Video of Seasteading Talk at Cato Policy Forum

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On Tuesday, April 7, I gave a talk on seasteading at the Cato Institute’s Policy Forum, followed by comments by Doug Bandow and Arnold Kling. The presentation was recorded and is available for viewing at the Cato Institute’s website. We also recorded a short podcast afterwards.

As always, you can find recordings and material about talks on the Past Talks page.

7 comments

  1. AMW 11:39 pm

    Do you have the full slide show available anywhere online?  And is there any video of the full tal?

  2. Carl Pålsson 3:33 pm

    AMW: check the talks page for files.

    Mr. Bandow had some very good points about the legal and political trouble that could appear for seasteading. For instance, we might think right now that the "freedom of the seas" gives us a great many options and possibilities. But what if the UN just decides to delete that freedom, and simply declare seasteads illegal globally? It is not like a lot of countries would oppose such a ban.

  3. Jeff Chan 1:40 pm

    The Cato talk was very good, very focused.  The panel and audience questions were also very good, and they raise many of the same points I did.  In particular what would the response of existing nations be? 

    Carl, I don’t think the UN would outlaw seasteads directly.  More likely they would just carve up the oceans so that all parts were owned by some existing nation.  In other words they would just extend out the territorial waters until they meet the territorial waters of the other existing nations.  This is how they handle territorial waters of nearby nations currently, where the edges of those waters would otherwise overlap.  So it would just be a "logical" extension of the current UNCLOS.

    Medical treatments is a business that would seem to be much less likely to draw political oppression than, say, banking that allows actual privacy, etc.

    One point of confusion inherent in the presentation is the conflict between true sovereignty, i.e., declaring a new nation, versus flying a flag of convenience.  The two are radically different notions and the differences aren’t really explained clearly.  It’s nice to talk about new nations, but in practice one would need to start with a flag of convenience and use it for many years.

  4. Carl Pålsson 6:27 pm

    Well, whether the UN outlaws seasteads (or severely regulates them to the point where they become useless) or carve up the oceans in order to let the individual member states take care of business seems more of a technicality to me. The point is that they (the member states of the UN) have all the guns, and they make all the rules.

    What if the UN declares that the rules on flagging intended for and currently used by ships does not cover a floating, mostly stationary city?

    The actions of nation states and supra-national state-like entities like the UN are determined to a large extent by public opinion. If seasteads are perceived as mysterious and threatening the public will demand a clampdown. In order to reduce such fears perhaps TSI should commit to only assisting seasteading projects which promise to adhere to some set of fundamental principles. Like, peace, non-aggression and transparency, or something along those lines.

  5. Jeff Chan 9:52 am

    Carl wrote: "What if the UN declares that the rules on flagging intended for and currently used by ships does not cover a floating, mostly stationary city?"

    Then use ships…. They can’t ban ships.

    Carl wrote: "The actions of nation states and supra-national state-like entities like the UN are determined to a large extent by public opinion. If seasteads are perceived as mysterious and threatening the public will demand a clampdown. In order to reduce such fears perhaps TSI should commit to only assisting seasteading projects which promise to adhere to some set of fundamental principles. Like, peace, non-aggression and transparency, or something along those lines."

    The UN does whatever the internationalist elites tell it to do. That said, I generally agree with pursuing peaceful, transparent things.  Please note that peaceful, transparent behavior is NO guarantee the existing powers won’t try to physically destroy you or legislate you out of existence.  Every single new nation venture has been destroyed before it could really get going.  In almost all cases it was the United States pushing the destruction using military proxies like Haiti or Tonga.

    BTW why doesn’t Drupal have a quote reply button?

  6. Carl Pålsson 12:23 am

     Then use ships…. They can’t ban ships

    Then they´ll just say that we´re just using ships to circumvent the law; we´re not using ships as the UN charter intended. Or some crap like that.

    The UN does whatever the internationalist elites tell it to do.

    Sure, but they´ll do it faster if we appear dangerous to their populace.

    peaceful behavior is absolutely no guarantee

    Certainly. But if TSI at least makes an effort in this direction, seasteading in general might make a better impression on the world, and as a result, survive longer.

  7. Jeff Chan 1:46 am

    The first goal of governments is to increase their power.  The UN is no different, except in being much larger in scope: world government.  As such the needs of the populace are at best secondary to them.

    Regarding impressions, ultimately what matters is force: who has it and who doesn’t.

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