February 6, 2009 at 5:02 am #809
Not quite a seasteading topic, more like a micronation “thing”.Could be turn into a nice place w/some clean up, landscaping,….and a lease(or purchase) from the French.Check it out.February 6, 2009 at 12:41 pm #4857
Very interesting. You could even just get a visa and live there for a period of time as a simulation for real seasteading, try setting up an economy, find solutions to food and water issues.. No hope of buying it though, no serious country would sell territory.February 6, 2009 at 1:02 pm #4858
It might be interesting to think about using this kind of deserted island as a seasteading launchpad. Here’s what I mean:
First you get some people to the island. Figure out first versions of the economic and political arrangements. Start stockpiling supplies, equipment, and raw materials.
Then you build seastead prototype A, position it within swimming distance of the island. Move some people onto the ‘stead. Women and children stay behind. If it sinks, everyone swims back to land, starts working on prototype B. Repeat until the seastead base becomes big and stable enough that you no longer need the island itself. In the meantime, people can just resume whatever jobs and roles they were doing on land. Also you can continue to recruit people to the community continuously, even though engineering progress may experience ups and downs.
One way to view this idea is that there are really two huge projects that must be accomplished to make seasteading work. The first is the engineering project. The second is the economic-social-legal project.
By using the launchpad idea, we can work on BOTH of the huge projects simultaneously. Otherwise, we have to WAIT until the engineering project is finished to start the socio-economic project. And, in reality, the projects have delicate interdependencies that cannot be predicted in advance. That is to say, the “best” seastead design depends very strongly on the type of political and economic structure that eventually evolves.
Also, the starting island would serve as a rally point. Seasteaders are quite geographically dispersed currently; if we all converged on one location our energy level would increase 10x.
I like this idea a lot. The main issue is to avoid any “imperial entanglements”, that is to say, to deal with the French government or whoever owns the thing.February 6, 2009 at 4:44 pm #4861
There are many atolls and islands similar in nature to this one, but due to it’s relatively close proximity to “civilization”, this one seems as good a choice as nearly any other. If such an endeavor would be undertaken, I would recommend unsealing the lagoon, introducing some flora and fauna to keep the island in balance, and building up an infrastructure that would allow for electricity generation, while also providing protection from topical storms and hurricanes. Kenaf and industrialized hemp would grow well here, I would assume, providing for food and building & clothing materials. Energy should be readily available, even if pricer than on the mainland. Interaction with North and Central America would be vital, however, to get items that cannot be produced locally (some foodstuffs, medication, satellite TV, etc.). It seems to me, though, that if I had millions to spend on infrastructure for an island paradise… I would be less inclined to spend millions more to build a seastead, just to leave it. For those that have the capital, and the French connections, but are leary about actually living on the oceans, this may be a solution for you.February 6, 2009 at 6:47 pm #4864
Thank you all for the feedback.Here is a link on the subject http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clipperton_Island. I think that it would be feasible as a “hybrid” (seastead -inside the lagoon, and colonization on the rim). The Seasteading Institute could send a letter of intent to the Minister of Overseas France asking the French goverment to grant us permission to use the island for scientific research for seasteading, and alternative energy.(solar and plenty of wind there).This requests happen all the time when reserach is conducted inside the EEZ of another country. United Nation Convention on the Law of the Seas, states:
SECTION 3. CONDUCT AND PROMOTION OF
MARINE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
Marine scientific research in the exclusive economic zone
and on the continental shelf
1. Coastal States, in the exercise of their jurisdiction, have the right to regulate, authorize and conduct marine scientific research in their exclusive economic zone and on their continental shelf in accordance with the relevant provisions of this Convention.
2. Marine scientific research in the exclusive economic zone and on the continental shelf shall be conducted with the consent of the coastal State.
3. Coastal States shall, in normal circumstances, grant their consent for marine scientific research projects by other States or competent international organizations in their exclusive economic zone or on their continental shelf to be carried out in accordance with this Convention exclusively for peaceful purposes and in order to increase scientific knowledge of the marine environment for the benefit of all mankind. To this end, coastal States shall establish rules and procedures ensuring that such consent will not be delayed or denied unreasonably.
4. For the purposes of applying paragraph 3, normal circumstances may exist in spite of the absence of diplomatic relations between the coastal State and the researching State.
