March 20, 2009 at 12:43 pm #854
I invite comment on my wiki article “BaseStead Strategy”:
I hope this will encourage some new lines of thinking.
DanMarch 20, 2009 at 2:13 pm #5260
I agree with you regarding the need for a swift implimentation. One area I’ve looked at was the transfer of my business and family down to Belize. This central american country acts as a tax haven and uses English as the national language. (I’m surprised more people don’t go there… it’s beautiful!)
I would add one piece to the basestead strategy. Planning should step away from the world economy. The original group will use local currency and purchase much as basestead will not begin with much manufacturing capability. The point of basestead would be to develope this capability. So instead of saying, this will cost us 10 million U.S. dollars to make seastead #1 the planning should be done in raw materials, man hours of effort, and list of specialized tools needed.
I’m currently looking at the logistics of moving my business (along with my family) to begin “Basestead”… I’ve been refering to it as “Step 1” but “Basestead” sounds so much cooler. I’m planning on making it work by myself, if there are others then it becomes easier by steps of incrimental growth. I think it will be interesting to see some of our more ‘geeky’ seasteaders try their hand at construction, agriculture, and sea-faring. (No offense, I’m a big geek myself in many ways… but I’m thinking of an I.T. guy I know who wouldn’t last a week without air conditioning… )
Good work Dan!
-JasonMarch 20, 2009 at 3:38 pm #5261
Jason, I agree with you. I get the impression that a lot of wanna be seastears are keyboard warriors who have little idea what it’s like to completely create their living environment and livelihood with their labor and their hands.
Your idea of moving to Belize sounds interesting. I’ve contemplated the idea of “intersteading,” basically building land based communities that are as autonomous as possible, even with negotiated polotical autonomy with a hosting state.
What I find fascinating is that so many Americans feel oppressed and want to leave, and the ones that do tend to be talented, creative and entreprenureal. Interesting grass roots movement in “the land of the free.”
Dan, I agree with your wiki, although it’s a little to wordy I think. Your idea seems to be to get the thing going as quickly as possible, then adjust it to suit whatever problems or issues come up. That’s definitely a good strategy. If I didn’t have a family, I would get a boat and tell people here I am, this is a seastead if you want to join me. Can’t do that with a wife and kids, though.
March 21, 2009 at 1:50 am #5265
Jason, how much do you know about the immigration and red tape issues that you will face if you move to Belize? I could get excited about living in Belize.
There is a lot of disagreement about how self-sufficient a seastead can really be in the short term. My view is that seasteaders should perform some high value service (IT, banking, graphic design, etc) which is sold to the world economy, and then trade for necessary goods. Personally, I don’t just want to be free, I want to be wealthy (and I want everyone else to be wealthy too, there’s no reason this can’t be achieved), and agricultural work doesn’t seem like a good way to make money.
Horton, the “wife and kids” issue is a pretty common one. Part of the point of the BaseStead is to provide the women and children with a safe, reliable living space while the men are out risking their lives on the seastead (I just added this point to the wiki). If not a boat, do you think you would be able to convince your family to move to a tax haven country?
“Intersteading” seems similar to “basesteading”. The main question is if you will really be able to negotiate political autonomy with a hosting state. The conventional wisdom here is that such an arrangement would be very difficult, but I don’t think anyone has actually investigated this fully.March 21, 2009 at 4:47 am #5267
I too agree thay a quick implementation is the best strategy. After all, time is all we have. I like the ideea of Basestead, but ony for the purpose of building the seastead there and then lunch and go. For example, a location close to the ocean were a group of pioneers will congragate and join forces (financially, physically, and intelectually) together to plan and implement the seastead. It doesnt have to be outside the U.S. For example, I lived on my sailboat and work in a marina in Oriental N.C., population 300 located on the Pamlico Sound 30 miles W off the Outer Banks. Perfect to Basestead because of the easy access to the ocean, cheap price of living, plus,…I know everybody in the marine bussines in town(:-). As for the political autonomy w/a hosting state,….I dont know about that Dan,….I wouldnt even try to go there and solidly stick to the conventional wisdom:-) . Talking about implementation now, as with any goals, my view is simple. There are 3 basic things: CASH, KNOWLEDGE and SELF-DISCIPLINE.March 21, 2009 at 5:01 am #5269
Dan, an excellent effort. I too am of the opinion that we need to build a basic structure quickly and evolve from there. The suggestion about a “base” is also sensible, provided costs and legal issues do not get in the way. Patri, what do you think?March 21, 2009 at 11:20 am #5270
Because of shipping costs, duties on imports, and small markets with limited competition, living on tropical islands is expensive. Just sending some people to an island could burn money that would be better spent on other things. So until we are ready to start building, I think we save money by not having extra people on the islands.
