Thursday, 7 August 2014



I don't know where I picked up on the Seasteading Institute, but some big ideas are still out there.

The vision of seasteading is an urgent one. We can already see that existing political systems are straining to cope with the realities of the 21st century. We need to create the next generation of governance: banking systems to better handle the inevitable financial crises, medical regulations that protect people without hindering innovation, and democracies that ensure our representatives truly represent us.

Seasteaders believe that governments shouldn’t be like the cell phone carrier companies, with few choices and high customer-lock-in. Instead, we envision a vibrant startup sector for governments, with many small groups testing out innovative ideas as they compete to better serve their citizens’ needs.

Currently, it is very difficult to experiment with alternative social systems on a small scale; countries are so enormous that it is hard for an individual to make much difference. The world needs a place where those who wish to experiment with building new societies can go to test out their ideas. All land on Earth is already claimed, making the oceans humanity’s next frontier.

I may be too sceptical, but somehow this idea feels both impractical and designed for wealthy people. I'm not even sure if I like the idea - in fact I don't. Will there be hills and valleys and wayside pubs? I think not. And what about meals? Somewhat fishy I presume.

I'm sure Captain Nemo's version was better, but I also detect a note of... not exactly panic but something close to it. Currently, it is very difficult to experiment with alternative social systems on a small scale.

Indeed it is and we aren't likely to improve that situation by shoving everything into the grubby paws of EU and UN bureaucrats. 


Sam Vega said...

I had a brief look at this, and there doesn't seem to be an obvious link between the utopian social ideals and the - erm - floating cities bit. It might, as you say, be a vision of a gently-drifting Dubai; or it might turn into stinking slums awash with crime and human waste.

The great thing about the internet is that you can call your idle pipe-dreams an "Institute" or a "Foundation".

Mac said...

It's not often I'm right, so I'm probably wrong again, but many years ago wasn’t something along similar lines tried, or at least mooted, for one of the old ‘sea forts’ round the UK?

Anonymous said...

I think the 'donate' button on their web says it all. Another way for those with more money than sense to pass away the day in useless chattering. You are quite right AK, sounds a deeply unattractive proposition, a bit like those perpetual cruise ships - yuk.

A K Haart said...

Sam - I wonder if there's any mileage in a Truth Institute or a Truth Foundation... oops a quick check on Google shows it's already been done.

Mac - I remember reading about that too, although I don't think it was ever quite legal.

Roger - and a perpetual cruise ship is at least honest about what's on offer.