A few people have noted the progression from moderate libertarian Milton Friedman to his anarcho-capitalist son David Friedman and have questioned where the next generation could go from there. The answer is seasteading.
A while ago I stumbled across the online world of Patri Friedman and swapped a few e-mails. Interesting chap. One of his big ideas was to create self-sustainable floating “countries” and he called this idea seasteading. It’s not a new idea, but Patri seems to have taken it further in terms of design and logistics… and now that he has $500,000 worth of sponsorship, the Seasteading Institute is up and running.
This morning I got an e-mail from Patri to tell me about the Institute. Their initial press release is below:
Organization Aims To Create New Societies On The Ocean
Mountain View, CA, April 15th, 2008. The Seasteading Institute today announced that it has been established in order to establish permanent, autonomous ocean communities to enable experimentation and innovation with diverse social, political, and legal systems. It will continue and expand on the work of Patri Friedman and Wayne Gramlich, authors of “Seasteading: A Practical Guide to Homesteading the High Seas”.
“The public sector is simultaneously the largest industry in the world and the least innovative, with a barrier to entry and lock-in on its customers that dwarfs any private monopoly”, says Patri Friedman, TSI’s Executive Director. “The world needs a new model of politics where a diverse ecosystem of providers offers a variety of institutions that evolve to serve their citizens. The open oceans, Earth’s last frontier, are the ideal place to nurture this vision of a better world. By making it safe and affordable to settle this frontier, we will give people the freedom to choose the government they want instead of being stuck with the government they get.”
To help launch the organization, entrepreneur and philanthropist Peter Thiel has pledged $500,000 to The Seasteading Institute, saying: “Accelerating innovation is rapidly transforming the world: the Seasteading Institute will help bring more of that innovation to the public sector, where it’s vitally needed. 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. We’re at a fascinating juncture: the nature of government is about to change at a very fundamental level.”
The Institute will initially focus on three major areas:
Community: Building a network of potential residents who are inspired by the possibilities of seasteading and have the skills and resources to establish vibrant new communities.
Research: Exploring the core requirements for seasteading to be safe and affordable, such as structure design, political feasibility, and infrastructure (power, heat, food) and advancing key seasteading technologies through independent research and partnerships.
Engineering: Proving that the mission is viable by building a safe, cost-effective, gorgeous seastead, based in the San Francisco Bay and able to travel in the open ocean.
Sure, it’s radical. It is still in the dream stage and it might not work. But I like dreams. I’ve offered to help where I can and am considering going over to California to take a more active involvement, insh’allah.