I don’t think you can really experiment with anything close to a new legal system for several reasons. First, small groups of people interested in the same thing can easily get along. I lived in houses with 4 or more grad students for years and never had any troubles. Second, you will be under the laws governing that island. I really think the exploration of new laws and courts and such will have to wait till there are hundreds of people on the water.
You already have people like me and the guy by the grand banks that could act as a sort of “mini-base” without burning money. If people wanted to assemble some seastead I would not have a problem with them doing so on my property. I am not on the water (around 1/2 mile away) but their are trucks/crains that have no trouble picking up more than 50,000 lbs here. If people were testing a seastead and rough weather was coming, I could probably put them up till the weather was better. If people wanted to do the “mini-villa” idea bellow, my “mini-base” could help. It might be easier to have seasteaders who made a donation get to stay on the small seastead than renting to the general public. Maybe donate $1,000 and you get it for up to 4 people for 2 weeks.
I agree that the launch early and evolve is the approach with the highest chance of success. And I think this mini-villa would be the easiest and best way to get started. I think the spot would be a place tourist would love to stay at. So the mini-villa has a good chance of becoming profitable. Still need to decide on the design.March 21, 2009 at 5:13 pm #5272
A few notes on Belize:
It’s culture is a mix of Central American and Caribbean. Small groups, such as mennonites and Mayans are allowed their own internal government and are for the most part, left alone by the Belize government. It’s a tourist destination, so getting in is easy (I don’t think Passports are required anymore if from the U.S.). Long term stay can be achieved by spending a week “out of country” (like on a Seastead) every 6 months. Changing nationalities takes a couple years (unless you’re of retirement age, then it’s relatively easy) but that does not seem to be the intention with Seasteaders anyways.
2nd Largest Coral Reef in the world, TONS of unoccupied islands, an economic standard based on the U.S. dollar (2 belizan for 1 U.S. locked in place) and U.S. currency accepted as standard in most places. Extremely friendly population, law system based on England, difficult import laws (customs is VERY corrupt down there so duty on items can vary quite a bit), beautiful weather, interest in aquaculture and naval architecture.
And on basesteading:
With proper planning for technical issues like energy, water and (in my case) air I think it’s very possible for a seastead to be self-sufficient in these areas. Food is a tricky issue. We could be self sufficient right out of the gate in this area but it would require a flexibility in menu as options will likely be very limited. One of the areas I’ve been focusing on is the possibility of building additional seasteads from the original unit, so our expansion is much less reliant on using the economics of the surrounding societies. There is plenty of technical and specialized equipment we’ll need to rely on other societies for. I think it’s important to minimize our dealings with them for the general sundries and materials we’ll be producing.
On a side note, I’ve found using concrete underwater is easy with a tremie (basically a pipe that allows the concrete to interact with the water only on the location it’s used). It’s surprisingly strong after 2 weeks, the underwater environment did not reduce it’s efficiency by any noticable effect. This seems to prove the studies I read regarding use of concrete underwater. Since it’s not brain surgery (I’m not a construction, engineer, architect or anything along those lines on a professional level) I’m gaining confidence that I can pull off an underwater dome seastead. Now if I could find a simply method for making it mobile…
-JasonMarch 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm #5273
Dan, I made a short wiki on my ideas of what I think “Interesteading” would entail. You’re right, it’s similar to your idea of Basesteading.
Taking a note from Patri’s idea of making governments compete, my theory is that if you’re going to bring some sort of economic advantage to a region, you make governments compete with each other to grant you various forms of autonomy. It could be anything from property tax concesions to planning/development autonomy to allowing you to cultivate and tax pot to even full sovereignty. I think it’s duable at the state level in the US. The federal government would be tricky, though. You’d have to start a political revolution to get the feds off your back, but maybe that’s possible as well. We’re definitely seeing the beginings of it. People are MAD.March 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm #5274
Belize could be a good place for Basestead indeed. Never been there but I know for a fact that now defunct Freedomship Project people were planing to build there. Its cheap in terms of living there and labor. From my fellow sailors I’ve heard that Belize City is kinda dirty,…and sinfull (they liked it). Another good thing if a Seastead is lunched there is the proximity of beautiful reefs an cays and tropical waters all around. Idont know about the underwater thing,…lol. Check out my design on Structures, there is a good reference on concrete boatbuilding there.March 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm #5275
BTW, I thought a bit about the mobility notion of seasteading. Maybe the way to start out with a land based basestead/interestead would be to use mobile homes. If governments start messing with you, you drive away. It’s a subtle but powerful message.
