Seasteading Part 2: Examining the Potential Applications of Seasteading

By Chase Baker & Carter Bermingham

As with any new technology, it’s important to examine potential applications and uses in order to determine just how viable this new addition might be. Unfortunately, since the concept of seasteading is still in its infancy, there are currently no practical uses cases that can be examined to provide a better understanding. So, for all intents and purposes, we shall explore the potential uses cases for seasteading and how this vision might come to life.

Experimentation in both Democracy and Medical Practices

One of great traits of a democracy is its dynamic nature. In a democratic society, ideas and norms are continually challenged in the hopes of producing new or better ideals that maximize the potential of its constituents. This is the genesis of seasteading. As Forbes contributor Doug Bandow explains, “Seasteading would allow residents to avoid supporting the usual tangle of public bureaucracies and accompanying gaggle of private parasites—lobbyists, journalists, even think tank analysts—that dominate Washington.  There would be no more paying for endless, yet needless wars.”[1]

Although this vision of current society is cynical, it’s hard to imagine that Mr. Bandow is alone in his feelings. In the same article, The Seasteading Institute (TSI) employee Brad Taylor explains that most proposals of change in society “rely on the reform of existing institutions or the consent of existing governments. In a competitive market for governance, we should expect governments to make such concessions; in the current uncompetitive system, we should not.” [2] So, if individuals are seeking societies that they perceive to have greater degrees of freedom, what would these places look like?

Out of all the desired freedoms expressed by those interested in seasteading, the most prominent seems to be that of financial freedom. Those who could even consider seasteading in its current form are more than likely to be individuals who have significantly higher incomes on average. Wealthy people, as Mr. Bandow mentions, are more likely to be critical of how the government is spending their money. Since these individuals make significant contributions to the society, but see little in return, it’s only natural for them to ponder whether seasteading might be a better option for them.

By offering a “new” society to operate in, seasteading could be used as a societal experiment designed to capture the best ways of protecting personal financial liberty while maximizing the efficiency of government spending. As these models begin to take shape and are tested over time, they could then be exported back into “normal” society in the hopes of improving lives through experimentation that otherwise would not have been possible due to current government overreach.

One drawback:  It’s easy to imagine that these seasteads could become laundering sites for individuals who are still interested in participating in regular societal life, but are attracted by the idea of less financial restrictions. Without any real data or use cases, it’s hard to determine whether this application of the seasteading would be successful.

Another avenue of possible experimentation could be the freedom to pursue new medical practices. This scenario follows the same logic as the previously mentioned financial scenario, by allowing individuals the freedom to pursue new medical practices free from government regulation; seasteading societies could produce results that could then be exported back into “normal” society enhancing the lives of everyone, not just those involved with the seastead. This practice, although subject to potential misuse, seems to offer benefits that would attract those who feel restricted by current medical practice.

Tourism

Generally, the average person–such as the early majority and late majority in terms of adopters–is not willing to take the risk involved with leaving an entire life behind to pursue new adventures. In order for these people to seriously consider seasteading, they need some sort of proven model, something bulletproof, that would offer the mental security needed to participate in something so radical as seasteading. Therefore, one of the best ways to persuade people to consider seasteading could be through tourism.

By using the tourism engine, particularly cruise liners, seasteading colonies could serve as destinations along a journey to give people a first-hand look at what life on a seastead colony is like. Much like islands within the Caribbean, every seastead would have its own culture, its own customs and its own vision for the future. Tourists could then travel to several seasteads, deciding for themselves which cities and practices they liked best. This could create a word of mouth effect when the tourists return home that could generate more interest. The tourism market could provide a catalyst to the idea of seasteading, considering the expense involved in a permanent move to a seastead. By offering people a temporary experience into what their lives could be like living in a seastead, it could spark more serious consideration and conversation.

Our final blog post presents some barriers to the seasteading industry and why it hasn’t exactly taken off.

Sources

[1] Mandow, D. (2012, July 30). Getting Around Big Government: The Seastead Revolution Begins to Take Shape. Retrieved November 12, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/dougbandow/2012/07/30/getting-around-big-government-the-seastead-revolution-begins-to-take-shape/#3abc8c4e43f4

[2] ibid

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