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Making Money=Making Resources.

Home Forums Community Dreaming / Crazy Ideas / Speculation Making Money=Making Resources.

This topic contains 43 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of wohl1917 wohl1917 6 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #789
    Profile photo of Ratteler

    I haven’t finished watching the entire 2 hour lecture from Google Video, but I immediately realized that this is something I’m not only passionate about, but have been researching on my own. My dream is to just do away with society as you know it, personally. I have been looking into just what I would need to not only live on a boat, but spend most of my time away from the society. I had not planned on doing it as part of another society. I just wanted the freedom to get the hell out of “dodge”.

    Of course… if there IS going to be a SeaSteading Culture, it would make my drifter life a lot easier, and who knows… if I can help found a community around MY principles, I might not WANT to “drift” away from it.

    I realized the Internet (Digg specifically) had washed up on my shore, a small group of like minded individuals. I also realized a major flaw with what I heard from the first hour. I heard a lot about WHY we should do this, and not much about HOW we can! I can get behind the libertarian sentiment Friedman talks about, but the desire to “be free” is simply not enough.

    Like it or not, everything comes down to commerce in some fashion.This is due to the Planetary math equation of (Global Population/1 planet=individual worth).

    Mr. Friedman’s vision is to make use of 70% of the planet not in use, which IS a great idea, but it neglects the one thing that will really make this possible. All previous frontiers were conquered NOT by the desire to leave the old world, but by a desire to exploit the new one.

    So the first question we need to ask is, “What resources does the land based world need, that the ocean can provide?”

    Our finical collapse and the World Wide Depression we are about to enter is the result of trying to base the intellectual construct of an economy on the fictional construct of ever increasing debt.

    I strongly advise anyone seriously considering founding a new nation to watch “Money as Debt”. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9050474362583451279

    Sadly, everything I’ve heard about funding this operation so far is based on using semi-discretionary income, or other Money Management forms of creating wealth. This, like all debt based economies is doomed to fail, or in our current case of worldwide economic depression, make it a non-start.

    But there are 3 areas we can focus our efforts which will not only help make this possible, but PROFITABLE!





    It is the number one consumable for the modern age. When we fight over Oil, we’re not fighting for lubrication. The Wars of the 21st Century have been about energy. On the ocean we have access to 2 of the most abundant forms of energy on the planet. Wind and Wave. It’s a perfect occupation to produce something we can sell. The first infrastructure project we should work on is producing a floating windmill, and or wavemill. Around it a community can and will naturally form, but we need to produce more power than that community needs to sustain itself. I say by a factor of 3. If our community can “battery” 2/3 of it’s power production then they can not only self sustain, but grow. It could also provide a business of refueling future battery powered ships as we decrease our carbon footprint.


    Fresh Water is most important thing land based life needs to survive. With a source of power, and a salted ocean beneath us, we have our second key product.

    Every nation on the Earth will need a source for renewable fresh water. We will need this ourselves, so if we explore large scale desalination and purification systems as part of our infrastructure, again… we are generating something that will profit us.


    I’ve been reading a lot about vertical farming. Imagine that “Empire State Building” in the water dedicated not to tourists, but to food production. Again… we need to do this for ourselves. Instead of doing enough to survive, we need to plan for enough to profit.

    Combining all 3 facilities into one operation, we have our central hub to build a community around, jobs to bring in disenfranchised workers from all over the world, and products to be consumed that will make our new “nation” more than just pioneers, but a budding industrial power.

    Profile photo of malavita

    I also think you need a purpose and something to do: it saves from a lot of problems down the road and it speeds up putting the plan into action.

    Energy is of paramount importance and I will only add PV-solar to your list: let’s not forget that this planet has been working for close to 4 billion years only because of its proximity to the sun. The problem with electric energy is that you cannot store it too well or inexpensively, so more of a reason to put it to work for a profit. Also, PV-solar critics who consider this form of renewable energy too expensive are probably not aware of XCPV systems or Xtreme Concentrated PhotoVoltaics that utilize lenses to concentrate the sun rays and allow for 37% efficiency; BTW, here’s an efficient use of surplus electricity: make high quality lenses for XCPV systems on land. Also, a common by product of these systems is large amount of hot water/steam (from the cooling of the PV panels), which can be used for internal consumption and further energy production with the use of a simple turbine, thus raising your overall efficiency. As a final consideration, PV-solar and eolic are a perfect match for contineous electricity generation as usually when one is not present the other abunds; wave energy is a good candidate for any pumping device, as it fairly simple to harness and it doesn’t have many moving parts.