5. Coastal States may however in their discretion withhold their consent to the conduct of a marine scientific research project of another State or competent international organization in the exclusive economic zone or on the continental shelf of the coastal State if that project:
(a) is of direct significance for the exploration and exploitation of natural resources, whether living or non-living;
(b) involves drilling into the continental shelf, the use of explosives or the introduction of harmful substances into the marine environment;
(c) involves the construction, operation or use of artificial islands, installations and structures referred to in articles 60 and 80;
(d) contains information communicated pursuant to article 248 regarding the nature and objectives of the project which is inaccurate or if the researching State or competent international organization has outstanding obligations to the coastal State from a prior research project.
6. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 5, coastal States may not exercise their discretion to withhold consent under subparagraph (a) of that paragraph in respect of marine scientific research projects to be undertaken in accordance with the provisions of this Part on the continental shelf, beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured, outside those specific areas which coastal States may at any time publicly designate as areas in which exploitation or detailed exploratory operations focused on those areas are occurring or will occur within a reasonable period of time. Coastal States shall give reasonable notice of the designation of such areas, as well as any modifications thereto, but shall not be obliged to give details of the operations therein.
7. The provisions of paragraph 6 are without prejudice to the rights of coastal States over the continental shelf as established in article 77.
8. Marine scientific research activities referred to in this article shall not unjustifiably interfere with activities undertaken by coastal States in the exercise of their sovereign rights and jurisdiction provided for in this Convention.
In exchange,The Seasteading Inst. will build an infrastructure to be shared w/French or international companies for maritime scientific research.February 6, 2009 at 9:35 pm #4866
The biggest structural concern with seasteads, I believe, is overcoming waves, and a three-quarter sheltered lagoon would eliminate that, so I see little benefit for “practicing” seasteading in such conditions. Sure, it would be an easy enough place to test the bouyancy of a seastead prototype, but so would nearly any place else.
Now, please don’t get me wrong… I love the idea of living on a tropic island, and finding out the best ways to be self-sufficient, but such a movement seems to have little synergies with seasteading.
I, obviously, could be way wrong here, so, if you feel you have more information here to help me see what you are seeing, I’m all for its dissemination.February 7, 2009 at 1:03 am #4871
I hate to be the naysayer again but what are the benefits of setting up a seasteading operation on or around this atoll compared to doing it somewhere along the french (France proper) coastline, in the Mediterranean Sea for example? If this is french soil the state of France will have to enforce whatever rules and regulations apply to France in general, right?February 7, 2009 at 2:43 am #4873Carl wrote:
I hate to be the naysayer again but what are the benefits of setting up a seasteading operation on or around this atoll compared to doing it somewhere along the french (France proper) coastline, in the Mediterranean Sea for example? If this is french soil the state of France will have to enforce whatever rules and regulations apply to France in general, right?
Carl, IMO the benefit of Clipperton Island or others like it, is the absence of civilization and terrestrial resources. This will force us to rely on the sea and our wits, mostly with limited imports, just like seasteading. It can be a good trial-run. Of course there is no question of permanent habitation, we’d be under French law. But a good option for a simulation, to see what issues are likely on a real seastead.February 7, 2009 at 3:19 am #4874
Thorizan, the point is to achieve iterability. No great project ever succeeded completely in the first shot. You try the first version, it sinks, you try the second version, it burns, you try the third version, it leaks.
One way to achieve iterability is to ignore certain requirements for the initial versions. So the first version of your email client only runs on Mac and cannot use IMAP; you test out the simpler version to eliminate all the bugs before moving on to the more advanced capability. Same with seasteads. First you set up in the lagoon, and fix all the problems that come up in that simplified environment (obviously there are many “unknown unknowns” waiting to ambush us). Once you’ve solved the lagoon-seastead problem, you move out to the ocean proper.
Carl, the difference is between the letter and the spirit of the law. Sure, technically, we’ll be under French law. But in reality, we’re a thousand miles away, there are no French citizens nearby, no French commercial interests, we keep to ourselves, don’t compete with French citizens for jobs, and don’t cause problems. Compare that to setting up a launching operation in France proper, where we’ll be surrounded by French people, have to pay taxes, follow French bureaucracy, etc. There may also be important legal differences between France Overseas and France itself, I’m betting the former has looser regulations and enforcment, easier to get things done and so forth.
And really, the island is uninhabited and remote, if we break some sort of minor French law, how are they going to find out? Are they going to send someone to check up on our activities every month? Would anyone really care enough to go to all the trouble?February 7, 2009 at 4:35 am #4875
As a simulation: What are you trying to simulate? That people can live on small islands? Isn´t that already demonstrated by the many small nations already existing on islands in the South Pacific, for example?
And it´s not really a very good simulation for a proper seastead society. All the regulations and bureaucracy you will need to comply with could make your simulation fail miserably, but you still wouldn´t know if it would have failed in international waters.
