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Seasteading
Old 08-18-2011, 08:15 AM   #1
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Seasteading

Interesting concept - creating new floating countries.


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PayPal-founder Peter Thiel was so inspired by Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand's novel about free-market capitalism - that he's trying to make its title a reality.

The Silicon Valley billionaire has funnelled $1.25 million to the Seasteading Institute, an organization that aspires to launch a floating colony into international waters, freeing them and like-minded thinkers to live by Libertarian ideals.

Mr Thiel recently told Details magazine that: 'The United States Constitution had things you could do at the beginning that you couldn't do later. So the question is, can you go back to the beginning of things? How do you start over?'

The floating sovereign nations that Thiel imagines would be built on oil-rig-like platforms anchored in areas free of regulation, laws, and moral conventions.
The Seasteading Institute says it will 'give people the freedom to choose the government they want instead of being stuck with the government they get.'
The venture capitalist who famously helped Facebook expand beyond the Harvard campus, Mr Thiel called seasteading an 'open a frontier for experimenting with new ideas for government.'

After making his first investment in the project in 2008, Mr Thiel said: 'Decades from now, those looking back at the start of the century will understand that Seasteading was an obvious step towards encouraging the development of more efficient, practical public sector models around the world.
Here's the official Seasteading website.


Quote:
At The Seasteading Institute, we believe that experiments are the source of all progress: to find something better, you have to try something new.
But right now, there is no open space for experimenting with new societies. That's why we work to enable seasteading communities -- floating cities -- which will allow the next generation of pioneers to peacefully test new ideas for government. The most successful can then inspire change in governments around the world.

We're opening this new frontier because humanity needs better ways to live together to unlock our full potential.
Some interesting people are involved in this.

Quote:
Peter Thiel is the Managing Partner of the Founders Fund, an American Investment firm. Previously, Mr. Thiel was the Chairman and CEO of PayPal, an Internet company he co-founded in 1998 that eBay acquired in 2002 for $1.5 billion.
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Patri Friedman received a BS in math from Harvey Mudd College, an MS in computer science from Stanford University, and an MBA from Cardean University. While in school he experimented with technology startups, ran a small consulting business, and co-founded two intentional communities. In 2004 he joined Google to work as a software engineer. In 2008 he left Google and founded The Seasteading Institute with seed funding from PayPal founder Peter Thiel. Patri is on the board of Humanity+ and co-created Breakthrough Philanthropy. He is also a prolific writer on political theory and philosophy. Patri comes from a line of great revolutionary thinkers, his grandfather Milton Friedman was the 1976 Nobel Laureate in economics, and his father David Friedman is a well-known political theorist and festival founder.
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:51 AM   #2
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So they want to found a country without poor people? We already have those in Lichtenstein Monaco, Luxembourg etc. Not very original.
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Old 08-18-2011, 09:12 AM   #3
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Sounds a lot like the Atlantis Project Oceania -- The Atlantis Project or Sealand The Principality of Sealand

There were other similar efforts: Micronation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What's different this time?
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:28 AM   #4
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Waterworld
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Widely considered to be an expensive failure, waterworld was an epic vehicle for kevin costner, who starred in and co-produced the film, with his friend kevin reynolds as director. It was based on a 1986 screenplay by peter rader and cost an estimated $235 million, more than any film in history up to that time. Costner eventually fired reynolds and directed the last few scenes himself. The story was filmed in hawaii, using several artificial islands, and is set in an apocalyptic future, after global warming has melted the polar ice caps and flooded civilization. The mariner (costner) is one of the human beings who has adapted by growing gills. The survivalist lives on a boat on which he is growing a precious tomato plant. He tries to sell the plant and its dirt to the residents of an artificial island built of industrial waste. They imprison him when they discover that he's a mutant with gills. But the island is attacked by the smokers, a group of oil-guzzling raiders on jet skis headed by the deacon (dennis hopper). The mariner escapes with helen (jeanne tripplehorn) and her daughter enola (tina majorino). Back at sea, the smokers repeatedly attack, using planes and boats, until they kidnap enola. Enola's back is tattooed with a map showing how to get to dryland, the last unflooded area on earth. But deacon, who needs to get to dryland to replenish the smokers' oil supply, can't immediately decipher it.
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:51 AM   #5
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Floating cities are an interesting idea, but how is it a sovereign nation? Are Theil and other residents planning to renounce their US citizenship, and seceding from the Union? ISTM that unless it's recognized by other countries as sovereign, Sealand would be no more of a nation than an ocean liner in international waters is.
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:56 AM   #6
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Floating cities are an interesting idea, but how is it a sovereign nation? Are Theil and other residents planning to renounce their US citizenship.
As the US taxes on citizenship rather than residency he would have to renounce US citizenship to avoid US taxes. Even if he did this as a hyper-rich person there would be enormous penalties levied by the IRS and he'd still have to pay tax to the IRS on any US assets.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:14 AM   #7
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Is the floating country going to be tsunami proof? Also, wouldn't offshore San Diego be a better location than SF?
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:16 AM   #8
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I wonder how much they will have to spend for security and who will provide it.
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:54 PM   #9
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Talk about island fever!