    XCPV link here: http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/solarconcentrating_pv/ , implementation in Mildura, Australia here (no mention of the XCPV though, I can’t remember where I found that piece of info) : http://ecoworldly.com/2008/03/05/worlds-7-biggest-solar-energy-plants/

    Here’s a partial list of things that can be extracted/produced/implemented/manifactured (that’s an almost extinct word here in the US) with plenty of inexpensive energy:

    Water – fresh water with desalinization/reverse osmosis

    Hydrogen and Oxygen by splitting water – think hydrogen engines, fuel cells, medical uses and a great way to store energy in general

    Food – Traditional farming and fish and algae processing – did anybody say tuna carpaccio and seaweed salad?

    Water pollution removal – removing contaminants in the oceans could be a noble and remunerative activity that foreign government will be happy to outsource if the results are noticeable

    Mineral extraction from sea water – Even though is not that popular anymore, let’s not forget that the Republic of Venice was founded and built on the monopoly of sea salt. More interestingly, everybody agrees that there is gold in sea water, but that it cost too much to extract it; I wonder if that equation could change with cheap and inexhaustible solar/wind energy

    Transformation & fabrication – from high quality optical lenses to PV panel production to general smelting, all of these processes require big amount of energy and relatively small amounts of raw material

    Mobility – Part of the surplus energy could be used for propulsion, which in turn produces better chances of survival in case of a major storm/hurricane as well as transportation capabilities. I believe that there are significant advantages in not being a stationary target in any body of water when you are more than 200 miles from the coast. This topic has already being covered in the forum.

    Additional commercial activities that could be implemented and provide additional income:

    Education – Become a premier educational institution focused on research/teaching of anything from green technology, alternative politics, ecofarming, renewal energies, etc. Courses will be offered year round and resident professors will take turns between teaching and enjoying a nice long cruise – that’s appealing to a variety of people and it may help offset the male/female ratio that I noticed on this site :-)

    Healthcare – Become a premier healthcare institution focused on research and study of the positive effects of exposing asthma patients to an environment rich in salt and iodine, for example.

    All in all, I think that an economic model is indispensable for getting this project running and that in the long run it could be the all difference between success and failure.

    Your thoughts please.


    Profile photo of DanB

    Ratteler, I think many people here agree with your impression that society is collapsing. In my own view, no one at the top levels have the intellectual depth to really address society’s problems; all they can do is talk in vague platitudes about the audacity of hope.

    I’m not sure about how I feel about your emphasis on exploiting resources. While everyone agrees that economic issues are of foremost importance, there is little consensus about how to address those issues. Patri seems to want to start a casino or resort; that’s fine with me, but I have no interest in going into the hospitality business. I also have no interest in becoming a farmer (even a high-tech aquaculturist). I think many would be seasteaders are caught in a “skills trap”: we want to secede from the culture, but we have invested huge amounts of time and energy into developing skills that can only be leveraged from within the culture (for example, I’m doing a Phd in artificial intelligence; it’s hard to see how I can make that pay off on a seastead). Also, many people in this community have strong environmental leanings.

    Malavita, I like your idea about education. We could teach a heady mix of computer programming, (libertarian) economics, hands-on political science, ocean engineering, and survival. I think some people would pay a pretty penny to give their kids that kind of experience. It would be kind of like Deep Springs. We could call our college Deep Waters.

    Profile photo of Eelco

    Sadly, everything I’ve heard about funding this operation so far is based on using semi-discretionary income, or other Money Management forms of creating wealth. This, like all debt based economies is doomed to fail, or in our current case of worldwide economic depression, make it a non-start.

    I strongly advise anyone seriously considering founding a new nation to watch “Money as Debt”. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9050474362583451279

    I agree with your skepticism of our financial system, but “money as debt” didnt make a whole lot of sense to me. Personally, i would recommend “the mystery of banking” by murray rothbard.

    Profile photo of

    …but we have invested huge amounts of time and energy into developing skills that can only be leveraged from within the culture (for example, I’m doing a Phd in artificial intelligence; it’s hard to see how I can make that pay off on a seastead).

    Why wouldn´t you be able to do artificial intelligence business on a seastead? I don´t know exactly what it entails but it doesn´t sound like it would require very large facilities, for example. And if you need to work with animals (I´m just guessing here, I really don´t have a clue what AI research is, other than computers I guess…) you´ll probably have an advantage there, by not needing to ask the government for licenses and permits.

    My point is that I believe most businesses will work just fine on a seastead, eventually. In the beginning the sea tax will be higher, obviously. So then only some businesses will be profitable. But the sea tax will steadily decrease as seasteads become more prevalent, and at some point most businesses will be better off moving to seasteads. But when that happens governments on land probably will start to decrease regulations and taxation to keep up. Or start bombing us.