If it was possible to break “minor laws” on french islands in a more than insignificant matter I am sure people would be doing this already. France has a lot of old colonies and probably dozens of islands all over the place. Does anyone know how the legal situation is on these, in general?
And people would know. This I think we can count on unless we only break laws that doesn´t matter anyway. Let´s see, what kind of laws could you benefit from breaking and is it realistic that the french government would look the other way if we did this continously?:
- paying taxes?
- ignoring labor laws?
- building seagoing vessels without government approval?
- housing codes?
- vice crimes (drugs, sex, gambling)?
- your suggestion here
France has at least one nuclear aircraft carrier. Last year (I think it was) they quite severely bombed the forces of some president or other in an old colony in Africa. Now, this I believe was in retaliation to some french soldiers that were killed. But it shows that they are not afraid of projecting power.
Then again, maybe I am overly pessimistic. But I have a hard time seeing the upside with a scheme such as this.February 7, 2009 at 4:46 am #4876
To comment on Thorizan’s remarks, I dont think you are wrong or right as a matter of speach. It all depends how you look @ seasteading.I think in terms of a city @ sea, a seafarers nation, if you will. Clipperton’s lagoon will be a good candidate for few floating seasteads but I have to agree, it wont be the real thing. Also it is French territory,…..But France is a long way from Clipperton, and the island was unihabited for 65 years now. Even the French themself they make fun about it,…Hey, one never knows,…ask and you will receive.They might sell it or just donate it to a bunch of lunatics like us,…they been there too at some point in history,liberte,fraternite,egalite.Please dont get me wrong here,I am not making the case for Clipperton,…It is arid,all coral and needs a lot of work :-). But for free,I’ll take it anytime,because it has the location and the potential of a “hybrid” development as a seastead micronation.February 7, 2009 at 5:12 am #4877
Carl, you may be right, but I’m simply of the opinion that the rules we’d have to kowtow to wouldn’t be that severe, or that we’d be able to avoid them somehow, or that nobody would care enough to enforce them.
From the wikipedia page linked below, note following text:
“From a legal and administrative standpoint, departments are very different from territories: according to the French constitution, French laws and regulations generally apply (civil code, penal code, administrative law, social laws, tax laws et cetera), in departments as in the mainland. However, specific laws and regulations can be adapted to their specific situation. In territories, the principle is the opposite: territories are governed by autonomy statutes that allow them to make their own laws, except for some specific areas (like defense, international relations, international trade and currency, courts and administrative law), as provided in the autonomy statute, that are reserved to the central government and its local appointee.”
It seems like the provision for territories is pretty good: we get to make our own laws about a lot of things, while not having to worry about defense and foreign policy. I think a lot of the tax havens like Cayman, Anguilla and Bermuda have this kind of setup. Being part of the UK does not require them to have income taxes.
The big point is that we’re disagreeing about factual matters that can be investigated. If it’s true that we’d effectively be under French law in the same way that French citizens are, then there’s no point in going to some island in the middle of nowhere. If, as I suspect, we’d be largely free of entanglements, there could be significant advantages.
Of course Clipperton is not the only remote island; there are a lot of them. We could investigate and attempt to find out which place would offer the most legal elbow room.February 7, 2009 at 6:24 am #4878
My only comment concerning the lagoon dwelling hybrid-seastead is that the MAIN concern with the engineering of seasteads arises from surviving, however comfortably, large ocean waves. I believe that should be the FIRST thing we tackle, and worry about the less urgent, but also still important, matters later, and that such an experiment cannot be conducted in a sheltered lagoon.
The rest of what we are all saying, I concur with heartily.February 7, 2009 at 8:07 am #4879
Carl, regarding simulations, what I had in mind was
1) Obtaining food. We’ll have to depend on fishing, maybe grow some algae or hydroponics. All these could be tried out on a desert island.
2) Water, desalination technologies, etc.
3) Power, how much will be needed, what sources are best.
4) Economics. We’ll need to import some things, and to pay for those we have to provide some goods or services in return. This would be a good place to try some activities like contract programming or small scale high skill manufacturing. I’m just guessing.
All these activities could be conducted in cities as well, but IMO they’re more realistic in a setting such as Clipperton.February 7, 2009 at 5:39 pm #4883
I´ll concede that it would be premature to completely discard the idea given that we do not know the legal situation. But even in the most fortunate (and utterly unrealistic) situation that they would actually sell the place I still find the benefits of having a private island/atoll for this kind of research or simulation marginal at best. For good research, just build a seastead or buy a boat.
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