit: Are Honduran Free Cities DOA? The Freeman
No Exit: Are Honduran Free Cities DOA?

Honduran REDs seemed like the best bet to test out free-cities concepts, but the Honduran Supreme Court recently put the kibosh on them. Where does that leave the REDs and the free-cities movement in general? 

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