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Utopian Libertarian Community Was Probably A Scam


09.16.14 Sophie Weiner

American Libertarians were thrilled when it was announced that a community modeled after Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, was in the works in Chile. The South American country was apparently an obvious choice due to their low taxes and temperate climate. This utopian retreat concept, dubbed “Galt’s Gulch Chile,” was founded in part by Jeff Berwick, who sold it like this:

With the oppression of the over regulated, over taxed, war riddled and welfare riddled society consuming the world, Ayn Rand’s famous protagonist character, John Galt, came to conclude that he would not use his talents to support such a society any longer…driving him to create a community where scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs and many others would come together to escape from the confines of their daily lives to not only be free… but to thrive.

In today’s world, it is becoming more and more difficult to find true freedom from very much the same oppressive forces Ayn Rand wrote of… which drove John Galt and others to a place where they found their freedom, success and peace of mind.

Welcome to Galt’s Gulch Chile!

Sounds good, right? It certainly did for the people who laid down tens of thousands of dollars to buy parcels of land, ($48,500 for 1.5 acres) sometimes the entirety of their retirement funds. Unfortunately for these unlucky libertarians, the entire project seems to have been at best, completely dysfunctional, and at worst a straight up pyramid scheme. It turns out that the land being sold by founder Ken Johnson was never zoned for housing, and probably never would be. The founders wrote that “GGC is an environmentally protected area and it would take the political movement of heaven and earth to allow a community based on small lots to be officially approved.”

Even worse, the project is now so tied up in litigation with all of the screwed over investors that they probably won’t be able to pay the Chilean companies and workers they already owe “hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Apparently, even for Randians, freedom isn’t free. (Photo: Galt’s Gulch Chile)