    I am sure there are some things that never will be very well suited for seasteads. Agriculture of cheap crops for instance. But I think these jobs are few enough to be counted as exceptions.

    Profile photo of

    ENERGY: I am sure developing and selling renewable energy sources will work fine on a seastead. I think nuclear power will work even better though. The biggest obstacle for nuclear energy production today is entirely political. If seasteading takes off I´m guessing we will see great advances in this field in the following years.

    WATER: This is more or less directly connected to energy. Of course seasteading itself might spark some new inventions in this area.

    FOOD: Vertical farming sounds to me like it also would be dependent on power. This also sounds like it will require large building areas. I think artificial “fields” floating in the water might be easier to get profitable. And seafood, obviously.

    Profile photo of DanB

    Well, I agree that some businesses could work well, even very well. But other types of businesses need access to large markets. It would be difficult, I imagine, to set up a restaurant on a seastead with only 200 people.

    In terms of AI, the problem is that there’s really no such thing as an “AI business”. People who do AI work in the context of universities or research labs. Maybe we can convince Google to set up a Seastead research lab.

    Profile photo of livefreeortry

    You be the first to start one then. I’m totally unaware of what AI involves, but by the sound of it, it might be a useful skill to program, say autonomous characters in video games (???) or autonomous vehicles for the military. Or try your hand at something completely different.

    My broader point is that pioneering activities like seasteading are not compatible with rigid preferences, whether career-wise or in terms of food habits.

    I also agree that society may well be past its golden age (or maybe I’m just getting old). In particular, socialized welfare and healthcare, a shallow understanding of the nature of wealth and social fundamentals are grave shortcomings. Combined with atrociously low birth rates (totally contradictory with basic evolutionary biology), the future does not look very bright. This is one of my major motivations for seasteading.

    Profile photo of DanB

    Do you mean “not incompatible”?

    In principle I can imagine attempting to do something like this, probably I would set up something along the lines of a algorithmic trading fund. But that’s hugely difficult to do even if you’re not simultaneously trying to reinvent civilization. And it’s not like I’m afraid of hard work, my fear is risk, which living on a seastead will dramatically increase. So for example I would be simultaneously exposing myself to all the seastead risks as well as all the entrepreneurial risks.

    There really needs to be more thought about how the seastead economy is going to work.

    Profile photo of livefreeortry

    I agree that the economy is probably the most significant obstacle. We’re going to need to import a lot of goods from land, and we’ll need to give them something in return.

    Given our limitations on a seastead, it’ll have to be something that does not require much raw material or energy; i.e. high value, low volume. My own (over-optimistic??) plan is to set up a small molecular biology lab where I can manufacture, on a small scale, expensive reagents like antibodies or conduct contract diagnostics etc… “Knowledge work” like software programming or graphics is another likely option. Some limited tourism is also a possibility.

    Plus we’ll have to try and replace/substitute imports. Food and electricity requirements could be at least partially met locally.

    Hopefully things will get better if we pass a critical size threshold.

    You know, even if you were colonizing new land instead of the sea, you’ll probably face many of the same problems initially. You may be able to grow some crops, but raw materials like metals/concrete or large amounts of fuel, machinery or consumer electronics, even axes or pots and pans etc will still have to be imported, just like we have to. Since people have colonized land successfully, maybe our endeavor is not so far-fetched.

    Profile photo of Ratteler

    Sorry for taking so long to respond. I drafted an epic muti-page response, issue by issue… then deleted it because ti was a long winded diatribe. 😀

    There are lots of dreams we can mentally masturbate too. We can use DanB’s AI with a cybernetic nanocomputer brain inside our production runs of cloning labs, cranking out an nearly infinite supply of Jessica Alba’s and/or Jessica Beils that will be smart enough to clean and cook, and keep a billion horny Chinese happy, but having no human brains won’t be ENTIRELY illegal.

    In reality… if SeaSteading is going to be a viable way to live, we need to address how it will get done with technology that already exists.

    We are going to be frontier people. Living off the sea instead of the land, with all the problems that entails. If some one else picks up the bill, then they will also install whatever class system they see fit.

    We can’t sustain ourselves off the land based economy through service. America alone has enough service workers that are about to be REAL hungry, to fill any service job we can think off. If we rely on land based business, we might as well stay on land.

    Floating platforms don’t build themselves. Any one who relocates to a Non-nation needs an occupation that will help the community directly.
    That’s why I’m concentrating on areas essential to our own existence on the water Vs. these other things.

