Much of human history has been about opening up new frontiers, in exploration, science, and technology. It started when we spread out of Africa, many millennia ago, and continued when men and women spread into the Americas, and Europeans later came and invaded the “new world”, in part to explore unknown lands, and in part to escape the bureaucracy and monarchies of the old world. At that time, for many immigrants coming from the old world, the Americas, and the United States in particular, were a new frontier for people looking for opportunity, hope, and change.
Today, the frontier is long gone, and the stifling bureaucracy has spread to the “new world”. Now that there are no frontiers left, where is the new land for opportunity, hope, and change? Where can one experiment in new ideas, go and start a new society, and find freedom?
Perhaps the answer lies not in the land that we lie on, but in the seas that surround us.
Enter seasteading: The colonization of the seas.
What I like about seasteading
There is one big thing that I like about seasteading that could make a profound difference in the world that we live in. The first big change that it could bring us is real choice. There are only a couple of hundred nations on this earth, and many of them are corrupt, poorly run, and dangerous. Nations are going increasingly into debt, democracy is failing the people, and economies are stagnating. People are increasingly growing dissatisfied, but nobody can agree on what the solutions are.
What if instead of the limited choice that we have today, we could instead choose from a thousand different nations, each with codes and laws tailored to the desires of its residents. What if instead of the government dictating to citizens what they can and can’t do and how they should live, the citizens instead dictated to the government what they should and shouldn’t do? I’ve always believed that the purpose of a government should be to serve the citizens who created it and vested power in it, and not the other way around.
There would be an explosion of social systems, allowing people to experiment, see what works, and discard what doesn’t. Citizens would vote with their feet, associating with systems that they liked and leaving systems that they didn’t. As the seasteads themselves would be mobile, you could even take your home with you.
The next frontier
Seasteading will rely on entrepreneurialism and success in order to attract its customers, the citizens. Unlike the revolutions of old that sought to remake the world in their own image, seasteading cannot force its vision on others. People will have to be attracted by incentives and opportunity. By the very same entrepreneurialism, seasteading won’t be a “one size fits all” idea, but will have a variety of choice to accomodate people’s different tastes.
What to start your own money-free society? There will probably be a seastead for that. Want to live in an Objectivist society? There’ll be a seastead for that, too. Want to have a direct democracy? Yep, there’ll be a seastead for that, too.
How about starting your own society? You can go right ahead; the only SDK you need is the technology to live in the ocean. If you are successful, you might even attract people to migrate to your seastead or move their seasteads near yours, and watch your community grow.
The history of seasteading
I suppose it first starts with the cruise ship industry, which has become a successful means of offering thousands of people inexpensive vacations in comfort and relative luxury. Cruise ships have been getting larger every year, and the biggest can hold thousands of people.
One seasteading-related idea was the so-called Freedom Ship, which would have been nearly a mile long and would have housed over 50,000 people. The idea has, however, failed to attract the funds required, estimated at over 11 billion dollars (which actually isn’t that horrible, since it would come out to $220 000 per person. There are plenty of semi-rich people in the world that could afford that, but you have to build it, first). You do have smaller projects, such as the The World.
Then you have the Poseidon Project, which is the Seasteading Institute’s current plan to launch a seastead by 2015. Current estimates for the construction and deployment of this project are $20 million, which is an order of magnitude smaller and a lot more feasible than trying to gather $11 billion in investment like the Freedom Ship tried to do.
Goals for the Poseidon Project:
- Have at least 50 full-time residents.
- Be economically self-sufficient.
- Be technologically safe and secure.
- Have de-facto political autonomy.
You can check out a concept video below:
I personally think the project is quite interesting, and I wish them the best of success.
So, what would entice you to move to the oceans, or at least do business there and spend some time there? What do you think about a new frontier on the seas? What would be some of your concerns? Let me know about it in the comments section below!
Short Yakezie Carnival
- Frugal Zeitgeist: Do You Care Where It Comes From?
- Financial Samurai: Personal Finance Bloggers Cause US Retail Sales To Plunge!
- Eliminate The Muda! – What Sacrifices Are You Willing To Make?