It’s hard to drive a mobile home out of the US, but maybe a newly designed house is the way to go. Something that you just pick up, put on a barge, and move to another country. That would be a powerful image.March 22, 2009 at 12:59 am #5277
I wouldn’t plan on seeing a revolution anytime soon. The powers that be have made a science out of controlling the masses (literally, it’s called sociology… if knowledge is power… bingo!) and they are not in the business of letting this power go. This same arguement applies to keeping mobile as a means of “making a statement”. Doing so would damage the rep of a power and you’d be surprised just how much they are willing to infringe on individual rights (even of a large group) to avoid “looking bad”. I wouldn’t encourage this sort of behavior… just makes you a target.
Belize is dirty and I appreciate the use of “sinful”… don’t see that word used much anymore. Like most countries it has areas that appeal to the more base desires and Belize City has all the good stuff… gambling, prostitution, easy access to illicit drugs. That said, the nation is for the most part made of “salt of the earth” people… not to say they are religious because many are not, but they are good decent folk.
I think at this point, all societies could be described as sinful. I think Belize has the right combination of factors for an English speaking nation that fits our needs. They are heavily allied with the U.S. so once Seasteading gets going I don’t think we could count on them to be considered friendly anymore.
Good reference on the concrete mix… Amcorite additive looks good. Looked up a bit of info and your right… perfect for underwater (or any marine) concrete mix. I’ll make it a point to try a few runs with Amcorite and see how it works in action. The kite designs are good too… you might have just found an external hull design I was looking for.
A note of my own:
I’m surprised all of this is coming together so easily. The technology has been there for at least the past decade. There are simple, non-technical solutions to many issues. It reminds me of the Russian’s statement after NASA released it’s Zero-G pen that cost millions to develop. “Yeah… Russia’s had one of those for year… is called a pencil…” Enough people work collectively without their heads shoved up their rears and I’m confident that this will work. Use the right science and lose the complicated technology that causes more problems than it solves.
-JasonMarch 22, 2009 at 11:33 am #5280
Vince, I wasn’t clear enough about the envisioned timeline of the “base” phase. My view is that it will take years to move completely off the base onto the seastead. So the point of the base is to give people a reasonably free place to live during the long development phase. What I see happening is a gradually increasing group moving to some agreed-upon location and basically making a life in that location, that has seasteading as its long-term goal but does not revolve around seasteading in the meantime. So people find jobs, start companies, build social ties, etc, and those investments can then be transferred to the seastead.
So I could see the following chain of events: a bunch of people move to Anguilla and start working on your villa idea. But this is a secondary priority in the short term, at first the main goal is to find a good way of making money. I personally wouldn’t want my main revenue source and source of work visa to depend on a risky seasteading venture. Following this plan, we’d have a situation most people would be happy with, even if seasteading does not work out (a good job in a tax haven tropical island with a bunch of other libertarians sounds good to me).
This is like the military concept of attacking from a strong defensive position. We’re “attacking” – advancing towards the goal of seasteading, but from a strong “defensive positon” – a solid economic and lifestyle situation.March 23, 2009 at 12:44 am #5281DanB wrote:
at first the main goal is to find a good way of making money.
That’s probably the biggest issue IMO. People will move to where they can make a living. Normal sort of offshoring things like IT and call center support come to mind. Also things like tourism and retirement living have seem reasonable. I know a thing or two about IT, so if anybody wants to talk about a cooperative IT venture, I can help out with that.
Ultimately sustainability is more important than making money. My Off Matrix Communities wiki sounds like a hippie commune, I know, but the issue of sustainibility both environmentally and economically for its inhabitants is so very important. You’re definitely not free if you’re constantly worrying about going broke. The theory with an OMC is that subistance living is virtually guaranteed because you farm your own food and produce your own electricity. Anything you can make with your injinuity after that would be gravey.
So in view of the idea that people will move to where they can make a living, if you guarantee a minimal subsistance living and let people do whatever it is they can do to make money after that, you have a very attractive arrangement. Their needs are met, and they have an opertunity to prosper beyond that.March 23, 2009 at 1:38 am #5282
I do logistics. Freight broker can be done from anywhere as long as you have a few people with decent customer service/sales skills, a reliable internet (broadband at a minimum) and phone connection, a couple of IT/programming professionals and the good relations with freight carriers. Put this in a tropical location and you can also add import/export to the business to add another source of income.
I REALLY hate being part of the world economic system and would like to “disconnect” ASAP. That said, I happen to make a pretty decent buck via this system and I plan on using the excess to launch into a form of Seasteading. Belize has been my “interstead” point for a couple years but I’m very open to other locations if they have the merits. A group of Seasteaders moving there as a community would be a huge merit!
How soon could everyone do this? It’d likely take me til the end of the year to make a move without my business suffering due to poor planning on a quick move. For those of you considering “finding work” after the move, I wouldn’t count on it… most foreign nationals I’ve met who have “made it work” brought the income with them. Not the easiest thing to pull off.
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