And from the tree hugger side of me...we already pollute the oceans and have almost wiped out multiple species of ocean-based creatures, so now we want to build giant floating islands so we can further harrass the poor critters??
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:04 PM   #10
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PayPal-founder Peter Thiel was so inspired by Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand's novel about free-market capitalism - that he's trying to make its title a reality.


He's not trying to make the title a reality. He may be trying to emulate what happened in the book (innovative people withdrawing from an over-regulated world).
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:25 PM   #11
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Mr Thiel and his colleagues say their ocean state would have no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.
A man made island with looser building codes and few restrictions on weapons. What could go wrong?
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:38 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Purron View Post
Interesting concept - creating new floating countries.



Here's the official Seasteading website.




Some interesting people are involved in this.


See also "Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson, in particular his character L. Bob Rife and his independent state "Rife's Raft." Great place for a billionaire and his friends; not so much for the serfs.

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Mr Thiel and his colleagues say their ocean state would have no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.

Aiming to have tens of millions of residents by 2050, the Seastead Institute says architectural plans for a prototype involve a movable, diesel-powered, structure with room for 270 residents.
Interesting end state. Tens of millions of residents, isolated in an ocean state, with no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.

Oh, yeah, this will be a fun place to live as a non-billionaire. (Hint: Galt's Gulch isn't a stable or sustainable society. Somebody's got to do the scut work.)
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:23 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
A man made island with looser building codes and few restrictions on weapons. What could go wrong?


I'm sure they'd have less of those instusive regulations on food and water quality too.
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:45 PM   #14
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I will bet anybody that does it (if anyone does) they retain citizenship!

Who would want to be the last person on a floating heap that went bankrupt. But I forgot.... they can print their own currency.


he may be selling options on homes... any takers?
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Old 08-18-2011, 05:07 PM   #15
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I'm just hoping there are cameras installed. Think of 'Survivor' meets 'Big Brother.' (Maybe that's Thiel's plan? He has a... reputation... in Silicon Valley. Pay per view?)

The ad-hoc elimination rounds as the "no minimum wage" employees gun up and start thinking about the billionaires on the top floor will be lively.

So, what country will get stuck with the rescue bill when the floatation system built to 'looser building codes', operated and maintained by the lowest bidder using the cheapest labor possible, springs a leak or two?
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Old 08-18-2011, 05:25 PM   #16
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I will bet anybody that does it (if anyone does) they retain citizenship!

Who would want to be the last person on a floating heap that went bankrupt. But I forgot.... they can print their own currency.


he may be selling options on homes... any takers?
Not looking at an option to buy in at this time. Regarding the citizenship issue....from their official website:

Quote:
Since we are not seeking de jure sovereignty—at least at first—early seasteads will not issue passports. This will not be a problem for most people, as most governments do not regulate or tax citizens living abroad. Americans are an exception. They get $85K in wages tax-free, while investment income, capital gains, and earned income above the $85K threshold is subject to US taxes. Americans may therefore wish to obtain a second citizenship, which will allow them to renounce their US citizenship (paying a one-time exit tax on unrealized capital gains over $600K). They can do this using the existing international market for citizenship, which costs $100K-$250K. So those earning less than $85K can retain their US citizenship without penalty, while those earning significantly more will be able to buy a new citizenship. For those earning a bit over the threshold, buying a new citizenship will be expensive and paying taxes may be the best option.
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