    Without question, we need to make electricity, fresh water, and food. We need to make more than we would use on land for each person because we are asking those people to endure a lot for this new lifestyle.

    If we make more electricity than we need, we can always use it to make fresh water, or sell it.
    If we make more fresh water that we need, we can always use it grow more food, or sell it.
    If we grow more food than we need, we can always use it for other purposes, or sell it.

    This must be the base of new country. If not… we are simply a protectorate of somewhere else.

    Profile photo of Patri

    I agree that making a living is a key element of making this work.

    The point of doing a casino or resort or hospital is not that it is the best way to provide people of our skills with jobs, but that those are good markets for developing a seastead economy. We start with one of those, and then rent out additional office space to the businesses that benefit the most from low regulation, and slowly grow from there.

    My latest thinking is that there will be a key transition point from the first spar platform to the first breakwater city. A breakwater city has the potential to have such a low ocean tax that I think the economy will just explode. Sure, not every specialization will be able to go there. But at a low ocean tax, many many jobs become doable. So I see the path as being to establish expensive, high-class businesses on ships and spar platforms, grow those businesses, prove the concept and profitability to the point where we can put together a venture of the size to build a breakwater city (hundreds of millions? billions? tens of billions?).

    It will likely take a long time – 10 or 20 years – before we have a big breakwater city where most seasteaders can make a living. Until then, many people may have to just visit and vacation at whatever seasteads we have.

    Profile photo of Thorizan

    Thoreau spent two years living at Walden Pond. After the experiment he said all we need to survive is Food, Clothing, Shelter, and Fuel. Truthfully, the sea provides all but the Shelter in abundance. Wave, OTEC, Wind, Solar, even Nuclear would work splendidly in this oceanic environment. Food will be less than an issue utilizing existing Aquaculture and Mariculture technologies and techniques. Clothing can be created using kelp and/or industrialized hemp in hydroponics (whose seeds can be used for a great food source as well).

    Honestly, I think we can create a sustainable community easily on the open seas. The issue I see comes down to initial cost, and that pesky Shelter need. Once the TSI figures that part out, with our help and input, of course, we will have a great deal of independantly wealthy former hippies that want to become subsistance farmers on the world’s grandest commune (or whatever they want it to be), and there will be plenty of people like us that will be there to help them with the stuff they don’t want to do, or have otherwise chosen not to specialize in.

    I have more, but that should suffice for now.

    Profile photo of livefreeortry

    Ratteler, I totally subscribe to the frontier spirit. But keep in mind that frontiers are not won without tools, resources, weapons etc, and these need to be bought at least to begin with, and to pay for these, we need an income. Romantic ideals need to be mated with realism.

    Profile photo of Ratteler

    livefreeortry wrote:
    Ratteler, I totally subscribe to the frontier spirit. But keep in mind that frontiers are not won without tools, resources, weapons etc, and these need to be bought at least to begin with, and to pay for these, we need an income. Romantic ideals need to be mated with realism.

    I’m glad to see you agee with me. :-)

    The romantic goal is surburban neighbothood floating on the sea.

    We aleady have an income to live on land and sustain us here. We are part of several nested economies ranging from local to global.

    The reality is that without a source of income to support us on the seastead, we are stuck with our land based jobs to support our seastead. I for one have no interest in paying extra to communte back to land. If I’m going to work harder than I will on land, I want to be free of it’s influence as much as possible.

    Initially, no service dominant economy will be able to self sustain a comminuty on the ocean. In fact.. something that land based culture in America is coming to grips with is that a serivce dominant society can’t exist on land either. America is a great model of what NOT to do.

    America came to dominance when it was a producer physical goods. It was not just cheap labor that pushed our products across the world, it was a rich amount of resources to draw on.

    We moved to a mostly service dominated society that imports he vast majority of it’s goods, and relys on other nations resources.

    Add to that our huge centralized industries. Our food is grown predominatly in the mid west, our gas lines criss cross the nation originating at a few sparce locations.

    In the event of any major cataclysm, the entire U.S.A. is at risk because we rely on transportation of what we need to survive. Impeed our ability to transport good for over 2 months, and the death toll will hit millions quickly.

    This why Wind and Verticle Farming are such good ideas anywhere. They decentrialize the resources and localize the transport problems. This is not only environmentally helpful, but afford any culture a ability to sustain a catastrophic “hit” without jepordizing the entire culture.

    Like the internet, if you take down half the computers on it, the net will still function with only theareas effected being lost.

    In fact… that’s a great model for our seasteads. Each seastead should be considered a “server” with a defined number of clients that any given server can serve before the need for another server is built. Given his model, even a massive storm of sunami is unlikely to take out any entire community.

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