Seasteading & Crashing the Government Monopoly
Asking the majority of people the question ‘what is the world's biggest industry?’ leads to pretty generic answers. Most will guess energy, the Internet or healthcare as the number one industry. Yet the number one industry is government. An industry that has control over all other industries, it can force customers to pay and also has the least competition in the world. This industry's lead player -- the Microsoft of governments, if you will -- is the United States. They bring in a massive 2.5 trillion dollars every year. Yet they've also managed to lose about 1 trillion dollars every year. The lesser players in this industry manage to kill their own customers. This leads to a new idea, which is to challenge this industry known as seasteading.
Seasteading is the idea of building free cities on the ocean not part of the control of any other government. Every piece of land has been claimed, but international waters have not. Simply go out 200 miles with a floating city, cruise ship boat or even plank of wood and you're free from law by government. And what emerges is something passed politics. Innovations technologically and socially can develop and the world can be changed. What emerges could be the world's first trillion-dollar company.
The cost of building seasteads are small and the ability to unlock human potential is worth billions. Reasoning for this claim would be what the U.S. has done. They have never been called the perfect nation, but have always been viewed on as the shining city on a hill. That shining city can be seen in people coming from horrible countries and becoming billionaires in under 10 years. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Paypal and many more were all companies that had founders from other countries and grew in the U.S. This is clear evidence of what kind of growth can occur when people are given the best government for them.
With trillions of dollars created by the US a demand for better government is still needed. Polls have indicated that the congress that runs the US has an 86% dissaproval rating. Than things such as healthcare, finance and education that government has arguably damaged or has not done the best to improve them. Also even if the US government was perfect, that's still only 300 million people in a world approaching 7 billion. So if 300 million people are free to reach their maximum potential, that's still only 5% of the world. So 95% of the world getting a less satisfying product from government could be denying the world cures for cancer, a city on mars or free energy.
Seasteading has an obvious need with hundreds of millions of people trapped in third world nations. The US also has a very closed immigration policy. So it's tough for people to be innovators if they're in a country that's it hard to produce in. So even though one third of engineers in California have come from foreign countries and many large fortune 500 companies in the US had foreign founders, they still make it extremely difficult. So a market emerges for trying to attract the innovators and entrepreneurs and seasteading is the perfect platform for this.
Blueseed, founded by Max Marty, seeks to meet this demand by opening a tech incubator 12 miles out of San Francisco for those who can't get visa's. Trying to raise 10 million dollars and with seed funding already covered. Blueseed can house over 1,000 people and have had hundreds of companies apply to come on deck. One downside of Blueseed is it only being 12 miles out of the US and has the limit of having to follow US law. Yet even with that, the chance for people from oppressed nations or just not very developed nations to be in the heart of technology is limitless. Also Blueseed is considering asking for a small percentage of equity in companies coming on ship along with rent. So it's very possible that the next Facebook or Google can be born on the sea and that one company can make Blueseed worth billions. One 10 million dollar investment having such high returns will lead to the age of the ocean and the rise of seasteading.
With one successful seastead other industries in this field will emerge. One field the government has played a key role in has been healthcare. In the tech industry there has been extreme growth and almost no regulation. Simply code and put it online for consumers to tell what's good or bad and sales reflex it. The healthcare industry doesn't have this luxury with intense amounts of regulation. From being denied drugs, having to wait 10 years to get access to a new drug or having licenses to become a doctor be very hard, they all lead to higher cost and less innovation. Medicine is in pain now and people with cancer, aids and more are in more pain. The opportunity to challenge medicine and allow people to take higher risk procedures for certain benefits could be huge. Best part is the impact will not even be limited to those going to the seasteads. If someone is taking a boat and having their cancer cured others will follow them. People will eventually want reforms in their nations medical regulation structure to allow those drugs. The outcome is the true benefit of seasteading. Changing governments for the other 7 billion people even if only a few thousand ever step foot on a floating platform.
Another idea is bringing economic incentive to forming seasteads. This has sparked the idea of algae farming and using robots to handle it. BEAR Oceanics a company is building a generation of robots to life where they can grow and farm algae to produce energy easily and cheaply. Realizing the potential of this the Seasteading Institute has begun to take notice. In May of 2012 they brought an engineering student at Tufts University, Baoguang Zhai, to the team in order for him to research this idea. They hope now to make this another industry seasteading can move into within the next few years.
For the Seasteading Institute, founded by Patri Friedman in 2008, they have witnessed tremendous growth over the last four years. Being mentioned in nearly every major media over the last four years. Although opinions have been mixed, they've never been told the idea wasn't interesting. Interesting enough that they now lead an army of volunteers and have many donors including Paypal founder Peter Thiel. In the libertarian movement it's a hot topic called one of the coolest ideas ever. Having people pack up the room in former Seasteading Institute president Michael Keenan's speech on seasteading, at the 2012 student's for liberty convention in Washington DC.
