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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/8197/seasteading/


June 14, 2008 by

A friend recently pointed me to this interesting article on The Seasteading Institute. The article is skeptical without being at all dismissive. I’d even call it encouraging.

I’d heard the term “seasteading” but hadn’t yet looked into it.

Murray Rothbard dismissed such schemes as “anarcho-zionism,” emphasizing that libertarian goals had to be pursued in the world of industrial-level division of labor, but I find this article’s pirate-radio introduction compelling.

The point isn’t necessarily “a place to escape the state” so much as it is, as the article says, a lowering of the barriers to competition. It would be nice if “government” could become a voluntarily acquired service in the context of competition, rather than the coercive territorial monopoly of the nation-state.

I understand why Rothbard discouraged the science-fictional fantasies of lifestyle libertarians, but I’m not ready to dismiss these schemes, especially as they become ever more focused on practical issues.


Eric Sundwall June 15, 2008 at 7:07 am
Mark June 15, 2008 at 11:44 am

Reminds me of SeaQuest DSV.

Brainpolice June 15, 2008 at 2:36 pm

For a while now I’ve known of an anarcho-capitalist who pushes for this. It’s intrigueing, although not my first choice of options.

David C June 15, 2008 at 11:50 pm

I think some day decades into the future, investors will figure out that (say) 30000 people on a ship with high economic freedoms will create a lot more wealth than 30000 people in some 3rd world country ruled by losers. Enough extra wealth to pay for the ship they live on.

They will then produce an endless stream of ships, filling them up with an endless stream of people from countries all over the world – to monetizing this difference … finding the optimum number of people, size of ship, and so on along the way.

I do not think these ships will be ‘seasteads’ though. IMHO, the cost and effort of an individual jumping from one ship to another would likely be a lot less than the cost of breaking off a unit of people on a ‘seastead’.

Duff OMelia June 16, 2008 at 5:43 am

I think their approach is brilliant.

Michael A. Clem June 16, 2008 at 11:35 am

The initial outlays must be massive, I don’t see any way around that, but if it results in a sufficiently self-supporting system, well-worth it. Bring on the entrepreneurs! But watch out for the “privateers” of the future (government-supported bounties or pirates)…

Fephisto June 16, 2008 at 3:45 pm

I remember reading about this, and at the time seeing a fairly low cost of construction, but…..no models.

1) I’d like to see a model of this work.

2) Then I’ll seriously consider taking out a loan to try this out.

Fephisto June 16, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Whoa! Disregard my previous statement! The last seasteading site I saw was Patri Friedman’s, this site you’ve pointed me to looks a lot better!

Patri Friedman June 16, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Polycentric Order has a nice counter-argument to Rothbard here.

Marcelious June 17, 2008 at 9:41 pm

I want to live on this type of floating city.

Curt Howland June 18, 2008 at 7:36 am

Too bad that Oceania.org never got off the ground. Oh well, same idea.

The answer to Rothbard’s objections is that it’s not science fiction when someone actually does it. He might have objected to speculating about what did not exist, but that doesn’t mean he would not have promoted property rights in space if people had been there.

But then, I’m an L. Neil Smith reader.

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