Seasteads and Their Economies
January 5, 2010 at 1:47 am #1155
I was thinking (again :P) recently, and I came to a few conclusions about seasteads.
1. They have to be able to compete, which means they need to be self-reliant (i.e self-sufficient) and have the capacities to sustain/provide for all workers on a seastead, and if possible contribute towards generating profit for the seastead (e.g fresh water production).
So naturally there will be several sectors in a seastead’s economy.
At the center of a seasteads whole economy is engineering expertise – It would make sense that this wouldn’t be arranged as a service ‘industry’ since it will mainly be the labour of engineers and other skilled citizens which will make up the life-blood of a seastead. Things HAVE to be maintained, checked, repaired, etc, on a daily basis, and it will be these people who oversee and participate in the construction of new modules, or in off-platform ventures (e.g ship maintenance).
Besides this, we have things like hydroponics, fresh water production, energy production, ocean fishing/fishing hatcheries, resource extraction and manufacturing, etc and whatever else you can think of.
Since these must all be self-sufficient, and it would be imperative that the integrity of these things be maintained for the benefit of seastead citizens (i.e don’t allow competitors to undermine the ‘industries’ on the seastead, otherwise it undermines the seastead as a whole), would it be safe to say that a seastead would be more like a company-nation, and all citizens would in a sense be employees?
I’m not presenting this as if it is a bad thing, since being a citizen of a country today is similar, except that private industry acts more like individual departments which compete with eachother to provide better services to employees of… the US (wealth of this massive nation-company is in circulation, and it deducts pay to provide services for its citizens). Imagine Sony and Microsoft both being owned by a larger company, and both competing with eachother. I know a detailed analysis would be much more complex than how I have presented this so far, but lets continue anyway
The key question is; how does a seastead company-nation differ from a land nation-company (note the difference between my use of the two titles)? All conclusions will inevitably be drawn from their obvious difference in circumstances; one is on land, and the other is at sea.
What does this imply?
1. With a seastead, there is no urban spawl or unmitigated growth beyond the confines and capacities of a seastead. If people just began constructing modules left, right and center without the proper overview, who knows how it might affect the integrity, mobility and buoyancy of a seastead, not to mention its ability to effectively support the needs of any large numbers of new arrivals.
This relates back to what I said near the beginning of this post about self-sufficiency.
2. A seastead’s main competitors are other countries, and its circumstances negate the possibility of any internal competition.
Company-Nation: An independant nation which competes with land businesses in whichever countries it is closest to. It has an abundance of space, but development (i.e new modules, expansions, etc) are much more costly, and their design/construction would have interrelationships with the functioning of the seastead as a whole.
Nation-Company: An independant nation which competes with other countries, and which due to the amount of space available and cheap/ease of development, allows for competition in any one industry.
In layman’s terms;
a) A seastead would essentially have a state-run and planned economy, in the sense of it being one individual company that deals in multiple industries, and ‘development’ of the nation and the company are one and the same.
-Providing that there is proper management, there won’t be relative poverty or unemployment, as those are things experienced by a land nation.
-The primary concern of the seastead could be providing for citizens, while competition with land nations would still drive seasteads to improve the means of production.
-To be able to better compete with land businesses, it has to develop and grow overtime, which due to its circumstances can be done in a predictable and controlled manner. Economic growth and the growth of a seastead nation, are by its circumstances, inextricably entwined.
-None come to mind at the moment.
I know, I don’t sound very socialist right now however that is because I’m trying to provide an analysis based on the circumstances of a seastead, and these are the conclusions I’ve come to. So I’m not making any suggestions, this is only my attempt at an analysis.
Just to make a few things more clear to help prevent any misunderstanding, I understand that seasteads will cater to entities which wish to do business on the seastead (e.g to carry out online activities in international waters). They’re not the seastead industries I was referring to.
From what I’ve read seasteads won’t have closed economies, but what are your thoughts on competition with land businesses making the integrity of (profitable) seastead industries imperative? For example our fresh water production has to be self-sufficient and sustainable, and as ‘employee’ citizens the ‘company’ (seastead) can’t logically be competing for the business of its employees, but rather it competes for the business of citizens of other countries (against their own land businesses). Essentially it wouldn’t even be capable of having anything close to a conventional economy (in the beginning). In a way thats a bit of a economic single-edged sword, but thats not our problem :P. Besides, in structure its more of an unconventional, self-sufficient business entity that is also an independant nation, rather than a conventional land nation.
However likes its been said there business interests which would very much like to have set-ups on seasteads in international waters.
Any additional thoughts?
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