Seasteading Outpost: Belize
April 25, 2009 at 8:44 pm #5706
Such a pity that Belize suspended their economic citizenship program, but add my name to the list anyway. I take it there’s no utility connections to the property? Do you have an idea of what the net costs would be to set up a settlement infrastructure to a minimally comfortable level, and what the ongoing operating costs would be?
Flight to Belize are fairly inexpensive, if we wanted to do a scouting trip.April 25, 2009 at 9:18 pm #5707
Nothing is written in stone. I did find some other properties w/infrastructure on,.. housing, water, electric. One was beeing sold w/ a truck, motorcytcle and 20′ boat! And if we go there and look around, I am sure we will find better deals. Usually whatever is on line is highly overpriced compared to the internal real estate market. A scounting trip would be cool. In terms of food,…(why is everybody worry about food, more than,…water, for example,…), anyway, it all depends of the local market prices. Is GOT to be cheaper than Albertson,….so it might not make sense to grow it but just buy it. In terms of launching I wouldnt worry. Regardless how big, I am sure there is a guy there w/a spud barge and crane waiting (more like begging) to pocket couple of hundred green backs for a days work. But the real question is,…are guys in or what?April 26, 2009 at 2:40 am #5708
Good to see some interest generated. A few quick answers to some of the questions posted today:
I’m not interested in becoming a citizen of Belize, just living under their laws for a few years and operating a business during that time. Food: working towards self-sufficiency is the goal but we’ll obviously be dependant on the locals for produce for a while.
James, sounds like a great idea… if we do this I’d encourage you to send us the plans. We’d build a few and try em out, giving you all the R&D you could use to refine the design. All we ask is freedom to build these for ourselves once perfected. You can manufacture and sell them to the rest of the world. Even if you don’t get that PhD, we’d love to have you with us.
Dichro, I’ve done PV arrays before. A little costly, but not brain surgery. “Comfortable level” is different from person to person. Personally, I’m not looking to blow energy on air-conditioning, except for maybe a “commons building”… even that would be a hard arguement to make. It’s hot… adjust… drink water and wear less.
I’ve been to Belize (duh!) and there are deals there. Most properties are NOT on the internet, I posted the one as an example of the potential that’s out there. As for launching, I imagine we’ll use a design similar to Vince’s water walker to construct the Seastead on the ocean rather than on land. Obviously, that suggestion needs hashing out… something we’ll do in Outpost… but together we’ll make it happen. I can’t say that about a group of people on a forum… I can say that about a group of people I live with who care deeply about the success of our community.
I’ve had a few good conversations with some of you. Progress is slow at the start only because I am cautious by nature and don’t want to put the cart before the horse. There are a thousand paths we could take with this… many will lead to failure. Your input and suggestions are most welcome. Keep us on our toes, challenge our decisions, open up new avenues of thought for us… or join us and take ownership of the future.
-JasonApril 26, 2009 at 3:23 pm #5713
Your enthusiasm is certainly inspiring. I can see the publicity value. I can see this being a lot of fun. What i have a hard time imagining is a seaworthy seastead emerging from this. Perhaps you can elaborate on the specifics of that?April 27, 2009 at 1:02 am #5719
Two possible solutions. The first being we focus on small “personal” seasteads that could be connected to form a floating community. Octavian’s kite shaped seasteads come to mind. The second being, we don’t need to push out a finished product. If our efforts help TSI select the best type of seastead for mass production and fully develope the appropriate technology for use in seasteading we’re a success. Not to mention the fact that the community for outpost will be designed to function aboard a seastead, so we’ll likely be some of the first pioneers making it out on the waves.
-JasonApril 27, 2009 at 12:45 pm #5724
Fair enough, that seems like a very reasonable goal.April 27, 2009 at 2:03 pm #5725
I agree with you about buying food at the outpost locally. I am more worried about being somewhat self-sufficient on the stead itself.
I will certainly send you the plans. I am planning on building a prototype this summer to see if it will work (both the watering mechanism and growing healthy plants). By the end of it I would be happy to send you my specs and notes. After all, the point of thinking about growing food on this scale is for the benefit of seasteading, profit isn’t my prime directive here.
