This concluding chapter summarizes key themes and presents some final thoughts. It argues that the cities of refuge examined in this book were intended to be sanctuaries from the modern world, but they became a source and stimulus for that world. Because of their compact nature, physical isolation, and social homogeneity, they had the purity of a control group in a laboratory experiment. And those variables that they were testing were precisely the ones that concerned the emerging modern world, such as the nature of labor, property ownership and means of production, and housing of industrial workers. The lessons of these societies of five hundred to a thousand members could be applied to much larger communities, or to countries themselves. In this way, these frail and marginal experiments, although they struggled at the fringe of the Western world, were at the very hub of modernity.
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