Questions exist about the political leanings of the seasteading movement. One unique quality about it is that it's a movement without a philosophy. Although most followers of seasteading are libertarians no one opposes the idea of a seastead that is socialist. As long as it's voluntary it's fine. The attitude is if it's profitable, than it's doing a good job. Also most libertarians would believe that a socialist seastead would go under. So worst case scenario is that socialist seasteading company goes under and a libertarian or conservative could buy it out. This all would summarize seasteading as a debate free movement where the only thing needed is pleasing people enough live and prosper there.
Some question the possibility of seasteads going bad. Why couldn't they join the monopoly and not innovate? The reason is that unlike an ordinary country, they can sink in things aside from debt. So they offer people a low quality product and a new seastead can open replacing it. The previous one sinks and another can fill that space. The spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation is created which doesn't exist in government. The idea you can fail and have new competition emerge is huge and will lead to growth over failures. Every year phones get smaller and smarter, but it seems governments only witness approval ratings get smaller and debt go up. For that reason seasteading can be a success.
The opportunity to crash the monopoly of government is huge. The Seasteading Institute, Blueseed and others have no intention to end government, force views on others or challenge other governments. They seek to simply end poverty, create technological innovation and end oppression. Starting with boats such as Blueseed and moving to giant platforms for hundreds of thousands that can potentially benefit billions.
From Huffington Post @ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-peralo/seasteading-crashing-the-_b_1537776.html
Are Ocean Societies the New Frontier for Sustainable Living?
by Lea Bogdan
Could the middle of the ocean offer sustainable dwelling places for humankind in the future? Estonian architect Marko Järvela of Hirvesoo Arhitektibüroo, winner of the aesthetics category in the first design competition for seasteading, believes that sustainable water-locked living could in fact become a wonderful reality. He saw designing “SESU Seastead” (short for SElf-SUstained seastead), as an opportunity to find the reality in ideas that are “balancing at the edge of utopian.” Järvela says that his winning design for a mini-society in the ocean is based on a self-sufficient lifestyle that requires a rearrangement of priorities.
Järvela’s “SESU Seastead” design includes passive solar design principles and has a layered interior based on thermal and functional zoning. Vegetation is used throughout the platform to provide food to residents, but also to regulate climate. The concept is focused on “aerodynamics, hydrodynamics as well as the capability to sail the open sea and withstand harsh weather conditions.” He enjoyed most the challenge to create living and working spaces in this utopian environment that recognizes “soft values” like being able to withdraw and meditate at will, but also encourages realistic needs such as enabling residents to manage their own energy resources.
The design competition for seasteading was held by non-profit organization The Seasteading Institute (TSI) whose managing members are a mix of Silicon Valley investors, bright-eyed economists, and engineering gurus, who hail from big name companies that were once small ventures including Paypal, Google, and Sun Microsystems. At first glance, the TSI mission for “growth of permanent, autonomous ocean communities, enabling innovation with new political and social systems” could seem like a new twist on libertarianism. But clearly stated at their first annual conference last October, they are not just focused on politics, but conscious of high profit margins and ecological innovations. They plan to take advantage of the 70% of the earth that does not currently have any real estate value – the ocean.
Another great thing about this group of financiers and dreamers is that they want their new ocean societies to have outstanding aesthetics. The purpose of their design competition was to select the most beautiful, visually powerful seasteads. The building’s function was open to the designer’s choosing, but the architecture had to be formed around a framework created by engineers at TSI. In addition, the entrants were given a vast amount of background information on designing for the harsh, corrosive sea environment — from fighting off barnacles to illustrating the design issues with platform bobbing.
With a proposed cost of $50/sq. ft., the TSI vision is to develop customizable modular platforms made from affordable materials, or even waste materials such as soda bottles, and the focus is on self-sustaining societies. Holding to these principles, the estimated cost for a developed platform that is the length of a city block on all sides would cost $3 million — which is cheaper than the homes many TSI developers own in California’s Bay Area.
+ Hirvesoo Arhitektibüroo
+ The Seasteading Institute
Via National Geographic
INTERVIEW: Inhabitat Talks to Blueseed About Their Floating “Googleplex of the Sea” Island
[Inhabitat was] so intrigued by Blueseed's goal of creating a visa-free floating city off the California coast that we had to get the scoop from the company's CEO Max Marty and CIO Dan Dascalescu on their sustainability plans for this ambitious project. Designed to provide accommodation and office space for up to 1,000 highly talented entrepreneurs who are not permitted to live and work on American soil, this offshore Silicon Valley backed by Paypal founder Peter Thiel has great potential to serve as a showcase for cutting-edge energy generation and waste treatment systems. The firm is actively seeking clean tech professionals to join the team and turn this visa-free hub into a flurry of sustainable creativity. Step in to learn more about what Marty and Dascalescu have brewing, and for a peek at brand new concept designs released just yesterday!