James.April 27, 2009 at 3:52 pm #5726
What kind of format would you like to see in Seastead Outpost? Suppose we go the “for profit” direction and open up the property for fellow steaders to move there and operate as a group… should “rent” be charged? Or perhaps a 10% tax across the board on all operations? I would like to see, at least in the early community, a co-operative effort put into building the infrastructure and basic living areas. I would propose that those who participate in the difficult task of “getting started” should enjoy the benefits before we “privitize” the pieces (allow you seasteaders to take over specific peices: such as energy generation, food production, building maintainance & construction) and ask for a flat tax on profits.
Think about it. What’s fair? There should definitely be a different operating system in the beginning compared to when the outpost is established. How should this work? For arguement’s sake, assume the cost of the property and our raw materials/food supplies are covered. What should be required from those who come with us? What would you like us to ask you for when to take the “plunge” and head to Belize?
-JasonApril 27, 2009 at 7:05 pm #5727
It would be nice if one person could take on the initial investment. It would make things simple: the best rules are the rules that the investor deems to serve his goals best. No need for discussion.
Rent or taxes would be entirely up to the owner. He will have to forge contracts with his inhabitants on the basis of supply and demand. A reasonable tax is a tax that is agreed upon in advance by both parties. I must say i have no idea what specific number would work best.
Utitilies could be part of the contract: perhaps that is what it takes to get the first people interested. I would run any state services cost neutral. As soon as someone outcompetes you, as they well might, given that you have no incentive to optimize such services, let them have it.
Do you clam sovereigninty over your piece of land, and have everyone agree to certain preset rules? Seems like the best option ot me, but figuring out the details of that is going to be a long story.
I would suggests three parts to such a contract.
the do’s and dont’s of government: not tell me what to believe, not abuse your position of power to unilaterally change the terms of my contract.
the do’s and dont’s of the individual: respect other peoples’lives and property, and such.
a gray area, undecidable in advance, left to the tyranny of the majority: what are acceptable noise-levels, should we place any communal infrastructure here or there?
These are only rough ideas, but more or less how i would do it.April 28, 2009 at 5:18 am #5734
if we’d have one initial investor. Do we? Maybe we will, or we will all pitch in, that is to be seen later, but the good question here is what Pastor Jason asked: What kind of format? Because if we answer it right, then we know what the next step will be. The Outpost has to be for profit because a Seastead will be for profit, in order for the seasteaders to survive. I think its a must. But we have to define this “for profit” concept because there is a big difference between “for profit” on the Outpost in Belize, and “for profit” on a Seastead 100 miles offshore.On a Seastead, its simpler, because nobody is regulating us but ourselvs, so our only problem is to find a buyer for the services and goods that we produce. In Belize, we are still under a goverment juristriction, we are not quite free,…plus we are foreigners,…Does anybody now if we can open a business? Lets asume we can. Then, the “business”, it is actually businesses, because on a Seastead we will have a varity of businesses, so shall the Outpost. Turism (and all the sub-businesses related to it), fishing, everything marine related, would be the basics. Therefore the initial investment, buying a property, shud be very well thought in terms of location, because it has to ecompass the quality of allowing us to develop @ least these 3 basic businesses. That’s way my first choice was an island. And it wasnt only because would maximize profits better than other location. Another reason would have been to just keep it even after a seastead is built, since its making money,…why not? In terms of the financial format, I would suggest (in the absence of that big wallet) a flexible-distributionism approach. If few of us can raise capital, find the right property, have the business plan worked out in detail, TRUST each other, then we should do it. Even if motivated and dreaming about seasteading some of us are afraid or cautious about commiting right away. I think its normal, its in our human nature. What is also true, is that we do lead by example. I am sure that many will follow after the initial investment by a few. Whoever follows later shud match the initial investment of the first ones, thus, the ownership of the means of production should be spread as widely as possible among the general populace, rather than being centralized under the control of the state or a few large businesses or wealthy private individuals. Working shareholders terms comes to mind. @ the end of the day we divide the net income. This concept will keep the door open to a non-working shareholder, since some will decide to just invest and visit the Outpost (and later the Seastead) from time to time. They will get the divident minus the percentage of it that the working ones will get as salary. As for those who cannot aford to invest now, but they want to participate, they can come and join, work and be paid for. If they wish, a percentage of their pay can go toward matching the others initial investment, thus, one day to became working (or non) shareholders themseves too. This concept would be applied to the Outpost and later to the Seastead too.April 28, 2009 at 1:41 pm #5737
Here is my question. If you don’t even have guys with enough commitment to get together a Saturday or two each month and build something in the bay area, how can you believe that you have guys with enough commitment to drop their jobs, uproot their families, leave their friends, and move to Belize and then get together to build something? This is several orders of magnitude more commitment than something you don’t yet have enough commitment for. And why? All the stuff you will want to build with is cheaper and more available in the bay area. Does not seem very plausible to me.April 28, 2009 at 1:49 pm #5738
LOVE YOUR PROJECTS!!
I don’t live near the bay area. I’ve got two lines of experiments I’m currently playing with… algae-culture and monolithic domes (concrete). I realized that an intentional community in an area where the cost of living is so much cheaper would likely free me up to do more with the 24 hours/day I’m limited by. Additionally, I don’t want to live in the U.S. for much longer… seems like you made a similar decision yourself at one point. The truth is, I don’t know if anyone is willing to come along with me. I’d still move anyway, but I wouldn’t have anymore free-time than I already do. I’ve got a business that would easily transfer with me, so at least I wouldn’t be worried about income.
Pragmatism. I can finance Seastead Outpost. I can’t finanace an island that will cost millions for a few acres. 150k for 100 acres with a sizable waterfront I can swallow. I could also cover costs to build basic infrastructure and feed a group of 15-20 people. I’d be willing to take on “investors” from this group of people(or TSI as a company, not individuals) and those would share a proportional take on the eventual profits and decision-making ability.
With that in mind, would those that “just come” be interested in an agreement similar to the compacts signed by those who settled the Americas from Europe? We provide food, shelter and tools… you work for a predetermined period of time. At the end of that time you are encouraged to take over one of the businesses you helped build during your time under the compact. How would you structure such an agreement?
-JasonApril 28, 2009 at 1:55 pm #5740
Vince: for me personally it’d be far easier to drop everything and move somewhere seastead-friendly permanently than to get a flight over the atlantic every month or every couple of weeks. And I really do not want to uproot myself just to move to another country with an equally intrusive government, just to be able to meet up.
A basestead is far more likely to produce something than a weekly/monthly meeting ever could, which might spur more people on.April 28, 2009 at 2:12 pm #5741
Jason: That set up sounds good to me, Offering my skills and labour in exchange for a place and supplies to live, eventually owning or with the ability to own a part of it. I would also be willing to camp out until we’ve sorted out more permanent dwellings – it should be warm enough at least!
One slight worry is connectivity. How much do you think it would cost to get a phone line out there? Although I’m perfectly willing to offer physical labour type skills, my main skillset is in computers, so any business I start would most likely be in software – This area of Belize has no mobile phone access so that’s not an option, unless we can convince a mobile operator to set up a tower or one of us starts it, but I imagine government beurocracy in telecommunications might turn people away from that idea.April 28, 2009 at 2:58 pm #5744
Actually, just looked that up. Southern Lagoon is covered for cell-phone service, possibly due to a nearby city and the HUGE conservation efforts based here… mostly for Manatees. Additionally, a few ex-pats gave me the heads up to stay away from BTL for the direct line connection to the internet and go with a satellite connection. More reliable, slightly higher cost.
Ben, if you’re a programmer maybe we can hook up. I run logistics for freight through North America and do a lot with import/export into the carribean. I’ve got the relationships with the carriers, you can code a user friendly interface… instant freight broker. I work with similar businesses every day and I can tell you there is plenty of market share available. These businesses tend to get too big too quick and lack on the customer service side which makes it easy for us small guys to get our foot in the door. Sent me a private message and we’ll chat.
The more of us who can bring an income the better. Those that do so will work under a seperate agreement than the “compact” idea I already laid out. Front some capital when we kick this sucker off and you can pull up a chair next to mine. I would love to have a few others to stand side by side with me on this. Otherwise, if we collect a serious group of people willing to, like Ben, say “Yeah, I’ll go” then we’ll go.
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