Max Marty: Many entrepreneurs from all parts of the globe want to come to Silicon Valley to create their tech startups. In the past, this hasn’t been possible because the US visa system was not designed for it. Blueseed is going to change that. We’re creating a visa-free incubator for tech startups. A thousand of the world’s best entrepreneurs will get the chance to develop their ideas in an ecosystem designed for their success. And it’ll be just half an hour from the coastline by daily ferry access.
INHABITAT: Do you have any ideas for a name yet?
Max Marty: The company is named Blueseed, but we haven’t decided on a name for the ship yet. Perhaps we’ll crowdsource this in the near future.
INHABITAT: Paypal’s founder Peter Thiel is committed to helping you fund this project… any sense of how much funding you’re going to need?
Max Marty: Peter is coming in to the 500K USD “seed funding” round that we’re currently raising to do the R&D work needed. The project’s total up front cost will be around 15-35millon USD.
INHABITAT: This new set of concept drawings is being published for the first time today. How close are you to finalizing a design?
Max Marty: There are three options. Leasing an existing vessel, purchasing an existing vessel, and building a new one. The first two options would of course require some retrofitting to suit our needs. Each option has its pros and cons, but I’d say the first two options are far more likely than designing our own vessel. The more existing structures and technologies we can use the better.
INHABITAT: Some of our readers expressed concern that the floating city will resemble a drilling environment. How would you put these concerns to rest?
Max Marty: At this time we’re not looking into floating platforms. Instead, we’re looking at existing vessel designs such as cruise ships and accomodation barges. If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you know it’s nothing like an oil rig.
INHABITAT: What are your chief environmental concerns for the project?
Max Marty: Broadly speaking, environmental concerns can be put into two categories. Waste management and energy generation. There are many good remedies for waste management that turn waste water into water that’s almost clean enough to drink. There are also many renewable energy sources, including sources that can be used on ships (such as wind, solar, wave energy harnessing, ocean thermal energy generation, etc). The problem is figuring out how to do these in a way that is both green and cost effective for our application. We’ve been making some headway here but would love to connect with individuals or organizations that could work with us on solutions to these questions.
INHABITAT: And how can these concerns be converted into opportunities?
Max Marty: There are many eco startups and cleantech companies out there with products that could work for a project like this. This would be an opportunity for them to demonstrate the feasibility of their products on the high seas while showcasing it to the world. This incubator will be a great hub of creativity and talented entrepreneurs from around the world, so if their products are successfully helping us generate the power we need to treat wastewater, they will be globally recognized as the tech leaders in this market.
Paypal Founder Peter Thiel Invests $1.25 Million to Create Floating Micro-Countries
by Molly Cotter
Peter Thiel is known for having big ideas before everyone else - he launched Paypal, funded Facebook, and is now interested in building his very own start-up countries in the far off, open ocean. The self-made billionaire is working closely with the Seasteading Institute to create sovereign nations in international waters, free from the laws of any country.
A well-known Libertarian, Thiel suggests these islands may be instrumental in “experimenting with new ideas for government.” One theory implements libertarian ideals such as no welfare, no minimum wage, looser building codes, and fewer weapons restrictions. Another more capitalistic approach called Appletopia, has a corporation starting the country as a business where the more popular it becomes the more valuable the real estate.
These micro-countries built on oil rig-like platforms will be moveable, diesel-powered 12,000 ton structures. Each structure may house up to 270 residents, and they are planned to link together into a massive web.
Thiel plans to launch a flotilla office park off the coast of San Francisco next year and predicts full settlement of the first island in 2019. He and the Seasteading Institute aim to have 10 million floating residents by 2050.
Thiel’s ventures have always pushed boundaries. From wanting to use a currency unaffiliated with any nation for Paypal to funding DNA sequencing and commercial space travel, the uncharted and therefore, unregulated realms are his greatest interests. For those who remain pessimistic about this latest project Thiel says, “We don’t need to really worry about those people very much, because since they don’t think it’s possible they won’t take us very seriously. And they will not actually try to stop us until it’s too late.”
+ Seasteading Institute
Via Details Magazine
Photos from the Seastead Design Contest
From Inhabitat @ http://inhabitat.com/are-ocean-societies-the-new-frontier-for-sustainable-living/ and INTERVIEW: We Talk to Blueseed About Their Floating “Googleplex of the Sea” Island | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building and Paypal Founder Peter Thiel Invests $1.25 Million to Create Floating Micro-Countries Seasteading Institute – Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building
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